Barbarian Pirate

When her father is arrested, Chayara stows away on board a freighter to seek out her uncle on the planet Verena. Caught and taken to pirate captain Torand Rego, she is given a choice: be forced out of the airlock or become his plaything.

Unbeknownst to the Pirate Captain Rego, Chayara should be off-limits. Taking a taste from the forbidden fruit could cost him everything. Which is more important to him: the girl or the mission?

Publisher’s Note: This sci-fi romance contains explicit themes including power exchange. While it is the third book in the Lost Worlds series, it can be enjoyed as a standalone.

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Sample Chapter

Chayara crouched behind the crate in the ship’s storage hold, not quite holding her breath. She’d managed to sneak on board this vessel from the supply and repair station where the ship had docked, taking advantage of the sloppy way they’d guarded their hold after loading their supplies. If the ship needed repairs as well as supplies, the wait for it to leave the station could be a long one, but she was trusting to luck that departure would be sooner rather than later. After all, luck had gotten her this far.

And her luck turned bright and shiny again when she felt the sudden throb of engines and heard the clang of ports being closed and locked. The engines would need only a short time of warm-up to match the short time the ship had been docked, but that very short amount of docking time suddenly felt odd rather than lucky. Wasn’t anyone taking leave on the station, not even the ship’s officers? That wasn’t the way it usually worked.

“But it’s too late to change my mind,” Chayara muttered as she sat down on the cold and dirty deck, pulling her pack closer. “Not that I would change my mind even if I could. This was the only ship likely to leave before the next Patrol ship showed up, when everyone on the station would be asked for identity papers. They would have found me no matter where I tried to hide, and that would have been it. At least now I have some kind of chance.”

A chance to get as far away from where she’d come from as possible, without anyone knowing what she was doing. She had to find her uncle Leron, a man she hadn’t seen in eight years, but one who was also her father’s twin brother so she’d have no trouble recognizing him. Uncle Leron had given her the name of a planet and its sector when she had seen him last. Finding him on Verena—not to mention getting to the station—might be hard, but so far her luck had carried her more than halfway. Freighters weren’t comfortable to travel on, but they covered large distances and were convenient enough for a stowaway.

Like this newest freighter she’d found. The supply hold wasn’t as gigantically large as the hold for freight, but it had to be kept filled with air because supplies were constantly needed for the crew. And it had a sanitary facility just like the larger hold, there to be used in case of an emergency while crewmembers were loading or unloading in the area. The sink provided drinking and quick-bath water, and Chayara carried tablets of food concentrate that was actually better for people than ordinary food.

And my occasional stops on stations let me shower and get my clothes cleaned, Chayara thought, also deciding to wait another few minutes before looking for a place to sleep. So far there had always been something soft in the hold to use as bedding—softer than the metal of the deck, at least. But she would not help herself to any of the food in the hold, even if she had started to dream about sitting down to a normal meal. The loss of a small amount of water might get overlooked, but if food rations started to disappear the crew would begin a search and she could not afford to get caught.

Thinking about searches, Chayara suddenly realized that she didn’t need her hand torch to search for something to sleep on. The lights were still on in the hold, which was most peculiar. If the loading crew forgot to turn out the lights when they were done, the oversight was always corrected by the bridge crew as soon as the ship was underway. This time, though, something was different. She just wasn’t sure what yet.

“Don’t make a single move toward that pack,” a cold male voice said from behind her, making her blood turn even colder. “Lace your fingers behind your head and sit perfectly still.”

Chayara lost no time in putting her hands behind her head and lacing her fingers together, cursing hard in her head. This was the first time she’d been found, the only time she’d been found, and she couldn’t understand how the luck could have deserted her. It wasn’t like ordinary luck, after all.

“You were right, Dron, it is a female,” the cold voice said as the man who owned it moved around to where Chayara could see him. He was big and dark, with black hair, eyes and skin, and he held a high intensity stunner that obviously came from the empty holster strapped to his thigh. Stunners were used aboard ships in place of more deadly weapons to keep the hull from being breached by an accidental discharge, but that usually meant ordinary stunners. The high intensity sort had different settings, and the highest had no trouble killing anyone the charge struck. She did not wish it to be her.

