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BIRTHRIGHT
by Valerie Parv

Genre: E-book, Science Fiction

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Adam put the cup down, aware of her encroaching on his space. “What do you want from me, Shana?”

She pulled in a breath. “I want you to be happy.”

“What makes you think I’m not? Present circumstances excepted, naturally.”

“You don’t seem to want anyone to care about you.”

He frowned. “How would they know what kind of man they’re caring about?”

“You’re brilliant, a little obsessive at times, but honest and rock solid when the chips are down, with emotional depths most men don’t let themselves explore. True friends don’t need to know any more. I don’t.”

His look of amazement had her swallowing the urge to laugh. “You can see all that in me?”

“And a lot more. You’re a very attractive man, Adam.”

He stood up, taking her into his arms in one sweeping movement. Driven by his tension, his kiss was hard, almost brutal, pushing her female buttons in ways she hadn’t expected. Although she’d practically invited the kiss, she found herself caught up in a maelstrom of feelings her police training didn’t equip her to handle. Even as her mind tried to analyze the sensations, her body responded to them until she felt dizzy.

“I’ve wanted this for a long time,” she said when he lifted his mouth from hers to draw breath.

“Teach you to throw compliments around when a man’s at a low ebb,” he said, his eyes darkening.

“You mean like brilliant, obsessive, honest?”

“You make me sound like a walking computer.” But the gravel in his voice told her she wasn’t the only one affected. In his kiss, she’d sensed the depths of his need for human connection.

“I’ve never made love with a computer,” she joked back, feeling decidedly unsteady.

“Are you sure about this?” he asked. “You must know by now I don’t do permanent.”

“I’m not asking for anything except the best one-night stand I’ve had in my life.”

His eyes softened and he brushed the back of his hand against her cheek. “Don’t want much, do you?”

“Only what you’re prepared to give.” She hoped it would be enough.

“You must know I’ve thought about this, too,” he said.

Praying that he wasn’t about to give her a scientific lecture on the nature of attraction, she kept her tone light, although everything inside her had turned to jelly. “What conclusion did you reach?”

“Making love with you would be a hell of an experience.”

“Theory, nothing but theory,” she teased him.

He moved restively, as if his pants were suddenly too tight. “You’re right. Any scientist knows the error of theorizing ahead of one’s data.”

She felt her pulse rate soar. “How do you plan to confirm your hypothesis?”

“Experimentation,” he said, his arm encircling her as he steered her willing feet toward the bedroom. “We set up a first experience as a control, then we see how many times we can replicate the result.”