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Authors: James Axler

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Chapter Twenty-Seven

“Lover!” Krysty jumped up from a wounded islander she was tending and ran to the church door and the man filling it. As she hurled herself into Ryan's arms, he winced. Krysty ran her hands over him and her beautiful face clouded with concern. She had seen Ryan in bad shape before, but he currently looked like a poorly dressed side of beef wearing boots. “What happened?”

Ryan touched his face, his arm and his side. “Shot, hooked, stabbed, bled, was in a wag wreck, some giant bitch tried to pull my balls off.” Ryan shrugged. “I got salted. A lot. How's it here?”

Krysty sighed and looked at the blood on her hands and clothes. “Mildred did her best, but we lost a lot of the wounded. The ville people are bleeders, and the islanders charged massed blasterfire. They've got a couple of midwives and herbalists here, good enough for a fever or a broken leg, but they don't have anything for or any experience with bullet holes. It's been bad. Where're the rest of us?”

“J.B. did a deal with the new baron, Zorime. He's helping the blacksmith service the ville weapons and help get powder back in production again. In return they're going to fill our mags. Doc's resting up in the baron's manse drinking something called Madeira and reading books. Jak persuaded the Sister Isle detachment
to stay and help with the hunt, but they've also been going from farm to farm to make sure the baron keeps her word and the slaves are really free. The farmholders aren't happy about it, but it's hard to argue with three hundred men at your door.”

“So what're we going to do?” Krysty asked.

“The baron has given us permission to stay as long as we want on either island, and Ago doesn't want us to go ever. I figure mebbe we take them up on their hospitality. Lie up for a week before moving on. According to Zorime, the mat-trans should be on a fresh cycle now, and at the start no one gets left behind traveling from this end.”

“Baron Zorime,” Krysty mused. “She's very beautiful.”

Ryan didn't mention that she had offered herself to him to open up the population drive while she tended his wounds, or that he had politely refused. He did relate what happened next. “She summoned Ago to her manse to ‘negotiate' terms, and word is they haven't been out of her bedroom in twenty-four hours.”

Krysty laughed. “She didn't waste much time.”

“She doesn't have much time.” Ryan looked around the makeshift hospital ward. “None of them do. Both islands are pretty much defenseless now, and both need to get their crops in. It's going to take a lot of negotiating both in and out of beds to make up the shortfall of manpower around here.”

“Well, you know, lover?” Krysty ran her eyes up and down Ryan's battered frame speculatively. “I'm feeling a shortfall of manpower myself.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah.”

Ryan's scrotum still ached from the mauling
Xadreque had given it, but he figured there was a good chance Krysty could figure out something to make him feel better. Krysty was a skilled healer with talented hands, and pretty much a talented everything else. Ryan grinned lopsidedly at the best thing in his life. “I know a guy who might loan me a hut tonight.”

“Mildred and I have been sharing Father Joao's cottage.” Krysty grinned back. “It has a real bed.”

“I know a guy who's gonna loan Mildred his hut tonight.”

“Go have a nap. I'll be along.”

Ryan limped off to Father Joao's cottage and flopped on a bed with blankets that smelled like Krysty's hair. He closed his eyes, and it wasn't long before he reopened them to find Krysty sitting on the bed naked beside him with a bucket of hot water and a cloth. She moved over his wounds with her hands, her lips, her breasts and hot water. Ryan wasn't surprised to find himself rising to the occasion.

Krysty Wroth was a resourceful girl.

ISBN: 978-1-4268-5036-3

BLOOD HARVEST

Copyright © 2010 by Worldwide Library.

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher, Worldwide Library, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3B 3K9.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

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