Authors: Loribelle Hunt
2014 Loribelle Hunt
titles by Loribelle Hunt at
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This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the
author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
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Anna Leigh Gray set
out to save her daughter. While her former allies, the evil and malicious Tel
Group has been dealt a major blow, they haven’t been destroyed and their sights
are focused on one thing. Killing Zola. To protect her Anna Leigh has to get to
Delroi. The last thing she expects is being claimed by the dangerous, sexy Xan
Bana. His telepathy is as strong as hers, his mind is fascinating, and he has
moves in the bedroom she’d never been aware she missing. But he’s an enigmatic
warrior and she’s not convinced his motives are pure.
Xan Bana never
expected to find a mate or take over leadership of his clan. Both are a
challenge he’s looking forward to. Dealing with a clan that is in disarray is
easier than getting to know the woman who now stands at his side, however. When
they arrive on Delroi, they help Zola all they can but a ghost from the past
almost kills her.Now he’s in a race against time to keep his mate, protect her
daughter, and save the son she’d thought lost long ago.
Anna Leigh stared at the screen,
rereading the message from Britt Anderson. She wanted to know Anna Leigh’s
price for the names. This was the risky part. She had no idea what her daughter
had told Britt, but it couldn’t be good. Not that Britt had mentioned Zola.
Anna Leigh wasn’t surprised. She hadn’t really expected any kind of
acknowledgement. Didn’t deserve it.
That didn’t mean she was giving up
hope that someday, somehow she could make it up to her daughter. To do that she
had to get to Delroi. She could demand asylum for the names. It was the kind of
thing they’d expect. They might give it to her, but she couldn’t be sure. She
could just give them the names as an offer of good faith and ask for asylum.
And they could deny her. She’d have to find another way onto the planet then.
She took a deep breath and replied to the message. Twelve names. Eight Tel
agents. Four Delroi rebels.
An hour later she had an offer. Since
she’d freely given over the names, they would grant her request, but it would require
she perform a favor for them in return. Leaning back in her chair, she
considered it. It seemed simple enough on the surface. They were holding a
warrior--a suspected rebel--and they thought her unique talents would be useful
in questioning him. In other words, would she use her telepathy to search his
mind? If she was interested she had twenty four hours to get to their base and
perform the task. After that she was on her own. It wasn’t a choice at all. She
sent her acceptance.
Several hours later she drove through
the gates of a former Alliance military base that had been taken over by the
invading Delroi. She followed the directions to the Southern clans’
headquarters. The streets and grassy areas were neatly tended, the feel of the
place serene. She parked in front of the specified building and hesitated next
to her car. They were waiting for her, several warriors, big and hulking and
severe looking. They all had the facial tattoos of the southern clans. She was
an assassin and a spy. She made no excuses for what she was, but there was no
way she could walk out of this alive if it was a trap. Might as well get it
over with. Inhaling deeply, fortifying her resolve, she stepped forward and
climbed the steps. One of them stepped forward to meet her and she let her
senses expand, realized he had a natural shield. She’d bet they all did. She
could get through it if she had to, her touch more skillful than most
telepaths, but she’d only do so if it proved necessary for survival. A new
personal rule, a promise to Zola that she wasn’t even aware Anna Leigh’d made.
“Ms. Gray. I’m Galinn.”
She nodded. “Anna Leigh is fine.”
“Anna Leigh then,” he said. “I’ll need
Of course. She handed over two pistols
and a blade. He gave her a steady look.
“We don’t have to do this the hard
He’d obviously been warned about her
occupation. Sighing, she gave him two more knives. Even without her weapons she
was hardly unarmed. Finally he turned and walked inside where several more
warriors waited. He handed her weapons to one of them without a word and
continued through the spacious lobby to a door tucked in the back corner. They
entered a conference room and a man turned from the window to greet them. Anna
Leigh felt a jolt of recognition and saw her shock reflected in his eyes, which
made no sense. She’d never seen him before in her life. Then why did she feel
like she knew him? Like he knew her? The real woman.
If he was human she’d peg him as a
soldier, probably a high ranking officer, and an extremely well taken care of
fifty year old. Or thereabouts. He was a few inches over six feet, had cat
green eyes, and short black hair that was beginning to silver. Tattoos
stretched down the right side of his face and arm. He was sexy as hell and he
was a telepath. His power stroked over her, almost seductively. He was also pissed
off. He held her gaze as he spoke.
“Galinn, tell Barak I apologize but I
will have to decline his offer.”
“He’ll banish you, Xan, and leave you
“I can always appeal to the
Galinn shook his head. “He won’t hear
The stranger switched to another
language and without even thinking about it, she slipped into his mind for the
translation. She was there to judge his trustworthiness after all.
“There are some things a
should never know.”
Galinn’s eyes widened a fraction
before he regained control. What the hell was that?
“That complicates things,” Galinn
muttered in English.
The new guy, Xan, glared at her. “I
didn’t give you permission to enter my mind.”
