Authors: Emma Jaye
Tags: #menage, #scifi romance, #scifi erotica
Hybrid, Volume 2
Published by Purindoors Publications, 2013.
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
First edition. June 19, 2013.
Copyright © 2013 Emma Jaye.
Written by Emma Jaye.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
hesara plodded along the dusty path in the growing gloom behind her friend, bodyguard and now lover, Connor Temple. She knew the hard pace he was setting was necessary so they could get as far away as possible before the pursuit started, but he wasn’t nursing bruised ribs.
The country they made their way through was mainly deciduous woodland, large trees made the late afternoon light patchy on the forest floor. The trail they were following was nothing more than an animal track. Occasionally brambles caught on their clothes or a bird squawked an alarm call as they walked, but apart from that, they made their way in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.
Connor was probably going through various plans in his head, trying to decide the best course of action to get them safely back to the Apollo as soon as possible. The Federation Cruiser had been their home for the last two years as she’d been ferried around the galaxy, healing deserving people as she went. Or at least she’d thought that was what she’d been doing.
The last two days, and a man with twinkling blue eyes, had changed all that. Now she knew that the Apollo was a gilded cage for an alien artefact who brought in a huge amount of credits for Federation coffers. And Connor was her keeper, even if he did care for her as a person rather than just as a valuable asset or curiosity.
It didn’t change the fact that Connor had kept things from her for years, and still probably was.
Yes, Tenset had lied to her as well, but as soon as they’d gotten to know each other a little better, a matter of hours, not months and years, he’d come clean. She had no doubt that when he’d said he loved her, he meant it with every fibre of his being.
He’d thrown his position away for her, and probably a great deal more, by staying behind to cover her and Connor’s escape. She pinned her hopes on his confidence that his uncle wouldn’t actually hurt him too badly due to their family ties. The fact that he had been probably spinning her yet another line, to make leaving him easier for her, wasn’t something she wanted to contemplate. But, she did.
To take her mind off of unpleasant thoughts, she pictured Tenset going about his daily activities, grooming his horses, doing paperwork in his office, eating his meals. She quickly shut that thought down as she imagined the manservant who’d touched her, serving him dinner. Back to grooming the horses, she thought. The long sweeping strokes of the brush on the imaginary horse's side were soothing, and she almost dozed as she walked.
The tree root had obviously been lurking, hoping to trip up unwary travellers. The plant didn’t get its own way as she didn’t actually hit the dirt, but the sharp pain in her side as she stumbled made her gasp.
Connor was immediately at her side, looking disgustingly fit and healthy. It was a cruel trick of fate that although she could heal just about any injury or sickness in anyone else, she couldn’t heal a paper cut on her own finger.
“You all right?” he asked.
She pulled away from him. “I wish you’d stop treating me as if I’m going to break any second. I stumbled. The plant life has it in for me. Probably because I’m a... what did Tamas say I was?”
The jibe was a little cruel, but at the moment, she didn’t really care. Connor had known her origin for years, and yet had kept up the lie that no one knew what she was or where she came from.
“Dakaran,” he replied through gritted teeth.
“Just wanted to make sure you remember it. You seem to have a peculiar lack of recall regarding facts involving me. Anything else you feel like sharing?”
Attacking Connor was a safe outlet for her fear and pain, or at least it always had been. Keeping her co-operative was probably a main part of his job, and she knew she didn’t make it easy. Maybe all dakaran women were like this. She decided that they probably were, at least she fully intended to play the ‘I can’t help it I’m an alien card’ at every opportunity from now on. Pretending to be human certainly hadn’t worked for her so far; everyone still treated her like dirt.
“I think we better find somewhere to stop till the sun comes up. I don’t know the local star systems, so we might be going round in circles without knowing.”
“Tenset said we just had to follow this path, find the river, and head for his house. No fancy ‘stone age navigation’ required.”
“We’re not going the way Tenset said.”
She stopped in her tracks. “You mean we’re wandering around in the dark, on a strange planet with no idea where we are or where we’re going? Are you mad? We could be walking right into a nest of man, not to mention woman eating rock trolls or something.”
Sometimes she regretted having such excellent eyesight, as she could clearly see his wide grin. “I’m the only troll on Kalzir you need to worry about Kittycat.”
“So why aren’t we heading toward Tenset’s house? A nice, warm, and safe ‘indoors’ house with beds and a shower?”
The smile dropped from his face. “Think about it. Tamas will ask him if he knows where we are.”
She smacked at his arm. “You still don’t trust him do you?”
Transferring the makeshift pack of supplies he and Tenset had put together to his other shoulder, he put his arm across her shoulder.
“I trust him, and not just because you do. But I also know what Tamas is capable of. We’re safer going in a different direction.”
His arm left her for a moment as he rubbed unconsciously at his unresponsive communications implant behind his ear. As much as he was pretending to be stoic, being without his electronic devices was getting to him.
“Will he be ok?” she asked, but she really hoped he’d tell her what she wanted to hear, not what he actually thought.
