Taunting Krell Page 31

“No,” Krell hissed.

Cyan was at a loss for words. Mavo and Deviant stood in front of some of the councilmen she’d met at Medical. There had to be ten or more of them and she was glad to see her friend but confused by his angry expression as he glared at Krell. Mavo dropped his gaze to seek her out.

“I’ve come for you,” Mavo informed her softly. “You are no longer joined in a family unit with Krell. My son and I have the support of the council to take you away from him.”

“What?” Surprise rolled through her.

“I petitioned the council and they agree that you shouldn’t have been assigned to any male. I spoke to my female and while she wasn’t happy, she understands my association with you. You are officially considered my daughter, under my protection and that of my son Deviant. We’ve come to take you to my home.”

Krell suddenly surged forward, grabbed Mavo by the front of his shirt and the council members gasped. They scrambled to get out of the way as both men were propelled into the hallway. Cyan was so stunned she couldn’t move until Mavo’s back hit the wall and Krell roared out.

“She’s mine and you had no authority.”

Mavo gripped his hands. “You had no right to hide the news that she’d been returned to us and to keep her. Put me down and stop this immediately.”

Deviant stepped into Krell’s home and held out his hand. “Come with me and my father, Cyan.”

She stared at the unusually dark-skinned cyborg, letting it sink in that he was Mavo’s son. “No.”

“You’ll be safe. My father and mother have adopted you, in a sense, and you’ll be safe living in my father’s home.”

She gaped at him.

“You want her, Deviant.” Krell dropped Mavo, spun, glared at the other cyborg and growled. “Don’t deny it.”

Deviant shrugged. “I believe I know much about her after all my father’s stories. I’ve heard about her my entire life.”

Jazel, the female council woman with the pale hair, shoved the men out of her way. “Enough. This is unacceptable. We are better than behaving as if we’re poorly trained humans. What is next? A fight with fists?” She turned her head to peer at Cyan. “You’ve been released from your family unit, your status has been changed to human regardless of your enhanced body, and Mavo has claimed you as his daughter. You may leave with your father.”

Cyan threw up her hands. “Wait a damn minute. Doesn’t anyone care what I want?”

“No,” Krell snarled. “They do not.”

Her gaze landed on Mavo. “We need to talk.” She glanced at Krell. “Alone.”

Anger tightened his features. “I knew you would choose him.” Pain flashed across his handsome features, he didn’t even attempt to hide it, and then he stormed down the hallway out of sight.

Mavo smoothed his wrinkled uniform and approached her. “It will be fine, E—” He paused. “Cyan.”

She reached out, gripped his arm, pulled him inside Krell’s home and shot Deviant a glare. “Get out.”

“My father—”

“Out!” She kept hold of Mavo and used her finger to point. “Leave.”

Deviant wasn’t happy but stepped out into the hallway. Cyan tugged Mavo inside until the door slid shut to afford them some privacy. She realized it probably pissed off the council but she didn’t care. She released Mavo and faced him, her hands gripping her hips.

“Why did you do that?”

He appeared confused. “I’m saving you.”

“From Krell?”

“Yes.” His green eyes narrowed. “He was irrational, threatened to kill me, and prevented me from talking to you. You’ve found me and I mean to protect you.”

“From Krell?”


“Damn.” She sighed, staring up at him. “Did you think you might want to ask me first? You know how I hate people doing that crap. How many times did you used to listen to me bitch about how everyone would always make decisions for me in the ruse of protecting me?”

“E—” He groaned. “I’m trying to adjust to your new name. I don’t want to harm you again by saying the other one.”

“I appreciate that. The stabbing pain to my head sucks. Just talk to me without using names. You’ll adjust in time.”

“Fine. Krell isn’t known for his ability to get along with others and he’s acting irrational when it comes to you. I imagined you would be relieved to be free of him. We can finally be together.”

“You’re married.”

He frowned. “Yes. I adopted you.”

“I’m an adult. That’s kind of weird.”

“I always thought of you as a daughter.”

Ouch. Good thing I’m not infatuated with him anymore or that would really hurt instead of just sting a tiny bit. She hesitated.

“I failed you once when I abandoned you on Earth. I should have ignored your reasoning and carried you away.”

“I would have died.”

“I read the reports the council created on you as soon as we contacted Garden.” Rage darkened his features. “You did die. That’s how you ended up changed.”

“True, but you’re missing the point. I’m still here because I stayed on Earth and this happened. I hated it at first. I was in shock after I woke, but it didn’t totally suck. The height thing gets to me but I adjusted and grew into being a new person. It’s me now. I’m not the same person and as much as I appreciate you trying to protect me, you’re not.”

“No one will tell you who to be with.”

“My point exactly. It’s my choice and no one asked me if I wanted to leave Krell.”

Some of his anger faded. “You care for him?”

“Duh. Yes. We have our problems but we’re trying to work through them.”

