Aisle 6 by Alice Gaines

Aisle 6 by Alice Gaines

Aisle 6

by Alice Gaines

Changeling Press

Ebook ISBN: 07532-02429

[ Paranormal SciFi Romance, MF ]

Anders has been tasked to save his species by mating with a woman from a different version of Earth. Trish is his most compatible DNA match. He must keep her with him by any means possible and give her as much sex as she can stand. But will his deception force them apart?

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Chapter One

That cute guy was back at the supermarket again. Trish Swanson had watched him for weeks now. Setting out melons and handling tomatoes gently — like a lover. Most of all climbing to reach something on the top shelf for tiny Mrs. Gilmore. Despite her seventy-odd years, Mrs. G’s eyes sparkled whenever he did it. In fact, the old lady was probably putting him up to it and didn’t really need the generic, canned dog food up there. As far as Trish knew, she didn’t even have a dog. But when he stretched out to his full height, the muscles in his shoulders bunched and released, and he gave anyone watching a good look at a major-league ass. After a while, Trish and Mrs. Gilmore had coordinated their shopping schedules with his shifts so they could both enjoy the view at least once a week.

Today, Mrs. G hadn’t shown up, and Trish remained at her station in the pet food aisle. She’d spotted The Bod, as Trish had come to think of him, in the produce section. He’d probably mosey over this way in a minute or two, and if the old lady didn’t show up, Trish would either have to confront him herself or wait until next Wednesday for another ogling session.

He rounded the end of the aisle and headed in her direction. Immediately, her mouth went dry, and her heartbeat started an erratic pitter-pat. She’d always been a complete dunce around good-looking men. Hell, all men. If she were to try to speak to this one, she’d probably stutter and blurt out something that said nothing more than “I’m an idiot.”

He had the bluest eyes she’d ever seen. Not light blue like robin’s eggs but more the hue of a cloudless, California sky. Deep, dark, and dangerous. His chestnut hair and pale skin made him stare-worthy, but his most remarkable feature had to be the dimples that appeared at the corners of his mouth when he smiled. And he always smiled. He was doing it right now.

“Hello,” he said. One simple, very ordinary word. But it had a lilt to it. Almost an accent, as if English wasn’t his first language. He was Latino, maybe. Or Irish. French?

Whatever the origin of his speech, it drove any response right out of her head. She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out, so she lifted her hand and wiggled her fingers. God, what a moron. Why did she have to be so damned shy?

“Where’s your friend?” he said.

“Hmm?” Still stupid, but at least she’d said something.

“The older lady. I assumed you must drive her here,” he said. “I always see you together.”

“Mrs. Gilmore… no, she and I… that is… I only see her here. With you.”

He laughed. “I don’t drive her here.”

“Of course, you don’t. I just meant…” Anything she’d meant would make her sound even more foolish than she already did. She surely hadn’t wanted to suggest that he and Mrs. G knew each other from somewhere else or staged their performances for her benefit. If she didn’t have anything intelligent to say, she’d keep her mouth shut. So she did exactly that.

He rested an elbow on a shelf and struck a casual pose. Not going anywhere for a while, obviously. His posture only emphasized his considerable height and the breadth of his shoulders. He could hardly have shown himself off to better effect except maybe by bending over. Where was Mrs. G when Trish needed her?

“Can I help you with something?” he asked. His voice had taken on a husky tone… the kind you heard in the bedroom after particularly good sex. Not that she’d shared those delightful moments with too many men, but you didn’t have to experience that often to have the sensations imprinted in your brain. The dimples in his cheeks and the light in his eyes told her he knew exactly what message he was conveying to her. He had to be supremely confident that she’d be receptive. Luckily for both of them, he’d calculated correctly.

“Help?” she said. There, that came off as casual. More or less.

“You appear to be searching for something. I’m here to make sure you find it.”

“Well, since you asked…” What could she make him search for? Dog food upper shelf? Cat litter lower? Mrs. Gilmore always knew how to get him to show off his build to best effect.

He held up a hand. “Never mind. I know.”

“You do?” Well now, that could be embarrassing. He’d figured out their little game? Drat. Could he sue them for sexual harassment?

“Aisle 6,” he said. “Everything you want is there.”

She glanced up to learn she currently stood in aisle two. Six would be four over. Household cleaners and toilet paper, if she remembered right. Was he criticizing her housekeeping?

