This one is for all the Tracker fans, we really deserved a second season, but most especially for Blue Raven because she has had to write her own season and has still found the time to patiently nag me for several months to toss Cole into a hot tub. Okay, Blue, I didn't exactly throw him in there, but he's there nonetheless. Enjoy.

Spoilers: Pilot episode, Roswell, Double Down, Love Cirronian Style, a touch of Highlander.

Disclaimer: Fluffy Cat does not own or have any right to these characters or names or places, or anything else in her stories. Fluffy Cat just enjoys the characters Mel and Cole and likes to get them out in the world and play with them a bit. Fluffy Cat does not profit in any way from doing this, other than the pleasure of batting them around for a while

Cold Nights, Hot Tubs, and an Even Hotter Cirronian

By Fluffy Cat

"I won't forget, Beth, I promise." Mel laughed, shifting the phone between her shoulder and her ear while she poured another beer for the handsome customer seated at her bar, serving him a pretty smile in addition to the refill on his drink.

"Look, I've got customers and a sick bartender, so I've got to go. Yes! I will not forget, Beth! Go on, you'll miss your plane if you spend another minute giving me instructions on the care of your plants, your cat and your fish."

The handsome guy lifted his head and Mel read amusement in his expression.

Turning her back on him, Mel whispered loudly into the phone. "I told you I would, didn't I? No, I'm not just saying that!" Mel rolled her eyes and glanced nervously back at the customer watching her. He wasn't even trying to hide his obvious amusement or the fact he was actively endeavoring to overhear her one-sided conversation.

"I'll spend the night there, Beth. Yes, I will stay the entire night. Thanks, I will. I know. I'll make myself right at home. I promise. Now stop worrying and get going! Goodbye." Mel disconnected the phone and looked at the interested customer. "Friend," Mel explained, "nervous friend." She added with a feminine shrug.

The guy continued to gift her with a half smile that only added to his attractiveness. He wore his dark hair very short accented by a tall lean frame that looked like it could lounge anywhere on a moment's notice. The curious customer possessed a long patrician nose which he apparently enjoyed sticking into other people's business, Mel decided.

"Imagine that; you have a nervous friend." He remarked gently in an accent that sounded English but wasn't quite. His lips twitched.

His sarcasm wasn't lost on her. "Hard to believe, isn't it?" Mel retorted smartly.

His eyes laughed before he did.

Mel's lips gave up the fight and broke into a huge grin. "Yeah, I have a nervous friend. Now, do you mind telling me why you find that so humorous?"

Taking his beer by the handle, he grinned broadly and quipped, "I'm easily amused," before swallowing a large gulp of the cold drink.

Mel rolled her expressive eyes a second time and gave a huge sigh of relief when she spotted Jess flying through the door. "Jess! Thank God, you're here. I've got a million things to do and playing bartender was not one of them."

"I'm hurt." The annoying customer remarked as he smirked at the irritated woman serving him. When the shapely Jess passed by him, giving him far more than a casual glance as she made her way around the bar, he quickly added, "but I suspect I'll recover soon enough."

Mel watched as his easily amused handsome face turned to watch the pretty blonde Jess.

Shaking her curls, she laughed softly and handed over the apron strings literally and figuratively to her friend. "Here you go; I've got to pack a few things upstairs if I plan to spend the night at Beth's."

"Cole, one of 'em?" Jess smirked.

Mel's expression turned wry as she faced the handsome man across from her. "I think you've found your match." She told him, shooting her eyes back toward the cheeky blonde.

"Oh goody; I like to do that every century or so; it relieves the boredom."

Mel threw her hands in the air. "I give up. He's impossible, Jess. Watch him like a hawk." She warned. "He's the devious, wily, crafty kind; trust me on this."

Jess grinned at the lean specimen of masculinity watching her with a combination of amusement and civilized lust and shouted back at Mel without taking her eyes off of the man in question. "Oh, I don't think that's going to be a problem, Mel. He's not hard on the eyes to watch, you know!"

The devious, wily, crafty kind threw back his handsome head and laughed.

Mel bounded up the stairs, shaking her head over the pair those two would make if they truly got together. It might not bear thinking about.

Cole found Mel mumbling to herself as she tossed things into a small overnight bag. Smiling at the scene, the Tracker contented himself with crossing his arms and leaning against the doorframe while he observed the flustered Mel for a couple more minutes before speaking to her.  "Mel?"

She jumped two feet. "Cole!" She shouted, spinning around and taking a deep breath. "You startled me." He was always doing that! He was just so damned quiet. Mel wondered how the fugitives stood it and then realized the foolishness of that thought. The ones he tracked down didn't; stand it; that is. She absently wondered if they ever got startled in those little metal balls he stored them in when he quietly entered the war room.

"I'm sorry, Mel. I didn't mean to. Where are you going?" He asked when it occurred to him that the bag she was packing meant she wouldn't be in the apartment with him that night.

Cole didn't care for that idea.

He preferred Mel close at hand; some nights more than others.

"I'm spending the night at a friend's condo and if I don't hurry, it will be closer to morning than night by the time I get settled in there." Mel frowned, digging through her lingerie for a pair of panties. She found a pair of black lace ones. They were a little too sexy for a night spent alone, but they would have to do. The scales of her laundry were currently tipped drastically toward the dirty side.

Cole's expression grew more interested when he spotted the panties she was trying to discreetly hide from him and toss in the bag.

Black Lace.

Cole smiled.

When it occurred to him she had mentioned staying at a friend's, the black lace took on a new significance.

The Cirronian quickly lost his smile. "Perhaps you should call so your friend won't be worried it is taking you so long?"

"That's okay." Mel smiled up at Cole, as she zipped her bag.

"I'll make the call for you, Mel, if you would like. Give me her number." Wishful thinking on his part, but the Tracker decided to go for it.

"She's not there, Cole. It isn't necessary." Mel said; surveying her bedroom for anything else she might need that she had forgotten to pack.  It was only one night, but it was amazing how many things a woman needed to go away for just one night. Not that she used much of it that night, Mel reflected. It was the next morning that required the most articles; makeup, shampoo, razors, clothes, the list went on and on.

