Cyan snapped back around the corner she’d just turned, but she knew she was in trouble. She ran back the way she’d come, so turned around she didn’t know where she was anymore. She should have grabbed the tablet, but she hadn’t been thinking.
No, that wasn’t true. She’d been thinking. She’d just been thinking about the wrong thing—pale blue eyes and the way his muscles had bunched as he’d stripped out of his shirt. She’d been thinking about the way her heart had seized in her chest as his cock sprang into view, and how wrong it had felt when her pussy pulsed in response. She was not aroused. She wasn’t. More than anything, she was scared, but seeing his arousal as he methodically took off his clothes had reassured her on one point. If he wanted to fuck her, at least he wasn’t going to kill her.
That gave her alternatives. If she failed to make it out of here, if he caught her, then she would lie still while he took her and wait. Once he spent his energy on her, once he was at his most vulnerable, then she’d watch for the perfect moment to strike back.
If she failed to make it out? There was no ‘if.’ Every twist she took in this labyrinth of corridors just got her more and more lost. She had no idea where she was anymore. She could be racing her way back to her room for all she knew. Any corner she whipped around now, she expected to fling herself straight into his arms.
She didn’t. The first person she almost threw herself into was another guard.
He jumped back, but didn’t look surprised to see her out. Still, her heart leapt so far up into her throat that she almost threw up. She also fell to one knee in her haste to turn and run back the other way.
She found a lift. Slapping the panel to open the doors, she waited impatiently for the elevator. She couldn’t remember if the schematic had shown she needed to go up two flight decks, or three… or was it down? It didn’t matter, more floors meant more places to hide and more uncertainty for her pursuer. It wasn’t like he was a bloodhound. He wouldn’t be tracking her by scent, regardless of what he’d said about smelling her fear. That was ridiculous. She wasn’t leaving a trail. Not even in her panic.
Or was it exhilaration?
Or was it both?
She paced back and forth in front of the closed lift doors, breathing hard, her hand poised to press every floor button on the display the second they opened. She didn’t know where the stairs were, but she knew the ship had them. It would have other lifts too, but if she could disable this one, then it would take that much longer and be that much more inconvenient for him to chase her down. Not to mention give her a few more seconds to shake this weird sexual response that was pulsing in her veins every bit as hard as the fear.
The door opened, and she hit every button she could see in the few seconds she allowed herself to delay. Then she tried to go, freezing instantly in place when she spotted the two guards standing directly in front of her. They had a woman just like her between them. She looked nervous, surprised to see Cyan, but not scared, even with each of her arms being held by the men she walked between.
Before Cyan could react, the first guard grabbed her, his hand clamping onto her throat. The second guard grabbed the wrist of the first.
“He’ll kill you,” the second warned.
The first guard frowned at her.
Emboldened, she slapped his hand off her throat, then shoved him backwards out of the lift threshold.
His look turned dark, but the second guard pulled him back, and the door slid shut between them. The fury of that look stayed with Cyan. It made her stomach clench, sending a ripple of spasms moving through her core in ways that left her shuddering. Or shivering. She couldn’t tell.
She went up another floor. The door opened, and after checking to make sure the hall was empty, she slipped out. Unlike the last floor, this one looked familiar. She’d come this way once, the day she’d come aboard. By some miracle, she was actually where she was supposed to be. She was going to do it. She was going to make it to the door.
If she could just figure out which way to go from here.
The lift door closed behind her as she swung left, trying to make what she saw down the corridor match what little she remembered from when she’d boarded. She’d been so nervous back then…
A low rumbling growl sounded behind her. Snapping around, she froze all over again when she saw the massive tiger stalking up the corridor behind her. It was huge, black as a jaguar with striking white stripes and not a single trace of orange anywhere in its fur.
Her stomach dropped. Everything inside her dropped, leaving only the chilly ghost of fear that washed through her as she stared into its striking blue eyes.
“No,” she whispered, staring at it. At him. “H-how…”
How could it possibly be? It didn’t make sense what she was thinking—that the cat was somehow Blackwell… no, impossible!
She backed away, her feet moving without conscious direction from her. The beast kept coming, its gaze never leaving her, barely even blinking.
If she ran, it would attack. If she didn’t run, she was going to die.
Her only chance was to reach that door… and hope Blackwell kept his promise.
Survival mode took over. She ran for her life. She had no idea if she was even running in the right direction, not that it mattered either way.
She didn’t make five steps.
