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Home / Stormy Night Publications Newsletter / Controlled: A Sci-Fi Alien Romance by Ivy Barrett – Serialization (Part Three)

Controlled: A Sci-Fi Alien Romance by Ivy Barrett – Serialization (Part Three)

Did you miss Chapters 1-2? You can find them here.

Did you miss Chapters 3-5? You can find them here.

Chapter Six

“I apologize for the behavior of my mate. Her outburst shall be addressed as soon as we reach our quarters.”

Defiance blasted through Flora as soon as she heard Draven’s words. Her ‘outburst’ had been warranted and then some. She twisted her arm out of his grasp and took off running in the opposite direction. The impulse was pointless. The Citadel was a space station, so there wasn’t anywhere to go. And thanks to their psychic link, either of her mates could sense her regardless of where she went.

She didn’t even make it to the end of the hallway before Draven picked her up and slung her over his broad shoulder.

“Put me down!” she shouted, kicking and pounding on his back with her fists.

He held her legs firmly with one arm and smacked her ass with the other hand. “You are only making your punishment worse with each act of defiance and your discipline will be long and painful as it is. You threatened Citadel guards with Altorian fire. That is a criminal act. You could still be arrested if they choose to file an official complaint.”

Shoving against his back rather than hitting him, she tried to dislodge his hold. “They’re going to auction Raina off like livestock! How can you be okay with that?”

“The guards were simply following orders,” Draven objected. “They escorted her from one place to another.”

“That’s not the point!” she yelled, kicking her feet wildly.

He smacked her bottom twice, hard. “Watch your tone. I will not tolerate your disrespect any longer.”

Each of his agitated steps bounced her against his shoulder, making it hard to breathe. “Your technology might be advanced, but this entire star system is filled with barbarians.”

Draven slipped his hand under her simple dress and squeezed her naked bottom. Conduits weren’t allowed to wear panties. The rule helped Flora maintain a submissive mindset, or at least that was the intention. It wasn’t working right now. “You do not seem to mind our barbaric ways.”

She tried to ignore his touch, but his fingers were warm and her anger frequently led to passion. “Stop pawing me,” she snapped, refusing to give in to her body’s need. “I didn’t give you permission.”

He chuckled, easing his long fingers between her thighs. “I don’t need permission, mate. This lovely body belongs to Noratu and me. You gave us control over you when you chose to bond with us.” He teased her folds then lightly rubbed her clit. “You are ours to do with as we wish.”

She groaned. His possessive words never failed to send heat curling through her pussy and it annoyed the hell out of her right now. She was too damn angry to give in this easily. “Enjoy sleeping alone tonight, Draven. I told you to free Raina or you would have blue balls.”

His steps faltered and he moved his hand to the back of her leg. “You dare to threaten me, again?” He pulled her down off his shoulders and set her, none too gently, on her feet. “You are still adjusting to our customs, so I was prepared to be lenient. Apologize right now or the rest of this night is going to be very unpleasant for you.”

She had done nothing but give in since leaving Earth. She accepted every one of their customs, no matter how strange they seemed to her. She had always felt protective of her sisters. She didn’t give a damn if Raina was only her cousin. No one was going to auction off a member of her family.

“My threats didn’t empress those guards. Would they have released her if you’d ordered them to?” she persisted, staring right into Draven’s eyes.

“That is not the point. You will not punish me by withholding access to your body. That is not an acceptable way to express your—”

“You do it to me all the time!” The hypocrisy in his attitude made her even more determined to follow through with her threat.

Confusion brought his brows together, but his gaze remained cold. “I have never refused to fuck you when you needed me.”

“No, you just fuck me fast and hard without letting me come!” She hadn’t meant to yell at him, but this conversation was making her angrier with each exchange.

“The only time you are left wanting is when your behavior has earned you punishment.” Draven wrapped his hand around her arm and half-led, half-dragged her down the corridor and into the waiting elevator. All the apartments were on the upper ring, two levels up from where they were now.

“Why are you unescorted?” Noratu wanted to know as the elevator headed upward. “Where is your mentor?”

What an irrelevant detail! Flora was almost too irritated to answer, but she was already in so much trouble that she decided not to add to it. “We finished early. I was too restless to just wait around, so I went to the observation lounge.” The lounge was on the same ring as the arrival bays. “Imagine my surprise when I run into my sister and learn that she is about to be sold to the highest bidder.”

The door slid open and Draven pulled her out into the corridor.

“Auctions are a fast and effective means of negotiation,” Noratu told her as he hurried along behind them. “When multiple parties are involved, the negotiation can drag on for months.”

“Or the female can choose which triad to join,” she countered, anger rising again. “Or if she wants to participate at all.”

“You are Altorian, not human,” Draven growled out the reminder. “I thought we were beyond this.” They finally reached their apartment.

The door barely closed behind Noratu when Draven ripped Flora’s dress off her struggling body. Her kicking made it easier for him to rid her of her sandals. He pulled her to the middle of the living room floor and urged her to her knees.

“You can spank me until my ass is beet red then fuck me over and over. It will not change how I feel about this. Auctioning anyone is wrong!” Draven didn’t react to her impassioned statements, so she looked at Noratu. “Do you agree with this?”

He looked as if he were about to speak, then his features tensed and his gaze shifted to Draven. Apparently, her controller just told her source to butt out.

As if to confirm her conclusion, Draven began, “It is customary to immediately break the will of a conduit. The power we command is dangerous, even deadly. It requires a disciplined mind and complete control over our emotions. I have allowed your spirit to smolder because your upbringing was unique and we enjoy your feistiness. Regardless of their personalities, conduits must be strictly controlled. They must submit or the fire will not flow, or worse, it rages out of control. Now that you can manifest Altorian fire, allowing your defiance is no longer an option. You must be broken or someone could die.”

“I just wanted the guards to let Raina go,” Flora objected. “I wouldn’t have hurt them.”

“Not intentionally, but you were not in control of your emotions. Did you consciously summon the fire or did it spontaneously form?”

She averted her gaze, knowing he would see her guilt. “I was protecting my sister.”

“Your sister’s situation does not excuse your behavior,” Draven stressed. “You broke one of our fundamental laws. You were rude and disrespectful. You threatened me, then repeated the threat even after you had been warned that you would be punished for the first threat. You have not been so badly behaved since your first night with us.”

She glared at him. “I haven’t been this pissed off since then.”

His features locked into an expressionless mask and his tone was frustratingly calm. “You know the rules, Flora. I have made sure of it. You know what happens when you choose to break them. Are you ready to accept responsibility for your choices?”

He was putting all of this on her and that wasn’t fair! She hadn’t set out to break the rules. She had been provoked beyond rationality. “How would you react if you found out Noratu was going to be sold as a slave?”

“That is not Raina’s situation,” Noratu told her.

Perfect. Now they were ganging up on her.

“Your reaction to her situation is the focus of this lesson,” Draven stressed once more. “Your behavior must be addressed before we discuss what, if anything, we are going to do regarding your family members.”

Her anger wavered, decreasing in intensity without going out. Draven and Noratu had protected her grandmother. Iris was supervised, but she was living comfortably at one of Noratu’s estates. Flora was allowed to comm her whenever she liked and Iris seemed happy. Her mates had intervened without Flora saying a word. Why hadn’t she trusted them to protect her sisters?

“I reacted without thinking,” she admitted. “I saw Raina in restraints and just lost it.”

“You are not in trouble for becoming angry,” Draven clarified. “Your anger was understandable. You were shocked by a situation you did not understand. Why are you about to be punished?”

Shame and frustration extinguished the rest of her anger. She’d reacted as any human would. She let her upbringing—no, even that was a copout. Many humans knew how to control their tempers and solve problems instead of adding to a conflict. “I lashed out instead of trusting you to protect one of the people I love.”

“Very good.”

Draven took a deep breath and for just a moment she sensed his emotions. Correcting her behavior aroused him. There was no denying that, but she sensed frustration and even a flicker of regret. He was a controller. It was his nature to be strict and aggressive, but he did not like being cruel. And her behavior called for cruelty.

“Come.” He held out his hand and helped her to her feet.

Flora knew what was coming, not the specific means, but the sequence of events was obvious. He would spank her, likely using some sort of implement. Then they would arouse her without letting her orgasm. The last part was the worst. Aching, needing to be filled so badly that she begged them to fuck her. It was humiliating to be so needy, so out of control. And through it all they would remind her where she’d gone wrong, reinforcing the lesson in the hopes that it would not need to be repeated. Only after Draven was sure that her contrition was genuine would they share pleasure with her.

Draven led her into the larger of the two bedrooms and motioned toward the foot of the bed. “Bend over and spread your legs.”

Expecting this, she immediately assumed the position and centered her mind. Pain was remarkably cathartic. She had learned a lot about herself while bent over Draven’s knees.

“Noratu will warm you up while I gather what I need.”

Noratu had never spanked her before. He’d punished her in other ways, but he’d never hit her. For some reason that bothered her more than the intense pain Draven was doubtlessly going to cause her. She looked at Noratu, concern in her eyes.

