"I don't understand."
This time she didn't tease him about it not being a question. "My mother chose a scientific method of conception."
Lucas stopped so suddenly, she almost betrayed surprise. "What? She went to a sperm bank and picked out a donor with good genes?" He appeared astounded.
"Very crudely put, but yes. It's now the most widely used form of conception among the Psy." Sascha knew Nikita expected her to follow the same path. Not many of their race chose the old-fashioned method any longer. It was apparently messy, wasted time that could be put to more cost-effective use, and had no advantages over medico-psychic selection.
"The process is both safe and practical." But she was never going to undergo it. There was no way she'd ever chance condemning a child to the flaw already pushing her to the brink of insanity. "We can weed out sperm and eggs that are damaged in any way. It's why the Psy have a negligible rate of childhood diseases." Yet mistakes were made - she was living proof.
Lucas shook his head and it was such a feline movement, her heart jumped. Sometimes he was so smooth, so charming, she forgot his animal nature. And then he looked at her with that na**d heat in his eyes and she knew that what prowled behind the civilized facade was nothing tame.
"You don't know what you're missing out on," he said, standing just a little too close.
She didn't move. He might be an alpha used to obedience but she wasn't one of his pack. "On the contrary. I was taught animal reproduction at an early age."
He chuckled and she felt the stroke of his laughter deep inside where no one should've been able to reach. "Animal reproduction? That's one way to put it. Have you ever tried it?"
She was having trouble concentrating on his words with him so near... so touchable. He smelled of danger and wildness and passion, all the things she could never allow herself to feel. It was the ultimate temptation. "No. Why would I?"
He leaned infinitesimally closer. "Because, darling, you might find that the animal in you likes it."
"I'm not your darling." As soon as the words were out, her soul froze. No Psy would've ever risen to the bait.
Lucas's eyes blazed with challenge. "Maybe I can change your mind."
Despite the teasing words, she knew he'd picked up her lapse and was even now considering what it meant. There was nothing she could do to retract the slip but she could bring the conversation back to purely business. "What did you want to show me?"
His wicked smile shot to pieces her hopes of getting this meeting under control. "Lots of things, darling. Lots of things."
Lucas watched Sascha move around the lot and savored the lingering taste of her, as warm and exotic as her history.
The panther prowling the cage of his mind was intrigued by her, intent on licking at her to see if she tasted as good as he imagined. Her golden skin enticed the tactile nature of his changeling soul, while the lushness of her lips made him want to bite... in the most erotic way. Everything about her invited the senses.
What had him fighting the urge was the knowledge that it had to be some kind of Psy trick. Had they finally figured out a way to exert psychic control over changelings? His people had always been safe because the Psy were too cold to figure out what made them tick. Life, hunger, sensation, touch, sex. Not cold, ascetic sex like Dorian had described, but passionate, sweaty, low-down and dirty sex.
Lucas loved the scent of both human and changeling women, adored their soft skin and cries of pleasure, but never before had he been drawn to one of the enemy. He fought the attraction even as he traced the shape of Sascha's body with his eyes.
She was tall but there was nothing willowy about her. The woman's body had more dangerous curves than should be legal on one of her race. In spite of the black pantsuit and stiff white shirt she wore like corporate armor, he could tell her br**sts would overflow his hands. When she bent to examine something on the ground, he almost gave in to the urgings of his beast. The curve of her hip was sensually female, her bottom a heart-shaped enticement.
Her head turned as if in response to his intent gaze, and, despite the distance separating them, he could almost taste the earthy sensuality she tried to bury. Frowning at his own thoughts, he began to walk toward her. The Psy weren't sensual. They were about as close to mechanical as you could get and still remain human. But there was something different about this one, something he wanted to sink his teeth into.
"Why did you choose these sections?" she asked as he approached. Her night-sky eyes watched him without blinking.
"It's rumored that the sparks of white light in a cardinal's eyes can turn into a thousand colors under certain circumstances." He searched her face for an answer to the puzzle of her. "Is that true?"
"No. Cardinal eyes can go pure black but that's about it." She looked away from him and he wanted to believe it was because she found him disturbing to her senses. It annoyed the panther that he was mesmerized by her while she remained unmoved. "Tell me about this lot."
"It's prime changeling real estate - just over an hour out of the city, in an area that's forested enough to feed the soul." He looked down at her sedate plait. The compulsion to reach over and tug at it was so strong, he didn't bother to resist.
She jerked away. "What are you doing?"
"I wanted to feel what your hair was like." Sensation was as necessary to him as breathing.
No other Psy he'd ever met had asked that question. "It feels good. I like touching soft, silky things."