Authors: S. E. Smith
“Turek!” Jarak growled out.
“Yes sir,” Turek said pushing to the front.
“Pick two other warriors to help you cage these damn creatures. No one is to eat any of them, do you understand? Prepare them for transport to the palace,” Jarak said gruffly before turning to Ariel and Carmen. “Please follow me to the transporter room. All of them will be cared for until you arrive,” Jarak promised.
“Thank you,” Ariel said softly moving pass the crowd of warriors who were looking longingly into the room.
Carmen came out growling at the warriors. They pushed against each other in an effort to get away from her. “I don’t want my big sister upset, do you understand? I’ll rip every man’s dick off and shove it down his throat if one of those creatures is missing,
?” Carmen said elbowing some of the men who didn’t get out of the way fast enough.
Mandra bit back a snarl of frustration. Zoran contacted him two nights ago wanting him to set up a dinner for the females. He asked that Mandra also have their mother, Morian, help plan it by inviting males desiring to mate. Mandra assumed the females must be having an exceptionally difficult time with the transition from the strained look on all of his brothers’ faces. He shook his head wondering how their people were ever to survive. His brothers’ true mating with a species that was so fragile they were causing his brothers to worry and fret could not be good. He was thankful that Zoran suggested he invite others in a hope of helping the two remaining females find their mates. Perhaps, if his mother could find two males who could protect them it would help them with their transition on Valdier.
He did not know what his brothers would do if the females didn’t survive. Just the thought of them not making it tore at Mandra. Normally, if one true mate dies, then often the other soon followed. The idea of losing three of his brothers because they true mated with a weaker species worried him greatly. He would need to speak with his mother about being there to help the females as much as possible. Perhaps he could request they keep the healers on call at all times.
In addition to this worry, the thought of him and Creon as the only males of the royal line who would more than likely be responsible for the continuation of their family felt like a heavy weight upon his shoulders. There was one other way a Valdier warrior of his lineage could produce offspring…he could mate with another royal like his parents did. Unfortunately, the one female that came to mind drew a shudder from him. Clarmisa was beautiful but about as desirable as a rock. There was no way his symbiot would ever accept her. Hell, his dragon shuddered every time she touched him. Mandra suppressed a shudder of his own wondering if he could even force his shaft to stay hard long enough to mate with her.
“Why the heavy frown, Mandra?” Creon asked coming up beside him as he walked down the corridor to the transporter room which was based inside the palace.
“I was just thinking of Clarmisa,” Mandra said with a grimace.
Creon’s face distorted with distaste. “Why would you be thinking of her?”
Mandra glanced at Creon with a shake of his head. “If the females are as weak as we suspect, the responsibility for breeding will fall to you and me. If we cannot find a true mate, our only option is to mate with another of the royal line like mother and father did,” Mandra said calmly.
“Gods and Goddesses!” Creon said with a shudder. “Surely they cannot be so cruel?” Creon forced out.
“I hope not but do not have much faith. You have talked with Zoran, Trelon, and Kelan. What do you think?” Mandra asked as he focused on the path ahead of him.
“I think I am ready to go start a war with the Sarafin,” Creon muttered under his breath. “It would be more enjoyable than being mated to Clarmisa.”
Mandra chuckled. “I think I’ll join you.”
“Where are you headed?” Creon asked suddenly frowning as he followed his older brother.
“Trelon says there has been a slight problem getting a couple of the females off of the
. He asked that we meet him in the transporter room. It appears the two females are very protective of the tiny one he has claimed and he is worried they might become very upset when he takes her,” Mandra muttered. “I just hope they are not crying. I hate dealing with emotional females.”
Creon shuddered. “I think I would much rather start a war with both the Sarafin and the Curizan than deal with that. Maybe I can talk to Ha’ven about having a mock war until the last two females are mated.”
