Read Victoria's Challenge Online

Authors: M. K. Eidem

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Fantasy, #Science Fiction

Victoria's Challenge (10 page)

BOOK: Victoria's Challenge
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“Where is she?”
he demands.

“Who
? What are you talking about?” Lucas is still in his clothes from the night before.


Tori.”

“Why would Victoria be here?”

“After last night, where else would she be?” Dodge looks at him stunned. He can’t believe it. “You didn’t go get her? What the fuck is wrong with you! She should have called me!”

“What are you talking
about?” Lucas hooks his arm, stopping him. “Why would Victoria call?”

“You don’t know?
” Dodge takes a deep breath, trying to calm himself.

“Know what?”

“Last night…”


What about last night?

“Lucas,
Tori was attacked last night.”

“What?
” Lucas pales.

“She’s okay
. She’s okay, Lucas,” he repeats. “I thought she called you to come get her.”

“No
. She wouldn’t call me. Fuck! Who?”


Some Ensign who has a crush. Apparently when he saw us having a drink last night, he snapped. He jumped her in the corridor. There were witnesses. She laid him out.”

Lucas heads for the door
.

“Where are we going?”

“She’s in her quarters. Dealing with it on her own like she always has.”

 

“Pound harder.” Lucas orders Dodge outside Victoria’s quarters.

“I am.”

“Fuck this, I’m calling the Admiral, getting her code.” As he speaks, they hear the lock disengaging.

 

“Dodge?” Victoria opens the hatch. She tried to ignore the pounding, but once she realized whoever it was wasn’t going away, she dragged herself out of bed.

“Tori
, are you okay?” He can see she’s in some type of green robe. Lucas pushes the hatch open with his shoulder.

“Major
? Why are you here?”

“Why
the fuck do you think I’m here?”

“I’m fine.
” She steps away tightening her robe, a very short robe.

“Dodge
. Out. That’s an order.”

“You can’t order me on this
, Lucas.” Lucas rounds on his longtime friend.

“Dodge.
” Victoria sighs, knowing there is no way around this. “It’s okay. Go.”


You’re sure?”


Yeah, thanks.” Nodding he leaves.

 

Securing the hatch, Victoria takes a deep breath before facing Lucas. Time to take the offensive.

“Why are you here?
” She turns on him.

“Get these off!”

“What?”

“Get these fucking boards off!
” When she doesn’t move, he starts working the knots with his teeth.

“Stop
! Let me.”

“Then fucking
do
it!”

“Sit.
” She points to the couch then sits down next to him.

As she works the
knots, he looks at her. She’s wearing a robe in the emerald green color of her eyes. It’s made out of same silky material that Cassie favored, only shorter, much, much shorter, revealing long pale legs. As soon as the boards are off, he sinks his fingers into her hair, tipping her face so he can get a better look at her face.

“Why the
fuck
didn’t you call me!”

“There was no reason too.
” Trying to stand, she finds she can’t.

“What do you
mean no reason? Have you looked at your face?”

“Yeah I have
. What were you going to do about it? Nothing. It’s done. I’m handling it.
You
need to concentrate on your… recovery.” She stutters as his thumb gently caresses her cheek.

“It’s not done
! And you’re
not
handling this alone, not while I’m here.”

“Major
… this isn’t your problem.”

Leaning down
, so he’s only a hair’s breathe away, his violet eyes blaze into hers. “It’s
Lucas
and I’m making it my problem.” His lips capture hers in a blazing kiss.

Stunned
, Victoria’s hands curl into his thighs. What’s happening? Lucas changes the angle of the kiss, and she groans, allowing his tongue to slip into her mouth, teasing hers.

H
er tongue tentatively plays with his, making him realize she’s never kissed like this before. Pulling back ever so slightly, he softens the kiss, letting her take the lead.

Wan
ting to taste him, she glides her tongue across his teeth to slip into
his
mouth. This is what she’s been wanting her whole life. Him. Wrapping her arms around his back, she pulls him closer.

With her arms around him, Lucas knows he’s found his place
. His life mate. There is no doubt. Pressing her back into the couch, he means to explore all of her, only to have his hands protest.

“Fuck!
” He pulls his mouth away, hissing.

“Lucas…
” Desire filled eyes sought his. Why’d he pull away? What did she do wrong? Looking into his eyes Victoria sees desire… and pain. Pain? It only takes a moment for her to realize, his hands!

“Oh shit
, let me up!” Pushing against his chest, she sits.

“I’m fine.”

“Yes you are, now let me see your hands.” Shocked, not sure she knows what she just said he lets her take a hand. As she examines it, he examines all the creamy white skin exposed by her gaping robe.

“Everything looks okay
, but I still need to unwrap them to make sure.” Before she can say more, her comm rings.

“Let it ring.”

“I can’t.” Rising she presses the intercom. “Chamberlain.”

“Victoria, its Barek.”

“Barek?”

“I need you to come in for an interview.”

“What?”

“Jager is demanding an interview
. He’s claiming lover’s quarrel.”

“That’s
ridiculous, I barely know the man!”

“That’s why I need to interview you.”

“When and where?” She tiredly rubs her eyes.

“An hour
, the brig’s observation room. Do you know the way?”

“I’ll get her there.”

