SHIAM Conspiracy- Book 1
way of beating the spammers
completely. He deleted a long list of these without even looking at
them. There were also a couple of bills, one from Star Comm for his
comm services, and another from Sol Kappur Power for his power
supply. He didn’t open either. The last email was from his Aunt
Jenna; his mother’s sister, who lived in the city of Pevnost in the
Astalderea Province where Zak had been raised. She wanted to let
him know his cousin Lanna was pregnant again, she wrote. He
received these updates from back home on a regular basis. They were
his Aunt’s way of telling him he was well behind schedule in
regards to settling down and starting a family. All his cousins
were married with an assortment of kids. Lanna was the youngest of
his cousins and had been the last to be married. He was the only
member or the family remaining single.
    Zak ignored his Aunt’s unspoken accusations
and closed the mail program. He took another drink from his coffee
mug as the security buzzer sounded. Someone was in the first floor
lobby buzzing up. He answered from the kitchen terminal.
    “Hi, I am Megan, from the Institute of Occult
and Paranormal Sciences.”
    Even through the speaker her soft voice
possessed a warmth that was just shy of sultry. The security camera
revealed a female dressed in a brown cloak and hood. The cloak and
hood were dry in spite of the weather. Either the cloak was magical
or the woman wearing it had used a spell to keep herself dry. From
beneath the hood, the only features Zak could make out were a
delicately shaped nose and mouth. Not just a mouth, but a very full
and inviting mouth with lips painted a luscious red. He found
himself instantly transfixed on the natural pout of those
mysterious lips. It made him want to see more, to validate the
suspected beauty hidden beneath the cloak.
    “Um, Hello?” the woman called out when she
received no answer, her voice now uncertain.
    “Yes, come up.”
    It wasn’t until he’d buzzed her in that he
realized he was still in his underwear. He rushed back to his
sleeping area to dress. Ke’aira followed along, watching him with
curiosity as he pulled on a clean pair of jeans and a t-shirt.
Under the dog’s scrutiny, he suddenly felt foolish. He was behaving
like a high school kid with more hormones than brains. Was this
sorceress from the Institute using more than just a weather
protection spell?
    He didn’t feel anything magical, only his own
sudden giddiness after a mere glimpse of this woman.
    Was he really that desperate for a
relationship?
    Apparently, a part of him was. It seemed like
forever since Karreth had walked out of his life.

10
    S he had already raised the gate and was
stepping off the freight elevator next to the kitchen by the time
Zak and Ke’aira returned.
    “Hello, I’m Zak Harris,” he said to her as he
offered her his hand. In spite of feeling foolish, he couldn’t seem
to shake the allure of this mysterious woman. The cloak and hood
still hid all but the briefest hint of her features. She was short,
but not quite petite from what he could tell from beneath the
cloak.
    “I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr.
Harris.” She said formally, reaching out and shaking his hand. “I
am Megan Teranika.”
    Any meaning that her introduction might have
had was lost to him as she swept back her hood and removed her
cloak. Zak felt suddenly blindsided by her unveiling.
    Her makeup was dark and exotic, her style of
dress rebellious and unconventional. The black jeans and t-shirt
she wore clung to her, emphasising a body that would provoke lust
in the most pious of men. Her military style boots, scuffed black
leather with thin silver chains around the ankles, put a hard edge
to her sexuality.
    Her complexion was pale compared to most
Humans and her ears were slightly larger, with delicately pointed
tips. Her t-shirt proclaimed ‘Elves Do It Better!’ in bold
dark red script and Zak had no doubts about the validity of the
statement, as he

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