My Vow to You
~ Part Two ~
Gawain watched Dimitri flee from him yet again, smiling like a loon the entire time. No matter what his little otter tried to say, he felt the pull between them. Licking his lips, Gawain savored the taste of his mate on hips lips and tongue for a moment longer before he righted himself, adjusted his erection, and went to get Tyree.
“Where did you go?” Tyree was pacing the length of the room, his face a bit on the pale side as he stopped to look at Gawain for a moment. “I need to see Lyohsa.”
“No, you need to calm down. Everything’s going to be fine. Dimitri is with Lyosha now, and the ceremony is starting at any point.”
Just then a knocking came from the door. “Positions.”
“You know what to do, right?” Tyree fidgeted.
“Of course.” Due to his job Gawain, hadn’t been able to make it to any of the rehearsal dinners, but Tyree and Lyosha had filled the entire thing with a stand-in so he could see what he was supposed to do. Honestly, Gawain didn’t understand why Tyree didn’t just use one of his other cousins. Then he would be free to pursue Dimitri while he was here. Instead he now needed to play the part of the best man.
“Let’s go,” Gawain maneuvered Tyree out of the cabin and toward their assigned waiting spot.
Violins started to play and Tyree suddenly calmed down. Gawain watched him take three deep breaths before he stepped out onto the aisle. Gawain waited two steps before following him. They walked steadily up to the stage and took their place to the right of the podium. A piano joined the violins and Lyosha and Dimitri appeared in the same fashion. Lyosha was a handsome young man, but Gawain’s full attention was on Dimitri. Likewise, his mate was watching him.
The two brothers took up their positions to the left of the podium and the officiator stepped up. She raised her hands and the music died down. “Family and friends, we are here today to celebrate the most sacred of connection known to our people, the mating bond of Tyree Corcoran and Lyosha Stavros. We are destined to have only one mate in our lifetime, and though it may take us centuries to find each other, it is a bond that is sacred to our people.
“As these two souls walk this world, they will do so together from now. Sharing in life’s sorrows, happiness, wealth, and misfortunes. With each step they take, they’ll grow and so will their love for each other. May their union be blessed by their family.”
She paused and turned to face Gawain and Tyree. “Who swears for Tyree?”
“I, Gawain Albers, present Tyree Corcoran and swear his character is worthy.”
“Who swears for Lyosha?”
“I, Dimitri Stavros, present Lyosha Stavros and swear his character is worthy.”
“Come forward,” she instructed and Tyree and Lyosha stepped up to her. “Give me your left hands.” The two men smiled at each other as they presented their hands to her. She produced a rope braided with teal, crimson, and gold silk and started wrapping it around their hands. As she wrapped, she chanted in a soft voice in Latin.
Roughly translated, what she said was “These two souls, bound to each other, may they walk forever together.” She repeated the chant over and over until the entirety of the braided rope was wrapped around their hands.
“Now, your oaths,” she smiled at the couple.
Gawain took the opportunity to look over Tyree’s shoulder and catch a glimpse of Dimitri, who in turn looked at him.
“I swear, that from this day on, I’ll stand by you Lyosha. I’ll support you in all your endeavors and to try and be on time more often.”
Lyosha laughed. “I swear, that from this day on, I’ll stand by you Tyree. I’ll support you in all your endeavors and love you no matter what time you come home.”
“I now pronounce you mated, and husband and husband by the powers vested in me by the great state of Washington. You may kiss your groom.”
Cheers rose as Tyree and Lyosha sealed the ceremony with a kiss. It was a bit awkward, seeing as their hands were still tied together, but they managed. It was Dimitri’s job to unwind the cord, and store it away for safe keeping. Traditionally the cord would be displayed somewhere in the couple’s home. Gawain had no clue if the pair would do that. They did however exchange rings once the rope was placed in an ornate wooden box. The two kissed again, earning another round of cheers from their family and friends.
Hand in hand, and smiling like only two people in love could, the couple headed down the aisle. Gawain stepped up to Dimitri and offered him his arm. Startled, his mate looked at him for a moment before silently accepting the gesture and walking down with him.
“One day that’ll be us,” Gawain whispered to him.
Dimitri chuckled. “No it won’t.”
Ouch. “You don’t want a formal ceremony?”
“I don’t want an outdoor ceremony,” Dimitri corrected. “Or a summer one. Winter is more my season.”
Gawain couldn’t help it, he smiled. “Good to know. Where do we go from here?”
