***THIS IS EPISODE 4 OF A STEAMY HOT SERIAL SCIFI ADVENTURE***
Angel 6.0 Pursuit, a space opera romance series from NYT and USA Today bestseller Travis Luedke. All Episodes available on Kindle Unlimited.
My pirate lover, Cesar, did his best to negotiate my sale, to buy me out of service as concubine to Captain Cronin of the Gran. The Captain refuses to bargain. Once more, I’m forced across the galaxy, to the opulent palace of the Emperor, kneeling to serve the sexual demands of an alien Cat.
In my absence the adolescent Prince has reached maturity, and now he wants me for his own, to be his mate – over the Captain’s dead body.
Will I ever be freed of these damned Cats and their perverse desires?
“What is Angel worth to you?” Cesar didn’t mince words when it came to negotiating my purchase from the tall, alien Cat who owned me. “Name your price.”
I translated Cesar’s words into the growl-click-snapping language spoken by Captain Cronin, Commander of the Gran Traders Guild cruiser. Cronin scratched at the short fur on his chin in an alarmingly human gesture as he listened to me. He’d been mimicking my mannerisms for months now. He rose from his couch-lounger and looked down on me sitting in Cesar’s lap, a position I was loathe to quit.
At over two meters tall, covered in caramel and black striped fur, Cronin looked like a lanky, muscular, Cat standing upright. Though alien in every way, the Gran were very similar to us. We breathed the same air, ate relatively similar food – omnivores – and shared similar anatomical features. We were so similar Captain Cronin had found a perverse pleasure in playing games of pretend with me. He considered me a female of value, and wouldn’t give me up easily.
Cronin pointed at Cesar’s hand on my hip. “I gave permission for your visit with him out of respect to your wishes and needs. I demand respect in return, or I will not give permission the next time we meet. Tell your male to appreciate this privilege, or he will be denied in the future.”
“I thought you expected me to breed? If that is your requirement, I need more personal time with Captain Cesar.”
Though Captain Cronin hated the possessive nature of Cesar’s hold on me, Cronin wanted me to birth more special humans like me. I’d tried to tell the stubborn Cat that I’m sterile. All clones are sterile. Cronin only listened when it suited him – or maybe he’d figured out the truth by now.
So far, the lie had worked in my favor. I played the breeder role to get what I wanted – Cesar. But if Cronin was wise to my ruse, then we needed to get to business and get me out of this damned slave collar wrapped around my neck. “Cesar asked for a price, will you not give him one? Are we not here for profitable trades?”
Cronin growled and flicked his claws through the air in dismissal. “Now is not the time. I have need of your services, and the Emperor needs you.”
That was only partially true. The Emperor didn’t really need me – it was Cronin who loved having me at his beck and call, playing the role of concubine.
Instead of translating Cronin’s posturing to Cesar, I pushed harder. “It is wise to avoid problems with my male. He is especially … attached to me, and he wishes to buy me at a fair price. We have made good trades today. Consider another trade in the spirit of good relations between humans and the Gran.” The Captain’s idea of fairness didn’t quite match up to human standards, but greed was a universal language. Cronin’s greed was my path to freedom.
Cesar watched me closely. I could feel the nervous tension coiled in him. He hated when I kept him out of the loop as I spoke the growl-click-snap language of the Gran. “Angel, what’s happening here?” I squeezed Cesar’s hand in reassurance and waited for the master of my world to answer me.
The Captain stared hard with his domination game. I usually submitted and looked down like a good little concubine, but after spending a week in Cesar’s arms – in his bed – I dreaded leaving again for another ninety days. The things Captain Cronin would do to me as we crossed the galaxy to his home system … the thought turned my stomach.
Cronin licked his sharp teeth and bored into me with his most intimidating all-powerful Supreme Catness glare. “Our business is concluded, Angel. The Emperor wishes to spend time with you upon your return. We will not discuss your sale today.”
I wanted to kick him in the balls and watch his stomach turn inside out while he puked up his last meal. The Captain was getting rich off me, off my time spent with the Emperor of the Gran. He profited heavily by renting me out to the Emperor. The Captain and his Trading Guild cronies used me every which way, for trade, profits, and political maneuvering. Beyond that, I suspected the real problem lay in the Captain’s ever-worsening addiction to amixa, a potent Gran mating pheromone. He used the drug daily, and needed a concubine to attend him.
I was Captain’s Cronin’s freebie. He owned me. Fucker. He didn’t have to pay me, as he paid his other concubine, Chilla. She had negotiated a hefty price for joining him on this trade meeting voyage.
Cesar cleared his throat, impatient with my lack of translations. Gritting my teeth to suppress my fury and frustration, I translated the Captain’s refusal. Cesar’s jaw tightened and his intense eyes watched me, searching for the truth. “That’s bullshit, Angel. Why the hell does the Emperor want you? I thought you visited him this last trip?”
“Yes, I did. Him, his wife, his son, and daughter. I told you I was an honored guest in their home. The Emperor wants to learn more about humans, to exchange ideas and culture. He wants me to learn about the Gran, to create a better understanding between us. It’s … complicated.”
I enjoyed my time among the Emperor’s family, the way they accepted me in their home and lives. I had no problem visiting them again. The Emperor’s son, Prince Rollick, had an intense fixation on me. In a strange turn of events, I’d saved Rollick’s life and almost died. From that moment, Rollick and I had shared an exceptionally close bond.
