Draekon Abduction(9)

By: Lili Zander & Lee Savino


Belfox takes a deep breath. “Very well,” he concedes. “Let the women rest tonight. But in the morning,” he glares at Dariux, “I expect this matter to be resolved.”

Dariux gives them a cold, quelling look. He turns to the frightened women. “My ladies,” he says quietly. “Our rudeness is unforgivable. Please, let me show you to my dwelling. You may sleep there tonight. We will discuss your role in our community in the morning.”

“Tell us what’s going on,” Olivia insists. Her face is still pale, but her voice is steady.

“Very well,” Zunix agrees. “Draekons gain the ability to shapeshift at will when they are mated. When a pair of Draekons shifts for the first time, it is because they have sighted a potential mate.” His lips twist wryly. “That’s what just happened.”

Olivia doesn’t react, but one of the others does, a woman with long curly brown hair. “I’m Paige Watkins,” she says. “So let me see if I can get this straight. The two of them,” she points to Zunix and me, “already changed to dragons when they saw one of us…”

“Olivia,” Zunix interjects. “We transformed when we saw Olivia.”

“Of course,” another woman mutters. “Double-D claims her next victim.”

Paige Watkins looks annoyed at the interruption. “And these guys transformed when they saw Olivia too?”

“Belfox and Herrix, yes.”

“So how does that work?” she persists. “Does that mean that Olivia’s expected to shack up with all four of them?”

“No,” Dariux replies, his brow furrowed. “The bond is always between two Draekons and one mate. To the best of my knowledge, this situation is unprecedented. We will need to decide how to proceed.”

“And the other dragons that shifted? Do you intend to mate with us against our will?”

“Never.” Dariux looks openly horrified. “There are other worlds in which such things happen, but we are citizens of the High Empire. We are not savages. If you do not wish to mate, we will respect that.”

Color is flooding back in Olivia’s face. The rubra is working its magic. For now.

I’m done with reassurances and discussions. Olivia’s leg is still broken, and healing her is the most important thing. “Enough,” I say impatiently. “You have a place to sleep. You will be safe tonight. Of these things, you have my word as Lord of Laris.” I turn to Dariux. “We need to use your med-kit.”

His smile doesn’t reach his eyes. “There will be a price to pay.”

Of course there is. I might give away translators without a second thought, but Dariux always barters for an advantage. This time, the situation is grave. Olivia’s leg is badly damaged, and the open wound could infect her entire body.

Without the med-kit, her life is in danger.

Dariux’s cooperation will not come cheap.





5





Olivia:


That was educational.

For the moment, I ignore the fact that four of these guys leveled up because of me. With great difficulty, I also ignore my urge to strangle Felicity. Double-D claims her next victim. Catty bitch.

The situation is dire.

What none of the guys have said—but is perfectly obvious if you read between the lines—is that their protection comes at a price. This Dariux guy’s offer for a safe place to sleep tonight? Not without strings.

It doesn’t take Mensa-level IQ to figure out what the currency is. They want pussy. I don’t blame them. After sixty-five years, they must be pretty damn sick of their left hands.

Plus, there’s the shapeshifting thing. If they have mates, they get to be full-fledged dragons.

To be fair, Liorax and Zunix did warn us. You will be wooed, Zunix had said.

Do the other women realize what’s going on? Paige does, I think, as does Bryce. I can’t read May. Felicity is too busy being a twatwaffle to have any time to think. I have to figure out how to bring the conversation around to the topic.

The unpleasant reality is that if we’re really stuck on this prison planet, then mating with them might indeed be our best option.

Dariux disappears with the other women. Zunix finally sets me down on the ground. “Dariux will show the women to their quarters and will return with the med-kit,” he says, his voice gentle. “It’ll heal the break.”

“Thank you.” I wonder if I can risk a question without weakening my cover story. Because one thing is certain. Until I figure out who I can trust and who I cannot in this dog-eat-dog camp, I’m going to cling wholeheartedly to my ditzy, big-boobed, not-a-thought-in-my-head persona. “Is Dariux a doctor?” I open my eyes very wide. “I don’t have any money to pay him.”