Jill has been traded to a consortium that wants to use her empathy for business. She wants nothing to do with their plans and runs away on her wedding day.
A shuttle chase, a crash and a surprisingly soft landing begin a new phase of Jill’s life in which she offers her body to a race of giants for room and board.
T’los is the man who pulled her out of her wrecked shuttle, and he is with her every step of the way until his people no longer need her. The moment she is free of demands, he makes her an offer and she falls for his charm. Caught in his arms, it is quite the distance to fall.
Jill stared at the reflection and nodded. “I do look lovely. Thank you, Cera. Your help has been most appreciated.”
Jill slipped her hand along the table and pressed a small pouch into the hand of the woman who had worked so hard to make this a special day for her. It was endearing how sincere she was about the art that she practiced.
“Thank you, Jill. It was an honour to work for your family in this matter.” Cera bowed and left Jill with her mother and her soon-to-be mother-in-law.
The gong shimmered in the distance, and Jill looked to the older women. “I believe I am entitled to my time of silence, my hour of calm.”
Her mother looked at her with calculating eyes. “We will remain.”
Jill got to her feet in her gauzy gown. “You will not. Today is the last day I am myself. It ends in one hour. I plan to grieve for my lost state alone.”
Her mother flipped her skirts, but her soon-to-be mother-in-law grabbed Jeela’s hand and hauled her out of the room.
Jill quickly pressed the code that would bring her shuttle into the courtyard. Now, it was a matter of time that was swiftly running out.
She paced, her gown fluttering around her legs. The man she was supposed to marry was nothing better than a thug, and it was probably a gambling debt that was being settled with her as the final payment. No one had explained the precise urgency to the matter, but all parties involved had no issue in rushing her to the altar without asking her opinion.
She stepped to the window and stared out in the direction of her shuttle pad. When she saw the small speck, a frisson of hope mingled with excitement in her belly. She was getting out of here, and no one was going to stop her.
Jill watched the approaching shuttle with hope rising in her. It was time to test her escape route. She went to the glass doors and tried the lock. They were locked. It was going to take more effort than she anticipated getting through, but there was a reason to test these things before the shuttle landed. When that shuttle came down, all the thugs would stream out of the ceremony centre. She had to move fast.
Her shuttle was coming in tight and low to the tree line. She had three minutes until her escape was as close as she could get it. It was time to make sure that she didn’t blow her honeymoon for one.
She paced nervously, and she lifted one of the ornamental vases as her ship cleared the trees and settled in for a landing.
It took three strikes to smash her way through the glass, but she was out in the morning air and running for her life a moment later.
Her shuttle opened at her approach, and she sealed the hatch as the security forces started to move. Jill stumbled to the cockpit and lifted off. She hauled at the controls in an effort to get away from the formal gardens before pursuit could be engaged.
A burning ache in her foot let her know that the glass had managed to slice her skin as she ran.
“Stupid. Why don’t we get married in shoes?” She hissed and shifted slightly as she pulled herself from the atmosphere and headed into parts unknown.