The Star of Ishtar – Excerpt

A beep at the door alerted Elara to a visitor outside her office. She tabbed on the comm, leaning forward in her chair. "Yes?" She kept her voice low and calm. Controlled.

"Commander Myatt here. May I enter?"

A frisson of excitement shimmered through her system at his voice. "Of course, Commander."

She gave the order for the door to open and stood, then walked to the other side of the desk, a smile on her face, with her hands outstretched as the door closed behind him with a whoosh. She moved silently forward into his open arms, taking in his grin. He looked so good in his formal uniform.

The hug was enveloping but not nearly enough. She wasn't some green girl to be pacified with a single caress. She breathed in his musky scent and nestled against his firm chest. She'd waited a long time and worked hard for this chance. She needed to act her age and role if she hoped to make him see her as much more than the girl he had rescued so many years ago. After all these years, she was done hoping he would work it out by himself. After all, he'd done a poor job of seeing what was there, waiting for him.

"Damn, it's good to see you, Elara. Barsha! Here you are as the ST of the Ishtar! Well done, little girl."

His triumphant grin didn't stop the sting of his words. Calling her little girl with that sexy-sounding voice of his cut through her once more, just as it had always done in the past when he had called her his little girl. She gritted her teeth. The time had come to let him know she was a woman, she reminded herself firmly.

He kept talking, and she watched his hands as they moved, keeping track of his words and actions. "But you surprised me. Why did you keep your transfer here so quiet?" His tone sounded good-natured enough, but she couldn't answer the question with words. She needed him to understand why she had transferred for himself.

"It's good to see you too, Grayson."

She reached up onto her toes, grabbed his broad, muscular shoulders, and kissed him softly on the cheek. Lingeringly. Elara allowed her lips to hover just longer than normal. She waited a heartbeat more so Grayson would recognize the implied invitation. He reared back in surprise, eyes wide open in shock as it registered. His face flushed as she stepped back from him, and inwardly she sighed, conceding she had her work cut out for her.

"Right." He backed away emotionally even as he spoke that simple word. The quick way he looked away from her face told her he was uncomfortable with the new Elara. He glanced down at her uniform. "You obviously got the memo about dress standards. We need to head directly to the captain's dining room. He was most insistent that you should join the leadership team tonight, as it is your first meal aboard the Ishtar."