Authors: Jaylee Davis
The other male laughed. “How can you choose? There are so many of them, and they come in so many different shades and sizes,” he pointed out.
“It’s not a difficult decision,” Kord scoffed. “I’d try them all.”
“Stop your warrior boasting. You’d frighten these human females to death before you ever had a chance to mount one.”
Kord laughed good-naturedly, drawing the attention of several females. They giggled and waved at him as he walked past. For some reason, he kept getting that reaction. He knew they couldn’t understand what he and the Tauran spacers said. In fact, no one on this planet would be able to converse with them, but thanks to their translator implants, he and his companions could understand everything the natives said.
With great difficulty, Kord tried to force his thoughts back to the exact purpose for their visit. He didn’t have time to seduce any of them, anyway, but his shaft seemed to have a mind of its own. It swelled to readiness whenever one of the females caught his eye. Many of them brushed against him as he strode through the jostling crowd, doubling his sexual frustration with each touch of their bare skin. He’d lost count of how many times he wished he’d not been ordered to wear the antiquated battle uniform, but he understood the reasoning. Many of the human males were dressed in similar fashion. He groaned in frustration and redoubled his efforts to think only of the mission.
Their ship, the
, had tracked a slaver-ship to this planet. On arrival, they’d found two Alliance star cruisers already in orbit. Their former enemy had finally made contact with the inhabitants of Earth. However, once their diplomats had secretly met with the planet’s representatives, the outcome hadn’t been completely favorable. Earth’s government had placed certain restrictions on them. The Alliance couldn’t reveal themselves to the general population or interfere in Earth’s business at all, even after the New World Government had been warned about the Krellian threat.
The Krell were there to steal women, and they’d targeted an island village. Looking around, Kord could understand why. There were a great number of females in the crowd. The slavers could hide along several of the dark side streets and snatch them as they strolled by. There’d be no protests or cries for help since they had the ability to drug their victims with a single touch. To make matters worse, most of the humans wore odd clothing, which meant the slavers could move freely and blend in with the strangely dressed crowd.
For the time being, Earth had rejected the Alliance’s first overture. However, the Taurans hadn’t officially been banned from the surface. How could Earth ban them if they didn’t know of their existence? It was a convenient loophole.
For decades, the empire and Alliance had been fighting each other over territorial boundaries. They were bitter enemies until their leaders had met and devised a shaky truce by clearly mapping a defined border. The treaty had worked, and the war had ended. Part of their agreement stipulated a combined effort be undertaken by both parties to bring an end to the slave trade. Since the Alliance didn’t have the technology to track the Krell ships beneath the planet’s oceans, they needed the Tauran fleet’s help.
had entered a stationary orbit on the dark side of the planet’s moon, his superior, General Jernick, had contacted the Alliance leader to offer their aid. He and Commandant Tram had agreed to take advantage of the legal oversight. However, Tram’s orders were quite specific. Observe Krellian activity and locate their transports. He’d also been insistent about another restriction. The Taurans couldn’t take any weapons to the surface.
Kord believed it was the last order that resulted in his presence on the planet. He was warrior born, a natural weapon. Nothing about him was artificial or manufactured. He was part of a Tauran landing team sent down to the surface to spy on the slavers, not to kill them. It seemed like an incredible waste of time and effort to him.
The Tauran Empire simply wanted to put an end to the slave trade by whatever means necessary. However, their present mission was twofold. They also had a “proposition” for the humans, but the Alliance insisted on making them wait until after Earth elected to join them. It was a complicated political mess best left to the diplomats.
Just the thought of it gave Kord a headache. He was trained to fight and kill his enemies. Ever since his blading many years ago, he’d lived by the warrior clan’s code—kill the enemy whenever possible, indulge in pleasure as often as possible and stay loyal to his clan. What could be easier?
Diplomacy had an annoying habit of complicating his life. Right now, the restrictions came between him and his objective—the Krell. Lost in thought, he didn’t notice the human female approaching until too late. They crashed together, and she fell to the hard walkway at his feet. He immediately looked down and saw beautiful green eyes framed by long feminine lashes staring up at him. In that instant, the world as he knew it shifted permanently.