“Are you sure?” she said.

“Aisle 6,” he said. “You won’t regret it.”

With that, he straightened, turned on his heel, and left. Wasn’t that just about the weirdest interaction she’d had in a long time? Maybe forever? The guy seemed to realize her — and Mrs. Gilmore’s — less than innocent interest in him, his dimples, and his ass. He even appeared to return the interest. But he’d invited her — if it was an invitation — to meet him in the detergent aisle to continue wherever that conversation would lead. Was he planning to bend her over a bleach display or something? Good Lord, why would she even think such a thing? Because he had bedroom eyes and had crooned to her in a post-coital tone? She ought to finish her shopping and get out of here before she made a perfect ass of herself.

If she did that, though, she’d never find out if he’d meant anything other than “don’t forget the detergent.” He’d continue to haunt her waking hours and her sleep. She could cruise over in that direction and act casual. She probably wouldn’t find anything out of the ordinary.

As she pushed her cart to the end of the aisle and turned heading toward six, her skin tingled with a sense that Something was about to Happen. She’d never had much of a sixth sense. Maybe she’d developed one in a flash. Or maybe she was only reacting to the possibility that she might actually do something about meeting a man.

There was no sign of him when she got to aisle 6. Only, as she’d recalled, endless bottles of detergents and cleaners with colorful labels. All in orderly rows on the shelves. No sign of The Bod. And yet, in the center of the aisle, about halfway down, the light seemed to catch in an odd way, making the air shimmer. Objects on the other side of the curtain of light came through blurred, but they didn’t look like bottles and boxes of detergents. Although she couldn’t make them out clearly, they appeared exotic, in vibrant colors, and not at all what you expected to find on the aisle with cleaners and scouring pads. So of course, she had to explore.

As she approached the boundary from here to… where?… her skin tingled again. This time not as any product of her imagination. A soft hiss emanated from the barrier, and when she extended her hand toward it, an arc of electricity jumped to her fingers. Not at all painful, it nevertheless startled her, and she pulled back. Prickly sensations ran up her arm. They probably should have warned her off. Who knew what she was dealing with here? Instead, a warm feeling infused her, settling around her heart, and moving downward to places she didn’t normally think about much. Something wonderful and exciting lay on the other side of that curtain, and she only had to find the courage to cross the boundary to find it.

So she grabbed her purse and eased herself through, closing her eyes as she did. The air crackled around her, and her skin fairly danced with excitement. For a moment, she didn’t breathe, but then, she didn’t have to. She only needed to get to the other side.

When she emerged, she found herself in what appeared to be a scene from out of a period piece about debauchery. Roman or Middle Eastern. Couches and cushions in bright colors stood around the room, and in the distance, floor-to-ceiling curtains billowed in a breeze. The scent of incense hung everywhere. All the place needed was some dancing girls, concubines, and male clients to make the place into a seraglio. What the heck?

Staring back through the shimmering light, she could make out the place where she’d come from. At the end of the aisle, people passed by with shopping carts, seemingly oblivious to the existence of another reality only feet away from them.

“It took you long enough,” a male voice said from behind her.

She turned to find The Bod standing near one of the couches. He wore the flowing robes of a prince of the desert, so they were in A Thousand and One Nights, not I, Claudius.

“You want to tell me what’s going on here?” she asked.

“Not particularly. You’ll figure it out for yourself.” He raised a hand to extend something toward her. Flimsy fabric in jewel colors. “Put this on.”

She took the items from him. They turned out to be harem pants and a matching blouse. Totally see-through. “That’s not what I usually wear.”

“Is this where you usually find yourself?” he asked.

“Not in the supermarket.” Or anywhere, for that matter. The man had to know that.

That seemed to puzzle him because he stared at her for a few seconds. “Don’t you want to put it on?”

She studied her costume again. It definitely fell into her mother’s category of “you are not wearing that out in public.” But was she in public?

“Are you and I alone?”

He contemplated that for a bit, too. “I suppose that’s important.”

“I don’t know you well enough to get nearly naked,” she said. “I’m not going to do it for an audience.”

“Obviously, I’ve miscalculated.” He gestured around him. “I thought this the right fantasy setting.”

Her turn to stare at him. “Setting for what?”

