Evan’s Ladies by Eva Caye

Eva Caye
By Eva Caye May 26, 2013 23:35

Evan’s Ladies by Eva Caye

Summary:

Science, sex, sorrow, solidarity, scandal, sympathy, and sense deprivation are hallmarks of this add-on novel to the To Be Sinclair series!Prince Evan Sinclair may be a brilliant stargate scientist, but his love life has soared to incredible heights and plunged to unbelievable depths. Who will stay by his side forever?

Is true love more than attraction? More than compatibility? More than fascination? More than friendship?

These four novellas chronologically take place between Loyalty and Nobility, books six and seven of the To Be Sinclair series.

Part I: The Cremian Dance

Part II: Good Enough

Part III: Breathe

Part IV: Treasure Your Words

Note: this book describes sexual situations

According to the author, this book contains descriptive writing about sexual acts between consenting adults.

The author has rated this book R (not suitable for those 17 and under).

Excerpt:

Part I: The Cremian Dance

Prince Evan Sinclair stared at a group of ladies near one dark corner of the Royal Rock-It nightclub. Brooding, he noticed two of the ladies glancing his way again. He turned to see his brother Prince Stefan give him an encouraging nod.

“Go on, Evan, that’s why we are here,” he urged. “That’s probably why they are here, too. Sentinel doesn’t publicize our outings, but they also don’t hide the fact, or insist anyone else hide it. Those girls probably heard it through the grapevine and decided to do some Imperial-watching.” He turned to his own Lady Angelica and asked her for another dance; brothers Josef and Brian were out dancing with their ladies, Roberta and Denise. Stefan and Angelica took off, leaving Evan alone at the table.

For pity’s sake, he was an Imperial Son! He shouldn’t be sitting alone when he could be dancing. Evan shrugged off a final negative thought about his recent break-up with Carol Michelson, picked up his glass, and strode toward the table where the five unaccompanied ladies were chatting between dances. Seeing him head toward them riveted their attention, and they elbowed each other. Evan forced a subdued smile.

He flashed them a grin as he approached the waist-high table. “I can already tell you are the smartest ladies here.”

All the ladies looked at each other, blinking, though the one in the back twisted her lips in a wry smile. “Why is that?” He rather thought she would have been the last of the group to speak up. Given the elaborate coiffures and dramatic face paints currently in vogue in the Demesnes and among her friends, her straight blonde hairstyle and minimal makeup seemed to indicate she would not care to stand out, though her dress was quite flashy.

Evan leaned against the table and set down his drink. “First, you picked a table against the back wall so you can hear each other over the music. Second, you found exactly five chairs so if a man approaches, his inclination will be to ask one of you to dance. And last, seating yourselves so far from the dance floor indicates you seek men willing to look beyond the surfaces,” he pointed to the many tables surrounding the dance floor, “and into the depths.” He waved at the tables around the walls. “You want men who want a relationship.” He let loose another blazing smile.

As the other ladies tittered, the one with twisting lips said, “Or it could mean we want men who will go out of their way for us.” She looked down into her glass and fought another smile as her friends rolled their eyes, bit their lips, shushed her, and made a few other deprecating gestures. Evan snorted a few times before introducing himself.

They were a bachelorette party; Lady Eleanor Pierson would be marrying Lord Roderick Guinard next Saturday, and this was the only day the ladies could get together for it. Eleanor’s best friend and maid of honor, Lady Miriam Knightley, had invited along her sister Nicole, she of the twisting lips. Ladies Renata Zinken and Siria Rutherford were bridesmaids. Evan congratulated Eleanor on her impending nuptials and invited her to dance.

They rocked through three songs before he escorted her back to her table. Nicole and Siria were still there, so he ordered a round of drinks for them all. They had him describing his most recent stargate assignment to Transeuropa when Renata and Miriam returned from a dance.

After Evan returned from three dances with Siria, Eleanor mentioned, “I saw in the news yesterday you and your brothers will be starting a company called Sinclair Enterprises. What is that about?”

“Well, we have been doing experiments in the Adamov Duchy, which will eventually lead to some developments we won’t make public for several years. So it’s all very secret, yet.” Evan made a few general comments about the isolated set-up before grousing, “But the local wildlife is a plague. We’ve had to exterminate the mooncats in the area because they were interfering with our experiments and we don’t know why.”

“What a damn shame,” Nicole growled with real vehemence, glaring at Evan with an angry set to her jaw. He was so startled he involuntarily took a step back, mouth slightly open.

“Don’t mind her, Your Highness.” Miriam aimed a sneer at her sister. “She’s an environmental scientist. She would be out grubbing about in the wilderness right now if it weren’t for the fact that Mother made her come to the capital this week.”