“Lucas?”

“Yeah, see you in sixty.”

Victoria’s eyes bore into his as Barek disconnects.

“You’re not involved in this.”

“I’m involved.” Striding over, he pins her to the desk. “Involved with
you
.”


No you’re not.” Victoria’s mind is starting to function again, but she still doesn’t understand what’s happening.

“We’re getting involved, with each other.
” The eyes that meet his no longer show the desire they did just minutes ago, their shuttered and flat.

“We’re not involved
, Major. This…” She gestures. “Was a mistake. Now I need to get changed and you need to leave.”

Lucas’ eyes harden, his voice cool
. “I’m going to go, so you can get ready. You will wait for me before you go to the brig and this is
not
a
mistake
! I’m getting a good grip Victoria, deal with it.” Capturing her lips, he gives her a hard kiss then leaves.

 

What could she have possibly been thinking? Had that hit addled her brain? Shoving her head into the hot stream, she wants to pound her head against the wall. Transference. Lucas is experiencing transference.

How could she have let this happen
? She knew the signs. Had been trained to watch for them but with Lucas, she ignored them. When he leaned against her during the treatments, seeking comfort, she’d allowed it. Relished it. She’d wanted him all her life. But she
knew
better.

He
made it perfectly clear, weeks earlier that he wasn’t interested. He made it clear for the last nine cycles, cutting himself off from his family, so not to see her. Had she done it on purpose? She wonders. Because she wanted him to love her so badly? She has to fix this.

Drying off she
grabs some cloths. Lucas will have to wait. She needs to deal with Barek and that asshole Jager.

 

Mistake my ass! Lucas storms through the corridors of the Retribution. He’s waited nine cycles for her. He isn’t waiting anymore. He is going to follow his Granddad’s advice. He’s getting a good grip. A grip on Victoria and he’s going to trust that bond. He’s done his best to destroy it over the last nine-cycles and again three weeks ago but he knows Victoria, he
knows
she loves him. He just needs to make her believe
he
loves
her
.

Back i
n quarters, he contacts Dodge. “I need your help.” Forty-five minutes later, he’s headed back to Victoria's quarters.

Receiving no answer at her
hatch, he swears. She left without him, after he specifically told her to wait. Damn that woman! His woman! Rounding, he finds Dodge behind him.

“She’s in the brig.
” Lucas tells him. Side by side, they storm through the corridors of the Retribution, crewmen jumping out of their way. For while most pilots are known for their attitudes, Zafar isn’t one of them. He’s his father’s son, calm, cool and reserved, until he isn’t, and then no one wants to be in his line of fire.

 

“I thought Lucas was coming with you.” Barek looks up as Victoria enters the room.

“Thank you
, Sargent.” Victoria waits until the door closes. “This doesn’t involve him. He needs to concentrate on his recovery.”

“Victoria,
Lucas can help.”

“It doesn’t involve him
, Barek.”

“The
hell
it doesn’t.” Lucas barges into the room.

“Hello Lucas
. Dodge. Let’s start this interview.” Barek turns back to Victoria. “Ms. Chamberlain, this interview is for me to gather information on the incident that occurred at 2115 last night. Ensign Jager has demanded an interview, claiming it was a lover’s quarrel that got out of hand, that you and he have had a secret ‘intimate’ relationship for over a cycle.”

“What?
” Victoria doesn’t try to hide her shock.

“What is your response?
” Barek has gone into interview mode.

“That it
’s bullshit!”

“That’s not a sufficient answer
, Ms. Chamberlain.”

“Then ask me a question.”

“When did you first meet Wells?”

“Who?”

“Ensign Wells, Jager.”

“That’s his first na
me?” Victoria shakes her head, clearing it. “He’s the Uncle to one of my students. He was with Corporal Reymont when I spoke to him about my concerns for his son, Cade.”

“When was this?”

“I’d been on board seven days. It’s was after my first week as educator. I asked if I could meet with Reymont. Cade was disinterested and disruptive in class. I’d learned his mother had been killed six moon cycles earlier in a Regulian attack. I thought my personal experience in the area would help him come to terms with the matter. We met on F deck so Cade could play.”

“So to clarify
, six weeks ago.”

“Give or take a day.”

“You had no contact with him before your arrival on the Retribution?”

“No.”

“Ensign Jager claims
he
is the reason you petitioned your Uncle, the High Admiral, to be placed as educator on the Retribution.”


Absolutely not!”

“No
? You didn’t petition your Uncle. Or no it wasn’t because of Ensign Jager.”

“No, it wasn’t because of Jager, I didn’t know him.”

“But you did petition the High Admiral.”

“Yes
,” Victoria admits.

“Why
?

Standing
, Victoria turns to find Lucas directly behind her but she quickly looks away.

“Several reasons.”

“I need to know what they were.”

Sighing
, she turns back to Barek and sits.

“I recently finished my schooling.”

“That’s on record.”


For the last three cycles I’ve been interning at Camotes with Dr. Selfridge, specializing in burn victims. I was offered a permanent position upon graduation. I wasn’t sure I wanted to accept, so I took a sabbatical. I petitioned the High Admiral to allow me to return to the Retribution as an educator for personal reasons.”

BOOK: Victoria's Challenge
3.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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