“‘Course it’s female,” a second voice said as the man who owned it also moved into view. “A scanner never lies, leastways not to somebody who can read it. She’s also got nothin’ in the way of tracers or any other electronics on her. What say we take a short break before bringin’ her to the captain, Khar?”

This second man had sallow skin to go with his dark eyes and hair, and he wasn’t quite as large as the first. But he also wore a holstered stunner, probably because his hands were busy holding the scanner, and both men wore ordinary shirts, pants and boots. No ship’s uniforms with the ship’s name and symbol at their left shoulders, which had also never happened before. Chayara tried to keep her face expressionless as both men stared at her, but her heart had started to pound its way out of her chest and she felt an urgent need to swallow hard.

“If you think the captain won’t know we took a short break then you’re dreaming, Dron,” Khar said after a very long moment of staring in silence. “First, we hand her over, and if the captain doesn’t want her then we can taste her. On your feet, girl, and don’t be dim enough to think you can run. If you do run I won’t chase you, I’ll shoot you. Now get up.”

Chayara got to her feet slowly, trying to figure out what kind of freighter she’d made the mistake of stowing away on. Armed crewmen using a scanner in the supply hold; men who wore no uniforms and talked about raping her instead of locking her up. She had no idea how it was possible for her luck to turn so bad, but there was no arguing that it had. Whether or not good luck would come back was something she wasn’t up to thinking about at the moment.

When it became clear that she wasn’t going to run, Khar holstered his stunner, picked up her pack, and then took Chayara’s arm. She was dragged by that arm to and through the airtight door leading into the rest of the ship, then up the corridor outside. Khar’s fingers were hurting her but she didn’t bother saying so. He wasn’t likely to loosen his grip until they got to where they were going.

And getting to where they were going took a while. The ship was bigger than the average freighter, even bigger than the occasional super freighter. How that could be was another piece of the puzzle that refused to come together for Chayara, most especially since the station designation for this ship had said it was an ordinary freighter. It wasn’t supposed to be possible for a ship to broadcast a misleading designation, only this ship obviously had. And that realization began to give Chayara a hint she preferred to ignore.

But they passed a large number of people as they walked, some clearly on duty, some just lounging around. The ones on duty were armed like the two men escorting Chayara, but the loungers looked no softer, and most of them wore knives on their belts and at their boots. There was a sprinkling of women, but most of the crew seemed to be male. Their eyes touched Chayara in the same way Dron’s had, predators looking at a snack. She had to work hard to clamp down on the fear she felt, but somehow she managed it. If you showed weakness to a predator you were as good as dead, and she had to stay alive as long as possible.

Khar finally stopped at the door of a cabin and knocked, but made no attempt to walk in until a male voice called out permission to enter. Once he had the permission Khar opened the door and dragged her inside, then gave her a little push toward the man seated behind the desk. The man had red hair down to his broad shoulders, a square, rugged face and the coldest gray eyes Chayara had ever seen. His stare said he already knew everything about her from just a single glance, and didn’t think much of anything he’d found.

“We found her in the supply hold,” Khar said, moving to the desk to hand over Chayara’s pack. “No tracers of any kind, and nothing in the way of electronics.”

“Just what I needed,” the man behind the desk growled in a deep voice. “You and Dron go back and finish checking the hold. If you do find a tracer or anything else, I want to know about it immediately.”

The two men who had brought Chayara to the cabin acknowledged the orders without saying anything else, and a moment later they were gone with the cabin door closed behind them. The man seated at the desk was now examining the contents of Chayara’s pack, but with as little as the pack contained, the examination didn’t take long. Suddenly that cold gray stare was on her again.

“Two changes of clothes, a comb and brush, a hand torch, and a container of food concentrate about two-thirds full,” the man stated, part of his stare faintly accusing. “This can’t possibly be all you have with you.”

“Some people like to travel light,” Chayara responded, relieved that her voice held perfectly steady. “If you don’t happen to like people who travel light, you can just let me off at the nearest planetary station. I promise I won’t be offended.”

“That’s really good of you,” the man said, but the sarcasm did nothing to warm his stare. “Where did you come from, and where did you think you were going?”

