Seducing Stag Page 41

“That space is for when one of the council wants to travel with us, or when we take on extra crew members so they aren’t forced to sleep inside a cargo hold.”

Maze shook his head. “We haven’t had to use it in over a year, Stag. I cleaned and stocked it after you brought Nala onboard, hoping you’d take her there. The spare bunks have been removed. She’ll be more comfortable recovering there than in my quarters. Do it for her.”

Stag knew it was the best option.

“Parqel, Veller, and Kelis will refuse to share their quarters with anyone. They tend to pick arguments. Yammer makes everyone uncomfortable by staring as though he’s plotting our deaths. He hates his personal space invaded. That leaves Hellion. Don’t make me bunk with him. Please. He’ll drive me insane while I’m healing. I just want to sleep but he’ll attempt endless conversations. I’ll be sure to tell the crew I talked you into it, and they’ll be grateful.”

Stag finally grinned ruefully. “All of that is true. I’ll take her to the captain’s quarters. Can she be moved now?”

“Yes.”

“Get out of the way then and walk ahead of us. You’re going to have to activate the lift and the door.”

“Of course.”

Stag stepped closer to his bunk, afraid he’d hurt her. He bent, very carefully sliding his arms under Nala, and lifted. He adjusted her so her head rested on his chest. Her stillness left him uneasy.

“She’s drugged.” Maze seemed to read his anxiety. “I wanted her to stay asleep until she healed more.”

Stag turned. “Let’s go.”

They left his quarters and made it to the lift. Maze activated it and Stag stepped inside, hugging a wall to make room for the medic. They went up to Control level and met Yammer when the doors opened.

“You’re taking her to captain’s quarters?” He moved back.

Stag stiffened, expecting the male to protest. “Yes.”

“Good. I’m not sharing my room, and Hellion is bitching about how he told everyone this was a shit mission and he seems convinced we’re doomed until we reach home.” Yammer smiled at Maze. “Good job. I know this is your doing. But you were motivated, since I also know you would have been the poor bastard stuck with him. Need help removing the wall bunks and storing them? I’m on my way back to cargo two anyway.”

“I already did that, but thank you.” Maze got out of the lift first.

Stag followed, carrying Nala, but paused to address Yammer. “How bad is the damage down there?”

“Nothing we want to fix until we’re doing ground repairs. They hacked the access pad and made a mess of it to open the docking door. The outer panel is sealed though, so we’re good. It’s not as if we’re planning on opening it again until we have to offload those bots.”

“Did they mess with the crates?”

“They’re marked mining equipment.” Yammer shook his head. “They had no interest in that.” He peered down at Nala. “How bad is she?”

“She’ll be fine.” Maze cleared his throat. “After she gets plenty of rest in a bed. That would be this way…”

Stag rolled his eyes and stepped around Yammer. “Keep me updated on repairs.”

“Will do.”

Maze opened the doors to the captain’s quarters and turned on the lights.

Stag felt surprised when he looked around, noting all the differences since he’d last been in there. “You’ve been busy.”

Maze turned. “I put down the larger bed from the wall cabinet and placed shelves where the bunks were attached, to hide the connecters. I wanted it to feel homier for Nala. I even downloaded books and entertainment vids for her enjoyment. Don’t worry. I knew you’d be wary of her having access to the computer, so it’s contained. She can adjust the lights, watch vids, and use the pad next to the bed to read preloaded novels. I locked down the shields over the viewing ports but I’d suggest you allow her access to them. It will help her feel less contained if she can see space.”

His medic’s attention to detail irritated the hell out of Stag.

Maze walked over to the large bed and pulled back the covers and blankets. “You should undress her and put her under the covers. She’ll be more comfortable. I can do it if you’re not comfortable with her nudity.”

“You’ve gone to a lot of time and trouble thinking about Nala’s needs when she doesn’t belong to you.”

“Someone had to.”

Stag crossed the room and gently put Nala down on the bed. He straightened, the urge to punch Maze filling him.

Maze was obviously aware of his anger and backed away. “Calm down. There’s a lot on this ship that I’m not permitted to do. You don’t trust me to take a shift at the helm, nor do shuttle repairs. I have a lot of spare time on my hands, and that means thinking of the wellbeing of everyone aboard the Varnish, including Nala. It wasn’t meant as an insult to your ability to care for her.”

That deflated his temper. “Thank you.”

“The crew will accept you keeping her, if that’s a concern of yours.”

Stag had neglected his duties for long enough. “I don’t have time to discuss this anymore. Stay with her. I need to go to Control.”

“She was a freighter captain, Stag. I’ve tried to think of all the excuses you’d come up with to avoid keeping her. She left her own planet to live in space. I highly doubt she’d prefer Garden over this ship, if given the choice. Some of the crew will most likely not be pleased, but you could reassign them elsewhere if they don’t adjust. The Varnish is your personal property. I know Hellion and I will have no problem with Nala as crew.”

“Maze, I really need to get to Control. It’s possible that the pirates might check the asteroid belt for us.”

“Veller is more than qualified to kill if the need arises. Your place right now is with Nala. She’s your female, she saved your life, and I’m betting it’s your face she’ll appreciate seeing when she wakes.” Maze turned. “You stay and care for her. I’ll go from section to section and send you reports. Get her comfortable, and you might want to wash some of that blood off her.” The door closed behind him.

Stag just stood there, unsure what to do.

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