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Authors: Rebecca Airies

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BOOK: Lisia's Journey
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rights and privileges of any other sentient being.

21

Rebecca Airies

“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

the table.

“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

snarled.

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

22

Lisia’s Journey

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

him.

“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.

23

Rebecca Airies

“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
Ferot
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
arak
and sweet
michcon
leaves.

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

her.

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

release her.

“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.

24

Lisia’s Journey

“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

the
Shi’ans
.” 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

to the
Shi’ans
and why she thought men would want to marry her to gain a better

relationship with them. The mention of multiple
Shi’ans
didn‟t surprise him. There were

a few groups in this area with multiple
Shi’ans
. 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

challenge.

“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.”

25

Rebecca Airies

Chapter Four

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

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