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The Boundaries, Book #2

Lexxie Couper

Published 2016 by Book Boutiques.

ISBN: 978-1-944003-50-0

Copyright © 2016, Lexxie Couper.

All rights reserved.

Prologue

The Suck and Blow Inn fell silent seconds after Tornada stepped into its murky depths. More than fifty patrons—most with eyes tinged pink from a Bliss high—turned to watch his sauntering progress across the floor.

All took in the Jjor disrupter strapped to his thigh; a weapon banned in both the Inner and Outer Boundaries by the Unified Parliament. Tornada smiled to himself, enjoying the fear in the silence that followed him across the floor. Just the way it should be.

He stopped at the bar, resting his elbows on its grimy surface as he gave the Hetap behind it a level look. “I’m looking for a redheaded Raavelian female.”

The barkeeper poured a Jjor Slap and placed it on the counter between Tornada’s elbows. “Got a brunette Raavelian in Den Two and a redheaded Terran in Den Eight. Take your pick.”

Tornada raised the Slap to his mouth, letting the Hetap see the dagger sheathed under his armpit. “No. Raavelian. Red hair. Green eyes.” He took a drink. “Likely to rip your throat out if you look at her the wrong way.”

A shimmer of recognition flashed across the Hetap’s face and he licked his lips, suddenly on edge. “Psy Lyso’s slave.”

Tornada’s smile stretched wide. Excellent. “When was she here?”

The bartender glanced around the still silent inn, before returning his dull, mud-colored gaze once more to Tornada. “Almost a moon cycle ago.”

“Do you know where she is now?”

A slight hesitation followed, as if the Hetap weighed up something in his mind. “No.” He gave his head a sharp shake, multiple chins wobbling. “Lyso had a run-in with two mean looking bastards. Could’ve been Boundary Guardians.” He scrunched up his face. “One of them—a big fuckin’ Terran—had freaky yellow eyes.”

Tornada lowered his Slap and gave the bartender an impatient look. “The Raavelian?”

“Last I saw, she was walkin’ to an empty den with the same Yrathian that came in with the Terran. Those scarred-face bastards are meant to be impressive shit in the sack, I’ve heard. Don’t know what Lyso was thinking, giving up something so fine to a Yrathian.” The bartender shook his head again. “’Specially not one with the scars of a Master Pleasurer.”

An unexpected but familiar surge of jealousy ripped through Tornada but he ignored it, giving the Hetap a flat look instead. “Do you know who she left with?”

The bartender’s eyes narrowed. “Did Lyso steal her from you or somethin’?”

“No.”

“Why you after her, then?”

An image of Jaienna flashed into Tornada’s mind; long copper-fire hair fanning her bare shoulders as she crawled up the length of his body on all fours, her exotic green eyes promising aallll sorts of pleasure. “No reason.”

The Hetap raised his eyebrows. “Well, I know Lyso was pissed to lose her. He came storming out of Den Five, pissing blood and cursing the Terran. Seemed more annoyed about the Raavelian than his Bliss deal gone wrong.” A shudder rippled through the Hetap’s flabby frame. “Stupid, if you ask me. I’d rather cut off me own dick than piss off Hrung Crortek.”

Tornada turned and stared out at the hovering patrons, playing over everything the Hetap had said in his mind. He now had four leads: a Yrathian with the scars of a Master Pleasurer; a Terran with unusual eyes; the Bliss dealer, Psy Lyso, and the infamous Ornithion crime lord, Hrung Crortek, a vile creature who virtually owned the Outer Boundaries. Jaienna could be with any of them, none of them… or all four of them, depending on what she was after. Another wave of stinging jealousy spiked into his gut and he cracked the knuckles of both hands. Fuck.

He closed his eyes, an image of Jaienna filling his head immediately. A naked Jaienna straddling an equally naked and faceless Yrathian, her hips rolling backward and forward over his as she rode his cock. She let her head drop back, allowing the naked blue-skinned Xolotlan kneeling to her right to press his mouth to her arched neck, just as an aroused Hrung Crortek appeared behind her, snaking his clawed hands over her shoulders to cup and squeeze her perfect, heavy breasts.

Three of them? Where’s the

The image shimmered. Suddenly—still being fucked and fondled by the Yrathian, Xolotlan and Ornithion—Jaienna gazed up at a hulking Terran. A faceless Terran with eyes like burning yellow gold. Fuck me, her lips said as she rocked against the thrusting Yrathian. Fuck me now.

Searing heat shot straight to Tornada’s cock and he opened his eyes, cursing his over-active imagination. Four leads.

Turning back to the hovering Hetap, he leant across the bar. “You got a holo-generator here?”

“Den Eleven. End of the corridor. It’s ten thousand chits per session.”

Tornada straightened. “It’s mine for the next three hours.” Stepping away from the bar, he headed toward the sex dens. Four leads to follow with Jaienna at the end of one of them. Maybe. If he was lucky.

Stepping into Den Eleven, he removed a small transparent rod from a hidden compartment in his jacket and slid it into the holo-generator, standing still as the den pulsed with a vibrant purple light. A slight buzz filled the room—a sure sign the generator was black-market—and then a woman appeared before him, red hair a tumbled mass of copper-fire falling about her face and bare shoulders, green eyes flashing. “Hello, Tornada,” the holo-projection of Jaienna Ti said, voice tinny and hollow. “Shall we play?”

Chapter 1

Jaienna held her soft sigh in check, touching her fingertips to the scar on Zeric’s side. The moment they’d arrived back on his ship four days ago it had begun to heal. That hadn’t messed with her head. What had messed with her head was the silence. Silence that hadn’t changed in the entire time since she’d half-carried, half-led him to his quarters.

Four days of trying to make him talk to her, look at her. But he’d constantly refused and now here she was, almost begging him with her eyes to acknowledge she was there and he did little but stare at the far wall.

He was healing well. Too well. When she’d dragged him to his quarters four days ago he’d looked like shit. Every inch of him had been marred by bloody gashes or ragged bite marks. None of those gashes seemed to exist anymore. With the exception of the faded wound in his side and the brooding silent treatment, the Terran Boundary Guardian was healed.

He’s not just Terran, Jaienna. You have to remember that.

No, he wasn’t. Zeric was something else altogether.

Werewolf.

She lifted her gaze to his face, noting the studied control there. His jaw was clenched, his nostrils flaring slightly with each breath he took. Breaths, she couldn’t help but notice, long and somewhat shaky.

“Were there many other werewolves on Old Earth?”

His jaw bunched more at her question, his eyes glinting gold fire. “Not that I knew of.”

Her heart slammed into her throat. He’d answered her? Gods, he’d actually answered her?

