Leaning an elbow on the bar, Maggie scanned the room. Slim pickings. It had been a bad idea to stop in. This crummy hole in the wall might have great booze, but it wasn’t hopping at the best of times, let alone in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday. She’d stay long enough to slake her thirst before heading home.
“Aldebaran rum,” someone announced. Maggie perked up. That wasn’t a drink for beginners – or humans. Dark hair with a Mallen streak. Tight body showcased in faded jeans and a sleeveless t-shirt.
Maggie’s day was suddenly looking up. She watched the woman toss back two glasses without even a grimace. The woman signaled for a refill then carry it to an empty pool table.
The view got even better. Jesus fucking Christ. Maggie felt her skin heat as the woman’s jeans pulled taut over one hell of a fine ass. The lame crowd in the bar was now a godsend. Maggie made sure there was no real competition in her way before ordering another beer and a rum for her new best friend with benefits.
She sauntered over to the table as the woman scratched. “Bad luck,” Maggie commiserated. “It was a tough shot, though.” If you had never played pool before – or were really bad. She held out the rum. “Maybe this will help with the sting.”
“Sting?” A frown marred the woman’s expression. “I was not aware there were insects within the bar.” Sharp green eyes scanned the room.
“Uh…” Maggie wasn’t sure how to respond. “There aren’t any. Insects, I mean.” Those eyes were now locked on her. “’Sting’ can mean the pain of failure.” She waved a hand at the pool table. “When the ball didn’t go in the pocket?”
A little of the woman’s intensity faded. Maggie sagged in relief. Not even her first sergeant in patrol had been that level of scary. “Anyway, I thought a drink might help.”
Rather than accept the drink, the woman moved back to the table and racked the balls.
Maggie tried not to scuff her toe on the floor in frustration. She rarely struck out when it came to hitting on a beautiful woman (even if that woman wasn’t human). She had a reputation to uphold. Forcing her shoulders back, Maggie swaggered after her mark.
“We could play together,” she offered, moving into the woman’s personal space. “I mean, I’m pretty good.” Maggie didn’t clarify what she was good at. Tilting her head to one side, she widened her eyes and let the dimple in her left cheek peek out.
Maybe all wasn’t lost. The woman nodded and stepped away. “I would be interested to see how this game should be played.”
Maggie examined the pool cues. Missing tips. Chipped or warped surfaces. She’d have to hope her real “game” kept Tall, Dark, and Sexy from noticing her shots were shit. “You can break,” she called out. “I’ll give you some pointers.”
One dark eyebrow rose, and Maggie grinned for real. “Come on. It won’t hurt.” Unless that’s what her pool partner wanted. God, she needed to get laid. She waved a hand at the table. “Go ahead. Get set up.”
The woman’s arms were works of art. Muscles stood in stark relief as she stroked a hand up and down the cue. Maggie checked her chin for drool, wondering if the woman handled…other objects the same way.
Yanking her jeans down and away from her aching clit, Maggie took a position next to the woman. So close. Pressed against her, in fact. One arm touching the hand holding the cue; the other resting just above the woman’s delectable ass. “Draw back slowly,” she said. Then, when the woman followed the direction, Maggie murmured, “I’m Maggie, by the way.”
“Maggie,” the woman parroted. She did not follow Maggie’s example and give her name. “What shall I do next?”
Maggie leaned in even closer. She rearranged the hand on the cue into the right position. “Aim for the number one ball. The one in front.” It was a stretch, given their differences in size, to get her other arm around the woman’s back. Maggie made the sacrifice, though. “Draw back the cue…”
Before she could say more, the cue shot forward and the cue ball crossed the table so hard and so fast Maggie expected the racked balls to explode on impact.
“Not very patient, are you?” Maggie asked. She tossed her hair, so it fell away from her neck.
“Is it not the point to move the balls around the table?” There was mild curiosity in the question – and in the eyes staring down at Maggie.
Maggie chuckled. “Well, yeah, but you want to move them so at least one of them goes in a pocket and you’ve got a clear second shot.” She nodded at the balls scattered haphazardly across the felt. “Not a lot going your way out there, beautiful.”
“You will show me more,” the woman stated firmly.
“Beautiful and used to getting your way,” Maggie teased. She stood slowly, letting her fingers trail up a bare arm. “It’s a good thing I don’t mind teaching you all my tricks.” Maintaining eye contact, Maggie backed away. Down the table to a spot she could use to sink a solid-colored ball. “You want a lesson? You’re going to have to get a little closer.”
She waited as the woman considered her offer. Finally, Maggie got a nod of confirmation and then all that skin and those muscles were wrapped around her, pressing into her back. Voice deeper and huskier, Maggie leaned over the table. “There’s a price for my knowledge.”
The body at her back stiffened.
“What’s your name?” Maggie said hurriedly. “And…you share a drink with me afterward.” A private drink in her apartment, but Maggie left that information out.
Maggie held her breath until the woman relaxed again. “I am Astra.”
