Melting Iron Page 13

“You stole their shuttles.”

He nodded. “We filled them and lifted off the planet. Some of us had trained on the Moonslip, the Georgeton, and the Barclay so we had interaction with some of their crews. We contacted them, pretending that we’d been cleared for duty and they allowed us to dock without raising alarms. From there we took over the ships, put the humans in emergency pods to return to Earth since we didn’t want to kill unless we had to. By then Earth Government realized what had happened and were scrambling defensive fighters from the surface to attack the starships.”

“Shit.”

“We had to leave a lot of our kind behind but they’d been freed from the detention center. We fled the solar system and split up so we would be harder to track and attack with force. We put most of our women on the Moonslip. It was a faster ship with the best defensive capability. Our women weren’t as strong as we were in battle so our priority was protecting them and giving them the best chance at survival.”

Dawn was touched. Cyborgs were better than humans in her mind. Most human men would have slit someone’s throat to get the best ship in that instance. Chivalry had died a long time ago on Earth but obviously not inside the cyborg males who had made certain their women had the better chance of not being blown out of space.

“We were supposed to meet up in the Raxtor system in five months.” Iron took a deep breath. “The Moonslip never showed. We thought they were lost or destroyed. It was a severe blow to my people. Eighty-two percent of our women who had fled Earth were on that ship.”

“Shit.” Dawn was horrified for him.

“We located Garden, settled on the planet, and started to rebuild our lives.” He paused. “Our males greatly outnumber our females so we’ve had to adjust to those circumstances. It’s been difficult for all of us but recently we lost another one of our ships, the Vontage. We thought it was destroyed on a deep-space mission when we lost contact with it after it failed to check in at its scheduled time. Fortunately they reestablished contact after making repairs to their ship. They found the Moonslip and our women had survived.”

Shock tore through Dawn. “Seriously? That’s great!”

“Yes.” Iron didn’t look thrilled though. “The Moonslip had computer difficulties and crashed into a moon. They were able to shuttle all survivors to a habitable nearby planet that they have lived on since the crash. Our mission is to make repairs to the Moonslip and finally take our people home to Garden.”

“How many of them survived?”

“All of them but two,” he said softly.

“That’s amazing that so many are alive. Seriously. To survive a crash and then live on some alien planet. Wow! That had to be rough.”

“We are hard to kill and a sturdy breed of adaptors.” He turned his head to gaze into her eyes. “I did something that I should have told you about but now it has made my job more difficult.”

Stunned, a little afraid too, Dawn studied his eyes. “Okay. What did you do?” For him to think he should have told her about it didn’t bode well for good news coming her way.

“We recently visited Garden…since I took you. While you were caged. We were only there for a matter of hours before we took this mission. While I was there I made a request of the Cyborg Council. There are twelve of them and they rule our society.”

“Okay. What kind of request did you make?” She turned on the bed, her knee against his hip to completely face him so she didn’t get a kink in her neck turning her head to stare up at his handsome features.

“I requested to become a family unit with you and it was approved.”

No words came to Dawn for long seconds but then a hundred questions filled her mind. “A family what?”

Iron looked grim. “A family unit is exactly like an Earth marriage contract although we call it a family unit since females are rarer on our planet. Cyborg females marry more than one male so that we equally have an opportunity to breed children and have a female in our lives.”

Dawn was glad she was sitting down for that bit of news. “How many husbands do the women get, if I’m following what you’re saying? And don’t think I missed the part about you asking for us to be a family unit. I heard that. I’m just trying to figure out what the hell you did.”

“We are under law to have a female take at least three husbands into a family unit but no more than five. They find all the males they wish to breed with. Three males is the typical number that our females acquire before closing a family unit application.”

Dawn was definitely grateful she was sitting down. The information sank in and then she jerked her hand out of his as she nearly leapt off the bed to back away from him in horror as she stared at him. She backed across the room until she bumped into the wall hard enough to flinch as a handle on one of his built-in wall drawers dug into her spine.

A frown instantly curved Iron’s lips as he slowly stood. “This is why I didn’t wish to tell you what I had done. I didn’t think your reaction would be pleasant.”

“No f**king way,” Dawn hissed. “I didn’t agree to some family unit thing. I agreed to be your personal slave, damn it. Get me the hell out of that contract. You said it was approved? Rip the damn thing up or get it unapproved or overthrown. Damn you, Iron! How could you do this to me?”

His face noticeably darkened with anger. “You are in a family unit with me and that is final. I didn’t need your permission since you’re property. There is no getting out of that contract with me, Dawn.”

She feared she was going to hyperventilate as her heart started to pound and blood rushed to her ears. She was breathing rapidly as she tried to get a handle on the pure panic that gripped her. Iron closed the distance between them in a few steps and his hands gripped her arms.

“Are you all right? You have gone very pale and I’m alarmed at your reaction.”

Dawn struck, kicking the ass**le hard with her bare foot to his shin. Pain shot through her toes as she tried to jerk out of his hold. Iron didn’t even flinch from the hit but he did tighten his grip on her.

