Authors: Angela Verdenius
“Need you ask?” The chair tipped forward, the front legs hitting the floor with a bang. “I’m all for a bit of entertainment.”
“This is going to hurt, isn’t it?” Rani queried as Learta carefully led her to the door. “If that jerk is going to be entertained, it’s going to hurt.”
“It’s not going to hurt,” Learta replied. “There was a painkiller in your wine. Now be brave.”
“No one said I had to be brave.” They disappeared out the door.
Cormac looked sideways at Fredrico and shook his head. “Boy, you deserve every hell you get for being in this murderous alien’s domain and serving him, but being stuck with that Reeka? That may be just too much punishment even for you.”
Fredrico grinned. “If she’s my punishment, then Cormac, I’ve been a very, very bad boy and need
~ * ~
The Overlord looked at Veknor. “You know where she is.”
“Good.” He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. “Very good. You all did very well, I am pleased. You can go now. I need to rest.”
Even as he said it, his face started to melt, the white slipping and stretching, the pink eyes glowing, the outline of horns curling up from his brow, blood red and glistening. His forked tongue slid out and tasted the air.
Veknor left the room and went down to his own chamber beneath the fortress. Once inside, he moved to the fire and gazed down into it. Closing his eyes, he slid up inside himself higher and higher, going through black fog and into grey wisps that trailed through his sanctuary.
He felt her almost immediately, a young presence that was yet hidden from him.
::Thank you for freeing me.:: she whispered.
::Thank you for helping us.::
::Am I really free?::
::Are any of us?:: he countered.
::I just want to be me.::
::Sometimes it isn’t possible.:: He felt her sadness. ::But you are free for now, little one, and that counts.::
::Can I stay here awhile?::
::Of course.:: He smiled. ::As long as you want.::
There was silence for several seconds, and then she whispered, ::My name is Aria.::
::Thank you for telling me, Aria.::
::I’m going to rest for a little while, before I go. Is that all right?::
::Rest, little one, I’ll watch over you. You are safe in my sanctuary.::
::Okay. Goodnight, Veknor.::
Wanting her to trust him, to know he meant what he said, Veknor withdrew from his sanctuary, sinking lower and lower until he was once again fully conscious and staring into the fire.
“Rest, Aria,” he said quietly.
He didn’t feel quite so alone anymore.
~ * ~
Outlaw Sector, outskirts
Sinya watched his witchy wife walk back from the river. In her footsteps flowers sprang up, grass spreading in circles. The wench was a true, blue, natural gardener.
Beulah came up onto the veranda and kissed him deeply.
“Mmmm.” He kissed her back. “Disaster averted? All well with the universe?”
Dark eyes were warm with love. “All is well.”
“Oh good. How about we celebrate?” Standing up, he swept her up into his arms and strode for the door of the hut. “Nothing like a good swiving to celebrate!”
“Spoken like a true pirate.” Her laughter, light and airy, drifted through the air.
Day flyers swirled around trying to catch the notes, and flowers tilted their petals towards the origin. The river flowed lazily, and all was at peace.
~ * ~
Inner Sanctum of the Outlaw S k th wiector
Back against the headboard, Fredrico idly twirled a thick lock of Rani’s hair around his finger, marvelling at the softness. Rani was nestled in front of him, her back against his chest and her head below his chin level as she sprawled on her back between his legs.
Outside the window the rain pelted as usual and lightening cracked through the sky. No hounds bayed and for once no one was screaming. It was as though the fury of the storm had stopped all nefarious activity in and around the fortress for a short time.
“Yes?” Lifting the lock of hair to his nose, he inhaled deeply. Such a sweet, light scent that was all Rani.
“Are you sniffing my hair?”
“Was that your original question?”
“No. Do you know what I discovered today?” Rani tilted her head back to look up at him. He smiled down at her and she felt warm and safe and very loved.
. She’d never expected to find that in this fortress with the very man who had delivered her to The Overlord.
“You know, by all accounts I should have slit your throat while you slept,” she mused.
“Really?” No longer surprised by some of her comments, Fredrico continued to look down at her with lazy amusement. “Was that part of the original question, too?”
“No.” Lifting herself up from him, she turned to kneel between his thighs.
“Mind your rib.” He reached out quickly to steady her.