She.  Mel had said she. The voltage on the Tracker's smile jumped up several notches. "Okay, Mel, if you say so. She won't worry?"

Distracted while she attempted to focus on Cole's questions and mentally review her list of things she should pack, Mel finally realized Cole was subtly fishing for information.

Her grin was rueful as she turned to him and gave him her full attention. "No, Cole. She won't worry. She isn't there. Her flight should have left by now. I'm just condo-sitting for a night. She wants me to watch over her plants, her fish and her new cat. Actually, I'm fairly certain the plants will survive a couple of nights without her, and even she would admit the fish could make do for a night without her; but the cat is her main concern. He recently adopted her and she's concerned he will become upset when she isn't there. I promised I'd stay the night this first night she is away so he isn't so spooked by her absence."

"Oh." Cole gave her a relieved smile which also conveyed appreciation that she had confided in him. "So you will be alone there? Apart from the fish, the cat, and the plants?"

Mel chuckled. "Yeah."

His smile vanished again. "Mel, I don't like you being alone."

She watched him closely, her eyes studying his reaction. "Cole…I was alone before we met. I'm a big girl. I've been alone many times." Her voice cracked a little at the admission. Mel wasn't going to contemplate why.

"You shouldn't be, Mel. You should have someone with you." His hand reached for the silky skin of her throat and began a gentle caress.

Her lashes fluttered shut as his touch provided her with that wonderful sensation she had yet been able to put a name to. She might not be able to accurately name it, but she could definitely savor it, Mel told herself silently.

The Tracker moved in closer. Doing something he had never done before; Cole cupped the back of her head with his other strong hand and slipped it beneath her soft curls, cradling her head as his talented fingers continued to coax more of a response out of her.

Mel sighed softly at the sensation of having both of his hands on her, and realized her knees were growing so weak she was in danger of losing her balance.

When her long lashes lifted, Mel found herself safely held in Cole's arms, his handsome face only inches away from hers; his eyes gently reassuring her that he would never allow her to fall, not ever, not as long as he could help it.

The bed was only three steps away. Mel gave a surprised little jump when that dangerous thought popped into her head!

She had to get out of there or she was going to break that damn agreement they had made after the sex seminar. No involvement. He couldn't become distracted. They had agreed. Mel chanted those phrases in her muddled mind as she reached up and gently displaced his hand from beneath her curls. "I have a drive ahead of me. I better get going. Beth's condo is outside of town." She whispered in a choked voice.

His fingers drifted away from her sensitive neck, his dark eyes sadly watching her as he slowly nodded. "Okay, Mel."

Such a sad look from Cole, she thought.

The bed was three steps away. She'd bet The Watchfire she could erase his sad look in two kisses flat.

An image filled her mind of Cole lying flat on his back while she straddled his hips, kissing her way down that wonderfully appealing chest of his to other compelling places that tempted her.

Would Cole consider a female dispensing of his white briefs with her bare teeth a bit of a distraction?

Shocked at the direction of her own thoughts, Mel shot Cole a nervous smile and grabbed her bag. "I better go. I left the number and address on the bar, Cole….in case you need me." She added with a difficult swallow.

"Yes, Mel." Cole answered, his eyes calling to her. "Be careful, Mel."

"I thought I was the one who worried unnecessarily." She chuckled lightly. Cole was beginning to sound just like she did when he went off tracking a fugitive.

And because that sudden thought made her realize Cole might feel exactly like that, Mel impulsively spun back around and planted a hurried kiss on his lips before she could think better of it. "Bye, Cole. Don't worry." She ordered firmly, grabbing her bag and running out of the room. She had to put some distance between her damned desires and that convenient bed!

Stunned by Mel's unexpected kiss on his lips, Cole remained standing in the bedroom, sporting a silly grin across his face.

Mel, on the other hand, ran down the stairs like the fires of hell were right on her tail!

Pulling up in front of Beth's condo, Mel breathed a sigh of relief and turned off the engine.

Now, if she could only get her own motor to shut off that easily!

Mel knew her libido had been on slow idle ever since she had discovered the handsome half-naked Cirronian with the beautifully gentle eyes wandering down the highway; but the speed with which she had been idling for the last couple of months had definitely been revved up since their stunning kiss at the sex seminar last week.

What was a girl to do? She asked herself with a shake of her wild curls.

Exactly what she had done, Mel told herself; accept a friend's desperate plea for help and escape to a condo in the country, hopefully to sort through a few rampant desires that held no hope of being fulfilled. Desires Cole didn't want fulfilled.

In other words, to chill out! Cool down, deal with her own sexual frustration and come to terms with the fact she couldn't make love to Cole.

Mel made a face and grabbed her purse before climbing out of the car.

Easier said than done!  

"Hello." Mel picked up the phone on the end table beside the couch as she continued to stroke the silky fur brushing up against her hand. Beth's new cat certainly approved of her, she reflected. It was either her or the silk robe she was currently wearing.

"Hello, Mel."

Cole's voice managed to bump up her idling speed with only three syllables.

"Cole? Are you okay?" Mel inquired; her voice carried more than a trace of worry.

"Yes, Mel. I am fine." Cole assured her. Mel heard his smile in his voice.

"Oh. That's good." She cleared her throat. "Is there anything wrong?"

"No, Mel. Everything is fine here."

"Why are you calling me, Cole, if there's nothing wrong? I just left a couple of hours ago."

"I know." Cole replied softly.

Mel wasn't sure what to say next. The sexual tension between them was practically dripping off the phone line.

It finally occurred to Mel that perhaps she wasn't the only one idling.

"Cole?" The hesitancy in her voice brought a slight smile to the Tracker's face.

"Yes, Mel." His soft baritone washed over her like a lover's sensuous caress.

Mel closed her eyes and allowed her fingers to slide through the silky fur of her friend's feline pet.

Suddenly her senses were assaulted by the memory of those same fingers gliding across Cole's soapy chest while he sat in her bathtub wearing nothing but a sexually inspired expression and a washcloth that didn't even come close to hiding his corresponding erection.