“Maybe we should discuss this.” Without any further explanation, he turned and left the room, walking through the billowing curtains. Trish stood where she was. She could go after him, or she could return to aisle 6, continue her shopping and go home. On the one hand, whatever went on here went way outside her normal existence. And pretty afield of her comfort zone. On the other hand lay her normal life and safety. Her job. Her apartment. A few plants. She couldn’t even have a pet because of her allergies. She looked around her and then glanced down at the outfit he’d given her. This was a setting for sin, and he’d dressed for the part and given her a matching costume. Did she dare stay and see what he had planned for her?

Mrs. Gilmore had chided Trish for her shyness when they’d first started their game with this man. Mrs. G had said Trish should enjoy herself while she was young. Though the older woman looked sweet enough now, she’d played the field in her day and had insisted Trish should do the same. Mrs. G wouldn’t hesitate to follow The Bod wherever he led.

The curtains parted, and the man himself stood there. “Are you coming?”

“Lead on, MacDuff.”

* * *

Anders shouldn’t have taken the stimulant before the woman had made her willingness known. Now, he was primed for mating — fully erect and aching — and he had to coax a reluctant human into performing the act with him. The setting, taken from her species’ mythology, and the costume, which should have clearly indicated his intent, had failed to work as he’d predicted. She hadn’t run away, but she hadn’t put on the costume and allowed him to couple with her, either. Now that he’d found the right woman from Earth Version 263, after testing hundreds of samples of genetic material, it appeared he was going to have to court her. Pity, that. But unavoidable.

She followed him through the corridors of his compound, gazing around herself wide-eyed as they went. He couldn’t blame her there. A few minutes earlier, she’d been in a completely ordinary American market — aisle 6, to be exact. She could have no idea that when she’d crossed the time-space portal, she’d left her Earth and traveled to his.

“We’re not in Shopdaze anymore, are we?” she asked.

“We left that behind a while ago,” he answered. He could be honest about that easily enough. The rest of his mission would have to remain a secret for now. Perhaps forever.

“So, where are we?” she said.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Again, completely truthful. Unless she understood the physics of time-space warps and worm holes, his explanation of how she’d ended up on an alternate world to her own would sound like something out of one of her science fiction movies.

“Are you going to tell me who you are?” she said.

“Anders.” She would need to know his name. After all, she was going to have his children. As many as he could get her to agree to. Of course, they wouldn’t get anywhere in that regard by standing in a corridor talking. He’d better figure out her sexual fantasies and start fulfilling them as soon as possible. His rigid cock agreed.

She put her hand on his arm and turned him toward her. “Just Anders? Nothing else?”

“It’s the only name I need.” She wouldn’t understand that. Her version of humans had overpopulated their planet to the point of killing it. They all had first names, last names, middle names, and various numbers assigned by their governments to identify them. Here, a single name sufficed. He was the only Anders, and if he couldn’t convince her to mate with him, he’d be the only one ever born into his reality.

“Let’s have some coffee and talk, shall we?” He opened a door and gestured for her to enter first.

When she did, her jaw dropped. “Wow. This is lovely.”

Well, she should like it. He’d had it decorated to resemble the breakfast room of a 19th Century English manor house. Mahogany furniture, lace tablecloth, heavy silver, and fine china. A tall window gave views of the garden outside and sloping lawns into the distance. A perfect setting for the duke to seduce the shy spinster over eggs Benedict and creamed mushrooms on toast points. Right out of the historical novels women read.

“Is this all real?” she said as she moved to the marble fireplace and ran her fingers over the mantle.

Here, he’d split hairs about defining “real.” Nothing was authentic, in the sense that it had existed over a millennium ago in her world. But his fabricators made true copies of everything. Nothing was fake.

“It’s real,” he said. “And it’s all ours.”

“You’ll excuse me if I find that a little weird.”

“More than a little, I imagine.” He pulled out a chair for her. “Please, sit down.”

She did, setting her purse on the chair next to her, and folded her hands on top of the tablecloth. At least she hadn’t run away at the first sign of strangeness. She seemed willing to hear him out. Good sign. He went to the sideboard and poured them coffee from the silver service there. The china cups felt like gossamer in his hands as he brought them to the table. Fine and fragile. He served them both and then sat. “I have to confess that I’ve been watching you for weeks now.”

She helped herself to sugar from the matching bowl and then stirred her coffee. “At the Shopdaze.”

