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Authors: Ravenna Tate

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BOOK: Kidnapped by a Warrior
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I prefer Callie.”
Ugh
. No one had called her Calliope since fifth grade, and she
hoped like hell no one ever did again.


All right.
That’s easier to say. I’m called
Jakara. We don’t have surnames here. We’re known by our families. I’m from a
long line of warriors, and currently I hold the position of Special Retrieval
Commander, meaning I do what I did with you. I retrieve key Earthlings left behind,
and I command my own craft.”


Retrieve?”


Yes. Our superiors believe if your planet
reestablishes its communications systems, those left behind will find a way to
contact your families here, and that would be a threat to our mission.”

She
frowned and uncrossed her arms. “Could we do that? I mean, I’m not up on stuff
like that, but as far as I know, we’ve never contacted beings from other
planets. I assume that’s where we are now, right?
Another
planet?”


Yes. You’re on Addo, which is one of three planets
that can sustain life in the Alpha Centauri system.”

Alpha
Centauri.
Callie tried to remember exactly
how far away that was, but couldn’t. Science had never been her strong suit,
and right now her head was swimming with the realization she was no longer on
Earth. “So why would you think we could contact anyone so far away?”

Jakara
shook his head. “You have no idea the things your government can do that
they’ve never told you about.”

She
wasn’t about to get into a political debate with him, and didn’t feel qualified
to talk about communication through space, at any rate. “So, where are they?
My family?”


There is no easy way to tell you this.”

Callie
swallowed hard as tears threatened. “They’re dead, aren’t they?”

He
nodded. “There was a riot earlier today, and they were caught in the crossfire.
I’m sorry.”


Were they ever alive to begin with, or did you just
tell me that so I would come with you?”

His
face took on a dark expression, and fear coursed through her body, hot and
alive. “I have no reason to lie to you. We conquered your planet. Don’t you
understand that? And I would have taken you, whether I told you I was bringing
you to where your family was being held or not. I said that as a courtesy, not
as a condition of your willingness to accompany me.”

She
bit her tongue to keep from crying. She wouldn’t give him that satisfaction.
Her body shook with the effort of holding back her tears and with anger at his
words.


We’re at war. And in war there are casualties.”


War
?
This isn’t my war. Why couldn’t
you simply leave our planet alone?”


You wouldn’t understand.”


How do you know what I would or wouldn’t understand?
I’m not an idiot. I have a Master’s degree.”


Yes, I know.
In art history.”

She
didn’t like the attitude he was suddenly giving her, so she stood. “At least I
have one.”

Jakara
stood, and it was then she noticed how tall he was. Since she was barely five
foot three, most adults were taller than she was, but he was at least six foot
five, maybe even taller. And he was big. Not fat, but the man had muscles.
“I’ve been highly trained. We don’t have universities such as the ones you
have, but I assure you I possess intellectual skills that are equivalent, if
not superior, to your own.”


Oh, I see. So it’s your people skills that need
work, then.”


Do you want an explanation of why we invaded your
planet, or not?”


Yes.”
No
.
Because once she knew, she could no longer pretend this wasn’t real. It would
cross the realm from being a bad dream to a living nightmare that she was
trapped in.


We targeted Earth for your females. Ours are not …
they aren’t socialized to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh
.
They bear us children, and keep
our homes, and work in our industries, but they aren’t like the women on your
planet.”

Callie
sat down again because she had trouble believing what she’d just heard. “So,
did you take me because of what you just said, or because you thought anyone
left behind might try to contact their family here?”

The
struggle on his face seemed to indicate he was choosing his words carefully,
and she wondered whether he was lying to her, or simply deciding how much to
tell her. “Both. My official mission is to retrieve anyone left behind. Anyone
female
, that is. It’s your planet’s
women we want, but potential communication with those already taken isn’t the
only reason we want them.”

Callie
took several deep breaths as she struggled to remember what else he’d just said.
“I don’t understand what you meant about the way your women are socialized.”

He
sighed, and as he watched her, she didn’t think he was going to elaborate, but
finally he spoke. “The Regum are the ruling class of this planet—Addo, of Sera,
where most of them reside, and of Voyeur Moon. They have ruled for centuries,
and they consider sex for pleasure as something which weakens men. Sex is to be
used for procreation, not recreation. That’s actually one of their propaganda
slogans.”


I read a book like that once.”


The way we’re forced to live our lives isn’t a work
of fiction. From the time our women are born, they’re told that sex is painful,
messy, and something to be kept hidden. They’re told it’s their duty to their
husbands one day so they can bear them children. If any of them hear it’s
pleasurable, or something to be enjoyed for the sake of the act itself, those
thoughts are pushed out by fear and more lies.”


And in centuries no one has rebelled against that?”

His
face was dark and angry now. “Of course they have. But those rebellions were
always crushed and lives lost because of them. Once our technology evolved to
the point of space travel between galaxies, new worlds opened up to those of us
not content to force or beg our women to have sex with us.”

