© 2006, Michelle
Reviews For THE LOVE MACHINE by Michelle Marquis
“This refreshing science fiction novella is spicy, mysterious, and invigorating, … I greatly enjoyed reading The Love Machine and will keep the fabulous Ms. Marquis on my radar screen of up and coming authors to keep an eye out for.” Francesca Hayne, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
"Michelle Marquis delivers a stunner science fiction novella that will light up your screen. She knows how to pack a punch with impact, and this story is a scorcher! Ms. Marquis excellently conforms her science fiction framework as well, and I highly recommend this one. However, readers choosing it as bedtime reading might wish to read in an ice bath instead!" -Annie, The Romance Studio
Overall rating: Five Hearts
4 ½ LIPS!! The Love Machine is filled with scene after scene of hot sex that will definitely keep you satisfied. The character development is exceptional and watching Natasha and Max bond was both beautiful and sexy…The Love Machine is definitely a treat and I highly recommend reading it. –Kerin, Two Lips Reviews
Sample Chapter For THE LOVE MACHINE by Michelle Marquis
Maximillian sat in the observation room watching his prisoner on the video monitor. She squirmed in her restraints as if she could feel him studying her. He propped his boots up on the control panel and scratched his chin taking in her every move. She was certainly a beauty, and very angry.
Glancing at his plasma monitor on the desk, he identified her as Natasha Morrison, captured by local law enforcement after trying to smuggle a criminal off world. Current disposition was at large. He brought his boots down and typed in the correction, captured.
She looked as lovely and vulnerable as an ancient sacrifice spread out before a lusty and murderous god. A stirring rose within him, a strange and amazing feeling he’d never experienced before. He closed his eyes and let the thought of her kisses, with their gentle softness, roll over him. Before he knew it, he was intensely aroused, his cock filling the front of his pants.
Opening his eyes, he was shocked by the carnal charge of those images. He’d never experienced anything like it before, but there was something about this woman that made him want more than sex.
Leaning forward, he turned the plasma monitor off and closed his thoughts down. Who ever heard of an android having a girlfriend or settling down and getting married? Besides, he reminded himself, this particular prisoner was slated for death. And delivering death was one thing he was very good at.
The cell was a sterile icebox.
Natasha Morrison twisted her wrists in the padded handcuffs in a useless attempt to escape. She frowned and lifted her head as far as she could to look around her empty cell. It consisted of the cot she lay on and a metal chair bolted to the floor and that was it. Frustrated, she swore under her breath.
She couldn’t remember being this uncomfortable in her whole life. She’d been lying on this cot for close to an hour now. Her wrist restraints didn’t hurt, but they annoyed her, stretching her hands above her head and affixing her to the wall. She had been here so long, she was beginning to wonder if anyone was ever coming back. To make matters worse, she was nearly naked, stripped by the guards down to her fuchsia bra and panties to make sure she couldn’t hide any weapons. Her dark blonde hair was loose and flowed off the cot, dangling close to the floor. She thought their stripping her for security reasons was a bunch of crap, because since then, the guards had been making extra rounds by her cell to peer in at her.
As she lay there, she wondered if her fugitive passenger had managed to steal a shuttle and escape. She hoped he did, at least one of them should escape the executioner’s deadly probe. Natasha already accepted her fate, even if she was unsure of exactly what crime she had committed.
The air conditioning clicked on again, humming cool air onto her bare skin from a vent just above her. She shivered slightly and felt her nipples grow hard under the chilly stream of air. As they stiffened, they brushed against the fabric of her bra, arousing her and making her more aware of them. She shifted as best she could, trying to get away from the cold.
A passing guard strolled by her cell. He stared in at her.
“I haven’t done anything wrong!” she shouted at him as he walked out of view. “When do I get to know why I’m being held here?”
As if in response to her question, a hydraulic door down the hall whooshed open and two sets of heavy boots made their way toward her.
Thank God. Now I can finally get some answers.
The men appeared at her cell door. The first one she recognized as William Steelman, an old acquaintance and the captain of the guard here on Penal Station Three, but the other man she couldn’t see well enough to make out. She heard Steelman punch a code on the keyboard outside and the amber bars of her cell disappeared. A moment later, they entered and the other man came into view.
No, not a man. An android.
Natasha’s blood chilled as she met his eyes. They were a solid, vibrant green and burned with malevolence. Slowly, she tore her gaze from his and ran her eyes down the rest of him. He must have been at least six foot three; a powerful wall of a man who filled out his black enforcer uniform like he’d been grown into it. His face was brutally handsome, boasting a square jaw, high cheekbones, and a strong noble nose. It was the kind of face both beautiful in its perfection and private in its savagery. His hair was the color of dark coffee; cut short and neatly groomed. Natasha had never laid eyes on a more attractive man.
What a cruel irony that not only was he not a man, but he was one of the most ruthless and fatal creations in the galaxy. He was a Stinger series android; a model created for the sole purpose of executing fugitives condemned to death while on the run. Natasha knew from the intergalactic newslines they were notoriously deadly, racking up impressive body counts on every planet that hosted a colony. And now here one was to collect her.
Natasha tossed her head to the android. “Why is he here?” she asked Steelman. “Is smuggling a capital offense now?”
Steelman let his eyes wander over her body and gave her a hungry grin. He rubbed his beer belly in a slow circle. “No, he just wants to ask you some questions about your last fare. You know, the man you transported off Earth without checking the wanteds?”
Natasha glared at him. “That was just a simple misunderstanding. He said he was cleared, and he had the paperwork to back it up.”
The android stared down at her. “He lied, and the paperwork was a forgery.” Then he turned to Steelman, his face cool and expressionless. “I want her released into my custody. I’ll interrogate her on my ship.”
“I don’t know…” Steelman said, scratching the grey stubble on his chin thoughtfully. “That’s not really proper protocol.”
“How much do you want for it to become proper protocol?” the android said.
Natasha couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Was she about to be sold under the table to a government killing machine? Had Steelman gone nuts? “Don’t you dare sell me off to this robot!” she said, fighting her restraints with renewed panic. “He’ll kill me!”
The android turned his head and fixed his penetrating green eyes on her. The look was so angry, so full of rage, that it caught her breath in her throat. I’m as good as dead. He’s going to kill me right here, and Steelman will probably help him dispose of my body.
The android walked toward her, taking slow deliberate steps. When he reached her cot, he crouched down and leaned in close to her face. His lips barely brushed her cheek in a taunting nuzzle. Natasha’s pulse pounded in her head as she struggled to pull back from him. He pulled back a little, but his lips were so close, they brushed her exposed cheek in feather light strokes as he spoke. “Don’t ever call me a robot again. Do you understand me? I have a name. You call me Maximillian.” His voice was a low, rumbling baritone in her ear.
Natasha tried to look away, but was frozen by his stunning emerald gaze. “Yes,” she managed, a little breathier than she intended. “I understand you.”
“Good,” he said. He stood and turned to Steelman. He fished into his pocket and handed the other man a few gold credits. “Let’s get her untied and loaded. Does she have any personal effects?”
“Yeah,” Steelman said, and gave Natasha a knowing wink. “They’re bagged up and ready to go. I’ll give ’em to you when she’s secured on board.”
I am so screwed.
Steelman advanced on her, tossing his keys playfully back and forth across his knuckles. He unlocked her restraints and she sat up, rubbing her wrists. She glared at Maximillian, who stood watching her silently. Then he broke eye contact, letting his gaze roam brazenly down her body, then up again. When he met her eyes again, he was smiling.