Seducing Stag Page 38

“I don’t understand.”

He scanned her from head to toe. “We’ve been stuck inside this shithole for three months. Our replacements don’t come for another three. It gets lonely, you know? We weren’t going to blow up women in need of our help.”

“I see.” She masked her features, trying to hide her disgust. She suspected they weren’t on a rescue mission. They were looking for kidnapped women they could victimize further.

She must not have hidden her reaction well enough.

“Don’t get all offended. We’re saving you from doing dozens of men a day if these things had sold you to a brothel. There’re only seven of us. We’ll treat you right, and you’ll get to go home once they send a shuttle to our monitoring station to change out the shifts. Do you know if any other women were taken?” He licked his lips. “We were hoping we wouldn’t have to share.”

“I have no idea.”

“We’ll find out. My unit will find them. Don’t worry. We’re going to treat you all real good.”

“Thank you.” They were tough words to get out. Nala seethed inside.

He looked away from her, back into the cleansing unit. “I should probably shoot it a couple more times just to make sure it never gets up again.”

She took a few steps closer and worked up the nerve to peer inside the cleansing unit. The sight of Maze crumpled on the floor horrified her. He was in a ball, turned toward the wall, as if he’d tried to protect himself. His shirt was torn up, blood staining it. He’d managed to cover his face with his hands so she couldn’t see if he’d taken damage there.

She did notice one of Maze’s fingers twitch, and she gasped.

The soldier swung his head her way. “What?”

She reached out and gripped his arm. He’d kill Maze if he realized the cyborg was still alive. “It’s just all sinking in. Thank you for saving me! I was terrified. I’m so grateful.” She tried not to lay it on too thick but the guy had admitted he was there looking for women. She used her other hand and gripped the top of her shirt, pulling it down enough to flash some cleavage. “My heart feels as though it’s going to pound right out of my chest. Can you see it?”

His gaze went right where she wanted, to the tops of her breasts. He was still bent over a bit and she threw her body forward, catching him off balance and unaware.

Thank God her father had taught her self-defense.

She thrust her elbow out, her fist against her chest where she still held her shirt, and slammed it into his ribs. They fell together and Nala landed on top of him, spreading her legs to quickly straddle the side of his thigh. She used her hold on his arm to keep it pinned down as she went for the sidearm he’d holstered. He hadn’t fastened it, so it slid out easy. Nala fired before he could even recover.

He cried out, and the stench of burning material and flesh rose.

She hit the floor, rolled, and pointed the weapon at him again. The soldier writhed and jerked on his side. That’s when Nala saw burn marks on the blue uniform—and the hole in his back.

She glanced at the weapon. It wasn’t a stunner. She’d just blasted him with a laser that had cut right through him.

The man grabbed for at throat…but then stilled.

“Oh shit,” she whispered. She managed to scoot closer, her hands shaking as she got to her knees then shoved his limp fingers away from his neck. She felt for a pulse above his uniform collar. There wasn’t one.

The blast had gone out his back, probably through his lung on the way, and she figured it had done enough damage to stop his heart.

She’d killed an Earth Government soldier. He might have been a disgrace to military men, but it would still mean a death sentence for her.

A soft groan came from a few feet away and she turned her head. Maze attempted to sit up, and she swiftly tried to pull it together.

“I’m here. Maze? Can you hear me?” She crawled closer to the unit and paused at the edge of it.

He had turned his body, and was now sitting in the corner and cradling his injured arm. His eyes were open when he lifted his head, meeting her gaze. He looked as if he was disorientated and in a lot of pain.

“It’s okay. Just stay down. You’re really injured.”

“I need my medical kit.”

She didn’t know where it was. There was the small one under the bunk in the wall drawer. “Okay. I’ll get it.”

A loud boom came from the corridor.

Nala twisted, landed on her ass again, and pointed the weapon in the direction of the still partially opened door. She braced her bare feet in front of her, spread her legs and sucked in huge gulps of air. Her hand still shook so she gripped the laser with both, locked her arms, and tried to judge where chest height would be, adjusting the tip of the weapon a little higher.

“Give me the weapon.” Maze groaned and tried to scoot closer, judging from the sounds he made.

“I’ll protect you.” And she would.

Movement flashed, and she fired. Her aim was a little off and she hit one edge of the door, scarring the metal.

“Goddamn it,” Stag shouted. “I thought you said you wouldn’t try to kill me?”

She almost dropped the weapon. “I’m sorry! I didn’t know it was you.”

He hesitated then peered around the corner between the doors. It was hard to make him out in the dim red light, but she did. He stepped out from behind the wall of the corridor, gripped the sides of the door, and shoved. They groaned as he widened them before stepping inside.

“Put that down now,” Stag demanded.

She dropped the weapon on the floor, the metal clattering. “Maze is hurt.”

“I can see that.” He hurried forward, kicked the weapon aside, and reached down.

She gasped when he gripped her upper arms and yanked her to her feet. He let go immediately. “Get out of the way.”

Nala stumbled to the side as Stag crouched down next to the opening of the cleansing unit, checking on Maze. She remembered the medical kit and turned, hustling to retrieve it.

“Freeze!”

She did, mostly. Her head turned and she stared at a soldier who entered the room. He held a large weapon—and it was pointed at Stag. He glanced her way, and he couldn’t hide his surprise. It only lasted for a heartbeat before he focused on Stag again.

“You move a fucking muscle and I’ll blast a hole in you so big it will cut you in half.”

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