Retrieval Specialist Christiena Montague—Teeny—is finally on vacation. Invited to the resort run by a former client, she prepares for a month of warm solitude and quiet socializing. When she arrives, she finds out that her visit is—coincidentally—at the same time as the annual mate hunt.
Zhomos is the owner of the resort and the brother of Thaka, a woman she retrieved years earlier. He has the uncanny ability to set her nerves on edge while sending her pulse racing. When he transforms from man to beast, will she accept his advances or defy the idea of the hunt?
Christiena Montague woke to the chime of the small intercom inside her tiny cell of a berth. “Damnit.”
She sat up and pressed the button near her head. “Hello?”
“A coded call for you, Retriever Montague.”
“Fine. I will be at the com centre as quick as I can.”
“Thank you. We will hold the call.”
Teeny slipped out of her bunk and looked around for her suit. She closed her eyes when she saw that she had not activated the cleaning cycle and her suit was still wearing much of her dinner. The rest of her clothing was stowed decks below. She would have to go to the com centre in her panties and t-shirt.
She savagely started the cleaning cycle in the refresher and stalked to the door of her berth. She eased the door open and looked both ways before she tiptoed out into the hall of the warship. She moved as quickly as she could, unable to walk flat-footed by reflex. If you were running around in your underwear and likely to get caught, you had to do it on your tippy toes.
By the time she made it to the com centre, nine crewmen, two medical staff and another passenger had all seen her sneaking through the halls half naked.
She arrived at the com centre and waved. “Hiya, I’m Retriever Montague. There is a call for me?”
The com officer looked up, her communications implants glowing in the low light of the screens. “Please have a seat at the private terminal. I will patch it through.”
Teeny nodded. “Thank you.”
She flinched at the cool feel of the chair under her while she settled. The screen glowed, and she pressed her palm to it for identification.
“Christiena, I am so happy to see you again. Are you ready for your vacation?” Thakasis smiled at her, her fawn-coloured skin set off by her brilliant green eyes.
“I am. Are the arrangements for me at the hotel still solid?” The lateness of the booking meant she had to go to a cancellation stand by.
“They are. You have been shifted to one of the traditional complexes, plenty of extras. You won’t want for anything while you are here.” Thakasis smiled. “Are you excited?”
“Excited? Not really. I am tired. I just want to lie on a beach or next to a pool and let the heat of the sun warm my poor, tired body.” She laughed.
“We can do better than that.”
“Good. I will see you in a week when this ship is close enough to dump me at Argathi Station.” She yawned.
“Did I wake you?”
“Yup. Don’t worry. This trip is nothing but eating and sleeping. I will be well rested by the time I get to Gakkada. I promise.” Teeny smiled, and Thakasis grinned in response.
She had come so far from the young, frightened woman that Christiena had retrieved from a slave pen deep in the Nyal empire. Thakasis’s brother, Zhomos, had contracted her for the retrieval and Teeny had filled the contract in record time with three ships on her trail and four slavers dead in her wake.