Mavo’s features paled slightly. “I’ve made things worse. I’m so sorry.”

“You didn’t know. You totally get an A for effort though. I appreciate that. It’s why I’m not yelling.”

A smile tugged at his lips. “I’ve missed you.”

She smiled back and stepped into him, wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him tightly. “I missed you too.”

Strong arms wrapped around her and he placed a kiss on the top of her head. “I was hoping that you’d be attracted to my son. He’s very similar to me.” He chuckled. “I want the best for you.”

She laughed. “Still as conceited as ever.”

“Still as mouthy as ever.”

“Some things never change.”

He held her tighter. “You mean the world to me.” His voice grew gruff. “Leaving you behind destroyed me and I’ve grieved the loss all these years.”

“It’s a good thing I’m tough to kill and your creator was a genius.” She fought back tears. “The new bod is pretty kickass and it was for the best. No more grieving allowed for a live person.”

He chuckled. “You’re officially my daughter. I insist on keeping that ruling in place.”

“Awesome. I’m not calling you Daddy though. I’d need therapy.”

He pulled back a little to give her a confused look. “Why?”

“I had a crush on you once.”

His lips parted in surprise.

“Don’t worry. I’m so over it. We’re good.”

“I didn’t realize.”

“It doesn’t matter. What does is that Krell took off and I’m in love with him.”

“I’ll find him and bring him back.” Mavo released her. “I’ll fix this. I’ll petition the council to reinstate your family unit immediately.”

She shook her head. “Don’t. If Krell wants me, he can get the paperwork done to reinstate our marriage. I don’t want someone telling us how to live without each of us having a say in it first, this time around. I’m not leaving him unless he asks me to.”

“He’s completely irrational where you are concerned.” Mavo grinned. “There’s no paperwork on Garden. We hold meetings. You’re irresistible and he never stood a chance. I should have seen through his rage to the reason behind it. He stopped me from taking you aboard the Vontage because he didn’t want the two of you parted. He loves you.”

“I hope so.” She crossed her fingers. “Now could you leave and take the circus outside with you? I doubt he’ll return until they are gone.”

Mavo chuckled. “Done on the condition that you see me often. We’re family.”

“Try to keep me away. I’ve got to meet this wife of yours. She must be something to have landed you.”

His smile faded. “It’s not a love match but we get along well and she’s given me two sons. I was her fourth addition into her family unit and I’m not her primary male.”

“I’m sorry.”

He shrugged. “Things are what they must be for our survival. They aren’t ideal but we’re striving to make them better. We’re happier now than we ever were on Earth.”

“You know I’m going to raise hell for things to change.”

“I look forward to it.” He laughed. “I almost feel sorry for the council after seeing what you used to do to your fath— When you disagreed with how things were run. Remember that you love me.”

“Remember to ask me first next time you want to do what is best for me and we’ll be good. Otherwise I’ll reprogram something of yours to go haywire.”

Mavo laughed. “I’ve missed you.”

“Ditto. Go, and take them with you. I’ve got the grim cyborg to talk to.”

“I’d tell you good luck but you won’t need it. You’re the most determined female I’ve ever met. He doesn’t stand a chance.”

Cyan watched Mavo open the door and leave. She turned and walked through Krell’s home, wondering how long he’d be gone. Time might be a good thing considering she had some plotting to do.

She never wanted to return to Earth. She didn’t have any ties there. The people she loved were on Garden. They were her family now. She belonged with the cyborgs and to one in particular.

* * * * *

Krell wandered aimlessly through the streets, attempting to think but hurt and anger made it nearly impossible. He’d been betrayed by his best friend, a male he considered a brother, who had taken his female. Cyan had an attachment to Mavo and they had a history.

His teeth ground together. It had taken Mavo under a minute to identify Cyan as Emily Pleva, the daughter of their creator and the savior of cyborgs. He’d trusted her instantly, unlike Krell. She had every reason to wish to leave with Mavo and to live in his home.

Krell’s hands fisted. Deviant, that devious cyborg, wants Cyan bad. He growled, drawing attention from passing cyborgs, but ignored them all. Loss and jealousy battled inside his mind as he wandered the streets.

He regretted not having the time to talk to Cyan before the council and his friends had arrived at his door. He should have ignored it but he’d had no way of knowing they’d act so quickly to remove her from his home. For once he had something, someone, to live for. He’d learned to care and to feel happiness. The cold reserve he always carried had slipped away to admit the sexy and mouthy little female instead.

He stopped walking and spun around on his booted heel. He wasn’t going to allow her to go without a fight. A plan formed in his head as he hurried home. He’d grab a bag, go after Cyan and steal a shuttle. He just needed a few days with her to convince her that he was the male for her.

She’d argue and perhaps fight with him physically when he kidnapped her but a smile played at his lips as he considered that concept. He enjoyed making up with Cyan. She’d get over her temper soon enough. They had chemistry and feelings were involved.

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