Read A Hero's Bargain Online

Authors: Forrest, Rayne

A Hero's Bargain (9 page)

“No,
angel, I’m not leaving. But I’m not going to indiscriminately kill for you,
either.”

Chapter 12

 

Ryder
turned and looked at her ashen face, a mere spot of white against the deepening
shadows of the room. His decision had not come easily. Saba gathered her wits,
and her breath, for a small explosion. He sensed it in the air between them. He
held up his hand. Her mouth dropped open then snapped closed.

Now she
was pissed.

“Now
before you go jumping to conclusions, hear me out.”

“Hear you
out! You worthless piece of…of…of…” She sputtered to a halt, and Ryder knew if
he so much as twitched, she’d probably crack his skull with a piece of pottery.

“Saba,
listen to me.” He spied the wine bottle, picked it up, and carried it to the
bed. Gods, the back of his legs felt tight, as if the muscles had been
stretched on a rack then allowed to snap back to their proper length.

He
uncorked the bottle, took a swig, then handed it to her. She didn’t disappoint
him, swilling down several swallows before setting the bottle out of his reach.
Ryder eased onto the edge of the bed and held his hand out to her.

“Will you
hear me out now?” He leaned back onto the pillows with her when she nodded,
coaxing her to lay her head on his shoulder, then pulling her closer.

She
needed to understand he couldn’t simply kill another sentient being without
being convinced there was no other option. It went against his nature. And he
was sure the
errol
was intelligent.

“Tyree
and I spoke for a long time and we touched on many things. He told me of how
the
errol
came to be here and how the Ramalho feared I would be another
since I arrived in the same way. He also told me no one has actually seen the
creature up close, but it walks upright, like a man.” He tugged on the blanket
to cover his legs. She snatched at it as it uncovered her rump. They jostled
for a more comfortable position where they could share the blanket.

“Saba, I
fear the
errol
is no more than a
being, not unlike myself, whose spaceship crashed here. What if he’s from a
place where the language is so different you just can’t understand?”

“I do not
care! He has killed so many of us! Never once did he try to make friends with us.
Not once.”

“You call
it ‘he’ and not ‘it.’ Did you know that?”

“What
does Tyree think of your decision? Tell me that!”

Of course
she’d cut straight to the heart of things. It was one of the things he found so
interesting about her.

“I’ve not
told Tyree. Not exactly, anyway.”

Saba
pushed away from him, anger blazing in her eyes.

“What
does that mean?” Her lips pursed in a most delectable way. “Just tell me and
don’t try to act funny.”

“Angel.
You’re upset with me.” He pointed to the wine. “Take another drink.”

“I think
I will.” She snatched up the bottle and lifted it to her lips. He grabbed it on
the fourth swallow.

“Save me
some, will you?” He took a drink. There wasn’t much left so he finished it. She
did have more, after all, and he knew where it was stashed. He put the empty bottle
on the floor then gathered her into his arms again. She resisted, pushing
against him.

“We had
an agreement!” She kicked at his legs. “You will honor it!”

He
tightened his hold on her. “I will honor it. But I’ll do it the way I deem best
for all involved. That includes me.”

“You…you…”
She was squirming, trying to get out of his grasp. All she succeeded in doing
was rubbing her breasts against him so delightfully his penis took notice, and
Ryder started to believe maybe he’d be able to take her again.

Thank
you all the gods of the universe.

“Son of a
bitch? Mother fucking cocksucker? Piece of shit? I’ve been called all sorts of
things, angel.” He took another deep breath. “But murderer isn’t on my resume
and I don’t want it there.” His hold on her slipped.

“I was
going to call you
taog
dung!” Her fist struck the center of his chest.

“Nice
love tap, angel. I’ll just roll over and you can spank me. I’d like that.” He
leered at her. She blinked uncomprehendingly at him.

“Saba,
calm down and listen.” He gave her a little shake. Her entire body jerked in
surprise. “Just be quiet.”

She
stilled, her beautiful eyes black, and wary. Compulsion sliced through him. He
lowered his mouth to hers and she burst into flame in his arms.

Her mouth
opened in welcome. Her tongue met his, dancing and teasing. His erection
completed in a breathtaking rush, hazing his awareness to all but the tight
throbbing in his groin. Then he was back into himself and able to focus on
Saba.

Saba met
his kiss with total abandon. Her arms were wrapped around his neck, clinging to
him as if her very life depended on it. He cupped her bottom and brought her
body to his, trapping his hardness between them. She moaned into his mouth,
lifting her leg to rest her knee on his hip. His hand slipped down to cup her
heat and she flooded wet into his palm.

She
pressed against his hand, seeking, and he slipped two fingers into her moist
welcome. Her nails dug into his shoulders. The small, sudden pain just fueled
the lust that coiled in his belly. He didn’t have time to dwell on the
pleasures of his own arousal. Saba was wild in his arms.

“Easy,
angel. Easy.” He thumbed across her bud. She cried out, sinking her teeth into
the soft skin of his shoulder as her woman’s flesh pulsed under his hand.

Ryder
abandoned the notion of slowing her down and making love to her slowly as her
inexperience demanded he do. She was way ahead of him. It astonished him even
as it fueled his own ardor, and he pressed more firmly with his thumb.

“Do you like
that, Saba?” he whispered roughly in her ear. She whimpered, her inner walls
clenching around his fingers. He knew in that moment she’d acquiesce to whatever
he wanted to do to her. Desire danced darkly through the flames in his belly,
demanding he pull her to her knees and take her in a primitive claiming.

He
couldn’t indulge that demon. She was too new to this dance of male and female.
Still, there were a few things that shouldn’t shock her too badly. He rolled
her on top of him.

