Left for dead by her peers and enslaved by those who found her, Miranda has been enjoying living one day at a time without worrying about healing anyone whose pain called out to her. At her Master's direction, she takes a young Enjel under her wing and helps him through a difficult time in his development. When his Guardian, Osias Aron, comes to retrieve him from their master, she never guessed that she would be brought along for the ride, or that she would find her new owner a man after her own heart. And body. After an attack that leaves her brutalized and near death, Osias must come to grips with his inability to protect her from the danger that traveled with them, and his lust to have her back in his arms again. Their arrival on his homeworld takes matters out of his hands.
With Miranda ensconced in the Women's Aerie on Jela, Osias is honour bound to engage in his race's customs and practices to win his lady. If only someone else wasn't using those rules to cheat Osias of Miranda's time, everything would go much more smoothly. When a Leap of Faith isn't just a euphemism, Miranda will have to put her life in the hands of the one she loves. Let's just hope the right guy shows up…on time.
His Guardian glowered, obviously displeased at the boy's attachment to this little alien. As a temporary bedmate, she was acceptable, but far more attractive females waited in the women's quarters at home. Still, there was something in those eyes.
"Let me have a good look at her." He seemed impatient and stood to take a long assessing look at the creature in question.
As he walked toward her, she shrank back into Myrik's embrace. He was even larger than Myrik, closing in on six and a half feet of solid muscles and black pinioned wings. Miranda took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders, remaining in Myrik's embrace, but meeting his Guardian's eyes. The lust that she saw there was plain, but what surprised her was the weary heaviness that burned out of the black of his eyes. She started in surprise to realize that his mind had touched hers and quickly began to hum advertising jingles in her head to keep any further intrusion to a minimum.
His black eyes widened in surprise at what he found. Then he began to grin, then laugh.
For a moment, she saw the weariness leave him.
"I will take her as well."
"She is not for sale." Kimn's voice was adamant.
The Guardian eyed her again, "Name your price."
Miranda's jaw dropped open, she stood mute. You never told a merchant to name his price. It was financial suicide.
"She is the head of my household. She is the balance to my house. I would be lost without her."
Kimn's voice had taken on a whine that she had not heard before. Perhaps he really did not want to sell her.
"I will not sell."
"Either give me a price or be prepared to have my men take us out of here by force. You have one minute." He was looking impatient now.
Something told Miranda that it was a dangerous mood to have him in.
A sudden blurt, "Five thousand credits! I couldn't let her go for less than that."
He calmly reached into his purse and took out credit slips. He carefully counted them out and tossed them on the table. "Done. Let's go."
Myrik laughed in delight and picked her up. She felt for all the world like a very expensive toy. Dressed as she was as they left Kimn's house and entered the dimness of the night, she got very cold, very quickly. Myrik carried her for only a few minutes, until her teeth started to chatter. His Guardian stopped, turned around and took her from his charge.
"You are a frail thing, aren't you?" Was his quiet murmur as Myrik bounded into the waiting shuttle with puppy-like enthusiasm.
"Nnnott usually, nnooo. But I'mmm nnoott ddressedd to ttttravel." Her teeth were still chattering, but at least he was warmer than Myrik. She saw him smile again.
"No, that you are not. But it is a lovely outfit. For my benefit, I assume?" His gaze seemed to have gone over every detail of the stitching.
"I gguuesss ssoo." Of course it had been. Kimn always tried to seduce his buyers, before the bargaining started.
They entered the shuttle and she was surprised to see another Enjel at the helm. The Guardian carrying her took a seat, his wings left free by the narrow shape of the chair back, and the hatch sealed. She expected him to let her take one of the other seats, but he held her fast against him. As they began to lift off, she was pressed very intimately into his lap and she could feel that his interest in purchasing her had not been all Myrik's doing.
She raised startled eyes to his and saw him looking intently at her mouth. She drew in her breath, unconsciously thrusting her breasts against his chest, dragging the delicate fabric between them.
His mouth dipped to taste her and she wriggled lightly in his lap. His mouth brushed against hers, once, twice, then settled into a gentle kiss that seemed to take hours.