Quickly banishing that memory from her mind because it certainly wasn't helping decelerate her idling speed; Mel cleared her throat and asked gently. "Do you miss me?"

Mel couldn't have explained it for the life of her but she felt his sexy smile across the phone line before he spoke a word.

"Yes, Mel." His baritone carried a gentleness that struck Mel as so Cole. "I should be with you, Mel. You're not safe without me."

Soapy chests and huge erections immediately assaulted her thoughts. He wasn't safe with her!

"Oh…Cole…that might not be a good idea right now. I mean…" she hesitated, stuttering for a reasonable explanation that wouldn't give too much of her thoughts and feelings away, "you need to stay at The Watchfire in case anything comes up regarding Zin."

Not bad, Porter; sounds reasonable, beats the more truthful confession 'I'm a horny slut at the moment who would jump your hard Cirronian body in a heartbeat and do things to you that would corrupt your innocent soul!'

Mel held her breath and waited for his response.

The Tracker, being The Tracker, persisted despite her objections. "I'm coming out there, Mel."

Coming was the only word her sexed-up brain heard at first. It took a moment for the rest of his words to sink in. "Cole! You can't!" She panicked. "I mean…what if something comes up..." Mel winced and shook her curls, "regarding one of the fugitives? You need to monitor your computer things…microwaves, hair dryers, George Foreman grills."

Cole chuckled. "Mel…" His voice was soothing and calm. "What is wrong?"

Mel sighed, deeply.

Cole heard it. "Mel?"

"Nothing is wrong, Cole. I'm just having a little trouble putting things in perspective, you know?"  

"No, I don't understand, Mel. Explain it to me. You've been acting very strangely the last few days."

"Cole…it's hard to explain. I just need a little time."

"Time for what, Mel?" He asked innocently.

Mel closed her eyes and whispered the truth. "Time to accept the fact that despite a kiss that curled my toes and melted my heart; you're not going to allow yourself to become distracted, no matter how much I might really want to…distract you," she admitted softly.

Silence answered her.

Mel squeezed her eyes shut and silently cursed her own actions. She shouldn't have told him the truth. What had she been thinking!

"I'll be there in a few minutes, Mel." Cole announced firmly. "We need to…talk."

Panic struck with lightning speed. "No, Cole! You stay there! I'll be fine. I just need some time to myself. That's one of the reasons I agreed to help Beth. I knew it would put some distance between us. I really need a little distance right now. Some time apart."

The silence was back but she could hear his steady breathing and knew Cole was still there.

"I don't want distance between us, Mel."

"You're the one who insisted we had to stay…friends, partners. And you were right, Cole." Mel tried hard to convince him as well as herself.

"Was I? I wonder." Cole replied simply in a wistful tone.

"Cole, I don't want you coming here tonight….I'm not feeling very…strong."

The Tracker became alarmed. "Mel, if you are feeling sick, I'm definitely coming."

Mel rolled her eyes and ran her hands through her wild curls. "Cole, I didn't mean that kind of strong…I meant I don't think I could…well…I might do something we'd both regret if you came out here."

"I'll be there to make sure you don't, Mel." The Tracker stated with typical logic.

He wasn't getting it, Mel thought. "Cole, I don't know how else to say this; you need to stay there, at The Watchfire. I'll be back tomorrow."

"Mel, I need to keep you safe."

The emotion in his words was endearing. Mel's lips curved at the sweetness of it. "I know." She answered softly. "And I need to keep you…" What was the right word? Innocent? Pure? He was a grown man who had fathered a child. Those weren't right. Clearing her throat, Mel added lamely, "undistracted." The spontaneous giggle that burst out of her mouth didn't come close to accurately depicting her true mood but Mel continued to chuckle while she debated the true state of her mind at that moment. Prognosis wasn't good, she decided with a second spurt of laughter.

Cole wore a perplexed expression, trying to gauge this new behavior from his Mel. "Mel?"

"Hmm?" She answered, smothering her inappropriate laughter.

"Have you been drinking?"

His question brought on another round of giggles. "Not enough." Mel took hold of her warped sense of humor and tossed back her curls. "Cole, there is nothing for you to worry about. I've had a couple of glasses of wine and I'm very tired, that's all. Tired and hot for you. "I'll be fine in the morning. I just need this time to chill out."

"Mel, we need to discuss this." The Tracker stated firmly, as firmly as a gentle Cirronian could state something.

Cole's voice was filled with sane reason; reason that struck Mel in her present mood, as somewhat irritating. She made a face at him that he couldn't see over the phone line and felt infinitely better for it; childish, but better.

"Cole, I'm not in the mood to talk." She declared.

Taken aback by that proclamation, The Tracker's expression was almost comical. "Mel? You're always in the mood to talk." He contradicted her gently.

She stuck her tongue out at him. The cat in her lap eyed her with an amused expression before closing his eyes and allowing the soft female human her idiosyncrasies.

"Not always, Cole." Mel denied with a sigh. Sometimes she was in the mood to do other things, like she was now. That was the whole problem in a nutshell. She'd had her fill of talk all too often lately, and found herself in some serious need of some damn action!


She cut him off. "Cole, please, just do as I say, I'm not up to this right now, I'm really not. Blame it on chasing alien fugitives, or the moon, or the alignment of planets, or karma, or whatever, but I'm not myself right now, and it's best if we spend a little time apart. I'll see you tomorrow." She promised softly, already regretting her tone with him.

"Yes, Mel." Cole's gentle voice was another caress. He disconnected the call and contemplated his next move. Mel had said she wasn't ready to talk to him. The Tracker had to respect her request, he knew. However, that didn't solve his problem of protecting her from Zin and any other fugitive who might come along and strike a blow at The Tracker by targeting his greatest weakness.

A slow smile began to spread across his handsome face. Mel had said she didn't want to talk. Okay, he wouldn't talk. He'd just stay in the shadows and watch her. If no one attempted to hurt her, then she would never have to know he had been there.

He'd borrow Jess' car. If he used hyperspeed to get there, he'd be too weak to use it again if it became necessary in combat. Decision made, the relieved Cirronian proceeded downstairs to beg keys from Jess.

"Jess, I need to borrow your car. I have to drive out to where Mel is staying."