Noratu smiled as he approached, but desire transformed his coloring and the change had already begun. His skin shimmered with metallic luster and his hair was more red than gold. “Accept the consequences of your actions,” he advised. “As of tonight, you must fully embrace your Altorian nature.” He guided her head back around, then ran his fingers down her spine. “Our ways seem harsh, but they are effective. This lesson is about much more than sex.” He reinforced the statement with two stinging swats, one to each side of her bottom.

Flora closed her eyes and absorbed the discomfort, accepting rather than resisting.

“You were rude and defiant.” He paused as his hand fell several times. “Is such behavior allowed?”

“No, Master N.” She shifted her weight from foot to foot, already restless.

He swung upward and caught the underside of her cheek. She clenched her teeth, not yet ready to reveal her discomfort. The area was particularly sensitive and clearly Noratu knew it. He spanked the same spot ten times before switching to the other side. The compounding pain finally dragged a cry from her throat. Again, he worked the same spot, cruelly deepening the impact.

“You have been very naughty, and naughty girls must be taught how to behave.”

She wanted to hate his condescending tone, but something inside her liked it, maybe even needed it. “Yes, Master N. Thank you for caring enough to correct me.” Draven insisted on being thanked whenever he disciplined her, so the words flowed automatically off her tongue.

Affection rolled into her mind as his hand continued to warm her bottom. Her breasts swayed with each firm slap and her core throbbed with the need to be filled. She breathed through each stinging swat but heat sank deeper and deeper.

He slipped his hand between her legs and teased her pussy, lightly rubbing her clit and circling her opening without pushing inside. “You’re already so wet, my love. But it’s going to be a very long time before this sweet little pussy gets any attention.” He returned to spanking her, his hand falling harder than before. “That’s too bad, because I really want to fuck you.”

She moaned, rolling her hips upward so her pussy was on display. She didn’t care if she was wanton, was far beyond embarrassment. A few more seconds with his fingers on her clit and she would come.

“Sorry, love.” Noratu squeezed her pinkened cheeks then moved out of the way so Draven could take his place.

Apparently, she was adequately warmed up.

Draven fisted the back of her hair and urged her up. She went with him immediately so his harsh hold didn’t actually hurt, it was just an inescapable show of dominance.

“Grasp the bedpost, hands above your head,” he directed.

Flora moved closer to the large, sculpted post and raised her hands above her head. The post was too thick for her fingers to span, but it helped keep her arms raised. She didn’t know what he intended, was pretty damn sure she didn’t want to know. Fear threaded through her desire, but she tried not to panic. Draven used pain and humiliation to reinforce his lessons, but he would never intentionally harm her.

“Arch your back and stick that ass out.”

She licked her lips and fought back the urge to defy him. He could be such an asshole when he was in full controller mode. She was fighting hard not to tell him off and run from the room. Instead, she pressed her forehead against the post and arched her back.

A subtle swishing sound was her only warning and then fire branched out across her ass. She gasped, then twisted her neck so she could see what the hell he was using. He held a flogger, or the Altorian version of one. It had a smooth handle and at least twenty tails of what looked like leather. He adjusted his hold and her eyes widened. The handle was shaped like a cock! Did he intend to fuck her with that thing when he had finished whipping her?

“Face forward and keep your feet flat. You earned this correction, now learn from it.”

She tried to passively accept the pain, but the sting was intense and the flogger covered half her ass with each swat. She breathed through the pain and consciously kept her cheeks relaxed when the strands made contact with her skin. None of it helped. The pain quickly escalated and the heat was unbearable.

She twisted and arched, helplessly wiggling her hips. “I’m sorry I was rude. I’m sorry I threatened the guards.”

He swung and the breath whooshed out of her lungs.

It took her three more swats to catch her breath enough to try again. “I’m sorry I didn’t trust you.”

“You’re sorry you’re being punished,” Draven said. “I do not yet sense regret.”

Over and over, he slapped the flogger against her bottom and the backs of her thighs. Soon the entire area was one throbbing mass and she couldn’t tell where the flogger landed.

He spanked the backs of her thighs a few more times then ordered, “Turn around and lean back against the post, hands over your head.”

She trembled as the implication unfurled within her mind. He was going to whip the front of her body. Afraid to ignore the directive, she slowly rotated and pressed her shoulders against the post. She angled her body in an effort to keep her burning ass away from the post. “Please, Master D. Don’t do this.” Certain targets on her front were infinitely more sensitive than her behind and she had no doubt he would punish all of them.

“That is not the position I requested.” His expression was grim, his eyes cold.

Refusal would prolong her punishment, and she had the horrible feeling he was just getting started. Hands shaking, she lifted her arms and wrapped her fingers around the post. Her back arched, lifting her breasts and thrusting them outward.

A sob broke free and tears escaped the corners of her eyes. “I’m sorry.”

“Not yet, but you’re getting closer. Now move your feet apart, far apart.”

Oh, God, she knew what that meant. “Please, please.” He was going to flog her pussy! He’d spanked her there before, but always with his hand. “I don’t think I can take it.”

“You can and will,” he stated decisively. “Close your eyes and let the pain take you. Your body knows what to do.”

He was right and they both knew it. She frequently orgasmed while being punished. It was more of a struggle to hold back the pleasure than to endure the pain. Even if she didn’t climax, she was always dripping wet by the time Draven declared her lesson over. She closed her eyes and waited for the first slap of the flogger.

The tails fanned out across her left breast, but the sting was light. She took a deep breath, exhaling as the flogger connected with the other side. Heat rolled across her chest, drawing her nipples into tight buds. He was teasing her, activating her nervous system so it could process stronger sensations. Anticipation combined with dread. This was going to hurt so damn bad. Her nipples were incredibly sensitive. If one of those strands caught her directly, the pain would be excruciating.

The thought sounded almost hopeful and a chill raced down her spine.

He whipped her breasts a bit harder and she gasped. Her nipples tingled and her core clenched as desire washed through her body. She felt light and fuzzy as endorphins rushed through her system. She wished Noratu were behind her thrusting his long cock into her core. It would feel so good to be fucked hard while Draven whipped her breasts.

Sinking deeper into the fantasy, she reveled in the pain. Draven brought the flogger up then down, catching her nipples for the first time. She cried out, rocking to the balls of her feet. Pain spiraled from her chest to her clit, making the little bud twitch and tingle. The ache inside her was unbearable. She needed cock and she needed it now! Draven punished the other side just as cruelly and she twisted, momentarily letting go of the bedpost as she turned around, blocking his access to her breasts.

“Hold the position,” he snapped, reinforcing the order with a swat on her reddened bottom.

Sobbing now, she pressed her back to the bedpost and lifted her arms. Her chest felt hot and her nipples burned. How much more of this would he expect her to take?

Rather than return to the flogging immediately, he slid her feet apart with his boots and cupped her mound with one large hand. “Is this how you’re going to punish me, mate? Are you going to deny me what is mine by right?”

“No, Master D. My body is yours and Noratu’s. You may use me any time you like.”

“I know that.” He squeezed possessively. “But I’m not convinced that you do.”

He slapped her pussy and Flora cried out. She ached and throbbed, partly from pain and partly from desire. The slap hurt, but she no longer cared how she came, just as long as she did come.

He stepped back and swung the flogger, bringing the tails up between her legs. Pain sliced through her lower body and Flora screamed. It hurt worse than anything he’d ever done before, and still an orgasm throbbed just out of reach. “Please! Please, let me come.”

“No.” He flogged her pussy again, not as hard this time.

She cried out in frustration. The intensity would have pushed her over the edge and the bastard knew it.

He swatted her again then pushed two fingers inside her, fucking her until he felt her inner muscles begin to tighten. “No coming.” He moved his hand and flogged her slit, then finger-fucked her even harder.

Miserable and desperate, Flora canted her hips, taking his fingers deeper. He occasionally brushed her clit with his thumb just to keep her simmering.

Over and over, he brought her right to the edge then snatched her back before she came. He used the whip with horrifying skill and even bent to lick her clit if she seemed to be calming down. And his fingers, always those long, hard fingers plowed into her needy pussy with just enough speed to keep the fire burning.

His fingers, and most of his hand, were soaked with her juices when he finally stopped. “Look how wet your naughty pussy has gotten.” He brought his hand to her mouth. “Suck away your shame, naughty mate.”

She licked and sucked until the taste of her desire filled her mouth. “Please,” she lamented, trembling with the need for him, for them.

“Please, what? Do you want our cocks deep inside you? Do you need to come so badly you ache? What is that called in males? Oh, yes, blue balls. Does my bad girl have blue balls?”

“I’m sorry! I never should have threatened you.”

“I will give you an orgasm with my flogger, but know this. I am not finished with you, not nearly finished.”

“I understand, Master D.”

He brought the flogger up between her thighs fast and hard. Flora screamed. Painful spasms of pleasure throbbed through her core, threatening to buckle her knees. Her head swam and pricks of light shimmered before her eyes. Another rush of endorphins flooded her system and she felt as if she floated above her body, separate from reality. She was still lost in euphoria when Draven pulled her away from the bedpost and positioned her away from him.