He so rarely got the chance to shift these days, but he did so love it when he did. Everything was different when he let the animal in him out. His senses were clearer, heightened. He was faster, stronger. Even his thought process was simpler. Hungry? Eat. Threatened? Kill. Horny… admittedly, that rarely came up these days, but the animal in him knew what it wanted from the first moment he’d seen the human woman Cyan. And when she darted from the relative safety of the elevator with her back to him, he’d known it then too.
He’d smelled her fear, her determination, and underlying it all, he smelled the beautiful musk of her excitement. It wasn’t arousal, not yet. But it could be.
When she turned and finally saw him, his animal-half drank in the full-bodied tremor that moved so deliciously through her, he knew. She was the one. Not his soul mate, not the love of his life. He had neither the time nor the patience for such rubbish, especially from a human, but she was the one he wanted beneath his claws. He looked forward to playing with her, frightening her, forcing her down under the weight of his bigger body, and if she didn’t piss herself from the sheer terror of looking in his eyes while he did it, she was the one he wanted to fuck.
If one had to have a human in one’s bed, one might as well be entertained while he did it.
Unlike everyone else on this doomed rock, he wasn’t going to breed her. He was the last of his people. Because of humans, his line would die with him, that was something he was looking forward to making her pay for. One sob, one tear, one long, drawn out scream at a time. It was a debt he’d been looking forward to making her pay ever since the council came up with the concept of the auction and made it part of his payment for getting the shifter clans to agree to contribute toward it.
As if she could read his animal thoughts, Cyan turned and bolted again.
She had nowhere to run. The rooms here were locked, opening only to those Arcans whose palm scans were in the computer system. She needed to run down the hall to the door far behind him, but she doomed herself from the start. She ran in the wrong direction.
He was on her within two bounding leaps, his overwhelming size knocking her to the ground.
The urge to let her up right away—to let her run again, prolong the game just a little bit longer and see how terrified he could make her—was primal. But she never made a sound. She hit the ground hard, her woof of lost breath the only thing she let him take from her. After that, she went as still as death beneath him.
Not that she was dead. She was very much alive, and awake. Every muscle beneath him was taut. Her breaths shook like her body, trembling as a leaf in a midsummer’s storm.
He growled. She closed her eyes, but didn’t so much as whimper, not even when he pricked her, letting her feel his claws on her shoulders. Apart from opening her eyes again, she didn’t move. Only once he shifted atop her, taking his human form once more, did she crane her neck far enough to look back at him over her shoulder.
“Nice try,” he said. “You lose.”
She lay her cheek flat on the floor again. “So do you.”
Flipping her onto her back, he clapped his hand on her throat, pinning her under him again. “You think?”
Her voice was trembling. He could feel her shaking in every soft part of her crushed beneath every hard part of him. And yet, trembling though it may be, her voice was soft and commendably steady considering the circumstances. “Whatever you want me for, whatever you think I’ve done. You’ve got the wrong girl. So yes, you lose too. You lose whatever you’re after.”
He drew back, head cocked. His incredulous laugh was little more than breath. “You have no idea what I’m after.”
“I know it’s not me. I’ve done nothing to you. I’m nobody.”
“You’re human,” he spelled out for her, watched as tickles of both confusion and surprise lit the depths of her eyes. Brown, like the woodlands he’d once called home, back before bureaucrats and progress mowed it down and paved their capital city over it. “Descended from beings I hate, paid to me by officials I despise. Congratulations, Cyan Price. You might be no one on Earth, but on Arcan you are the one I have chosen to make pay.”
Her brow furrowed. “For what?”
That stopped him all over again. It almost made him angry. “If humans choose not to remember the wrongs they commit, then they deserve what’s coming to them.”
“I haven’t wronged anyone.”
“Your race wronged mine!”
“You are my race,” she dared to argue. “Arcan was colonized by humans from Earth. We’re the same!”
Just as fast she said it, she realized what she’d said—and to whom. Her gaze roved his features, as if she were trying to find the tiger inside the man.
“Yes, look deeper,” he growled. “We are not the same. Arcans have grown so far beyond humans, admit it. It terrifies you. And yes, some of us—especially within the city—are more human than others, and it shows. Your kind has spent generations being frightened of mine, conveniently forgetting how dependent you once were on us back when this was all a prison. Back when we all starved under the whip and cruel yoke of the Terrans who sent us here to die. Never feeding us enough. Never giving us what we needed to survive!”
Her brow furrowed deeper. His hand was on her throat, her fluttering pulse like a butterfly beneath his touch, so fragile and so easily crushed. And yet, it wasn’t fear but temper that ignited in her stare as she said, “I remember my history too, asshole. Your ‘people,’ the ones who got sent here, landed this sentence because they were criminals. Don’t pretend they were innocent, they weren’t! They were rapists, thieves, and murderers, and it’s easy to see what side of that blanket you rolled out of.”
