Taunting Krell Page 24

“Um, Krell? Why is the female attached to me? It’s nice to see one who is obviously friendly to cyborgs but please explain.”

“Cyan,” Krell snarled. “Release him and back away now.”

She shook her head against Mavo’s chest. He didn’t know who she was but she’d always wanted to hug him this way, truly hold him just once, and she wasn’t letting go without a fight. Her arms tightened and she inhaled. He smelled nice but no longer like the soap she used to buy him. Tears filled her eyes and seeped between her eyelashes. He’d survived and they were together again. She sniffed.

“What is going on?” Mavo gently touched her back, giving her a soft pat in an attempt to perhaps comfort her. “What did you do to her? Is she that frightened?”

“Cyan,” Krell sounded closer, at her back. “Release him this instant. That’s a direct order.”

She sniffed again and knew she couldn’t cling to Mavo forever. Krell’s next words made her more than aware of that fact.

“I don’t want to cause harm by pulling you away from him but I will remove you. Release him!”

Her eyes opened and her arms eased as she lifted her chin to peer up at her beloved friend. Mavo stared down at her and both eyebrows were arched in obvious bafflement. It was so good seeing him that she didn’t even mind that he had no idea who she was. An idea struck.

“Close your eyes, Mavo. Please?”

He glanced at Krell. “Who is she and why does she know my name? What have you told her about me?”

“Cyan, return to my side now.” Krell sounded furious.

“Please, Mavo? Just close your eyes.”

He hesitated before shrugging. His eyes closed and Cyan reached up. She hooked her hand and hesitated before the pinky side of it touched his face near his ear. She slid her hand slowly down his check in a soft caress to his jawline, traced it to the front of his chin under his lip, before using her bent knuckles to rub under his jaw. She’d done this to him a thousand times, the only way she could ever touch him, and hoped it would tell him who she was.

His eyes flew open, shock widened them, and his chin jerked down. One hand gripped her wrist to pull her hand away from his skin where he kept it inches from his face. He stared into her eyes deeply and she stared back. Know me, she silently urged. Remember me.

“Cyan!” Krell gripped her hips, gently tugging on her. “Release her, Mavo. Don’t harm her.”

“You look the exact same,” she whispered. “You haven’t changed at all but you used to smell better. I take it you ran out of the soap.”

His body sagged a little against her and an arm hooked around her waist firmly, dragging her closer to him and out of Krell’s loose hold. Mavo leaned even closer, staring deeper into her eyes.

“It can’t be.”

Warm tears tracked down her cheeks that she didn’t bother to try to wipe away. “You knew your creator. What he couldn’t fix, he replaced with a better design. Think of a sexbot body, only shorter, but with a real person inside.” Her voice broke and she sniffed. “I am so glad you made it. Look at you.”

He rubbed her hand against his face and she cupped it with her palm. “Is it you? You’re Emily Pleva?”

Pain lanced through her brain as if a hot poker punched through her skull. Her body seized and she nearly lost consciousness from the agony. Convulsions shook her violently and she was barely aware of Mavo’s alarm and Krell yelling. Arms held her, lifting her feet from the ground, and cradled her against a firm body.

“She’s got triggers inside her brain from implants,” Krell hissed. “Get a medic!” He yelled that.

“What is going on?” Mavo snarled the words. “It’s Emily, isn’t it? Why didn’t anyone tell me she was alive? That she found us?”

More pain shot through her brain, a scream tearing from her lips, and she fought to stay conscious.

“Don’t utter that name,” Krell roared. “It’s making her worse.”

The convulsions faded but she couldn’t open her eyes. Her body was limp and unresponsive. The arms holding her eased their near-crushing hold slightly and she knew they were moving. Mavo probably had her still, obviously walked with her, but she had no idea where they headed.

“I want an explanation immediately,” Mavo demanded near her ear, verifying that he carried her.

“We weren’t sure if she was the human in question or not.” Krell followed closely, seemed to be moving at their side. “Her body isn’t human any longer. She’s not a cyborg but she’s close or an updated design. We worried that she is a spy sent from Earth to track us with that human’s information to use to gain our trust. We didn’t want to notify you until we were certain of who or what she is because of your emotional association with her.”

“Why is she ill?”

“She has implants inside her head and she stated she’s been conditioned to hide her real identity. Hearing or saying that name causes pain and obvious violent physical symptoms.” Krell spoke quickly. “Give her to me now.”

“Go to hell,” Mavo hissed. “Someone should have told me. It’s her. I know it. Do you know who her father was? He—”

“Don’t say it,” Krell demanded. “You could set her off again. We’re aware of who she stated her father was. Our creator.”

“He could do this. It’s her. It’s my E—” He stopped. “It’s her. What is she called now?”

“Cyan Eous.”

Mavo halted and chuckled. “Of course. It’s her favorite shade of blue.”

“What?”

