New Hebron, California
The woman sat at the corner table and peered out at the city through the large glass storefront and sighed. She collected a stray lock of hair and pushed it back, only to have it flop back in front of her eyes. She growled and entertained the idea of having it lobbed off, as so many males of this world did, but she rather liked the way her current hairstyle framed her face. Her hands slipped out, sliding over her legs to flatten the crease in her skirt, and she nearly jumped out of her skin when a voice spoke.
“Are you ready to order?”
Alexandra peered up, regarding the server, a rather attractive young woman with a wide-eyed, almost startled set to her features. Her skin was milky brown. The once-king regarded her and pressed her lips into a line. She had trouble distinguishing between human races, and Amelia hadn’t been helpful in that regard. The agent had advised her not to call attention to it, though. Which judging from the odd reactions the little blond had received seemed like sage advice.
Still, the girl’s features were appealing, even if her eyes were a bit sunken and she looked as if she could use a few solid meals. Alexandra found that she could not look away. She only regarded the other woman, mouth agape and heart pounding inside her chest. A shudder worked its way down her shoulders and through her entire body. She thought about doing rather pleasant things to the attractive woman, things which she’d long since learned were not acceptable to speak of in a public setting.
“Miss?” The girl asked, twirling the end of one of her dark locks with her index-finger.
Alexandra closed her mouth and snaked a hand over Waldere, her fingers tracing the lines of the armlet as she met the other woman’s gaze. After Leoffa’s death. The sword transformed her back into her human likeness, and she had not called up the weapon’s power since. She felt its energy pulsating whenever it touched her skin. She could not explain how the sword underwent its transformation or why it took its current form, but she knew that if she were to call upon its power, it was hers to use.
“Uh, I’ll just—” The server turned away, but Alexandra’s hand jerked out and grabbed her wrist.
The girl studied Alexandra, then peered down at her wrist, gritted her teeth, and jerked back, breaking her hold with a flick of her wrist. Alexandra blinked. The ease and strength with which the other woman had freed herself was startling. The once-king was not strong in her human form, but the girl was much more powerful than she looked.
A smile creased Alexandra’s face and her heart beat harder. God, that was such a turn on.
“I’ll have the egg-white fiesta omelet, and the house coffee,” the little blond said, a slight quiver to her voice.
The server studied Alexandra, her eyebrows furrowed, and moved away without taking another glance. The once-king watched her move away with a lump in her throat. She hadn’t dated since Leoffa’s death, and while she’d attempted to curry the favor of certain females, those attempts were only noteworthy in how unsuccessful they’d been. Human courting rituals were even stranger on this world than her own.
This woman was special, Alexandra knew it the moment she laid eyes on her. She would win this one over and they would make sweet, passionate love.
She studied her, as she fought to remember the dating advice given to her by Jen and Hailey, but such recollections escaped her. The only thing she could think of was bedding the pretty server.
Alexandra swallowed and watched the other woman move about the café. It seemed obvious that the server was aware of her attentions, and yet she refused to meet the once-king’s gaze. Among her own people, a potential mate would meet such obvious interest with an immediate reply. Either the woman she desired would match gazes and the courting would begin, or she would receive a more violent answer. Either way, things really became heated.
Oh, how she longed for the more simple courting rituals of her homeworld.
Crystalline clinks exploded from the storefront, crashing into the tiny little diner. A shower of glass reined onto Alexandra and a long dark cylinder clanked and skittered across the tiled floor before settling into place with a metallic thud. A dark cloud began oozing out of the tube like a snake slithering out of its burrow.
Though the former Assar warrior was new to this world, she recognized the weapon at once, even if she did not recall a name for it. She had seen it in use in a film of war. She sprang from her seat, hurtling herself at the cylinder, and snatched it from the ground. Without missing a beat, she spun around and tossed it back out through the shattered storefront.
Men in black tactical gear converged on the cafe, and the frontmost of them brought up his rifle to deflect the canister. It clattered back inside and landed at Alexandra’s feet.
She howled and slid her hand up the side of her arm, already invoking the power of Waldere as smoke billowed out from all around her. As a familiar bright luminescence surrounded her. She threw her head back and a booming feline growl erupted from her lips.
The dark-haired server pounced, rushing to intersect them and pushed Alexandra back several steps even as Waldere’s magic rushed through the once-king. Alexandra peered through the illumination as the girl sped forward, slamming into the foremost of the attackers with her shoulder, and he went careening to the ground.
The attackers stumbled back as the illumination around the once-king grew more intense. The girl seemed unaffected, and Alexandra gazed in delight and fascination as she knocked them around as if they were children. Clearly, there was a reason Alexandra had been drawn to her.
The last burst of illumination spun out in a circle dispelling into the air, and Kruhl son of Wurdan stood in Alexandra’s place, Waldere, now returned to its true form, clutched in his hand. His head barely cleared the ceiling, but he paid it no mind. More men spilled into the little café and he joined the fray.
Gods, it was glorious.