Captain David O'Reilly smiled inwardly. Cooper had always been one of his favorites, and the one recruit who had never ceased to unnerve him. Now thirty-one, David had been in the Army since he'd been sixteen. He'd grown up during the Great War and it had had a bitter hand in shaping his life. But David was strong, even as a kid, and intelligent. He'd lost his family to dysentery but had found a new one with the Army. Before he acknowledged her presence, David allowed himself a quick, covert perusal of the Corporal. She was, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen. He'd thought so even when he'd first seen her climb off that recruiter's bus two years ago, only just seventeen and nervous as hell.
Her beauty was artless and she seemed completely unaware of it. Her lightly tanned skin glowed with health. Her hair, a reddish brown that shone like fire in the sunlight, fell in heavy waves down her back. The few times he'd seen it unbound, of course. Even though it had been some time, he remembered it clearly. Remembered how he'd ached to run his fingers through the heavy, silky mass. Ached to touch the back of her neck and the warmth of her scalp. She was small but had a body that haunted his dreams. Full, lush breasts, a tiny waist and the sweetest curve of a behind it had ever been his privilege to set eyes on.
As if that wasn't enough, she was sweet too. With a great sense of humor, a never-say-die attitude and friendly with everybody. If her intelligence made her a good medic, her personality made her a terrific one.
But what unnerved him most was that Samantha Cooper was the only person to serve under him he'd ever been sexually attracted to. Hell, there was a time he would have sworn he was addicted to her. Making excuses to supervise training exercises she was participating in. Surprise checks down at the infirmary. Anything to hear the sound of her laughter or catch a glimpse of her profile during the day. To the point where he seriously considered having her transferred to another squadron. His promotion to squadron commander had solved the problem for him. He no longer had excuses for such personal indulgences and he was grateful he'd been able to quit obsessing over her. He hadn't exactly moved on, he realized as he caught himself grinning foolishly at her, but his obsession was under control. Mostly.
She saluted smartly and waited. To his discredit, he made her hold the salute for just a second longer than necessary. He just couldn't make himself stop looking at the way her raised arm made her breast swell against her precisely ironed shirt. He cursed himself and made himself look away. "At ease, Corporal," he greeted her warmly and leaned back from his desk. "Please, have a seat."
Samantha returned his smile and he felt a little piece of himself melt. She sat down like she did everything else—with an effortless grace that made him think of summer picnics, dancing and so many simple pleasures they'd lost in the wake of the Great War.
When he'd heard yesterday that she'd asked to meet with him, his heart had leapt at the chance to spend time with her. Now, in the face of her guileless smile, her warm, cinnamon eyes and that mouth he ached to feel against his own, he didn't think it was such a good idea. But he'd never let her see that. He'd never burden her with his desire. He was her CO and thirteen years older than her. Hiding his emotions, he kept smiling, leaned his forearms on his desk, clasped his hands lightly and said, "It's good to see you again, Corporal. How can I help you?"
By way of answer, she drew a pale-blue envelope out of her breast pocket. He watched its progress with an envy that stabbed him in the gut. Once again he disciplined his features when she laid the envelope on the edge of his desk and looked up at him. He felt his head tip to one side. She wasn't being transferred or promoted. As squadron CO, he okayed those moves. She wouldn't be accepted into medical school for another twelve months.
Samantha drew in a breath then, slowly, let it out. She schooled her emotions. As she did, she looked at Captain O'Reilly. He was tall, almost a foot taller than her and one of the most muscular men she'd ever seen. She'd always liked that about him. He was a good leader and smart and he just felt like a rock to her. Especially her first few months in the Corps. A scared kid, a thousand kilometers from home, wanting desperately to please and be accepted, he'd taught her those were secondary concerns and not to worry about them. They'd come in their own time. He'd taught her to focus on the safety and welfare of her platoon and the population at large. To learn. To be a human sponge and to work hard. She had and his teachings had made all the difference.
The Captain wasn't handsome in the traditional sense. But the muscles in his jaw were pronounced, giving his face a sculpted, rugged look. His nose was nice and, beneath his short, dark brown hair and straight brows, he had the most arresting, sky blue eyes she'd ever seen. They were framed perfectly by fringes of luxuriant, dark lashes that any woman would kill for. His mouth was firm but full with square corners that expressed more emotion with the single flick of a muscle than most people could in a hundred lines of poetry.
She looked down at his hands for a moment. Compared to hers, they were massive. Powerful. Sculpted. Like the rest of him. His long fingers showed obvious signs of rough use. Unlike her, he'd grown up during the Great War. He'd survived. Not only that, he'd thrived. He was the smartest, most discerning person she knew, and the only person she'd thought of when she needed someone to talk to about her new orders.
Samantha looked him directly in the eye and her voice was even and quiet. "I've been given new orders. RI."
Repopulation Imperative. David sat back hard in his chair. In the years following the Great War, young, child-bearing women were few and far between. Fallout had seen to that. But humans were resilient and the population was starting to come back. Except that some geneticists had found that certain genes had become scarce. Mostly ones carried through the maternal line. Governments the world over had adopted Repopulation Imperative initiatives. Carriers of key genes were identified and, when they turned nineteen, were asked to have kids. Some were asked more firmly than others and a few Eastern European governments had been overthrown because they'd orchestrated forced breeding programs. Here, in New North America, it was always the woman's choice to have children.