“I came from a freighter that put in at that station for repairs, and where I’m going is to the next freighter that won’t be docked for weeks,” Chayara answered, beginning to find that stare more than uncomfortable. “Do you mind if I sit down in one of those chairs in front of your desk? It’s been a while since I had the chance to use a chair.”

“Yes, I do mind,” the man responded at once before she could do more than start a step toward one of the chairs. “We don’t have any stowaways’ chairs on board this vessel. The only freighter docked at that station was scheduled to have its repairs finished in no more than another three days. But word was the Patrol would arrive before then to do its customary full sweep of the station and any vessel docked there. The sweep would have located you no matter where you tried to hide, and I’m betting you don’t have any papers to show them. If I’m wrong, you can prove it by showing me your papers.”

“I’m a free soul who doesn’t believe in the custom of using identity papers,” Chayara said, folding her arms as she looked at the man with less than friendliness. “There are supposed to be a lot of planetary stations in this sector, so why don’t you just throw me into your brig until we reach one of them? After that, my beliefs won’t be your concern, and your precious chairs will be safe from contamination.”

“You’d like me to turn you over to the authorities on the nearest station,” the man said, the smallest of smiles curving his lips as he leaned back in his chair. “They’d give you a stern lecture about never stowing away again, and then you’d have a station week to find a job. Until the week was up they’d feed you and give you a place to sleep free of charge, but before the week was up you’d be gone from the station on another freighter. Your doing that would make you someone else’s problem and they’d be able to forget about you, and it would only have cost them the price of a few meals and the use of a hole in the wall room no one would pay for anyway. Station officials like to take the easy way out, but I don’t look at the matter in the same way.”

Chayara was tempted to ask how he did look at the matter, but it was easy to see he’d spell out his preferences without any encouragement. It wasn’t anything like a good thing that the man knew how stations handled stowaways, and that tiny smile he now wore was almost more disturbing than his stare.

“I don’t like it when people barge onto my ship uninvited,” the man said after all traces of that smile disappeared. “This vessel is mine, and as captain I have the last word about what happens on board. It so happens I could use a cabin girl, someone to look after all my needs, but I’ve gotten along without one until now so don’t feel as if you’re being forced to take the job. If you’re too good to work off your passage, you can always choose to be put out of an airlock.”

“Out of an airlock!” Chayara blurted, already rattled by his job offer. The man had stressed the word all when he spoke about his needs, which had to mean he expected to have her in his bed, too. How nice that he wasn’t trying to hide his intentions. “You can’t mean that threat,” she finally managed to say, her mind whirling. “If even one person told the Patrol what you’d done—”

“This ship is the Hawk and I’m Torand Rego,” the man said, adding to the chill Chayara already felt. “From the way you just paled, it’s obvious you’ve heard my name and my ship’s name before, so you now know how likely it is that one of my crew will be telling the Patrol anything. If I tell any of them to put you out of an airlock, they’ll ask nothing but if you’re to be alive or dead at the time. I like to think of myself as a generous man, so my answer will be dead. Have you made your decision yet?”

Torand Rego. Chayara stood with that name ringing in her head, but why her knees hadn’t given way she had no idea. Torand Rego was the second most well known pirate in this sector of space, and his cutthroat crew aboard the Hawk was notorious. No wonder they’d pretended to be a freighter when they’d docked at the station for supplies, and no wonder they checked the ship with a scanner afterward. The good luck Chayara had known all her life had finally run out, and it couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

But this couldn’t be the end of the road for her, not when others were depending on her. She put a trembling hand to her head, wishing she could tell Rego to kill her and have done with it, but he’d simply nod and have it done. She’d have to agree to his terms no matter how badly he treated her, but pain had an odd effect on her. It made her mad instead of afraid, and being mad would keep her going until she found a way off this ship.

“Tell me you thought I’d choose to die,” she said after taking a deep breath, bringing her gaze back to Rego’s. “Go ahead and claim I really had a choice.”

“Of course you had a choice,” he countered as he stood up and moved out from behind his desk, his full attention still on her. “Some women would have chosen to die rather than be despoiled, which would have been nothing more than a foolish waste. This is my office, and my cabin is next door through this hatch. Let’s get you started on the first of your duties.”