“Part your cheeks, mate. Offer me your tight little ass.”

She’d known this was coming too. He loved to leave her sore inside and out when she was especially naughty. Submitting to his control was an inescapable part of life for a conduit. Besides, if she were honest with herself, she came easily and often when either of her mates dominated her in this way.

“I really am sorry I threatened you.” She reached back and opened herself for Draven, revealing her tightest hole. “I’m sorry for all of it.”

He smeared lube over and into her bottom then positioned himself to take her. His hands grasped her waist and his long, thick cock drove steadily into her back passage. He didn’t hesitate, wasn’t gentle, he just took what belonged to him. She cried out as a sharp pinch gave way to overwhelming fullness. Fuck, his cock was big.

Draven grabbed the back of her hair and pulled her head back. “Open that sassy mouth. You have another mate in need of pleasure.”

Noratu moved in front of her, his cock bare and ready for attention. She released her bottom cheeks, meaning to stroke him, but Draven caught her wrists and pulled them to the small of her back. “You have not earned the right to touch us. You will submit to our use.”

“Yes, Master,” she whispered half a second before Noratu slid into her mouth.

Draven used her arms for leverage as he slid in and out of her bottom. Noratu held her head, using her mouth just as ruthlessly. His cock bumped the back of her mouth after the first few strokes, then he tilted her head back so he could thrust even deeper. Soon their entire lengths filled her over and over. Her legs shook and her breasts jiggled as they possessed her together.

She remained passive, accepting, still. She was theirs to enjoy, to punish, to use. In the beginning, the word bothered her nearly as bad as calling them master. Independent women did not allow themselves to be used. Strong, self-reliant females demanded equality of others. They would settle for nothing less. But gradually, she had come to understand that American mores did not apply to conduits. She was powerful, more powerful than she ever dreamed possible, but her strength came from depending on her mates, from offering them control of her body.

She was equal to her mates, but equality meant something very different in this star system than on Earth. To access the full measure of her power, a conduit must be controlled.

Planting her feet and arching her back, Flora settled into position. Draven moved steadily, frequently pulling out before thrusting back in. She opened her eyes and looked up at Noratu. His features were tense, his gaze burning like molten gold. She opened her mind to both of them, completing her surrender, holding nothing back.

Draven grasped her wrists with one hand and reached around her hip with the other. “Come for us, mate. Offer us your pleasure.” He rubbed her clit in a firm, circular motion until she obeyed.

Sensations blasted through her and her inner muscles rippled rhythmically. She cried out around Noratu’s cock, but Draven’s fingers continued rubbing. She came again and again, helpless to resist his skillful touch and their utter possession. With each climax she felt a bit more of her human upbringing slip away. She was a proud submissive, an Altorian female joining with her mates.

Noratu controlled her breathing as he thrust his entire length into her throat. She offered him her mouth and the adoration of her passion darkened his gaze. She was his to enjoy whenever and however he wanted. There was no shame in surrender, no weakness in offering someone else control.

He poured affection into her mind each time he robbed her of breath. He filled her, accepting her gift with humble appreciation. Brushing the hair back from her face, he stared deep into her eyes as he shuddered violently and released his seed down her throat.

She sucked and licked as he slowly withdrew. She loved his taste, craved it, wanted it in her mouth and on her tongue for as long as possible. “Thank you, Master N,” she whispered. She was fighting back tears and she wasn’t sure why she felt so emotional.

He bent down and kissed her forehead, his smile filled with affection. “You are so beautiful.”

“My turn.”

The growly reminder drew her attention back to Draven. “Of course, Master D.”

He released her arms as he ground out, “Get on the bed, on your back, heels on the edge of the mattress.”

How was she supposed to do that while he was in her—he pulled out, silencing her confusion. Still shaky from all the painful pleasure, she gingerly sat down and then lay back across the bed. She bent her knees and lifted her legs until her heels were positioned on the edge.

“Open those legs nice and wide.” He’d tucked his cock back inside his pants but the front was still open.

It was obvious that he wanted her pussy, but his cock had just been in her ass. It was a very bad idea to go from one directly to the other. Trust. She needed to trust him.

He brought the flogger out from behind his back and smiled darkly. He traced her slit with the cock-shaped handle, teasing her clit before hovering at her entrance. “Who does this wet pussy belong to?”

“You, Master D. My pussy is yours, always.”

He pushed the handle inward, opening her body but not nearly as wide as it stretched for them.

“I will fuck you whenever I want because I’m your mate.” He slid the flogger in and out, his gaze locked on her face.

“Yes, Master,” she whispered.

Harder and faster, he fucked her pussy, his smoldering gaze boring into hers. “Come around my flogger. Come right now.”

She lifted her hips and tightened her inner muscles, triggering the orgasm he requested.

His gaze drifted down to her pussy and he groaned. “Gods, that’s hot. You’re so pink and slick. I have to taste you.” Pushing the flogger deep, Draven bent and licked her clit. His free hand stroked her breasts, pinching and pulling on her nipples.

Flora moaned and quivered, her legs shaking. “I’m going to come again, Master. Please, may I come?”

Come, Flora. Hold nothing back. I want to feel your pleasure. He slid the handle in and out while he licked and sucked on her clit.

She rocked her hips, fucking herself on his flogger. Draven continued to tease her clit. Her orgasm exploded suddenly, dragging a cry from her throat. She pushed the pleasure across their link, pulse after dizzying pulse.

His lips closed around her clit and he sucked hard, prolonging the spasms until she was weak and panting harshly. Finally, he raised his head and looked into her eyes. “Soon we will fuck you at the same time, one in your pussy and one in your ass.” His fingers traced the valley between her bottom cheeks then settled over her rippled opening. “Who owns this tight little ass?”

“You do, Master. You and Master N.” One of his fingers breached the opening. She was still slick from before so the digit slid easily.

“I can ass-fuck you whenever I want?”

“Of course, sir. Always.”

“Glad to hear it.” He removed his finger and then the flogger handle. Pushing her knees toward her chest, he rotated her hips and opened her bottom cheeks. Then he drove his cock back inside her ass with one powerful stroke.

Flora gasped, then whimpered. It felt even tighter in this position and it allowed her to see his face. He wrapped his hand around her throat as he shuttled in and out of her tightest hole. Their gazes locked and she opened her mind, allowing him to sense her surrender. He fucked her ass in long, powerful strokes, caressing her back with one hand while he collared her with the other.

“You are made for pleasure, made for our pleasure.” He slid his hand down from her throat and pinched her nipples, one and then the other. He used the pulses of pain to force another orgasm from her overstimulated body.

She cried out as her inner muscles tightened rhythmically. His cock always felt huge in her bottom, but the clenching made the fullness painful, which propelled her toward another orgasm. Panting harshly, she drew her knees up, wrapping her arms around the backs of her legs.

He used her ass ruthlessly, riding her hard. She remained passive, her gaze locked on his face, as she offered herself body, mind, and being.

He groaned loudly and shuddered violently. Pulses of raw emotion echoed the hot jets of his cum. He hadn’t been ready to end it, but nothing was more arousing to Draven than submission. “Such a good girl,” he whispered then kissed her hip as he carefully separated their bodies.

The lesson wasn’t over until Draven told her it was over, so Flora remained as he had left her. Her pussy still ached despite the flogger. She never felt completely satisfied until their cum coated all three of her openings. The realization had bothered her at first, but now it was simply a fact of life.

“Your correction is complete,” Draven told her with a sexy smile. He pulled her up until she sat on the bed and then leaned down and kissed her gently on the mouth.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and curved her body into his warmth. “One of these days I would love to do this naked.”

“One of these days we will doubtlessly indulge you.” He urged her over onto her back and opened her legs again. “Our mate’s pussy has yet to be properly fucked.” He was speaking to Noratu but his gaze was fixed on her slick opening. “I must shower before I enjoy her again, but you can soak this sweet hole in cum.”

Noratu grinned as he approached the bed, clearly agreeable with the suggestion.

Flora was sound asleep when Draven and Noratu left the apartment the following morning. They needed to update the president regarding the newest batch of applicants, so Draven requested a meeting. The update shouldn’t take long. They hoped to deliver the information and return before Flora realized they were gone.

All three of them had been insatiable the night before. At first, Draven contributed the urgency to Flora’s willingness to surrender completely. Her submission was exciting and their eagerness accelerated hers. By the time one member of the triad was sated and sleepy, someone else became aroused and started another round of passion. Draven had always had a strong sex drive, but the inability to satisfy his hunger was new and somewhat troubling.

“I thought the urgency eased as the soul bond matured,” Noratu said as they made their way along the winding corridor. Clearly, he was as confused as Draven.

“It has been less than a month since we claimed her,” Draven pointed out. “Let’s give it another week or two. If things haven’t settled down by then, we will contact one of the physicians.”