“Into the chateau, for the reception of course,” Dimitri turned at the end of the aisle to direct him. The other guests had also risen from their seats and were already making their way across the grounds.
“Do you enjoy dodging my questions?” Gawain stopped their progress, Dimitri looking up to him.
“This isn’t our day, nor the right time to discuss us,” Dimitri explained, again. “I just want things to go smoothly for Lyosha and Tyree. After today, well, there’s nothing holding me to the responsibilities of watching over my brother.”
The heated look that met Gawain’s gaze had him pausing. Was that it? Dimitri just wanted to see his brother off to happiness before delving into his own? Damn, his mate seriously needed to learn to be selfish.
“Fine, but you owe me a dance,” Gawain conceded.
“Consider my card full,” Dimitri smiled. Gawain was quickly coming to like that smile. It was soft, enchanting.
“I like the sound of that.” With that, they continued into the chateau.
* * * *
Dimitri laughed as Gawain told a childhood story about Tyree making a grand claim to find the greatest mate that ever lived, while standing on a rock in the middle of a lake. It was part of his best man’s speech.
“And wouldn’t you know it,” Gawain turned to the couple and raised his glass, “He did just that. I’m glad you found happiness cousin. Keep him in check Lyosha.”
“Promise,” Lyosha kissed Tyree’s cheek as the others saluted their glasses to them.
“Well, I guess it’s my turn now,” Dimitri stood, his glass raised to the crowd. “As most of you know, Lyosha and I lost our parents when he was young. I can’t say raising my brother was easy, actually it was exhausting at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Watching him grow, and helping him turn into the amazing man he is today is a gift I’m happy to receive. Even more,” he looked to the couple. Lyosha was smiling, tears shimmering in his eyes, “I’m happy to say I know Mom and Dad would be proud of you Lyosha, for the man you’ve become, and the amazing mate you’ve found in Tyree. I wish you both all the happiness and love two people can share. Also, good luck Tyree. He’s a handful and he’s your handful now.”
Lyosha laughed as he clapped, wiping tears from his eyes before he stood and moved to Dimitri’s side. “I love you, brother.”
“I love you too.” They hugged, Dimitri holding onto the memories that swam in his mind as he embraced his brother. Lyosha’s first steps, first words, kindergarten and entering elementary school, high school graduation, and all the wonderful horrors a child could get into that he had to deal with. Considering it was never in the cards for Dimitri to be a parent, he thought himself lucky for doing such an amazing job with his brother.
“Okay, give him back,” Tyree playfully tugged Lyosha to him.
“He’s all yours,” Dimitri said, releasing his brother and trying not to cry. Watching the person he’d spent almost a full century raising, protecting, and caring for with someone else who would now do those things left Dimitri with mixed emotions. He was happy for Lyosha, but he felt like he was losing something as well.
Tyree drew Lyosha out from behind the tables to the dance floor, where he twirled him around before pulling him close. Dimitri returned to his seat as he just studied his brother. In a few hours Lyosha and Tyree would leave, getting in a car that would take them to Portland where they’d get on a cruise ship for their honeymoon. When they returned Lyosha would officially move out of their shared house and live with Tyree.
Dimitri said officially, because technically Lyosha and Tyree had been living together for several months now. His brother was home maybe one night out of the week, if he was lucky. Really, he just came back to grab fresh clothes, or to let Dimitri know he was still alive.
It hit him, soon he’d be alone in that house. That wasn’t exactly something Dimitri was looking forward to. His otter was even depressed at the idea of their isolation continuing.
“How about that dance?”
Startled from his dreary thoughts, Dimitri glanced up to see Gawain smiling down at him. That’s right, he wasn’t technically alone now. Though the chapter of his life taking care of Lyosha was coming to an end, a new chapter was yet to be started. The first chapter to the rest of his life with a mate of his own.
“Everything okay?” Gawain asked, concern in his voice was he reached out and rubbed the back of his hand along Dimitri’s cheek.
“Everything’s fine,” Dimitri answered quickly, covering up his depression from earlier as he rose and took Gawain’s offered arm. “Let’s dance.”
Gawain, thank god, didn’t press the issue as he lead Dimitri out to the dance floor and pulled him close as a love ballet played. The DJ had been instructed to play an even spread of upbeat and lively music, and slower love songs.
“You know, I was thinking,” Gawain said as they shuffled their feet in a slow, small circle, “Seeing as we live on opposite sides of the continent, maybe I should consider transferring out here?”
“What? Why?” Dimitri pulled back just enough so he could look up to the taller man. “I mean, we just met. No reason to end your career right away.”
