Tessa Fagan woke up on her side with a throbbing headache and a dull pain in her shoulders. As she lay there, she took mental inventory of all her limbs and decided nothing was broken. At least nothing hurt
bad enough to be broken. Maybe that’s a good sign
. Then she tried to move her arms and realized she couldn’t. Scratch that good sign.
Fighting off draining fatigue, she forced herself to open her eyes. Gooseflesh rose up on her arms, making her shudder. What a freezing metal floor. What did they do, hook cooling coils up to the ground to preserve their victims?
She blinked and took a deep, calming breath. As the world around her came into focus, she made out a steel bulkhead a few inches from her face. It was dark gray and didn’t remind her of anything familiar. The heavy baritone of men’s voices sounded from somewhere not too far off but she couldn’t understand what they were saying. It took her a minute to realize that they weren’t speaking English. Oh shit, this is very bad.
She strained her hearing and soon realized what they were speaking was definitely not
English. Even though she didn’t know the language well enough to speak it, it sounded a lot like Kirillian. She sure hoped she was wrong because being captured by Kirillian slavers was the last thing in the galaxy she wanted. Tessa blinked several times to clear her vision. Please God, let me be wrong.
Ever since humans began traveling the galaxy there had been endless problems with slavers. They were notorious for overpowering smaller vessels and either killing off or taking the crew captive. Needless to say, women were high on the list of wanted slaves. Earth didn’t have the intergalactic muscle to hunt down the slavers or stage any kind of rescue for the captured, so suffice it to say that if you were taken prisoner, you were going to spend the rest of your life as some man’s blow-up doll.
She tried to twist her body away from the bulkhead but when she moved, her arms screamed in pain. She guessed she must have been tied up for a long time. Where the hell am I? I can’t remember a thing
. Taking several deep breaths, she forced herself not to give in to the alarm that was slowly wriggling through her thoughts.
After what seemed like hours, she heard heavy footfalls. They had the long stride and weight of men and a new fear filled her heart. The steps stopped directly behind her and large powerful hands gripped her arms and lifted her to a kneeling position. She looked up and stared at her captor.
The man that stood over her was huge
and somehow, from archived data in the back of her mind, she knew what race he was. That tiny kernel of information did nothing to soothe her mounting terror. That looks an awful lot like a Kirillian uniform. Oh crap, they must be slavers. I am in such huge trouble. But how the hell did I end up with Kirillian slavers?
Then, like a horrible nightmare only partially remembered, flashes of memory came back. Explosions, alarms, crew members running for the escape pods. Trying to recall all of it only gave her a hammering headache.
The man crouched down next to her, his leather boots creaking under the strain. He smelled like fresh sweat and black leather and it triggered a memory of her younger years and the long, hard nights of rough sex with her then-boyfriend, Alex. An ancient and forgotten flame of lust flickered to life within her.
The man’s long black hair was thick and wavy and framed the hard planes of his rugged face. Like a black velvet curtain, it hung loose around his shoulders and back. His face was very manly, boasting a cruel mix of danger and seduction. His features were strong and masculine: muscled jaw, noble nose, and the blackest eyes Tessa had ever seen.
“Do you know where you are, Captain?” he asked. His voice was deep and so commanding it bounced off the metal walls and echoed around her for a moment.
“No,” she replied looking him right in the eyes.
He smiled, revealing sharp upper and lower canines. “My name is Commander Chaos Battle. You are on board The Scarlet Queen
bound for the planet of Kirillia. Your Earth ship has been destroyed, your commander is dead, and all the rest of the human passengers and crew are either dead too or have been taken prisoner. You will all be sold in the slave markets once we arrive.” He narrowed his eyes at her.
Tessa didn’t give him the satisfaction of a dramatic response and simply said, “I see.” This is just great. In a few short hours I’ve gone from a captain to a commodity.
It was all coming back now but only in more disjointed pieces. She closed her eyes and could see the narrow fluorescent-lit halls of the military transport she had hitched a ride home on from Sector One. She’d just been heading to her berthing to take a nap before arrival when it happened. The attack came so fast none of the sensors even picked up the presence of another ship, let alone a Kirillian Destroyer. Even now, a prisoner in this strange foreign place, she could hear the explosions and smell the smoke. Tessa opened her eyes and blinked to clear the horrible memory.
The Kirillian was still next to her, watching her like a she was a captured animal. She must be the highest-ranking officer left alive or he probably wouldn’t have bothered addressing her at all. She glanced up and met his frosty black gaze, making sure to maintain heavy eye contact. She was pretty sure staring at him would irritate the piss out of him. Kirillians didn’t like to feel challenged. “Do you think an unprovoked attack on an Earth military vessel is just going to go unnoticed?”
Chaos shrugged. “We have no treaty with your planet and therefore we will we do as we please. Besides, your feeble military is no threat to our superior technology.”
“Technology that your race has stolen from everyone else,” she shot back.
He glared at her. “Enough of this. I have no interest in debating our cultural differences with a slave.”
“Well, you may as well not waste your time trying to make me a slave. There is no way I’m obeying the orders of some half-wit thief who happens to call himself a commander.”
