Title: Deep Space Dreaming
Author: Loretta Laird
Excerpt Heat Level: 4
Book Heat Level: 1
Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble
Join Jenni as the man in her dreams becomes a reality and the lusty adventure to find their way home begins..
Humankind has spread like roaches across the universe thanks to the technology provided by a benevolent race known as the Trinz. Little did they know of the greed of humanity. A few pure souls began to dream of a paradise called Killanti, a new world where life could begin again.
Jenni dreams of a man who passes through her dreams and into her bed. Together they embark on a quest for answers that leads them across the universe and into each other’s hearts. Can their love transport them to their own utopia?
As her eyes opened and the early rays of the simulated daylight bombarded her senses, a cry of disappointment escaped Jenni's rosy, swollen lips. She reached up a hand and touched the tender flesh, feeling where the pressure of rough lips had assaulted them with desperate fervor as she bid a passionate farewell only moments prior. It seemed so real, her head throbbed where it struck a rock and her fingers gently explored the spot. Gasping Jenni felt the tender swell of the lump and recalled how she lost her footing on the rock. Her dream returned as it did each and every night. Yet this time it changed; this time he had been there. He revealed himself, no longer content to linger in the shadows of her mind.
It was a dream that haunted Jenni's every waking moment, pulling her back to blessed slumber each night. Her days were spent moving from task to task in a kind of trance, her mind elsewhere, thinking of the vivid dreams that were becoming more and more real.
Jenni's colleagues noticed a change in her in recent weeks. They commented on the way her pallid skin contrasted with the dark circles that rimmed her pale blue eyes. Their concern was touching to a girl who had no remaining family. Jenni, at the tender age of twenty three, was the youngest navigational pilot assigned to a seeker vessel. Her grades at the University of Holborn 4 had been exemplary. At her post on Chicago 3, Jenni was in charge of navigation. Her role was to patrol and seek out rebels who may be harbored among the, thus far unchartered, planets of the Romeo Zone.
She was content with her lot. She loved to charter the planets and stars, marveling at the beauties of the universe. Jenni loathed the created atmospheres of the planetary domes. She longed for the freedom to explore a planet such as the one in her dreams where fresh air prevailed and greenery surrounded her. The feel of her bare feet on the soft, damp grass appeared to her as real as the constant presence that eluded her until last night. For last night, the bare chested man sought her out and made himself known to her.
The dreams started shortly after the tragic death of her parents. Jenni was eighteen. She had just begun her space pilot training and was awaiting her first leave. She planned to spend time with her parents on their home world of Texas 9, in the Lima Zone, when news of their demise reached her. Jenni's grief had been raw. Her tears fell relentlessly and none of her classmates could rouse her from her mourning. Sleep brought her only comfort as it blocked out the pain that ripped through her heart. At first, Jenni dreamed of a world cloaked in mist that swirled and moved in mysterious patterns around her. She sensed mountain ranges looming through the vapor, but no concrete images would form in her mind. Each wakening, she would try in vain to recreate the land she conjured in her dreaming. After many nights, hills and valleys had taken shape and Jenni felt a calmness that aided her sleep and refreshed her tired mind. Each night she would long for slumber to engulf her so she could escape from the metal world in which she resided to the landscapes of her dreams.
Time passed and the dream did not fade; rather the world grew around her. New life sprung up as flowers and streams appeared. Jenni was soon among the fragrant growth, strolling through gardens that seemed to be hers alone. Small flying creatures buzzed softly in her ear as gentle breezes caressed her face. The grass beneath her feet was as soft as the covers on her bed and she reveled in the sensation of sinking her toes into its lush pile.
The man appeared one night at the edges of her consciousness as if watching her wonder and contentment. She tried to turn her head and observe him fully, but he remained elusive and distant. Jenni could feel it was a male presence. She didn't know how but she just knew. Each waking, Jenni would try to recapture her dream; try to piece together the puzzle of his identity. As he continued to observe her, Jenni felt a sense of peace settle upon her. His presence somehow brought comfort to her pain and loneliness. She tried to engage him, tried to draw him into her dream more fully. She sensed a deep reluctance, a wave of regret that left her breathless. In the dawn, Jenni would awaken, her face wet with tears as she mourned for her own loss as well as a loss she could not explain.
With time, Jenni began to learn how to move freely within her dream. No longer was she an observer of her own actions but in control of them. Each night she would seek out new wonders, new glens and pools in which she would frolic. Each night, the same benevolent force regarded her conduct with silent appraisal.
One night, not long after she had been assigned to Chicago 3, Jenni's dreams changed. She drifted off to sleep as usual, eager to return to the land where she roamed free. Finding herself beside her favorite pool, Jenni shed her loose white shift and stepped naked into the crystal blue water. The edge of the pool was shelved, allowing her to stand waist high in the water. Beyond the rocky ledge the pool opened into a deep clear lagoon. The motion of her body in the still pool caused gentle ripples that lapped against her silky skin. Enjoying the sensation, Jenni threw back her head and laughed with unbounded joy. She paused as an unfamiliar sound reached her ears. It was a low rumble as if an animal growled in the dense trees beyond. Waiting to hear if anything was approaching, Jenni held her breath. When no further sound shattered the peaceful glade, she continued with her bathing. Dipping herself under the water then submerging, she repeated the pattern, finally emerging breathlessly at the surface. Flicking her long strawberry blond hair so it cascaded down the sun kissed flesh on her back, Jenni shivered. Chilled by the depth of the water, she decided to exit the pool and restore her body temperature. The large, smooth rocks that circled the pool provided a place to lay and feel the warmth of the sun on her bare flesh, and she eagerly climbed upon them, stretching out and basking in the glow of the fiery orb. As usual the perpetual presence lingered out of her reach, just at the edge of her vision, elusive yet constant.
The sun quickly did its work, and Jenni was soon aching for the feel of the cool water once again. She stood up, this time with the thought of diving from the rocks into depth of the pool. Smooth and slippery, the rocks proved to be a hazard for the adventurous diver as her foot slipped and she fell into the water, striking her head on the rock as she tumbled.
As water rushed into her body, quickly filling her lungs, Jenni sensed a blackness overwhelm her. Her eyes closed as she lost consciousness. Unsure if she were still dreaming, Jenni felt two strong hands pull her from the water across the hard surface of the rocks and onto the soft blanket of the grassy bank. Unable to open her eyes yet fully aware, she coughed as a deluge of water travelled through her body, anxious to make its escape. The same two hands turned her on her side as water spewed unceremoniously from her mouth. Gasping for air, Jenni forced her eyes open against the glare of the sun. Two dark eyes looked back at her from under a scowling set of eyebrows.