“I said transferring,” Gawain laughed. “I’m not ending my career, just changing the location of it. Being a New York cop isn’t exactly the safest job, even for our families. I think moving would be a good choice.”
“What if I want to move to New York instead?” Dimitri tossed back. Honestly he didn’t. The thought of living in the city, swimming in such polluted waters, terrified him.
“Do you?” Gawain’s eyes said it all. He knew Dimitri didn’t want to move.
Sighing, Dimitri shook his head before resting it against Gawain’s chest. “I like where I live.”
“And I’m not exactly attached to where I love. Meaning, it makes more sense for me to move out here. Besides, my entire family is between Alaska and California. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to know I’m coming back.”
The idea of his mate being closer made Dimitri fill with excitement. Although he hadn’t real thought about it, the idea of being separated by an entire continent bothered him greatly.
“I’ll have to find a place to stay first,” Gawain mumbled.
“You can stay with me,” Dimitri quickly offered. “I mean, Lyosha is moving out anyways, so there’s room.”
The lascivious smile that appeared on Gawain’s lips had Dimitri’s pulse spiking, his cock filling in his pants. “Rooming with you sounds amazing.”
“Then it’s settled.” He wasn’t going to be alone.
Dimitri smiled, unable to keep his happiness contained as he stood on his tiptoes and kissed Gawain. His mate sighed, pressing closer and deepening the kiss. For a few moments the world fell away and Dimitri was lost in the arms of the man holding him.
“What the fuck!”
Lyosha and Tyree’s startled voices broke the spell quickly enough, and Dimitri turned to see his brother and brother-in-law gaping at him and Gawain.
* * * *
Gawain could tell Dimitri was at a loss on how to handle everyone staring at them with open amazement. Both of their families were looking at them like they’d just lit the wedding cake on fire. God only knew what they were thinking. Two people, that had just only met today, kissing each other on the dance floor? Yeah, there were probably a few scandalous thoughts running through their minds.
“I guess now’s as good a time as any,” Gawain said, turning Dimitri around so he was facing everyone as well, and wrapping his arms around him. “We were going to wait until after the wedding, so as not the spoil the day, but the cat’s out of the bag. Dimitri and I are mates.”
He watched Lyosha and Tyree the closest. The rest of the family he really didn’t care about, but Gawain knew that if Lyosha reacted badly to this news it would devastate Dimitri.
Seemed everyone else was also waiting to take their que from the couple as no one moved or said anything as Lyosha pulled himself from his shock and walked over to them. His face was a mask of nothingness, making it impossible for Gawain to judge what he was going to do. Just in case. Gawain tightened up his muscles, ready to react should Lyosha act harshly.
Gawain worried for nothing. As soon as Lyosha was within arm’s reach, he smiled and grabbed Dimitri, hugging him close. “I’m so happy for you! Now I don’t have to worry about you being alone.”
“I’m sorry,” Dimitri whispered, returning his brother’s hug. “I never meant to distract from your big day.”
“Are you kidding?” Lyosha stepped back so Dimitri was at arm’s length again, “This is the best wedding present ever! My brother has finally found his mate? And at my wedding? How could I not be happy about this? Congratulations, honestly.”
Was that a tear Gawain saw rolling down Dimitri’s cheek? “Thank you, Lyosha.” The two brothers hugged as the rest of the family moved in to congratulate their new relationship.
Tyree came to Gawain’s side and clapped him on the back. “Congrats, cousin.”
“So, what are you two going to do? You know, about your living arrangements?”
“We just discussed that. I’m moving back here.”
“Awesome! Here that everyone? Gawain’s coming home!”
The applause that rose with that announcement from his and Tyree’s family was damn near deafening. It appeared his family was more than just a bit excited at that news.
It took nearly half an hour for the congratulations to die down, but soon everyone returned to the focus of the day, Lyosha and Tyree. Dimitri apologized probably a hundred times to his brother about stealing the spotlight, but Lyosha seemed happy to share it. If anything, he made it a point to ensure Dimitri and Gawain’s new relationship got the recognition it deserved.
As the talk turned to more regular topics, their aunts wanted to know when they were going to have their wedding. Both Dimitri and Gawain insisted it was still too early to set any plans up, but it would most likely be a winter ceremony. Of course, that just fueled the aunts, not ones to be deterred. The lot of them were already planning. A winter wedding meant white and silver for the colors, and of course it had to be in the mountains, in the snow. While the women got lost in their plotting, Gawain used that moment to steal Dimitri away from the crowds.