Looking up from the handsome customer who had been flirting with her all evening, Jess' smug grin greeted Cole. "She forgot to pack you, didn't she?" Her eyes were sparkling in amusement and Cole couldn't help but return the affectionate gesture.

"She was in a hurry." Cole answered smartly.

Jess laughed. "I wondered how long you would allow her to disappear before you went after her."

"Mel believes she needs time alone, away from me." Cole replied with a shrug of his broad shoulders.

"Trust me, Cole. That is not what she needs from you at all, quite the opposite in fact." Jess looked up at the handsome Cirronian and winked.

Cole frowned. "What do you think she needs from me, Jess?"

Eyes sparkling, Jess grabbed a pad for ordering drinks and began to scribble furiously on it. "I'll make a list for you."

"Thank you, Jess." Cole responded politely with a broad smile.

"My pleasure." Jess giggled. "Now, you don't have to do them in the order I'm writing them, you understand, just make sure you hit most of them before the night's over."

Cole peered over her shoulder at the list, his eyebrow arched as he began to read. "Jess, will any of these make Mel's toes curl?"

"Number seven will, if you do it right." Jess informed him with a saucy wink.

Cole frowned as he read the list. "I'm not familiar with that word, Jess."

"Take a dictionary, because I'm not explaining it to you." Jess quipped.

"Perhaps I could help?"

Cole looked up at the customer Jess had been talking with when he had entered the Watchfire. "That would be very helpful, thank you."

"No problem. Adam Pierson, by the way, and you are?" He held out his hand waiting for the introduction.

"I am Cole." The Tracker took his hand and shook it, his even expression faltering for a moment. This human's life force was unusually strong. It was very odd. Cole had never felt anything like it before. He wasn't an alien, he was certain of that, but he was a very unusual human.

"You have a very strong life force." Cole informed the man, curious when he noticed the momentary surprise flash across the customer's face before it was quickly concealed.

"Do I?" Adam asked. "How fascinating." He commented drolly. "You pick up on life forces, a lot, do you?"

Cole responded with a quick grin. "It's a talent I have."

"You are a doppelganger for a friend of mine, you know. I almost thought you were him, playing a joke on me, but of course, you couldn't be." Adam remarked smugly. "You don't give off the same sort of life force he does."

Cole grinned. "I've been told I look very much like an actor named Troy Montana."

"Then there are three of you, because that's not my friend's name." Adam shook his head. "Strange, very strange."

"About number seven?" Cole inquired.

With wide eyes, Jess shook her erratic hairstyle, sending pieces of it flying in all directions and grabbed Cole by the hand. "I don't think that's such a good idea." She told him, ignoring the amused expression on Adam's face.

There was no way Jess could allow Cole to be humiliated by his ignorance in front of the other man. It wasn't fair to Cole. People didn't understand Cole. It was true, he was a bit strange and more than once she wondered herself why he didn't know certain things, but there was no way in good conscience Jess could allow Cole to demonstrate to Adam that he didn't know what number seven was!  Besides, Jess had a hard time believing Cole didn't know number seven! No man that handsome, his age, got through life without learning about number seven. Jess was certain he knew how to do it, he just didn't know the technical term for it.

She hoped.

For Mel's sake.

Cole allowed Jess to drag him to the door of the Watchfire, looking behind him once at Adam and giving the polite man a perplexed shrug. "It was nice to meet you." He yelled over the blonde's hairstyle, spitting out a stray piece of it that had landed in his mouth when she had pivoted back around.

"Jess, what about number seven?" Cole persisted, looking innocently at the petite blonde bundle of femininity.

Jess took a deep breath and stopped in front of the door, patting his chest comfortingly while she wrapped his scarf around his neck. Cole tended to be a bit sensitive to the cold. "Cole, I'm sure you know how to…it's probably just the exact terminology that you are having problems with." She answered brightly.

The Cirronian gave her a confused look. It was his Forrest Gump look.

"I'll get the dictionary. Wait right here." Jess flew up the stairs to find the damn dictionary, muttering under her breath the whole time. Mel really owed her big for this one! The things she did to keep her friends happy!

While Jess was tossing books around Mel's apartment, Adam Pierson made his way over to the door to stand beside Cole. "Might save time if you show me the list?" He remarked, taking another sip of his beer. "I've been around a while, not much I haven't seen or heard."

Cole pulled the list out of his pocket and handed it to the other man.

He watched as amusement danced across the polite stranger's face. "That pretty little vixen knows how to make a list."

"She and Mel frequently make lists." Cole informed him with a straight face.

"Hmm…there's enough here to keep a lucky man busy most of the night." Adam grinned.

Cole peered back over at the list, his finger tapping on one item. "Number seven? Are you familiar with the term?"

Adam grinned. "I believe so." He folded the list and handed it back to the man who could have passed for Duncan MacLeod on any day of the week. "Let's step out of the doorway, shall we?  I wouldn't wish for anyone to overhear and take this place for anything other than what it is."

By the time Jess had located the dictionary and made her way back down the stairs and to the front door, Cole was shaking Adam's hand and headed out the door. "Cole! Wait! Here's the dictionary!"

The Tracker turned back around and gave Jess a very adult amused smile. "That's okay, Jess."

Jess frowned and stood there clutching the dictionary to her buxom chest. "Bloody hell."

Adam waved a hand in front of her face, distracting her from Cole's departure. "My glass is empty." He said pitifully. "Wouldn't it be a lovely thing if a pretty blonde barmaid came along and filled it up?" He suggested hopefully.

Jess grinned and took his empty glass. "Lucky for you, I happen to know one."

Adam smirked, as he followed her back to his seat and waited for the pretty Jess to refill his favorite drink. "So…Jess…how long have you been making lists?"

Her eyes shot up to his.

Adam reached out and lightly caressed the top of her hand as she slid his beer across the bar toward him. He didn't release her, but held on gently. "I'm a graduate student." His eyes teased hers. "We are an organized lot, you know."

"Really?" Her eyes laughed into his.

"We love lists." He told her; one long finger lightly stroking the soft skin on the back of her hand. "We're also very good at following direction."

