When the landing crew of the Stargazer encounters an uncharted alien planet, they have no idea how determined the planet is to bring unlikely couples together.
Sam, the Captain, and his Sensitive Officer, Ilandra, find themselves separated from the rest of the party, stranded and alone. Neither is anxious to explore the feelings they've worked so hard to keep hidden, but the planet's not about to let them hide any more. Strange things begin to appear as if in answer to their every wish.
Ilandra's fantasies come straight from the novels she reads. Sam's, on the other hand, are far more of a surprise! With or without their help, the planet seems determined to make all their desires come true.
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Ilandra (Leisure Planet 1)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2017 Alice Gaines
Captain Samuel Mayfair would have aborted this disastrous exploratory mission and taken the entire squad back to the ship if his damned com-unit had worked. But the device had gone dead right after he'd realized most of his crewmates were missing, and his navi-unit showed every direction pointing toward the planet's north pole so he couldn't even tell where the hell he was. To top all of that off, the only member of the squad who did remain was the one person of the hundreds on the Stargazer who got under his skin with almost everything coming out of her mouth.
Dr. Ilandra Veran, his Sensitive Officer, didn't seem the least bit phased by the situation. Instead, she'd affected her usual posture of pseudo-tranquility with her closed eyes and even breathing. Getting in touch with something's vibrations probably, even though they were the only sentient creatures here -- at least to the best of his knowledge. His intruder detector didn't work, either.
And what a weird-ass place this was. Not a building in sight, just vegetation. Trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses. Veran called it "lush," he called it green overload, city rat that he was. At least, his weapon seemed to function. He discharged it at a rock where the contact made a satisfying hiss and sent off a blast of heat.
The noise got the good doctor's attention, finally, because she jumped and plastered her hand over her heart. "Did you have to do that... sir?"
He could call her on lack of deference to his authority, but to be fair, he shouldn't enjoy startling her. "I wanted to see if any of my equipment worked... Doctor."
She reached to her belt and turned on her matter-analyzer. All the right lights and noises went off. "This seems fine."
"Good thing. If we can't get the hell off this dismal planet soon we may have to find something we can eat," he said.
"It's not dismal at all, sir."
He glanced around. The place was what lots of people would call lovely, if you liked that sort of thing. He'd had little experience with anything other than the depths of the metropolis he'd grown up in. The climate here was warm enough but not too hot, and the air hadn't been recycled a dozen or more times. They were supposed to explore, but they'd accomplish nothing without communication with the ship.
"I suppose you like it here," he said.
"I don't want to be stranded, and the rest of the squad disappeared," she said. "I wouldn't wish for any of that."
He crossed his arms over his chest. "Do I hear a 'but' at the end of your assessment?"
"Overall, I get a feeling of benevolence from this place," she said. "There's a definite hum. Kind of a silent planetary song."
It was exactly that sort of statement that made him grind his rear teeth. If planets could sing, which they couldn't, how would their song be silent? Sensitive Officers were all the rage with the chain of command higher than his pay scale. And he had to admit there was some evidence they had creative ways of processing information more hardheaded types, like himself, didn't possess. So, he'd ended up with Ilandra Veran, PhD. And now she was staring at him with the expression saying she knew he didn't believe a damned thing she said and she didn't care. She didn't have to care. He couldn't fire her. If he'd had to end up stranded on an uninhabited planet with someone, why did the person have to be her?
Sure, she was easy to look at. Tall enough for her nose to come up to his chin, and with dark, wavy hair tumbling over her shoulders. She filled out her uniform in all the places that said "female," and her lips looked uncomfortably kissable. And yeah, he'd had more than one hot fantasy about her, during which she'd remained silent. But the light of irritation in her green eyes kept her from being too attractive to resist. The feeling was mutual.
"Do you have any sense..." He put more emphasis on the last word than necessary. "... about what happened to the others?"