He took them to the side of the chateau, where he pushed Dimitri against the building and kissed him. It was too early to make plans for their own wedding, but that didn’t mean Gawain couldn’t make a promise.
Breaking the kiss, Gawain got down on one knee and took both of Dimitri’s hands in his. “Though I just met you, I vow to never make you cry or to let you feel alone. I promise to grow to love you, and I hope you come to love me too.”
Dimitri laughed, a large smile forming on his face, as tears flowed freely. “I vow to love you, and always be at your side.” Dimitri pulled his hands free, wrapped his arms around Gawain’s neck, and kissed him as he slid to his knees.
“I’m looking forward to our life together,” Gawain whispered, his lips millimeters from Dimitri’s.
“Me too,” Dimitri smiled. “Though, for now we should probably return to the party. Lyosha and Tyree will be leaving soon, and we need to see them off. It’s our last duty as their best men.”
He was right, and Gawain hated it. All he wanted to do was forget about their families and take Dimitri somewhere private. Somewhere it was just the two of them. Still, he knew he couldn’t so they parted and stood. Just as Dimitri had said, Tyree and Lyosha were saying their goodbyes as the car that would take them to Portland was brought around to the front.
The final procession for the night had Dimitri and Gawain leading Tyree and Lyosha to their car and holding their doors open as they got in. In ancient times, they’d pick the couple up, if they could, and place them in a carriage or on horses.
“Congratulations again,” Gawain said, hugging Tyree.
“You too,” Tyree patted his back.
A quick look over the roof of the car said Dimitri was saying his goodbyes and congratulations to Lyosha as well.
“Be safe,” Gawain instructed as he stepped back and closed the car door once Tyree was inside.
“Bye,” Dimitri said, doing the same. They remained on opposite sides of the vehicle as it drove away. Once it was gone, they met in the middle, their hands entwining. “So, I have a crew in charge of cleaning up.”
“Yeah?” Gawain didn’t look at him, instead he continued to watch the car drive away for the customary time of five minutes. It was supposed to be to ensure the couple was on their way to their future together.
“Why don’t you stay with me tonight?” Dimitri suggested.
Gawain smiled. “I’d like that.”
Once the five-minute time was up, Dimitri and Gawain said their goodbyes to the rest of the family and were gone, ready to start their own lives together.
Escape to the Stars: Galaxia Pirates 1
When Sandy climbed into a crate, he hadn’t expected it to be filled with supplies for a pirate ship. Now he’s being forced to work for his trip. No big deal though, at least he’s not dead. While he tries to adjust to being free from his old life, he starts to grow feelings for the man put in charge of watching him, the third mate, Brian.
Brian knows he shouldn’t get close to Sandy. The guy is a temptation he can’t afford to let himself indulge in. He plans to keep their interaction to an absolute minimum, even if they’re sharing a room. Too bad it seems Sandy has other plans.
The Navy hunts down the Galaxia and crew demanding the release of a hostage. As they make a run from the Navy, a third party arrives, Crane and the Red Falcon, and suddenly the crew is fighting to protect their little stowaway. Brian needs to find a way to protect his new roommate.
Panting, Sandy looked over his shoulder as he entered the shipping yard. Crowds of filthy people milled about the large open space. Shuttles, pods, and ships from all over the galaxies were docked here, either loading or unloading their less-than-legal merchandise. Thebes’ second largest port was a hot bed for crime, but then again, so was the entire planet. Sandy remembered the first time he’d seen this dock yard, he’d been marched out of a ship and right into the bed of a man he was now running from.
Turning the corner, Sandy ducked behind a few men and followed them deeper into the port. His heart was pounding in his chest as he considered the possibility of being caught, again. He’d tried time and time again to get away. Each attempt always resulted in him being found and dragged back to that room. That overly posh room where he was chained to the bed and—
Sandy shook his head, ridding it of the memories. He needed to think straight if he was going to get off this planet.
“Hey, we need this crate loaded next!” someone shouted.
Glancing to the group of men across the way, he noticed the numerous crates of supplies just waiting to be loaded onto one of three shuttles. As he crossed the yard, he tried to spot an insignia, but couldn’t find one. At this point he didn’t care what kind of merchants these people were, this was the farthest he’d ever gotten before, and he was not about to snub luck for this opportunity.
While the men’s backs were turned, Sandy climbed into one of the crates filled with canned food. When the cans toppled over, he held his breath, waiting for someone to investigate the sound. When no one did, Sandy nestled down and waited.
