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Prince of Firestones (A SciFi Alien Romance) (The Krave of Everton Book 2) by Zoey Draven (1)

Chapter One

“Tell me something,” Khiva murmured and the sound of his softened voice made Eve shiver.

She smiled down at the roots she was washing in the basin, tilting her head to the side when she felt her lover, her love, run his lips over the back of her neck.

Those three words were their routine. Even on Everton, when Eve used to pay a small fortune for his nights, they’d said those words to each other.

And for the last two months, ever since they’d landed on Dumera, their new home colony, he spoke those same words to her when he returned in the evenings. Now, Eve always had his nights. She didn’t have to share them with nameless, faceless Everton women.

When his fingers drifted to her front, caressing the fullness of her breasts, she bit her lip, torn between kissing him or berating him for stalling her dinner preparations.

She went with the latter and grabbed his hand before it drifted down any further. Because if Khiva had his way, she’d be naked every hour of the day and night, underneath him, on top of him, any way he wanted her. Her male had an unfathomably high sex drive and at times, Eve wondered how she managed to keep up with him.

“Unlike you, I need to eat every day. Multiple times a day,” she teased.

He huffed out an amused breath that drifted over the back of her neck. “Pax, my human female gets…what is the English word…cranky if she does not eat.”

“That’s right,” she said.

She’d prepared him a massive feast the day before, so she knew that he wouldn’t need to eat for another four or five days. Even with the long hours at his labor-intensive job, he didn’t need to eat as much as he’d needed to on Everton. Dumera’s crops were almost as nutrient-dense as the food had been back on Khiva’s home planet, before it’d been destroyed during the Great War.

“I will wait to mate you until after you have eaten, leeldra,” he purred in her ear and Eve went a bit shivery at those words, at the unspoken promise in them. “I would never come between you and your food.”

“Intelligent male,” she teased, though her voice was slightly more breathless than it had been before. Affection surged in her chest and she dropped the now-clean root to the tabletop before turning in his arms. Those same beautiful eyes she’d first encountered all those months ago met hers. Those swirled greens and blues and golds, unlike any color she’d seen before.

He hadn’t washed yet, as he’d just returned to their home dwelling from his long day. And even though she knew his muscles ached from his work, there was a satisfaction and contentedness in him that she hadn’t seen on Everton.

The scent of his sweat and musk lit her body on fire, which he surely knew, but she tried not to let it distract her. Lifting up on her toes, she pressed her lips to his, sighing at his familiar taste and warmth. Their kiss was long and slow and was only cut short when her stomach growled.

Khiva pulled back with a small grin, which had become a familiar expression on his features during their time on Dumera.

“Go wash,” she told him, “so I can finish making my dinner.”

Khiva stepped back, giving in, but not before he reached down to grab a possessive handful of her backside. Eve gasped, but before she could do anything more, he strode the short distance to their washroom and disappeared into the alcove. A moment later, she heard the pipes chugging outside as he filled their washing tub. Though loud, the pipes sent up hot water almost immediately.

Eve smiled to herself, butterflies still going wild in her stomach, but she was used to the sensation. And as she listened to the distant sounds of trickling water and her male’s deep sighs as the hot water relaxed his muscles, she went about prepping her dinner.

By the time Khiva emerged from the washroom, bathed, dressed only in loose, soft pants that hung low on his hips, she’d boiled the fresh root until it was tender and grilled the juvu’sa meat over a low flame in the center of their ‘kitchen.’

“Is it still warm out?” she asked him, cradling the clay bowl with the contents of her dinner. Her mouth watered as the smell of the meat drifted up to her nostrils. Juvu’sa meat was the most tender meat she’d ever tasted, despite how long it was cooked.

Pax,” he murmured, taking her bowl from her hands to carry it for her out their door. Fresh, but humid, air met them and Eve inhaled a deep breath. Where they lived, high up in the jivera trees, the air was perfumed with the scent of the night blooming flowers that peppered the branches. Eve had smelled gardenias once on Everton, in one of the more expensive shops in the Market District. Jivera flowers smelled similar.

It had surprised her that in most parts of Dumera, the dwellings were tree dwellings, houses built on sturdy platforms, supported by the thick branches. The earth and soil that spread over the colony’s surface was too soft, too light to support heavy structures, unlike the jivera tree’s roots that ran deep, deep underground and held strong.

Needless to say, they were high up. Across from them, dotted around the jivera forest were other dwellings, soft light glowing from the inside of each. Gorkan, her father’s friend, didn’t live far. He’d helped them secure the dwelling with little hassle, after all.

