Authors: Rebecca Airies
rights and privileges of any other sentient being.
“What do you mean by he wanted you for a pet? You weren‟t running around on
some strange planet in animal form were you?” He sat forward, his forearms braced on
“No, I wasn‟t running around in animal form. I was much as I am now. I only
intended to be on that space station for a couple of days and then go home.” She shook
her head. Even if he hadn‟t felt the frustration, her sarcastic tone and rolled eyes more
than illustrated her impatience. “That didn‟t quite work out.”
“Tell me why he wanted you as a pet. Why he even thought he could have you as a
pet.” Jarritt knew she was probably trying to avoid that aspect of the question
deliberately, but he wanted answers.
“No need to growl. He thought I‟d make a good pet. A leashed little cat shifter he
could show off to his friends. He thought he could have me because almost all the
wealthy men and women on his planet have some sort of exotic humanoid pet,” she
He saw her nails change to claws, an indication of her feelings on the matter. Just
hearing about it made him angry.
“So when you said no, he blocked your way home?” Jarritt asked.
She nodded. “He managed to block every avenue he thought I‟d take. He never
really asked me if I wanted to be a pet. The only reason I know he wanted me is because
some of his men cornered me and talked while they tried to put the collar on me.”
“How did you get off the station? Was that when you contacted the Lieutenant
Commander?” He leaned forward. He wouldn‟t have believed it even moments ago,
but he actually felt grateful to the soldier.
“I got on a passenger shuttle taking me farther from home and tried to work my
way around that little galaxy, but every station I tried I was a marked woman. I
couldn‟t get on any shuttle that would get me home. I was running low on funds. That‟s
when I contacted Lieutenant Commander Carson.” Lisia sighed and ran her finger over
the thick braid of her hair.
“Your brother knows about it? And what about the government that oversees the
space stations? They tolerate enslavement?” Jarritt frowned.
As far as he knew the UDA frowned on slavery. They had just recently joined the
group. According to the regulations and constitution he‟d been given, the Universe
Defense Alliance, the UDA, opposed it.
“The stations weren‟t under UDA rule. There are entire galaxies in that area which
aren‟t part of it. I had a problem because any direction I tried to go, the shuttle stopped
on one of the stations that recognized slavery. He‟d sent out a notice that I was an
escaped slave.” She looked up and met his eyes. Licking her lips, she straightened.
He saw and felt exactly what she had when she‟d realized that she couldn‟t get
home. Trapped, alone, scared. He wanted to go find that man and rip him apart. Her
eyes held such sadness. He stood and rounded the table in a few strides. Picking her up,
he took her seat and arranged her in his arms. She stiffened immediately, drawing in a
sharp gasp, but as soon as he sat, she seemed to relax a little. Not as much as he wanted.
He‟d have been more than happy if she‟d curled up and nestled her head against his
chest. That was a sign he knew he‟d have to wait to see.
“What were you doing there then?” Jarritt frowned. The only drawback to this
position was that he couldn‟t see her face.
“Dropping off a load of cargo. We‟d done it before with no problems. As to your
question about my brother, he knows. I have no doubt he‟ll even the score in some
way.” Her hands pressed against his chest, but she wasn‟t trying to move away from
“So the Lieutenant Commander was going to help you get past those blocks,” he
surmised. He let his palm skim up and down her back for a moment.
She nodded. “He said he‟d arrange transport on a UDA ship. They don‟t stop for
loading or unloading on those planets. So I wouldn‟t have to deal with those planetary
governments or their regulations.”
“You‟d still be marked as a slave. You wouldn‟t have been able to go anywhere
near those planets.” He tightened his arms around her. He didn‟t like the thought of her
in danger of any kind, much less hunted.
“Eventually, he‟d lose interest and the bounty would be dropped. It has happened
before.” She looked up at him with a confident smile.
It had happened before. That outraged him. “You won‟t be going near that area
again. How can you sound so calm about becoming a virtual prisoner on your planet?”
“I told you they don‟t persist long in the search. It would have been only a year. We
can‟t change the government of those planets.” Lisia put her hand on his arm, her
fingers gently tracing a circling pattern.
“Your people could stop trading with them.”
“We do stop when it‟s proven they take slaves. Not all the planets in that region do.
Yes the government of that region supports slavery, but not all the planets do. For the
most part, those we meet on the stations delivering cargo don‟t have them.” She looked
up at him and grimaced.
“I can only be glad that your journey brought you here. I might never have met you
if you hadn‟t had to help the Lieutenant Commander.” Jarritt pulled her body a little
closer to his.
She grimaced. “When I saw the man running your little test, I didn‟t think that I‟d
have much of a problem.”
“He wasn‟t supposed to be testing or requiring the UDA soldiers to beat a certain
time. When there wasn‟t any help after two visits, I became curious about what the man
was doing. So we left the planet on the trade run as he expected, but came back to
watch what he was doing.” Jarritt smiled.
“If there was never supposed to be a time or a test, then there was no reason he
should have made me stay after I completed the course.” She shot a glare across at Arik.
“As you were running through the obstacles, I saw a few moves that looked very
familiar. So I decided to keep you around for a little while.” Arik smiled smugly.
“Aren‟t you glad?”
“Not quite.” She shot a frown at him.