Instead of being angry, Chaos appeared delighted by her defiance. He let out a low, menacing laugh that sent gooseflesh up her arms. He grabbed her elbow and pulled her to her feet sending shockwaves of pain through her shoulder. Tessa cried out and heard the other men chuckle. Chaos grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her head back. It didn’t hurt, but it enraged her that he had full command of her head. He leaned in close to her face. “You will do as you are told, Captain,” he said, smiling wickedly. “Or I will
Tessa didn’t have a plan for escape but she needed to keep her cool if she was going to get through this. Surely she could outsmart these apes. First she needed to try to have her arms unbound. “You’re very brave in front of the other kids while I’m restrained,” she said. “Unless you’re afraid I may like it.”
His men laughed, and without hesitation he unlocked the cuffs holding her hands behind her back. She grimaced as her arms flew forward and agony rushed into her shoulder joints. It took several minutes for the tingling to stop in her hands. Chaos waited patiently while she worked her arms around to loosen them up.
He towered over her and grinned. “Now what, Captain?”
“Now,” Tessa said glaring at him. “I kick your hulking Kirillian ass.” Moving a few feet away from him, she raised her fists in the ready position. If this big simian wanted to spar, then she was sure going to give it to him. He has no idea who he’s dealing with. Bet you don’t have a featherweight award in hand-to-hand combat, do you buddy?
Bouncing on the balls of her feet like a boxer, she looked for an opening and took it. Kicking her left leg high, she faked him out with roundhouse kick knowing he was ready for her attack. Chaos blocked the kick with his forearm but wasn’t ready for the right cross she slammed into his wide jaw. The blow was hard enough to turn his face to the side and make him grunt. Tessa smiled and the gathered crowd roared and cheered her on.
“Come on, jerk,” Tessa taunted. “Let’s see what you’ve got.” If she was going to be sold off to the slave markets on Kirillia, she damn sure wasn’t going down without a fight.
Chaos slid his gaze up and down her body, grinning. “I don’t want to hurt you, Captain. You’re worth nothing if you can’t perform your slave duties.” He glared at her trying to read her next move. “And there will be a lot more demanding chores for you if you don’t surrender.”
“There aren’t going to be
any slave duties, because I’m going to kick your ass and the asses of any of the other monkey Kirillians who want to take me on.”
“You’re so confident,” he said in a low, menacing tone. “It will be fun teaching you some humility.”
Tessa beckoned him with one hand. “I’m waiting, but all I hear is talk.”
Furrowing his brow, Chaos lunged at her but she sidestepped him easily and he stumbled forward off balance. Just to make her point, she gave him a nasty kick in the ribs. He grunted and whirled on her, but this time he was much faster and came within inches of grabbing her around the waist. Chaos was one hell of a big boy, and although he was slow, she had no doubt he could inflict a lot of damage if he caught her. What she needed was a weapon to even the playing field.
Scanning the men watching them, she spotted a soldier leaning against the wall with a large combat knife strapped to his hip. The top snap securing the handle was undone so pulling it from the sheath would be easy. All she had to do was get close enough.
Chaos advanced, cornering her between an open hatch and the bulkhead. “You’re finished,” he growled. “Give up and save yourself the humiliation of falling to my will.”
His black eyes glowed in triumph. He looked so smug all she could think about was taking him down a notch. Licking his lips like she was a banquet, Chaos lunged for her again. She waited until he was so close she could smell the leather of his boots, then ducked under his powerful arms. Tucking her body into a ball, she rolled past him and stopped right in front of the soldier with the knife. Before anyone could figure out what she had planned, she grabbed the knife from the man’s holster and turned to engage Chaos.
But the Kirillian commander was faster than he looked. Before she could get a good grip on the knife, he seized her wrist and wrenched the knife from her hand.
Tessa swung at him with her free fist and came close to landing a punch, but he moved back just in time. Gripping the knife in his meaty hand, he crouched low and came up with the blade, slicing the front of her uniform open. Tessa was sure he’d cut from groin to throat but she felt no pain. Her uniform, the shirt under it, and her bra fell open, freeing her breasts, but the skin beneath her clothes didn’t have a scratch. Her cheeks burned.
She immediately moved her arms over her damaged clothes to hide her bare chest. Chaos’s eyes sparkled with infernal lust. “Don’t hide your body from me,” he said in a voice thick with passion. He pulled her closer and grabbed the ruined clothes. Tessa did all she could to stop him, but he was just too strong. Shoving her against the wall, he tore her clothes from her body until all she had left was her underwear.
Frustrated, she slammed her fist into his belly but he didn’t even flinch. It felt like she’d punched a brick wall. She shook her hand and hissed in pain. Glancing over his shoulder to the men watching, he said, “Leave us.”
They all went out of the room, leaving her and Chaos alone. He fixed his dark gaze on her and she felt a block of ice fill her belly. Pinning her to the wall with his chest, he pushed his bulging erection against her mons and kicked her feet apart with his boots. Tessa squirmed as he shifted his hips and pushed his bulging groin against the front panel of her panties. He was so heavy against her chest she was forced to breathe in quick pants. Hot moisture pooled between her legs and she hated herself for becoming aroused by this hulking bully. Chaos leaned in close to her ear and whispered, “Now look what you’ve done to me, Captain. You’ve made me want to fuck the life out of you. I’m afraid you’ve left me no choice but to punish you for arousing me like this. Let’s just see if you do