Authors: Viola Grace
Tags: #Science Fiction., #erotic romance
In Guardian custody, Amy finds out how to live within the strictures of a new society when her host is anything but formal.
A criminal consortium has targeted Amy to become one of them. She refused and their answer was to have her imprisoned under false charges. By the time someone figures out the botched paperwork she could be dead.
A painted image of her in the arms of an ex-Guardian gets attention and she is removed from Janial Prison, into secure custody on Rai. The formality of the clothing is second only to the amount of etiquette required to navigate an average day.
Lord Akutan of Rai is curious to see what his Guardian niece, Blade, has left in his home, under his care. The elegant woman with the pansy purple eyes sends shockwaves through him, and only the threat of ruining her reputation keeps him from her at first sight. The moment he gets her alone, however, things take a decidedly sensual turn.
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 Viola Grace
Cover art by Martine Jardin
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A Terran Times Tale
Rhoda finished her sketch and handed it over to Drehl. “It is as clear as I can make it.”
There were four strange Guardians in her studio and they looked closely at the image of a Terran woman wrapped in the arms of a male dressed in the formal robes of the Ledriko people of Rai.
Torch lifted the image and nodded. “Scan this and send it to Blade. She is our Ledriko expert.”
Rhoda looked back to the image on the screen of Amethyst Decker, one of the most recent additions to Janial Prison. Her crime was not even listed, attesting to the power of the Nyal nobles on the untethered Terrans in their midst. “There is no crime, no hearing date, nothing listed on her.”
Drehl leaned down and whispered, “Can you send a message to the Alliance to find out what she could be?”
She nodded. “I will scan this onto a crystal, and you can send it wherever you like.”
Running images of destiny for the Guardians of the Nyal Imperium was not something she had considered as a job option, but it wasn’t like they could easily find their mates in the population. Narrowing down a world to start on was definitely an attractive perk that the Guardians had decided to test.
Working from an image was a new trick that Rhoda was trying to perfect, and while the drawings were not as clear as she would like, they contained a hint that identified the female or male destined for the subject of the sketch.
After handing the crystal to Drehl, she gestured for Torch to take the sitter’s position. It was time to draw his destiny. She would check Janial for more Terrans tomorrow.
* * * *
Blade looked at the image and raised her brows behind her mask. She questioned the other Guardian on the opposite end of the call. “Is she sure?”
“She is positive. This is the match for the Terran known as Amethyst Decker. Do you know him?”
Blade looked down and a smile curved her lips. “I do, but he will not be happy about this. Where is she?”
“She is being held at Janial.”
Blade scowled. “Why? What has she done?”
“She is being held without charges. None are listed nor is the person who brought charges against her. I believe her release can be secured on that basis alone.”
Blade nodded. “I am due for some vacation. I will get her into custody and deliver her to her intended. I only hope that he doesn’t object.”
Charm chuckled behind his faceplate. “I am sure that he will get used to the idea. Terran women have a certain charm that few can withstand.”
Blade disconnected the call and looked at the image that had been sent to her. Her uncle had been a happy bachelor for over seventy years. The woman didn’t seem strong enough to deal with the Lord of Rai, but who was Blade to judge.
Chortling, she keyed in a request for leave before telling the rest of her team. Raucous was amused by the idea, and he decided that they needed to go on a short mission. Retrieving a woman in distress was right up his inclination.
Harbour nodded and authorized them to leave on a mission of retrieval for the woman who was destined as the bride for the original Blade.
* * * *
Amy shivered in the thin bodysuit she had been provided when they chucked her down the hole and into the Janial women’s detention area. The men were held separately, and it was a damned good thing. In her current state, it was hard enough keeping the women at bay.
She didn’t want to become a thief. She wanted to remain a boring mechanic and live on the maintenance station in the centre of the trade route Traffa. She was a good mechanic and had a natural resistance to radiation that made her a high-earning employee of the station.
Her ability to phase through objects was an asset in her business, but it was hardly her only skill.
Darfuli, the Earl of Jaorka, had learned of her skill, and he decided that he wanted her working for him. When she refused, he had her sent to Janial to be held there until she changed her mind.
Two weeks had passed, and while she hated her tiny cell and the hostile environment, she wasn’t going to give in. Amy had worked out where to sit, where to stand and she had even begun to stand up for a few of the newer women who were dropped.
Amy shivered as she watched the drop beam power up with a hot-pink glow. Someone was being dumped in with them. Amy moved away from the wall where she kept her post and watched a figure descend with regal bearing.
It was female, tall and wearing a mask, boots, tight trousers and a kimono-like jacket. Her sleek gold hair was up in a high ponytail, and it swung to her buttocks. The woman settled and looked around at the other inmates.
“Amethyst Decker of Terra.”
Amy stepped forward. “That’s me.”