Noratu nodded, but his features remained tense. “Did you read Nadis’ latest report?”

“I saw it in my comm-queue but haven’t had time to go through it. Is there a problem?”

“Just the opposite. According to Nadis, Flora is ready for the next phase of training.”

“If the fireballs she was about to throw at the guards are any indication, I would agree,” Draven concluded. “Our mate is ready for some real power.”

“That might have something to do with our restlessness,” Noratu supposed. “If we have other ways of releasing excess energy, perhaps we won’t need sex so badly.”

That explanation made as much sense as anything else. “Or maybe our mate is just addictive.”

Noratu smiled. “That is a distinct possibility too.”

President Zevon Raydo’s leadership style was no-nonsense and practical. He was a controller to the marrow of his bones. The president’s office, however, had been designed and furnished by his predecessor. Located along the outer wall of the center ring, the space was overly large and flashy, with floor-to-ceiling windows and extravagant light fixtures. Zevon’s neatly dressed assistant informed them that the president was occupied when they arrived, so Noratu sat down in the reception area. Draven walked over to the windows and took in the stunning view. Altor, with its three moons dominated the scene, but Torret was visible in the distance. The scene appeared vast yet peaceful, hardly a star system being torn apart by war.

“You can go in now,” the assistant told them a short time later. “President Zevon is expecting you.”

Draven had met Zevon during his time in the military. Both suspected they were controllers, but neither was in a hurry to make a lifelong commitment to the Citadel. Zevon made the move first and watching his success had helped Draven accept his fate. Draven liked the new president, but more important, Zevon had earned his respect.

Zevon stood in front of the wall display, hands clasped behind his back as Draven and Noratu entered. He deactivated the report he was perusing and turned around. His long, dark hair was bound at the nape of his neck, ensuring that the strands stay off his face. His skin was pale, nearly white. That was common for controllers, but Zevon’s eyes were gold rather than dark. He was described as dangerous more often than handsome. Still, he never lacked for female companionship.

“What can I do for you, gentlemen?” he greeted. “Is your triad any closer to functionality? I really need you three out there.”

“Flora’s mentor just cleared her for intermediate training, so we are one step closer,” Draven told him.

“Good. And how is she adapting? The human mindset can be challenging to overcome.”

“We both enjoy challenges,” Noratu assured him. “And Flora is remarkable.”

“Apparently. Nadis continually sings the praises of her new apprentice, and Nadis is not easy to impress.” He motioned toward the table on the other side of the office. “So, what did you think of the new applicants? Did anyone pique your interest?”

“They all seemed pretty ordinary except for Cylex…” Draven looked at Noratu. “What was his last name?”

“I think it was Bekar.”

Zevon’s brows drew together and wariness gleamed in his golden eyes. “Cylex is a Torretian name.”

“A Torretian soldier seduced his mother,” Noratu explained. “Cylex was raised on Altor, would likely be there still had it not been for his mother’s death.”

Zevon stroked his chin, his expression still tense. “What happened when she died?”

“He was sent to live with his father on Torret,” Draven admitted, but rushed on. “Soon afterward, he joined the military and served through—”

“Theirs or ours?”

“Ours. I will personally verify his service record and all the other things he told us, but I wanted to make sure his lineage wasn’t a nonstarter before I spent a lot of time digging into his past.”

“I have been thinking about repealing the Torretian prohibition. I never agreed with punishing the entire population for the behavior of their emperor. Some of the most powerful triads in history were Torretian Tempests. I think the Citadel benefits greatly from their participation.”

“I’m glad you feel that way because our mate has Torretian blood.”

Draven snapped his head toward Noratu. This was the first he’d heard about it. “You suspect or you know?”

“I sensed it the first time I touched her mind, but with the help of an investigator, I was able to identify three of her relatives who have Torretian roots. Her maternal grandfather was a pure blood.”

Zevon rested his forearms on the table, looking slightly uncomfortable. “Azar Turin has commed me three times insisting that he be allowed to speak with Flora’s mentor. Apparently, Nadis blocked all communications from him years ago. Anyway, Azar insists that Flora’s mother was capable of power exchange and he believes Flora is too. I didn’t take him seriously. Thought he was looking for a way to be involved in Citadel business again. It sounds like there might be something to his claims.”

Noratu and Draven looked at each other. Most thought power exchange was a story, a legend from a bygone era. “We need to speak with Nadis,” Draven concluded. “Or whoever mentored Autumn Hays.”

Zevon chuckled, pressing back into his chair. “It sounds like I better get started on repealing the prohibition. I am not losing another conduit, especially one as exceptional as Flora. This is going to take some convincing with the board of governors, but I would rather not make the change without their support.”

“If the governors balk, tell them that anyone worthy of training who also has Torretian blood will simply require an exemption. There is no reason to repeal the law.”

Draven looked at Noratu and smiled. Diplomatic strategy was what Noratu did best.

Zevon nodded as his hand moved back to his chin. “If we repeal the law entirely it increases the chances that we’ll end up training Jevara’s spies. The governors always respond best to compromise.”

“Well, once you work out the details let me know. We have come too far with Flora. There is no way we are giving her up.” Draven glanced at Noratu, wondering how long he had known for certain.

“Knowing the governors,” Zevon grumbled, “the process will take weeks, perhaps months, so this conversation never took place.”


They left Zevon’s office a few minutes later and headed for the office they shared on the lower ring. As well as training their mate, both had businesses that needed their attention.

“What are we going to do about Flora’s sisters, er, cousins?” Noratu voiced the question that had been echoing through Draven’s mind since her outburst yesterday.

“I have given our options a great deal of thought. How well do you know their biological families?”

Noratu’s brow furrowed. Apparently, that hadn’t been the response he anticipated. “The Boraks are social climbers. My mother considers them beneath her, so they are never invited to any of our functions.”

“Are they rich? How much would we need to offer them to outbid everyone else?”

Noratu looked at him with a mixture of confusion and distaste. “We cannot have two mates, much less two conduits. Does living with two females appeal to you?”

Draven laughed. “I want to purchase the right to negotiate their contracts, with the help of our one and only mate of course.”

Stopping and facing him, Noratu smiled. “That’s brilliant.”

“Why, thank you.”

“The Boraks are not widely accepted. Given Raina’s lack of training and unusual upbringing, it is unlikely they have attracted the best possible mates. I know we can do better.”

“Excellent.” Thrilled to have Noratu’s cooperation, Draven started walking again. “What about the Slanar family? Do you know anything about them?”

“They could be more challenging. They are nearly as rich as my parents and very well connected.”

“In other words, we might not be able to afford her?”

Noratu shook his head. “I didn’t say that. We could attempt to negotiate with both families, but it would be easier and faster to just let my mother browbeat them into submission. No one in this star system says no to Chief Justice Adarra Skore.”

Draven chuckled, feeling like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. “Do you think she’ll do it?”

“Of course. My father wanted to transform me into him, but all my mother ever wanted was my happiness. When I explain how unhappy this is making our mate, the other families will have no choice but surrender.”

Chapter Seven

Flora broadened her stance and straightened her spine. Noratu pressed against her left side, his arm wrapped around her waist. Draven’s long fingers grasped the back of her neck and his big body pressed against her right side. The males faced each other, so their bodies formed a loose triangle. Energy flowed between them in a continuous loop.

“We have clearly mastered the explosive bursts,” Draven told her. “Let’s work on finesse.”

This was day nine of her advanced training and Flora was astonished at how far they had come. She understood how a power triad worked now, but her instincts still fought against her role. She was a conduit. The Altorian Flame passed through her then manifested in the material world. However, Draven was in control. It was essential that she remain passive, utterly submitted to his will or the energy sputtered out.

The dynamics of their intimate acts were not simply designed to enhance the pleasure. Sex was mental and emotional conditioning designed to make them more powerful. The deeper into submission Flora sank, the hotter the fire burned.

Draven ran his hand down her spine and lightly stroked her bottom. “Do you need another reminder of who is in charge?”

“No, sir.” Her behind still felt hot, the skin tight from his belt. She’d argued about not being able to visit Raina during breakfast, argued quite passionately. The auction had been postponed, but Raina was still in detention and Flora wanted to find out what was going on. She ignored his warning to stop and ended up bent over the table with her dress flipped up. He took off his belt and spanked her until her need for him made her squirm. Then he finished eating while she stood there holding up her dress with one hand and rubbing her clit with the other. He let her come once he’d finished his breakfast, but what she’d really wanted was his cock buried deep inside her.

“Be a good girl and I’ll give you a present,” Draven offered as his hand returned to the nape of her neck.

She looked at him in silent concern. Yesterday they had walked into the training room and found one of the triads having sex right out in the open. The other triads had gathered around to watch the spectacle. The conduit was naked, her bottom reddened, her face wet with tears. One of her mates held her arms behind her back while he fucked into her fast and hard. Flora hadn’t looked closely enough to see which hole he was punishing, but it had clearly been discipline. Her other mate enjoyed her mouth, his long cock sliding well into her throat with each demanding stroke. She was being used, humiliated, while the other triads watched.