He shifted slightly on the edge of his bunk, his muscles coiling and flexing under his skin. “None.”

Jaienna caught her bottom lip with her teeth, willing him to look at her. She needed him to make some kind of connection with her. Fuck, four days ago she’d saved his life and given him her heart.

Is that really what you’re worried about? His lack of manners?

No. She was worried that he wouldn’t talk. Or look at her. Or relax.

He should be able to relax now. They’d defeated Crotek and were safe on his ship. Surely what they should be doing was relaxing in each other’s arms? And then maybe something not quite relaxing but just as—

“I shall deposit you on Spaceport Ry’l as soon as possible,” Zeric suddenly spoke, his voice low. “Until then, it is safer for you to keep away from me. In Jak’s quarters.”

Jaienna’s eyebrows shot up. She stared at him, her mouth falling open. “Jak’s what?” Her fingers hovered over the scar beneath his ribcage. “And where?”

He turned his head a fraction more away from her. “Jak’s quarters. It will be safer there.”

“Safer for whom?”

Zeric didn’t answer.

A dull beat thumped in Jaienna’s temple and she settled back onto her heels, studying him. “Safer for whom, Zeric?”

He moved his stare back to her face, his eyes fixing on hers with an unwavering intensity. “You.”

She let out a sharp snort, crossing her arms over her chest. “Oh, of course. Me. Why didn’t I think of that? Oh wait, because four days ago I fought off half of Crortek’s personal guards, killed a Xolotlan and destroyed a sex den saving you, that’s why. Because I’m an Intel-Patrol Corp. assassin, that’s why.”

“It’s not the same, Jaienna,” he snarled through clenched teeth. “You saw what I did in Crortek’s den. What I became. I have no control of it.”

“So get some,” she snapped back. “I’m not scared of you and I’m not leaving you. If you want me out of your life just say so, but don’t hide behind the animal you are.”

“You should be scared.”

The words burst from him in a roar, so forceful Jaienna felt her hair blow back from her face. He glared at her, his eyes no longer human. His nostrils flared, his chest heaving as he sucked in breath after breath. Beads of sweat popped out on his forehead, trickling down his temple.

Jaienna didn’t move. Her heart slammed into her throat, but she didn’t move. If she moved now, it really would be all over. She had to show him now she wasn’t going anywhere. “I’m not,” she said, keeping her voice calm. Steady. “Why would I be scared of the man I—”

He roared again, smashing his palms against her chest and driving her backward. She slammed into the ground, the back of her head striking the cold metal with such force her teeth clicked shut and black stars erupted in her vision.

Another roar ripped through the room and she blinked, pain blurring her vision as she watched Zeric leapt at her.

But it wasn’t Zeric. He’d transformed.

Massive claw-tipped feet punched the ground either side of her hips and her head. She scurried backward, staring up at the animal.

He snarled, a low growl of cold menace. Teeth the size of her fingers glinted in the room’s low light as his muzzle wrinkled. His wild stare tracked her frantic retreat.

“Zeric,” she whispered, shaking her head. “Zeric, don’t.”

He lifted his head and snarled again, stalking toward her with deliberate intent. His body continued to shift, to change, his muscles coiling with each step. Growing bigger, longer before her eyes. The dense grey fur of his coat rippled, his claws scraped on the floor, the scratching sound like steel on steel. Jaienna’s pulse quickened.

Druentia wept, no.

“Zeric,” she breathed. “You need to—”

A shudder wracked through him, a wild convulsion, and suddenly he was Zeric again. He stood motionless, staring at her, his eyes wretched, his chest heaving.

Jaienna swallowed, her mouth dry. She parted her lips, ready to say his name one more time, to let him hear she wasn’t afraid.

And let out a cry of dismay instead when he turned and ran from the room.

“Shit.” She scrambled to her feet, her head a world of black ache, her heart smashing against her breastbone. Running out into the Reaper’s corridor, she looked left, then right. Where did he go?

“Computer, where is Guardian Arctos?”

Guardian Arctos is in the brig

Jaienna’s scowl turned into a grimace and she dragged her fingers through the tousled mess of her hair. He’d shut her out. Again. After everything they’d been through, he’d turned from her when she knew he needed her the most.

Fuck it. She’d had enough.

She started storming toward the brig, her fists bunched and jaw set. It wasn’t just that he’d run away from her. It was that he was running away from himself. For the second time in her miserable existence, she’d let a man into her heart and he’d thrown it back at her. But she wasn’t taking it. Not without a fight.

As expected, the brig door was locked when she arrived. Behind its solid steel construction, Jaienna could make out very faint sounds of movement. Violent movement.

A frown creased her brow and she stared hard at the door. What is he doing in there?

A shuddering thud rocked the ship, as if something very large and very heavy smashed against the door. Jaienna flinched and for a second an image of a massive beast covered in gray fur filled her head—a memory, clear and vivid. Zeric Arctos’s other form.

Her hand stole to her hip and she bit back a curse. She’d left her gun in her quarters.

Your gun? Since when have you needed your gun to deal with Zeric?

Jaienna’s chest grew tight. Since his control of the werewolf lurking in his blood grew tenuous?

Since the second you first met?

A black scowl fell over her face and she shook her head, stepping up to the door’s control panel. She didn’t need a gun around Zeric. Whatever had just happened, whatever was happening to him now, he wouldn’t harm her. He’d stopped himself back in his quarters and he would stop himself again.

You sure?

Her fingers itched for her weapon again, all the more so as a very low, very deep growl emanated from behind the steel before her. Something stood on the other side, something with sharp fangs and a crushing jaw. Aware of her.

Waiting for her.

For Druentia’s sake, Jaienna. You survived the Raavelia Alpha slave camps. Nothing can be as bad as that.

Still, her fingers trembled as she placed them on the control panel, her mouth drier than the Hetap desert as she began to hack the Reaper’s security system.

The codes were complex. Very complex. Each one folded in on itself until the locking mechanism was an intricate knot of threaded commands and sub-commands. Five times Jaienna was denied access. Five times. Kron would be mortified if he ever knew. Each time she thought she had it, a sequence revealed itself in a twisting, taunting string. Teasing her.

Narrowing her eyes, Jaienna focused closer on the panel. Her fingers danced across its surface in a blur, fighting the threaded code.

Another growl—louder, deeper—came from behind the door and a prickle of unease ran down Jaienna’s spine. Her ass clenched and she swallowed down a sudden lump in her throat. There was no denying the growl’s message. She was being warned: Go away.

Staring at the door, she shook her head. “No.”

The growl became a snarl and Jaienna’s heart hammered.

Go away.

“No.”