“Tenset is the sort of man who could fall into a pig sty and still come up smelling of roses. He’ll be fine, probably a bit bruised, but fine. Keeping the genetic line going is all important to these people, and Tenset is the only option for Tamas’ line to continue. He might keep him locked up for a while, but he won’t do him permanent damage. You know Tenset can talk himself out of just about any situation given half a chance.”
“Positive. Remember, he persuaded me that you were safe with him and look where that ended. Now let’s get some rest so we can make an early start.”
He led her to a large tree similar to a weeping willow, whose branches draped on the ground of the forest floor. Under the canopy, the area was dry and sheltered, and they spread a blanket on the ground, next to the trunk. Chesara started to remove her boots, but Connor stopped her.
“Unless you’ve actually got a problem, better leave them on in case we need to move quickly.”
She left them alone; boy was she was out of her comfort zone here. Having to rely on him, this much grated on her nerves.
Rummaging in his bucket, he produced two apples, and handed one to her.
“Sorry, but we’d better conserve our supplies till we can scrounge up something.”
“Your Federation training included a module on living off the land on Kalzir did it?”
He snorted. “Busted I’m afraid. I was a scout as a boy on Atros; I can catch fish with nothing but my hands and a smile.” He wiggled his fingers to demonstrate.
“Bit of a problem seeing as there’s no river around here.”
“Ah, but as soon as we find one, it’ll be fine dining for two. If you like sushi. I flunked the fire making badge.”
She had to smile at his attempts to keep her spirits up. He reached over, pulled the other blanket out, and spread it over them.
“Shouldn’t we take it in turns to keep watch? That’s what they do in the entertainments.”
“Probably. You try to get some sleep, and I’ll stay awake as long as I can before poking you.” He sat up against the trunk while Chesara laid on her side, her back against his leg.
“No poking allowed, Mr Temple. That will undoubtedly lead to trouble.”
He didn’t reply and she kicked herself. Here they were on the run from a psychopathic kidnapper, not knowing if Tenset was alive or dead, and she was making smutty remarks. Before she’d got to Kalzir, yes she swore, but sex hadn’t really been something she’d thought about all that much, and now she couldn’t get it out of her head.
She’d seen Connor every day for years without making a single innuendo, and now she couldn’t stop, or keep her mind off the hard, lean male body so close to hers. It was all Tenset’s fault, he’d somehow unlocked something inside her and now she couldn’t bottle it up again. Not that she wanted to. She could still almost feel Tenset moving inside her, his strong masculine body covering her, bringing them both such pleasure.
Concentrating hard on the sounds of the forest, the wind in the trees and the odd rustle of an animal going about its nocturnal business, she managed to keep still. Connor wasn’t fairing quite as well, in fact he was shifting about as if he was distinctly uncomfortable. It had been mean and rather childish to tease him, they really couldn’t get up to anything here.
“Sorry I made you uncomfortable,” she murmured.
“You didn’t. Go to sleep.”
She closed her eyes again, but when he moved again about ten minutes later, he made a small noise. That wasn’t desire he was experiencing, it was pain.
“Are you going to admit you’re in pain, so I can fix it and get some sleep, or would you rather pretend you’re macho all night and keeping us both awake?” He didn’t reply, but she heard a slight sigh.
“Are you looking up to the sky for inspiration?” she asked.
She grinned at his slight grunt of amusement.
“What am I going to do with you?”
Sitting up carefully, she grinned at him. “I think, giving the circumstances, I’d better keep quiet about the great many ideas I’ve been coming up with since coming to Kalzir. Do you think there’s something in the water here?”
He was clearly trying for scowl, but his lips just weren’t co-operating.
“I give up; I know when I’m beaten. I’ve got a pain in my back, I think one of Tamas little stickers went a little deeper than we thought.”
He took off the guards coat and his shirt, before turning to lie flat on his belly.
Although Chesara could probably see far better than he could in the gloom, her ability didn’t require eyesight. She ran her fingers lightly over his flesh, trying to be professional instead of coping a feel. He flinched when she reached a spot just above his left hip.
Murmuring an apology for the pain she’d caused, she got to work. Although she’d healed the surface, she’d missed the deeper damage.
She didn’t know who she was angrier with, herself for not noticing it or him for not telling her. To prevent ‘Mr. Stoic’ from hiding something else from her, she did a deep sweep to make sure she hadn’t missed anything else. A foreign body just above the adrenal gland of his left kidney made her freeze.
She centred her perceptions on it. It wasn’t like any implant she’d come across before, it was almost organic in origin, which was probably why she’d never registered its presence before. Tendrils leading from it infiltrated his spinal column. There was no doubt that it was active.
“I thought all of your implants were cranial,” she spoke quietly.
Connor stiffened, but he didn’t reply. She could almost hear him thinking ‘oh shit, busted’. Secrets were part of what made him who he was, but secrets about his health were another matter. Security and cloak and dagger might be his thing, but health was hers and he was going to tell her whether he liked it or not.
“Look we’re in this together right? And I am your doctor at the moment. Whatever that is, it’s infiltrating your central nervous system and it’s active. You need to tell me what this is, so if anything else happens I know what I’m dealing with. Truth ok?”
He was silent for several moments, obviously deciding whether to tell her of not.