When the family is notified that alien ships have landed on Jasta, they all go to stand watch. A group of creatures cloaked in silver shells walk from the ship, but when their leader removes his face shield, it leaves Aria burning with lust. It is an attraction that she cannot and will not act upon because of Jace’s jealousy.
The crew members are part of a group of rebels originally from Greante, the planet of the ancestors of Jasta’s gifted. Their leader is Raton Dane and the family has traveled to Jasta with a hope of creating new, stronger, power bloodlines for both Jasta and their planet Vivar. They have been watching the Bastion-Kamatien families with small invisible tracker stars for years.
Aria’s resolve to send the family packing quickly fades, but her decision to agree with her own family to allow the Danes to stay has fatal consequences that none of them ever imagined.
Jace looked deeply into her eyes, and Aria knew he was trying to see into her mind. Aria smiled, the expression evil and filled with intentional contempt. “You’re trying too hard to be gentle. If I wanted gentle. I would go play with Keir.”
“Keir is on a healing, and I’m not being gentle. You have just built up an incredible tolerance to pain. Your body is healing itself so quickly that I can’t even draw blood. Is it possible that you have a nerve stop on without realizing it?”
Aria closed her eyes, searching her body for the dullness of a nerve stop and finding exactly what she was seeking. She removed it, grimacing slightly as the feel of the iced, metal needles flowed through her legs. Jace drove another one through the flesh of her thigh, her body arching off the cushion, her eyes opening as the fiery flow of pain flashed upward, spiking through her hip and into her stomach.
“Oh, I see that you felt that one?”
“No shit, Sherlock. What a shocker that was.”
Jace laughed as he leaned over, running his tongue up the center of her stomach, amplifying the feel of the sensation tenfold. His mouth was hot, his tongue floating over her flesh like rippled water sponges. The feeling changed, the softness hardening into spikes that drove into her skin. What had been gentle and sweet a moment before became agony, her nerves insisting that Jace was tearing her apart with thorny spears. Sweat broke on her brow, her breaths coming in shattered gasps as he moved up to her breast.
* * * *
Out of the corner of his eye, Jace saw Rife appear in the doorway and approach the table where Aria lay. Before Jace could stop him, Rife braced the nail of his middle finger against the pad of his thumb, aimed, and released his cocked finger against the spike driven through the side of Aria’s knee. The metal rang like a chime, and Aria screamed.
Jace immediately rose to his feet and glared at his son. “Rife, what are you doing?” Jace grabbed a cloth to wrap around himself and backed down to the bottom of the restraint table. Taking the child by the hand, he led him toward the door. “On how many occasions have you been told that you are not allowed in here? This is a private place, not a play chamber for you or your sisters. Where is Yalla? Why isn’t she watching you?”
Jace unsealed the door and led him out, slamming the door behind him. “Well?”
“Yalla playing dolls, Brith, Casea. Why Mommy scream?”
“Because what you did hurt.”
“Not hurt to put in?”
“You are not old enough for me to explain this. Mommy and I were playing a game that is beyond your understanding. Sex is not an issue you need to know about now. I want you to go back upstairs where you belong. Find something to occupy yourself. You can paint, play with your toys or read. You don’t need to be down here. Mommy and I need to relax. We will be up a little later.”
Aria opened the door, limping out to lean on Jace. He put his arm around her for support, kissing the side of her head. Rife examined her, glancing pointedly down at the small streaks of blood flowing down her legs. “You bleeding.”
Jace released her, going down to his knees before her. “I gather that the power of self-healing is hit and miss?”
“I find it more likely that you were healing me without intending to do so. We have never been able to heal our own bodies. I don’t know why things would change.”
Jace ran his palms down her legs, sending power into the wounds to heal them. He wiped the blood away with the corner of the cloth tied around his waist and stood up, his gaze riveted on Rife. “Do you need me to escort you back upstairs, or can I trust you to go on your own?”
“I don’t want go back upstairs. I want fly. Take me fly, Daddy.”
“I will take you later. Right now, I want to finish my game with Mommy. We have been healing for three suns and we need a rest.”
Rife curled his upper lip, the anger in his childish eyes highlighted as red sparkles in the turquoise and purple orbs. “I need fly!”
Keir strode through the outer door. “Problem?”