Evan recovered quickly and offered Nicole a short bow. “My apologies, Lady Nicole.
Would you allow me to offer you a dance to make up for my inadvertent slight?”

“No, thank you.” The others gaped at her in astonishment as Nicole sipped and looked down at the table, smothering her ire with a veneer of indifference.

Evan was flummoxed, for he had never had a lady turn him down for a dance in his life. He became aware he was staring at Nicole while her sister harangued her and the other ladies offered to dance with him, but he couldn’t help himself. She finally looked up, saw he was fixated on her, and looked away, embarrassed.

He rounded the table to approach her directly. Putting his hand on the back of her chair, he leaned toward her to say as privately as possible, “I can see I actually offended you gravely. I am truly sorry.”

Flustered by either his proximity or his apology, Nicole took a moment before responding. “That’s okay. You couldn’t have known.” She smiled at him wistfully.

Evan noticed all the other ladies leaning in to catch every word over the music. “I would be interested in hearing how you would have solved our mooncat problem. Would you like to go to the bar and discuss it with me?”

After a beat, Nicole smiled. “Yes, I would. Thank you, Your Highness.” She slid off her chair as her friends gaped once more. Evan offered his arm, she took it, and he left the other ladies with a pleasant nod in their direction.

Getting her settled at the bar with a drink, he turned his seat to face her and put his arm on the back of her chair again. Lifting his glass toward her, he toasted, “To Science,” and grinned when she clinked her glass against his with that wry, sly smile firm on her face, noting her twinkling hazel eyes. “I have always wanted to ask someone, of what use are quaids?” Evan had never been stung by the most notoriously nasty insect on Sinclair Demesne but knew of people who had even died from it, such as Angelica’s very young son.

“Ah, yes, the inevitable question, I’d say.” Nicole frowned and absently shook her head, clearly vexed by some private thought. “It’s like that on every planet, by the way. The new colonists arrive and find out the hard way there are terrible creatures that threaten humanity’s intent to dominate the environment, so the beasts must be eliminated at all cost. Usually they are turned into food or products, but there are inevitably some which cannot seem to be eliminated or used. There is almost always at least one reason to keep them around.

“Quaids, for example, manufacture and excrete complex alkaloids necessary for the microorganisms in the soil in which many native grasses and trees thrive. When those microorganisms are not present, the grasses do not nourish the wildlife and the native trees are completely stunted and worthless. Thank heavens someone figured it out before quaids managed to get eradicated.”

“Is that why they kill people? The alkaloids?”

Nicole nodded. “The antidote is abundantly available, though, and easy to manufacture. Anaphylactic shock only occurs in about three percent of the population, so most people can get by until they get the antidote.” She began asking about the mooncat problem the youngest Imperial Sons, all stargate scientists and executors of Mother’s secret technology, had been experiencing in the Adamov Duchy.

They spoke for over an hour before Miriam approached them. “We are getting ready to leave. Do you want to come with us, Nicole?” She smiled uncertainly at Evan.

He looked back and forth between the sisters. “Could you give us a few more minutes, please?” Miriam nodded and backed away as he turned to Nicole. “It’s been a great pleasure meeting you. You say you are only in the Urban District for the week?”

“Yes, then I head back to Southeast Continent. It’s winter now, so I have to finish summarizing my six-month survey before my supervisor lets me take on a new assignment this spring.”

“Would you be interested in going out sometime this week?” Evan could not figure out if he was more interested in her as a lady or as a scientist in a discipline he had never studied.

“Sure. What do you have in mind?” Nicole tilted her head.

They arranged to see the Sinclair Demesne’s Museum of Natural History on Tuesday. He pulled one of his new code cards from his pocket. A dark, starry background showcased a silver representation of a stargate, with Prince Evan Sinclair, SGS and the graphic scan-only pattern of his vidphone code embossed in silver upon it. “Here is my vidphone code in case anything comes up and you need to contact me, or if you just want to chat.” She reached for it, but he pulled it back slightly. “Ah, this is my private vidphone code. Please keep it safe.”

Aware that her friends were watching, Evan slowly reached out with a seductive smile while checking her face for her reactions, and slipped the card into the sparkly panel of her dress that had been taunting him with a minimal but provocative view of her cleavage all this time. Nicole’s knowing smile at his daring burst into a snicker when he tucked it deep into the right breast panel with two fingers; she laughed outright when he patted it there for safe-keeping.

Shaking her head at his roguish antics, she sailed off toward her friends, who were staring in frozen disbelief. Evan smiled at them all, waved, and went back to find his brothers.