They both sat down on the landing that wrapped around the front of their dwelling. Hanging from the edge was the ladder that they used to climb up and down and Eve always smiled when she saw it because they’d had to replace it for a larger size when they’d first arrived, to accommodate Khiva’s bulk. Even still, he managed the climb and descent with agility and grace, which always surprised Eve, even though it shouldn’t. She’d never seen him be bad at something.

Khiva pulled her close as the scent of the jivera flowers filled her nostrils. He handed her her dinner and she ate with vigor as her male watched, as he always did.

Once she was finished, she sighed with contentment, though truthfully, she always felt like she could eat more. She always wondered if it was because she exerted more physical energy on Dumera, from climbing up and down from their dwelling, or trekking through the jivera forest to the colony’s center for her work at the archives. And while she figured at least a part of her increased appetite stemmed from that, it was mostly because of something else entirely.

Eve set her bowl down next to her and sighed, leaning her cheek into Khiva’s bare shoulder. His arm moved to wrap around her waist. This was one of her favorite parts of their evening. After a long day of satisfying work, she got to cuddle with her male.

“How was your day?” she asked him, staring out into the forest of the jivera trees, at all the different dwellings that sat illuminated between their thick branches. From this side of the house, she could see twelve dwellings, stretching all the way towards the colony’s center. But Eve liked where they lived. It was on the outskirts of the forest. While this meant a longer trek into work every day, Eve preferred it. They had more privacy and they didn’t have to share their jivera tree with another family’s dwelling.

“Long,” he murmured, pulling her closer. “Only because I am always anxious to return to you.”

Eve let out a small chuckle, though her cheeks flushed with pleasure. She couldn’t help but wonder if he suspected what she did, if he could tell.

“Now that I have you,” he continued, “it is hard to leave you.”

Eve tilted her head towards him and she asked softly, “You do like it here, though. Don’t you?”

She’d often worried that he might not, just because of his job, because he never said much about it. He worked, as most males on Dumera did, in resource extraction. Mining. Dumera was rich in a particular metal that was used for all kinds of technology, from vessels to New Earth’s Nu devices to Luxirian Coms. Mining work, however, was physically taxing, not to mention dangerous.

“I would live anywhere with you,” he said in return. “But I do like it here. In some ways, I find it similar to Kerivu.”

“Really?”

Khiva nodded. “Pax. It is…calming. Quiet. Beings work hard and they take pride in their work. Then they return to their families. Simple. I like that.”

Eve stroked her fingers over his bare shoulder. A scar ended at the very top, near the nape of his neck and Eve sobered, remembering the conditions of his life on Everton. Eve now knew the extent and the atrocities to Madame Allegria’s abuse. And every day they were on Dumera, it only served to remind them about the others who’d stayed behind. The three Keriv’i—Dravka, Tavak, and Ravu—and Valerie, Madame Allegria’s niece.

Every day they were reminded that their meeting with Phee’vee’ka, her father’s contact at the United Worlds, wouldn’t happen for another three weeks…and even then, they had no physical proof or documentation of what the infamous Madame was doing behind the closed doors of her brothel. It seemed hopeless.

But they had to try. She only wished they could’ve convinced Valerie to collect more evidence against her aunt, anything to warrant a deeper investigation into her business.

Out of the corner of her eye, she watched her male. Eve remembered when she’d first seen him in that brothel. She remembered her anxiousness and nerves, knowing that she’d paid a small fortune to spend the night with him, coming to him as an inexperienced virgin.

How long ago that seemed.

But the image of him, upon first sight, was burned into her memory. She remembered his strength, his beautiful eyes, his striking features. She remembered thinking that he could overpower her and she wouldn’t be able to stop him.

And in a way, he had. Eve had never expected to develop romantic feelings for her Krave. In the end, she’d fallen head over heels in love with him, or so the Old Earth expression went. She’d never truly known what that meant until she’d met Khiva, though she’d heard it often enough in old films she’d watched.

And right before he’d taken her virginity, he’d told her, ‘I will change you. You will never be the same.

He’d been right. Ever since then, her life had turned upside down, inside out, all due to the male sitting quietly at her side, watching the calmness of the jivera forest with her, feeling the gentle breeze that helped cool the humid air.

Eve’s chest ached so much sometimes with her feelings for him. It frightened her, knowing that her heart was vulnerable outside her own body.

“Tell me something, leeldra,” he requested again and it was then that she realized she’d forgotten to reply earlier in the kitchen.

Turning her cheek slightly, she brushed her lips over his shoulder.

I think I’m pregnant.

The words were on the tip of her tongue and she was so tempted to blurt them out, to release the secret that had been building inside her for the last month.

But she wanted to be certain first. She was seeing a Dumerian healer in a couple days, one with experience in hybrid pregnancies.

Once she was certain, she would tell him.

So, Eve snuggled in closer to him, his body radiating warmth.

Tell me something, leeldra.

So she said, “I love you.”

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