Her fingers blurred across the control panel again, a fine sheen of perspiration breaking out on her forehead. The snarl continued on the other side of the door and in her mind’s eye Jaienna could see the animal—its head level with hers despite standing on all fours, sinewy muscles bunched and ready to leap, wicked teeth bared, golden eyes locked—

The door slid open with a soft swoosh.

To reveal a sweat glistening Zeric on the other side. A naked, sweat glistening Zeric.

Waiting for her.

Jaienna throat clamped shut. Oh, shit.

Dilated golden eyes bored into hers, burning with fevered fury.

The werewolf’s eyes.

Their hypnotic power was undeniable; she felt like an animal—small and vulnerable—under their glowering weight. She sucked in a sharp breath, tasting Zeric’s sweat on the air…

And then, with inhuman speed, he leapt at her.

Her back smashed against the corridor wall, her feet fumbling over the floor as Zeric’s solid weight drove her back. The breath burst from her lungs, captured by Zeric’s mouth as it took possession of hers.

His tongue plunged past her lips, brutal and dominating. He snatched her wrists and shoved them against the wall beside her head. His hard body, rippling with muscle and slicked with sweat, slammed into hers. The massive length of his rigid cock ground against the soft curve of her mons and she let out a short cry, wet heat crashing through her. Oh, gods.

The mouth on hers grew wilder. He bit at her bottom lip and Jaienna tasted the copper tang of fresh blood on her tongue mere seconds before he laved it away. He dragged her hands above her head, jerking her arms straight, his grip on her wrists cruel. Sharp spears of pain shot down her forearms and Jaienna moaned. Not from discomfort, but utter pleasure.

Zeric caught the low, raw sound with his plundering mouth, sucked it from her body just as he rammed her wrists together and held them—bone to bone—in one large, inescapable fist.

For a heavy second, long enough for Jaienna to hear her heart beat twice, he stared down into her face, eyes dilated. Wild.

Animalistic.

“God save me,” he groaned. “I can’t stop.”

Jaienna pushed her shoulders to the wall and her pussy to his cock, rubbing her sex against his swollen, throbbing balls. “Good.”

With a snarl, he grabbed at her trousers, tore the fly open, and shoved his hand between her thighs. His fingers slid down the shaved hood of her pussy—like steel on velvet—and then he was in her. Two long fingers. Wriggling. Delving. Conquering.

Jaienna arched, her back a severe bow as she rammed her shoulders harder to the wall and her sex harder to his hand. She wanted him to fill her. Not just with his hand, but with his body, his engorged cock.

Rolling her hips back and forth, she ground the swollen button of her clit on the base knuckle of his middle finger, gasping as beats of liquid heat pulsated between her thighs. She clenched her fists, riding each fluttering wave as she rode his hand. Her body cried out for more. All her life she’d been a creature of sexual pursuits, driven to keep her and her sister safe in the slave camps through her unique ability. Sex was just a tool. Once she’d dared believe otherwise and was proven wrong. Until Zeric entered her fucked-up life.

Zeric. The only person impervious to her planted suggestions.

The Terran with the strange beast in his blood.

A deep growl sounded low in his throat as though to prove her tumultuous thoughts. His unusual eyes still held her, keeping her imprisoned. They bored into her, a smoldering drill targeted on her soul. His fingers sank into her sex, as imprisoning as his eyes, stroking and squirming until Jaienna felt the muscles of her pussy constrict.

No.

She didn’t want it to end yet. Not after being deprived of his touch for so long.

She jerked her hips back and his fingers slid free of her gripping sex, leaving her feeling empty. “Fuck me, Zeric,” she demanded, voice a husky whisper. “Impale me with your cock and fuck me until we’re both drained.”

Zeric stared at her with those unnerving golden eyes, silent. The hand pinning her wrists to the wall tightened. Glistening with sweat and coiled to perfection, he closed the small distance she’d made between them. He didn’t say a word as his free hand—the one only seconds earlier he’d buried in her sex—reached out, wrapped around the front of her vest and tore it open.

Her breasts tumbled free, the cool air of the brig like ice on her flushed skin. Her nipples pinched into painful tips, though Jaienna doubted it was the cool air that caused them to do so. Zeric’s burning gaze studied them so thoroughly she could almost feel it. She sucked in a long breath, her pussy clamping and her pulse pounding. Tears of Druentia. She was about to come and all he was doing was looking at her. “Touch me, Zeric.” The words burst from her dry throat. “Gods, please. Touch me.”

Zeric’s lips curled away from his teeth in a slow, recondite smile and for a split moment Jaienna swore they were longer. Sharper. She sucked in another breath and her body filled with its scent. The werewolf’s. Musky. Carnal. Powerful. Her heart leapt into furious flight and her womb flooded with wet heat. “Oh gods…”

“Deities have nothing to do with me, Jaienna,” Zeric murmured, drawing his head closer to hers. With deliberate purpose, his left hand covered her right breast. Squeezed it. Owned it. Ribbons of scorching pleasure stripped through Jaienna’s body, from her breast straight down to her sodden sex and she gasped. Zeric stared into her face, eyes burning. “If I don’t let you go now, you’ll soon know why.”

Jaienna swallowed again, the pressure of his hand on her breast, her aching, eager nipples between his knuckles, making her legs tremble. “I don't want you to let me go, Zeric. I don’t care what you become. The beast… the werewolf… doesn’t scare me. We can deal with it together.” She shook her head. “Just don’t shut me out. Please.”

“You should be scared, Jaienna.” Zeric’s nostrils flared. “You should be petrified.” And he grabbed the waistband of her trousers in his fists and tore it apart.

He was on his knees, hands gripping her now bare hips, fingers clenching her ass before Jaienna drew breath. Fervent lips feathered her smooth mons, hard thumbs pressed her hipbones and Zeric’s tongue plunged between her thighs, finding her clit immediately.

Jaienna threw back her head. “Fuck.”

A deep rumble vibrated low in Zeric’s chest, though whether it was a chuckle or growl she couldn’t tell. His lips and tongue suckled on her sex, savage and hungry, as though he was starved and she his only source of life.

She knew how he felt. It was only his tongue in her folds but she tingled and trembled—infused with energy beyond the norm. Truly alive. Thanks to Zeric. Being in the same room, breathing the same air…

Oh, Jaienna… when did you fall so deep?

Teeth, sharp and even, closed down on her throbbing clit and Jaienna cried out, the question forgotten. She knotted her fingers in the tangled strands of his hair and pushed her hips forward, harder against his mouth.

Strong, large hands moved to her thighs and her legs were shoved apart, exposing her wet sex further to his tongue and teeth. He sucked at the soft, satiny lips, flicked at the tiny nub of her clit with the tip of his tongue until Jaienna cried out again. “Yes, Zeric.” She tugged on his hair even as she pushed his head harder to her pussy.

