Ron Vid is a Celian soldier with some personal demons.
Hoping for respite, he deserts his squad and leaves his planet. Working as a mercenary on Asai, planet of sand and wind, he has a reprieve, until the Haffa named Zaoh joins the mercenaries. Celians and Haffas have a history of strife, but when Ron and Zaoh are paired on a mission, their chemistry crackles.
After they fight together for survival, it’s clear Zaoh wants Ron. Zaoh can be a fierce and dominant lover, but Ron’s secrets, and his fear that the Haffa might uncover them, could keep Zaoh from getting his man.
~ Bewitching BT
” I got up, happy to finally have a reason to stop pretending to eat. Zaoh shot to his feet to block my way. My lungs squeezed tight as soon as I was face to face with the purple hell of his eyes.
“You weren’t dismissed, Vid. Sit back down.”
I gritted my teeth and turned in Ami’s direction. “We done here? I’ve got to pack my shit if I’m going out.”
“Go ahead, gorgeous. I’ll wait for you in the hangar.”
Stomping to my room, I tried to shake off the memory of those purple black holes. It was a bad thing to think about. Getting away from Asai would be pointless if I carried the mess with me out to space.
A second set of steps thudded behind. Decisive but not rushed, they sounded closer and closer, so I stopped. For some reason I couldn’t turn around.
Blood rushed away from my extremities and into my head all at once. How did he know about that nickname? No way he’d just used it by chance. A cold sheen of sweat covered my palms. “I’m no commander anymore,” I gritted out through clenched teeth.
“Should I call you Deserter Vid, then? More fitting?”
Zaoh’s gravelly voice sounded vaguely amused, almost playful. Maybe Ami had told him. If I knew about him becoming a traitor to the Haffas, maybe he’d found out about me too. Only I had a reason to know about him. A personal reason. Perhaps he had one as well. Perhaps he knew it had been me commanding the troops that caught him and his sister…. My mind said to calm down, to rein in my pulse.
I turned around halfway, still not facing him. “So you’re Traitor Dem, then?”
Tense silence fell between us. It was a cheap shot. He wasn’t really a traitor while I was a deserter. It would have been better to turn around and leave. My feet refused to respond, though. They were glued to the floor. His simple presence messed with my wiring. I gravitated toward him so strongly it was a constant conscious effort to pull away. To what end, I didn’t have the vaguest—about both impulses.
“At least I didn’t leave my troops by choice,” he finally said.
No, he hadn’t. His sister had been killed in interrogation. After that, against all odds and beyond any possible logic, Zaoh Dem had escaped Celian incarceration. The reasonable conclusion was he’d sided with us. So Haffas declared him traitor and condemned him to death as soon as he returned to his base. Of course, the man escaped their captivity as well, maybe helped like he’d been to escape ours. He was resourceful like that. No way to get him under control unless he felt like playing nice. Ami was delighted to tell me and his other mercs that particular personality trait the evening he brought Zaoh in. A whole fucking universe at his disposal, and the bastard had to end up where I was. What were the odds?
I cleared my throat and stuffed my hands into the pockets of my khaki overalls. “Had something to say to me, other than that?” His heavy boots had a considerable distance between them. I imagined him standing there, tall and strong, sort of majestic. I didn’t dare to look at him as I waited for an answer.
He seemed to ponder on it, tapped the tip of his boot a few times. “Despise Haffas so much you won’t even look at me?”
I smiled tightly. “You’ve read me wrong. Buried my war with Haffas a long time ago.”
“Just despise me, then?”
“Not at all.”
He took one step closer, small but significant to my pulse—it skyrocketed. “Then look at me.”
I had to use all my willpower to find his eyes with mine. The brutal force of his gaze struck me worse than I’d expected, but I held strong. “Well? What is it? Wanted to get chummy?”
He snorted. “Don’t overestimate yourself. Just letting you know we’re on this mission together.”
No. That little azure bastard wouldn’t dare. ”
About the Author & Links:
Liv Olteano is a voracious reader, music lover, and coffee addict extraordinaire. And occasional geek. Okay, more than occasional.
She believes stories are the best kind of magic there is. And life would be horrible without magic. Her hobbies include losing herself in the minds and souls of characters, giving up countless nights of sleep to get to know said characters, and trying to introduce them to the world. Sometimes they appreciate her efforts. The process would probably go quicker if they’d bring her a cup of coffee now and then when stopping by. Characters—what can you do, right?
Liv has a penchant for quirky stories and is a reverent lover of diversity. She can be found loitering around the Internet at odd hours and being generally awkward and goofy at all times.
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