“Well, you are going to have to deal with it because they are going to be here before you can create your make-believe war. There are two of them so I need help and you are it. One is bad enough! Two is more than even I can handle,” Mandra said grabbing his brother’s arm when he moved to turn around. “Besides, you owe me.”
“Not enough to deal with a whining female!” Creon complained remembering the last time Clarmisa had visited. She had cried every time she had a hair out of place or the food wasn’t to her liking or it was too hot or too cold. “You are going to owe me for this one, brother.”
Ariel watched Cara closely. She could see the shadows in her tiny friend’s eyes. Something had happened that had hurt her friend deeply. Ariel’s eyes narrowed on the huge male trying to catch Cara as she moved around the transporter console asking a million and one questions. She knew Cara well enough to know when she was trying to put on a good front. Ariel glanced at Carmen whose mouth was pressed together tightly. She had recognized it too and was pissed. Not a good combination.
Ariel walked over and gently touched Cara’s shoulder. “You okay?” She asked.
“What? Oh, yeah… just miles away is all,” Cara responded with a sad, forced smile.
“Don’t worry,” Ariel said as she walked with Cara toward the platform. “We’ll figure out a way to get home,” Ariel whispered and glanced at Carmen as she came up silently on the other side of Cara. She smiled when Carmen nodded her head in agreement.
Cara nodded, throwing a glance at Trelon who was staring at her grimly. “Okay,” she agreed with quiet determination.
Ariel wrapped her arm around Cara and hugged her before stepping back as one of the guards responded to Trelon’s nod. Ariel threw the huge male a nasty glare warning him he was treading on thin ice. She was ready to kick his ass for messing with Cara’s emotions. Cara had been through enough without some sorry-ass alien thinking he could jerk her around.
Trelon desperately hoped Mandra got his message. He hadn’t been very clear, just that he needed help distracting the other two females while he spirited Cara away to his living quarters long enough to get her to listen to him and forgive him. The looks the two females were giving him right now promised he would be spending the next couple of days in medical if he didn’t move fast enough.
He was still in shock after finding out about their latest escapade from Jarak. How on Valdier they could have a fortune worth of Maratts and Grombots inside their living quarters was beyond him. Jarak didn’t even know how they were able to get them since it appeared they never left the tiny room assigned to them. His brother Kelan suspected one of the warriors snuck them aboard during their brief stop on the Madaris Spaceport but he couldn’t be sure until he or Jarak had a chance to review the acquisition forms. Right now though, that was the least of Trelon’s concerns. He needed to get Cara somewhere she couldn’t escape, at least for a little while.
Trelon nodded to the two guards standing beside the females. The short haired one turned and snapped her teeth at one of the guards who looked like he was half in love with her. Ariel looked at the one who moved toward her and rubbed a fist into the palm of her hand. The man’s step faltered for a moment before he sighed and stepped back.
Ariel looked at her sister then at Cara letting her know as soon as they made it planet-side they were taking Cara under their wing. Carmen nodded silently in agreement. Ariel stepped up onto the transporter platform and turned to look in stony silence at the men looking at her and Carmen with a combination of lust, admiration, and resignation. Then, everything blurred.
Ariel swayed for a moment as everything came back into focus. She found herself in a large room filled with almost a dozen men. She looked around for just a moment trying to get her bearings before she moved. Her head turned sharply when she heard Cara’s startled squeal.
“Hey, let her go!” Ariel yelled when she saw the huge male called Trelon snatching Cara up and carrying her off the platform at almost a run.
“Son-of-a-bitch!” Carmen cursed out behind her.
“Grab them!” Trelon shouted over his shoulder as he carried a struggling Cara out before the women could stop him.
Mandra had walked into the transporter room listening as one of the men explained Zoran and his mate had already departed for their living quarters. Mandra nodded distractedly. He wanted to meet Zoran’s mate in person but could understand Zoran’s concern for his mate’s health so he wasn’t necessarily surprised he missed them. He was delayed by some new, disturbing information he received from one of his informants about the attack on Zoran. He would have to share the information later with his other brothers. He preferred not to tell them over the
communication system for fear of it being intercepted as it appeared they had a traitor among them.