His teeth worked her sensitive sex. Mauled it. His hands gripped her ass, squeezing each cheek with brutal force and she wanted… “More, Zeric. Give me more.”

And he did. With a violent jerk he wrapped her legs around his head, supporting her thighs on his broad shoulders as his tongue plunged into her heat.

It wasn’t his cock but Jaienna screamed all the same. Screamed his name as tight, blistering waves of wet release crashed through her. From her. Lapped eagerly away by Zeric’s masterful, punishing tongue. “I’m coming. Gods, I’m coming.”

He didn’t pause, his mouth assaulting her sex like a wild animal devouring its prey. Untamed.

A chill rippled up Jaienna’s spine, delicious and wanton. Dropping her head, she looked down at the man between her thighs…

To find Zeric’s already massive frame growing.

Jaienna tensed. Shit. He’s changing again. Fear stabbed at her heart even as her sex pulsed and constricted from the most brutal orgasm she’d ever experienced. Druentia wept. He’s changing.

Still her pussy fluttered. Wanting his cock where his tongue now was. “Zeric…” she managed to moan, riding the crest of each powerful wave with almost breathless craving. He was becoming the werewolf—the strange Terran beast—between her thighs and still she wanted more. She wanted… “Zeric.”

Nails that felt like claws sank into the flesh of her ass as Zeric fed from her sex.

Incapable of stopping him and unwilling to do so, Jaienna closed her eyes and held on. Whether man or beast, he was taking her to a place she’d never been. She wanted to go there so, so much. She clenched her fists tighter on hair now more like fur and rammed her head back into the wall. Wanting it all. “Oh my animal, yes.” The words, softer than a whispered breath, slipped from her dry, parted lips.

Yet Zeric heard them.

And reacted.

He reeled away, scrambling backward until he stood upright, broad chest heaving, golden eyes dilated and haunted.

Jaienna took a step forward, her body still in the throes of its consuming orgasm. “Zeric? What—?” He stood before her, bulging muscles contorting under skin now covered in a million tiny strands of fine, gray fur. “Zeric?”

His low growl froze Jaienna in her tracks. “Don’t.” The word was thick, as if it struggled to form in a mouth filled with long sharp teeth. Smoldering werewolf eyes held her as he shook his head.

“But Zeric,” Jaienna began, before a violent shudder wracked his body and he folded over, the muscles under his skin writhing and bunching together.

Jaienna stared, heart hammering, pussy still fluttering. By the Gods. Was he fighting the change? Or succumbing to it? “Zeric?”

Another shudder rocked his body, and another and another. Then he was standing again, naked and human. The Terran Boundary Guardian once more. “Get out, Jaienna,” he said, nostrils flaring. “If you care for me at all you’ll do as I say. Get out.”

She looked at him. Felt pain, anger and contempt in his stare. Felt his hungry craving as well. The cabalistic, undeniable desire to fuck her.

The muscles in her pussy fluttered and she almost took a step forward. Almost.

Zeric’s eyes turned murderous, as if he knew what she wanted to do. “Get out, Jaienna,” he repeated, voice flat and utterly cold. “Now.”

She lingered for a second and then fled the brig, heart beating so hard it hurt.

The door shut behind her and she closed her eyes, the pulse between her thighs still beating, regret and misery threading through her veins. “Damn you, Arctos,” she whispered seconds before a long, low howl rose above the low thrum of the ship’s engine. From the brig.

From Zeric.

From the animal inside him.

* * * *

Hrung Crortek turned from the projected holo-image of Psy Lyso’s dismembered torso shimmering above his desk, a satisfied smirk playing over his lipless mouth. It was a well-known fact that anyone who displeased him died. Why the fat Xolotlan thought he’d be any different was beyond Crortek. Lyso’s stupidity had brought chaos to The Pit. Chaos and destruction. Whether a successful Bliss dealer or not, he had to be punished for that.

With a contemptuous snort, the Ornithion moved across his private suite, fingering the long, jagged scar crossing his cheek as he went. Close to twenty of the tiny, steely scales on his face had been ripped from his flesh, a permanent reminder of the man responsible. Stopping at the far window, Crortek stared out at the flashing lights of Pellaxion Four’s Pleasure District, his own pleasure from Psy Lyso’s torturous death forgotten.

He traced the rude scar again with a hooked claw, white eyes narrowing to slits as he drew an image into his mind of its creator.

Zeric Arctos.

The smirk on Crortek’s mouth turned to a snarl, revealing row upon row of needle-sharp teeth in the window’s reflective surface. The crime lord stared at his reptilian reflection, seeing the glowing golden eyes of the Terran Boundary Guardian instead. Seeing them change until they were the eyes of a savage animal unlike any he’d seen before. An animal capable of beating him.

Zeric Arctos.

The scar seemed to burn under Crortek’s clawed finger at the name, as though to mock him.

Zeric Arctos.

Spinning around, Crortek stared at the holo-image of Lyso’s bleeding, ruptured body again. “It will be you there soon, Arctos,” he hissed, the spines on his back flaring. “I will find both you and the Raavelian slut and make you watch as I tear her limb from limb. Then it will be just you and me. I have great plans for you, Arctos.” A cold smile stretched his mouth and he dragged his claw down the length of the scar on his cheek once more, staring at the suspended hunk of dead meat that had once been his top Bliss dealer. “Great plans indeed.”

Chapter 2

The chain felt heavier than normal. Zeric studied it in his hand, running the pad of his thumb across one fat, solid link. The walk from the brig to his quarters had been a torturous test of willpower, the desire—no, the need—to go to Jaienna like the necessity to draw breath: undeniable. Yet deny it he had and now here he stood, his blood still boiling, the beast still simmering in his veins, snarling for release.

He closed his eyes for a moment and saw the human hands at the end of his arms change, watched his blunt fingernails turn to claws. His heartbeat tripped and he snapped his eyes open. Jezu, what the fuck was going on? Once, only anger freed the beast in his blood but since he’d met Jaienna Ti… A shudder wracked his body as the beast roared and flexed within. Since the Raavelian entered his world his tenuous control on the ancient Terran curse was weakening.

With every molten, explosive orgasm she wrenched from his body, with every drop of cum she milked from his cock, the beast grew stronger, wilder, until it threatened to take over with just the faintest breath of her scent. And then she’d saved him from Crortek.

He knew she didn’t care what he became, but when he became the beast, he didn’t know himself. When the beast took over he became a creature ruled by base instincts, not the beating of his human heart. He didn’t like that creature. Didn’t want to be that creature. Not at all. But he didn’t seem to have a choice anymore.