◊ ◊ ◊

On Wednesday, Evan took Nicole out to dinner and the Imperial symphony. On Thursday, he invited her to the Palace for one of the state dinners with Galactic Assembly Representatives and its subsequent salon. They were both busy Friday, but she had invited him to be her date to the wedding at the Guinard mansion on Saturday.

Although they were only grand-nieces of the duke, Nicole and Miriam had been staying at the Knightley mansion. When Evan arrived to escort her to the wedding, Duke Knightley met him at the door personally. Evan bowed politely and suffered himself to be led to the parlor to greet the duchess and talk a bit before Nicole showed up.

“We are very pleased with Nicole’s work at the Biological Research Initiative in our duchy,” Duchess Knightley said proudly. “I know most Royals think it is unladylike to do field work, but Nicole has proven to be a real asset, or so the director claims.”

Duke Knightley did not seem as pleased as his wife. “Yes, she does seem quite absorbed in her work, though there are plenty of things she could be doing there that wouldn’t put her out in the howling wilderness. My nephew and his wife despair of her running around unsupervised, but they can hardly stand to listen to her discuss her work at the table.”

“Why is that?” Evan had hardly heard a word about her work this past week, for it seemed like they had discussed everything but their jobs. He had assumed it was because he could not talk about his secret stargate work in Mother’s lab, therefore Nicole did not talk about her own job.

Even the duchess frowned. “I must admit that parasites do not make for pleasant table conversation.” Evan’s confusion must have been notable, for she explained, “She has been doing a survey of intestinal parasites in cremians and flaggerts. She examines the, ah, leavings and takes cultures.” He laughed at that.

He was going to make a joke about it when Nicole entered the room, but simply looking at her left him stunned. Her new jazzy blonde bob shone with bright highlights, her dark green gown shimmered with its own golden highlights, and she was wearing subtle but sophisticated make-up. A thick gold chain drew attention to the strong, beautiful lines of muscles and tendons in her neck and shoulders down to the bodice of the strapless gown. She seemed rather embarrassed for some reason, though she smiled at the way Evan was ogling her.

He approached her quickly and took her hands. “You look lovely!” Staring into her eyes with a silly smile, he murmured, “Too bad I left all my business cards at home.”

He quite appreciated the interplay of dress and bosom as she laughed.
“You are a rascal,” Nicole declared with a playful sniff and a smile. “Behave, or you won’t get any candy tonight.”

Evan’s breath caught in his throat, stunned not only at the suggestion but that Duke and Duchess Knightley were in hearing range. He broke into his widest grin yet. “Ah, I wasn’t sure candy was on the menu.” Nicole gave him an appraising glance.
Although he had garnered a goodnight kiss after each of their dates this week, he had not gotten the impression she would have liked to prolong them.

“Hm, well, all I can say is weddings and luxurious gowns rather inspire me. Given that I am usually dressed in fatigues and mud,” she explained reasonably. Evan laughed, turned to wish the duke and duchess a good evening, and had Nicole out the door and into the Palace ground car with his Sentinels in mere minutes.

He made sure to behave himself all day. Weddings on Sinclair Demesne tended to be at noon on Saturdays, with a banquet, dancing until midnight, plenty of hors d’oeuvres and champagne to keep the partygoers from needing an evening meal, and small mementos of the occasion. By 22:00, Evan had danced with Nicole’s sister and several of her friends once each, but the overwhelming majority of his time he spent with Nicole.

He was snuggled up to her beside one of the large curtains framing the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Guinard mansion’s ballroom when he leaned his head toward her ear. “Have I been good enough for that candy yet?” His hand, hidden between her and the curtain, slid down to caress her buttock. He smiled deeply when her lips parted and she closed her eyes to enjoy the sensation.

“Hm. Yes, but I will have to be back at the Knightley mansion by 08:00 tomorrow. My sub-orbital leaves at 10:00.”

Suddenly stricken by that, Evan lifted her hands to kiss each one. “I didn’t think you were leaving so soon.”

“I have to be at work on Monday, and Knightley Duchy is half a day ahead of the Urban District. I’ll have to sleep on the sub-orbital and rush to get my belongings home to get to work on time.” Resigned to acknowledge she was as dedicated to her work as he was to his own, Evan nodded his understanding and went with her to give their congratulations to the newlyweds.

When they arrived at the Palace and made it to Evan’s suite, he offered her a drink. After he went to his sound system and selected a collection of romantic songs Angelica had compiled for Stefan, he retrieved a couple of softees from the bar alcove. He returned to see her facing away with arms in the air, dancing by herself in long, graceful undulations that reminded him of solar flares slowly roiling in the sun’s corona.

