Seducing Stag Page 16

Nala backed up and bumped against the bed. Then she moved again, getting away from it, in case he gave him ideas. “No, but thank you for the offer.”

He frowned.

“Look, you’re attractive. I won’t lie. But I get to know people by talking to them. I don’t have sex with strangers. Understand?”

“You will be assigned to a male, and the only one you have had conversations with is Stag. He’ll never offer to keep you. He hates Earthers.”

“I’m aware.”

“He doesn’t want you. He’s made that clear. I’m a good choice. Are you concerned about your upkeep? I would never abuse you.”

Upkeep? She swallowed. “Let me think about it, okay? I do that. I need to let things sink in. I didn’t know I’d be given to someone. You people know I’m not an android, right? That’s just bullshit Stag said because I made him mad.”

“You’re an Earther. You can’t live alone. That’s how it will be. Other males will make the offer. I want you to consider me. I could show you how I would pleasure you.” He took another step closer.

“No.” He might be bigger but she’d still put up a fight if he tried to get her out of her clothes. “Please leave.”

He took a step back. “I didn’t mean to frighten you. That wasn’t my intention.”

“I need time to think. Alone. Thank you for the food.”

He inclined his head. “I’d take good care of you. Consider me.” He spun, left, and the door sealed behind him.

Nala walked to the bed and collapsed, relieved he hadn’t assaulted her.

Anger came next. She was to be given away to some cyborg as though she were an android. Worse, a sex bot, since Parqel made it clear she’d be viewed as one by anyone except Stag.

She glanced at the food but it held no appeal. She’d lost her appetite.

Some cyborg would collect her when she was taken off Stag’s ship and he’d demand she have sex with him. She’d seen some sex slaves on Belton Station. They were women who’d committed crimes there and been sentenced for at least a year of servitude. The highest bidders would buy them and they’d have no choice but to comply or more time was added to the sentence.

There were rules to be followed. The men couldn’t beat or maim the women. They also couldn’t make a profit by leasing out rights to her body to other men. The women had to be fed, housed, and clothed. Nala had pitied them. They were forced to sleep with the men who bought them, cook for them and clean their homes. It seemed that would be her fate.

“I didn’t even commit a crime,” she muttered. “My freighter was attacked. This is bullshit!”

Tears came next. It was all Stag’s fault. He could drop her off at some station and set her free, but he’d already sworn he wouldn’t. She wiped her eyes and got up, entered the cleansing unit, and just stood there.

“What am I going to do?”

She got tissues and blew her nose, washed her face, and returned to the bed. She ignored the tray, unmotivated to try to choke it down. She was too upset.

“Damn you, you cold-hearted bastard.”

 

 

Chapter Six

 


The doors opened and Nala bolted to her feet at the sight of two cyborgs. They carried Stag between them.

She grabbed the tray as they entered, moving it off the bed. She’d wanted to kill him, but seeing him limp, and bandages covering his shoulder, forehead, and one leg below his knee, made her instantly horrified.

“What happened? Is he okay?”

Maze and the bulky cyborg put Stag on the bed. Maze turned to her as he straightened. “There was an accident.”

A third cyborg entered carrying a large med kit. He set it down, glanced at Nala, then left.

The thick-chested cyborg smiled at her. It looked a little strained. “I’m Hellion. Pick me.”

“What?”

“Not now,” Maze snapped. “Go. I’ve got this. Someone has to make sure the patch is complete and do an exterior check to see if any more damage was done.”

Hellion nodded, flashed another smile at Nala—then shocked her by turning at the door, lifting his hand, and blowing her a kiss.

The doors shut, blocking her view of him, and she turned as Maze dropped to his knees next to the bed and opened the case.

“How bad is he hurt?” She evaluated Stag. He only wore the black underwear he seemed to like. His skin looked a bit off, paler than usual. “Is he going to be okay?”

Maze yanked out a scanner, a smaller one than he’d used on Nala, and ran it over Stag’s head. “I patched him as best as I could inside the docking bay.” He laid the scanner down and grabbed an injector, programming it with an efficiency that spoke to his knowledge of the equipment. “The leg and shoulder wounds are superficial. It’s his brain I’m concerned about.” He injected Stag with some kind of medication.

“What happened?”

“A bomb attached to one of our solar panels and blew. It sent shrapnel toward Stag and ruptured his suit. He managed to halt the leakage but lost too much oxygen before I could get to him. It also slammed him hard into our ship. It could have been worse.”

 

Ruptured suit? Loss of oxygen? Those were both usually causes of death. “How?”

“He didn’t float off. He wedged his arm into one of the travel handles before he lost consciousness. It would have taken me more time to retrieve him otherwise.”

“How long did he go without oxygen?” She noticed that Stag’s chest rose and fell but that didn’t mean he’d be okay. He could have suffered brain death.

“It took me three minutes and forty-two seconds to bring him in. Another thirty-two seconds to reinstate life support in the docking bay. Add in at least sixty seconds to clear him of his helmet, open his suit, and revive him.”

“Did he wake up? Say anything? Was there any air left in the suit?”

Maze grabbed the scanner, slowly running it over Stag’s head again. “He was down to four percent but he’d stopped breathing by the time I was able to work on him.”

That information hit Nala hard. No one could survive that long out in space if they weren’t breathing. He’d have suffered brain death. Her knees almost gave out and she bent, grabbing the end of the bed.

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