An image—brutal and horrendous—flashed into his head: his ex-wife, Leyna. Dead and mutilated on their bedroom floor.

Sharp pain wrenched at Zeric and he gripped the chain harder, nails digging into the flesh of his palms with agonizing force. Leyna knew all too well what the beast was capable of doing, what its base instincts made him do. Leyna and her lover.

A growl rumbled low in his throat and Zeric dropped the chain. He was a fool to think he could have a life again, a life with a woman who loved him. No matter how much his body wanted her, no matter how much his heart wanted her, Jaienna Ti was off-limits. Leyna’s deceptive blood on his hands he could live with, just. But Jaienna’s…

He dragged in a long, steadying breath and the soft, musky scent of her sex, so recently pressed to his mouth, invaded his body. His cock twitched between his thighs and he scowled. The sooner they docked at Ry’l the better. The isolated spaceport was the “regroup” location whenever he and Jak had an unforeseen separation on a mission and Zeric had no doubt he would find his partner and Jaienna’s sister there. He would see Jaienna off the Reaper without hesitation and he and Jak could returned to task. Their orders to bring in Hrung Crortek still stood, regardless of the fuck-up on Pellaxion Four. The only way to do that was to get rid of all distractions.

He drew another breath and Jaienna filled his highly tuned senses again, making his cock pulsate harder. Hungry, eager and deprived.

Jezu, Arctos. Don’t you ever

“Incoming communication. Guardian Thorson.

Zeric started, the sound of the Reaper’s computer cutting his self-disgust short. Moving from the bed, he snatched up a pair of discarded trousers, shoved his legs into them and then stormed across to his communications station. “Receive.”

“Hey, partner.” Jak’s voice emanated from the com-link, its boyish tone belying the Yrathian’s lethal edge. “Where the fuck are you? I’ve been stuck here on Ry’l forever, waiting for you and Jaienna to turn up.”

Zeric’s mouth stretched into a caustic grin. “You’ve been stuck there for what, three hours max? And something tells me you’re not in any hurry for me to get there.”

Jak Thorson wasn’t fooling anyone. Raavelians were his one weakness and Jaienna’s sister was a perfect example of her species: blonde, violet-eyed and smoldering with sensuality. Her face had been hideously scarred while Crortek’s slave, but Zeric suspected Jak would pay for that scarring to be removed, if he hadn’t already.

He shook his head. The Unified Parliament’s best Boundary Guardians brought to our knees by two tiny Raavelian sisters.

“How far away are you?” Jak asked and Zeric didn’t need to see his partner’s face to know just how deep Jak had fallen. Jak was a romantic. A romantic capable of killing a fully armed Boaronian in half a second with his bare hands admittedly, but a romantic nonetheless. Beautiful, victimized, enslaved Bhelais would be a challenge too tempting for Jak’s heart to resist.

A vivid image of Jaienna in the throes of sexual rapture suddenly filled Zeric’s head and he suppressed a sigh. Two sisters. Just two sisters… “Four clicks,” he answered, pushing Jaienna from his mind. “We’ll be there within two day-cycles. Is Bhelais well?”

Jak’s pause said more than words ever could. “She has some… unusual tastes,” he answered, and Zeric was amazed to almost hear embarrassment in Jak’s voice. “How ‘bout you, partner? Is Jaienna being nice?” There was another pause, this one heavy and pointed. “Or are you back in those chains again?”

Zeric gave the com-link an impatient scowl. “As soon as I arrive in Ry’l you and I are going after Crortek again, Jak. I hope all those hours between the sheets hasn’t turned you soft.”

Jak chuckled, the sound somehow mirthless and strained. “Far from it, partner. Far from it.”

“Hrmph.” Zeric shook his head. “You just better be ready to go when I get there. No excuses and no passengers. Jaienna and Bhelais stay on Ry’l. Understand?”

“I understand you need to stop letting the beast in your veins control your whole ph’ekn life before the best thing that’s ever happened to you gets the shits and fucks off.”

Cold anger ripped through Zeric and he clenched his jaw. “What I do with my personal life is none of your business, Thorson. I’ll be there within a day. Be ready.” He punched the com’s activation key, simmering with rage as he killed the connection. A raw sigh left him and he stared out the port window at the blackness of empty space.

the best thing that’s ever happened to you

I don’t care what you become, Zeric… the beast… the werewolf… doesn’t scare me

Pulse pounding in his ears, Zeric studied the chains hanging from the wall above his disheveled bed.

I don’t care what you become, Zeric… Don’t shut me out. Please

He’d run from what he was his whole life.

Aren’t you tired of running, Arctos?

Throat tight, chest tighter, he turned, walked across the room, through the hatchway and out into the corridor. Jaienna’s quarters were on the other side of the Reaper—exactly sixty-nine steps away. There was a dark irony in that small fact, an irony that had tortured him night after night, hour after hour since he’d denied his body what it wanted more than anything else.

The Reaper’s engines hummed as he moved through the ship, a low sound accompanied by an even lower vibration that set his nerves alert.

Sixty-nine steps.

Sixty-nine steps to release. Sixty-nine steps to acceptance.

Sixty-eight steps later, he stood staring at a closed door, muscles tighter than Elaxian steel.

Even through the heavy metal door he could sense her. The delicate, clean scent of her skin; the somehow exotic spice of her hair, all mingled with the musky undertones of her sex. An intoxicating combination, leaving him reeling, aroused and petrified all at once.

He wanted nothing more than to open the door, throw her on her bunk and bury his hard, aching cock in the tightness of her pussy. Wanted to feel the slick folds of her sweet sex engulf him completely. She could. She had. Unlike any other female he’d been with, she fit him to perfection.

An image from a dream flitted into his head—their bodies entwined on the floor of his quarters, her wrists encased in the shackles of his chains as he slid into her sodden slit, the bulbous head of his cock parting her velvet nether-lips as she used those very chains to lever herself from the floor and impale herself on his cock’s long, rigid length.

Heat lashed at his body.

Every night since leaving Pellaxion Four he fucked her in his dreams. Every day he fought to erase the dream from his mind. Every day he failed, still hungry for the taste and feel of her.

Zeric closed his eyes and, seeking control, filled his lungs with a deep, slow breath.

Again, Jaienna’s scent filled him.

Again, his cock throbbed.

And the beast stirred.

Rip open the door. Throw her to the floor and fuck her. Drive your cock into her sweet cunt, her tight ass and own her. She is yours. Take her. Take her every time and anyway you want. Listen to her screams as you fill her cunt. Mark her so everyone will know she is your property. Your bitch. Mark her so no one will dare look at her but

Zeric’s eyes flung open and he stared hard at Jaienna’s door, chest heaving with one sucked-in breath after another. Jezu. What the fuck was that? Who the fuck was that?

