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Authors: Mardi Maxwell

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BOOK: Soren's Bondmate
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"Be still," he said and she froze. "Did you give me this mating fever?"

"No." She shoved away from him, sat up and wrapped the fur around her shoulders. She dropped the fur and a nano-unit later she was clothed and walking away.

He followed her, unconcerned with his naked state. "From here you wouldn't have been able to identify the ship or know it was occupied."

Skye looked around the room then back at him and reluctantly admitted, "When I saw the crash I had to investigate it. I couldn't resist."

"This has gotten you into trouble in the past?"

"Yes. A few times."

"Tell me how you risked your life to save me. In what way?"

"It is thirty degrees below zero out there." She waved toward the window. "And, then there's the Groaners and predators. Any one of them could have killed me."

Soren frowned. "From now on you will not risk your life. If you endanger yourself I will punish you."

Skye took the statement as a challenge and met it. "Just how do you think you'd be able to do that?"

"Are you challenging me, Skye?"

"If I am?"

"You'll lose and be punished," Soren said.

Skye's curiosity kicked in and she asked, "How would you punish me?"

"I—females are spanked." He grimaced then rubbed his temple.

Skye hurried to him and laid her hand on his chest. "Are you in pain?" She brushed his hand away and pressed her palm against his temple while she called on her powers to heal him. After a few moments she felt him relax. "Better now?"

Soren nodded. "Every time I remember something about my past I feel pain."

"You remembered that females are spanked where you come from?"

"Yes."

"That's never going to happen to me," she said as she took his hand and led him to the chairs. "Sit down and try to relax. Are you hungry? Thirsty?"

"You have been warned, Skye. If you defy me I will spank you." Soren held up his hand when she would have interrupted him. "I have more questions. You said an enchantress gets their energy from being cared for and cherished. Who does this before they have a mate?"

"Family members. Parents and siblings although my parents died seven annuals ago and I only have one brother."

"What happens to a Krystali female if she chooses the wrong male?"

"That only happens if one of us is forced to mate, or really stupid, but she would become weak, lose her powers and eventually die." Skye produced a hot drink for him and a plate of sweet bread. "Try to eat something."

Soren ignored the food. "Will your brother's love for you continue to sustain you now that we're mated?"

"No. Only you can do that now."

"If something happened to me would your brother be able to sustain you then?"

Skye shook her head. "I'd die as well. Krystali females mate for life. They live and die with their warrior."

"What happens to you if I don't take care of you?"

"I'd still have the powers I have now but using them would weaken me and it would take a long time for me to build up my energy again." She tried to think of a way to explain it to him. "I'm like a weapon that has to be charged. A strong, steady current makes me very powerful. A weak, interrupted current makes me weak."

"I don't love you," Soren said.

"You don't have to love me, although it would be nice if you did but as long as you agree to protect me and are kind to me I'll be okay." She smiled. "My brother will be back to see me in about two moon phases. We could use that time to get to know each other and see how it goes."

Soren took a sip of his drink then set it down. "According to you we have to stay together."

"Wouldn't it be better to stay together because we want to rather than resent our mating?"

"You claimed me. I didn't claim you." Soren frowned. "This feels wrong to me. Knowing you can read my mind feels wrong to me. Trusting you feels wrong to me."

"I can teach you to link with my mind then you'd know my thoughts and memories," Skye said.

"And, you'd be able to know mine."

Skye leaned toward him. "I learned only a few things about you when I healed your wounds. When you woke your memories were gone. I could try to bring them back if you like."

"I'll think about it and let you know. In the meantime you can teach me to use krystal as a weapon."

Skye cut a slice of sweet bread and offered it to him. "We'll begin after we eat."

 

 

Chapter Four

 

Skye led Soren into a clearing behind a high bluff that blocked the wind. "We can practice here."

Soren pushed the hood of his cloak away and glanced around. The high walls trapped the sun, warming the area. He removed his gloves and dropped them to the ground. Skye copied him and he frowned when he saw her shove her hair away from her face. He'd hurried her out of the shelter and she hadn't had time to braid it. "Skye, come to me."

