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Authors: Denise A. Agnew

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Daryk Rogue

Denise A. Agnew

 

Daryk World, Book Two

 

Ruled by treacherous desires to
mate…

He would kill and die for her.

When Xandra Shorenus’ husband
murders her family in retaliation for her defiance she escapes, but a huge wave
wrecks her ship. Rogue Daryk One Rayder Tyrus saves her but commands her
allegiance with one kiss. She is his now, in and out of bed.

Rayder has infiltrated a dangerous
faction, his need for redemption and retribution absolute. Desire to protect
Xandra mixes with powerful carnal needs that demand he show her pleasures she
never could have imagined in her sheltered life. They discover a fiery
connection forged between hot kisses, adventurous touches and mind-melting
unions. They must learn to survive the wrath of the breeder-slaver who hates
Rayder, the elements of jungle and desert that rule the land, and a war about
to erupt that could separate them forever.

 

An Ellora’s Cave Romantica
Publication

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

 

Daryk Rogue

 

ISBN 9781419932137

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daryk Rogue Copyright © 2010 Denise A. Agnew

 

Edited by Mary Moran

Cover art by Syneca

 

Electronic book publication December 2010

 

The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of
Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

 

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not
be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written
permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home
Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this
copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or
distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without
the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including
infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is
punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. 
(http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or print
editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of
copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons,
living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The
characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

Daryk Rogue

Denise A. Agnew

Acknowledgements

 

To
my husband Terry for his encouragement and understanding. You’re the best
husband a woman could ever have.

 

To
Lena Robinson for your constant friendship, brainstorming sessions and for
sharing this publishing journey with me.

 

To
the Wednesday Night Discussion Group. You know who you are. Thanks for knowing
how to make every step of this journey even that much better.

 

Chapter One

Planet Croan

Near the Supercontinent Magonia

Protican Ocean

 

For an eternity Xandra Shorenus gasped for air. She hung on
to the few breaths her lungs allowed as she was tossed upward by the ocean’s
waves and thrown into the chilling water with incredible force.

She wheezed, swimming through the icy water, and caught a
glimpse of the ship as a monumental sheet of water hit the vessel and
obliterated it like a wooden toy.

Terror choked off her breath as brutally as the mighty wave
that sucked her down. Water churned and frothed and pounded. As she went under,
she held her breath, lungs bursting with need to inhale.

No. I can’t. I have to survive this. I haven’t come this
far just to perish in a storm.

She kicked to the surface and used formidable swimming
skills to outwit the ocean.

Thousands of thoughts ran through her with lightning-quick
precision. Her home in Magonia. The man she hated and was supposed to marry.
Her brother and parents. Grief flooded her along with water. Her mind couldn’t
stop regretting, wondering if this horrible moment was the wrath of the god
Magon.

Had her sins caught up with her?

Had her rebellion led to this horrible death?

Rain clouds tried to obliterate the starlight sky and the
two moons that gave the water a silvery sheen. The swamped ship still floated,
but within a blink it groaned as it slipped into the ocean with a sigh.

She glanced around frantically. What of her newfound friends
Ketera and Mia?

Time seemed to crawl as she treaded rough water and scanned
for any survivors. She couldn’t be the only one alive. No one appeared, and
tears burned her eyes as much as the salty ocean. She floated as best as she
could, hoping to outlast the tempest and find her way to shore. But she had no
idea which way to go. Despair mingled with regrets. She’d made a hash of her
life, and now she couldn’t do a thing to repair it. Her strength waned, and she
struggled with gripping cold and horrible despair. Cold iced her to the bone,
her body racked with shivers. Ignoring the fact that water this cold killed
quickly, she kept her mind active. She couldn’t allow herself to forget why
she’d sailed in the first place.

I vowed to bring justice to my family’s death.

To atone for my own sins.

I can’t fail now.

Moonlight speared through storm clouds and in the distance
she saw another enormous ship. Her heart leapt with hope. The ship moved with
incredible speed, cutting through the water and coming right toward her. Could
they possibly see her? It didn’t seem likely, but she wasn’t going to take the
chance they’d pass her by.

Desperation fueled one last cry. She screamed. Yelled at the
top of her lungs. Her body shuddered, ached with a horrendous cold and
weariness that threatened to drag her back into the depths. The shipped slowed
and before long it was close by.

A dark figure appeared at the side of the ship and looked
down at her. Then many more men came to the side and looked down. The first
dark man shouted orders, but she didn’t know if it was at her or people on the
ship. She couldn’t understand him above the noise and her own panting breath.

So cold. So…cold…

She closed her eyes. Just for one moment.

That’s all.

One moment.