Him? Or the werewolf?

You, a grim voice whispered deep in his mind. You are the beast. You cannot be divided. What you are is what you are. A creature of base hungers. A creature that kills. A creature that fucks

Of its own accord, his hand reached for the locking panel, the creamy taste of Jaienna’s pussy already on his lips, the tang of her blood in his throat.

Stop.

Zeric jerked his hand from the door, hooked claws sinking into the flesh of his palm. Pain like a slicing blade tore up his arm but he ignored it.

What had he been about to do?

“God, Arctos,” he muttered, staring hard at Jaienna’s door and seeing the werewolf stare back.

His body ached. His cock throbbed. The blood in his veins ran wild and thick. But above it all, was the pounding beat of his heart, the one organ still connected to his soul—his soul—not the beast’s. And that one organ, so small yet so vital, told him exactly what to do.

With one last look at the closed door, he turned and ran for the brig at the far end of the ship.

He wanted Jaienna. Not just to fuck, but for life.

And because of that, his heart wouldn’t let him anywhere near her.

For her sake… and his.

* * * *

Jaienna heard him go. Heard the almost inaudible slap of his bare feet on the cold floor.

“Zeric…” A numb heaviness settled over her heart and she rested her forehead against the chilly steel door of her quarters.

She’d known the second he’d arrived. It wasn’t just the way her body had begun to tremble, the way her nipples had pinched into rock-hard peaks longing to be suckled. Nor was it the way her pussy pulsed and grew wet as she detected his somehow carnal scent. It was the way her chest pulled tight and her stomach turned into a churned mess of fluttering nerves.

The second he’d stopped on the other side, she’d crossed to the door. Stood there. Waiting. Ready to give herself to him utterly and irretrievably.

She’d been a sex slave, an Intel-Patrol Corp agent and an assassin. She knew the wretched vileness of the Outer Boundaries. Knew it firsthand. Life was harsh and brutal and only the heartless survived it. Better to be a ruthless assassin than a woman capable of feeling anything. Raq Tornada had taught her that lesson all to well when she’d begun to forget it. Being dead inside meant you couldn’t have your heart ripped out. And she’d survived that way for a long time. Until Zeric came along and changed it all. Or so she had thought.

But it wasn’t to be so.

She closed her eyes, a pain unlike any she’d experienced before tearing at her heart. He’d rejected her. Zeric had rejected her.

There was no point staying any longer.

It was time to go.

Chapter 3

Come back here, Jak,” the husky voice called from behind him, low and oh so teasing.

Jak Thorson stopped at the entry hatch of his cell, the low hum of Ry’l’s sub-eno engines vibrating through the small room and into his gut. His fingers curled around the edge of the door, the pull of the woman stretched naked on his bed behind him like the drawing force of a collapsing quasar: impossible to fight, deadly to succumb.

“Jaaaaaak…”

She drawled his name, her voice like honey and smoke, and for a fleeting moment Jak wondered if Jaienna Ti knew her baby sister was as skilled at seduction as she.

“Jak. Come back.” The rustle of sheets told Jak Bhelais had moved on his bed and an image of her long, lithe and very naked limbs tangled in the soft Hetap silk flashed through his head. His cock twitched in his leather trousers, eager and hungry for what she offered. For what he’d tasted already. What he was quickly becoming addicted to—an irony not lost on him at all.

“Come back, Jak.” Her whisper caressed his sanity. “I want to feel you sink into my dripping pussy. I want to fuck you until I scream and then suck my cream from your thick, long cock.”

He gripped the doorjamb tighter.

“Jaaaaak…”

Blood roaring, breath shallow, Jak turned.

She was perfection. The space station’s cosmetic surgeon had performed a miracle. The hideous damage Crortek had done to Bhelais’ face was gone. Where once mangled, knotted scar tissue covered the entire left side of her face, now a countenance of exquisite, unmarred splendor stared back at him. Sons of Urik, it may have cost a cycle’s worth of his own chits but it was worth it to see her looking so stunning.

He ran his gaze over her naked perfection, stretched full along the bed. She was gorgeous. A creature of pure beauty.

On the outside.

Jak’s gut twisted with squirming tension. On the outside she was exquisite, but on the inside… On the inside lurked a creature of wicked, insatiable lust. A creature created by Bliss and trained by Crortek.

A creature of sex.

As if she heard the dark thought in his head, Bhelais smiled, the twin dimples creasing her faultless cheeks making his cock twitch. “I’m waiting for you, Jak,” she murmured. Her eyelids fluttered closed before she peeked up at him through long, thick golden lashes, tapered fingers tracing a tantalizing circle around her taut right nipple. “You don’t want me to suffer, do you?”

Jak’s cock twitched again, the tight leather of his trousers an abrasive caress on its fevered length. When he’d translocated her from Crortek’s personal sex club on Pellaxion Four he’d had no idea she was a Bliss addict. She was Jaienna’s little sister—that’s all: a young Raavelian woman in need of saving.

He’d promised Jaienna he’d keep her safe, but keeping a Bliss addict safe was not an easy task at all. The insidious aphrodisiac penetrated a user’s blood system, elevating their oxytocin and synthesizing a rapid surge of dopamine to the brain, making them crave sex. Making them need it more than breath. But with each Bliss hit, the chemical composition of their blood mutated until it could no longer exist without the drug to maintain its integrity. A Bliss user deprived of the drug faced a slow and excruciating death, starved of blood and ultimately oxygen. Unless—that was—their dopamine levels could be maintained naturally.

Bhelais regarded Jak through her golden lashes, fingertips now trailing a lazy line across the flat plane of her belly to her shaved sex. “I’m beginning to hurt, Jak,” she whispered, arching into her hand as her fingers sank between the smooth columns of her thighs. “Please take the pain away…”

She knows everything in your head, Jak. How else can she manipulate you so easily?

The same way Jaienna did?

No. Whatever it was Jaienna had done to him after they’d fucked, it had left him completely dazed, unable to control his own mind and actions. After his seed burst from his cock into Bhelais his head was perfectly clear. He knew exactly what he did with Jaienna’s younger sister—and by Urik’s blood, he could not stop. Telling himself he was saving her life just made their coupling defensible. In the few hours she’d been in his company he’d found himself lost in her body over and over again.

“I’m hurting, Jak.”

Her hand stirred against her pussy and Jak’s nose filled with the musky scent of her juices… and the sweet undertones of Bliss. She wasn’t high. It had been too long since her last hit, but the drug never left the system, even after just one shot.

“Druentia wept, Jak, please come and fuck me.”