Captivated by the sight of the loveliest creature he’d ever seen, he couldn’t move or breathe for a few seconds. Thinking was impossible. Once he finally recovered his senses, he bent over and offered his hand. Her slim fingers slid seductively across his palm, sending a tantalizing shiver all the way up his arm. The peculiar sensation shot straight to his groin with unexpected results. His semi-erect shaft deflated in an instant, flaccid and useless for anything other than taking a piss. He pulled her to her feet before his natural instincts took over and forced him to take a breath.
She smelled odd, a chemical smell, most likely due to the spotted colors covering her skin. It masked her human scent. Dark brown hair hung loose about her shoulders, the length reaching to her waist. The wavy mane had a distinct flowery aroma, which he thought smelled very nice, but he detected an intriguing scent surrounding her, much fainter and delicate than the others. It captured his interest the most. Before he could step closer, grab her and explore the tempting fragrance more thoroughly, his companions jabbed him in the ribs.
“Release the female! We must hurry and join the other team,” one spacer said.
Irritated by the interruption, Kord turned to him, and snapped, “I know!”
The other one shoved him with a shoulder, urging him to move to the side.
“There’s no time for this,” the male said.
“Stop pushing!” Kord snarled, but he released her hand and shuffled away.
He knew his duty. They were on a mission, and failure wasn’t an option. He simply had to forget about the beautiful female for now. Only the sheer force of his will kept him from turning around just to catch a final glimpse of her.
No matter, he consoled himself. He’d make time to slip away from his comrades at some point so he could find her. Her luscious scent wouldn’t be difficult for him to track. He’d make sure of her safety before the Krell made their move. The very thought of them touching her, capturing her, before he could locate her in the crowd made him break out in a cold sweat.
The slavers wouldn’t take her. She was his responsibility now, his to protect. He didn’t question why.
The rest of Pam’s evening went as expected. She and her friends visited several bars as they drank and socialized. They spent much of their time wandering up and down Duval, and downing way too much alcohol. Along the way they collected an impressive number of beads, which Sam proudly wore for them.
Pam kept hoping to catch sight of the handsome barbarian again. So far, they hadn’t crossed paths. She kept looking anyway, refusing to give up. As she searched the crowd, she noticed several groups of tallish men who were painted a dull shade of gray. They wore long, hooded cloaks, red colored contacts and their spiky styled hair was stark white.
Amanda suggested they were probably a group of frat boys who’d shown up dressed as aliens. Pam agreed, but she thought they acted strange by slipping in and out of the crowd as if they were trying to avoid something or someone. A goose-bumpy chill raced up and down her spine when one of the eerie-looking guys stared at her a bit too long. Not wanting to alarm her friends or be accused of being a wimp, Pam urged them to follow her through a gap in the crowd. They scurried single file to thread their way through the narrow opening. Frat guys weren’t the only ones who could disappear into a throng of drunken revelers.
Minutes before midnight, they made their way to Horseface Hattie’s to rest their feet and recharge. The moment Pam entered the bar, a pair of brilliant bronze colored eyes caught her attention. Her barbarian stood near a corner table at the back of the semi-crowded club. His gaze locked on to her.
His companions gathered off to the side, speaking with another man, who looked identical to her barbarian in size. In fact, they were dressed the same. She noticed all the shorter men wore similar outfits—pants and long-sleeved tunic-style tops. The more well-groomed ones sported brown colored clothing. They looked like military types. The others had shaggier, mop-topped haircuts and were dressed in dark blue. All of them looked remarkably alike—brown to black hair, dark eyes and deeply tanned skin. Most were at least six feet tall.
Pam quickly scanned the room while trying to avoid her barbarian’s piercing gaze. Most of the customers were near the front bar closest to the street where it was standing room only. She spied one vacant table in the corner. Amanda must have seen what Pam saw since she headed for it…and him.
