Thursday, June 02, 2011

Sex World 1: Assassin by Lena Austin

Sex World 1: Assassin

by Lena Austin
Cover art: Bryan Keller
ISBN: 978-1-60521-652-2
Genre(s): Futuristic
Theme(s): Gay and Lesbian
Series: Sex World
Length: Novella


Sex engineer Paris Cordell's first assignment is to assess and eliminate -- if necessary -- the oligarch and his son if they're a threat to the empire. For Sumner, the son of the mad oligarch, Paris is more than a threat to his life. Paris will threaten Sumner's very humanity and call it into question.

Publisher's Note: A previous version of Lena Austin's Assassin was previously published with another house. The Changeling Press edition has undergone substantial revisions.

Sex World 1: Assassin
Lena Austin
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2011 Lena Austin

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

Having a laser pistol shoved in his face was not how Paris wanted his first assignment as a sex engineer to begin on Aerie. After all, sex engineers of his rank were expensive contractors hired only by the wealthiest and most powerful. He'd expected something more... welcoming.
From the moment Paris had stepped into the shuttle for the short trip to the spaceport on Aerie, he had a sense of foreboding. Aerie looked like a nice enough planet from space, with a good mix of industrialized areas as well as green belts left natural, as required by Consortium planetary grants.
Nevertheless, something about the planet gave him the shivers.
Maybe it was his fellow passengers. Most were contractors like himself, of various types. He'd spotted the collar tabs of miners, construction, and administration. All of them seemed grim and unwilling to speak, even to others of their own disciplines. Oddly, there were only males on the flight, no females. The trip down was silent enough to be unnerving. It made Paris miss Nick and Kate, his escorts on the cruise ship that had brought him to Aerie, even more.
The landing went reasonably well, and they'd begun touchdown when a loud whump! rattled the shuttle. No one had been foolish enough to release their safety straps, but a few hand-held databanks went flying.
Paris caught a glimpse of fire outside his window, and so did his seatmate, an administrator. "Aw, damn. Insurgents." A stream of invective followed, peppered with the odd comment like, "I was warned. But I had to be greedy, didn't I?"

* * *
He allowed himself to be thrown bodily into a transport bed with the other contractors who'd been spared. All were high-ranking individuals of their disciplines. He heard his soft Maxim silk clothing rip as it caught on a miner's boot when he hit the bed of the truck. Another contractor, his eyes wide with shock, was thrown in, and the doors slammed shut. Outside, screams, shouts, and the occasional firing of weapons could be heard, even through the thick plating.
"Why are we here?" yelled one contractor, his eyes wide with hysteria.
Paris didn't blame him. Violence was rare in civilized society.
"Idiot! We're hostages, I think," one man shouted over the roar of the engine firing up. The miner struggled to sit upright and put his back to the wall of the vehicle to aid in balance. "I was told this happened. Our companies might put up our ransom. If not, most of us will be shipped out in the belly of free trader ships to slave worlds. They'll get their money out of our hides, one way or another." The man seemed resigned to his fate.
"Most?" Paris asked.
"Sharp, aren't you, Engineer? Yeah. A few of us will die, to prove they are serious." The mining engineer snarled a little, and his lip curled contemptuously. "Don't worry. You're a sex engineer. If your company doesn't pay, you'll fetch a high price at the auctions and be some rich out-system oligarch's toy. Not much of a change for you. A whore is a whore."
Paris couldn't get his mouth to work, he was so stunned. Such a parochial attitude had died out on most civilized planets.
A bitter laugh sounded from behind Paris. An environmental systems engineer, his hands also bound in front of him, helped Paris sit upright. "Oh, and I'm sure you are absolutely celibate, Master Miner! What? You don't like sex? Too bad. Most of us do. Just as I like the pretty baubles you dig up from the earth. I like a little entertainment in my life, you parochial sonofabitch. Keep your mouth shut."
The others laughed, some with an edge to their voices, but the humor helped. Paris smiled a little grimly. Perversely, he felt the need to defend the miner and smooth the waters. The hostages should not be at each other's throats. The situation was bad enough. "Everyone is entitled to his or her opinions."
Someone sniggered. "Yeah, well I like my procreation with fun attached. If he wants to beat off into a bottle to avoid contaminating himself with sex, he's welcome to it."
The laughter that followed was cut off sharply when the truck lurched to a sudden stop, and a huge boom deafened them all. Paris's ears rang, and he was thrown bodily into the others along with the rest of the latecomers. His green silk shirt, meant for casual travel and not hard wear, ripped half off. His pants, of a slightly sturdier fabric, ripped down one leg but left nothing exposed that would cause comment. Good thing. He wasn't wearing underclothes again.
After all the screaming and weapons fire, the sudden quiet was eerie. Even the truck engine had stopped. The contractors helped each other into more comfortable positions, removing themselves and others off the poor fellows at the bottom of the pile.
"What's happening?" one fellow whispered.
"Nothing," Paris joked feebly. "That's the point. We've stopped moving, and I don't think this is our destination."
The back door slammed open, flooding the dark interior with light. Consortium Guards flanked one man who carried a bloody knife as if it were a part of his hand. He was silhouetted against the brightness, but Paris had to admire the blue-black color of his hair.
"Gentlefolk, would you be kind enough to step from the vehicle, please? We are your rescuers." The black haired man gave a short bow.
Though it was not an orderly exit, those closest to the doors scrambled and were removed by the guard. Paris moved when it was his turn, but the man put a hand on his arm. "Would you be Paris Cordell, the sex engineer?"
The man's bottle-green eyes shut and his body relaxed when Paris nodded. "Thank the Profit. I feared you'd died in the attack. Please come with me." He slashed Paris' wrist restraints with the knife, and then wiped the blade on a dead insurgent's uniform. Many of the Oligarchs worshiped The Profit, a perverted version of an old religion, now based solely on the maxims of business. Therefore, it was easy to assume this killer was a member of the Oligarch's staff.
Paris was hustled by the man to a waiting armored vehicle of considerable might. He might have enjoyed the view of his rescuer's stunning profile and even more impressive physique had he been less rattled. The black hair fell nearly to the man's waist, held in place by a small silver band at the nape of his neck.
The man was equally appraising of Paris's exposed body. "You'll undoubtedly want to clean up and change before meeting the oligarch. Let's get you to the palace." He turned and dismissed the man at the wheel of the vehicle with a wave of his hand. "I'll drive. Return to duty." The guard exited the car, saluted, and disappeared.
His rescuer waited only long enough for Paris to strap in before he whipped the transport around and left the scene of carnage behind. "We'll be there in a pico," he commented cheerfully. "Sorry about the insurgents. They're getting more aggressive."
Paris studied his companion's face, thinking he discerned a certain tiny spark of satisfaction in that last statement. This was a man worth getting to know...
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