Here Be Dragons, by John B. Rosenman
(Print and E-Book)
Also available at Amazon, Fictionwise, etc.
From space, the planet Mira looks safe and peaceful, but mysterious "dragons" slaughtered the fourteen members of the first expedition. Captain Jordan, leading the second expedition to investigate this tragedy, will do anything to avoid more bloodshed.
After their ship lands, they discover a lovely Eden. While there is no sign of the previous crew, soon a deadly snake enters the garden. Crew members start to die in horrible ways, and Jordan fears his officers have been replaced with clever imitations by an unimaginably alien monster with supremely evil powers.
The question is, what will happen when Jordan and the monster finally come face to face?
He smiled. The lieutenant was such a gentle, honest man, that she couldn't imagine him hurting a flea. With Rob Adams, what you saw was what you got. Unlike other men, he'd never hurt or disappointed her.
Still, if they were caught, their affair would probably bring them both a court-martial. So she had to be careful even with him.
Troubled, she turned back to the scope while his hands gently began to massage her shoulders. One descended and caressed her breast. She pulled away. Ordinarily she would have liked it, but something about him seemed wrong.
"Everything all right?" he asked.
She shivered. "I...I'm not sure. You seem different somehow."
"Different? What do you mean?" His hand found her breast and started to caress it again.
"I can't explain it. You're just...not the same."
His hand froze. He hissed, a strange sound that made her skin crawl. "No matter how hard I try," he said, "you never accept me."
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