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Romancing a Space Ranger

A Space Ranger Story

By: A.M. Halford


Copyright © A.M. Halford 2017

Edited by: Avril Stepowski of Ave’s Edit Service


Blurb: Planet Genus Nine is a key location for the human expansion into space and is presently used as a primary military base. Lieutenant James Wright is in charge of the new arrival, civilian architect Martin Black. Martin is on Genus Nine to build a new rec-center and hospital wing.

These two butt heads at any given situation, but an attack on the military base forces them to face their desires and each other. With an alien threat, meddling exes, and just their own stubborn prides in the way, can Martin and James find love together?

This book was originally part of the SciFi Warriors Anthology. Nothing has been added to this book.


Chapter One


The stale, recycled air of the domed colony was certainly not any better than the recycled air on the ship. Still, the elbow room was much appreciated. Why did they insist on cramming people together like sardines in a can? It made for a horrible trip.

Martin stretched his arms, enjoying the ability to do so. Between the overcrowded quarters and the low bulkheads he hadn’t been able to stand to his full height of six-six for a week. Any longer and he feared forming a hump on his back.

“Are you Martin Black?” The firm, commanding voice came from his left and Martin turned to see the mocha colored man standing at attention in full fatigues. “I’m Lieutenant James Wright, your liaison.”

Right, he recalled something about someone meeting him when he arrived on Genus Nine, the military outpost located in the newly discovered Genus system. He’d thought it would be some paper pushing, desk jockey. Not this delicious looking dark chocolate treat.

“A pleasure,” Martin put on his best smile and allowed seduction to seep into his voice.

The scowl he received was not the reaction he was accustomed to. Usually men smiled when he turned on the charm.

“I’ll show you to your sleeping quarters and office, if you’ll follow me,” James turned sideways and directed Martin to follow him with a gesture of his hand.

Grabbing his bag, Martin followed his escort and took a certain pleasure in watching him from behind. He always did have a thing for a man in uniform, and James’ fit him perfectly. It wrapped around what was obviously a strong body, just enough to give definition to the muscles beneath. And that ass! He didn’t think those pants could frame it more perfectly. The dark grey wasn’t exactly complimentary, but it didn’t take away from James’ dark looks either. The silver winged pin marked him as a pilot, the addition of the single star between them indicated he was a Ranger—a specialized solider who was trained to fight both in space and planet side. Topping it all off, his black hair was cut short, as all in the military wore it.

Distracted by his observations of the man and all his deliciousness, Martin came up short when James stopped in front of a Land Rover. Colliding against a firm back, Martin suppressed a groan at the feel of that firm ass pressed against his half-hard cock. The fact they were the same height sure wasn’t helping anything. The only real difference in their builds was Martin was slimmer.

“Sorry,” he smiled as his liaison turned to glare at him impassively. “I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

“If you’d please get into the vehicle,” James motioned to the Land Rover, his voice still in that trained neutrality.

“Of course,” Martin nodded. Setting his bag into the back, he climbed into the front passenger seat as James got into the driver’s side.

“Please do not attempt to move about the compound on your own,” James instructed as he put the Rover into gear and drove away from the airport. “If you do need to go somewhere other than the construction site, clear it with me first.”

“Understood.” This wasn’t Martin’s first time on a military base. He knew the protocol. Civilian contractors didn’t go anywhere without an escort, and they were restricted from going off base while the project was underway without supervision. Security, especially with the new facilities going in, was always tight.

They came to a building that looked like someone had stacked blocks together and connected them with a large pipe. Of course, the building was designed to allow wind to blow around and through it, preventing swinging and damage. Not that it was necessary inside a domed outpost like this one.

James parked the Rover and grabbed Martin’s bags before he was even out of his seat. Following his stoic guide, Martin glanced up to the tan sky. That was going to take some getting used to.

He’d grown up on a space colony with an artificial atmosphere, and a holographic blue sky. Here the sky was naturally tan, like the sand on Earth’s beaches, and he could see it through the clear dome. Clouds, a sickly yellow and heavy like moist cotton balls, scattered across the horizon. Martin could see electricity arcing between the clouds. The blue and purple streaks of light lit up the sky even from this distance. He felt a bit uneasy as he watched them moving toward the base. Electrical storms on Genus Nine were reported to be quite devastating. Logic said the domes protecting the base and connecting city would keep the storm out, but Martin still felt a shiver of dread creep down his spine.

“Mr. Black, if you’d please keep up,” James shouted over the drone of a shuttle flying overhead, coming in to land.

Pulling himself away from his observation of the alien sky, Martin caught up to his escort and continued into the building. The entrance was nothing more than a sterile lobby leading to two elevator doors. James pressed the call button and almost immediately the doors on the right opened.