Except for those in the military. When you signed on, you agreed to work in hazardous conditions. To give up your life for the greater good of your country. In short, your ass was theirs. And in her case, Samantha's womb was theirs as well.
David admired the fact that Samantha didn't flinch when he stared at her, his mind whirling. RI orders meant that, over the next ten years, she would be required to give birth to four children. Hopefully live ones. It would play hell with her medical training. Then a sudden thought brought all the others in his head to a screeching halt.
"Why did you come to me?" he asked quietly. RI was a simple gig, really. Just go out and get yourself knocked up. The Army would grant you a leave of absence or modified duties, your choice. Or you could request a sample from an anonymous donor through a medical facility and knock yourself up with a turkey baster. David really hated the direction his thoughts had just taken. He quelled his growing excitement as he waited to find out just why she had come to him.
Samantha smiled thinly and, for the first time, looked away. "Permission to pace the floor, sir," she said but there was an unmistakable trace of humor in her voice. Not happy humor, but humor nonetheless.
David nodded quietly. "Of course, Corporal. Under the circumstances, it's the least you deserve." He grinned when her smile widened and he let her take the conversation in the direction she chose. He watched her walk slowly past the front of his desk. Her arms folded beneath her full breasts. Her eyes on the floor in front of her.
It was a long moment before she spoke. "They probably identified me as an RI candidate when I joined up. Blood tests and screening," she added, perhaps more for her benefit than his. "I turned nineteen two weeks ago."
David nodded but didn't open his mouth. He knew when her birthday was. He'd almost bought her a card but had forced himself to step away from the display rack and walk out of the canteen before he did.
"The problem is, sir, that I don't know..." Her voice dried up and his heart ached for her when she glanced up at him shyly before resuming her pacing. Then she stopped, squared her shoulders and turned toward him. "The problem is in two parts, sir," she said evenly, rallying her focus with obvious effort. "One, I've never been with a man. Two, how do I choose who to father this child I'm supposed to conceive?"
David blinked. Hard. It took him a moment to find his voice. "You received RI orders and you're a virgin," he stated quietly. He had to shift in his chair so his cock, which had suddenly sprung to attention, wouldn't snap in half.
"In a nutshell, yes," Samantha said.
Oh he really wished she hadn't used the word nut. Now another part of him was aching. David forced himself to get a grip—on his thoughts and his inappropriate reaction to her.
She sat down again and, with the tip of a single, slender finger, turned the slip of blue paper in a slow, hypnotic circle on the surface of his desk. "I need someone to talk this through with. I can't ask my friends—they're all too young. I can't ask the other two women in my platoon. They're both dykes and whenever the conversation turns to anything remotely related to sex, they offer to jump me. And I'm so not going there."
David tried to hide his grin and was only partially successful. When Samantha looked back up at him, she caught his look and the corner of her full, delectable mouth turned up. She shrugged lightly. "You were there for me, sir. My first months in the Corps. I'm not trying to brownnose but you're the best teacher I ever had. And I need...advice. Someone with some life experience behind them to talk this through with. Maybe just to listen to me talk it through. I don't know," she added quietly and stopped playing with her orders. She sat back in his guest chair, visibly calming herself and crossing one lean thigh over the other.
Despite her fatigues, she was still sexy as hell.
He exhaled slowly...mostly to buy himself time to make sure his voice didn't break when he spoke. As it was, it came out deeper than usual. "All right," he agreed quietly. "Tomorrow afternoon? After you finish your rotation in the clinic in town."
Jeez would she notice how improbable it was that the squadron commander knew what a second-year Corporal's work schedule was?
"Take one of the medic Jeeps and we'll meet at the deserted sheep farm just off Route Eighteen. I'm assuming here, Corporal, that you'd like to speak in private. Where you won't have to keep one eye on the clock and the other on the door?"
Samantha blushed and it was perhaps the loveliest thing he'd ever seen.
"Yes," she admitted readily, stood, picked up her orders and replaced them neatly inside her breast pocket. She saluted him, turned on her heel and left when he dismissed her.
David watched her twitching ass as she walked away, completely unable to stop himself from looking. Not sure he even wanted to
© Gwen Campbell
Captain O'Reilly's Woman
Author: Gwen Campbell
Publisher: Shadowfire Press
Genre: Sci-fi/ Erotic
Her genes are in short supply and he's got baby maker written all over him.
The year is 21GW…twenty-one years after the great war that killed ninety percent of the Earth's population. But the world is starting to recover. Parts of it anyway. The Army had been recruiting aggressively since the year 2GW, defending the borders and the peace. Medics like Corporal Samantha Cooper bring health care to communities that have been without more than bandages and butterfly kisses for twenty-one years.
Samantha's also got some rare genes and she's just been designated RI. Repopulation Imperative. It's an easy gig really. She just has to get herself knocked up. In return, she gets special privileges, compensation, and ensures the genetic diversity of the human race.
Problem is, the only man she's considering for the role of baby maker is her CO. Captain David O'Reilly's thirteen years older than her, a survivor and one of the most capable, honorable men she's ever met.
So how does a grunt ask a decorated officer to risk everything he's worked for in exchange for a hookup with benefits?