She smiled as she walked toward him then reached out and laid her hand on his chest.

He grasped her shoulders, turned her around, then gathered her hair and pulled it from her cloak.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"Braiding your hair."

She glanced over her shoulder, smiled and turned around to hug him. "Thank you."

He hugged her, patted her back then turned her around again and combed his fingers through the long strands of her golden hair. He separated it into several thick bunches and began braiding it. When he reached the end she offered him a thin leather cord to use to secure it. He wrapped it around the end several times before tying it in a knot. She leaned back against him and he tugged on her braid until she tipped her head back. Their eyes met. She looked happy. "Is this what you call taking care of you?"

"Yes."

He nodded, brushed a kiss across her lips and released her. "Teach me to cast krystal."

Skye moved a few steps away. "We'll begin with white krystal. It's easier to handle and not as dangerous as dark krystal. Hold out your hands."

He did and gloves covered them. They fit him like a second, tougher skin. He flexed his fingers then examined the palm area. The material there was grooved with a rough texture.

"The gloves will help protect your hand and the texture will help you hold onto the krystal." She smiled. "Ready?"

He nodded.

"Which hand do you use to hold your sword?"

"Both," he said.

Skye laughed. "That's wonderful. It means you can throw with both hands. Which one do you want to start with?"

Soren held out his left hand.

"Hold your fingers together, palm up," she said and a nano-unit later a ten inch long shard of white krystal appeared on his fingers. The middle few inches were smooth but the rest of it had eight razor sharp edges and ended in needle-sharp points at either end. "Close your hand around the center then throw it the way you would a knife but be sure to release it immediately or it will slice your fingers even through the gloves."

Soren weighed the piece in his hand then wrapped his fingers around it and threw it. As it left his hand an edge slid across his fingers, making a deep cut. "Damn it." He shook his hand and drops of blood flew from the cut before they fell to the ground. Skye cupped his hand between hers and a moment later he felt a warm tingling and the wound stopped stinging. When she stepped back the pain was gone and even his glove was repaired. "Thank you, little one."

Skye smiled. "Ready to try again?"

He answered by holding his hand out again. Another shard appeared. He threw it toward a group of boulders at the far end of the clearing but cut himself again and she healed him again.

"Damn it. It can't be that hard." With a determined expression on his face he held out his hand again. Another piece appeared and he threw it. This time it only made a shallow cut. She healed it and he held out his hand again.

Two units later, Soren frowned at the pile of broken shards that surrounded his target then threw the shard he held, aiming for a small boulder at the far end of the clearing. It hit and he smiled. "Okay, I've got it now," he said and held out his hand. Shard after shard appeared and was thrown, hitting smaller and smaller targets.

When he held out his hand and a shard didn't appear he looked behind him and found Skye sitting on the ground next to a large boulder. Her face was pale with dark shadows beneath her eyes. She smiled but her lips trembled as her body began to tip sideways toward the ground. He barely reached her in time.

"What's wrong?" He pulled her into his arms and she collapsed against him, dropping her head to his shoulder.

"Answer me, Skye. What's wrong?"

"I need—need," her voice faded away as she went limp in his arms.

He held her up as he covered her head with the hood and wrapped the cloak around her then lifting her into his arms and retraced their steps back to the shelter. Once there he woke her so she could form an opening for them. As soon as she did and he carried her inside the door closed behind them and she fell asleep again.

He carried her to the bed, laid her down and removed her cloak. She shivered so he started the hot water running in the tub while he undressed them. He lowered them into the steaming tub with her on his lap and tipped her back on one arm while he examined her face. She was still pale but he thought she had a little color in her cheeks. "Come on, baby, wake up."

He scooped handfuls of water over her shoulders and breasts. Gradually her body began to warm but she never stirred. When the water cooled he stood, dried them off then moved into the living area where he wrapped her in a blanket and sat down with her on his lap. She felt slightly warmer but he thought her body temperature was still below normal.