He stared at her, heart hammering in his chest, cock throbbing between his thighs. It rammed against the taut muscles of his abdomen, engorged length and bulbous head demanding attention.

“Save me, Jak.” Bhelais slid her hand from her pussy and lifted her fingers to her parted lips, the tip of her tongue flicking out to taste the cream there. “I hurt so much and only you can take the pain away.”

Only you…

There it was. Bhelais’ weapon. The second they’d flown from Pellaxion space she’d demanded his body. His cock. To save her from a Bliss withdrawal death, he’d given it to her. Now nothing but his flesh would satisfy her. She’d refused the services of a sex-bot; if he didn’t give her his flesh—his blood-filled, eager, depraved flesh—she would die.

Or kill him.

Because the moment they docked at the Unified Parliament space station hanging on the line between the Inner and Outer Boundaries, he’d clamped a prohibitor around her neck and locked her in their quarters.

Bhelais wanted to be fucked. She wanted to be fucked every minute of every day. But she wanted something more. Something he could never let happen.

She wanted to go back to Pellaxion Four.

Back to Crortek.

Back to being his slave.

“I need your cock, Guardian.” Bhelais’ voice became low, husky and she touched her tongue to her fingers again, gaze locked on his. “Do your job and save a victimized soul.”

Jak pulled in a ragged breath. And walked to the bed.

Her slick fingers had his trousers open and his stiff, growing cock out before his thighs even brushed the mattress.

“Doesn’t that feel good, Jak?”

Jak stared into her upturned face, his cock pulsing and throbbing under her squeezing hand. “Yes.”

The word was choked—by both self-disgust and pressing hunger.

Bhelais’ lips stretched into a small smile and she lowered her head, her mouth hovering a breath above his straining organ. “How good? Tell me.”

A groan vibrated through him from his swollen balls up to his tight, dry throat. Spurs of heat stabbed into his groin, arcing up to his anus and back to his heavy sacs with each fondling squeeze Bhelais gave his shaft. Sons of Urik, he wanted her wet mouth wrapped around his cock.

“Tell me how good it feels, Jak or I’ll stop.” It was an empty threat. He knew that. Her life depended on sexual frenzy but he’d be cursed if he could call her bluff. Not when her fingers teased, molded and squeezed. Not when her breath kissed the fevered flesh of his cockhead so intimately.

“It feels so good. Like fire…”

The tip of her tongue touched the small slit at the end of his shaft. Once. “Better than the way my sister made you feel?”

Jak’s eyes rolled back into his head and he ground out a moan, muscles so tense and coiled he felt on the verge of snapping. His hands itched to bury into Bhelais’ tumble of silken hair but he resisted. If he touched her before she gave permission she would pull away and make him watch her writhe and scream in Bliss-deprived agony until he crawled to her in his knees and begged for forgiveness.

Small, even teeth nipped at the bulbous, purple head of his cock jutting from her stroking fist and she flashed him a coy smile. “Am I better than her, Jak? Am I better than my sister?”

Blistering heat surged into his balls as she closed her fist tighter, pumped his length with a brutal force and then abruptly moved her hand away. A raw cry of dismay burst from his lips before Jak could stop it and Bhelais chuckled, the sound low and utterly arrogant. “It is better, Jak, isn’t it? Tell me how good it is and I’ll let you fuck my mouth.” She leant forward, plunged her lips around his cock and then pulled away with a sharp pop. “Tell me how I make you quiver and I’ll let you pump your cum over my tits.” She dragged her thumb across the small bead of pre-cum atop his throbbing cock, smeared it over the venous organ and then slid her thumb across her bottom lip. “Tell me how I make you forget Jaienna Ti ever existed and I’ll let you lick your cum from my nipples and feed it to me with your tongue.”

“Urik’s Blood.” Jak hissed, body afire. “Jaienna who?”

Bhelais laughed, the heavy swell of her breasts bouncing with each low chuckle. “Very good, Jak.” She sat back on her haunches giving him a smug look. “Now fuck your hand.”

He glared at her, body screaming for release, mind screaming for control. “No.”

Bhelais arched a blonde eyebrow. “Fuck your hand now, Jak. Or watch me die.”

Teeth ground together, Jak wrapped his fingers around his cock and pumped. Once. Twice. Scorching tension surged through him. Gods, how was he controlling himself? His hand worked his cock again almost of its own accord and for a second his head swam. How was he not?

“You like that, don’t you, Guardian?” Bhelais cooed, rosy-tipped breasts thrust forward so her luscious nipples brushed the back of his hand. “Say yes, and you can fuck me.”

Jak’s glare turned wild as a bead of sweat ran into his right eye, stinging like a Xolotlan viper. “Yes, I like that.”

Leaning forward again, she cupped his balls, worming a long finger into his trousers and past his butt cheeks to press against his clenched anus. “Say I’m better than my sister. Say it.”

“You’re better.”

“Say it again.”

“You’re better.”

“Again.”

Jak’s balls flooded with wet heat and he bucked his hips forward, the need for Bhelais’ mouth on his cock so powerful he could no longer control himself. “You’re better. Gods of Urik, you’re the best fuck I’ve ever had.”

Bhelais’ tongue traced over the slick line of pre-cum on her bottom lip and she smiled again. “Of course I am. Now fuck me.”

With a roar he threw her back onto the bed, shamed greed ripping through his blood. She squealed, the sound both triumphant and hungry. He stared at her for a second, chest heaving, cock a burning rod jutting from his trousers before throwing himself atop her, grabbing her wrists and ramming them to the bed beside her head. Immediately, she ground her mons to his cock, the velvety-slick curve like a molten brand on his flesh. “Fuck me with that, Jak,” she ordered, burning violet eyes staring into his. “Stick it in my cunt now.”

“I’ll stick it wherever I want, Bhel,” he growled through clenched teeth. “Whenever I want.”

She chuckled and the sound was like a whip biting into his soul. “Really?” One long, toned leg extended and wrapped around his hip, the action spreading the lips of her folds a little wider. Wet cream smeared the base of his cock, matted in the hair on his balls and Jak bucked, fresh blood flooding his already turgid shaft.

He sucked in sharp breath. “Bitch.”

Her responding laugh filled the small quarters. “Correct once again, Guardian.” She moved her hips, sublime body undulating under his until her sodden pussy lips pressed the glands on his cock and her erect nipples teased the tight nubs of his own. “Now,” her fingers tangled in his hair with fierce force and she grinned up at him, “suck my tits.”

Jak did. He was incapable of refusal. He closed his lips around one puckered peak, drawing it past his teeth into his mouth. He flicked his tongue over it, a small sense of satisfaction rippling through him at Bhelais’ deep moan. She shoved her breast harder to his face and he bit down hard on the tight pebble.

