Redeeming Zorus Page 26

“Yes.”

“Are you and Zorus engaging in intercourse?”

A blush warmed her cheeks. “That’s really rude to ask, but considering I’ve been kidnapped and I’m afraid, I’ll answer. Yes. I told you I love him and he loves me.” She drew in a deep breath. “Zorus is going to be really pissed if you hurt me. He’s really protective of me and possessive.”

The ghost of a smile returned. “Possessive? Why did you use that word?”

She wanted to pull away from his fingertips, which had lowered to her collarbone and under the edge of her shirt. “I mean he nearly killed his own son for trying to rape me so please stop letting your hands roam. It’s one thing to feel my pulse while you talk to me but now you’re exploring. I know the difference.”

His fingers froze. The dead, hard look returned when his eyes seemed to grow cold again. His mouth pressed together and his nostrils flared. “Darius attempted to rape you?”

“Yes.”

Krell rose to his feet quickly, his touch gone, and glared at the other cyborg. “You never mentioned that to me.”

“She’s human. She has no authority to say no, therefore I can’t force intercourse with her.”

“Leave. She’s not a spy, she truly loves Zorus, and is no threat to him. She isn’t controlling him by any means you feared. If she is a weakness to him it is only from the emotions he feels for her.”

“I don’t believe that.”

“Then you are a fool. Leave, Darius.”

“Fine. Get up, human. We’re leaving.”

Krell took a long step forward, placed his body between where Charlie sat and Darius stood. “She remains here with me.”

“I’m taking her with me.”

The man dressed in black shook his head, shoved his long, black hair back over his shoulder with one hand, and took a defensive stance. “She isn’t going anywhere with you. If you try to take her from me, I’ll fight you.”

Oh shit! What the hell is going on? Krell braced to fight his friend. She had no idea why he would do that or what his intentions were.

Darius snarled before the two men lunged for each other. Charlie leapt out of the chair and backed into a corner to keep out of the way when the two large cyborgs tangled in the middle of the living room.

* * * * *

The meeting had gone on far longer than Zorus had estimated. While he tended to just issue orders, the other council members wanted to vote on everything meticulously. They’d been a little irritated when they realized he’d already ordered Onyx to contact two of their ships to return home to protect the planet. Three members of the council had backed Zorus to help sway the votes in his favor. Those three had the displeasure of personally having contact with the Markus Models.

Councilman Parlis had argued the hardest, alongside Zorus. They were friends, had been grown in the same cloning laboratory on Earth, and even trained together. After the meeting, they’d had a private talk.

“They are afraid.” Parlis hesitated. “So am I.”

“I am as well. We need to defend our planet rather than spreading out our resources to hunt them down. It’s wiser to wait for them and hit them full force when they come after us.”

“I’m just glad you’re in agreement with killing these things. I approved of your original decision to study them until I met them firsthand.” The other cyborg shivered. “Now I just want to end the threat once and for all.”

“I agree.” Zorus had shaken his friend’s hand. “I need to get home.”

“How is it working out with the human female?”

Zorus didn’t attempt to hide the smile. “She makes me happy.”

“You deserve it.”

He’d left then. When he got home, silence greeted him instead of Charlie. “I’m home,” he called out loudly. “Charlie?”

Broken glass lay scattered across the kitchen floor. Fear that she’d been cut by it sent him rushing toward their bedroom. Within minutes, he knew she wasn’t anywhere to be found in the apartment. Alarm grew into panic. He had to calm enough to link to his security system.

She’d had to hack her way into it to be able to activate the elevator. It took him a good minute to find where she’d managed to penetrate his security. He frowned and then cursed. She hadn’t hacked it but he knew who had.

“Darius,” he snarled. He linked to outgoing communications to contact his son. When he wasn’t able to reach him, his eyes opened, and pure rage burned through his veins.

He rushed for the elevator but then hesitated. Darius wouldn’t take her to his home. It would be the first place he’d search. His son would know he’d come after Charlie, would expect it. He closed his eyes to log back in to his security system, hoping to find out how long they’d been gone. It would help him deduce how far they could have traveled inside the city.

The logs to the elevator surprised him. Darius hadn’t left the building but had instead gotten off six floors below. He hacked into the building occupant information files to see which cyborgs held residences there. One name made him stiffen. He knew where Darius had taken Charlie.

Rage and fear battled for dominance while he suffered the short elevator ride. Krell had to be the best human interrogator on Garden but he had grown unstable over the years. One thing had become clear. He hated humans after what they’d done to him when they’d realized he’d been helping in the rebellion on Earth. They’d tortured him and then left him to die. The idea of him hurting Charlie made him run when the elevator doors parted.

Zorus didn’t knock. He lifted a booted foot instead, his anger fiery hot, and planted it near the electronic lock with all his force. The impact sent the door crashing inward. He stormed inside, only to be brought up short by the sight of Krell and Darius in the midst of a brutal physical altercation. He spotted Charlie pressed tightly into the far corner of the room. He inched around the battling males to reach her.