Pressing a switch on the wall next to the hatch made it slide open, and Rego gestured her through the doorway first. Now that the man was standing rather than sitting, Chayara was even more unhappy. He was big in his black pants and boots and turquoise long-sleeved shirt, both taller and wider than the man called Khar, giving her the impression that he could crush her with one hand. Chayara didn’t like to be made to feel tiny, most especially since she wasn’t, but there wasn’t much she could do to change things. Even if she found it possible to knock Rego down, say, the effort wasn’t likely to do her any good.

“As you can now see, this cabin could use some tidying,” he said from behind her—an understatement if Chayara had ever heard one. The place was a mess, not to mention bigger than any other cabin she had ever seen. Clothes were thrown every which way, the linen on the bed bolted into the deck looked like it hadn’t been changed in years, and books were stacked everywhere, including on some of the piles of clothing. A disposal bag lay on the floor not far from the bed, but someone had only just started to fill it with the remnants of a dozen unfinished meals in their disposable dishes. The only thing the cabin lacked was piles of animal droppings.

“I expect to be pleasantly surprised when I come back here later,” Rego said, the sound of his voice proving he hadn’t done more than step through the hatch. “Ship time is mid-afternoon, so that should give you some idea of when I’ll be back. The clothes cleaner is in that corner to the right, near the door to the head, and the head itself could use some tidying up. Don’t try to leave this cabin under any circumstance, not even to come into my office. If you’re ever found anywhere but here without my permission, I won’t wait to hear any reasons. I’ll just assume that you’ve changed your mind about your choice and act accordingly. Do you understand me?”

“Sure, boss, anything you say,” Chayara responded without turning, fighting to keep from grinding her teeth as she stepped over a mound of dirty clothes. If she couldn’t get him to change his mind about confining her to the cabin, she might as well just walk out. Becoming a prisoner with no chance of escape would end her efforts as completely as being arrested by the Patrol, and she didn’t have all the time in the universe. Any delay in reaching her uncle could cause her to run out of time altogether, and that would mean the end of everything. And, come to think of it, she would have to find out where this pirate ship was heading.

Chayara turned to the hatch to see if Rego had any more orders he wanted to give her, and was startled to see he had disappeared. The fact that the hatch was closed again told her where he’d gone, which meant she could slump for a minute and rub her face with both hands. Not showing a predator fear was hard work, but harder was keeping an awareness of that fear from yourself. But it all still had to be done, just the way digging through that mess all around her had to be done. For a little while, at least.

***

Torand Rego went back to his desk and sat down, looking at the few items the girl’s pack had contained while he tried to figure out why he’d done what he had. The blonde and blue-eyed girl his men had found was pretty enough, despite her wrinkled gray shirt and pants and lack of makeup, but at another time he would have simply had her knocked out and put off at the first station the Hawk could reach. By the time she woke up he and his people would be long gone, and the authorities might never have found out what ship it was that had brought her.

But instead of doing the smart thing, he’d told her who he was, and then he’d forced her into the only decision she could have made. Granted, he’d been feeling a bit surly of late and her unimpressed attitude had annoyed him, not to mention the fact that it was perfectly obvious she’d been traveling for longer than a couple of days. She was either running away from something or running to something, and when she’d refused to tell him which, his annoyance had flared up like a nova.

Tor got up from his chair again and went to pour himself another cup of coffee, impatience flooding him just the way it had been doing for weeks now. He and his crew were awaiting word that the leader’s major plan was ready to be put into effect, but so far close was as good as it got. The Great Plan, they’d taken to calling it, trying to make a joke out of something that meant so much to all of them. A couple of members of Tor’s crew might not be eager to leave the life of a pirate, but he and everyone else wanted nothing more than to go home and find some kind of normal life to lead.

“Assuming there is such a thing as a normal life,” he muttered as he added cream and sugar to his coffee. “But what I consider normal, not the twisted definition used by our glorious central government. If we can’t get rid of those people, we’ll be hunted outlaws for the rest of our lives, just the way we are right now.”