“That’s lovely. What kind of dance is that?” He ran one hand from the back of her neck to her shoulder and along her arm.

Nicole laughed gently. “It’s the mating dance of the cremians. They may be pests, but they are graceful and civilized animals. Both males and females can initiate mating, and they even raise their young together.” She turned to face him, running her hands through his hair as she undulated some more. Soon they were undulating together on his bed.

A time later, she sighed with a happy, sated smile. “Wow. You are really good at that. I guess what they say is true.”

“What do they say?” Figuring he knew already, he began massaging her breast again.

“That the Imperial Family knows everything about sex.” She reached out to caress him in turn. “You would think Royal men would jump on the bandwagon, given the outstanding Imperial leadership at every other endeavor.” As Evan laughed, Nicole turned serious. “Honestly, you would think Royal men would actually care to keep their ladies happy. But no, they think the world revolves around them, then they wonder why they aren’t married.”

“Have you had many lovers?”

She shrugged. “A few. Enough to know it’s not worth putting up with their egos for the small amount of pleasure they give. Too bad there aren’t more Imperial Sons to go around,” she joked, squeezing him just there.

By the time Evan took her to the Knightley mansion the next morning, waited for her to finish packing, escorted her and Miriam to the shuttle port, and helped them get their luggage checked, he was blearily exhausted but happy. Their boarding call was being made when Nicole exclaimed, “Oh no! I forgot to unpack my coat from my suitcase’s side-pocket!” She was wearing a long-sleeved shirt layered over a thinner shirt, but it was obviously not going to be enough. Miriam, who had been glumly
ignoring the glowing couple as much as possible, had her own coat folded over her arm.

Evan whipped off his light summer jacket, emptied the pockets, and offered it to Nicole. “It’s not very heavy, but it will certainly be better than nothing.” At her look of gratitude, he helped her put it on. “Perhaps you can remember to bring it with you the next time you come to the capital.”

She gave him a mischievous grin while wrapping her arms around herself, gripping the jacket possessively. “I don’t know about that. I was too busy this week to pick up other mementos. And how many mementos hold as many layers of meaning as this?”

Evan laughed, kissed her goodbye, and continued to smile as the ladies hurried out to the tram that would take them to their sub-orbital.

◊ ◊ ◊

Two months later, Evan entered the 12-story Sentinel Command fortress with his Sentinels, dismissed them, and headed to the cafeteria for lunch. Shortly after a total evacuation from the Palace last night, the grounds’ overhead force-shields and walls had collapsed under the explosive force of three rapid-fire force-shielded missiles; the out-of-phase force-shields interacted with each other so violently that the walls’ built-in repeaters had failed, causing their immense destruction. A fourth missile had destroyed a third of the Palace itself while the fifth missile had landed between the Palace and the Imperial Preserve. Everyone was simply grateful the Imperial Family and the entire Palace staff had been evacuated in time.

After Stefan’s initial review of Mother’s secret stargate laboratory, he had called Evan in at 04:30 to guard the area. Spending most of his time cleaning up their personal laboratory, which consisted of two of the sub-basement rooms fronting the ancient fallout shelter containing Mother’s lab, Evan was exhausted but felt too jittery to sleep. Since his Sentinels had protected him outside those and the third room, Lord Charles’ computer lab and the antechamber to the Stargate Laboratory, he figured the magnitude of the disaster and his lonely, seven-hour shift of pure drudge labor contributed as much as skipping breakfast to his feeling of unease.

Mother, Marie, and Renee were in the cafeteria. Evan approached with his ration tray, sat beside Renee, and dug in immediately. It took him several moments to notice their silence; they weren’t even eating their meals. They had not even greeted him, eyeing him and each other as if unsure what to say. Mother looked particularly stony.

“What’s wrong?” Evan stopped eating.

Mother hung her head and started to weep silently, trembling with the effort not to disgrace herself. Marie enveloped her in her arms as Renee explained. “The doctors, medics, and watchmen who were taking Daniel’s gestation chamber through one of the escape tunnels drowned when the collapse of the walls let in water from the Landfall River. Divers are trying to retrieve the gestation chamber now.”

Evan’s mind froze for a long moment. “Where is Anne?” His sister Anne, the best of them all, had suffered unimaginable pain last year from an attack upon the Stargate Fleet. Now, to lose one unborn child while carrying another within her…. Stupid with exhaustion and stung with sudden grief for his sister and co-scientist, Evan’s mind could not continue.