She kneed at him, but he was faster, twisting his hips to protect himself and giving her knee nothing more vital than the inside of his thigh to connect with. He laughed, surprised how much he liked that she was at least attempting to fight back. It was clumsy, she was untrained, and yet that didn’t stop her from balling up her fist and punching at him.
He reared back, not far enough for his weight to free her, but far enough for her wild punch to land on his neck and shoulder instead of his nose. When he grabbed her arm, she threw herself into a fury of wild bucking. No matter how she twisted though, he knew how to counter, grabbing her hands and pinning them to the floor above her head, wedging himself between her thrashing legs to make sure she couldn’t knee at him again.
He was sure he left bruises on the inside of her thighs when he forced his knees between her own. With the power of his legs, he spread hers wide apart, stripping her of what little leverage she had to struggle and leaving her lying powerlessly beneath him. Legs splayed, hands pinned… breasts heaving… his cock lying semi-hard and throbbing against the heat of her sex, covered as it was behind the barrier of her pants. They were hip to hip, face to face. He stole every one of her swift, shallow breaths, liking the flavor of them.
“Murderer?” he scoffed. “Oh yes, many times over. Thief? Most definitely. But rapist?”
He shifted his weight. Was it involuntary or intentional when her legs flexed, hugging his hips between them? He didn’t know, but that twitch of movement brushed the folds of her pussy against him. Even better, when she realized what she’d just touched, her small body tensed sharply and her face flushed bright red.
“Get… get off,” she stammered.
Not a chance.
It was his turn to move now, his turn to stroke her back. He ground his hips, deliberately stroking her upon the length of his naked cock.
She shivered, but that didn’t surprise him half as much as the jolt of hot awareness that flushed through him in response. Never would he have thought himself capable of feeling such arousal for any woman, much less a human one.
He shook his head, smirking down into her startled brown eyes.
“It won’t be rape when I take you, Cyan,” he vowed. “Will it?”
The deepening shade of her flush and the tiny peaks of her nipples pressing against the cloth of her shirt was all the answer he needed to know he didn’t need to look any further among the transport’s cargo hold. He’d found the payment he desired.
The glide of his shaft along her seam should never have felt this good. The walls of her pussy fluttered in a series of tiny spasms, something that had never happened to her before… at least, not when someone else was involved.
“Wh-what are you doing?” she demanded.
His answering laugh sent a gush of hot slickness flowing in response. It was promptly soaked up by her underwear and pants, but she may as well have been wearing nothing at all for how clearly she felt the rubbing of his cock as he slowly pumped his naked hips, caressing himself back and forth along her pussy folds.
“Cyan,” he rumbled, as if testing the flavor of her name on his lips. His low chuckle said he liked it; she liked his low chuckle too. He let go of her hands, bracing his upon the floor as he lifted himself slightly off her. He rolled his hips, a mockery of every other sex act she’d ever endured. This time the stroke bumped up solidly against her pubis, and her legs began to shake as her clit sang.
And she just lay there, every nerve humming along to the rubbing caress of his rocking hips and the press of his cock sliding along her seam.
This was the moment to try and break free. She looked up, startled at her own unrestrained hands lying limp where he had left them.
It was electrifying, the snap that jolted through her when she realized—could have, would have, should have all aside—she liked this. And it was so wrong, but here she was, just taking it.
That thought developed a voice of its own, hate-filled and hissing, something that had happened a long time ago, but it worked. She reacted, her legs snapping shut, but he was already between them. She hit him instead, her fists smashing against his chest, but his soft-spoken ‘don’t’ stopped her before she could shove.
She stared at him, the icy blue of his eyes pinning her beneath him in a way his hands no longer were.
He tipped his head. Carefully shifting his weight to one hand, he caressed her hair back from her face as he watched every twitch in her flinching reaction.
“Shh,” he soothed, and her back arched against her will as he rocked his hips into the cradle of hers again. “Does it frighten you, Cyan, the thought of being made to come on shifter cock?”
She hadn’t known about shifters before just now, but being made to come on any man’s cock wasn’t an intimacy she had ever allowed herself before. She wasn’t a virgin, far from it. But what he was doing to her, this was very new. Spots of warmth were unfurling in her belly, like pre-spring blossoms peeking through the March snow, growing hotter everywhere his body pressed to hers—her belly, her breasts, between her legs where her thighs clamped again, uselessly hugging his hips instead of pushing him away.
Did she even want to push him away?
He bent his head and every nerve in her body tingled as the heat of his breath caressed the lobe of her ear right before his flicking tongue did.