* * * * *

A loud noise broke Xandra straight from unconsciousness. She
gasped as she bolted upright. Daylight streamed through a porthole, blinding
her, and she blocked it with one hand. Breathing heavily, her entire body
aching horribly, she sat up and swung her feet off the bed. Taking in her
surroundings quickly, she noted several things. The sway and motion of the room
suggested she was back on a ship, as did the porthole and the scent of salty
water. Wood creaked and groaned under the pressures required to sail on the
ocean. She sniffed and caught a not-unpleasant scent, something spicy and
earthy all at once.

She jolted into full awareness. Her hands smoothed over a
soft dress. She wore a loose dress, nothing like the simple pants, boots,
long-sleeved tunic and full-length coat she’d chosen to wear when she’d left
Opali with her betrothed watching her every move.

Shock held her breathless a moment. Someone had changed her
clothes.

She brushed away her surprise—at least these clothes were
dry.

At least she’d survived.

Shaking with cold, she took in the desk in one corner
cluttered with writing instruments, an inkwell and paper. A dark brown pair of
men’s breeches lay over the chair in front of the desk. In one corner, a
breastplate was propped along with a sword so long and heavy-looking she
couldn’t imagine how anyone would lift it. She’d heard of swords and seen them
in a museum on Magonia, and yet she’d never seen one in anyone’s hands. She
tossed the question out of her mind, aware that she had far more important
things to worry about.

Her stomach swirled, uncomfortable with the ship’s movement.
She’d suffered during the trip, never quite feeling well the entire time. Near
the end, before the wave came, she’d found some normalcy. Then the wave had
come. She lifted a shaking hand to her aching head.

By the god Magon, had everyone but her perished on her ship?
Tears sprang to her eyes. Part of her filled with enormous pain at the thought
of her newfound friends Ketera and Mia being drowned. Another part rejoiced
that perhaps her enemy Taris Elian had died. Perhaps she was free of him. She’d
have to be cautious. If he’d survived, then she could be in danger right now.

She’d heard that Dragonian slavers roamed the oceans, ready
to kidnap Magonian women for their slaves. If she’d been rescued by one of
them—no. She didn’t want to think on the horrible things that could happen.
She’d also heard that Dragonian men had little scruples when it came to women,
and if one decided he wished to claim her, she could be his forever. Apparently
all the man had to do was kiss her as a stamp of ownership. She shivered in
revulsion at the idea.

Desperate to find out if her friends had lived, she stood on
wobbly legs and noticed her boots and socks by the bed. Both were dry, so she
put them on and moved slowly for the door. She opened it with difficulty and
the hinges creaked. Stepping outside cautiously, she held on to the door as if
it could keep her on her feet.

Several men moved about the deck. Suddenly a hairy man with
enormous arms stalked toward Xandra. Impressions flew at her. Far over six
feet, he had the bulk and brawn capable of hurting her easily. His nose looked
half smashed, as if he’d grown a
panatan
root for a nose, all bumpy and
bulbous. Lank, thin dark hair hung to his chest. A red bandana circled his
neck. He wore a dirty white tunic and filthy black breeches. Watery green eyes
held nothing but hostility.

She stepped back and bumped into the doorway.

“What are you doin’ out here, girly?” the man’s
gravel-filled voice asked.

“I’m— Where am I?”

The big man stopped too close in front of her. “You’re on
the
Beast
.”

His hand came up to touch her hair and she flinched. She
threw her hand up in front of her, alarmed. “No.”

“No?” He laughed and touched her hair anyway, his eyes hot
with an emotion she didn’t recognize. He smelled sweaty and her already
unstable stomach lurched. “Girly, you don’t have the right to say no on this
ship. You belong to us now.”

“I do not.” Anger twisted inside her, and she stiffened her
spine. “I was on the
Hydrasoseles
. A passenger ship. She was destroyed
by this huge wave—”

“We ’eard of the ship, little lady,” another man’s crackling
voice said nearby. An older man with long gray hair and a wobbly gait strode up
until he stood nearby. “Barely escaped that wave ourselves. A fierce storm, it
was.” He winked. “But not as strong as the
Beast
.”

His hand made a waving motion that presented the craft.
Enormous sails reached for the brilliant blue sky. The ship cruised through the
water at a pace the
Hydrasoseles
couldn’t have managed, and the sheer
size astonished her.

“Very nice, but I need to get back to Magonia,” she said.

Two other men watching the conversation dropped what they
were doing and closed in, their eyes intent and curious, but not as overtly
dangerous as the men in front of her. Still, she was encircled, and if she
wanted to escape this crowd of stinky, awful men, she’d have to think of a
defense soon. But where could she go to hide on a ship? What if Elian were
nearby? Fear leaked through her bravado, but she shored up her bravery. She
couldn’t crumble now. Perhaps a man would come along who would have some
principles and decency. If she spotted a possibility, she’d peck him on the
cheek, and that would keep these disgusting men away from her.