“Pretty name for a pretty lady.” Leaning forward more, she settled her ass against Astra’s abs. “Put your hands over mine so you can feel what I’m doing.”
Astra was a quick learner. Three shots later, Maggie lost her Astra-blanket. Then she watched in horror as Astra ran the table.
“You are a very good teacher, Maggie.” Astra’s smile was all conquering hero as she surveyed the solid-colored balls left on the felt. “We will share a drink now?”
Maggie stared at Astra’s ass for the millionth time that afternoon as Astra strode toward the bar. She automatically stowed her and Astra’s cues then slowly followed Astra.
“I did not know what to order for you.” More Aldebaran rum sat on the bar next to Astra’s elbow. “I would share mine, but…” Astra hesitated. “I do not think you would enjoy it.”
Glancing at the bartender, Maggie ordered a beer. She regarded Astra thoughtfully. “One sip of Aldebaran rum would kill me.” She accepted the bottle from the bartender. “The only thing I haven’t figured out is which planet you’re from?”
“You are not afraid of me? Because I was not born on Earth?” Astra tossed back her drink and signaled for another. Impressive.
“My last two girlfriends weren’t human.” She caught Astra’s surprised expression. “What? You thought all humans were xenophobic assholes?” Maggie winked. “I’m sure there are plenty of people who consider me an asshole – but I don’t give a flying fuck where you’re from.”
Astra’s stare was heavy and full of something Maggie couldn’t identify. Finally, though, Astra spoke. “Girlfriends.” She dropped her gaze, leaving Maggie floundering from the loss. “Human sexuality lacks structure. I did not realize…”
“You wouldn’t be the first to discount homosexuality.” Maggie sipped her beer, watching Astra struggle with the reality of Maggie’s comment.
“You mistake my meaning.” This time, when Astra glanced at Maggie, the intensity was gone. One hand reached out. Astra tucked a strand of hair behind Maggie’s ear. “I thought your closeness as we played to be an effective teaching tool.” Her warm, rough palm cupped Maggie’s cheek. “It was not.”
Maggie turned her head, pressing a kiss to Astra’s palm. “My place isn’t far.” Hopping off her barstool, Maggie removed Astra’s hand from her cheek and linked their fingers. “Come on. I bet I can teach you more than a bank shot.”
“You have a very high opinion on your skills,” Astra commented.
“All deserved.” Maggie released the full scope of her dimples. “I can get you rousing endorsements if you need them.” She pulled Astra to the door. Or, she tried. Astra didn’t budge no matter how much effort Maggie put into moving her.
Those beautiful lips slowly curved. Damn. Maggie so needed to get Astra naked and into her bed. When Astra finally followed Maggie toward the door, Maggie knew it was because Astra wanted to go with her.
The sun was beginning to set as they exited the bar. Not that it helped make Gotham any better. Tall buildings lost amid a haze of pollution from nearby factories. Sidewalks turned gray with whatever chemical spewed from the factories’ stacks and were liberally dotted with trash. Like all the other pedestrians, Maggie hurried down the street with Astra at her heels.
“I cannot abide what humans have done to this planet,” Astra said.
“Not everywhere’s crap like Gotham.” Maggie wasn’t really interested in a discussion on the environment and global warming. She was too focused on getting home before Astra changed her mind. “If fucking Wayne Enterprises would care more about being green than making green, the air might not look like a cloud of mustard gas dumped over the city.” If her bosses at GPD ever heard her opinion of Bruce Wayne and his Empire, Maggie’s career as a cop would be over in a heartbeat.
Maggie had no intention of spending one more minute talking, though. Her apartment was just ahead. She unlocked the front security door. “I’m on the third floor.” Before introducing Astra to the rickety stairs, Maggie went up on her toes to kiss Astra’s neck. Which led to a few licks and nips because Astra was hot and tasted of sweat and woman.
Astra cursed in a language Maggie didn’t recognize.
“What the fuck!” Maggie yelped as Astra scooped her into her arms and took the stairs in powerful leaps.
“Where is your key? I do not wish to break the door.” There was an undercurrent of need in the words that hit Maggie with the force of a .357 slug fired at close range.
“Lock barely works anyway.” But she dug in her pocket and produced her keyring. The door slammed open and then closed as Astra maneuvered them inside.
“Put me down,” Maggie demanded. Astra’s strength was hot as fuck, but she wasn’t some Disney princess who needed a prince to do all the heavy lifting.
“Ask nicely.” Astra attacked Maggie’s lips with her own, and Maggie didn’t have the opportunity to say anything. Her back slammed into the cheap fiberboard door. She felt the surface dent at the impact.
She grabbed handfuls of Astra’s hair and pulled. Astra only chuckled. “It would take more than human strength to damage me, Maggie. Do you wish me to stop? Or will you trust that I will not harm you today?”
“I have trust issue,” Maggie grumbled, “but I’ll make an exception this one time.”
Astra’s smile was a thing of beauty. “You believe we shall stop at one?”