And maybe that was the reason he’d appropriated the girl, he thought as he carried the cup back to his desk. Once their private war was over, he’d be able to have a woman of his own, but victory was taking too long in coming. He wanted some of the fruits of victory now, and taking one of their women suited his mood perfectly. She had gone pale when he’d told her who he was, and the fact that she hadn’t fainted was something of a surprise. Tor smiled. Later he’d have to see what he could do to change that state of affairs.

***

Chayara stood in the middle of the cabin and looked around to see that she’d accomplished more than she’d thought. The bed linen and blankets had been the first things to go through the cleaner, and then she’d remade the bed while the first load of dirty clothes was being done. After that she’d used the bed to dump the clean clothes to make room for more in the cleaner, and then folded the clean stuff before tackling the garbage. One of the cabin walls had drawers all across and half way up it; drawers with catches to keep them from flying open if something happened to the ship’s artificial gravity. The clean clothes were going into those drawers as soon as they were folded, and the disposal bag was almost full to the top with litter.

“And now it’s even possible to see that there’s carpeting in here,” she muttered, but the observation did very little to distract her from the fact that Torand Rego would soon be back. She’d worked at top speed to keep herself occupied, but the later it got, the more her thoughts kept returning to the fact that he meant to use her body. She’d hated having to clean up his mess, but what he meant to do later was beginning to make her more than a little afraid.

“But it’s also making me mad, and mad is better than afraid any day of the week,” she stated, straightening where she stood. “He has no right to force me into his bed, so he also has no right to complain if things don’t go as well as he expects them to. And they won’t go well, I can see to that, at least.”

And her decision was made just in time. The sound of the hatch sliding back made her turn, and there was Rego himself, stepping into the cabin.

“Well, I’m impressed,” he said, pressing the switch to close the hatch again before coming more fully into the cabin. “You’ve actually made this place livable again, so you’ve earned a reward. Drink this, and then you’ll have your reward.”

“What is it?” Chayara asked, eyeing the small glass filled with about half an inch of liquid without making any attempt to take it. “That’s green, and I don’t drink things that are green.” It looked odd and she didn’t dare smell it.

“This is medication that will kill any odd germs you may have brought aboard,” Rego said, a distant amusement in those cold gray eyes. “The men who found you and I have already had our doses, and now it’s your turn. If you hate the taste as much as we did, that’s only fair. If you don’t drink it, you can’t stay aboard.”

And since they weren’t near a station, that meant being put out of an airlock. Chayara was beginning to hate that threat, even beyond the idea of dying. She wanted to tell Rego to kill her and be damned, but that would be selfish. Instead she took the glass and swallowed the liquid in one gulp, only then finding out how really bad the stuff tasted.

“Good girl,” Rego said with a grin, taking back the glass while Chayara shuddered at the awful taste in her mouth. “You can have some water in a few minutes, and that will help. Just as your reward will help. I’m going to let you use my shower.”

“And now I shouldn’t even contaminate it,” she said huskily while trying to rid her mouth of that horrible taste. “You’re being so good to me I’m nearly overwhelmed, but there are a couple of things you still haven’t said. Where is this ship heading, and what happens to me when we get there?”

“When we get where we’re going you’ll be turned loose,” he said before she could snarl at herself for asking a question she might not like the answer to. “Your expression says you don’t quite believe me, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t. We’re headed for the station near Moradan on the planet Verena, and you can tell the station authorities anything you like.”

Shock made Chayara forget the taste in her mouth for a moment. Ever since she’d left home, her biggest worry had been how she would get to the place her uncle Leron had said he’d be. Not many years ago Verena had been just another planet, with not much more than a resort and barbarians, but today it housed the city of Moradan, which was the home of every pirate who roamed deep space and made life unbearable for the government. The planetary system was so well defended that governmental forces hadn’t been able to get through those defenses, and Chayara hadn’t known how she would get through—even assuming she reached the station. Now Rego had said he was taking her right to where she wanted to go, proving that her luck hadn’t deserted her after all.

“Yes, I can see that the station authorities won’t care what ship I came on,” she said slowly, her head whirling with newly made plans. “About how long will it be before we get there?”

“Just a few days,” he answered, the words nearly a drawl. “Go ahead and take your shower now, and then we can talk about my reward.”