“Anne and Andrés made their way to the Encino Duchy. At least they were together again when this happened. ” A child psychologist recently married to his oldest brother, Crown Prince Zhaiden, Renee appeared calm but looked dreadful. She nudged Evan with her elbow. “Finish eating. We all need to keep up our strength.”

He glanced pointedly at Renee’s own half-eaten meal; she picked up her fork, so Evan began eating again, too. It was nearly impossible to finish, with Marie crying now and whispering into their mother’s ear, but he managed by stifling all thought but fueling his body.

He took his tray to the conveyor. When he turned toward the exit, he finally noticed through his numb exhaustion how silent every Sentinel in the room was, their grim and subtle glances showing their supreme awareness of Mother’s grief.

Since the Sentinels could not comfort their Empress, Evan went back to Mother and sat with his arm around her, wondering whether his embrace felt as useless to her aching emptiness as it did to his. He volunteered to take her back to her quarters once she finished eating, so Mother picked up her fork again and gave it her best shot.

He was walking Mother through the high-tech and massively complex Command Center when Sentinel Chief Savat hailed him. Letting go of her waist just enough to gesture to the Chief that he would be right back, he saw Mother to his parents’ nearby quarters and settled her on the bed, simply drawing the blankets from the edge over her. They spoke a while until Marie and Renee finally arrived. Renee climbed into bed with Mother and his sister took a seat, so Evan excused himself.
Back in the Command Center, he approached Chief Savat.

“Your Highness, you are housed on the fifth floor, yes? Please feel free to take your messages at Station Five off the second node. Just palm the system on, no need for any special codes,” the Chief said kindly.

“Where are Father and Zhaiden?”

“The Emperor is at the emergency meeting of the Ducal Assembly. The Crown Prince is with their children while Renee is with your mother. They both needed the break.” The Chief wiped his own frazzled features with one hand.

“And how many hours have you been awake?” Evan hinted. With a snort, the Chief thanked him for the reminder that beds existed in the universe, bowed, and immediately called across the room for the duty officer to find the highest-ranking officer who had had any sleep since midnight to take over.

As Evan left, the duty officer drawled, “That would be Ensign Xavier.” This reference to the mythical Sentinel named with various ranks for assigning levels to information when speaking in code in public caused chuckles to erupt all over the room. Although Evan could appreciate the comic relief of the stressed-beyond-measure Sentinels, he couldn’t seem to shake himself from the emptiness threatening to overwhelm him.

Locking himself into Station Five, he began reviewing his vid messages. Several of them were from ladies whose codes he recognized, tearful laments about the destruction of the Palace and how grateful they were he had survived, ending with let-me-know-if-you-need-anything. One code was unknown to him. He opened the message.

Lady Nicole Knightley, whom he had last seen heading for a tram, stared out the screen at him. Clad in his jacket, she remained gravely silent for a long moment. “If you need to get away from it all, come to visit. My parents and I will take good care of you.” She smiled that sad, wistful smile of hers and palmed off the recording.

He called her immediately. Although it was the middle of the night for her, she answered. Wiping sleep from her eyes, she peered at him. “When’s the last time you had any sleep?”

“Three hours, about eleven hours ago.”

Nicole nodded. “I’m not surprised. When our main activities tent burned down during a month-long summer training expedition in my junior year, none of us could sleep more than a few hours a night for weeks, even after we returned home.” A sly grin crept across her face. “I know a great cure for that, though.”

Evan laughed a bit. “I’m tempted.” Growing melancholic again, he sighed. “I have to get through baby Daniel’s funeral first, along with some other duties. What are your next few weeks like?”

“I finished my research summary last week, so I have no duties until my next field assignment in October. It’s nearly spring now, and Knightley Duchy is so wonderfully green and vibrant and rural, I thought it would be a nice change from the dire events in the capital.” The warmth and thoughtfulness of her gesture felt like lying among the flowers in the glen of the Imperial Preserve, basking in sunlight to drive away last night’s horrors. He wondered how much of the laboratory clean-up he could leave to Stefan and Josef.

They arranged for him to visit the Knightley Duchy in ten days, and Evan thanked her with a sweet smile. “You know, all these other ladies who left me messages bewailed this and that, but you are the only one who offered to help in any concrete way.”

Nicole blinked at that revelation. “And me all the way over here on the other side of the planet. That’s a damn shame.”

“It certainly is. Thank you. I’ll message you once I’ve made the travel arrangements.” He smiled more firmly before palming the vidphone off.

Copyright© Eva Caye. All rights reserved.

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Eva Caye
By Eva Caye May 26, 2013 23:35
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