Her stomach twisted in knots the closer they came, and she had to force her feet to keep moving. She literally had to command her legs to put one foot in front of the other. Each step made her more and more aware of her physical response. She chanced a quick glance at him. His unwavering stare took her breath away, and she almost stumbled, but a more shocking reaction shook her to the core.
What was wrong with her? She was wet, wetter than she’d ever thought possible, and all because of him. If she didn’t get her body under control, she’d have to use her fake tail to soak up the dampness between her legs before it dribbled down the inside of her thighs. Pam looked away.
Get a grip.
She followed Amanda and then slid onto the stool farthest from him while her friend took the middle seat. Sam sat on the stool closest to the man. She kept her eyes averted and tried to ignore his presence by listening to the music blaring from a speaker behind her. Just when she thought she had control of her libido and everything was going to be okay, Sam pulled Amanda away, saying he saw some friends. Pam groaned when she made the mistake of looking up again.
He was still there, staring at her. A heartbeat later, he walked toward her. Captivated by the sight of him, she sat glued to her stool as if paralyzed, unable or unwilling to escape.
He settled his large body onto the spindly stool. It creaked, but miraculously held his weight. He had to weigh close to three hundred pounds. No fat, all muscle as far as she could tell. He reached across the table. Pam instantly dropped her gaze and shuddered as his hand covered hers. The man had the largest hands she’d ever seen and the hottest. Warmth crept up her arm and flowed through her. Almost instantly, she relaxed.
She took out a bit of courage, looked him straight in the eyes and smiled, and said, “Hi there.”
He smiled back, but didn’t speak. At first, she didn’t care. His lips were doing a hell of a lot of talking without him uttering a single word. They were soft-looking, smooth and full, and his expression held a hint of shyness mixed with a large dose of bad boy attitude. He wouldn’t ever have to beg for a woman’s kiss.
Her lips tingled in anticipation, wanting to discover how he would…
Oh hell, no. Don’t go there.
She decided to try again.
She placed her palm on her bare chest, and said, “My name is Sandra.” She cringed inwardly the second the untruth slipped out. For whatever reason, she felt awful about lying to him. She bought some time to recover by asking, “What’s yours?”
His smile faded as he stared at her. She’d almost given up on him when he jerked the thumb of his free hand to his chest, and said, “Kord.”
“Kord,” she repeated and then lost her train of thought as the giant gave her a broad smile. If he was handsome before, now he was devastating. “Your name is Kord,” she murmured, repeating his name. The awkward exchange left her feeling like a brainless fool.
“Sandra,” he said and pointed at her. His dark brows rose ever so slightly.
A surge of regret washed over her at the sound of his deep sexy voice speaking the fake name. For some strange reason, she wanted to hear him say her real one, but no, she’d made her decision at the beginning of her trip. She couldn’t tell anyone, not even him. Her identity had to remain a secret until she returned home.
Determined to stick to her plan, Pam forced a smile and nodded. “That’s right. I’m Sandra.”
He sucked in a deep breath, and the grip around her hand tightened a fraction.
“Oh!” The heat from his palm seemed to increase in intensity. She tried to hide her shaky nerves with a shy laugh. “Uh, I guess you aren’t from around here?”
His smile faded to a faint scowl as he shook his head.
“Well, I’m not from here either. I’m from Texas…um, Houston, actually.” A half-truth. She lived in Austin.
. The lie expanded, taking on a life of its own. What else could she do? Tell him the truth? Never.
Kord frowned slightly as he asked, “Texas, Houston?”
“Ah, no. It’s Houston, Texas.”
He cocked his head and stared into her eyes, as if he concentrated hard on what she’d told him. It felt as if she were being examined under a microscope. To buy time, she cleared her throat while she fumbled for something else to say.
Desperate, she blurted, “So, where are you from?”
To her relief, his expression softened. He shrugged, almost in an apologetic manner before answering. “Pella.”
“Oh,” she said, acting as if she were familiar with the country or city. Apparently, he was from a place where English was understood at least a little, but his vocabulary seemed limited. It was odd.