He evaluated her as he pulled her into his arms, careful to keep his body blocking her from the males. She looked pale and frightened but no visible damage marred her. “Are you unharmed?”

“I’m good.”

Zorus held her tighter, grateful he’d located her in time, and then turned his head. Krell had beaten Darius severely but nothing life threatening. Darius had lost his strength and when a punch sent him to the floor, he stayed down. Krell snarled out in victory, ran a bloody-knuckled hand through his long hair, and then turned to glower at Zorus.

“I’m glad you arrived, though you will replace the broken door immediately. I was about to contact you to come collect her. I do not mind asking females questions but I will take no part in the torture of one.” Krell shot Darius a disgusted look. “I wasn’t about to allow him to leave with her, considering he didn’t believe it when I told him she’s being truthful.”

Zorus shifted Charlie to his side to face the scarred cyborg. “What is going on?”

“Darius said he needed my skills to detect if the female had deceived you. She accused Darius of attempting forced intercourse with her. I do not allow that. He doubted my skills and planned to take her out of here. I don’t trust him to guard a female when he has no honor. Any male who uses brutality on a weaker female who has no chance of defense is a coward.” Krell suddenly moved and kicked Darius in the stomach. “Those types believe it is fun to harm the weaker opponent. Did you enjoy that, Darius?” He hauled back his foot again but then refrained from landing it on the downed cyborg. “I should kick you in the gen**als but I’ll refrain. I know you are sterile since we share a breeding pack but Jazel will hold issue with it if I put you out of commission, making you unable to have intercourse with her.”

Krell backed away before he gave Zorus a cold look. “Protect your female better. You would never allow another male to harm her without facing your full wrath. I know he is your son but do the right thing this time.”

Zorus hid his shock that the fight had been prompted by Krell defending Charlie. He also refrained from wincing when Darius moaned. His son had been beaten badly. “I am contacting security now. They’ll take him to medical and then to a holding cell.”

“Good.” Krell growled the word. “You should have brought her to me immediately to dispel any doubts cyborgs had about her loyalty to you. Emotions are a bitch, aren’t they?”

“Yes,” Zorus sighed, “they are. You’re correct but I wanted to protect Charlie. I trust her but didn’t want her to doubt that by having to bring her to you for verification. I didn’t need any.”

“You’re an arrogant son of a bitch who believes just because you say or think something that everyone else should as well.” Krell glanced at his split knuckles. “I admire that about you.” He pinned Zorus with a cool stare. “But then, I’m a bastard too. Follow protocol next time to avoid an ass**le taking things into his own hands, if anyone has doubts about her. You’re lucky he brought her to me instead of to someone who might have harmed her.”

“Thank you.”

Krell nodded. “I am going to go wash off the blood and change my clothing. By the time I am done, I want him gone and someone here to replace that door. You know how I enjoy my privacy.” He lowered his gaze to Charlie. “If you decide he’s too much of an ass**le for you to live with, you’re welcome to stay here with me.” He spun on his booted feet to stride down a hallway and out of sight.

Charlie leaned more heavily against Zorus. He hugged her tighter, relieved he’d found her so quickly. “I’m sorry.”

“We should probably try to help Darius. Your son just got the shit kicked out of him and he’s bleeding on the carpet. Think that guy would mind if I raided his freezer for some ice?”

His heart melted even more where Charlie was concerned. She worried about his flesh and blood, despite Darius having come after her again. He knew she did it because she loved him. She was willing to be lenient toward Darius for his sake.

“He did this, he will survive, and I don’t want you to give him first aid when he doesn’t deserve compassion at this moment. Security is on their way up. One of our doctors will patch him up.”

Charlie winced when Darius groaned. “He looks as if he’s in a lot of pain. Are you sure we shouldn’t put ice on him? His left eye is swelling shut and I think that’s one of his teeth on the floor by his elbow.”

Zorus sighed. “He made his choice when he disregarded my orders to stay away from you. I am happy Krell didn’t kill him but he needed to be humbled in this way. I’m actually grateful I am not the one who had to do it. Perhaps this will teach my son a lesson. He had no authority to force you from our home.”

Two large cyborgs dressed in black entered the apartment. Zorus eased his hold on Charlie and then swept her up into his arms. She wasn’t wearing shoes. The table had been shattered during the fight and he didn’t want to risk injury to her feet.

“Arrest him for trespassing into my home and for theft of my…” He grimaced.

“Property,” Charlie finished his sentence. “Darius stole me. I belong to Zorus.”

Zorus met her gaze. “I will change that law as soon as I’m able.”

She nodded, her face rubbing against his shirt. “I know.”

Zorus watched the guards gently lift Darius between them. He cuddled Charlie more firmly into his arms to carry her home.

Chapter Fourteen

Charlie nervously ran her hands down the pretty gown. She wished she could ask Zorus if she looked good. He waited in the living room for her to finish getting dressed. The cyborg female, Jove, nodded in approval. Zorus had hired her to make Charlie’s clothing.

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