Chayara hated the instant blush she could feel on her cheeks, most especially since Rego couldn’t have missed seeing it. Instead of saying anything, though, she hurried to the bathroom. The light came on as soon as she stepped through the doorway, of course, so she quickly closed the door behind her. There was no way to lock it, but closing it was better than leaving it open.

“I’m beginning to hate that man,” she muttered as she went to the sink and turned on the water. There was no glass to use, but her palm served well enough to get water into her mouth to drown the awful taste of that medication.

If she hadn’t already cleared the room of dirty clothes and piled books, she wouldn’t have enjoyed the idea of a shower half as much as she did. But she had cleared the room, so she was able to get out of her rubber-soled shoes and well-worn clothes before stepping into the narrow shower stall. The frosted mock-glass door kept her from seeing out, but that meant no one else would be able to see in. Rego thought he would be enjoying himself with her soon, but she’d already decided not to let that happen. Unless, of course, he enjoyed taking his jollies with a corpse.

The shower water was steaming hot, a treat Chayara hadn’t enjoyed since she left home. Station showers never got hotter than almost warm, and the sanitary facilities in freighter supply holds didn’t have showers. As she washed, she thought about food, but not because she was hungry—yet. The food concentrate tablets only had to be taken once a day, but now that she wasn’t in a hold any longer, she might get the chance at some real food.

But not if Rego gave her a hard time over the meal. Chayara had lived on tablets for what seemed like months now, even though it had only been a little less than two standard weeks, so a few more days would hardly kill her. She would not give him everything he wanted, not if he tried to bribe her, and not even if he hurt her. Chances were good that he would hurt her, but that made things better. Getting hurt would make her mad, and mad was still better than nervous.

Chayara had already rinsed the soap from her body and hair when the delicious hot water cut off and the warm blowers came on. The shower had lasted longer than showers on stations, but even the captain’s shower had an automatic cutoff on board a ship. Well, the fact that the blowers blew warm air instead of cold made up for losing the water, so she enjoyed being dried almost as much as she’d enjoyed getting clean.

When even her hair and the bottoms of her feet were dry, she stepped out of the shower stall. She didn’t really want to get back into her dirty clothes, but the rest of her things were still in Rego’s office and she could hardly ask him to retrieve them.

Her heart skipped a beat when she reached for clothes that were no longer where she’d left them. Nothing but empty floor lay outside the shower, which meant that if she went back out to the cabin, she would have to go naked. Instant embarrassment heated her cheeks, and for some reason the embarrassment seemed to be echoed by her body as well. A similar heat appeared inside her and began to spread, just as if she found walking around naked arousing.

“I most certainly do not like that idea!” she snarled softly, clenching her fists in an attempt to ignore what she felt. “And I’m not going to do anything to encourage that miserable man.”

“Well, that’s much better,” Rego said after opening the door so abruptly that Chayara actually jumped. “You clean up better than I thought you would, not to mention the fact that your clothes didn’t tell half the story about what was under them. Now that you’re ready, you can come out here.”

By that time Chayara had used her arms to cover her body, or at least she’d tried to cover herself. The effort turned out to be almost completely ineffective, and Rego’s amusement made her want to scream. He’d turned away from the door after graciously giving her permission to walk around naked, but she couldn’t just leave matters at that.

“I’m not moving from this room until my clothes are returned!” she shouted at the broad back that had already begun to move away. “Those clothes were mine so you had no right to touch them! Tell me where you’ve put them!”

“Your clothes are in the cleaner along with the rest of mine,” he answered mildly, only turning part way back to speak to her. “If you don’t feel like coming out of the head by yourself, I can always send for a couple of my men to help you. You have one standard minute to decide if that’s what you want. After that I’ll make the decision for you.”

Mortification added to the flames already consuming Chayara’s face and body in spite of the fact that Rego had continued on his way. It was bad enough that he had seen her like this; if he ever called his men the embarrassment would kill her. That meant she had to walk out just as she was, and without trying to hide behind her arms. Hiding like a backward child had made her feel so stupid.

She had to swallow hard before she was able to force herself to leave the bathroom. The first few steps weren’t too bad, but then she was able to see Rego where he sat in the cabin’s only chair. Even though the glimpse was just out of the corner of her eye she could feel the weight of his complete attention, an awareness that didn’t simply add to her embarrassment. Her body’s arousal increased as if she were enjoying being looked at, and suddenly walking became more of a chore.