“Check over there!” The sound of a familiar voice dragged Sandy from his silent waiting. He wished the crate was wooden. Then he might be able to look between the planks to see how close the search party was.
“Woah, who the hell are you?” a rough, intimidating voice demanded. The man sounded close, as if he was standing right in front of the crate.
“I need to check your cargo,” a voice Sandy knew all too well growled. The voice belonged to Dez, a disgusting weasel of a man that always slunk after men of higher power.
“You do realize who we are, right?” the rough voice asked.
There was a pause, and then Dez quickly started to apologize for his rude behavior and abrupt manner. Sandy wondered whose cargo he’d climbed into to get Sylvain’s grunt to back off so quickly. Realizing he’d discover that answer when he was on board the ship, Sandy closed his eyes and settled in for a long wait.
* * * *
Brian glared at the scrawny man as he skulked back to his group of thugs. He didn’t recognize the man, but he did remember a few of the faces the man was with. Low-level muscle that ran the bottom streets of Sector 67, or Little Eden, as the locals liked to call it. Making sure the group got a good look at his gun, Brian turned sideways and motioned for Darrel and Mark to keep an eye on them. He didn’t want these scavengers going through their cargo and helping themselves to whatever they saw fit.
“Trouble?” Craig asked, walking over to him, his dark-green eyes trained on the group across the way. He was an imposing-looking man. The scar running down the left side of his face made him even more terrifying.
“Nothing we can’t handle.” Brian smirked. “The weasel-looking one said he needed to check our cargo.”
“For what?” Craig frowned.
Brian shrugged. “Don’t know, and I didn’t give him time to explain. Told him to get lost and warned him against messing with us.”
Laughter left the first mate before he clapped Brian on the shoulder. “Did you use Sidney’s name?”
“Didn’t have to.” Brian pointed to the insignia on his jacket. “He saw this and paled. Backed off pretty easily after that.”
“At least he knows us,” Craig looked back to the group and grinned, though with the scar pulling at his lip, it came out more like a snarl. “I’ll leave the rest to you.”
“Got it covered.” Brian shooed the man away. He knew Craig had other things to do. Keeping him held up here to handle a ragtag group of punks didn’t make sense. Besides, if they tried for the cargo again, Darrel would just shoot them. That would be the end of it.
“Last crate loaded,” a deckhand said as he came off the shuttle. “We’re ready to return to the Galaxia.”
“Okay. Load up, men!” Brian ordered. He was the last on a shuttle after making sure the other two shuttles’ doors were closed. He closed the third door himself before going to the front of the shuttle and initiating take off.
The Galaxia was stationed a hundred klicks outside Thebes’ atmosphere. In the shuttles, it took them a little over thirty minutes to reach the large ship. Without the heavy loads weighing them down, the trip usually only took five to ten minutes, depending on speed.
Brian easily maneuvered the shuttle into the cargo bay to be unloaded. A separate group was responsible for that, along with counting the contents. Maggie would be in charge of that part. With the shuttles making it safely onto the Galaxia, Brian’s job was done.
Opening the door, Brian left with the rest of his group and headed for his bunk. He wanted some peace and quiet before having to report to the bridge.
* * * *
Sandy tried to breathe quietly as he felt the crate he was in being moved again. More voices filtered around outside. A woman’s voice barked orders and he realized his time was quickly running out. It sounded like they were opening the crates and counting the contents.
“This one’s accurate, Miss Maggie,” a guy reported.
“Okay,” Maggie, the owner of the feminine voice, responded.
Footsteps stilled right in front of the crate Sandy was hiding in and the lid was opened. As he looked up into the face of a man that had no doubt seen better days, Sandy couldn’t help but be overcome with fear. Screaming, he tried to scramble away from the man in the small space. All he managed to do was topple more cans over.
“We got a stowaway!” the man shouted. He reached in and grabbed Sandy, pulling him from the crate.
“Did he eat anything?” the woman—he’d guess it was Maggie—demanded, walking toward them. Her green-and-purple hair was definitely an eye-catcher, along with her curvaceous figure.
The man looked into the crate and shook his head. “Doesn’t look that way. He did make a mess of the cans though. We’re going to have to count them by hand now.”
Judging by the curse Maggie released, Sandy was willing to guess she wasn’t happy about that, and knew it when she turned to glare at him. “If there is so much as one can missing, I’m taking it out of your hide. Throw him in the brig and let Sidney know we’ve got an extra.”
