The Princess and her Bounty Hunter: Alien Romance (Fated to the Alien: The Psychic Matchmaker Book 2) (9 page)

BOOK: The Princess and her Bounty Hunter: Alien Romance (Fated to the Alien: The Psychic Matchmaker Book 2)
7.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Once through the first door, she ducked behind a table before standing slowly and looking around, checking there wasn’t anyone in here who was going to blast her out of existence. She assumed the bad guys would not have their guns set to stun. They would be out to kill her. Unless Mak was right and this whole thing was a setup, with Larka as bait for a princess. That meant she had played straight into their hands, a thought that did not sit well with Tiana.

Going home after rescuing Larka would be bad enough; being captured and then traded by these Maraki back to her father would be impossible to bear.

So let’s not allow that to happen,
she told herself.

“Tiana. I have reconnected with Mak. Or at least he is allowing me to hear what is being said. There are six separate voices in the next room. One of which is Mak, the other is a girl, and the other four are unknown males.”

“Four. Great, I’m not sure I can take them all out.”

“They have a gun to the girl’s head.”

“Oh, damn it.”

“You have to go on,” Stellia said. How could she sense Tiana’s reservations?

“What if she ends up dead?”

“Is that any worse than what they are threatening to do to her if she lives through this and is still their captive?”

Tiana closed her eyes, tears threatening, but she blinked them away. “I don’t know. Isn’t any life better than no life?”

“I do not have the experience to answer that question,” Stellia answered.

“Sorry, that was insensitive of me.”

“Do not be sorry. It means a lot to me that you think of me as a sentient being.”

“You sometimes sound more sentient than most other people I have met, Stellia.” She took a deep breath. “Let’s do this.”

She plunged forward, kicking the door open, surveying the room quickly and letting off two shots, hitting two of the men in the chest and halving her adversaries. She reached for the second laser, which was charged and ready to fire, but a voice commanded her to stop.

“I could break this little girl’s neck. One tug of my arm and she is dead.”

Tania hesitated. It gave the other man in the room enough time to act, and he raised a laser, aiming it at Tiana’s head.

“There now, we all just need to chill,” said the guy pointing his laser at her. “That means you need to put your gun down, Princess, or this little girl will be parting ways with this world.”

Tiana looked at Larka, whose eyes were red-rimmed, and each breath she took was a huge shuddering sob. “Are you OK, Larka?”

Larka nodded, but the man who had held of her gripped her tighter, making her squeak. Tiana’s hand involuntarily tightened around her laser, her finger itching to pull the trigger. She was playing it out in her mind, over and over, but she could not see how she could shoot the two men without either her or Larka ending up dead. Unless…

Where exactly was Mak? She knew he was in here and that he must be conscious, because Stellia said his comms was on; that was how she knew how many people were in the room.

“Looking for loverboy?” the guy with the gun asked. “He’s a little tied up.”

“Is that the best you can do?” she asked, sneering at this attempt at a joke.

“The best I can do is kill him, and then take you back to Daddy myself and demand we get married. You and me will make some fine babies.” He licked his lips. “And I can show you such a good time. You’ll learn to like it rough.”

Bile bit the back of her throat. The thought of being with a man like this was sickening. Surely her father would never make her marry someone like this! But wasn’t that what he had been grooming her for her whole life? To marry for the good of the planet. He had spoken a lot lately about opening new trade routes, and helping their planet prosper from new ventures.

It also confirmed one thing. These were the people responsible for shooting her down. They must have been trying to capture her, and use her as leverage. Would her father really give in to such demands?

“Let the girl go.” Tiana held her gun firmly, not letting it dip down, not wavering at all. “Big men don’t need to hide behind little girls. Or are you afraid?”

“Afraid of what?”

“Going one to one with a woman?”

He laughed. “Don’t waste your breath. You will not taunt me into doing something stupid. This has all been well thought out, I promise you. Although I didn’t really believe you would take the bait. Not really. I thought you would get Daddy to send his guards. But my informant told me he didn’t consider the girl worth it. But you did. Didn’t you? Too loyal for your own good.”

“I will kill you,” she said, feeling the buzz of the charged laser in her hand, as the electricity demanded to be loosed on its victim.