“You can sense how much I want you, but please don’t take me here in the training room.” She lowered her gaze submissively. “I’ll do better. I promise.”

Draven squeezed her neck, prompting her to look at him again. “You are doing very well, Flora. We are thrilled with your progress. I meant it literally. Noratu and I have a surprise for you once we’ve completed our exercises.”

Noratu pulled her snugly against his side and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. “There are many ways to discipline a female. We will always choose the means most suitable for you.”

“Or you can just behave appropriately for the rest of your life and we will never need to correct you,” Draven suggested with a grin. “The choice is always yours.”

They all knew the chances of that happening were infinitesimal. She was too spirited and too stubborn.

“Finesse,” she reminded. “It’s time to flex your muscles, Mr. Controller.”

Draven pressed in against her other side, but his hand dropped to her bottom. He squeezed one tender cheek and then the other. “Open and still. Let us flow through you.”

The level of control Draven needed required her to minimize her mental shields. It left her vulnerable, helpless. But Noratu protected her, protected Draven too. They were a team, three equal parts, each with a unique function. She opened her mind, yielding to her mates, trusting them to keep her safe.

Her skin prickled and her senses hummed as mystic energy flowed into her body. Noratu wove an intricate shield around all three of them. He sheltered not only their minds, but their bodies. Draven skillfully formed the molecules into a narrow, concentrated stream. He lifted her arm and rotated her wrist until her hand was palm out. The energy exited, arcing across the room to ignite the target. Rather than explode in a burst of destruction, the flames built gradually, consuming the target without harming the area around it.

“Excellent,” Draven whispered, but did not release his hold on her mind or her arm. “Flow with me, love. Sense what I’m about to do.”

She focused on Draven, trusting Noratu to keep her safe. Draven moved through her mind, channeling Noratu’s energy, shaping it into various weapons. She followed his lead, gradually learning to anticipate his moves. It took several hours, but finally all three of them flowed together as one.

They took a short break and ate a hearty lunch to refuel their bodies. “Have you ever heard of a power exchange?” Noratu asked as they finished eating.

Flora nodded. “My grandmother mentioned it when I confronted her about my Torretian energy.” He seemed surprised by her answer, so she expounded, “Iris said that Mom could transform water into fire. Apparently, it’s not a common ability.”

“That’s an understatement,” Draven stressed. “According to my research, there have only been eleven conduits capable of power exchange in the history of the Citadel. Two of the eleven were Iris’ daughters.”

“One of my aunts has this ability?”

“I sent her a comm request, but she didn’t respond,” Noratu sounded annoyed as well as disappointed.

“Nadis sent us in-depth information on the gift,” Draven told her. “It included some exercises designed to develop the ability. We would like you to try. There is no pressure. We are just curious.”

“I’m curious too. Let’s go for it.”

They returned to the training room and worked their way through the three exercises. The first involved visualization and concentration. The second added various forms of stimulation, some arousing, others painful. The third exercise was a long, involved ritual, complete with awkward poses and chanting.

“That was just stupid,” she concluded as they finished the ritual. “The only exercise that makes sense to me is the first one. Let me practice on my own. I’ll develop a more detailed visualization, maybe work with Nadis if she has time.”

Draven nodded. “Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen. As I said, there is no pressure. This ability is extremely rare.”

They shifted back to triad mode and continued practicing for another two hours. Control was the name of the game. Their raw power was undeniable, so they focused on precision and building stamina.

“Can she manifest water?”

The deep voice was unfamiliar and jarred Flora out of the meld. She gasped and whipped her head around to see who had spoken. How had this male known she had Torretian blood? Her mates had warned her not to mention it to anyone.

The speaker was tall and muscular, clearly a controller. His dark hair fell in waves to well past his shoulders and his pale skin had a faint pearlescent quality in the light of the training room. Angular features were dominated by vivid gold eyes.

“We have been focused on fire, sir,” Draven told the stranger.

There was only one person Draven called ‘sir.’ This had to be Zevon Raydo, president of the Citadel.

Fighting off the irrational urge to salute, Flora remained silent and watchful. What did the president want with her? Was he just curious about the newest triad, or did he know they’d been trying to activate a power exchange?

Zevon looked at her, his gaze gleaming with professional interest. “The governors just approved your exemption, so let’s see what you can do.”

“My exemption from what?”

“We are at war with Torret,” Zevon reminded. “Anyone with Torretian blood is not eligible for training. Your mates applied for an exemption for you and it was finally approved this morning. The exemptions for your cousins were approved as well, so you will soon have company.”

Was this Draven’s surprise? Before she could ask him, Zevon told her to see if she could manifest water.

She had manifested water rather than fire twice during training, but both times had been spontaneous mistakes.

“You can do this,” Noratu encouraged, soothing her with his touch as well as his emotions. “The process is exactly the same. Start with a visualization, then bring the image into the physical world.”

She had been doing that for weeks now. She closed her eyes and let the image form. She saw a brook, framed by grassy banks, flowing off into the distance. Instinctively raising her arms, she tried to guide the water into her fingers. The image didn’t change, so she took a deep breath and tried again.

Draven’s fingers wrapped around the back of her neck as he eased into her mind. Together. Flow with me.

She surrendered to his skill, offering him control of the meld. The brook curved, spiraling upward and rushing down her arms. Water sputtered out of her fingertips, dripping for a moment then jetting in ten identical streams. She smiled without opening her eyes. They were doing it. First attempt and they made it happen.

“Excellent,” Zevon said. “It will come in handy on your first mission.”

She gasped and opened her eyes. The water immediately stopped and she clenched her fists. “What mission? When?”

“Departure is in two hours. And the objective is simple. The Torretians tested the shipyard yesterday. They produced three small spacecraft. There were significant problems with all three ships. Worse, the issues were all different, so the opening of the yard has been pushed back.”

He sounded annoyed by the development and Flora didn’t understand his attitude. “Isn’t that a good thing?”

“It is, but they never should have gotten this far.”

“What is our mission?” Draven prompted.

“The ships were moved to a recycling center on an adjacent moon. There is nothing on the moon but the recycler and it is basically automated. This is perfect for her first time out. The Torretians need to know that we’re aware of the shipyard and strongly disapprove of it.”

“May I ask a question?” It would probably be better to wait and ask her mates, but the question was out before she could stop it.

“Of course,” Zevon told her, but both of her mates warned her with their eyes.

She hesitated for a moment, not wanting to start a war with her men. But she had serious misgivings about this war and wasn’t sure when or if she would ever be allowed to voice her concerns. “The shipyard is on one of their moons, correct?” The president nodded, so she went on, “Then what gives us the right to destroy their property? You said the ships are flawed. That means they are not a threat to us.”

“The shipyard has only one purpose, to manufacture ships and weapons intended to harm us. This test might have failed, but the next one will not. Do we have the right to defend ourselves?”

“Of course, but I’m not sure this qualifies as self-defense. We are attacking them, not the other way around.”

“You do not believe in being proactive?” He crossed his arms, eyes narrowing.

“I do, but this makes us seem petty, or at least vengeful.”

Zevon shot Draven a challenging look. “Your mate is still very outspoken. Are you satisfied with this level of control?” Without waiting for Draven to respond, Zevon turned back to Flora. “Your mission is preemptive. This shipyard is the most significant threat we have faced in several years. Was this not explained to you? If it is not destroyed, or better yet prevented from ever operating, Altorians will die.”

“I understand that, but why—”

“That’s enough,” Draven growled, reinforcing the order with a telepathic snap.

“Thank you for indulging my curiosity, President Zevon.” She tried to smooth things over, but it was too late. She had embarrassed her mates again.

“You depart in less than two hours. Make sure she is in the correct frame of mind before then.”

“Yes, sir,” Draven and Noratu chorused. “We will be ready.”

She waited until Zevon was out of earshot to say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make him angry. I thought it was a reasonable question.”

“You did more than ask a question,” Noratu pointed out. “You argued with the president of the Citadel, basically called him petty and vengeful.”

She placed her hands on her hips, incensed by their ridiculous response to the president’s overreaction. “I’m not allowed to voice my opinion?”

Draven’s brows drew together and his lips pressed into a disapproving line. “You made it seem as if we had not prepared you for this conflict. You were told about the shipyard and why we must prevent it from going online. We have kept nothing from you.”

Heads were turning as their voices grew louder, but Flora didn’t care. “Oh, yes, you provide me with information, but when have you ever asked my opinion on anything? Maybe I don’t want to go on this mission at all. Did you ever consider that?”

“Calm down, right now,” Draven warned, his expression thunderous.

“Screw. You! All of your scowling and growling is just making me angrier.”

“It is unwise to challenge me. You know this, mate.”

Rather than continue the argument in public, she spun on the ball of her foot and headed for the door. Someone grabbed her arm and spun her back around. She gasped when she realized it was Noratu and not Draven.

“Your attitude and behavior reflects on us.” Noratu shook his head, a muscle twitching in his cheek. “Are you trying to embarrass us?”