“Yes, that’s much better,” Rego said from the deep, padded chair he sat in, the words almost a murmur. “Come closer to me.”

Closer. Chayara wanted nothing more than to pick a direction and just run without ever stopping, but even if she’d been dressed she couldn’t have left the cabin and stayed alive. She moved closer to her captor just as he’d ordered, but not very quickly. And she certainly didn’t look directly at him.

“No!” she shouted, trying to fight the big hands that had come to pull her into Rego’s lap. He’d waited until she was close enough to grab, probably knowing she would never have gotten into his lap by herself.

“Enough melodramatics,” he ordered as he held her where he wanted her in spite of her struggles. “Are you a grown woman or a small child?”

His words hit her like a bucket of cold water. She was behaving like a child, and that was even more embarrassing than sitting naked in a strange man’s lap. It took a real effort to calm down, but finally she managed it.

“You’re right, and I apologize,” she made herself say, still not looking at him. But not looking at Rego didn’t help with ignoring his hands, one of which was on her thigh and the other on her back. Her bare thigh and her bare back.

“Apology accepted,” he answered, and Chayara could almost feel the amusement in him. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a real blonde at my disposal before, and a clean one at that. Are you going to do as good a job with me as you did with this cabin?”

“Of course I will,” she lied, hating the way she couldn’t seem to stop blushing. It didn’t matter that she was having trouble sitting still in his lap, the need to squirm starting as soon as she’d felt his hands on her. And now those hands were stroking her, caressing rather than hurting.

“What nice soft skin you have,” he murmured, his lips coming to her shoulder. “Turn your face toward me.”

She meant to turn her head only a small amount, but discovered at once that he had decided not to leave the doing to her discretion alone. His hand left her back to tangle in her hair, and then her face was turned all the way toward him and he was kissing her. Her own hands went to his chest in an effort to push him away, but that was impossible to do. And his lips were so demanding, that she found herself kissing him back.

The shock of finding herself responding to the man’s kiss hit Chayara hard, but not as hard as her response to his other hand between her thighs. Even as she tried frantically to scream and push him away, her body flared with such heat that she nearly passed out. She moaned at what his hand was doing to her, moving at the urging of his fingers and lips and tongue.

At that point her thoughts turned blurry, leaving her with nothing but sensations. Rego’s lips had left hers to go to her nipples, nipples that had hardened and felt as though sandpaper had been used on them. She felt every touch of his tongue as she moaned, and her body refused to be still. She squirmed to the urging of his hand between her thighs, a hand that was beginning to drive her insane in spite of the gentleness of the rubbing it did. She was in need, terrible need, and the awful fire grew higher with every passing moment.

“Yes, I think you will do a good job for me, a very good job,” Rego murmured, and then he stood up with her in his arms. He carried her to the bed and put her down, then began to get out of his clothes. Chayara could do nothing but writhe with her eyes and fists closed tight, silently begging him to hurry. She would die if she had to wait much longer, she would die.

But she didn’t die, even though it seemed like forever before Rego came to take her in his arms again. This time there were no clothes to keep their bodies apart, and he took another kiss while his hands explored every inch of her. Chayara whimpered while he took his time, but finally he moved between her knees and raised her up. The feel of him between her thighs almost made her scream, but as he plunged inside her, his presence made her throat close. She’d never known that sex would feel like this, and then even blurred thoughts disappeared as he began to stroke her hard for a time that was unending.

***

Tor withdrew from the girl and let himself fall to the bed beside her, complete satisfaction filling him. He’d known the girl would try to hold herself back from him, so he’d avoided the problem before it began. That medication had been no such thing, not unless you considered the most effective aphrodisiac ever made as medication. It had originated on the barbarian planet of Verena, and he intended to get another supply of it soon enough.

The girl had responded to him with everything in her and now she lay with her eyes closed, probably basking in the glow of utter pleasure and trying to catch her breath just the way he was doing. He was certain she’d had just as good a time as he’d had, and their good time wasn’t yet over. The green glow would continue to affect her for some time, making life fun for him for a change.

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