The gray-haired man’s small eyes scanned her with evil
intent. “Magonia, eh? Now that’s a fine thing. You shouldn’t have told us
that.”

She swallowed. “Why?”

“Why you’re our enemy, little lady.”

“Enemy—” She cut herself off as she realized what they
meant. “Then you are a Dragonia ship?”

The bruiser glared at her and laughed. “We ain’t Dragonian.
We don’t belong to no country. We’re on our own and better for it.”

“But that’s ridiculous. Every ship flies under the flag of
Magonia or Dragonia.”

The men all laughed, and through their guffaws the bruiser
leered. “Yeah, but we have our own country. The ocean is our home. Ain’t no
need for dry land. A man is free here to do as he sees fit and not by another’s
leave.”

“We don’t cotton to no man’s word except for the admiral’s,”
another man said nearby.

He gestured to a flag that flew above the craft. It was
solid black with no insignia.

Fear tingled along her spine and sent screams of alarm to
every part of her body.

The old man laughed softly. “Maybe I should let this here
rotter have a taste of you before I get my own.” He touched her hair and she
flinched. “No harm in having a little play, is there? You Magonian women are as
sweet as they come, I hear tell.”

Bruiser nodded emphatically. “I done had one not too long
ago. She was from the
Hydrasoseles
too.”

Oh Magon. Had they hurt Ketera and Mia?

Panic stirred inside, but she refused to show it. Gulping
down the tightness in her throat, she remembered what she’d learned from her
friend Mia about defending herself. A swift kick to this hateful man’s bits
and—

The old guy reached for her.

She took a step forward and brought her knee up with raw
force. Her knee made contact with the old geezer’s manly parts and he screamed.
He doubled up in pain and collapsed on the deck.

Sickness washed over her, a weakness that she’d never
experienced before and that threatened to cut her legs out from under her. She
tried to slip past the bruiser.

“Magonian bitch whore!” He grabbed her by the throat. His
huge fist clenching around her throat with such force a fierce pain pierced her
throat.

“Release her at once!” A deep and commanding voice, dark
with anger, cut the air.

The bruiser didn’t, and she choked, grabbing the man’s
forearm and digging in her nails. He didn’t budge. She kicked out, made contact
with the man’s knees. He grunted but didn’t lose loosen his grip.

A dark shadow swiftly launched at the man. Through her
fading vision she saw the shape bring a baton down on the man’s head. Bruiser
released her and she gasped for much needed air as the big man yelled in pain
and fell to the deck. Coughing, she touched her throat gingerly.

Her vision cleared as the man who rescued her roared at the
other men. “Farcam! Touch her again and I’ll cut off your cock and feed it to
you.” He threw a deadly glanced at the old man. “Oscan, you’ve been warned
before. Into the brig with you.” He gestured at the other men. “Get these bags
of guts below and put them in chains.” Her rescuer said with deadly coldness to
Farcam, “Admiral Aramus will have your hide for dinner.”

“Fuck you,” Farcam said, giving her rescuer a flash of a
middle finger.

“Sorry, mate.” Her rescuer threw a disgusted look his way.
“Not my type.”

The other men dragged Farcam and the old geezer away.

Her rescuer turned his gaze on her and his eyes stayed
predatory, hungry almost as his gaze traveled her face and body with clear
appreciation. “You, however, are.”

The man who’d saved her hooked his baton to his belt and
walked toward her, his stride self-assured and as authoritative as his voice.
His face was young, maybe thirty years, but there was a wealth of age imprinted
in his eyes. Thick hair as inky as the night came to just above his shoulders.
Danger and fierceness in his almost black eyes sent two spears of emotion
through Xandra. Stark fear and unaccountable attraction. He stared at her as if
he wanted to devour her. Or perhaps kill her.

She blinked, amazed at this new threat that stalked toward
her. He was as big as the creature who had dared to touch her, but the
difference between the men was marked. Her rescuer wore a sleeveless black
tunic open down the front to reveal a muscular chest covered in a generous
sprinkling of black hair. The tunic was cinched at the waist by a wide black
belt. Black breeches curved over muscular thighs and calves. Black boots
covered his feet and ended mid-calf. This new predator didn’t have a modicum of
extra fat. He moved with grace, muscles rippling in his tanned arms.

Fear sizzled along her body. So this lug had saved her from
the ugly man only to waylay her too?

Dizziness swamped her and she blinked quickly, trying to
right her vision. She had to think quickly, and she held one hand out in front
of her to warn him off.

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