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Taken by Her Mates(9)

By:Grace Goodwin

I knew the truth of his words from seeing his—their—mating ceremony in my mind.

Perhaps he spoke the truth, but I was a contaminate who was about to break Prillon law and travel to a restricted planet. I had been matched to a bride who did not know me, and would most likely run screaming at the first sight of my ruined features. I could not ask any warrior to join me under these circumstances.

Without replying, I released Dare’s grip and stepped up onto the transport platform to see Lady Deston smiling at me with a mischievous glint in her unusual dark eyes. Her black hair stood out among the golden race of Prillon Prime like a star in the darkness of space. “You’ll be naked when you get there, you know.”

“Yes.” I nodded. No clothes, no weapons. Yes, I knew Prillon’s protocol, knew how our transporters were programmed to work. No clothing or weapons would pass through long range transport. Awaiting the arrival of a naked and eager bride was one of the most anticipated events in the entire Interstellar Coalition. I had to wonder what those at the processing center on Earth were going to think when a naked man—no, a naked half cyborg—appeared.

“You’re also about a foot taller than most men on Earth. You’re going to stick out like a sore thumb.”

“I do not know what that expression means, but I have to assume that I will be a rarity just for my height alone, and not this.” I pointed to the side of my face.

Hannah pursed her lips and nodded.

“So be it.”

I frowned at the delay, and offered a dark glance at the warrior behind the controls to get on with it. The warrior at the controls nodded to me in acknowledgment of my unspoken command.


The deep voice had us all turning. One of the guards at the door stepped toward me.

His name was Ander and he’d been one of the warriors who had rescued me and Dare from the Hive. He was even larger than I, with massive shoulders and a large scar that ran the entire right side of his face. This marking was a sign of his fierceness as a warrior, the price he’d paid in the battle for our return.

My coloring was pale gold, common among our people. Ander was darker, his eyes the color of rusted steel, and his hair and skin a duskier hue, closer to brown and more common in the ancient families. Even before our rescue, I knew of him. He was greatly feared and respected on the battleship, and one of Commander Deston’s elite warriors. I owed him my life. So did Dare. Having him in the transport room showed that the commander and his second both trusted him as one of their inner circle, a most faithful warrior and confidant.

I met his gaze, unflinching, one scarred outcast staring at another. I watched, curious, as he set aside his weapons and walked to face me. “I offer myself as your second.”

Ander was an ugly fucker several years older than I, but fierce in battle. I could ask for no better warrior to help me find and protect my bride. He’d proven his loyalty to me, to Dare, and to the commander over many years of battle. I did not know him well, but I knew enough. He was worthy of a bride. Hell, he was perhaps even more worthy than I.

I thought of the mating ceremony that had been the basis for the match, the one with the dominant second who had fucked his mate in the ass with expert and pleasurable precision. Knowing my mate’s needs from that dream alone, I knew Ander would do. He would do quite well.

I turned to the commander, for I would not take one of his best warriors without permission. The old me, the spoiled prince who thought everything was his due, would have taken the warrior and thought nothing of that man’s responsibilities to those on the ship, to those under his command, those he protected.

Ander turned to the commander as well. The commander stood with his arm around his mate’s curved waist, a rare grin on his face. “Go. May the gods protect you both.”

Lady Deston rested her head on his shoulder, her smile genuine. “Try not to kill too many idiots. And try not to scare her to death.” She held out her hand and Dare set three black collars across her palm. She turned to me. “I think you’ll need these.”

I shook my head. “I regret, my lady, that they will not survive the transport. Nor will they work properly outside the ship’s range.”

“Oh. Then they will be here upon your return.” Her hand dropped to Dare’s and she gripped both of her mates, clearly upset as she studied the two of us standing shoulder to shoulder on the transport pad. “Good luck. You are going to freak her out. Try to be patient.”

I nodded as I braced myself for the wrenching twist of a long range transport, Ander directly behind me. I felt the surge of power flowing through my cells that meant the transport protocol had begun. I did not understand this phrase, freak her out. Nor I did need to be patient. This Earth woman, she was my mate. We were matched. She would know the connection as rightly as I. She might wonder after Ander, but if I’d chosen him as my second, she did not need to question me. Her mate. There was no need to waste time courting our new bride with comely faces or kind words.