Jess grinned, laughing out loud. "I bet you are."

"What time do you get off work tonight?" He asked simply, releasing her hand, knowing when to push and when to sit back and let his chosen prey come to him.

Not a novice at dealing with men who hit on her, Jess leaned in his direction, treating Adam to a very enticing view of her cleavage before she smartly remarked, "Now, why would I tell you that?"

Adam gave her pert nose a tweak with his thumb and finger and replied honestly. "Because, vixen, I'm very proficient at number seven."

"Bloody hell." Jess sighed.

Adam Pierson took a long pull on his beer and winked at her. "I'll just sit here and wait for you to get off, no pun intended." He added with a devilish grin.

Mel filled her wine glass to the top, again, and indulged in a generous sip of it as she scratched Beth's cat's head.


Who named a cat Kolya? She muttered out loud. Beth, apparently, Mel chuckled, answering her own question as she grinned at the way the feline closed his eyes and purred loudly when she scratched under his chin.

When pressured to explain the feline's name, Beth had shrugged her shoulders, blushed a light pink and confessed to her old friend, Mel, that it was a Russian name and had something to do with the way the feline danced across the floor with obvious dark beauty and grace, and some soap opera she was addicted to when she was younger.

Mel looked down at the cat in question and grinned.  He truly was a beauty, but no matter how hard she tried to see it, he just didn't look Russian!

Forgetting her study of the handsome feline's heritage for the moment, Mel looked out the sliding glass door to the balcony beyond.

It was a beautiful night.

Cold, but beautiful; this far out of the city, you could see a million stars when it was clear.

Beth's hot tub was sitting in front of her, just beyond the doors, tempting her with its alluring call of soothing waters and promised relaxation.

Mel knew if any woman in the Chicago area needed some serious relaxation, it was her!

"What do you think, Kolya? Should I?" Mel posed the question, not really expecting an answer from the beautiful cat of dubious Russian heritage.

When he hopped down off her lap and gracefully danced across the carpet to the balcony doors, Mel found herself frowning. "All right. That was weird." Her curls spun as she shook her head.

Still, it would never do to argue with a feline, whether they were Russian or not. Mel had learned long ago, cats were wise and always right. If Kolya thought she should sink into a hot tub, who was she to argue?

Mel grabbed her wine glass as well as the rest of the bottle and headed toward the balcony. "Music, you think, Kolya?" She asked politely, stopping at the CD player just beside the door. "Hmm…let's see…what fits our mood tonight, Kolya?" She mused out loud as she perused Beth's varied CD selection.

"Nope, I don't see George Michael's, I Want Your Sex." Mel giggled.

Mel glanced down at the cat to find him giving her a patented feline look of disdain. "Okay, okay, sorry, it was just a joke." Mel stuck her tongue out at the cat and proceeded with her study of the titles in front of her. "Oooohhh, how about Celtic?"

The feline weaved in-between her ankles.

"I'll take that for a yes." Mel grinned, inserting the CD into the player and closing her eyes when the first sweet notes began to drift through the night. "Not bad, Kolya. Good choice."

Mel rewarded the feline with another stroke down his back before she opened the doors and stepped out into the cold night air. "Brrrrr," Mel shivered and removed the cover on the hot tub. "Okay, let's get this baby going before I turn into a popsicle."

Cole placed his hand in front of the doorknob and allowed a burst of energy to displace the locking mechanism before he stepped quietly into the apartment. He didn't wish to disturb Mel if she had already fallen asleep. He would just slip into her room, check to ensure she was unharmed, and then watch over her during the rest of the night. The Tracker planned to evade her detection and return to their apartment in the morning.

A lilting feminine voice caught him by surprise. The melody was beautiful. Cole turned toward the sound and discovered the CD player just a few seconds before he noticed Mel outside on the balcony, slipping off her silk robe and stepping into a hot tub.

The Tracker watched as Mel's lovely body was slowly immersed into the water.

His expression was one of surprise. It was quite cold outside and Mel had been quite naked.

Six candles spaced around the tub provided beautiful candlelight to illuminate Mel's soft white skin.

She had a beautiful back with gracefully feminine curves, and very long legs.

Cole's mind immediately returned to the list Jess had graciously made for him. It was looking better and better by the minute.

The sweet music filled the air as The Tracker approached the balcony sliding doors, affording himself a better view of Mel, to protect her, of course, he told himself as his neck stretched to see over the frame of the hot tub and into the rolling water it held.

Mel's head fell back against the frame and some of her more adventurous curls decided to decorate the surrounding area with strawberry-gold color.

Cole smiled at the sight. His Mel was so lovely.

A cat weaved between his ankles, interrupting his study of Mel. Cole glanced down and smiled at the feline so obviously taken with him.

The cat was pretty but Mel was prettier, so Cole's attention soon returned to the female lounging in the warm water.

Cole gave the feline an apologetic look and a shrug that offered no explanation as he ignored the cat's requests for more attention.

Feline pride no doubt greatly insulted, the cat gave up on the visiting male and jumped up on the couch to promptly take a nap.

Cole opened the sliding doors a few inches, turning the music down a notch so that Mel wouldn't notice the change in volume and listened to the sound of the hot tub and the night as he observed his Mel.

The combination was compelling, especially when his Mel was surrounded by the flickering beauty of candlelight.

Cole wasn't sure which one made her look more beautiful; candlelight or starlight.

He was discovering that he favored seeing Mel under both effects.

Naked was nice too, he decided when one slender arm rose out of the water and draped itself along the rim of the tub.

The Tracker experienced a sudden compulsion to feel her arms draped around him in the same manner Mel used after he had returned from a track and she had been worrying unnecessarily about him; only longer; with no clothes on.

Mel sighed at the totally luxurious sensation of hot water massaging tense muscles and stared at the stars above her. The contrast between the cold night air tickling her sensitive exposed skin and the liquid heat she was immersed in didn't do anything the least bit effective in suppressing her overactive libido, but it did feel damn good!

