Authors: Ravenna Tate
Why can’t you quit?”
And do what? Return to Addo covered in shame? Or fly
to Sera, beg forgiveness, and ask for a job?” She couldn’t understand this. She
hadn’t been raised in a state of military readiness as he had been.
Not possible either way. I get
it. One more question, though.
If this is really what the
extreme faction of Tyranns wants, why us?
Why Earth women? Why not
kidnap your own women for this purpose?”
snorted. “The same men who would use you and your fellow Earthlings in such a
way would never do these acts to their own kind. You’re nothing to them. In
their eyes, it isn’t the same thing at all.”
And you oppose this. What this has become.”
As do others.”
He was desperate for her to understand that and
So, if you’re not the only one who opposes it, why
are you hiding?”
Because even those who oppose it are helping to
build the zoo, as you call it. I am the only one who refused to help.
If I assist them that is the same as condoning it.”
shook her head slightly. “Do you know what a compromise is?”
course I do.”
Sometimes you have to pick your battles.”
I am doing that. I fulfill my missions, and we were
able to get them to agree to the conditions we outlined.”
And do you believe they’ll stay true to their word?”
I have to. Otherwise I’d have no choice but to sneak
over there and blow up the entire thing.”
You’d be caught.”
least they’d have to start over.”
entire aura changed, just like that, and Jakara wanted to shout his thanks to
She understood. He saw it in her eyes and in her body language.
You would die for this,” she said quietly. “You
would die for your beliefs, and you would die to keep me safe.”
Yes, I would. That is what I’ve been trying to tell
swallowed hard. “So all this time, all you’ve really wanted is to be able to
have someone to share your desires. The ones you were born with. You didn’t
want anyone telling you how to have sex, or what to do in your own bed, or how
you should feel about it.”
Stay out of my head and get out
of my bed. That’s one of our unofficial mottos.”
corners of her mouth turned up. “I like that. It would look great on a bumper
wasn’t sure what that was, but it didn’t matter. He was simply grateful that
she finally understood.
And you never meant to cause my people harm. You
only wanted their passion and what you interpreted as their love for sex,
because your own women aren’t conditioned that way.”
But can’t you stop them from using the compound for profit
and entertainment, as you say?”
No. If you heard what Walton said to me then you
also heard that for me to try to change their minds would mean my end. They
already suspect me.”
Is there some other job you can do? Someone else you
can work for?”
. But if he told her that, he’d
have to tell her the truth about his association with Eldon. The less she knew
about him, the safer she was. “That’s not a possibility like it is on your
planet. My options are limited. The Regum
commerce, manufacturing, and economic industries. They would be reluctant to
to work in any of them.”
Are you a Tyrann by birth or choice?”
Both. I was born to a Tyrann, but I chose this path
at an early age.”
Because you were never given
But I cannot change that now. My
fate is here, doing my job and staying out of sight the rest of the time.”
How is it your Section Chief has never found this
He has never looked for it.”
Could he find it if he wanted
Do you remember what I told you about the
communications system? Only use it for a true emergency, and do not stay in
contact with me any longer than necessary.”
That is the only way he would be able to intercept a
signal that would lead them straight here. Otherwise, he’d have to follow me.
And I am very careful to make sure that never happens.”
Are you allowed to have a home of your own like
Yes, and that’s one of the reasons it does not
matter to him if I do. The only reason Logan or another superior of mine would
come looking for me is if they suspected I was doing something against the
Like you’ve already done in
hiding me here.”
You’re a very passionate man, and I don’t only mean
in bed. You have the courage of your convictions. That’s a rare thing where I
I know. But this is who I am.”
Oh, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I admire you
for it. But now I’ll be worried about you every time you leave on a mission.”
heart soared, but then he realized he was a fool to think her words meant she
cared for him. She was only making observations. Clearly she was intelligent
enough to understand her situation here was conditional on him staying clear of
suspicion. “You don’t have to worry about me. I know how to do my duty and stay
out of sight.”
Clearly, since you’ve done it for so long now. But
if something happens to you, I’m off to the same fate you described earlier.”
averted his gaze so she wouldn’t see the emotion that bubbled up. “I will do
everything in my power to make sure that does not happen.” His pride would not
allow him to ask if there was even a small chance she could ever care for him.