“No, you won’t. You might be able to free this little one.” He stroked Larka’s hair. “But she will end up an orphan and you wouldn’t want her to experience the loss of her mother, would you? You know exactly how much that hurts.”

Tiana looked at Larka, and saw the fear in the child’s eyes. “What did you do?”

“We decided that a mother and her child should not be separated.” The man grinned, knowing he had won. “That gives us leverage.” Larka began to cry. “Now, put your gun down.”

“Larka, we can get to your mom first.”

The man laughed. “We have a two-day head start.”

“But we have a warp drive. Latest upgrade. Right, Mak?” Tiana called to the man lying on the floor, still not moving.

It was a relief when his voice answered. “Right. We can be there in two hours.”

Suddenly the man holding Larka began to choke, clutching at his throat and losing the girl he had held so cruelly. Tiana didn’t hesitate. She fired her laser at his accomplice, knocking him clean out. Then she turned it on the one kneeling on the floor, who was clutching at his throat and aimed, but the blood coming out of his throat told her he was already dead.

“What the hell!” Tiana yelled “Who the hell did that?” She ran to Larka and grasped her hand, pulling her to the ground and covering her head with her arms.

“The comms device I gave you was modified. It gave me the ability to see inside the room and shoot the assailant,” Stellia’s voice said.

“You shot him?” Tiana asked.


“What if you had missed?” Tiana asked, still holding on to Larka, trying to shield her eyes from the man bleeding out on the floor.

“I never miss. I have accuracy of…”

“Not now, Stellia. Thank you.”

“You are welcome.”

“That’s not what I was th… Never mind. Let’s just get out of here.”

She got to her feet, holding Larka close to her and then heading over to Mak.

“How are you, Larka? Did they hurt you?” Tiana asked.

Larka shook her head, and then looked up at Tiana with her large blue eyes, that looked as if they were filled with tears, but she held them in. “Two hours. You are sure?”

“To get to your mom. I am certain. Mak’s ship goes really fast.” She cupped Larka’s face in her hand, and then said, “We’ll get to your mom. But we have to get Mak up and onto his ship.”

Larka loosed her hand and they both knelt down next to Mak, who was still drowsy. “What did they hit you with?”

“A scatter gun. Haven’t seen one of those for decades.”

“Can you walk?” Tiana asked, putting his arm around her and lifting him up.

“Just about,” he said.

“We should have come in here together,” Tiana said hotly.

“I’ll take that into account next time,” he grinned at her, looking like his old self, which made her more relieved than she would like to admit.

Deep inside she knew she was starting to have feelings for this man. But their relationship would never be accepted by her father, and it would be cruel to allow either of them to think otherwise.

“Come on, that ship of yours is waiting.”

With that they left the warehouse and boarded the ship. Soon the planet of Haripor would be far behind them, and they would be reuniting Larka with her mom. But what happened after that, she wasn’t sure.

Their home planet was no longer safe. If the Maraki had attempted this once, they would do so again. Larka and Kilma were suddenly her responsibility, and she wasn’t sure what to do.

Chapter Thirteen – Mak

“Dropping from warp, in three, two, one.” Stellia’s voice was comfortingly normal, something he appreciated after his encounter with Maraki.

In truth, it wasn’t the Maraki he found disturbing, it was the newly discovered feelings that blossomed in his chest and were directed towards Tiana, which were growing stronger the longer he spent in her company. She was fierce, whereas he had always assumed she would be a wishy-washy princess whom he could dominate both in and out of the bedroom.

“There it is,” Larka, no more than thirteen years old, but with the continence of one much older, said. “I didn’t think I would ever see it again.”

She sobbed, and Tiana undid her seat belt before leaning across to comfort Larka. “I don’t think you can stay here, Larka. We’ll land, but we have to make arrangements with your mom.”

“Where will we go? This is our home,” Larka said.

“I don’t know yet. Let’s see if your mom has any ideas.”

Listening to them talk, he could see the close relationship between his princess, yes, that is how he saw her now, and the girl. He wondered where it stemmed from, and as soon as he had the opportunity he intended to ask Tiana; he needed the facts. He also wanted to tell her he was sorry her mom was dead. That was the effect she had on him, it was as if he was getting in touch with his feminine side. Yuck.

“You need to put your seat belt back on,” he said to Tiana. “Stellia is good, but it could still be a bumpy ride.”