The real problem was the jumpship voyage back to their side of the galaxy – spent with Captain Cronin.
Cesar, ever the tactician, squeezed my thigh reassuringly. “If the Emperor wants to keep you all to himself, then I must ask when I can meet the Emperor to discuss the terms of your sale.”
I hesitated to translate Cesar’s words. I had no idea of the protocol, but I doubted the Gran would allow Cesar to walk into the palace and shake hands with the Emperor. I’d almost died in my one major incident with the Emperor’s son. The security surrounding the Emperor and his family was deadly serious.
“Angel … ask him my question.”
I nodded and translated, hoping the words weren’t taken the wrong way.
Captain Cronin chuckled. “The Emperor can decide … or perhaps Prince Rollick.” Cronin looked at me funny. I hadn’t learned all the nuances of Gran body language yet, but it seemed the bastard was making innuendos about me and Rollick. Cronin nodded towards Cesar in a more serious tone. “Angel can ask the Emperor herself, when we return.”
Snaggletooth asshole was blocking the deal. First him and the Trader’s Guild had blocked the Emperor’s attempt to purchase me, now he used the Emperor and his son as an excuse.
I translated for Cesar, then added my own thoughts. “He’s playing me off the Emperor. It’s true the Emperor wants to see me again, but it’s Cronin who claims ownership over me.”
Tears ran down my cheeks. I was stuck with this bastard lying Cat, again, for another roundtrip across thousands of light years to the far side of the galaxy. Would it ever end? How long could I live like this, enjoying only brief glimpses of my lover while I serviced these fucking Cats endlessly?
Cesar stroked my back in reassurance. “I’ll get you freed, Angel. However long it takes. If I have to visit the Emperor himself, I’m not giving up. You have my promise.”
“Tell the fucking fleabag if he insists on taking my mate, then I insist on a proper goodbye.” Cesar’s intense stare penetrated into Captain Cronin.
The word mate caught my attention. I’d never considered myself Cesar’s mate, but the idea he thought of me that way put a huge, shining grin on my face. I smiled broadly at Captain Cronin as I translated Cesar’s words – minus the ‘fucking fleabag’ part.
Without waiting for Cronin’s answer, Cesar looked to his engineer, Azad, who sat beside us at the negotiation table. “Hold it down for me. I’ll be back in a few. If the shuttle’s a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’.” He pulled me up and dragged me away from the table, through the hall, and into the shuttle bay.
Azad protested. “What? I don’t speak this growl-click shit.” When Cesar ignored him and kept moving, Azad called out at our backs. “Better make it quick. They’re looking at me like a piece of steak.” Humans were forever worried the Gran would eat them. After seeing what the Gran served for dinner, I knew that couldn’t be further from the truth.
One of the Captain’s tall, armed Warriors followed Cesar and me at a distance, and I gestured to reassure the Warrior everything was fine before Cesar slammed the shuttle door and locked us away from the outside world.
“Get that suit off, woman. We’ve got ten minutes before the fucking Cats cut through the door.” He ripped the zipper down the front of my one-piece and stripped it off me from top to bottom. I stepped from the suit and helped him out of his as fast as my hands could fly. Cesar’s exuberance, his words, and this last moment together, it meant so much to me. I laughed and cried at the same time.
As soon as he stepped free of his suit he pulled me up into his arms and I wrapped around him, my legs hooked around his back, my arms locked tight around his neck. His mouth crushed mine so hard he made my lip bleed, but I didn’t care. I loved this man so much he filled my mind night and day. He was in my dreams. As the soft-yet-hard head of his cock nudged up into me, spreading me open little by little, I knew I’d do anything to find a way for us to be together, permanently. Mated.
Enjoying a life as Cesar’s mate – almost seemed too good to be true.
As he fucked me deep, hard, and fast, groaning my name, burying his wonderful cock into the most intimate places inside my body and soul, I cried tears of joy and prayed silently to a universe that had never shown me any kindness. I prayed for Cesar, that just once in my life I could have something good and wonderful, something meaningful. Please Universe, give me a chance at happiness.
I came for Cesar, his name on my lips. Locked around him, clenching and squeezing his cock with the power of my orgasm, his warm seed filled me. Eye to eye, I gazed into his soul and he said the words I needed to hear. “I love you, Angel.”
Finally, a man I could trust, a man who said the words and meant them – with conviction – with a promise for a future together.
Sobbing with tears of sadness and joy, I kissed him. “I love you Cesar. You have no idea how much I adore you.” Though my experience in the world of men was limited, I knew what I felt in my heart and soul, what this man meant to me. He represented the best of everything I hoped for.
Clinging to the man I loved, sharp claws of fear tore into my stomach. Cesar hardly knew me – not the real me. I’d never confided in him the truth of my birth, the truth of what I was. I hadn’t trusted him or his pirate crew, not at first.
Though I trusted him now, fear kept my mouth sealed tight. How could I tell him and possibly ruin my one chance of happiness? Would he accept a sterile mate that could never give him a child? Could he accept a freak born of genetic experimentation?
I owed him the truth. Soon. Very soon. But not today.
A scratching noise at the door, accompanied by growl-click-snapping threats, spoiled my second orgasm. Our time was up. I kissed Cesar with every ounce of love I had to give. His face blurred as my stinging hot tears flowed hard.
His powerful arms squeezed around me tightly, hugging me like he never wanted to let go.