She knew her place here, and now she understood why he hadn’t taken her to the
holding cells. He had what he’d always wanted.
woman who enjoyed sex to share his life.
he’d neglected to admit to her and to himself was that he also wanted someone
to care for him.
To love him.
As he led Callie back
down into the house, he realized that was out of the question. She viewed him
as her captor, not as a potential love interest.
would it always be that way? Was there a way to win her heart as well as her
body and her cooperation? Or would she go through her days, giving herself to
him willingly, but without any love in her touch or her acquiescence? And if
she did, what had fate condemned them both to? What had he done here?
was a nervous wreck every time Jakara left on a mission. But true to his word,
he always returned within twenty-four hours, and spent at least sixteen with
her before he had to leave again.
came and went every couple of days and always made sure she had food and
anything else she needed. Apparently women on their planets had
because the first day that Lesha came she brought
pads. When Callie tried to explain about tampons, and asked if they had any,
Lesha had told her they had no such thing and suggested she ask Jakara to bring
some back from Earth if that’s what she preferred.
tried to engage Lesha in conversation, but it was like talking to a table. She
finally gave up and spent her days leafing through Jakara’s books. He had a
collection ranging from military strategy and speculation to boring biographies
of every general who’d ever made it into a history book. The tomes on battles
ranged from the Roman Empire to modern times.
they were together they made love, and he was just as passionate and skilled as
he’d been the first couple of days she was here. All she had to do was look at
him and she wanted him. But when he left, she was lonely and depressed.
missed her family, her shitty former job at Tagger Cleaners, and Lizzy’s sad
gallery. She missed sunsets that weren’t hidden by
, and the sound of traffic in the streets. She heard no animals
or insects outside on the rare occasions she dared to go up on the roof and
hadn’t been kidding about the heat. And since he had no AC, she spent most of
her time in front of a floor fan that was whisper quiet, but didn’t do much in
the way of cooling her off. It only moved the hot air around so at least she
the end of her second week in Jakara’s house, he came home while it was still
daylight, and told Callie he had two weeks off. “Why?” Had something happened?
Was he in danger?
I’m surprised they let you take any.”
I had to fight for it. I told them people on Earth
get several weeks a year and
paid time. Since
they realize many of us are finding out the employees on Earth were treated a
lot better than we are, they consented to give us a couple of weeks once a year
for now, and see how things go.”
How benevolent of them.”
laughed and pulled her into a bear hug, lifting her off her feet to twirl her
around. “You’re starting to sound like me.” He placed her on her feet. “Wait
here. I have a surprise for you.” He left the room for a second and then
returned with a large cardboard box.
tore open the strapping tape he’d used to seal it, and gasped as she pulled out
the items on top. “Oh! My books…”
Not all of them. I chose the ones with worn pages,
as I assumed you’d read them more than once. Those must be your favorites.”
Jakara, I don’t know what to say. This is so
thoughtful. Thank you.”
I never meant for you to be so bored or lonely here
when I’m gone. I would have procured these items earlier, but I had to be
careful not to be seen doing it.”
averted her gaze as she removed the novels from the box. He’d guessed
correctly. All her favorites were here. “How do you know I’ve been bored and
Lesha reports everything to me.”
glanced up at the plaintive tone in his voice. “Then she must be a mind reader.
I haven’t said a word to her.”
She is very perceptive, and you wear your emotions
on your face and on your body, Callie.”
I do miss you when you’re gone.”
swore she saw relief and happiness in his eyes.
But why would he care how I feel when he’s gone? Not unless … no.
That wasn’t possible. He didn’t care for her. Not in
way. She was a sex partner.
He’d all but told her
two weeks ago. “And I miss
you, as well.”
Of course I do. I care for you.”
heard the blood rushing in her veins as she watched his face carefully. Did he
mean it, or had she misinterpreted his words? Was it merely another way of
saying he enjoyed her in bed?
pointed toward the box. “There is more in there.”
dug out the rest of the books,
stared at the
other items, unable to reconcile the man who had taken her prisoner with the kind
of person who would do this. He’d brought her scented bath products, a deck of
cards, and her iPod along with its charger and speakers.
It will work here because our electricity is the
same as yours.
I didn’t bring
your laptop because if you access our Internet, they will immediately know you
Don’t you access it from home?”
Only from my barracks.”
I understand. This is more than enough. Thank you.”
Look under the paper. There is one more thing.”