She understood why Draven was pissed, but she hadn’t done anything to reflect badly on Noratu. “I said I was sorry. On Earth there is this thing called free speech.” It didn’t seem to matter how many of their rules she accepted, there were always more. “I’m more than just a body for you to fuck! I have thoughts and ambitions, concerns and—”

Noratu dragged her from the training room, his gaze gleaming like molten gold.

Flora dug in her heels and tugged against his hold. She didn’t mind being disciplined when she’d done something wrong. She’d asked one fucking question! Why was that worth all this drama? Not wanting to make things worse, she remained quiet until they reached their apartment. Then she let them have it.

“This isn’t fair!” she yelled as soon as the door shut behind them. “The president gave me permission to ask my question.”

Draven ignored her outburst and took over custody of her arm. He dragged her to the dining area and pulled out one of the chairs. “I know more about Earth than you know about Altor.” He urged her onto the chair and stood directly in front of her. “Free speech is not available in every country and not in every situation. Earth’s militaries all have a chain of command. Is that not so?”

She stared straight ahead and clenched her jaw.

“Answer me,” he snapped.

“Yes, but this is not a military.” She forced calm into her tone even though her emotions were still raging.

“It is very much a military. Power triads are weapons. You were aware of this from the start. We are at war with Torret and you have spent the past few weeks catching things on fire. What portion of that led you to believe that this is anything but a military organization?”

Glancing up at him, she licked her lips before explaining, “Nadis stressed that our primary objective is to keep the peace. Even Azar said triads were created to avoid wars, not win them.”

“Even peace keeping forces must fight when they are attacked. Correct?”

She didn’t know much about the events since, but she knew how the war had started. Torret had attacked an outpost, forcing Altorians to defend themselves. “Yes, Master D,” she admitted with a sigh of frustration.

“Then is the Citadel a military outpost?”

“Yes, Master D.” She looked away from him, then back, needing to ascertain his emotions. His mind was still heavily shielded and his expression was unreadable. He wanted her focused on herself. On what she’d done wrong—as usual.

“And what happens when a trainee openly challenges the decisions of an experienced general?”

Anger, frustration, and regret combined in a potent cocktail. He always made it seem like the punishment was her fault, like she intentionally set out to misbehave.

“I asked you a question,” he reminded, his dark gaze boring into hers.

She shifted her gaze to a spot on the wall behind him before she doomed herself to more pain. “They are disciplined.” She was tired of being punished, tired of her instinctive reactions being wrong.

He ran his index finger along her jawline and gently tilted her chin until she looked at him again. “Were you disrespectful to the president?”

“I did not mean to be, but I see now that I was.”

He stroked her lips with his thumb and eased affection into her mind. “Were you disrespectful to me?”

Why was he being so nice when she knew he was about to punish her? He wasn’t letting her stay angry, wasn’t letting her hate him. Her anger faded, leaving a hollow ache in her chest. Why was this so damn hard for her? She wanted to be good, tried to be good. She wanted them to be proud of her. “Yes, Master,” she sobbed, lips trembling under his thumb. “I embarrassed you in front of your boss, made it seem like you couldn’t control me.”

“Then do you deserve punishment?”

Defeated and miserable, she stood up and turned around. Actions always spoke louder than words so she pulled up her dress and bent over the chair. Discipline was nothing new. It didn’t seem to matter how hard she tried to think like an Altorian. Her human upbringing got her into trouble. She reeled in her emotions and braced for what was to come.

Draven caressed her naked bottom, easing his thumb into the valley between her rounded cheeks. “Why do I discipline you?”

Her emotions were raw; she was too close to weeping for this conversation. “Just do it, please. I screwed up, so spank me.”

His hand drifted down and eased between her legs. He teased her with feather-light touches, petting her while avoiding her clit. “Answer the question.”

Despite her attempts to restrain her emotions, a harsh sob broke free and tears leaked from her eyes. “You want me to be what you need, the perfect Altorian mate. I spent too long on Earth. I just can’t think that way.”

The fastener at the back of her dress slid downward and the material sagged onto her arms. Draven pushed the dress up and over her head, leaving it to pool on the chair. She was naked now, except for her shoes. He stroked her back and sides, squeezed her breasts and rolled her nipples.

“You are already the perfect mate, Flora. You are unique and spirited. We both appreciate those qualities. This is about protocol. There are times when we can express ourselves freely and times when we cannot. Is this not true on Earth as well?”

She didn’t understand his strategy. Draven could be surprisingly affectionate, but not while he was correcting her behavior. His hands continued to glide over her trembling body and emotion welled inside her. She sobbed, tears flowing down her cheeks.

Draven drew her up and turned her to face him. “Why are you so upset?”

“I don’t want to disappoint you.” The admission made her sob even harder. “I try to be good, but I keep screwing up.”

He brushed the hair back from her face and pulled her against his body. Noratu pressed in tight against her back, running kisses down her neck and onto her shoulder.

“We are not disappointed in you,” Draven stressed. “Someone reared on Altor would be thrilled with your progress. For someone with your background, what you have accomplished is astonishing. This is a momentary setback, nothing more. We are always interested in your opinions, but there is a time and place for such conversations.”

She nodded and took a deep breath. She had made a mistake, now it was time to accept the consequences. “I have a lot of concerns about the war. I would like to discuss them at length in the near future.”

“We will talk, but not right now.”

Draven paused and kissed her, a slow meshing of lips and tongues. Then he turned her around and Noratu kissed her too. Flora soaked in their affection, needing it desperately.

“Take your discipline like a good girl,” Noratu encouraged as he stepped back.

Without having to be told, Flora returned to her earlier position. She placed her feet at shoulder-width and folded her arms on the seat of the chair. Her breasts felt heavy and her pussy was on display just the way her controller liked it. This was not going to be pleasant. He’d spanked her this morning with a belt, so there was no way she was getting his hand or even the flogger.

Her mind drifted back to the worst punishment she’d suffered since her arrival at the Citadel. It had been horrible from beginning to end, but it hadn’t involved pain. She’d sneaked into a restricted area simply because she was bored and curious. The area was forbidden because it was unstable, very dangerous just to walk through.

Draven was furious when he found out where the guards had found her. He made her wear a vibrator for over three hours. It cycled off and on, keeping her aroused without letting her come. Edging, she’d heard it called, and she hated the tactic. When he finally turned off the vibrator, he pushed a large dildo into her pussy and a plug into her ass. Then he ordered her to suck his cock. She drained Noratu’s cock next and then Draven took out the dildo and the anal insert. He told her that she was not allowed to touch herself and then put her to bed. She lay there aching and miserable, thinking about how foolish she had been. In the morning, she knelt at his feet and sincerely apologized. She hadn’t endangered herself since and likely never would again.

Harsh punishments might seem cruel, but no one could deny that they were effective.

“This is an important lesson,” Noratu told her right before his hand landed on her upturned ass.

She breathed through the sting. This was a warm-up. Draven went to get the real implement.

“Are you allowed to ask questions?” he asked after several firm swats.

“Yes, Master N.”

He squeezed each cheek then spanked her some more before asking, “Are you allowed to have opinions and individual thoughts?”

“Yes, Master N.” The heat was compounding and the discomfort was making her pussy ache. She wasn’t sure if processing pain as pleasure was hardwired into her genetics or if they had conditioned her body to react this way. All she knew was discipline never failed to turn her on.

He rubbed her skin a bit more roughly after each swat, spreading the heat and encouraging her arousal. “When and how are you allowed to express your thoughts and opinions?”

“When we are alone or you have asked me to offer the opinion, and I must always remain respectful.”

“Good girl.”

She waited for the next flurry of spanks, but they never came. Glancing over her shoulder, she found Draven standing where Noratu had been a moment before. Now the real punishment would begin.

“Head forward,” he snapped.

He never wanted her to know what was coming, knew anticipation added to the intensity. She turned her head back around and took several deep breaths, trying to relax.

“These are not new concepts,” Draven told her. “So this correction is going to be harsh. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Master D.”

“You will count the strikes as I deliver them and thank me when the lesson is over.”

She licked her lips, her breathing already speeding up. “I understand, Master D.”

“Then let’s begin.”

She heard a soft whistle and then something impacted both cheeks. Time paused, her body refusing to register the intensity. Reality slammed through her shock and fiery pain sliced across her bottom. She cried out, arching her back and rocking onto the balls of her feet.

Holy mother of God, that hurt! What the hell was he using on her?

“Count,” he prompted.

“One,” she cried, no longer sure she could calmly accept this.

The implement landed again and she sneaked a look under her arm. It was a long, semi-rigid rod, like a synthetic cane. How could something so small cause so much pain?

“Count.” He slapped her with his hand to reinforce the reminder.

“Two,” she supplied, voice trembling. “How many?”

“I will tell you when we are finished.”

Strikes three and four came with hardly a pause in between. She counted as she danced from foot to foot. The impact was not that hard, just a quick snap. But the resulting sting bit sharply and the heat sank deeper and spread faster than with any form of discipline she’d experienced before.