“She wanted her office painted,” Mavo said as he continued to walk. “We debated over colors forever and that’s the one she chose. It was a running joke between us. It’s her, Krell. She’s alive!”

“Stop,” Krell demanded. “You’re not taking her aboard the Vontage.”

“I’m not letting her go.”

Something rough happened, jerking Mavo hard to a stop, and hands gripped Cyan. “She’s mine, Mavo. You can’t have her. You have a female.”

“She’s a daughter to me. I’m not carrying her off to engage in sex,” Mavo gasped.

“She’s my female,” Krell snarled. “I’m her primary male and the only one in her family unit. Release her to me this instant or we will fight to the death.”

The arms holding her seemed to sag and her body was ripped away from Mavo. The hard body that gripped her in the cradle of firm arms was familiar as Krell snatched her away and violently turned, stomping as he moved.

“Bring her back!” Mavo came after them.

“Back off,” Krell rasped. “She’s mine and I’m not giving her up, even for you. Take it up with the council if you have a grievance but until that point, stay away from her! She’s my female.”

“Krell!”

He moved faster, nearly running with her, jostling her body in his arms, and Cyan fought to regain control of any part of her body. Her eyes wouldn’t open, her limbs were flaccid, and while she was aware of everything, she couldn’t do anything about it.

Mavo was alive, she’d held him, and she’d just learned that Krell and she were joined in a family unit, according to him. She was his female, he was her primary male—that obviously meant husband—and the shock of that information nearly made her pass out. When was he going to tell me? That son of a bitch!

Chapter Eleven

“Drink this,” Krell ordered, pushing the warm cup closer to her lips.

Cyan glared at him. He’d taken her to Dell’s old quarters, she assumed, since she’d never ventured there on her visits to the shuttle when the mercenary had owned it. It was a nice stateroom aboard the Bridden, probably the only private sleeping quarters on the small shuttle, and while it was compact, the bed was a double size.

“Please drink?” He sat on the edge of the soft mattress, grimly looking at her.

“When were you going to tell me we were married?”

He flinched. “You were conscious after your episode? You heard what was said between Mavo and me?”

“No. I’m a mind reader and guessed.” She drew in a breath. “That’s sarcasm. How could you not tell me? How? And why did you threaten to kill Mavo? He wasn’t going to carry me off and have his way with me while I was down.”

Anger tensed his mouth. “He was going to take you aboard the Vontage and planned to keep you away from me.”

“That doesn’t sound like a bad plan at this moment, you lying jerk! You accused me of being dishonest but you take the cake.”

“Cake?” He set the cup on the small table next to the bed. “Could you please speak English?”

“Fine. You’re a dick, Krell. You allowed the council to marry us, didn’t even tell me, and have treated me as though I’m some devious spy bent on destroying cyborgs. That’s a shitty way to treat your own wife.” She took a deep breath. “How do we get a divorce? You better hide anything sharp if you say there isn’t such a thing. I’m all for becoming a widow if that’s what it takes.”

“Calm down.”

“Go to hell.”

He watched her, frowning. “Cyan, it wasn’t my idea. I wasn’t the one who initiated sex between us.”

“You said we could have it and not be married. You lied!”

“We were already joined into a family unit. You were assigned to me by the council when you were released from Medical.” He paused. “Blame Councilman Zorus. He feared they would assign you to other males who would force the issue. I never would. We’re both friends with Mavo and we wanted to protect you in case you really were that human he cared so deeply for from Earth.” He paused again. “You’re safe in my care. Have I ever forced you to suffer my unwanted touch? Have I allowed other males into a family unit with us? No.”

She stared down at her hands, clutched together on her lap where she leaned against the padded headboard. She didn’t even know what to say. She felt betrayed and angry. She’d been the one to go after Krell, couldn’t deny that, but he should have told her they were married. It was just rude not to mention that detail. She inwardly snorted. Understatement! Pain came next. It hurt that he’d lied, had kept something so significant from her, and he obviously wasn’t thrilled either since he’d tried to resist her advances.

“Cyan?” His raspy voice lowered to a whisper. “Look at me.”

She lifted her gaze. “What?”

“I’m worried about you. Are you well? How do you feel? May a medic examine you?”

“I’m fine.”

“You were convulsing and lost consciousness.”

“I wasn’t totally passed out but my body shut down. I think being directly confronted and hearing those names from someone from my past caused that reaction. Names cause severe reactions. I heal fast and I’m sure no permanent damage was done. I don’t even have a headache.”

“May a medic examine you?”

“No.”

Frustration flashed across his features. “I’m still worried. You frightened me.”

“I’d probably care if you weren’t such a dick.” His concern did matter but she wasn’t going to admit that to him. “I’m really fine. May I see Mavo now?”

“No.” His fingers curled into fists. “You don’t belong to him. He has a female in his family unit.”

“He’s my friend. I want to talk to him, not ball him.”

“What?”

“Never mind. It’s a graphic sex term. I just want to talk to my friend.”

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