Space salvager Abby Marks has lived through the deaths of her brothers and an abduction. Independent, she lives by her own rules. But her life takes a turn when she decides to salvage what appears to be an abandoned Gravasian ship—only to come face-to-face with Vaden el Gravaso, an intimidating, yet downright sexy warrior, who seems intent on keeping her.
Engine troubles have disabled his ship. When Abby boards his vessel, she pulls a blaster and shoots him, so how can he not want her? Vaden knows her brothers are very much alive and searching for her, but so is her abductor. He isn’t about to let any of them have her. As her past and present collide, both their lives and hearts are at risk.
Information was power. Every Gravasian understood that. And the Dreamer wasn’t in any databank he had access to. His scan had revealed it was a small salvage vessel. “Who are you?” Vaden asked.
The voice was more melodic than he’d expected. Vaden narrowed his gaze and studied the youth. Suspicious bluish-green eyes stared back at him. He caught a hint of fear behind the bravado. Good, the boy was smarter than he appeared.
The flightsuit was covered by a chest protector, but the head was uncovered, leaving a prime target. The youth had fine skin, almost delicate.
A sneaking suspicion began to grow inside him. The boy was very pretty. Not unusual. He’d seen many cultures where the males were delicate and feminine in appearance.
“Why are you boarding my ship?” He might need help with repairs, but he wasn’t about to take it from some unknown party. Just a glimpse at the tech aboard his ship would be worth many credits from the Alliance government.
The people of Gravas guarded their tech and military capabilities. No outsider was allowed aboard one of their vessels or on their planet. The only exception was marriage, and that was a very rare occurrence. Outsiders weren’t welcome with open arms on his homeland.
His marriage contract should have been signed three months ago. Not that he’d had any feelings for the woman. He’d never met her. It had been a purely business arrangement, one he’d agreed to for the good of his family and people.
It had been a colossal mistake. And it had led to his current predicament.
“Well, Abe, what shall we do?”
“I’ll unhook my ship and be on my way.”
Vaden couldn’t allow that to happen. The youth would no doubt alert the authorities, which would bring every space pirate and government within reach all coming for him and his ship. It was unheard of for a Gravasian to be on his own. They always traveled as a unit, well armed and ready for anything.
His pride and stubborn nature had gotten him into this mess. Now he had to deal with it.
He took a step closer to his opponent and noticed that the hair he’d thought was totally black had a white streak in the front. It was an unusual marking. Paired with the suspicious bluish-green eyes, it was suddenly very familiar.
It couldn’t be. Could it?
Vaden swore under his breath. He lowered his weapon and slowly removed his helmet, facing the woman who called herself Abe. Because now that he’d had time to study her, he had no doubt in his mind that the person holding a weapon on him was indeed female.
And he happened to know exactly who she was. “Hello, Abigail.”
He took the blast to the chest, staggering back a step. She’d shot him. The little vixen had actually shot him. She was just like her brother Flynn. Shoot first and ask questions later.
He caught himself before he grinned. Then he lunged forward as she tried to detach from his ship. He grabbed her arm and dragged her onto his vessel.
She fought him, ramming her elbows against his ribs, stomping her foot against his instep. But he felt none of it through his high-tech battlesuit. “Let me go, you son of a bitch,” she yelled. She fired again, this time hitting the door. It slid shut. The ship assumed it was being attacked and automatically went on total lockdown.
“Stop,” he ordered. He grabbed her hand and held the weapon down. “I’m not going to hurt you. Drop the blaster.”
“Not on your life, buddy.”
Vaden was not used to being disobeyed. As a commander in the Gravasian space fleet, he was accustomed to his men following orders without question. Maybe it was only women who didn’t listen. First his intended bride and now this woman.
He increased the pressure on her hand until she was forced to release the weapon. It clattered to the deck floor. She whirled in his arms and struck out, managing to land a solid hit to his chin. There was enough force behind it that it rocked his head back.
“Enough,” he roared. “I don’t want to hurt you.” He wrapped his arms around her so she couldn’t punch him again.
Her eyes glittered with anger and fear. Her smell was light and airy, like flowers. The chest protector she wore hid her attributes from him, but there was no denying she was all woman.
Her thick lashes came down, momentarily blocking his view of her eyes. She was breathing heavily, but she stilled, like a hunted creature waiting for an opportunity to flee.
Vaden was also breathing heavily, and it wasn’t because he was tired. The little skirmish with her was nothing to him. He could fight for hours on end without stopping. He was Gravasian—fit and in his prime. And she was a woman, softer and weaker.
She glanced up at him, and he was lost in the depths of her eyes. He leaned down before he realized what he was doing and skimmed his lips over hers.
She sucked in a breath. “What? What are you doing?”
“I’m kissing you.”