She made
a sound of surprise, and frustration, but she didn’t let go of him. No, not
that. She stretched out, full length, and rubbed her breasts on him. He grasped
her hips.

“Take me,
angel.”

Ryder was
the one surprised. She didn’t hesitate but rose above him and straddled his
hips. He reached between them taking his erection to steady things. Her gaze
met his full of uncertainty and need.

“Take
me,” he repeated softly, fearing her retreat.

Saba
wavered for the barest moment then slowly moved over him, seeking. The look on
her face when he slipped that first bit into her heat was not surprise. It was
triumph. She eased down, taking him fully. Fire licked at him. He got a firm
grip on her hips and urged her up. Her strong thighs lifted her, and then she
slid down over him again, quickly finding a rhythm that fed her need. Ryder
buried his thumbs into her nest of wet curls and began a gentle massage. She
tightened around him, falling forward, her hands splayed on his chest. Her
movements never ceased, never faltered. He gritted his teeth against the orgasm
roaring up inside him. Sweat broke out all over his body. The muscles of his
abdomen spasmed to the point of pain.

Let it
burn. He was not going to reach for the bliss until she could. And then she
did.

A small
sob welled out of her. He drove up into her, hard, as her tender walls rippled
around his shaft, plunging him toward insanity. Her body pulsed under his
thumbs and she cried out. The flood of her pleasure rained down over his
thighs. He could wait no longer to embrace the dancing demon.

He
grabbed her hips, pulling her down while thrusting into her. She was molten
heat around him as his hands urged her to movement. Sensation skittered up his
spine on delicate tendrils leaving him burning in its wake. His balls tightened.
His thighs threatened to cramp. He forgot how to breathe. Time stopped.

“Ryder!”

He came,
hard, emptying himself into her in waves of such incredible ecstasy, he feared
he’d not live through it. It left him as quickly as it had seized him, leaving
him panting and dazed. Saba collapsed onto his chest, weeping. He wrapped his
arms around her and rolled them to their sides.

“Shh,
Saba. It’s all right.” Ryder cradled her head against his chest, not really
understanding why women wept in such moments, and knowing he didn’t really want
to understand them that well.

With
Saba, he’d hate like hell to find out it was disappointment with his
declaration he wasn’t going to kill the
errol
without first finding out
more about the creature. He couldn’t believe she wanted its death that badly.

“I don’t
know why I did that.” Her voice was muffled but he heard.

“I’m just
too irresistible, angel.” His lips brushed her forehead. “You’ll never be able
to leave me alone now.”

She
sniffed. Then she sniffed him. He must have passed because she sniffed him
again. She jumped, cracking the top of her head on his chin.

“Owww!”

“That
hurt!”

“You
conceited whelp!” She struggled to break free of him, but he wasn’t in the mood
to allow it. “I will leave you alone
now
!”

“Be still
before your knee hits a tender spot.” He managed to get a leg over her. “I was
trying to make you feel better.” She glared at him but she stopped squirming.

“You’re
not irresistible. We had a deal.”

“Oh,
sweet gods. Not again.”

Of all
the females on this planet he ended up with the most stubborn one to be found.
Just the way his luck ran.

“I don’t
want to talk about deals, angel. I just want you to let me hold you. The night
is young.”
And I want you again, and again, and again.

“I’ve
much to do. I must prepare the evening meal.”

The
bitterness in her voice made him curious. Did women everywhere resent cooking?
Perhaps they did.

“Who do
you have to prepare a meal for? For me? I don’t require much.”

“You must
eat to regain your full strength.” She propped up on her elbow. “Although I’m
thinking you’re more recovered than I believed.”

“No, I
still need special attention of the kind only you can give.” He took her hand
and guided it to his genitals. “Can we still go get a bath, or is it too late?”

“I’d very
much like a bath.” Her eyes widened. “I didn’t mean…I mean…I don’t want a bath
because of this…oh, Wae!”

Sure he
was committing the unforgivable by doing so, but not caring, Ryder laughed. “I
know it wasn’t intended as an insult, angel.”

“Perhaps
it should have been. Let me go.”

“No. Not
yet. Kiss me again and then tell me why you cried.” He puckered his lips for
her. She shook her head.

“I don’t
know why I cried. I just did and that is all I’m going to say. As for kissing
you again—I don’t want to right now.” She slipped from the bed, taking the
blanket with her and wrapping it around her shoulders. He rolled to his feet
and abruptly sat back down, dizzy.

The
healer was at his side in an instant, hovering over him.

“I’m
fine, angel. I just stood up too fast. It’s already passed.” He wrapped his
arms around her waist and pulled her closer. To his surprise, she opened the
blanket and cradled his head to her breasts.

“Let us
go to the bathing chamber, Ryder. The warm water will be soothing.”

He kissed
each breast before looking up at her. “Truth, angel. Are you sore?”

She
hesitated. “A little, perhaps. Not very.” She kissed him, then, a light
brushing of her lips to his. “I do not mind in the least.” She gave him a
speculative look. “Are you sore?”

He
snorted. “No, but I itch like hell. Did you have to shave me? And oh, by the
way, thanks for having a steady hand with the razor.” He remembered being
bathed but the shaving happened when he was passed out.

She
grinned from ear to ear.

“It was
truly necessary in case…” Her voice trailed off. He nodded.

In case
he’d lost all feeling and all control permanently. He was sorry she’d had to
tend him in such a state but very relieved she understood. And very, very
relieved he’d recovered. He was feeling stronger by the hour as the toxin continued
to break down with increasing speed and be eliminated by his system.

She was
still grinning at him.

“What?
Angel, you might as well tell me before you burst from trying to keep it in.”

“Tyree
did the shaving and he did suggest incapacitating you. Just in case.”

It was a
good thing he had been out cold. Another man messing around with his private
bits was more than he really wanted to contemplate.