Maud has known that she is destined for life as a dragon’s wife, but she has contractual obligations that she has to finish first. On her last assignment, everything goes wrong and she goes from filing paperwork to being scooped up by Raiders for use in one of their arena facilities, providing black market fighting to an entertainment hungry universe. Tridell has been patient, waiting as dragons do for his woman to come to him. When he finds out she is lost in space, he pushes to find her and puts his own life on the line to bring home the woman of his dreams.
Maud yanked at the chain links that bound her to the wall in what appeared to be a medical facility. Lekar was next to her, bound in the same kind of heavy linkage that she was wearing.
“Well, this is just lovely. How are you feeling, Lucky?” Maud tried to keep her voice chipper even though she was freaking out. Every Raider report that she had ever read was scrolling through her mind and the chains really did not bode well.
“Just fine, Maud. Despite their rude behaviour, the healers here are fairly skilled. I barely feel like the ship tried to kill me and you bounced me across the decks.” He gave her a sarcastic look through his dark pewter eyes. His shaggy golden hair was lying in waves along his skull, mimicking his other form.
“Hey, you were just lucky that I have been working out, Lucky.” She jerked at the chains again. They had been left alone for hours with no one checking on them. Only the cameras aimed at them confirmed that they had not been abandoned.
She ran her gaze over him with concern. Lekar was like a brother to her. The moment that they had been introduced, they knew that a sexual relationship was out of the question. He simply wasn’t her type and she wasn’t his. They both were attracted to very different sorts of people, but they made an excellent team when it came to recording and examining dying worlds.
Lekar was the rarest of Kalordans, a geologist. With Maud’s simple skill of remembering everything she read, she had the peculiar status of Recorder. It was the perfect skill set to memorize the data that spilled through the instruments as a planet ripped itself to pieces. Lekar set the instrument packs and she verified and memorized the data that streamed into the ship computer. The electromagnetics of a dying world could easily blow out even a shielded computer, so Maud was the ideal backup. She read and absorbed the data before it entered memory, a living backup drive. It wasn’t glamorous, but she enjoyed her work.
She jumped when the door opened and a scar-faced Raider, with the look of an administrator, came in. “Kalordan, you are being assigned to the arena.”
Two burly guards came in with stunners at the ready. They hauled Lekar away from the wall and he fought the whole way. “What are you going to do with her?”
Maud sat with her eyes wide. She hadn’t even thought that she was basically useless for anything and everything outside her profession.
The administrator looked from Lekar to her and back again. “She is to become a prize, Kalordan. If you are good at your job, you can keep her to yourself. If not, get used to sharing.”
Clutching at the wall, Maud watched her friend get hauled off to the arena.
The administrator crouched near her and examined her features closely. “You are flawed, but tolerable enough. If your species wasn’t in demand, I would simply throw you in with the rest, but I think we can do a little better than that. Come along, woman. You have to get presentable. Your male fights in two hours.”
Blinking and in shock, she didn’t fight him as he tugged her to her feet and used the chains to lead her to the women’s quarters. While she was being primped, polished and plucked, her manacles remained in place. It was a reminder that she didn’t need. She wasn’t free to leave any time soon.
In one moment, she had gone from free consultant to captive and she didn’t like it one bit.