He glanced over to where Creon was talking to several other warriors. His brother was very good at getting information and was probably trying to gauge how much trouble the new females would be. He saw his brother’s look of astonishment followed by a look of doubt. Whatever he was being told it must not be very good.
Mandra walked toward the transporter console. He stopped when he saw his brother Trelon and the three females he had asked him to come meet materialize. One of the females was so small she wasn’t much larger than some of their youth. Mandra was shaking his head in disappointment when Trelon suddenly erupted into motion startling him. Mandra reacted without thinking when his brother yelled for him to grab the other two females.
Mandra moved to intercept the female with the long golden sheath of hair hanging down her back while his brother moved to catch the other one. The moment his dragon caught sight of her, it erupted into a wild frenzy inside of him, pushing at him to get out. Mandra stumbled for a moment not expecting his dragon’s sudden demand to be set free. He reached out an arm to grab the female as she came toward him but she swung around at the last moment in a sudden move that left him stunned. Mandra felt his head snap back as her booted foot connected with his chin sending him flying into several other men. He fell backwards looking up in stunned disbelief as she dashed past him and through the door after Trelon.
“My Lord, are you hurt?” One of the men asked startled.
Mandra jerked loose of the arms holding him with a dark snarl. He glanced at his brother who was circling the short haired female. His eyes widened as she suddenly attacked his younger brother using lightning fast moves he had never seen before. Mandra rubbed his aching chin and pushed off after the other female with a grunt to the men looking around him in confusion.
Mandra burst through the door looking both ways. His eyes lit up with fire as he caught sight of the female’s slight figure turning a corner further down the corridor following his brother. Mandra’s dragon was bouncing around inside him, pushing and snarling to get out.
Mine! Go. Chase. Mine! I catch. I keep,
it was panting in agitation.
Mine! Go. Let me out. Hurry, my mate get away.
Mandra replied astonished as he bolted after the delicate female.
Galactic balls! Maybe she isn’t so delicate from the feel of my chin,
he thought distractedly as he raced after her.
What in the hell was going on?
Mandra wondered. He skidded around the corner and saw the female running as fast as she could. Two guards came toward her. Mandra growled out. He did not want any other males touching her. She was his and he would tear any male who touched her apart. The males reached out for her but at the last minute, she suddenly dropped down sliding across the slippery floor between their spread legs. She flipped at the last minute and was back on her feet leaving them standing looking over their shoulders at her retreating back in shock.
Mandra rushed forward, pushing through the men. He growled out as he knocked both of the men to the side as he followed after the slender figure of the female. He grinned and thought about calling for his symbiot. He wanted to know if what he and his dragon were feeling meant the elusive female was his true mate. Only if she was accepted by all three parts of him could she be. So far, he and his dragon were in complete agreement. They wanted her – desperately. He would also need to speak with his brothers. If these were the delicate females they were talking about then he wanted to know what was so delicate about them! So far, she didn’t seem to be the crying and whining type.
Ariel lost sight of Cara and the huge male carrying her and slid to a stop looking around. She glanced over her shoulder and let loose a long string of curses. The stupid idiot who tried to grab her in the transporter room was still following her. Ariel glanced around and spotted an alcove to the side. She bolted into it frantically looking around. There was a small ledge up above the arched doorway that she might be able to squeeze into. Her eyes lit up as she saw the small planter on a table near the window. Time for a slam dunk!
Mandra turned the corner and looked down the long empty corridor. He frowned in confusion looking around. Where in the name of all the Gods did the female go? There were numerous rooms on either side of the corridor but they were at the far end and he hadn’t been that far away from her. Surely, she wasn’t that fast? Mandra shifted partially letting his dragon come to the surface enough to sniff the air.