In Changeling, the third book of my Seeder Saga, Lizzie is abducted by Indar, a man from the Seeder Corps, and they spend a few weeks in close quarters on his ship, which causes all sorts of mayhem when they find themselves overwhelmingly attracted to each other.
He grabbed her to keep from knocking her backwards and she made a startled sound, bringing her hands up and grabbing onto his shoulders.
“Sorry,” she mumbled. “I didn’t see you coming.”
Her eyes flew up to meet his and she realized two things simultaneously. One, he was nearly naked –wearing only a pair of briefs – and covered in a fine sheen of sweat and two, his lips were only millimeters from hers and she could feel his breath. He also wasn’t making any move to let her go.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
Lizzie pushed on his chest, stepping back. He let her go, but he didn’t move to step back himself.
“I – I was hungry. I was looking for the kitchen…or wherever you might have the food.”
“Hold on,” he said, turning and opening the door right across from the room she’d been staying in. There was a larger bed against one wall as well as a desk. This must be the Captain’s quarters. Indar grabbed a pair of loose pants, sliding his legs into them and knotting them at the waist, and Lizzie’s eyes followed his hands.
“Were you working out?” she asked, staring at his six-pack and then realizing what she was doing. She forced her eyes back up to his face.
“Ah. Yes, I was. It’s a necessity out here. There’s a resistance machine in the corner of the cargo bay. If you’d like to use it, I can show you later.”
“Okay.” She stood in the doorway to his room and he stared at her a moment before he raised his brows and gave her a smile.
“You’ll have to move out of the doorway if you want me to find you something to eat,” he said.
“Oh!” Lizzie looked embarrassed for a split second, and then she gave him a pointed look. “I was waiting for you to put on a shirt.”
“Are you offended?” he asked, curiously. “I didn’t think people in your part of the Earth had a problem with a bare chest.”
“We don’t. Not in general. I just thought you were getting all-the-way dressed, that’s all,” she finished lamely.
“I see. So it’s just my chest in particular you have a problem with?”
Lizzie rolled her eyes. “Can we just find some food, please?”
“Of course,” he said, indicating that she should precede him out the doorway. He grabbed a shirt from a drawer and followed her out, pulling it on over his head.
“I have fruit from the planet, and provision packs for the rest of the meal,” he offered, leading her into the galley area.
He reached into a cupboard on the wall behind him, pulling out a small bar that looked like an energy bar and tossed it over to her.
“They don’t taste like much,” he apologized, “But they carry all the nutrition and caloric content you’ll need for the day, and they’re incredibly filling.”
Lizzie wrinkled her nose, unwrapping the bar and holding it up to sniff it cautiously. “How long can you survive on this stuff?”
“Here,” he said, tossing her a piece of fruit. “It does get boring. I supplement when I can with local food.”
“You can eat local food?” she asked. “All those planets and nothing’s toxic to you?”
“There are some things we avoid,” he said. “That’s where the scanner in my comm unit comes in handy. But in general, there’s very little my body can’t overcome.”
“Interesting,” Lizzie remarked. “I’ve got a thousand questions for you.”
“You can ask me anything,” he offered, gesturing her over to the table. “I’m sure with all the research you’ve done carrying out your father’s work; your curiosity must be piqued.”
“Oh, it’s piqued, all right,” she said. “I just don’t know where to begin.” She looked around the room. “I guess I’ll start with the obvious:
“How do you keep yourselves secret? On Earth, I mean?”
“It’s not hard to do. Technologically, you’re not far from your own stone age. Compared to a lot of the galaxy, anyway. We have shielding technologies and we’re careful. You’re not ready to know about us. Not yet.”
“And Earth wasn’t a…what did you call it? A re-form?”
“No. A re-form is an uninhabitable planet that we’ve redeveloped, giving it water, vegetation, and other life-sustaining properties before colonizing. In the case of Earth, it was one of the few verdant worlds that developed naturally. We gave your early ancestors a bit of a nudge when it looked like a humanoid strain might emerge, and here you are.”
“Genetically seeded materials. Just to better the odds.”
“Seeded from Seeders.”
“Seeded by Seeders,” he qualified. “But yes, the genetic donors were Sundi. This was true of a lot of the earliest Seedings.”
Lizzie twirled the peel of her fruit in her fingers. “Sounds like you guys have a God complex that goes back a long way.”
“Perhaps,” he allowed. “Our genetic makeup lends itself very well to interspecies mingling.”
Lizzie’s brows went up.
“Is that your way of telling me you’ve got a woman on every planet and dozens of kids?”
“What?” Indar’s eyes hardened. “Certainly not,” he snapped. “Children are a very precious resource, Lizzie. We take very seriously the creation of a child. You of all people should realize that – your father was fierce in his need to shield you and keep you safe, as we all are with our offspring.”
“Sorry,” she mumbled. “I didn’t mean to offend you. I just…got a vibe off you or something.”
He raised his brows, still obviously annoyed. “You got a vibe? What does that even mean?”
“You know what I mean,” she said lifting her chin and giving him a knowing look. “You keep staring at me like I’m a meal.”
He leaned back, crossing his arms.
“And your eyes weren’t just all over my bare chest?” he asked. “If you’re looking for a more creative form of exercise, I’m happy to indulge you, Lizzie.” He gave her a slow, spreading smile.
To read more about Lizzie and Indar’s adventures, (and to find the other two books of the series), check out my Books page!