Looking up to the starry sky, Mel searched for where Cirron might reside and couldn't help but feel a deep sense of regret. "Oh, Cole…" she told the stars above her, "you really should be in this tub with me. You'd love it," adding softly, "and so would I." Mel closed her eyes and enjoyed spinning a sexual fantasy involving the hot tub, herself, and a certain Cirronian Tracker with beautiful eyes.

The Tracker considered the whispered words an invitation; one he had no plans to refuse.

He'd be better able to protect Mel from a closer distance anyway, he reasoned in a sensible fashion.

With his customary quiet stealth, the handsome Cirronian began removing his clothing.

The more clothes he removed, the quicker he moved about his task.

It was very cold.

Mel opened her eyes just in time to see the water cover Cole's chest, or most of it as he slipped into the tub across from her.

"Cole!" She shouted, jumping back in startled surprise as she crossed her hands over her naked breasts.

"Hello, Mel." The Tracker greeted her simply with his innocent smile.

Sputtering but not really making any coherent sound, Mel's hair began to dance in a radical manner that caught the Tracker's attention.

The innocent smile turned to an amused one.

As the warmth and temperature of the water began to register in his brain, Cole's amusement at Mel's nervous reaction faded and his own increasing pleasure began to take precedence over everything else. "Whoa!"

Mel sank deeper into the water and continued to stare in open-mouthed amazement at his presence in her hot tub. "Cole!" She managed to squeak again.

Energizing heat penetrated his form, raising his metabolism instantly. Cole exhaled deeply and grinned broadly at Mel. "Ahhhhhh….."

"Cole?" Mel watched him closely, noticing that the water was having more of an effect on him than she would have predicted.

He had taken warm baths before, Mel told herself. She had given him his first one in fact.

Soapy Chests and Huge Erections.

"Damn!" Mel muttered, attempting to push the memory back where it belonged.

But this was more than a warm bath; Mel reminded herself silently. This was in fact a hot tub. Heat. And heat meant energy.

To a Cirronian who had to bundle up in extra layers of clothing during a Chicago winter, the hot tub could be compared to a hot fudge sundae being served up to a woman suffering her worst case of PMS.

Or a night of unrelenting really good sex to a woman who hadn't had it in a while? Mel winced at that.

Forgetting her own nakedness for the moment, Mel reached out to Cole in concern. "Cole? You okay?"

Her hand touched his chest, brushing lightly against the dark hair.

Cole's eyes, dark and shining with some unnamed emotion, followed her hand as she made contact with his heated skin. "That feels good, Mel." He told her in a surprised whisper. "Touch me more, Mel."

Mel closed her eyes and took a calming breath. "Is the heat affecting you, Cole, more than a bath at the apartment?"

A huge grin answered her question first. "Yes, Mel!" A large masculine hand covered hers and brought it back to his chest. "I love hot tubs, Mel! We must get one of these for the apartment. Tomorrow." He demanded in his polite Cirronian way.

Despite her concerns, Mel couldn't prevent her quick responding grin. "We can't afford it and I don't have room." She informed him gently.

Mel wouldn't have thought it was possible for a face looking so entirely pleased to frown so quickly, but the frown disappeared as fast as it had appeared. "I'll make room, Mel, and you can stop paying me." He told her reassuringly. "We need this, Mel." He informed her as he shifted slightly, immersing more of his chest into the heated water. "Whoa!" He closed his eyes and continued to grin as the heat energized him.

He held Mel's hand against his chest, under the water.

Mel bit her bottom lip in indecision and watched Cole's obvious pleasure over the heated spa.

Sensing that Cole was so wrapped up in the pleasure the heat was giving him, he had forgotten he still held her hand, Mel gave the appendage a slight tug, fully expecting him to release it.

He squeezed it instead and moved her hand further down his chest, to his stomach and all those tempting taut muscles around it.

Her blue-green eyes grew huge as she watched him position her hand almost in his lap.

It was the fact her hand didn't encounter a tight little elastic waistband belonging to an expected pair of white briefs that prompted her squeal of surprised shock which precipitated her losing her seating in the hot tub.

Cole opened his eyes when he heard Mel's panicked yelp and felt her jerk her hand out of his.  He watched with a certain amount of surprise and an increasing amount of amusement as an array of slender arms and legs went flailing about in all directions before her strawberry-gold curls sank beneath the surface of the water.

With an arched eyebrow, The Tracker leaned forward and pulled her head out of the water.

Mel came up, sputtering and spitting wet curls out of her mouth. "Where are your briefs?" She coughed.

Cole cocked his head and watched her with a puzzled expression. That question had not been what he expected her to say after nearly drowning. "Over there, Mel; with my other clothes." He nodded his handsome head in the direction of a chair to the left of the sliding doors.

Mel used both palms to smooth back her wet curls and wipe the water out of her eyes before looking in the direction Cole had pointed out. "Oh." She answered nervously.

"There they are." She tried to sound calm. "On that chair, rather than on your…I mean…covering your….I mean covering you."

Huge erections. Mel closed her eyes and began to pray.

The Tracker studied Mel before gently brushing back a stray wet tendril of hair off of her cheek. "Are you okay, Mel?" His soothing voice asked.

Cole had moved in closer to her and it took a moment for Mel to realize that their naked bodies were almost touching.

"Sure…I'm fine. Really. I'm just fine." She lied, clearing her throat and inching backward slowly.

The Tracker followed her. "Are you sure, Mel? You seem tense."

"Tense? Me?" Her fake nonchalant smile wasn't working.

"Yes, Mel." Cole spoke gently, moving in her direction as she backed all the way up to the edge of the hot tub. He stopped a few inches from her.

Mel's back was up against the wall. Her heart was beating a hundred miles an hour.

Cole's handsome face was right in front of her.

Everything else about him was in front of her too.

Mel swallowed nervously and gave him a weak smile. "You don't have any clothes on, Cole."

"I know." He smiled sweetly. "Neither do you, Mel." He broke the news to her very gently.

She didn't say anything. She couldn't. Mel just studied his sweet handsome face for a moment before reaching out and twirling a loose curl off his forehead. It was irresistible and so was he. "You are so amazing." She whispered very softly.

He smiled for her.