Callie’s
stomach contracted in revulsion. “Do you mean to say this isn’t the first time
you’ve taken women from other planets for sex?”


Not in the way you’re thinking. I see the disgust in
your eyes. The Velone women came to Voyeur Moon willingly, and were paid well
for their services. Establishments were set up, but not on Sera. The Regum
would not allow that. They were set up on Voyeur Moon, which the Regum was
supposed to give to the Tyranns. We were supposed to have full control of the
planet by now.”


Tyranns?”


Yes.
The other class that emerged.
The class I belong to. We want to live our lives in a new way. Not one that instills
fear in our women, but one where they are free to enjoy the pleasures of the
flesh.”


Sorry, but it still sounds to me like you invading
Earth is all about sex, not politics.”

He
ran his hands through his hair, and if she hadn’t still been afraid, she’d have
found his frustration amusing. “No. It’s not about that at all. It’s not all
about
sex
. The Regum
control
everything. It’s about doing what we want to do.
About living our lives the way we choose to, not the way the Regum order us to
live it. It’s about freedom and living by our own code of morality, not a
twisted one that has been passed down through the generations.”


Okay. So what happened to the Velone women?”


The Regum closed down the establishments and took
them back to Sera after the planet which the Velone came from was destroyed.
Their star exploded. They gave them employment that didn’t include gratifying
men, and they used the explosion as a way to further their propaganda. They
told our people the explosion had been punishment for us having taken the
Velone women from their homes.”


But you said they came to Voyeur Moon willingly.”


They did. But you don’t understand the Regum. They
have a way of twisting everything that can make one believe the sky is orange,
not blue.”


But obviously not everyone believed the star
exploding was a punishment, because you still invaded my planet.”


We invaded your planet because the women on it have
the attitude toward sexual pleasure that we seek.”


What do you think our attitudes toward sex are like,
exactly?”


We know what they’re like from watching you. Your
entertainment,
your
reading material, even the way you
live your lives.”

Holy
shit
.
“Once again, it sounds like it’s
all about sex to me. And it also sounds like the Tyranns want the same thing we
want on Earth.
The freedom to choose our own way to live.”


You have freedom in most of your lands.”


Not as much as you think. We still have standards by
which we live.”


You have no idea how free you are compared to us.”

He
sounded so defeated that her heart almost went out to him. But she was his
prisoner now. That much had become obvious in the little he’d told her, and she
still didn’t know what his intentions were. “So what happens now, Jakara?” She
waved her hand in a circle. “Is this where I live?”

He
shook his head. “No. I cannot keep you here.” His voice held a note of fear,
which surprised her.


Where were you supposed to take me?”


To the holding cells on Voyeur
Moon.
The
same place your family was during the riots. But you’re too pretty. You wouldn’t
be there long.”

A
nasty shiver ran down her spine. She didn’t want to ask, but she had to. “Where
would I go instead?”

The
look he gave her was full of pain, but she also glimpsed lust in his eyes. She
would be powerless against him, and as that realization hit her, another one
did that left her just as shocked. She wanted him.
In the
Biblical way.
She averted her gaze quickly. This was all kinds of fucked
up, but there it was.

Was
that part of his power? Had he planted that desire in her brain? Could he do
things like that? What if he could read her mind? What if he knew her thoughts,
right now?

She
finally dared to glance into his eyes again, but if he could tell what she’d
just been thinking, it didn’t show on his face. Instead, he watched her carefully,
as if choosing whether to say anything at all.


Are you sure you want to hear this?” he asked.


Yes.”


You’d be taken as a slave by my superiors. They’ve
been doing that since the first wave of landings. Taking the Earth women they
find especially desirable and using them. Passing them around the camp, or
keeping them for a specific group of men.”

Hot
fear prickled at the edges of her consciousness again. “I’m confused. You say the
Velone women came to that planet voluntarily, but now you’re telling me I’d be
used as a sex slave. Which is the truth?”

He
shook his head slowly. “Your people were supposed to be brought to Voyeur Moon
voluntarily as well. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.”


What happened to change it?”


I cannot explain that. I’ve told you too much
already. This has become too dangerous for both of us.”

His
voice was low, as though he were talking more to himself than to her. And once
again, he sounded afraid, which further confused her. “So is that what you have
planned for me?
To keep me as a sex slave?”


If it was I would have done something about it
already.” Now his voice was full of sarcasm, but she had to admit he was right.
It’s not as if she could fight him off.


Then what do you intend to do with me?”


I brought you here because I
didn’t
want to see you used as a slave.”


Why would you care whether I am
or not?
What
am I to you other than a casualty of war?”

He
averted his gaze this time. “I can’t explain why I did what I did.”


I’m still not following you.”

Jakara
gazed into her eyes again. “I didn’t take you where I was supposed to. These
are my quarters. I was supposed to take you straight to the holding cells on
Voyeur Moon, but I defied my orders and brought you here instead.”

BOOK: Kidnapped by a Warrior
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