Bhelais moaned again, grinding her cunt to his now burning cock. “Bite it harder, Guardian,” she ordered. “Save me.”

He clamped his teeth down and she arched beneath him, a high-pitched whimper sounding in the back of her throat. Gods of Urik. Save her? Save him.

He jerked his mouth from Bhelais’ breast and stared down into her face, body and balls aching for release. He needed to see something in her face, an emotional connection. He needed to know the woman beneath him was capable of feeling something other than lust and manipulative control.

Violet eyes stared back at him, free of Bliss but burning with it all the same. “My soul is already lost, Jak,” she whispered, nostrils flaring as her body began to tremble in his hold. “Don’t try and save something that doesn’t exist anymore.” And with that, she sank her nails into his ass and impaled herself upon his jutting, hungry, straining cock.

Liquid heat crashed through him. Over him. Pounded him against rocks he didn’t know were there and left him gasping. “Fucking gods.”

Bhelais’ sex gripped him like a tight sheath, pussy muscles squeezing his length in a slow pulsating rhythm that almost drove him mad. Her nails raked at the leather of his trousers and he bucked his hips, letting her yank them down over his ass. His balls sprang free of the restricting hide and slapped against Bhelais’ pussy lips as he plunged into her again, filling her completely.

The smell of sex filled the air. Jak dragged in a ragged breath, tasting her. Bhelais gripped him, her arms and legs holding him to her writhing body as her sex contracted around his cock. She ran her hands up his back and buried them into the tumbled mess of his hair again, directing his mouth to her curved neck. He knew what she wanted. Pain.

He latched onto the smooth column, at the point where her neck disappeared behind the imprisoning collar, and sank his teeth into her flesh, sucking it with such force she would wear his mark for days to come. A sign of property she seemed to relish. “Tell me, Guardian.” she called out, pussy constricting in tight pulses. “Tell me I’m the best you’ve had. Now.”

Perspiration streaming down his face, Jak pounded into her, wanting to punish her. For using him, manipulating him. For stealing his heart when she didn’t want it. “Curse you, Bhel.” he spat from between gritted teeth, blood still roaring through his veins as their bodies became one.

“Tell me.”

He hammered into her, cock a driving pole of steel that grew harder, hungrier, with each penetration. He knew she manipulated him; he was a Boundary Guardian, for fuck’s sake. His instincts were honed to perfection. But he couldn’t deny her. To feel her sopping pussy suck at his cock… To feel her mouth close around his swollen balls… To know in doing so he kept her alive, kept her with him and no other…

Urik’s blood, man. You’re an idiot.

The thought zinged through his head, his heart, like an eon blast, shattering any control he exerted over his body.

Torrid, febrile tension erupted in his balls. He bucked, spasm after tight, wet spasm possessing him. Bhelais moaned, sinking her nails into the muscles of his shoulders as her cunt contracted and milked his cock. “Oh, gods, Jak. Please tell me.”

She cried out, and—just before his seed shot from his cock in scorching wads—Jak heard it; the faintest hitch of desperate sadness in her voice. It made his chest squeeze tight with warm hope. Perhaps he could save her after all.

And then her lips pressed to his ear and she whispered four simple words. Four words that stabbed straight into his pounding heart like an icy blade: “I want Bliss. Now.”

* * * *

Tornada narrowed his eyes. She’d been here. Not that long ago.

Surveying the copulating forms reclining, standing and hanging around him, he moved deeper into The Pit.

The stench of sex hung heavy in the air, making his cock twitch in interested attention beneath his trousers. Sex with a holo-projection could only take the edge off so much before his body demanded more. Since Jaienna had walked out of their bedroom though, many many months ago, holo-fucking was his only release. Yes, he could resort to a whore or slave, but why should he? Jjor’s didn’t pay for sex, it was beneath his species, and as an Intel-Patrol agent he abhorred slavery.

An esoteric smile pulled at the corner of his mouth. The things he’d done, the sins he’d committed for the Corp were too hideous to comprehend, but he had his ethics. If he didn’t he’d just become one of the sick criminals he hunted down each day.

“May I direct you to a specific den, sir?”

Tornada turned, giving the Sheilite Dom approaching him a steady look. “I’m in the mood for a Raavelian. Preferably redhead.” He affected a contemplative expression. “With green eyes.”

The Sheilite regarded him, exoskeleton plates clacking as she tilted her head slightly to the left. “Raavelians do not come with green eyes, sir,” she said, her own iridescent yellow ones guarded. “May I suggest a Hetap?” She paused for a loaded moment. “Male?”

Tornada suppressed a snarl…and the urge to vaporize the insektoid there and then. He crossed his arms across his chest, letting her see the intricate Jjor nobility tattoo on his left forearm he normally kept concealed. Jjors rarely moved beyond the civility of the Inner Boundaries, but their reputation traveled far. Nobility and royalty did not exist in the cesspool that was the Outer Boundaries, but power and money did. Power and money ruled the Outer Boundaries and Tornada had both. “Female. Raavelian. Red hair. Green eyes,” he repeated. “And do not tell me you don’t have one because I know for a fact Hrung Crortek’s personal buyer purchased one from the slaver Baltiar only a few days ago.”

The Sheilite’s eyes flicked to the left again. There was another pause, this one heavy with agitated tension and then the Dom bowed her head slightly, as if granted permission to continue by an unseen master. “We are no longer in possession of that Raavelian, sire,” she replied, and Tornada noted with a degree of irritated pleasure the change in tone and title. “She was granted freedom by Master Crortek and left with a Boundary Guardian.” Another quick pause. Another quick look to the left. “A Terran.”

A hideously arousing image flashed into Tornada’s mind. A faceless Terran with golden eyes mounting Jaienna from behind, taking her as an animal would take its mate. Primitive, brutal and powerful. He cast the Sheilite a dismissive look. “Thank you.”

Cold satisfaction spread through him. There was more going on here than just an accommodating sex-den Dom. The moment he’d landed on Pellaxion Four his ears had picked up muttered whispering about a fight at The Pit, about a man changing to a wild beast and almost killing Crortek in the main chamber. Whisperings that involved a Terran Boundary Guardian. Tornada had relegated them as local stupidity but the uncharacteristically helpful nature of the Dom before him gave cause to wonder now. The Sheilite was being controlled by someone else, her answers approved before they were given. Something was going on, something that piqued his interest, but he would deal with it and the unseen manipulator in due course. What mattered at that very second was Jaienna’s trail. A trail now so fresh he could almost taste her.

His cock twitched in his trousers and he smiled, eager satisfaction rolling through him.

He was close. So very, very close.

End of Extended Sample

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