“Stand still and accept your punishment or I will add to the count.”

“Yes, Master D.” She clutched her discarded dress, but settled her feet on the floor.

He brought the rod down again and she cried out. Not being allowed to move made the pain seem worse somehow. A violent shudder passed through her, but she remembered to count. “Five.”

He reached between her thighs and traced her slit. “I wasn’t sure if this would get you wet. It is harsher than you are accustomed to.”

She had no doubt she was wet, could probably come if he rubbed her clit for two seconds. “Does that please you, Master?”

“You know it does.” He pushed his fingers inside her, leisurely fucking her needy hole. “But the lesson is not over. We need to make sure your misbehavior does not happen again.”

He removed his fingers and resumed the spanking.

She cried out sharply with each stinging snap, even managed to remember to count out the strokes. “Nine,” she sobbed. “I’m sorry I embarrassed you. I will never do it again.”

“I know you mean that, but I think you need a reminder.” He delivered another swat.

“Ten,” she wailed, her legs shaking so badly she was not sure how long they would continue to support her.

“We are finished with that part of the lesson.”

“Thank God,” she whispered.

“No, Thank you, Master D.”

The humor in his tone assured her that his misunderstanding had been intentional. “Thank you, Master D.” Holy fuck, her ass hurt. It throbbed persistently and heat had taken over her entire pelvis. Strange tingly sensations kept streaking down her inner thighs and her clit was in desperate need of attention.

“This will help remind you to be respectful to everyone.” He carefully pulled her bottom cheeks apart and smeared her pucker with lube. “You will wear this for every mission until I am convinced that the reminder is not necessary any longer.” He eased the butt plug in slowly.

Flora held perfectly still, feeling her body open and stretch to accommodate her ‘reminder.’ It wasn’t the largest plug he’d ever made her take. It was smaller than either of their cocks, but knowing it would be inside her while they went on missions was disconcerting.

He pushed until her ring of muscles contracted tightly around the base, anchoring the plug inside her bottom. Then he reached around her hip with his other hand and found her clit. “You did very well, mate. Come quickly. We are nearly out of time.”

That was an order she was happy to obey. His fingers felt wonderful and anal play always aroused her, so it only took a few moments to trigger her orgasm. Pleasure burst in sharp spasms, making her inner muscles ripple. Her pussy clenched, accenting the fullness in her back passage. Draven continued to rub her until the last spasm passed. “Thank you, Master. I needed that badly.”

He pulled her up and into his arms, kissing her tenderly. “The rest will have to wait until we return. Get dressed.”

Flora slipped the dress on over her head and Noratu fastened the back. He paused long enough to reassure her with a kiss then they all left the apartment.

Hustling to keep up with her mates’ long strides, Flora fought back a groan. The plug shifted inside her as she walked and each step renewed the heat in her cheeks. Was this really supposed to help her concentrate? All she could think about was scratching the itch the harsh discipline had triggered.

The Citadel’s shielding prevented molecular streaming, aka teleportation, so they had to take a shuttle over to Draven’s ship. He had six in his private security fleet, but this was his favorite. They walked into the departure bay and Flora’s steps staggered to a stop. The president stood there speaking with a male she’d never seen before. The stranger nodded and walked out of the room without speaking to anyone but Zevon.

Should I apologize to him? she asked her mates, not wanting to make her blunder worse.

Not yet, Draven advised. But keep your eyes downcast.

Zevon walked over to Draven and asked, “Have you regained control of your conduit?”

“Judge for yourself, sir.” He motioned to Flora as he prompted. Now.

She took a quick breath and kept her gaze on Zevon’s boots. “I apologize for insulting you earlier, sir. My attitude was unacceptable and will not be repeated.”

“Turn around and lift your dress. I want to see if your controller means business.”

There was no way she was going to embarrass Draven again, but she didn’t want anyone but her mates to touch her.

He just wants to look, Draven assured her. I would never allow anything more, even from the president.

She turned her back to Zevon and lifted the dress so he could see her well-disciplined bottom.

“Very good, Draven. The anal insert was a nice touch.”

Heat suffused her face and she dropped her skirt, covering her shame. She hadn’t realized he would be able to see it.

“Have you given any thought to my offer?” Zevon asked as Flora turned back around. She had no idea what he meant, but Draven responded and she realized Zevon wasn’t talking to her.

“My business partner wants to buy me out, so I am considering the position more seriously than I ever have before.”

“I would love to have you fulltime. You are a wonderful trainer and you would bring a unique perspective to the board of governors. Your skills are beyond reproach. I trust you, and we both know how important that is right now. Do it. Sell your company and join me here.”

“I will think about it.”

Zevon smiled and the softening effect on his features transformed his face. Many would consider him handsome, Flora realized. When he wasn’t being such a domineering jerk.

Still smiling, he looked at her. “Good luck on your first mission. You are bonded with two of my best.”

“Thank you, sir.” Each time she glanced at him, a fresh rush of embarrassment assailed her, so she kept her gaze averted until she heard him leave the bay. “Just kill me now.”

“Remember the setting.” Noratu wrapped his arm around her shoulders as they walked toward the shuttle. “We see females spanked, even fucked frequently here. The president was simply checking to make sure his directive was followed.”

She nodded, but her cheeks were still burning.

Draven lowered himself onto the seat behind the main control console. Flora eased herself onto the seat next to his, struggling to find a position that didn’t hurt. Noratu sat behind them. As soon as everyone was settled, Draven took off.

“I heard that Raina’s auction is on hold,” she said after the initial burst of acceleration. “Do either of you know why?”

The males exchanged knowing looks before Draven admitted, “We do, but it’s part of your surprise so it will have to wait until after the mission.”

She harrumphed. “We have time right now. Why can’t you tell me?”

“Because your surprise was postponed by your punishment,” Draven said firmly. “We are on duty. Center your mind.”

He was right. She needed to focus on the mission. Distracted operatives were a danger to themselves as well as those around them. She would do nothing to endanger her mates. “How will this work? Are we going to stream down to where the ships are?”

Noratu smiled at her. “You are greatly underestimating our power. We can push our energy through the hull of the ship.”

“Really? We can just stand there on the bridge and blow up a target hundreds of feet below us?”

“Thousands, love. Not hundreds,” Draven corrected. “We will be positioned two to three miles above the target for this mission.”

“That will keep us out of their weapons’ range,” Noratu added.

If the range of most power triads was greater than a starship, she was starting to understand why they were so coveted. There hadn’t been a formal briefing, so how had these two known what to expect? “Have you guys been on missions with power triads before?”

“Many,” Noratu told her. “Bonding with you expanded our abilities in ways we are still discovering, but we have been able to access them since puberty when we activated.”

“That’s why controllers and sources continue to train even though there are so few conduits.”

It wasn’t a question, but Draven nodded. “That and they all secretly hope they will be chosen by the governors.”

What was he talking about? “I thought bonding contracts were negotiated by the conduit’s parents.”

“They are, but each proposed triad must be approved by the governors before the bond is formed.”

She hated bureaucracy. All of this would be so much easier if they would just allow the triads to form organically. “And how many females are on this board? Do conduits get any kind of voice?”

“There are two,” Noratu said proudly. “Your mentor is one of them.”

This surprised and pleased Flora. Nadis had been a wonderful teacher, but could she stand up to someone like Zevon Raydo?

“The approval process is necessary and complex,” Noratu stressed. “The governors must keep the power balanced and that is not easy to do. The first concern is genetic compatibility. Triads have been allowed to form organically in ages past and it led to some horrific mutations.”

Clearly, he had heard her mental grumblings. She reinforced her shields with a sigh. She didn’t mind sharing her thoughts and emotions when they were in bed, but she valued her personal space.

“It also led to the Controller Wars.” Draven shuddered. “That was one of the darkest periods in our history.”

Flora suspected both of those topics required a lot more time than they had before arriving on Draven’s ship, so she let the topic drop. As Draven suggested, she centered her mind and calmed her spirit. If they proved themselves—if she proved herself—during this mission, they would be trusted with other, more important tasks.

They arrived a few minutes later and went directly to the command deck. It was an area of the ship Flora hadn’t seen before so she took a moment to look around. They emerged onto a raised area with a long, narrow control console. Three tall, lanky males stood along the counter. Unlike everyone at the Citadel, these males were dressed individually, and rather casually, in tunics and loose-fitting pants. Apparently, mercenaries were not into uniformity. Each had their own display but none of them were working. They just stared at her, their expressions semi-hostile.

She ignored their rudeness and continued her visual inspection. As in other parts of the ship, the inset lights gave off a bluish glow. She still wasn’t sure if it was just an aesthetic preference or if it served a purpose she didn’t yet understand. In front of her stretched a large, slightly curved display that featured an exterior view of the Citadel.

The lower level was lined with workstations. There was a large console in the center of the room, likely designed for the commander. Some of the crew sat while others stood, and every one of them stared wide-eyed at her. Had they never seen a female before?