“Come with me. You are being transferred.” The woman held out her hand and beckoned imperiously. Behind her mask, Amy noticed the wide catlike eyes in a dark bronze.
“Where?” She wasn’t sure that this wasn’t a trick of the earl’s.
“Confidential. Do you want out of here or not?” The woman’s hand remained outstretched.
Amy stepped toward her and took her hand. The woman’s height was over six inches greater than her own, and she felt like a child when the woman tucked her against her body and moved back into the beam space.
The colour switched to blue, and they lifted far more rapidly than the descent. Amy felt her ears pop.
Guards ringed the hole and aimed weapons down below as the strange woman simply lifted Amy off the transport plate.
“Guardian, this prisoner—”
The woman raised her left hand and a glowing blade of energy extended from it. “How much were you paid to keep her?”
The guard swallowed. “Please sign for her, Guardian.”
The woman grimaced and pressed her thumb to the plate he extended with shaking hands.
With Amy still held tight to her body, the woman walked through the halls to a shuttle bay. After being checked over for weapons and registering her removal of Amy once again, they stepped into a shuttle, and as the door closed behind them, someone piloted the ship away from the prison.
Amy looked around her and shivered again. The interior of the shuttle was sparse and tidy. Everything was in its place, and nothing indicated that it had been the earl who had sent them.
“Um, not that I am not grateful, but why did you extract me from Janial?”
The woman smiled under her mask and settled in the navigator station. The pilot was a male wearing a similar mask and a huge grin.
The woman chuckled, “Amethyst Decker, you have a destiny and he is going to be a handful.”
“Lady Blade, welcome. Lord Akutan is out visiting the provinces.” The servant greeted them in the front receiving room of the gorgeous wooden palace on the cliffs.
“It is of no matter, Teriki. I have brought this woman here to have her remain in a safe place. I could think of no safer place than the home of the Lord of Rai.” Blade bowed slightly, and her sleeves swung gracefully as she moved.
Amethyst stood and felt awkward and gauche in her paper-thin bodysuit.
Teriki looked her over, and Amy tried to stand straight and hunch in on herself at the same time. “I see. What capacity is she to occupy?”
“Honoured guest until his lordship decides otherwise.”
Teriki nodded. “We will need to get her some proper clothing. Does she speak?”
Amy blushed and felt like a teen once again. “I do. I can appreciate anywhere that is not related to my previous location. I will try not to be any trouble.”
“Come with me, child. Lady Blade, Sossi will get you some tea.”
Amy felt an arm around her shoulders, and she was ushered into the palace and up a set of stairs before she could say anything else.
Teriki muttered some words to the maids, and the women scuttled off to do her bidding. “A bath first, lady.”
Amy looked around at the room and thought that this was what Japan would have been like if it were run by elves. Everyone was taller than she was, and the women moved with a smooth predatory grace. She had yet to meet any of the men but with the force of the women’s personalities she was a little afraid of what the men would be like.
Teriki stripped the bodysuit off her in seconds,
as she worked. When she finished, she eyed Amy’s body with surprise. “You are fit. Very impressive.”
Amy blushed and fought the urge to cover herself, stiffening her arms at her sides. “I work for a living, or I did.”
Teriki waved that off and took her hand. “Come to the bathing room. Your history is not my concern, only your present state.”
Amy was doused, scrubbed, her hair let down and given the same treatment before she was bullied into a tub full of hot water. She gasped at the heat and then smiled. Her shivering finally stopped. Cold had never been her friend, and the heat of the water unknotted muscles while Teriki brushed out her long black locks with efficient strokes.
“Does Blade drop women off here often?”
Teriki laughed. “You are a first.”
The door to the bathing chamber slid open, and one of the maids brought in a pile of carefully folded cloth.
Teriki tapped Amy on the shoulder. “You can have another soak tomorrow. For now, we must attend Lady Blade.”
After being thoroughly dried by the maid, Amy stood with her arms out while robe after robe was slipped over her shoulders. She counted five layers of silk ranging from whisper thin to heavily embroidered and stiff. Each layer was held in place with a widening range of sashes except the final outer robe, which swung loose to show the intricate detail of the robes beneath.
Her hair was brushed smooth and left to range down to her knees. It was her one vanity aside from her pansy purple eyes. Soft slippers on her feet made no sound as she followed Teriki through the halls.
Blade got to her feet, and her mouth hung open. “Oh my. Well, destiny works in very funny ways. Amethyst, I had no idea you had such hair.”
Amy blushed and kept her words quiet. “It is fine, so it doesn’t look like much all tied up. Thank you for extracting me.”
Blade laughed and sat back. “Join me, and I will explain how you came to be here.”
Amy had been forced to get used to a number of different clothing options while in basic training, so she moved carefully, bent her knees and knelt somewhat gracefully.
Because Blade was wearing masculine clothing, she could sit at ease while Amy worked to not snag her robes on anything.
Blade graciously poured her a cup of tea.