Her heart did a little flip and she gave up fighting her desires. "Cole, you remember when I told you I didn't want you coming out here tonight because I might do something I would regret?"

"Yes, Mel."

"I'm about to do it." Mel whispered against his lips just before she covered them with hers and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, bringing her breasts in direct contact with that broad sexy chest of his.

The Tracker closed his arms around his Mel and enjoyed their kiss.

Mel's soft breasts felt wonderful against his heated skin. The Tracker pulled her closer.

Cole had thought kissing Mel on the dance floor had been indescribable, but it didn't even come close to what he was experiencing kissing a warm, naked Mel in a hot tub.

Cole kissed Mel a second time, very softly, very deliberately, and very effectively. His lips covered hers and Mel responded to the power behind the kiss on every level. The Tracker didn't give her a chance to consider stopping the sweet encounter.

Everything began to sizzle.

As if he immediately sensed she was going into overload, Cole softened the kiss and moved his wonderful hands to her throat and began a gentle stroking caress over her silky skin.

All earlier tension fled her body as he coaxed her smaller frame up against the wall of the hot tub. "Oh, Cole…your kisses do something to me. I can't explain it but I always crave more." Mel moaned quietly, biting her bottom lip nervously at the complete honesty of such a confession.

Cole's smile was amazingly gentle as his hand came up to heal the bruised lip. "Number one." His eyes were deep pools of affection and desire.

"Hmm?" Mel mumbled as he continued to caress her throat.

"The first thing you need from me…" he clarified, "kisses." Cole informed her with an indulgent smile.

"Of course," she agreed. "We discovered at the seminar that you have some pretty remarkable kisses in you." Bright eyes and a curving smile accompanied the caress she gave his handsome face. "Every woman loves to be kissed and yours carry more spark than most."

"Good. I like kissing you, Mel." Cole replied.

"And I like it when you kiss me, Cole." Mel admitted; her tone playful.

His smile reflected amusement seconds before Mel gasped as Cole picked her up and brought her nude body back into his strong arms. His dark eyes grew even darker as they dipped down to survey the tops of her breasts, watching the way the water gently lapped against the soft swells he held against his chest.

Nervous but still under a decidedly 'energetic' sensual spell, Mel found herself bolding asking, "See anything you like?"

The large Cirronian lifted his gaze and with laughter clearly shining in those dark depths nodded. "Yes, Mel."

Expecting the alien Tracker to make another comment or two, or even pose a question, Mel was further shocked when Cole lifted her several more inches and started stringing a trail of heated kisses down her throat and onto the tops of her breasts. When Cole's mouth expertly closed over her left nipple, Mel was so shocked and surprised by the lusty behavior, she went completely stiff in his arms. "Cole!"

The Tracker's lips released the delicate pink tip as he looked up at her. "Is there a problem, Mel?" He asked sweetly with concern tinting his voice.

A little embarrassed that she had overreacted to his newly discovered lovemaking skills, especially considering Cole was only giving her exactly what she had been dreaming about every night since she had found him, Mel shook her curls furiously and denied any upset reaction. "No. No problem."

Cole eyed her closely, his lips turning up at the corners. "Are you sure, Mel?"

Mel exhaled slowly and in a huff continued to deny any startled reaction had ever taken place. "Yeah, I'm sure, Cole. What problem could there be?" Determined to steer him away from her less than 'cool' reaction, Mel placed her hands on top of his broad shoulders and began tracing a path down his long muscular arms. By the time she had reached those marvelous hands of his, Mel took them into hers and slowly placed each one over a feminine breast.

Closing her eyes briefly at the flood of desire she always experienced when Cole touched her, Mel quickly lifted her lashes and reassured him of her willingness. "I want you to touch me; any way you wish to touch me, Cole."

The Tracker's relieved smile was huge.

Mel rather thought it matched the erection she could feel pressed against her.

Both were going to make her a very happy girl that night, she was certain.

Cole leaned in to give her another one of his kisses, capturing her lips quite easily.

Mel leaned right back into him, accepting the kiss for all it was worth.

Their amazing kiss was consuming her thoughts so thoroughly that when she felt a large masculine hand begin to part her thighs, it so surprised her, she jumped back, slipped and sank beneath the water for a second time.


She heard Cole's chastising voice as he pulled her up by the hair. Mel would have responded to the slight irritation in his tone immediately if it wasn't for the fact she had managed to swallow half of the hot tub water and felt compelled to cough and spit for a while first.

"Mel, when we get our own hot tub, I'm going to have to insist that you don't get in it unless I'm with you." The Tracker informed her in a firm voice. "You'll drown by yourself."

Indignant, Mel felt compelled to argue. "That's ridiculous, Cole." Another coughing spell interrupted her next words but she finally managed in a proud voice to claim, "I'm perfectly capable of sitting in a hot tub without drowning."

Cole cocked his head to the side and arched that sexy eyebrow of his. "You've almost drowned twice tonight."

"I was doing just fine until you hopped in." Mel muttered under her breath, flinging her wet hair back out of her face.

"You weren't doing fine, Mel. Look what just happened."

Mel took a deep breath; of air instead of water, which she found to be a nice refreshing change. "Cole, I was just a little surprised when you…touched me….there…while we were kissing. It made me lose my balance, that's all."

Cole considered her words. "You were surprised by Number five?"

"Number five?" Mel repeated at a complete loss of understanding.

"Yes, number five." Cole answered. "Was it too soon to try number five? You seemed to adjust to number one and number three so well, I assumed I could jump to number five, but if that isn't the case, Mel, you should tell me. It's not like I've done this thing often enough to know." The Cirronian pointed out calmly.

Mel stared at him with her mouth wide open. Finally she managed, "Number one?"

"Kisses." Cole smiled sweetly at her.

"Kisses." Mel repeated with a quick nod. "I remember." Starting to make sense of it, Mel narrowed her eyes and asked, "Number three?"

"Kisses on your female signatures." Cole replied with a huge grin. "I like that one quite a bit, Mel."

Mel nodded. "You have a list." She surmised in a flat tone.

The Tracker nodded and gave her a tender smile.

"And this list is comprised of?" Mel asked suspiciously.

"Things you really need from me other than time apart."

