Redeeming Zorus Page 6

Russell moved closer to peer at her face. “It’s nothing you’re thinking.”

Fear inched up her spine and she managed to turn her attention to Zorus. Fury darkened his features and his hands were fisted at his sides. She looked back at her brother.

“You said he’d be safely taken back to where he came from. I wouldn’t have brought him here otherwise.”

“He will be.”

She didn’t believe him. She sent Zorus a terrified plea with her gaze. “Run.”

“Hold up, Councilman Zorus,” Captain Varel ordered. “You are being returned to your people. I give you my word and I have a vid from your council to prove that. This doesn’t involve you at all. This is about her.”

“What is going on?” Zorus moved closer to Charlie until they nearly touched and he faced Russell. “Why have you drugged her?”

Another thought hit and Charlie gaped at her brother. “You’re taking all the money and leaving me here to die, aren’t you?” Anger burned next. “I threw my life away to get you out of this mess and you’re going to abandon me for the government to find?”

“No!” Russell scoffed. “That’s not it at all. I’m taking all the money, sure, but you’re leaving too. It’s just that you’re not going to Saturn with me.” He kept his distance as if he feared she’d find the strength to attack him. “It’s just that when Gerald realized you’d have to flee Earth with me, well, hell, Charlie. He made me a deal I couldn’t refuse.”

“Gerald?”

“He still loves you and he wants you to be his mistress.”

Charlie gaped at him, too shocked to even find words.

“You kept turning him down when he tried to talk to you about it. He’s got a great little place on the moon, a real little love nest, and he promised me he’s got the security in place to keep you there for as long as he wants. I know you’re going to be really mad at me and it’s not what you wanted, but he won’t hurt you. It’s not as though it will be as bad as a real prison.”

Pain gripped her heart and tears blinded her. “You sold me? I’m your sister!”

Russell hesitated. “You used to like him. It won’t be so bad. Look on the bright side. No one will find you where he’s taking you. You’ll be safe from the government.”

“Don’t do this.” Tears slid down her cheeks and she couldn’t even wipe them away with her useless arms. “I don’t want to be his whore.”

“So dramatic.” Russell shook his head and turned to the captain. “Gerald’s ship will hail you after you leave the system. Keep her drugged until he takes possession of her. She may look small and harmless but don’t let it fool you.”

Charlie watched Russell turn away from her and walk toward the side doors of the building. The brutal truth that he’d really sold her sank in. “Russell?”

He paused. “It’s done, Charlie.”

“I’ll get free, and when I do, I’ll be coming after you.” Her threat hung in the air, crystal clear.

He turned his head to stare at her. He paled. “No, you won’t. Gerald isn’t going to let you go. He assured me there’d be no way for you to escape.” He took a deep breath. “He’ll kill you before he lets you leave him. He knows you’ll never willingly allow him to touch you and you’ll want revenge if you ever get free. I’d make him happy if I were you, by pretending you don’t mind being his mistress. You’ll live longer.”

Russell left the building without a backward glance. The stranger who held her adjusted his grip and started to walk away, carrying her. Charlie hung limply in the circle of his arms, only able to move her gaze, which landed on Zorus. He walked beside them but he didn’t say a word. More tears slid down her face but she didn’t try to talk her way out of the mess her brother had gotten her into. It would be pointless.

A hive of activity took place inside the shuttle’s cargo area. Four men turned to leer at Charlie but the captain snapped at them to secure the crates along the walls. He ignored Charlie completely.

“By this time tomorrow, you’ll be back with your people, Councilman Zorus,” the captain assured him.

Zorus said nothing in response to the captain’s words, his jaw set in a grim line, and walked in front of the man carrying Charlie. They separated a few turns inside the belly of the ship and she found herself taken inside a bare room that only contained a cot. The man dumped her onto it and then hovered over her.

He had to be in his twenties, blond, and resembled the captain enough for her to guess he had to be his son. “That’s a tough break that your own brother f**ked you over.” He grinned, his gaze traveling down her body. “Too bad you’re off limits. I’d love to get my hands on you.” He winked before he quit the room. The second the doors closed, the lights shut off to leave her in total darkness.

Hot tears poured down the sides of her face but her arms refused to move to even wipe them away. Her body rested in a twisted position, half on her back and her side, the hard cot uncomfortable, and there wasn’t anything she could do but feel helpless and betrayed.

* * * * *

Zorus studied the cramped but clean room he’d been assigned. New clothes were folded neatly on top of the narrow bed and food had been placed on the only table inside the room. He ignored the captain until he’d assessed every inch of the living space. He finally gave his attention to the human. The captain spoke first.

“Do you want a doctor?”

“No.” Zorus folded his arms over his chest. “I want the details of the trade agreement for the human female and the male who intends to buy her.”

The captain frowned. “I just deliver shit.”

“How much did this Gerald pay for her?”

“I have no idea. In this business, I don’t ask questions.”