“We played a game,” he reminded. “You lost. You’re mine now.”
She clapped her hands to his chest, but stopped just short of pushing. Her eyes closed instead, her breath a shaky exhale as he took her lobe between his lips in the gentlest nibble to ever play this kind of sparkling havoc under her wildly tingling skin.
“Look at me,” he commanded.
She did, but not before scrambling to wrap herself in every shred she could find of her earlier anger. “If you think you frighten me, you have no idea how I was living before this. If you think the thought of fucking you frightens me, I was resigned to it before I ever set foot on that ship. If not you, I’d be fucking someone else. I sold whatever right I had to complain when I signed the contract that brought me here. So, I’ll tell you again, and listen closely this time.” She looked right in his eyes. “Get off, then you can get off me. You’re heavy, and the floor is hurting my back.”
He perked, his cock hard as hell and prodding at her, his expression frozen somewhere between disbelief and amusement. “Get… off. You mean, fulfill myself and then… remove myself from lying on you? Is that what you say to one another on Terran?”
Her nipples tensed, teased by the caress of her own clothes as he lowered himself over her again.
“We have a different saying here. May you be forever happy with the one by which you lay. In this case, the one on which I lay.”
Her. She stared at him, trying to school her face to show nothing of the ecstasy that raked through her folds when he raised himself up on bulging arms and then, pointedly, looked down between the length of them at her pants. Her clit pulsed, a slow steady throbbing that only got worse as she grabbed the front of her pants. She unfastened them, trying so hard to hide her trembling excitement behind a cloak of false anger. He didn’t allow enough space between them for her to sit up. She had to lift her hips to work her pants down and then work her pants off one leg at a time, with him lying between them the whole time. She wanted to be annoyed, but no matter how she moved, some part of her bumped up against him and the hardness of him teased her stupid senses. Just like it teased her all over again every time she looked up from trying to skin out of her clothes to find him so close he could have kissed her. Except he wasn’t, he was breathing in her scent—her hair, her cheek, the gentle slope of her neck and shoulder. Her clit pulsed harder, her belly thrumming with the same low heat spilling through her folds as she lay back again.
Pants caught on her left shoe and still tangled around that ankle, she swaddled herself in false annoyance and fisted her hands to her sides so he wouldn’t see how badly she was trembling. She wasn’t afraid. She was far, far from afraid. Her breath hitched as he made himself comfortable once more between her legs. Every tight nerve in her body jumped as she felt the bump and nudge of his cock, settling right there against her now equally naked pussy. Right on the cusp of sliding into her; her heart was dancing. She closed her eyes when his hand settled at the base of her throat. The heat of his palm burned into her skin, his fingers were on her pulse, and all she kept telling herself was the sooner he pushed into her, the faster it would be over.
That was all she wanted. For him to get off, just like she’d said.
And yet he seemed in no hurry to get it over with. His hand on her throat gentled, gradually easing into a caress that trailed up her throat to her mouth. His fingertips traced her lips before caressing back down to her chest. Palm coming to rest between her breasts, he watched her, head cocked, not speaking. Seeming only to be reading the fumbling beating of her nervous heart.
When he lowered his head, her gaze dashed to his mouth. Her heart leapt. She felt it beneath his hand and saw the smugness tugging at the corners of his mouth. He smiled even as he showed her his teeth, as if he was going to bite her.
Pleasure snapped into self-preservation, and she quickly bit him first, catching his bottom lip when he lowered his mouth to hers. He yanked back so suddenly, she almost missed and what she meant to be a savage pre-eminent attack, turned into little more than a nip.
He laughed. Touching his bottom lip, he looked at his fingers, but it was the look he gave her next that stopped her breath.
This time when he grabbed her throat, there was no gentleness. He pinned her to the floor, and then he kissed her. Hard.
She bit his lip until they both tasted blood, but he only wrapped his fingers tighter around her throat, grabbed a fistful of her hair in his other hand, and in a single, rough movement, thrust himself inside her.
Her gasping shout put an end to her bite.
Her back arched. She grabbed his shoulders, the sheer size of him as he forced her open throwing every instinct into an immediate fight to pull away.
And yet, her legs had a mind of their own. Her hands shoved at his shoulders, but her thighs clamped around him, wrapping his hips, all but pulling him that much deeper when he tried to withdraw.
He thrust again, penetrating deeper. Driving himself in and winning another shout from her as she was made to take all of him. She hadn’t had anyone, not in a very long time. Sex meant intimacy, trust, and she had precious little of either in her life, and like the rest of him, his cock was big. Wet as she was, he was tearing her in two, and yet it didn’t hurt as much as it simply overwhelmed. He was in her, on her, the hardness of him all around her and there was nowhere for her to go no matter how she shoved against him.
