Authors: Rebecca Lorino Pond
Rebecca Lorino Pond
Cover Design by
Melody Simmons of eBookindiecovers
No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without the express permission of the author. All characters, places, and situations are a product of the author's imagination. Any similarity to any person, living or dead, is pure coincidence.
For my longtime friend, Gaynell. Thank-you for befriending me on my first day of work eleven years ago when no one else did. Thanks for all the great times, and laughs we shared, I will never forget them. You are a very special woman and will always hold a special place in my heart. Love you, Mamma G!
Also for Emmanuel, who asked to be in one of my books, can you guess which character you are? Thanks for always asking about my books and characters!
“I need a wife.”
“And where do you expect to find this wife. What female would even agree to such a crazy idea? No female in her right mind would agree to marry you!” Noki shook his head in disgust.
“Look, don’t worry about it,” Jahan said as he directed his ship to the landing pad he was given clearance to park on. “I just need one long enough to get an heir!”
“Do you really believe that the Council of Elders is going to fall for that? Not only are they demanding you produce an heir, but you are also supposed to have a queen at your side!”
“I have no desire to remain married to a female I will not love. I will handfast to her for a year, and if she does not produce me an heir, I can break the fasting, and seek out another.”
“Why not just marry Kioto? I mean, she isn’t bad looking, and she comes from a wealthy family.”
“Do you think I would marry that gold digging female who only thinks about herself? Do you really think she would let me bed her time, and time again until I get her with child?”
Kioto was the youngest daughter of Thro, one of the council elders. She had been chasing him for months now ever since she turned of age to marry. Her father also had high hopes of his youngest daughter marrying Jahan, and he talked about her constantly whenever they were together, which Jahan tried to limit to council meetings only. With his position as King of Uxslore, Thro was the most persistent of the elders. Jahan didn’t find the need to marry just yet but the Council of Elders was demanding he take a wife.
“No, I guess not. I’d sure like to bed the little wench though!” Niko roared with laughter.
“I am so happy you find this funny. How about you marry Kioto?”
Niko had to take a breath from laughing so hard. “That’s definitely not funny! I said I would like to bed her, not marry her!”
“Then the subject of Kioto is closed. I will find a wife even if I have to buy one!”
Jahan steered his ship in the direction of the approaching planet, Iatune. It wasn’t the best of places, and it definitely wasn’t the place to find a wife, but the ship needed supplies, and this was the last outpost for the next ten billion miles. Niko and he were on their way home from making an alliance with the Floxes.
The Flox lived on the planet Setha, a cold, mountainous planet. The planet resided in the same star system as his home planet of Uxslore but was on the far edge of it. By personal ship, a trip to Setha usually took about four days round trip. This trip though lasted for more than a star week because the negotiations going on between him, and the Floxes’ leader, Hecz. An agreement had finally been reached when Jahan agreed to protect the tiny planet with his own men. A thousand of his soldiers would be sent to live on Setha, and protect it at all costs because of the abundance of Pocoylium, a highly useful element that was used in the engines of ships, and as a lighting source. Unfortunately, others wanted the element but weren’t willing to pay for it which led to him agreeing to protect the planet as if it were his own.
“Really, Boss? Why Iatune? This place has a horrible reputation and is filled with nothing but thieves, and murderers.” Noki shut the ship down then turned to face Jahan. “The only kind of female you are going to find here is one who won’t hesitate to slit your throat!”
Jahan sighed. He really didn’t have any intentions of looking for a suitable female on Iatune, but he wasn’t about to tell Noki that. The fool had been aggravating him for the last million or so miles about needing some down time, and Iatune was the first planet they came across, plus they needed supplies. They had been to this particular planet numerous times, and were all too familiar with the type of people that hung around on it.
Once they landed, Jahan, and Niko exited the ship, and headed directly for the nearest bar. The pair weaved, and pushed their way through the crowds that blocked the streets with their incessant hollering and drunkenness.
Jahan wrinkled his nose at the stench coming from the crowd surrounding him. Many of the inhabitants of the Red Light District hadn’t seen a bath months, sometimes years. Prostitutes wrapped their all too skinny bodies around the light poles, exposing just a taste of what they had to offer.
“Hey there, handsome. Need some company?” A female with bright purple hair, green skin, and no teeth said.
“Not tonight,” he replied gruffly. He walked past the female, and into the bar. Smoke swirled around above his head as he pushed farther into the crowded bar. The smell of sweat and unwashed bodies infiltrated his nose causing his stomach to turn.
“This place is just as nasty as I remember it,” Noki said as he followed behind him.
“Just shut up, and get us a drink.” Jahan glared at a lone individual sitting at a table. He tossed a coin to the dwarf and said, “Here. Go find somewhere else to sit.”
The dwarf caught the gold coin, put it to his mouth then bit down on it with his rotting teeth. Satisfied the gold coin was real, the dwarf slipped out of the chair and walked off without comment.
Jahan kicked the wooden chair out farther in order to slip his large frame in between the table, and wall. He stretched his long legs out underneath it and waited for Noki to return with their drinks. The bar was unusually busy tonight for some reason. It was standing room only as his eyes surveyed the smoky room. The lights in the place were dim but still enough to see by.
Numerous species were gathered together in a small area. Even some he knew normally didn’t associate with each other stood by, all watching each other. Apparently something was planned on Iatune in order for so many to gather at one time on the planet. Only big events drew this big of a crowd and he wanted to know what it was. Maybe it was an unscheduled fight. He loved watching the fights especially if it involved his favorite fighter. He could make a few extra coins by betting on the fight.