“Calm yourself.”

“Fuck you.” Hot tears threatened to spill as they filled her eyes. “I trusted you, damn it. I mean, not flat out, all the way, but enough to not screw me this way. How could you?”

His fingers eased their tight grip but he didn’t release her. He hesitated. “I know this isn’t the future you envisioned before I brought you into my life but you need to adjust, Dawn. We are in a family unit and you will come to terms with it. It’s done and I am not going to request the contract be reversed. My decision is final.”

She let her head drop as she closed her eyes. She didn’t want to look into his eyes anymore, feeling betrayed by the bastard. How could he do this? How could he calmly announce he’d signed them up for cyborg’s version of marriage? The horror of it was hitting her hard and fast. Tears spilled out of her tightly closed eyelids to spill down her cheeks as her shoulders slumped.

She was trapped, a prisoner, and until she could find a way to escape, she was locked into this hellish nightmare. A sob caught in her throat but she managed to swallow it down. She took some deep breaths, still refusing to look at the man inches in front of her who gripped her arms.

“How many?” Her voice shook.

Iron hesitated. “I estimated that you could handle four.”

Bile rose in her throat and her knees collapsed. A bitter laugh escaped her. Iron didn’t let her fall, instead he used his hold on her to jerk her against his body. In seconds he adjusted his hands on her and swept her into his arms to carry her to the bed where he gently laid her down. Dawn refused to look at him. She turned away from him as her body settled on the mattress where she curled into a ball, keeping her eyes closed. She hugged her knees.

The silence in the room was absolute. Iron didn’t speak and Dawn didn’t either. She hugged herself tighter while she fought the urge to flat-out bawl. The mockery wasn’t lost on her as she tried to muffle another sob. She’d hooked up with Mack all those years ago, gotten her heart smashed, and had plotted her life course to keep from getting involved with another man by working with women. Now she was going to end up married to four of the bastards.

She could live with Iron. She usually liked him. Sometimes she more than liked him, feeling more for him than she wanted to admit. Sometimes right after sex, as she stared into his eyes, her heart squeezed and the thought of losing him was painful. She was falling in love with him, she admitted as she lay there. He, on the other hand, was ready to pass her off to three other men. It spoke volumes to her of how little his emotional attachment to her went. Mack had been a cheating, deceitful bastard, but if another guy even thought about touching her, Mack broke their damn fingers to establish that nobody but him got that privilege.

“I know it is a shock but you will adjust,” Iron said softly. His hand brushed her back.

Dawn jerked away from his warm hand. “Don’t touch me, damn it. Don’t you ever touch me again.”

“I will touch you any time that I like.” Iron’s tone had gone ice cold. “I understand that I am not your ideal mate but you are with me nonetheless.” He paused. “I will leave you to let this information settle into your system and we’ll discuss it later when you’ve had an opportunity to calm.”

He was fleeing. Anger reared its head as Dawn finally moved. She opened her eyes and turned her head to watch Iron stalk for the door. She knew damn well she shouldn’t say a word. At thirty-six-years-old she knew nothing good ever passed her lips in anger but this time she didn’t care if she pissed him off.

“Do you know what I’m going to do?”

He stopped walking as the doors slid open. He turned to face her, an angry expression on his handsome features. He said nothing as their gazes locked.

“If you’re going to turn me into a whore, then I’m going to seduce one of those ass**les into kicking your large, sorry ass, Iron. I bet for a blowjob one of your pals you picked to force me to f**k will be more than happy to break your jaw to put that lying mouth of yours out of commission for a while.”

Iron stared at her and his silvery skin tone seemed to pale. She nodded at him slowly as she pushed off the bed to give him the dirtiest look she could muster.

“I’ve haven’t gone down on you yet and now I never will, but bet on the fact that I will do that for them, Iron. I’m going to have them kicking your sorry ass every damn time I have to suffer one of them touching me so we’re both feeling some serious pain.”

Iron took a step away from the door and it closed behind him, shutting them both in the small room together. He took another step toward her but Dawn didn’t climb on the bed to get away from him. She was too hurt and mad. If he wanted to hit her then she’d hit the son of a bitch back. A punch from him would have hurt less than what he’d done to her by signing her up to f**k other men.

Iron stopped inches in front of her, his blue gaze studying her features carefully. “You thought I meant you could handle four males in a family unit?” He paused. “You’re mine, Dawn, and mine alone. My answer of four referred to how many children I think you could safely handle at a future date, to have for me. I would never allow another male to touch you.”

Her anger and pain instantly dissipated as quickly as the air left her lungs. She mutely and blankly stared up into his eyes, shocked to the core. Kids? Four of them, with him? Her lips moved but nothing came out. He wasn’t going to let three other guys have sex with her. Nope, she thought. Iron was talking about his ideal number of kids they could have together. It put a whole new spin on the conversation. She took some deep breaths, trying to get a handle on this new information and finally calmed enough to talk again.

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