Draven nodded to each crewmember they passed on their way to the command station. A male with reddish-gold hair and dark eyes vacated the tall-backed seat as Draven approached. “Welcome back.”

“Thanks for keeping my seat warm,” Draven teased as he sat down behind the curved console. Then to the room at large he said, “Everyone, this is Flora, my mate. Flora, meet my bridge crew.” The brusque introduction alleviated the tension and most of the males went back to work. “Anything I need to know?” Draven asked the male who had welcomed him back.

Was this Draven’s business partner, the one who was hoping to buy the security business?

“The last few weeks have been routine. In fact, things always run better when you’re at the Citadel.” The male grinned, clearly joking.

“Well, this is more of a training exercise than a mission, so we shouldn’t take up much of your precious time.”

The stranger walked over to her and held out his hand. It was a gesture she hadn’t seen since leaving Earth. It sent an unexpected twinge of homesickness pinging through her system. She had accepted the fact that she was Altorian and her fate lay with her mates, but part of her would always miss Earth.

“Hobak Oxtan,” the male introduced. “I’m Draven’s business partner, for now. I’m attempting a hostile takeover.”

Draven scoffed, but the banter was all good-natured. These two obviously knew each other really well.

She shook Hobak’s hand and smiled. “It’s nice to meet you.” He was much too charming to be a controller. Maybe he wasn’t a mystic at all. They could have met in the military.

“If you get tired of these two let me know and I’ll make room for you in my cabin.” Hobak winked at her and walked over to one of the stations along the perimeter of the room.

“Hobak flirts with everyone,” Noratu told her. “That’s the only reason Draven isn’t addressing his behavior.”

Draven launched the ship into hyperspace a few minutes later and Flora gasped. She grabbed Noratu’s arm, feeling unsteady. No one else seemed to react to the sudden surge in acceleration. They must be used to it.

“Sorry,” Draven muttered when he noticed her reaction. “I should have warned you.”

Noratu leaned down and whispered, “He is in a hurry to complete this mission. I can’t imagine why.”

Heat reignited on her face and she tightened her bottom around the insert. Her lesson had left them all restless, but this mission was important. It was her final exam. Once they achieved their objectives, and she had no doubt they would, their status as a power triad would be official.

They were in hyperspace for around twenty minutes. Draven showed her around the command deck, introducing her to the crewmembers. They all seemed more at ease now that the ship was underway.

“Why did they all freak out when they first saw me?” Flora asked as they returned to Draven’s station.

“Most of the crew is ex-military and soldiers don’t trust mystics,” Noratu told her, his voice barely above a whisper. “The Citadel makes them uncomfortable.”

“They thought of me as a soldier who helped out mystics from time to time,” Draven added. He checked a couple of readings on his holo-display but didn’t sit down. “Now that I’m part of a triad, they will be happier under Hobak’s command.”

“Then you’re going to accept the president’s offer to join the board of governors?” He hadn’t sounded nearly this sure when he spoke with Zevon.

“There are still a few things to consider, but I am leaning toward yes.”

She pressed her lips together, trying not to let her disappointment show.

Draven chuckled. “You are shielding your mind, so tell me what caused that look.”

“Do we have to live at the Citadel? It’s so gloomy there.”

Both males laughed, but Noratu insisted, “I have no intention in staying there any longer than necessary. We can head to my estate as soon as this mission is over.”

“I will commute from the estate,” Draven assured her. “The Citadel is dreadful.”

“Then let’s get this over with so we can go home,” Noratu suggested.

They led her to the center of the room as Hobak returned to the commander’s station.

It really was impossible to command a ship while participating in a triad. Draven had built this company from the ground up. It had to be hard to pour so much time and energy into something and then just walk away.

“We will need to strike quickly as soon as Hobak brings us out of hyperspace,” Draven said, bringing her mind squarely into the present. “We need to be focused and ready.”

“I understand.” She stood facing the floor-to-ceiling display. Her mates moved into position, forming the now-familiar triangle. Noratu’s arm supported her waist. Draven’s hand grasped the back of her neck. She focused inward. What she was feeling was more important than what she could see.

She felt like a fighter jet pilot heading into her first dog fight. No, that wasn’t accurate. Draven was the pilot, she was the ship, and Noratu was the jet fuel.

They merged their shields, shutting out external forces while giving unrestricted access to each other. Mystic energy flowed from Noratu into Draven and Flora, saturating every molecule in their bodies. She inhaled slowly as she opened her mind completely.

An image slowly formed. She saw three ships, two with malformed hulls and gaping holes. “Is this our target?”

“Yes.” Draven said nothing more.

She had no idea when he’d flown out to Torret or if the image had been passed to him by one of the recon teams. It didn’t matter. Power triads were all about trust. If Draven trusted the accuracy of the image, that was good enough for her.

“Focus on the ships,” Draven directed. “Then gradually expand the scene. Use it to locate our target.”

“Understood,” Noratu said.

Draven must have sent him the image too. Her heart started racing, so she took a deep breath, calming her nerves and centering her mind. She focused on the three ships, picturing as many details as possible. But she didn’t close her eyes. Over the last few weeks, she had spent hours learning to tune out her surroundings and perceive objects, locations, and people with psychic sensitivity rather than conventional senses.

Sinking deeper into her mind, Draven smoothly exerted more control over the meld. That’s right, firebird. Let me in.

Her mind immediately filled with other images, sensual memories. She pictured all the times and places she had let him into her mouth and needy pussy, even her tightly puckered ass. Warmth washed over her and she stifled a moan.

Stay on task, he cautioned. If you are a very good girl during our mission, we will reward you once we get home.

She nodded and pushed the memories to the back of her mind.

The three ships formed again, the image fuzzy at first then clearer. She struggled to follow Draven’s directions, finding the other images much more interesting.

He reached down and squeezed her butt cheek. The discomfort flared, making her gasp. The sensual haze cleared, allowing her to focus. His hand remained on her ass, a possessive reminder as well as a subtle warning. He was in control and he expected his orders to be followed.

She drew back from the ships, expanding the scene as she went. The recycling center came into view and then the entire moon.

Draven returned his hand to the back of her neck and gently squeezed. “Ready?”

“Yes, sir,” she whispered as more of his energy flowed into her mind. She remained focused and still, allowing him to target the weapon. Noratu compressed the energy, creating a highly concentrated stream. They all had separate functions and yet they worked together, supporting each other mentally as well as physically.

Hobak skillfully brought the ship out of hyperspace in perfect alignment with the moon.

Spotting the ships, Flora pushed energy out through the middle of her chest. Her skin stung and her breasts ached as pressure built inside her. She felt a moment of resistance as the stream encountered the hull. Then a strange rushing as if she’d been catapulted from the ship. Glowing streaks of light arced through space, speeding toward the ships. The first one erupted in a conflagration that quickly encompassed the other two. She gasped, but Draven was already adjusting the intensity of the stream. They worked together, containing and controlling the energy. The ships were destroyed, yet everything around them remained unchanged.

“Well done,” Hobak said as the ships were reduced to shapeless mounds of glowing metal. Portions were hot enough to liquefy.

On impulse, Flora blanketed the area in water to make sure the fire didn’t spread. It pooled in a shallow circle around the ships, creating a protective moat.

The triad remained focused on their task until all three ships were unrecognizable, then Flora pulled back the energy stream. She eased out of the meld and rolled her shoulders, feeling fatigued and shaky.

Noratu pulled her into his arms, a beaming smile on his face. “You were amazing, mate.”

She smiled then turned her head and looked at Draven, hoping to find similar approval. His expression was intense and concerned. She didn’t understand the reaction until she heard Hobak call out.

“Arm the forward array. Fire at will!”

She snapped her head back around, eyes widening as she took in the developing scene. Torretian fighters launched off the moon and swarmed toward the Altorian ship. Hobak scooted to the edge of his seat, clearly having no intention of moving aside for Draven.

Noratu took her by the arm and led her to one of the seats along the outer wall. He urged her down onto the seat then stood behind her, bracing himself against the chair back. Draven stood at her side. He didn’t seem overly concerned about Hobak’s decision to remain in control. This would soon be Hobak’s ship.

They pitched and swayed as the navigator evaded the fighters. The shields absorbed most of the energy, but occasionally a blast would jar the ship.

“Should we arm the plasma cannons?” someone asked urgently.

Hobak glanced at Draven then shook his head. “They achieved their objective. Prepare to jump to hyperspace.”

“Yes, sir.”

Noratu squeezed her shoulders a few minutes later, drawing her attention away from the bridge crew. “You did incredibly well, firebird.”

We did incredibly well,” she corrected, turning her head sharply to look up at him. “Triads are a team. I couldn’t have done this without you two.”

“And we couldn’t have done it without you,” Draven countered as he ran his hand down the back of her hair. “Congratulations on the success of your first mission. We can officially call ourselves a triad now.”

She accepted the praise with a smile, but couldn’t help wondering about all the other things President Zevon would order them to do.

That’s all until next week’s installment! If you’re aching to finish right now, though, just click below and buy the book!

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