A glass slammed down on the wooden surface in front of him. “Here’s your damn drink.” Noki plopped down in the chair next to him. “There’s a lot of people here tonight. I wonder what’s going on.” Noki leaned his head back and tossed the brown liquid down his throat in one big gulp. His face contorted as the fiery amber liquid slipped down his into his stomach. “Geez, this crap is going to give me rot-gut one day!”
Jahan couldn’t help but chuckle. He knew what his friend meant as his tossed back his glass. The burn felt good as it slid down his throat. He welcomed the distraction as his eyes roamed over the people in the room. A group of Kraets were gathered near one end of the bar while their enemy, the Clodara, gathered around a large round table set off into a dark corner of the bar.
The screech of a female voice calling out his name caused him to whip his head around. Darting towards him was a Flox he was well-acquainted with on this planet.
“Ah shit!” he mumbled right before the female launched herself into the air, only to land on his lap with her arms wrapped tightly around his neck.
“Jahan! Where have you been? Why were you gone so long?”
A blue oval face pulled back enough to look him in the face. He gave Kari his best smile even though it was half-hearted. Her long skinny arms reached around to caress the back of his head as her wide pink eyes waited for him to answer.
“Kari, you know I can’t tell you where I’ve been.” One hand steadied the small female as she wiggled excitedly on his lap. “But, I am here now, aren’t I?”
Kari giggled like a little girl then placed a well-aimed kiss on his lips. He had to admit the little nymph tasted good, and it had been awhile since he had a female in any way. Maybe he would hang around long enough to go a few rounds in the bed with her.
“Oh Jahan!” She gave him a peck on the cheek. “Want to meet me when I get off? I am about to start my shift but will be off around midnight.” Her eyes pleaded with him.
“Sure thing, sweetheart.”
Kari unexpectedly plastered her lips against his. He felt her tongue run along his lips, asking for entrance into his mouth. His mouth opened on its own accord, and his tongue join in a mating dance with Kari’s. She moaned into his mouth right before she pulled away, and jumped off. Before he had time to recover from the kiss the little Flox was running off.
“Damn, Boss. Kari sure has the hots for you!” Niko tried to follow the female as she darted into the thick crowd. “Why don’t you ask her to be your wife?” Niko roared with laughter until a few heads turned their way.
“Shut up, idiot!” He punched his friend in the shoulder and shook his head. “I need another drink.”
“What will it be, boys?” A floating robotic drink server asked as it hovered over their table.
“Talk about perfect timing?” Niko said. “I’ll have a…a Meteor with an extra shot.”
“Make that two,” Jahan said.
The robotic server took off to fill their order, and returned moments later with two tall glasses of the brightly colored drink. The server lowered the tray down in order for the men to take their drinks off without spilling them.
“I would love to know what the hell is going on. Why are there so many people here? It’s not normally this crowded.” Niko took a long pull on the yellow straw provided with a drink.
“Did you not here?” The robotic voice spoke out as Jahan inserted the coins needed to pay for the drinks. His hand stopped in mid-air.
“There is going to be a big slave sale later today. It’s the first one in quite some time and it’s supposed to have some interesting creatures!”
“Where is it going to take place?” he asked.
“Down in the market. It is scheduled to begin around sundown. Is there anything else I can get you?”
The server sped off to get the order of its next customer. Jahan and Niko had sucked on their straws quietly for some time before either said a word. The slave sale was usually an interesting thing to watch. The different types of creatures that passed through Iatune were incredible, and a highly publicized slave sale would draw creatures from near, and far, which meant more money for the bar, tavern, and hotel owners.
“We going to hit up the market, Boss?”
“I had already planned on it. There’re a few things we need, and we can watch the sale while we are down there.”
“Awesome!” Niko cheered.
The duo spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in the bar. When the time came near for the slave sale to begin they drained the last of their drinks then headed out the front door. The bar had emptied out some as the afternoon progressed and he gathered it was because of the events taking place in the market. He pitied the poor souls that were unlucky enough to be caught by the traffickers, for whatever reason, and forced to stand on the auctioning block while people haggled over their very existence. It wasn’t uncommon for most of the slaves to be debtors who failed to pay off their loans in a timely manner. There were the occasional few that were the spoils of some war or battle who found themselves being sold.
They made their way through the crowded streets of Iatune. Now, and then they stopped long enough for him to purchase what they needed, and to make the necessary arrangements to have the items transported back to the ship.
Finished with their business in the main market area, they walked to the outskirts of the market where the sale would take place. People packed the area waiting for it to start, but Niko was able to wiggle his way through the crowd until they reached an excellent advantage point.
The dilapidated porch they stood under offered some much-needed shade. While the sun was in the process of going down, the heat of Iatune still remained. The heat was the only real drawback for the planet which had temperatures that could reach one hundred and twenty degrees in the shade.
Jahan could feel the sweat running down his back, and soaking into the waistband of his pants. He used the palm of his hand to wipe away the sweat running into his eyes. Niko was standing next to him, and was obviously having the same problem.
“I hate this fucking heat!” Niko said.
“I have to agree with you. Maybe going back to Uxslore isn’t such a bad idea!” he replied as he thought of his home planet.
Uxslore was situated in the Eridanus Star System, and was one of six planets that rotated around the suns contained in the star system. Two of the suns were small red dwarfs and didn’t offer much in the way of heat or light. The larger sun was the one that allowed the planet to flourish. Mild temperatures during the day, an average of about sixty degrees, evened out to cool nights that could dip down in the low thirties. Constant rainfall fall kept the planet green and damp. Not a day went by that a rain storm would find its way over his home or somewhere nearby. Sometimes though, the rain could last for days, making things a bit messy.