Redeeming Zorus Page 21

Two strong arms hugged her tightly around her waist and he pressed a kiss to her sweaty forehead. A chuckle made him shake a little under her.

“What’s funny?” She didn’t lift her head to look at him, too spent to do more than lie sprawled on his chest. She loved hearing his heart beating erratically under her ear.

“I’m just happy, Charlie. You are the best thing that has ever happened to my life.”

A smile curved her lips. “I’ve never been happier either.”

Chapter Eleven

Zorus appeared nervous, which made Charlie feel the same. He’d taken a call early that morning, had been grim ever since, and now they had to go to a council meeting. He’d informed Charlie that she needed to attend with him.

“What is going on? You said you’d be honest with me but you keep avoiding my questions.” It didn’t help that the clothes she wore were his, hung on her body loosely, and he’d had to cut off the legs and arms to fit her shorter limbs. She knew she’d make a sad sight in public. “Does this have something to do with your son?”

He’d barely touched breakfast when his gaze lifted to meet hers over the table in the kitchen. “Yes. He’s decided to file charges against me.”

Her heart missed a beat. “What kind of charges? Criminal ones? He’s the one who assaulted me inside your home. You were just protecting me when you threw him to the floor.”

“He’s accused me of treason.”

The color drained from her face and she nearly dropped her fork. “On Earth that’s a death sentence. How the hell could he do that? Why would he? What is the logic in doing that? I thought you said your society was based on logic.”

“I feel certain he believes it’s true because I chose you, a human, over my own son. He’s angry.”

Her appetite fled. “This council will know it’s bullshit, right? You’re all about your people. You’ve killed to protect them.”

“I warned a few members this might happen.” He focused his attention on his plate. “I don’t want you to worry, Charlie. I’m nearly certain this will be resolved in my favor.”

“Nearly certain?” Her hand trembled when she set her fork down carefully to avoid it clattering on the glass surface of the table. “What happens if they buy his bullshit? What if they think he’s right? What is the punishment for treason here?”

“The same as if we were on Earth.”

“They could kill you?” She shot to her feet. “Zorus…”

Cool, brown eyes fixed on her. “Sit and finish your meal. They won’t execute me. I’ve been too loyal for far too many years for any member to believe I’m capable of disloyalty.”

“I’m trying not to freak out but I’ve only met a few other cyborgs. They didn’t like you at all. I’d even go so far as to say they flat out hated you. What if this council uses this charge as a way to get rid of you?” She spun to pace the floor, her mind reeling from what could happen. “We need to flee. Yeah. We’ll steal a ship, get off the planet, and go to Saturn.” She jerked to a halt to glance at him. “Or one of the stations. We need to get to Saturn first though. I’ll get my money from Russell so we aren’t broke. We’ll need money to survive. We’ll be okay as long as we’re together. We’ll make it work somehow.”

Zorus stood. “Calm down. It will not go that far. My son is angry, the council members, for the most part, do not hate me. It may surprise you to know that I do have some friends. It would take a unanimous vote to bring about my death.”

Anguish gripped Charlie. “Did you know this might happen? Is being with me so horrible on this planet that someone could accuse you of being a traitor?”

He shrugged. “A cyborg hasn’t taken a human yet when…shit hasn’t hit the fan.” His lips twitched. “I remember that Earth saying. I expected issues to arise. This wasn’t a scenario I anticipated but it’s actually less severe than some of the others that came to mind.”

“What could be worse?” She chewed her lower lip.

“They could have attempted to take you from me to give to another male.”

A shiver ran down her spine. “Is that possible?”

“No. I discarded that prospect. The law is on my side.”

“What else?”

“They could ban me from the council but I know it’s highly unlikely. Two members share a human in their family unit. I know they will avoid voting me out since it would weaken their own positions. They’ll welcome a member with a human for that reason alone.”

“They share?”

“I told you some females have more than one male.” He sighed heavily. “You gave me your word you will never do that.”

“And you never have to worry about me going back on it. You’re more than enough for me.” She relaxed slightly. “You’re not worried?”

Zorus gave her a tense smile. “I am not worried of being found guilty of treason.”

“Then why are you so grim?”

“It will be tense. Words will be spoken that I do not want you to hear.” He took a few steps until he paused in front of her to gaze deeply at her. “I don’t want you to stop loving me, Charlie. I never want to see fear or distrust in your eyes again.” His hands brushed her arms, caressed her, and he took hold of both her hands. “You will hear things about me that will disturb you.”

“Worse than the fact that you made friends with humans before you killed them by beating them to death or wanted other human women killed just for being with cyborg guys?”

“I have readily admitted that I was not fond of humans until I met you. They were my enemy, I am unforgiving of what has been done to me, and I’ve shown no mercy. You may hear examples of the things I’ve done to ensure the survival of my race as proof that my reasoning has been put into question by bringing you home with me. As a human, you may hate me for some of those examples.”