Jarritt laughed. She really didn‟t appreciate having her plans changed by others. He
was tempted to disrupt her plans just to see that look.
He looked at Arik and his
nodded and left. Jarritt curved his arm around her
waist, tugging at her shoulders. He wanted to haul her back to his bedroom, but he still
had a few questions. There wouldn‟t be time to fully enjoy her. The meal would be
ready soon. He could smell the delicious scent of roasting
He wasn‟t going to rush through their first time together. He wanted the questions
answered before they ate.
“Are you going to try to tell me that you feel no attraction to me?” he asked.
She shifted a little in his arms to look up at him. She seemed a little surprised that
he‟d asked. That question was just one of many. He wanted to know everything about
her. Most of it he was willing to wait to learn. He needed to know that answer. It wasn‟t
anything in her body language. That very clearly told of her desire for him. Her attitude
rejected any claim he made. It was her mind, he‟d have to get past if he wanted to claim
She wriggled in his arms. He felt her caution, discomfort, as well as little bit of fear.
She took a deep breath and finally settled. She must have realized he wasn‟t going to
“You know that I want you. Hell, you probably smelled it even before you felt it
from me.” She looked down at her hands where they rested on his forearm.
“If you don‟t find me unattractive, it must be the thought of mating itself. Why
don‟t you want to mate, marry?” Jarritt asked.
“How about we do this question and answer session from different chairs?” She
glanced up at him through long gold-tipped lashes.
“No, we‟re doing this my way. Now give me my answer.” He slipped his hand
beneath the fabric of her shirt and skimmed up her back. He loved the smooth feel of
her skin and the warmth that seemed to radiate from her.
“There‟s really nothing in marriage for me. It would only limit my life. As an
unmated woman, I have the freedom to go to other planets and so many places. I‟d
never have been able to do that if I had a mate.” She looked up at him.
He could feel her sincerity.
“You could go places if you were mated. Marriage doesn‟t mean a woman‟s
restricted to a planet.” He frowned. Her clan couldn‟t be that different. There had to be
some nuance in her reasons that he didn‟t understand.
This was an answer he‟d never expected. He‟d expected maybe something about
being so far from everyone she knew. Even something about wanting a male she knew.
“Only with my husband and his presence would limit some of the locations.” She
grinned and a rosy blush swept up her golden cheeks.
He scowled as he realized she was talking about brothels and clubs that catered to
women. Just thinking about her going into one of those places sent a wave of
determination through him. She‟d never get near one of those places again. She
wouldn‟t need any other man to take care of her needs when she wed him. Jealousy
roiled inside him. He wanted to erase the memory of every other man from her mind.
“You won‟t need the services of some stud. I‟ll make sure you‟re satisfied and
content,” he growled. He wouldn‟t share her. She was his.
Irritation flashed through her. He smiled as he felt the snap of her emotions. The
sharp feelings sizzled through her and stiffened her spine. She planted her hands on his
chest and leaned back glaring at him.
“I don‟t intend to marry you or anyone else while I‟m here. If I wanted a mate, there
were plenty of men in the Arragi clan who would have been happier for a closer tie to
.” She tried to scoot her way off his lap. “Why would I want to be so far from
my home and everyone I know when I will eventually find a suitable match there?”
He kept his hold on her and waited until she finally calmed. She didn‟t relax and
kept her hands on his chest, but she did stop trying to slip off his lap. At least, she
wasn‟t actively trying to move away from him. He made a note to ask her relationship
and why she thought men would want to marry her to gain a better
relationship with them. The mention of multiple
didn‟t surprise him. There were
a few groups in this area with multiple
. If he‟d been able to find a man where
the connection was there, he would have had no problem with sharing the rule.
“Ah, your intentions will change I‟m sure. I can be very persuasive and I have so
much to show you. And suitable just isn‟t good enough. Extraordinary is what
everyone should want to find.” He stroked his thumb over the base of her spine.
She shivered. Her body was so responsive. He looked forward to kissing her and
learning what excited her. Holding her and not exploring her deliciously curved body
was pure torture. He wanted to see and touch every curve and every plane.
“Why don‟t you just let me go? Or are you going to hold me here against my will as
the man on that space station wanted to do?” she asked, her chin rising in open
“You won‟t be leaving the planet, but you‟re not a prisoner. You can go anywhere
you want here. And you know I won‟t force myself on you. When we have sex, it will
be because you want it. Even more than you already do.”
Lisia had the distinct urge to run screaming from the building. The man would
have to stand up and shout, “I claim this woman for my mate” to do it any more
blatantly than he already was. Every single person at that meal received the message
just as easily from his behavior.
He‟d held her on his lap until the women had begun bringing the food from the
kitchen. Only then did he stand and slowly lower her to her feet. On top of that, he‟d
insisted that she sit next to him at the table. That position was reserved for his chosen
Lady. Some men might play games like that. He most likely wasn‟t one of them. From
the expressions on the faces of his people, she knew he‟d never let another woman take
that position before tonight.
Just from his attitude and his bearing, she knew he wasn‟t the type of man to
change his mind. This wasn‟t a game to him. He‟d really chosen her as a mate after
meeting her once. She grimaced and admitted the truth. He‟d chosen her after just