The Lieutenant stepped aside, allowing Martin to enter first. All too happy to stand behind the delicious military man, Martin slid into the back of the elevator, his eyes instantly training on James’ ass as he pivoted in the small metal box, and pressed the button for the twelfth floor.

“Four apartments to a floor,” James started talking, “Yours is 1203.”

Meaning he had the third room on the twelfth floor. Easy enough to remember.

“And what about roommates?” Martin asked, intentionally letting the suggestive tone slip into his voice.

“Private contractors, such as yourself, are given their own quarters, Mr. Black,” James’ answer was, like so much about him, perfect.

“So, I can have company over without bothering anyone,” Martin smiled, “How nice.”

“All visitors must check in at the gate, and be approved for entry,” James replied. “They will be escorted to their location and must be gone before twenty-one hundred.”

“So strict,” Martin sighed. “What if my companion is, oh, military personnel?”

The sudden stiffness in James’ shoulders told Martin he was finally getting through to the man. Good.

“Please refrain from such things,” James said, his voice a bit tighter than before.

Damn, this was fun. Martin was enjoying himself a bit too much.

The doors opened on a ding before Martin could tease his escort further. James quickly lead the way down the corridor to the second door on the left. Swiping a key in the lock, James once again stepped aside, allowing Martin to enter first.

With a low whistle, Martin looked around the one-bedroom apartment. It was certainly a lot nicer than he’d been expecting, with a complete bathroom and kitchen, plus a small living room.

“You have one hour to unpack,” James informed him. “I’ll be back then to pick you up and take you to the construction site.”

“You know,” Martin moved in closer to James, pressing the man against the wall, “Instead of unpacking, you could help me with a small personal problem.”

Was that a blush? In the name of… holy supernova! The man was adorable.

“Please, Mr. Black,” James turned his eyes away, his arms ramrod straight at his sides, “If you wish companionship, call into the town and make a request.”

Well, that was no fun. A prostitute didn’t present any kind of challenge. “I’d much rather have you,” Martin emphasized by pressing closer to him.

“Then I must disappoint you,” James finally moved, gently pushing Martin back and leaving the apartment.

“I love a challenge,” Martin grinned at the closed door.


* * * *


James fired off round after round as he replayed the scene in Martin Black’s room in his head. How dare that fucking bastard make a pass at him! Who in the hell did he think he was?

His gun clicked, signaling his cartridge was empty. Ejecting the box, he slid another into place, and aimed. He took out three targets in rapid succession. Ducking behind a wall as he zeroed in on another target, this one with a hostage. As he watched, he imagined the target as Martin Black and fired.

A loud buzzing went off and the practice session dissolved, leaving James standing in a round, white room alone. Panting, he removed his goggles and set it and the gun down on a tray that appeared from the wall panel. He accepted the towel and the water provided. James wiped the sweat from his face, and chugged at least a third of the water as he moved to the door. He needed to go and pick up his charge, despite how much he didn’t want to.

“Lieutenant.”

Standing at attention, James waited for Captain Jonas to reach him.

“How’s Mr. Black?”

“Sir, he’s settling in, sir,” James answered.

“Good,” Captain Jonas nodded. “Let me know if he acts… off.”

“Sir?” James frowned. Was he talking about his harassment earlier? If so, James would report it right now.

“Withdrawn, depressed, antisocial,” Captain Jonas explained. “He was reassigned here, against his will. So, keep an eye on him.”

“Sir, yes sir,” James responded.

“Dismissed.”

James saluted before continuing his way down the corridor. So, Martin Black was forced to this base by his superiors? James silently wondered if it had something to do with the man’s lecherous ways that had gotten him sent all the way out here. It wouldn’t surprise him in the least to learn it was.

Not that it mattered to him. So long as the man kept his hands to himself his behavior held no true sway over James’ abilities to perform his duties.

Stopping by the Mess on his way to the civilian apartments, James refilled his canteen. Checking the time, he frowned. He still had a few minutes before he needed to pick Martin up. Grabbing himself a cool drink, James leaned against the wall and watched his fellow soldiers mill about, talking and enjoying the afternoon meal. His brothers and sisters in arms seemed entirely oblivious to the danger they were all in out here on the edge of the known territories. Of course, he knew that wasn’t so. They were all just taking the moment to breathe while they could.

Realizing he was stalling for time, James chucked his empty drink container into the recyclables and headed out of the complex. He checked out a Land Rover and headed across the base.

Genus Nine was discovered twenty years ago, with the base going up two years after that. The permanent dome was placed twelve years ago and over the years small attached domes had been added for the increased population.

The planet had a rich mining economy that drew many people here. The problem lay in that they were out on the fringes of human explored space. Out this far there were things that made themselves known, and they weren’t the friendliest of neighbors.

Glancing to the tan sky for a moment James considered how he could protect this civilian and do his job at the same time.


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