I glanced at the toilet. A sheer pink sheath draped the lid. I lifted the material between pinched fingers. Pantaloons and a halter top. They were dressing me like a harem slut. Wonderful.

Frowning, I turned on the shower by punching the labeled buttons. Hot spray instantly misted the porcelain tub. I didn’t climb inside, however. I spent most of my fifteen minutes watching the door and finding ways to hide my blades under the new sheer outfit.

Only once did someone try to sneak inside. As the knob turned, I said, “Do it and die.” The door remained firmly shut after that, not opening until I knocked and said, “All done.”

In the end, I only managed to conceal one knife. I wrapped it around the back shoulder strap of the top’s internal bra. The other, well, I had to chuck it between slabs of wood on the floor.

I would have liked to study my reflection in the mirror. I’m sure I appeared dainty and fragile, a sex slave desperate for her master’s attentions. The low-riding bottoms started at the flare of my hips, and my shirt—if it could be called that—ended just under my br**sts.

My two guards were frowning when they opened the door, but their eyes widened and their mouths dropped when they spied me. Balls even reached out to trace his finger over my collarbone, but I gripped the offending appendage and twisted. He yelped and used his other hand to slap me.

I felt a sharp sting, and my head snapped to the side. Slowly, I faced him with narrowed eyes and wiped at my now throbbing lip. Warm wetness greeted my fingers.

A gleam of horror entered his brown eyes. “You tell anyone I did that,” he said quietly, menacingly, “and I’ll kill you.”

Oh, how I wanted to slit his throat just then, but I did nothing. I nodded as if I cared about the warning. He backed off, pivoted on his heel, and strode away.

“You okay?” Cologne asked, his concern unwanted and unneeded.

“I’m fine.”

“Time to go, then.” He nudged my shoulder, a demand to move. My gaze bore into Balls’s back as I followed him into the living room the guards had been cleaning earlier. The moment I stepped inside and saw what awaited me, I froze. My abrupt stop caused Cologne to ram into my back, shoving me forward. He tried to help me regain my balance, but I slapped his hands away.

When I steadied my feet, my pulse leapt and my blood alternately heated and chilled. This was it. My sale. The cleaning crew was gone, and in their place was Jonathan Parker, Lucius, and another man, an other-worlder I didn’t recognize.

My gaze locked with Lucius’s. I was beyond happy to see him. He gave an almost imperceptible nod of his head before his eyes narrowed on the bruise on my lip.

Fighting a smile, I forced my attention elsewhere. The other-worlder seated next to him was a Targon, the most feared race of warriors ever to come to Earth. Our government would do anything to have a few of them fighting for us. They were a tall, built race, to be sure, but that wasn’t their main worth. Their telekinetic abilities surpassed even the Arcadians.

This one was handsome, as muscled as any man I’d ever seen. He had dark hair, eerie amber eyes. Light, light skin. He was wearing a gold necklace with a dull, ugly stone in the center. My gaze narrowed on it. Was it used for interworld travel?

When would EenLi arrive? A wave of impatience crashed through me, and I wasn’t sure how I would react when I saw the bastard.

“I’m so glad everyone could make it,” a heavily accented voice suddenly proclaimed.


Heart drumming erratically, I quickly scanned the room. Where was he? I didn’t see—I sucked in a breath. There, on the large holoscreen above the couch, was EenLi’s smug, smiling, ugly face. He glowed bright pink. He was very happy with himself.

Disappointment nearly felled me, nearly dropped me to my knees. I’d expected him here, to see to the details of this sale in person. Damn. Damn!

His bald head gleamed brightly in the fluorescent lighting. That same lighting made his large, pupil-less white eyes and pink skin appear translucent. Very eerie. And completely at odds with his cowboy shirt and the red bandana tied around his neck.

I desperately wanted this bastard dead. He was evil incarnate, and he deserved to die. I felt as if I’d been waiting forever, and now it seemed I had to wait even longer. Technology allowed for many things, but we still couldn’t assassinate a man through a television. Damn this, and damn me!

Lucius and I were now at a major disadvantage. If either of us acted, we wouldn’t get EenLi and we’d blow our covers and most likely be killed in the ensuing crossfire. And therewould be crossfire. Guards were posted all through the house; the moment they heard gunshots or screaming, they’d rush inside this room. If Lucius and I were killed, the women below would be sentenced to a life of rape, humiliation, and servitude. I couldn’t let that happen.

I exhaled a breath, fighting past my disappointment, not knowing what to do at this point.

I cast my gaze at the men sitting on the couch, noticing little details I’d missed before. Each man held a cigar and a glass of Scotch. How quaint. A real bonding moment for them.

“You,” I said to Lucius, trying to act shocked and horrified when the image of him gave me my only sense of peace. If EenLi knew I was an agent, I didn’t want him to suspect who I was really working with. I leveled a faux pleading gaze on Parker, even tried to rush to him before Balls grabbed my arm and stopped me. “Jonathan, you have to help me. I’ve been abducted, and—”

“I know, darling.” He sipped at his Scotch as cigar smoke curled in front of his face. “You shouldn’t have been such a naughty girl.”

I uttered an I’m-so-scared gasp while I mentally pictured his demise.Rot in hell, you son of a bitch.

“Touch my property again,” Lucius ground out, his dark, slitted gaze shooting blazes of fire at Cologne and Balls, “and I’ll cut off your hands.” He slammed his glass and cigar onto the table, causing a loudboom.

Both guards instantly jumped away from me. I really,really liked it when Lucius went all commando.

From the screen, EenLi laughed. The sound of his voice echoed from nearby speakers. “Patience, human,” he said. His skin pinkened further. “She’s not yours yet.” With a simple wave of his fingers, he commanded the guards to return to me. “Keep her still.”

Hesitantly, the men gripped my forearms and held me in place. As I stood there, those on the couch surveyed me. “I want to know who struck her,” Lucius demanded. “She was to be brought here unharmed.”

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