“Learta is a mystical healer, which figures in this place. I don’t know what she did but my rib feels like new. Or maybe it’s just the pain killers. Great stuff, by the way.” Growing serious again, she looked at him soberly. “Fredrico.”
He studied her face.
“I learned something today.” He waited patiently as he always did, so attentive. She continued, “Twice I nearly lost you today and I discovered something.”
His ruthless eyes were intent. It sent a shiver of warmth through her.
Not put off by his silence, she reached out to rub a strand of his blond hair between her fingers. “I learned that I can face anything this hellhole and its weird enemies can throw at me so long as you’re by my side.” Smoothing the hair across his shoulder, she added softly, “I’ve learned that I can live in this hellhole and do all manner of despicable things to save my tribe and the Lawful Sector, as long as you’re by my side.” Her fingers trailed across his chest, tracing the already healing wounds. “I’ve learned that I’m thinking and doing things I would never have done in my other life. But most of all...” She lifted her gaze to lock with his. “Most of all, I’ve learned that I can only do any of these things with you by my side. With you by my side, I’m not alone.”
His hands came up to span her waist, tugging her forward gently until she was lying against his chest with their mouths hovering inches apart. Fredrico looked her right in the eyes, his words a warm puff on her lips. “What are you saying, Rani? Truly saying?”
“I nearly lost you twice today and it made me realize that I love you.” Sliding her arms around his neck, she pressed her lips lightly to his. “I love you, Fredrico.”nt>
Satisfaction flared in his eyes. “I told you so.”
She started to laugh, only to have it cut off by his mouth coming up to crush hers in a kiss that was pure possession and all heat.
“I love you.” He whispered. “I’ll always protect you no matter what.”
“The same,” she whispered back, her he
art full to overflowing.
He claimed her mouth again.
The warmth between them was swirling with violet, tender and filling, binding them even closer in a knot they would never escape.
Fredrico shifted, rolling over to pin Rani beneath him as he continued to kiss her in long, drugging attention.
When he finally lifted his head, his lips were sensuous and damp from their kiss. His eyes crinkled at the corners as he gazed lovingly down at her. “There’s no escape for you now, warrior.”
“Was there ever?”
“Do you want to?”
“I asked first.” She rubbed her foot teasingly up the back of his calf. “I’m feeling very unloved right now.”
“Mmmm. What are you going to do about it?”
“Let me see.” He nibbled her bottom lip, sending sparks through her.
“Is this little episode going to be naughty or nice?” she queried, eyes gleaming.
“You did say something about your arse being hurt.” His eyes went hot. “And me kissing it better.”
She felt his darkness trickle through her, and her rising orange flame licked deep inside her. “I believe I also said something about sucking you dry and pumping you back up again.”
“Ah. I’d almost forgotten that. Naughty it is, then.”
Angela Verdenius lives in Australia, where she is ruled by her cats, adores reading, and thinks a perfect day is writing and drinking Diet Coke, followed by reading or a good horror movie.
To date, she has written numerous novels in sci-fi romance series and BBW contemporary romances, 2 novellas, and several short stories, one of which is a zombie story she had great fun writing. Her books have won many reviewers’ awards, as well as having been on the Fictionwise best-seller list and winning the Golden Rose Award.
For more information about Angela’s books, visit:
Visit her website at
The lighter side of life on her blog
And her Author Page at
Keep reading for listings of books available in ebook and print.
Big Girls Lovin’ trilogy:
The Lawson Boys duet -
The Lawson Boys: Alex
The Lawson Boys: Marty
The Virgin Sex Queen
The Mackay Sisters duet:
Call on Me
Lean on Me
Heart & Soul sci-fi/futuristic romance series
Heart of an Outlaw
Soul of a Mercenary
Heart of the Betrayed
Love’s Sweet Assassin
Soul of a Hunter
Love’s Bewitching Thief
Heart of the Forsaken
Soul of a Witch
Heart of a Traitor
Soul of the Forgotten
Love’s Beguiling Healer
Heart of a Peacekeeper
Soul of a Predator
Love’s Winsome Warrior
Heart of a Smuggler
Soul of a Guardian
Love, Heart & Soul Moments
Novellas - Operation Seduction (BBW)
Blast from the Past
Short Stories - Zombie Hospital
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