excerpt

Like That Spark CoverPassive Resistance by Josephine Myles

When Garman and Sarkan, partners in the police force as well as occasional fuck buddies, find a couple of mysterious alien Circlets, little do they suspect that these unassuming rings of metal will have the power to transform the dynamics of their relationship.

***

We found the Circlets lying in the mud behind the Venusian restaurant on Traximar Street. They must have been dropped by the young Grandarian urchin we’d been pursuing, until we’d lost him somewhere in the maze of filthy alleyways. Sarkan noticed them first, picking them up out of the dirt and waving them in the air.

“Hey, Garman? This what we’re meant to be after, you think?”

My breath caught in my throat as I recognized what he was holding. Once seen, there’s no forgetting the shimmering radiance of Mithriannium. And once you’ve tried a Mithrianni Circlet? Well, there’s no forgetting that either. But Sarkan obviously had no idea what he had in his hands. Not an inkling of the potential ecstasy these things could create if you knew what you were doing. I wasn’t about to tell the bastard, that’s for sure. He should try reading the bulletins for a change, instead of leaving all that side of things to me as usual.

“Yeah, that looks like them.” I figured that we could give up on the chase now. Quite frankly, no one could be bothered with the paperwork if we brought in yet another thieving kid, and I for one wouldn’t be comfortable putting a pretty young thing like him in the cell with all those thugs. “Come on, we’d better get them back to the Station.” I held my hand out, but he just smirked and moved them out of my reach. He could be so fucking immature at times, yet he always seemed to know just how to wind me up.

“Not so fast, Toy Boy,” I ground my teeth at the nickname. I was three years older and four inches taller than him, for gods’ sake. “I’m hungry.”

There was that glint in his eyes that I knew meant he was turned on. Chases always had a way of doing that to him. He had far more energy than should be allowed. I could get worn out just looking at him.

“Not here, Sarkan. It’s too public,” I was going to stand my ground on this one. Couldn’t have him thinking he could fuck me wherever and whenever he wanted; especially not in uniform. There’s only a certain amount of unprofessional conduct our superiors were willing to turn a blind eye to, and I had a feeling that we were reaching the limit, what with the brothel debacle last week.

“Aww, that’s sweet of you to offer,” he groped my half-hard cock through my pants, making me wince. “But I was thinking of real food. Come on, let’s grab a burger on the way back.”

I took a moment to calm my breathing, eyes closed against the humiliating sight of him walking away from me. I was such a fool. Things had to change.

* * * *

We settled into our usual booth in Telmar’s Place, the dim lighting and smoky air irritating me as much as they seemed to enchant Sarkan. He was gazing around the seedy dive with more than his usual interest, his green eyes skittering off aliens and humans alike. Looking for a new conquest, no doubt. Did the man’s libido know no bounds? I really wanted to hate him right then, but the way the light behind him turned his tousled blond hair into a halo had me entranced.

But then his eyes settled, a grin split his face, and I turned to look at my latest rival. The young woman headed over to our table. Surely not? I didn’t think his tastes ran that way. Don’t tell me I had to feel jealous about the other sex as well, now.

But as she drew closer, I recognized her for one of the under-age whores we had freed last week. I’d thought at the time that Sarkan’s interest was something more than purely professional, as the usual procedure in Lunar Colony Two was to leave these matters alone. Any business run by RiJon Uhvkern was meant to be above suspicion, although we all knew what he got up to. Still, when you had the city’s leader’s eating out of your hands, you could get away with whatever you wanted.

“Hi there,” Sarkan’s smile was as hesitant as the girl’s demeanor. “It’s Trixie, isn’t it? You settling in okay?”

She nodded rapidly, staring down at the table. “Yes, thank you, sir. What can I get you, sir?” It was only then that I noticed the apron and the order pad.

Sarkan ordered for us, not even bothering to ask what I wanted. I studied his face for the usual leer and suggestive eyebrow gymnastics, but all I could see was concern etched into his brow, and an odd smile that seemed to make him look younger, more innocent somehow. The idea of Sarkan as innocent made me want to laugh. None of us coppers were, and he was quite possibly the worst of the lot.

“So what’s she doing here?” I asked as soon as she had left.

Sarkan was still staring after her, a wistful expression on his face that tugged at my insides, urging me to stroke his stubbly cheek and kiss those full lips.

“Huh? Oh, I helped get her the job. Thought it might keep her from getting back on the game again.”

Well that was a first. I’d never known Sarkan to help anyone before. Especially not a lowlife hooker like her.

“Why’s that then? You turning straight? You wanna keep her for yourself?” I regretted the words as soon as they were out, and he turned wounded eyes on me.

“Fuck off, Garman. You should know better than that.”

I stared down at the table, humbled. “Sorry.” The moment seemed to stretch out forever, until it was broken by our food arriving, the plates of greasy fries and unidentified meat burgers looking every bit as unappetizing as usual. Sarkan handed Trixie an obscene tip, and she flashed a warm smile at him before turning down her startled eyes and scurrying away.

Sarkan sighed deeply, staring at me as if sizing me up in some way. “She reminds me of my sister, okay? But it was a long time ago. Can’t change things now.” And the softness fled his face to be replaced with the usual brittle charm. “So tell me, what are these things we’ve spent our morning hunting down?”

He held the Circlets out to me, and I took them, tucking them inside my jacket. These things had a high value among certain collectors. It wouldn’t do to flash them around in a place like this.

“They’re torture devices, outlawed on all civilized worlds. Mithrianni Circlets, they’re called.”

His eyes darkened, and I remembered too late his fascination with the darker side of policing. He always seemed to get a thrill out of interrogating suspects. He’d often seek me out afterwards, demanding the use of my body, fucking me hard and fast. And I, cursing my weakness, would always let him have his way with me. He was just too persuasive to resist. Too talented at wringing pleasure out of my body, even if it wasn’t the slow, tender lovemaking I craved.

“I’ll take them back to the Station if you want. Fill in all the forms. You’ve got a match on, right?” Sarkan nodded, his mouth stuffed full of fries. He was a star in the local Zioball team, and took his duties surprisingly seriously for one who was normally so carefree, relying on his innate charm to get him out of scrapes. It worked too. The galaxy would always forgive a charmer, especially when they had Sarkan’s looks. It’s no wonder I could never pin him down to anything more serious. He had far too many other offers to tempt him.

What was I doing, though? I’d promised myself I wasn’t going to be at his beck and call any more. This morning, I’d even gone so far as to put in for a transfer to Lunar Colony Five, and with my excellent service record I felt sure I would be accepted. Then I’d be able to start afresh. Find someone who wouldn’t take advantage of my better nature. I could do it, I knew. I wasn’t a bad looking man, even if I was put into the shade next to Sarkan.

Still, I’d had ulterior motives for wanting to get hold of the Circlets. A plan was forming; one that didn’t have me as the passive partner, for a change.