Remembering how cold she'd gotten with the mating fever he wondered if that was the cause or if it was something else. Had producing krystal for him and healing his subsequent wounds weakened her? He'd spent many units practicing without speaking to her or even acknowledging her presence. Had his disregard for her needs done this to her?

At a loss, he pulled her against him and placed her head on his shoulder then rubbed his hands over her back. "Come on, Skye. Wake up and tell me how to help you." He placed a trail of kisses over her forehead and cheek to her lips. Gradually she grew warmer and a soft rose color blossomed on her cheeks. Even the way her body felt lying against him was different, more relaxed rather than the limpness of unconsciousness.

"Is this all you need, little heart?" He brushed his hand over her hair and down her braid stopping at the leather he'd wrapped around it earlier in the cycle. She'd been happy then, smiling and laughing, because he'd done something as simple as braiding her hair.

He was beginning to understand that for her it was a circle of giving and receiving then giving again and onward. He'd told her he didn't love her and he didn't. How could he when he didn't know who he was? For all he knew he might have a mate somewhere. Maybe even children. At the thought an image of two little boys, twins, flashed in his mind. They stood with a warrior who looked like him but he knew that all three of them had gray eyes. Before he could hold onto the memory it disappeared. He tried to force the image to appear again and received a sharp pain in his temple instead. Cursing, he rested his head on the back of the chair, pulled Skye against his chest and closed his eyes.

# # #

Skye smiled in her sleep as she joined Soren in his dream. They strolled hand-in-hand through a beautiful garden with a white marble gazebo. Coral colored flowers bloomed on a thick vine that covered the structure. Their fragrance sweetened the air. He pulled her to a stop, picked one of the flowers then turned to her and threaded it into her hair.

"My father calls this flower 'Warrior's Delight' in honor of my mother," he said.

She reached out and touched the edge of a blossom then smiled at him. "Everything's so beautiful and peaceful here." She leaned against him while she looked at the garden and the sparkling white house in the distance. "I wish we could stay here forever and never return to Krystali."

He nudged her chin up. "Why? Don't you like your home?"

"The Crimeryn's have destroyed it. There's so much pain and death there. I can't get away from it and yet it's all I've ever known."

"Can't you block their suffering?"

"No, but you could do it for me if you wanted to. It's another way you protect me." She hugged her arms around his waist and rested against him.

"How else do I protect you or make you strong?"

"When you let me link with your mind I feel your emotions. They make me strong."

"Because you know I'll keep you safe."

She nodded. "Yes. I waited so long for you. Yearned for you. Thank you for taking care of me, Soren."

The sound of her own voice woke Skye. A heavy arm lay across her waist. The last thing she remembered was being cold and tired. Now she was warm and comfortable. The arm tightened and pulled her against a hard chest. She looked up into Soren's eyes.

"Were you just in my mind, Skye?"

"We were dreaming together." She smiled then let her smile fade as she realized he was angry. "When I'm asleep my mind searches for yours." She dropped her eyes, hiding the distress in them. "I'll try to control it."

Soren brushed his hand over her hair and down her braid. "How do you feel?"

"What?" she asked not understanding at first why he would ask her that. Then, remembering the previous cycle she said, "Fine." She hesitated for a moment then asked, "How did I get here?"

He frowned. "You passed out. I carried you home."

"I didn't realize how weak I was getting. I'll be more careful in the future."

"This won't happen again, Skye. We'll discover how much krystal you can conjure before you weaken."

"I've conjured more kyrstal than this for Berit when we've fought."

Her statement surprised him. "You can conjure krystal for your brother?"

"Yes but only you can handle dark krystal."

"How long could you fight with your brother?"

"A long time but he loves me." She paused then rushed on while she patted his arm. "It's okay though. I'll let you know when I start feeling weak."

BOOK: Soren's Bondmate
6.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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