Coming October 14th to Blushing Books
Rose looked at the tall, mottled-green male hovering over her. He was a Cattelan, one of the many alien races that scourged the Ring, looking for ships to plunder and goods to steal. This one’s name was Arrik, and he was the captain of the largest pirate ship this side of the solar system. At least, that was what he said. Not that she cared.
His hand was still above his head, and his smoldering yellow eyes burned holes inside her skin. The entire left side of her face throbbed with pain where he’d backhanded her. It would leave a mark for sure. She’d be lucky if she only had a bruise in the morning. Rose swallowed and glared at him. The hatred she felt for the alien male was like a tidal wave of ice, digging through her internal organs, chilling the fear she should be feeling to a dull ache in the back of her mind. She was no match for his size and strength, but she wasn’t a sheep to accept slaughter without a fight, no matter the consequences.
Still, the hand that reached for her throbbing cheek trembled. Some fights weren’t meant to be won.
Rose closed her eyes. One mistake, one little moment of inattention was all it took.
It was her fault. Her fault the rabbits were thrown in the snow like garbage, like they didn’t mean life or death for the four people waiting in the mud-house. It was her fault their last hope for survival was now aboard a slaver’s spaceship, leaving them defenseless and with no way of feeding themselves. They were doomed, and so was she.
The Cattelan had captured her as she walked back from her hunt, a mere few hours from her house. Rose was exhausted and her feet and fingers were dull with the cold, but a string of three rabbits dangled from her hips. She was giddy with excitement at the thought of food, not looking around for signs of danger, as her father had taught her. As she had done countless times over the years.
Capturing her had been so easy.
It took Arrik only a second to jump on the opportunity, literally. As soon as he saw her, he leapt over the five feet or so that separated them and knocked her to the ground. The rest was history.
Rose was bagged and grabbed in a matter of minutes, and the world she knew had blacked out of existence. The next time she opened her eyes, she was inside a tiny white room, strapped down on a medical bed. The Cattelan had been there, looking over her body as if she was a unicorn sprinting out of the sea. He’d probably never seen a real life human before. Not many people had.
Cattelans were a merchant race involved in anything that turned a profit, including slavery. They would get more from the sale of Rose’s body than they could spend in two entire lifetimes, the whole crew of them. But first, they had to deal with her human downsides. So, they fitted her with a top-of-the-line universal translator, embedded deep inside her brain, and proceeded to inoculate her against all illnesses humans were known to succumb to in the vast aggregation of planets known as The Ring. They performed every test imaginable, deemed her fit and healthy and, since then, she had been treated like an exotic pet—so precious and fragile it had to be preserved in a glass enclosure for its own protection.
That was about a week ago. Rose had spent her days since in a tiny cell under controlled atmosphere. She was about to go crazy in the confined space. She was used to the open spaces, and the claustrophobic living quarter made her want to scream and hit the walls with her fists until they bled.
Right now, she would happily replace the walls with the green bastard’s face. Rose’s stare locked with Arrik’s and they exchanged strings of malevolence.
“Again, where are the other humans?”
“There are no others.” She gave him what she hoped was an intimidating sneer. “I escaped from the breeding facility last spring, after killing my guards.”
“You think I’m stupid, human?” He raised his hand again and Rose glowered at him, forcing herself not to flinch. “No specimen was reported missing from the breeding facility in the last twenty-three years. You’re lying.” An ugly smirk spread on his lip-less mouth, showing yellow teeth. “There are ways to make you talk.”
Arrik stepped closer, his gaze sliding over her body, his intent as clear as the erection stretching the fabric of his pants.
“Get up.” He tugged at his pants. “Take off your clothes. I’ve never had a human female before.”