By: Laurann Dohner

You will also never attack a female human under any circumstances. Their women are not as strong as ours and weren’t raised our way. They don’t posses our fighting skills or strength. I swear that you will be dealt with extremely harshly if you attack a human female here. Some of them live with our males as mates. They have committed to each other, mated for life. Those males will kill any one of you who touches his female and it would be his right to do so.”

Justice paused and took deep breaths before he began speaking again. “Those are our laws. You are to never attack the officers you see in black uniforms either. They are to be respected and listened to. Their word is law as if I have spoken. Our females are off limits unless they consent to being touched. I hope I shouldn’t even have to mention that but I wasn’t raised in the same testing facility as you. We treat our females with respect and never share sex with them unless they initiate it. You will know punishment if any of you refuse to live by these rules. I hate to stress this but these are laws that are never to be broken. You will find yourself in lockup if you can’t live by them and I promise you won’t be set free until you realize we need to have some laws to live in peace together. Am I clear?”

The room remained silent. Justice took the time to meet every man’s gaze before he slowly nodded. “Now, dinner will be served. We’ll consider this matter closed.”

Justice jumped down gracefully from the table to walk directly to Jessie. He looked grim when he paused at her side. “Let’s eat.”

She wasn’t sure what to say to alleviate his bad mood. He offered her his arm. She reached out and her fingers curled around his forearm. Another jolt shot through her body from his hot, firm skin under her fingers. The man was so warm, it almost felt as if he ran a fever.

“We’re not eating here?”

“No. I hope you don’t mind but we’ll dine in the living room of my suite. Do you really want to have a discussion in front of all of them? I don’t. They aren’t real happy with me right now for laying down the law but it needed to be done.”

“I’m probably not their favorite person either. That’s fine.”

Jessie’s heart pounded over the concept of being alone with Justice for dinner. It sounded intimate instead of businesslike. Then again, if he had an office at Reservation, they would be alone if he took her there. The living room of his suite would be larger than an office. Justice led her to the elevators.

Justice refused to look at Jessie once the elevator doors closed, peering everywhere but at her. Jessie didn’t release his arm but she had the urge to. Why wouldn’t he look at her? He took a deep breath.

“I ordered us dinner. I wasn’t sure what you wanted.” He paused. “I took the liberty of asking them to bring various dishes. I would have waited to ask you but it would have taken more time. I have a speech to write after dinner and the faster I eat, the faster I can get to it.”

“That sounds like a great plan.” She smiled. “I’m not real picky about food. I’m happy to eat.”

He finally shifted his gaze to hers. “You don’t appear as if you eat much. You are small.”

She laughed. “Rigorous workouts will do that. My father and brother were both Marines and I married a Navy SEAL.” She shrugged. “My mom died when I was five so I’ve always been around men who stayed fit. That’s where I picked up some fighting skills. They wanted to make sure I could take care of myself in any circumstance. I was always mouthy and curious as a child and definitely not the timid type. My Dad said my mouth and my ability to find trouble meant that I needed to be able to defend myself. He was right.”

Justice had tensed. His voice was naturally deep but it came out rougher. “Your husband must hate your job if it keeps you away from him.”

“Ex-husband. We divorced two years ago.”

Justice avoided glancing at her again. She noticed he slowly relaxed as the doors to the third floor opened to allow them to exit the elevator.

“We’re staying on the same floor.”

Justice didn’t say a word as he led her down the hall. It was in the opposite direction of her room. At the end of the hallway he pulled out a key from his front jeans pocket to unlock the door. Jessie had to release him when he opened it and motioned for her to take the lead.

She took note of the nice suite with the spacious living area. A small kitchenette had been built against one wall with a wet bar. The hallway that led to the bedroom was on the other end of the room. Justice motioned toward the couch.

“Please have a seat. Do you mind if I remove my shoes? I don’t care how long I wear them, I still can’t wait to be barefoot.”