Her stomach knotted. “Have you ever beaten a woman to death?”

He shook his head, a frown twisting his lips downward. “No.”

“Raped one?”

“No!” Anger tinged his voice. “I would never do that to anyone.”

“Killed a woman?”

Silence reigned. He didn’t look away though. He took a few breaths before he spoke.

“I killed both male and females when we escaped Earth. They were guards, would have taken my life if I hadn’t fired upon them first, and I have ordered the executions of a few female bounty hunters who have been transported to Garden.”

“You made friends with the men.” A horrible thought struck her. “Did you make friends with the women too?”

His hands tightened their hold. “Yes.”

“You seduced them?”

His dark eyes narrowed. “I wouldn’t word it in that manner.”

“Had sex with them? Intercourse?”

He glanced away and then back. “Yes, Charlie. I had intercourse with two of them. I allowed them to believe the offer of use of their bodies worked, that I’d allow them to use me to gain freedom.”

Her knees weakened but Zorus kept her up when he released her hands to grip her around her waist instead.

“I am not lying to you, Charlie. I do love you. I’d risk my own life to protect yours. This is what I feared. I can see the suspicion in your eyes right now. You’re wondering if I’ve lied to you and how many humans I’ve deceived.”

She couldn’t deny it. Zorus softly swore, adjusted his hold on her, and swung her into his arms. She gasped but then curled into his lap when he dropped into a chair in the living room. He cupped her face to tilt her head until they studied each other.

“You never asked me to bring you to Garden. My son will accuse you of being an Earth spy. He already has made that allegation to me. I am willing to trust that you are not with me for that reason. You are a hacker yet you haven’t touched my systems in an attempt to send a signal to Earth. The apartment is being monitored.”

“You trust me but you still had me watched?”

“I took your skills into account, and had someone else take over monitoring my home last evening, but not because I don’t trust you. It is a precaution in case my son accuses me of covering for you. You are similar to me, Charlie. Earth Government is your enemy. I know this but my son doesn’t. By having a trusted third party monitor my home there is no doubt of your innocence. I’m not in a position to lie to protect you if you were guilty. I believe in you. I did it to prove both of us are innocent.”

She glanced around the room. “What kind of monitoring? Are there cameras?”

He tugged on her chin to force her to look at him again. “There are no cameras or microphones present but if you attempt to breach the system in any way they will know. We have more advanced technology than Earth. I wouldn’t have asked a friend to do it if I honestly believed you’d attempt to hack my system. A security team would arrive immediately to arrest you and all outgoing messages from Garden have to be approved first before they are broadcast to the satellites that carry the signals. There is no chance of you contacting anyone off the planet.”

“I wouldn’t do that.”

“I know.” Sincerity shone in his gaze. “I’d never have risked you being arrested if I had thought there was any chance you’d betray me.”

She let his words sink in. It calmed her temper. If he were being accused of treason and she of being a spy, they both needed their butts covered. Zorus had done that to the best of his ability.

“What about those women?”

“There were two, as I stated. They were bounty hunters who wanted to collect the reward Earth has put out on cyborgs. They would have turned us over to Earth Government, knowing we would be killed. We have a few listening posts near some of the space stations that monitor traffic. We sent teams to collect anyone seeking information about our kind and bring them here to interrogate.” His chest rose and fell. “Those females would have tried to either kill cyborgs with terrorist attacks or attempted to escape the planet to give Earth our location. The council unanimously agreed to their deaths to safeguard all cyborgs. I don’t enjoy killing females but it fell to the council to decide their fates. I have no regrets for the choices we’ve made. Safeguarding my people is the council’s priority. These humans, even the females, were a danger to all. They suffered no pain or fear. I do have some compassion.”

“The men―”

“Died brutal deaths. If you believe they were tied down while beaten, you would be incorrect. They were given the choice of being painlessly executed or engaging in a fight to the death. They always chose violence. We did not give the females that option. Our female cyborgs are too valued to risk in a fight with another female and it wouldn’t have been fair to make them fight against a male cyborg. They stood no chance at winning. It would have just been cruel.”

Her attention lowered to the collar of his leather shirt. “Did you care for either of those women?”

“It was intercourse and a role to play. They weren’t victims, Charlie. They were hardened females who decided they could use their bodies as a way to turn me on my own people to help them escape. They would have slit my throat the instant they were freed without hesitation once they no longer had use of me.”

She lifted her gaze to study him closely. He honestly believed that. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, Charlie. I am certain. They had no real emotions for me.”

She tucked her chin. “Okay.”

“Look at me.”

She met his beautiful eyes.

“I love you. I am not lying to you. This isn’t a game or a charade to get information from you. Our relationship is based on trust and real emotions.”

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