“Oh, I like this,” he growled.
Snapping her eyes open, she glared at him through a haze of lust and hurt, and then she attacked again.
She didn’t bite this time. Grabbing his ass in both hands, she used his next thrust to pull him defiantly all the way into her. She wrapped her legs tighter around his waist, locking her ankles, and thrusting her hips up into the burning push of his cock until she was entirely impaled.
“God!” she gasped, her whole body shaking wildly, but not because it hurt. There was no pain, not once he’d opened her up.
“I’m your god now.” Yanking her back by her hair, he surged into her, stealing the gasp from her lips with his next kiss.
The burning, the throbbing—it should have been wounding and yet it wasn’t. He wanted to take, but she refused to let him. She gave him everything, vengefully, furiously. He rode her on her back, driving into her as if he thought this was a punishment, but she refused to give him that.
She waited for his next thrust to throw his weight off, and then she flipped him, rolling him onto his back. He had her by the throat and the hair, but she had him by surprise and she climbed back onto his hard body, forcing his cock into her so she rode him instead.
She ignored his grip on her. She ignored everything, except how unexpectedly good it felt to have him this deep. To be stretched this full. To have his cock hitting all the right spots inside her with each rocking, grinding, stroke of her hips. Her pussy was alive in ways it had never been before. This wasn’t some fumbling fuck in the shadows for food enough to feed herself or her family. The only thing she was going to get from this was what she took for herself, and so she let him pull her hair. She let him force her head back on her shoulders, but she never once broke her stride. Instead, she shoved her hand down between her legs to amplify her pleasure.
Was he growling or laughing? She couldn’t tell, but she gasped again, her nipples tightening hard as diamonds when he ripped her shirt down the front. His hot breath, then even hotter tongue lashed her chest. He licked her, tasting her, the rasp of his tongue moving up between her breasts almost to her throat.
He bit the side of her neck and she came, that full-bodied ripple of pleasure starting at the sharpness of his bite and zinging straight through the shuddering walls of her contracting pussy. She’d never come on a man before, but from the moment it started, every muscle in her seized, freezing her in place.
She gasped. So did he, right before rolling her back onto her back to steal command of this back from her. He rocked her on violent thrusts until he reached his own pleasure. Something she knew he attained only when he stiffened, growling a long, drawn-out exhale before relaxing again.
He looked down at her, his cock still buried deep inside her, his expression impossible for her to read.
The elevator door opened just down the hall. A guard stepped out, saw them, and immediately jerked back out of sight again.
Out of sight did not mean he hadn’t been noticed.
“What do you want?” Blackwell asked, not looking away from her.
“The first batch are ready and the buyers are waiting.”
Buyers? Cyan stared up at him, her pussy still pulsing around his cock. It had softened, but not entirely.
Blackwell frowned, his jaw clenching twice. Though he hadn’t looked away from her, Cyan didn’t realize he wasn’t staring directly at her until his gaze sharpened on her. All trace of gentleness vanished from him, leaving behind only the hardness.
“Having had a taste of what the rest if your life will be, would you like to see what you’ve just missed?” he asked.
Their bodies parted as he drew back. The friction of losing him was almost painful, but the moment he pushed completely off her, she rolled even further away. She scrambled back into her clothes. It was far easier to pull them back into place than it was to reassemble the shreds of her well-learned defenses. It took her too long. Unlike every other man she’d done this with, he wasn’t slow to recover. He was on his feet, a pair of cuffs received from the guard already waiting in his hands.
It was a supreme betrayal of everything inside her that she took one look at those restraints and her pussy fluttered in the echo of another orgasm. It was softer, nowhere near as intense as the last, but when he took her wrists and clicked them into place, the molten warmth in her belly said clearly it could have been.
She hated being tied, or so she told herself. She hated every second of being this vulnerable, her ability to fight back if she needed to hampered like this and her nerves humming wildly the longer the cuffs stayed on her. This was more than mere nervous energy, though. Her senses were all sparkling. She felt heightened, alive, and from the moment he took her arm, forcing her to walk with him, the more sexual those feelings became.
Being bound should have terrified her. She’d known people who were killed this way. She’d known more who were cheated of their payments and even beaten because they’d let this happen.
Not that she had to worry about payments anymore. Nor was Blackwell asking. She’d lost his game, after all, and that meant what she’d come here to do had already happened. She now belonged to someone.
She just wished she knew exactly what that meant.
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