"Cole, did you make this list?"

The Tracker shook his head.

Realization struck. "Jess." Mel chimed at the same time Cole answered.

"Of course, Jess." Mel shook her wet curls and looked to the night sky. "Why am I not surprised?"

"It was very sweet of her, Mel. She worked very hard on it and with limited time."

"I bet." Mel groaned.

"It seemed to come to her quickly. Had you told Jess previously what you wanted me to do to you?" Cole asked curiously.

"No! Absolutely Not! I never.." Sputtering, Mel drew another calming breath.

"Oh." Cole accepted this. "Jess is very perceptive then, isn't she, Mel? Considering how well you liked number one and number three?"

Mel fought the wry grin but it didn't work. "Jess knows what a woman likes, yes, Cole; she is somewhat perceptive or one could even use the term, experienced."

"Of course we don't know about number five because you picked that moment to drown yourself; again." Cole felt obligated to point out.

Mel took offense. "I did not!" She shouted, placing her hands on her hips.

Cole glanced down at her and grinned. "Mel, you are tempting me to try number three some more."

Glancing down at her exposed breasts and then back up to Cole's laughing eyes; Mel realized the ridiculousness of their situation and gave into a deep sigh. "Number three, huh?"

Cole nodded; his face covered with a triumphant masculine grin.

"Number three wasn't half bad. I'm still rather partial to lots of number one."

The Tracker chuckled. "And number five?"

Mel's eyes gleamed with desire and expectation. "Well, I suggest you hold onto me really tight when you attempt number five again."

"I'll remember that, Mel." Cole grinned, his hand reaching out to stroke her throat lovingly before pulling her back into his arms.

Mel melted in his arms and accepted that she was going to make love to Cole that night, whether it was a good idea or not. They'd just have to deal with the wisdom of such a decision in the morning.

She consoled herself with the realization that Cole didn't appear to be the least bit opposed to it.

Not anymore.

After gifting her with several sizzling number ones, Cole lifted her chin with one finger and suggested, "We should get out of the hot tub after number five, Mel. Your core temperature is beginning to rise above acceptable levels."

"You have that effect on me." Mel quipped, nipping at his shoulder and indulging in her own particular version of number five.

His startled jump did her heart good. Payback was fun, Mel mused.

The Tracker's expression was one of surprised pleasure. "It just occurred to me, Mel, that this list might be nice when followed by both of us."

Mel tossed her head back in a very throaty, sexual laugh. "Yeah, making love often works that way." She told him in between two quick kisses.

Splashing him with water, Mel teased. "Are you sure you want to get out? You love the heat. I can stay in a little longer."

Cole gifted her with an appreciative smile but shook his head. "No, Mel. It is dangerous for you to stay in here too long. Besides….I need you out of the water when we try number seven."

"You do?" Mel grinned. "Why?"

The Tracker just smiled. "I need to see your toes. I have it on the best authority that if I do it right, they will curl."

Giggling, Mel threw herself back into his arms. "I don't know a woman who could say 'no' to that?"

Cole stepped out of the hot tub, carrying Mel in his arms.

"Hurry, Cole. It's really cold out of the water." She shivered, snuggling closer to him as he opened the balcony doors.

Mel assumed Cole would carry her into the bedroom, but the Cirronian stopped by the fireplace and placed her on the rug in front of it. "I want to see your skin by firelight, Mel." He whispered softly.

"Works for me," Mel quipped, thinking his gorgeous body was pretty beautiful by firelight itself. "So….about this mysterious number seven….are you going to find it distracting?" She teased, tossing her wet curls back.

Cole shook his head and chuckled. "I was wrong, Mel. I have been just as distracted by not mating with you as I would have been if we had mated. I've decided if I'm going to become distracted anyway, I would prefer to have a better reason for it."

She nodded her agreement. "I know the feeling. It's been pure hell for me these past few days. I want you, Cole. I've always wanted you." She confessed. "But coming so close to losing you and then getting you back only to know you couldn't….or wouldn't…let me…" Mel stumbled over expressing her feelings, "well, it has made the wanting far worse."

Mel traced the strong outline of his handsome face, cradling it in her palms for just a moment before she rose up and gifted him with several fleeting kisses that spoke so eloquently of love.

The Tracker smiled gently. "We should mate, Mel."

Grinning at his directness; it was just so Cole, she nodded her agreement. "Back to number seven, huh?" She suggested.

His grin was quick. "If you like."

"How do I know? I'm not even sure what number seven is! All I know is Jess came up with it and it's going to make my toes curl." Mel teased him, her eyes sparkling with humor and love.

"If I do it right." Cole added with a frown.

"I'm not worried about it, Cole." Mel replied confidently. "Any man who can learn number one, number three and number five so quickly will have no trouble whatsoever with number seven, I'm sure."

Suddenly it occurred to Mel that there were some numbers missing, "now that I think about it, what happened to two, four, and six?"

Cole sported a huge satisfied grin. "Jess said I could do them in any order I wished as long as I touched on all of them during the night. I chose to do them in order of prime numbers." The Cirronian informed her with a certain degree of pride.

"Oh." Her eyes sparkled. "I've never had a man make love to me mathematically before; can't wait." She chuckled enthusiastically.

"I also have it on good authority that there are enough items on the list to keep a man busy most of the night, so we really should get started, Mel." Cole pressed her into the rug and proceeded to practice number three some more.

Mel arched her back and smiled to herself. Well, he had said he was fond of that one.

"Okay," she found herself murmuring, "but if this is going to take the entire night, there's just one thing I need to ask you before we get started." She giggled, realizing that the bottle of wine she had consumed was probably affecting her more than she knew.

"Yes, Mel." Cole lifted his upper body off of her, supporting his weight on his hands so that he could look into her eyes when she talked to him. She had his full attention.

"I know this may sound silly, but it's been bugging me all night and I swear I just need a second opinion and then we can practice all those other lovely prime numbers."

The Tracker's smile was indulgent.

"All right, Mel, what is it?"

She crinkled her nose, turned her attention to the couch and asked, "Does that cat look Russian to you?"

The End

All Reviews appreciated !