She released Larka and slipped her seat belt closed with a click. “How are you feeling?” Tiana looked at him and smiled with sympathy. Did he look that bad? He certainly felt it.

Mak wanted to put a brave face on, not wanting to let Tiana know he felt like shit. Not wanting to admit that anything more strenuous than sitting in this chair was too much effort. That if his seat belt was not holding him in his seat, he would slide out of it like gloop.

“Mak?” Tiana’s voice pulled him back together, making his brain communicate with the rest of his body, which somehow felt detached.

“I’m OK. I just need to rest.”

“Once we land, you stay on Stellia and I’ll go and speak to Kilma.”

“Not a chance,” he ground out. Although he had no idea how he was going to get up from this seat, let alone leave the ship.

“You aren’t exactly in any fit state to do leave the ship.” Tiana studied him for a moment, and then her face softened. “You need to rest.” He could sense what she really wanted to say was she couldn’t protect him, not when she had Larka and Kilma to watch out for. And she was right. “I’d hate anything to happen to you,” she added.

That made him feel better. Just.

The landing was smooth, and when Stellia told them it was all clear, he stayed seated while Tiana prepared to leave the ship, armed with two of his best lasers as side arms and a comms bracelet. Stellia gave her instructions, while he simply sat there, like a useless fool.

“Thank you,” Larka said to him shyly, as Tiana spoke to Stellia.

“You are welcome,” Mak replied. He met her eyes, and saw the fear there. “It’ll be OK. Tiana will fix this for you.”

“But we can’t stay here, and her dad doesn’t like us, so we can’t go and live with her. So where do we go?” Larka asked.

“Why doesn’t her dad like you?” Mak asked quietly.

“My mom argued with him when the queen died. She was my aunt.”

He frowned, his muddled brain trying to get his head around this news. Tiana was Larka’s cousin! That explained why the princess had left her planet behind to rescue her from the Maraki.

“Ready?” Tiana asked Larka, who nodded, then the princess placed her arm on him lightly. “Behave while I’m gone. Stellia will go into lockdown so only I can come back on board.”

“Now the two of you are ganging up on me?” he asked.

“We discussed the best plan of action to keep you safe, Mak,” Stellia said. She had been unusually quiet during the journey to Rilan, as if on her best behavior.

“I feel like I’m the child,” he complained.

“Until you are recovered, you are.” Tiana left the control deck and headed along the corridor, while Larka hesitated, hanging back.

Mak said, seeing the young girl’s concern, “We will make sure you end up somewhere safe.”

“I know,” she said, looking after Tiana and then turning back to Mak. “She likes you. A lot.”

He opened his mouth to answer, but Larka had skipped off after Tiana, leaving him frowning at her words.

“Larka is correct, Mak,” Stellia said. “Tiana likes you. She would make a good wife.”

“Thanks for the advice,” he said, undoing his seat belt and forcing his legs to take his weight. “Liking me and marrying me are two different things.”

“You should tell her.”

Stellia’s words echoed in his head as he made it to his bunk and lay down, forgetting how long it had been since he had slept, but remembering that Tiana had been in his bed only hours ago. How he wished she was here now.

That was the last coherent thought he had before his eyes closed and slept, dreams of a princess bride floating in his brain, along with bright sparks of laser fire, and the knowledge that he had a big battle ahead of him if he wanted her for his wife.

Chapter Fourteen – Tiana

“Larka!” Kilma exclaimed when he saw her daughter. “I thought I’d lost you.”

Larka ran to her mom, and cast herself into her arms, her fingers digging into the folds of Kilma’s worn jacket as she held on tightly, as if she was scared to let go of her mother ever again. It broke Tiana’s heart to witness the exchange, and the emptiness inside her where her mother’s love should be felt like a gaping abyss.

“Tiana. Thank you,” Kilma said. “I didn’t think you would answer my call.”

“You should have known I would. Larka and you are so special to me.” Tiana stepped forward, and the mother and daughter embraced her too.

“And you are special to us. Very special.” Kilma stood back, and looked at the two young women in front of her. “You could almost be sisters.”

BOOK: The Princess and her Bounty Hunter: Alien Romance (Fated to the Alien: The Psychic Matchmaker Book 2)
7.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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