She shrugged. “I don’t care. I agreed
to do a job for Britt Anderson. In exchange, I get off this planet. It would be
much easier for both of us if you cooperated. It’s you right? The one she wants
to make sure can be trusted?”
He didn’t respond, though his
expression was easy enough to read. He wanted her gone.
“There is a problem,” Galinn
“No,” she snapped, not thinking before
she spoke because she was unbelievably--
at this Xan guy for standing in her way. “There isn’t. I need to get to Delroi.
You want to be cleared. And I need to know if I need to kill you before I
Xan laughed. “You think you could kill
She didn’t joke back, didn’t tease.
She let her power rise.
“Britt wouldn’t use me unless she
thought you might be a rebel. Am I right? Don’t bother answering, I can see
that I am.” She took a step forward. “You have no idea the lengths I will go
to, that I have gone to, to survive this long. I would slit your throat without
any hesitation at all if that was the price for this trip.”
“The Delroi don’t use women as
assassins,” he snarled, stalking closer though they were still separated by
several feet. She was tempted to close the distance. To turn this altercation into
something else entirely.
“I am not Delroi,” she said, resisting
the urge. Galinn looked like he wanted to intervene but wasn’t sure how. “Can
we get on with this? Britt hinted that I could leave tonight once this is
“I’m sorry, my lady, I can’t compel Xan
in this. You will have to convince him yourself.”
She glared at them both but neither
relented. “If I ever discover that my next words were repeated I will hunt you
both down and make you pray for a slow death.”
She got no response. So be it. They’d
been warned and she wasn’t above manipulating them to get what she wanted. It
was no secret the Delroi were overprotective when it came to women.
“My daughter is being hunted by two
different organizations. One is a group of human psychics. The other is your
rebels. I am of no help to her here.”
Xan scowled at Galinn. “I imagine I
won’t be briefed until I agree to this.”
“I can’t guarantee that you will be
Xan’s expression turned hard. “Oh, I
He pulled a chair out from the table.
“Come on, love. Let’s get this over with.”
“What changed your mind? Being
suspected of being a rebel?”
He shook his head. “I am no rebel. But
if I don’t allow this, I won’t be in a position to protect you or your
“Why would you want to help me?” she
She pretended to be suspicious at his
sudden turn around. Maybe this was the test. She took the seat next to him and he
held his hand out. She had no idea why she took it.
“It’s complicated and I don’t think
you’d believe me. Get this over with, Anna Leigh. Once I am reinstated we can
be on our way.”
“Why are you in such a hurry?”
His smile was grim and promised
retribution. She was intrigued. “My cousin is my clan chief. Turns out he’s
neck deep in the rebellion. I’m the only one who can take over the clan.
Otherwise, it will be absorbed by another.”
“You were willing to do whatever was
necessary before I walked in,” she said softly. “What changed?”
Many people were afraid of her, but he
had no idea who she was and it definitely wasn’t fear she picked up from him.
He stroked his thumb over her wrist and her pulse stuttered in response. He
gave her a smile that was pure masculine confidence.
“Shouldn’t you be worried about
clearing my name first?” he countered, avoiding the question and using her
inexplicable attraction to him. She might regret not pursuing it later but at
least she’d be on a spaceship when it happened.
“Fine. Lower your shields.”
Xan stared at Anna Leigh. She was
medium height, curvy, with bright green eyes and dark blond hair that fell
around her shoulders. He couldn’t believe she was here, had long ago given up
all hope of finding his
mate of his heart. In his youth--when he had allowed himself to imagine her--he’d
envisioned a gentle, protected Delroi female. At first glance, she appeared the
part. A beautiful fragile looking woman. But Anna Leigh definitely wasn’t that,
thank the gods. Such a woman would never suit the man he was now. There was
nothing soft or helpless about this woman. She was tough and edgy. Beautiful,
but clearly dangerous. It made him feel a hell of a lot better about what she
needed to do. He was a warrior. Hard, commanding, and unrelenting. With most of
the women from his world he’d have to hold back everything that made him who he
was. Not with Anna Leigh, though.
He wondered if she would soften under
other circumstances. Had a sudden vision of her sweet and compliant in his bed.
Unfortunately, that would have to wait. He had to lower his shields, let her
crawl around his head, and hope he had the will to not bind her to him right
then and there. The words of the ancient prayer ran through his mind, but he
ignored them as he slowly lowered his shields.
Her mind stroked against his,
confident and powerful, and while she didn’t hesitate to look at his memories,
his life, she kept hers blocked from him. That wouldn’t do at all. He studied
her shields, saw a couple of weak spots, and contemplated breaking through.
Gently, of course, he didn’t want to hurt her. Then Galinn sat down beside him
and he changed his mind. For what he planned, he needed privacy. Her gaze
focused on him and she pulled her hand free as if singed.
“He isn’t a rebel,” she said to
Galinn, who rose.
“I’ll make my report.”
“Am I free to go?” Xan asked.
“Unofficially. You can return to your
clan headquarters, but don’t leave yet. Your men are waiting in the lobby.”