The image of Charlie’s tear-streaked features weren’t something Zorus could forget. She’d saved him from being held prisoner by Earth Government. What bothered him the most had been when she’d realized she’d been double-crossed. She’d ordered him to run. Humans rarely surprised him but she had when she’d tried to warn him when she thought he was in danger.

“Make it your business.”

The shorter human shifted his stance. “Why?”

Zorus hesitated and then made a decision. “I owe her a debt. Find out that information and I’ll purchase her from the human.”

“I don’t think so. Gerald Yazer isn’t someone who lets go of anything he wants. I got the impression he wants her bad.”

“Everything has a price.”

“I’ve had dealings with the guy before and he’s a rich, pampered ass.” A pair of intelligent eyes studied Zorus closely. “Besides, if you want to buy a woman, I can locate better-looking ones. I have some onboard. I could rent you one if you want sex. I keep her for my personal use. She’s beautiful and clean. If you really enjoy her body, I’d be willing to part with her if the price is high enough.”

Disgust rose inside Zorus. “That isn’t what I want to purchase the human for. I stated that I owe her a debt. What are you being paid to deliver her?”

“Twenty thousand credits.”

“I’ll pay you a hundred thousand credits to allow her to escape.”

“To escape?”

“You heard me.”

“You’re willing to pay that but you don’t plan to keep her?”

“I have no use for a human slave. They cause trouble.”

“Then why even bother to waste that many credits?”

“She’s rude and annoying, but for a human, she has unique qualities I’d hate to think will be broken when her spirit is. I doubt she’ll take to captivity well. The human male will probably kill her quickly because of excessive sarcasm.”

“You have that much on you?” The captain’s gaze lowered down Zorus. “If you do, I’m not seeing it, and I’m pretty sure, as tight as those clothes are, I would.”

“My people will pay you. Just tell them to add it to whatever you’re being paid. I have the authority to authorize it.”

Green eyes glittered. “I have a reputation you know.”

“A hundred thousand is five times more profit than you’d manage if you just delivered the woman. Take it or leave it.” Zorus glared at him. “I won’t go any higher in price.”

“And you want me to give her an opportunity to escape?”

“Yes.”

“That would mean giving her access to a life pod. We’re ready to lift off and need to do that in the next ten minutes to avoid being searched. If I just have someone carry her off the shuttle she’ll be located by the authorities before the drugs wear off.”

Zorus contained his irritation. “Fine. I’ll agree to a hundred fifty thousand credits. That will more than cover the cost of you losing a pod.”

“Deal.” Captain Varel grinned. “I’ll order my men not to give her another dose of the paralyzing drug and mark up the exits to the nearest pod clear enough that she can’t miss them. In about three hours she’ll be able to move again and my men will allow her to leave the ship without interfering.”

“Make sure there is enough fuel on the pod to allow her to make it safely to Saturn. That is where she planned to go.”

“Fine.” The captain nodded and turned away. “I’m going to double-check that the funds are available before I allow her escape.”

“You do that.” Zorus knew the council would agree. “Tell them it’s a life debt payment I sanctioned. They’ll understand.”

The moment the captain left, Zorus reached for the ill-fitting clothing he wore to remove them. He’d repaid Charlie and she seemed to be a resourceful human. She’d sworn vengeance on her brother and he didn’t doubt she’d locate the greedy human once she reached Saturn and make him pay for his treachery.

* * * * *

Charlie slowly regained movement in her fingers first and then could stir her wrist. She had no idea how much time had passed but she’d run out of tears. It really hurt that her brother had sold her to Gerald. It shouldn’t have surprised her that Russell would do something so low but it had. Family should mean something to him.

Frustration and bitterness swamped her as she wiggled her toes. First she needed to get out of this mess and then she’d hunt down her dear brother, take her share of the money before he gambled it away, and then she planned to start a new life without him. The promise to her parents seemed irrelevant under the circumstances. If they were still alive to see how low Russell had sunk they wouldn’t have asked her to look out for him in the first place.

The fact that Gerald played a part in this nightmare didn’t surprise her in the least. He’d tossed her over for a rich woman who waved a new life in his face but he’d wanted to keep Charlie on the side. She would never allow him to touch her after he’d ripped her heart to shreds. He wouldn’t have resisted an opportunity to get her under his thumb. Anger made her heart pump faster, working the drug out of her system until she managed to move her legs.

It took time but she sat up. The dark room revealed nothing but she remembered where the door was. She stood on unsteady legs and wobbled forward until she touched a metal wall. By feel, she managed to find the door and the panel next to it. Lights blinded her when she found the “on” button for them.

The shuttle had outdated technology, something she felt grateful for as she used her fingernails to pop off the panel. She raised her knee to retrieve the knife she’d stashed inside her boot. The idiots hadn’t frisked her for concealed weapons. A smile curved her mouth as she hacked wires then withdrew her small kit from her bra that contained the tools she had used to free Zorus. She worked quickly.

Prev Next