“You and your friend. I was happy to put on a display for you.”

She blushed again. “You knew what we were up to?”

“Mrs. Gilmore isn’t exactly subtle.”

“I’m sorry about that.”

He covered her hand with his own. “Don’t be. I’m glad you find me appealing.”

Her skin went from flushed to deep pink. So shy. Why did the one woman right for him have to feel so inhibited?

“Today, I sent Mrs. Gilmore off in search of a good-looking man in the cereal section,” he said. “Finally, I got you for myself.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Trish, you must. It’s quite simple,” he said. “I want you.”

“Me?” The word came out as a squeak.

“Why are you surprised?” Granted, she wasn’t glamorous in the way of women who considered themselves beautiful. Nor was she skinny, thank God. And she didn’t have a huge bust. But she had her own beauty. Huge brown eyes and clear skin. Lustrous hair that fell over her shoulders in curls. And a figure that would grab any healthy male’s attention and hold it. She’d taken plenty of time to check out his rear, but she had a fabulous ass of her own. Many times, he’d pictured it in his palms as he entered her from behind. But he’d better stifle his imagination now, or he’d make a fool of himself before he’d won her agreement to be his lover.

“Men don’t exactly fall all over me,” she was saying as he pulled himself from his randy thoughts to rejoin reality.

“Maybe you don’t give them a chance.” He reached up and stroked her cheek with the backs of his fingers. Instead of retreating, she smiled at him. Shyly, of course.

“It’s hard to approach a woman who has her defenses up,” he said.

She bit her lip. “I don’t mean to.”

He moved his hand to her chin and tipped it toward him. “May I kiss you?”

Her breath caught audibly. “I guess.”

He leaned toward her slowly, savoring the anticipation. The moment their lips touched, he got a jolt of sexual excitement that traveled all the way to his toes. He’d expected it, but not like this.

She seemed to feel it, too, because she let out a little moan and leaned into him, bending to fit her mouth against his. In a moment, they were devouring each other, and she’d taken his face between her palms. They continued, their lips tangling and retreating, only to come together with more hunger.

“Patricia,” he whispered between caresses.

At that, she pulled back. “How do you know my name?”

“Trish is short for Patricia, isn’t it?” He didn’t add that he knew everything about her, from her checking account number all the way down to her DNA.

“Yes, but no one calls me that,” she said.

“They should.” Trish was fine for having coffee and a chat. The kind of hot and heavy mating he had in mind required something less cute. Her ragged breathing and the flush of arousal that went all the way down her throat said they would mate, soon and often, and he needed a name to shout in the throes of orgasm. “Would you mind if I called you Patricia?”

She shrugged. “I guess it goes with the décor.”

“Good.” He moved the coffee he hadn’t touched aside and took her hands. “I want to make you an offer, and I hope you’ll take it the right way.”

She eyed him for a heartbeat. “I’m listening.”

“I’d like you to stay with me and allow me to share your fantasies of the perfect lover. I’d like to fill every one of them.”

“What is this… some kind of research?”

“You could call it that.” Research in sexual reproduction, not response, but he’d share that later. Much later.

“How did I get to be the lucky one?” she said.

Questions, questions. When all he needed was to strip every bit of clothing off her and give her a taste of what they could share.

“It’s all confidential.” That sounded authoritative. Everyone understood confidentiality. “If I told you the details of the experiment, I’d contaminate the results.”

“I suppose that’s what they taught me in Psych 1.”

He squeezed her hands so he wouldn’t do anything more drastic. “So, will you participate? Will you allow me to give you sexual experiences beyond your wildest dreams?”

“I’d be pretty stupid to turn down an offer like that.”

Thank heaven. Now, he could finally make love with her and start to create a better future for his people.

“Shouldn’t we have something in writing about rights and responsibilities and all that?” she said. “That’s what you do in research.”

“Fine.” She’d thought up this cover story for what they were about. He might as well play along. “I’ll print out our, um, standard contract. In the meantime, will you share a fantasy with me?”

She pulled her hands from his and fidgeted with her coffee cup. Refusing to look at him. Shyness again. How could he penetrate it?

“Well…” she said finally. “That first room, with the harem outfit, and you, the sheikh of my dreams, is good.”

“Wonderful. That’s where we’ll start. Put on the clothes I gave you and wait for me there.”

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