“Aye,” the man still holding onto his arm said, nodding.
With a sharp tug, he started to pull Sandy away. Normally Sandy would obediently follow the scary man, but something about the name Maggie had said bothered him. He could’ve sworn he’d heard the name Sidney before. After thinking about it, he remembered and felt a cold chill fill him.
“Wait! Where am I? When you said Sidney, you don’t mean the captain of the Galaxia Pirates, right?” Sandy demanded, resisting the man’s grip on his arm.
“The one and the same,” Maggie answered.
Sandy grew light-headed. No doubt he’d gone pale, too. “Then, this is a pirate ship?”
“It is,” another man said and smiled. This one was small and really pretty.
“Heavens no!” Sandy cried. He’d run from one horrible situation to another! Pirates? He was so fucked!
“Take him away,” Maggie waved his captor off. The man dragged Sandy down the corridor, but not without any resistance.
“No, let me go! Just give me a ship and I’ll leave,” Sandy pleaded. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know the crate belonged to the Galaxia Pirates. I won’t tell anyone. Please, just let me go!”
“Man, do you ever shut up?” the man demanded as he tossed him into a cell.
“What’s your name?” Sandy asked, hoping to appeal to this man’s human instincts.
“Trevor,” he answered, though his tone said he knew exactly what Sandy was trying to do.
He still had to try. “Trevor, I just wanted to get off Thebes. I didn’t mean to stowaway on this ship. I thought it was a merchant vessel’s cargo. I promise, if you just give me a pod, I’ll leave without anyone knowing I was here.”
Trevor gave him a long stare before busting up laughing. He doubled over, gripping his sides. Tears even made an appearance, he was laughing so hard. “Yeah, you know what? Why don’t I just get on that for you?”
“Really?” Sandy smiled. Maybe he was convincing.
“No.” Trevor’s laughter died instantly as he glared into the cell at Sandy. “You’re a stowaway and stowaways are not given free ships to escape in. You’ll just wait here until Captain can come speak with you and decide what is to be done.”
Sandy did not like the sound of that. What if Sidney just decided to kill him? Well, on the bright side, if he was dead, he wouldn’t have to return to Sylvain. No, he did not want to die! The reason he’d fled was to survive and live. Sandy looked around the cell trying to find a way out, but unfortunately, he wasn’t the most knowledgeable about these kinds of things. Now if they’d shackled him, he’d have no problem getting out.
“Don’t even bother,” Trevor drawled. “There isn’t a way out of that cell. Just sit down and wait for Sidney to get here.”
He wanted to tell Trevor to fuck off, but years of obedience beatings made him still his tongue. Moving to the thin mattress, he sat down and stared at the wall straight ahead. He was not on Thebes, which was a plus. With some luck, Sidney wouldn’t order he be returned, either. Maybe he could bargain with the pirate captain? Work for his charter to another planet, a safe planet. One that had laws against the kinds of things done to him, if such a place existed.
When the door to the brig opened, Sandy felt his mouth go dry. Three men walked in. One of them was the most terrifying sight he had ever seen. He had a scar running down one side of his face!
The front man was obviously Sidney. He matched all the wanted holograms he’d seen of him. His haphazardly cut brown hair and intelligent black eyes were enough to give anyone a sense of danger from the pirate captain, but it was his sheer size that was truly intimidating.
Sandy gaze slid over the third man and lingered for a bit. He was handsome, classically so. He had a straight nose and warm, green eyes. His auburn hair held red streaks, giving it a more copper quality. Like the other two men, this one was heavily muscled, but unlike the other two, Sandy wasn’t afraid when he looked at him. He was turned on.
“So, this is the little mouse that they were looking for,” the sexy man drawled, his rough voice somehow sounding like silky sin.
“You think he is what those men were after?” Sidney asked.
“Makes sense,” the scary-looking one said. “So”—he turned his dark green eyes to Sandy—“why were you in our food?”
* * * *
Brian almost rolled his eyes at the look in the frightened man’s baby blue eyes. He looked like a small animal cornered by predators. Sure having all three of them in front of the man had to be intimidating as all hell, but there was no reason to tremble like they were going to beat him.
“I…” The man’s voice even squeaked like a mouse. With his big blue eyes, nearly white-blonde hair, and freckled face, Brian couldn’t think of anything else but a cute mouse while looking at him. “I was trying to escape.”
“Who?” Sidney asked.
The man shook his head, wrapping his arms around his waist. Brian’s eyes narrowed on the motion. Some might take it as a defensive measure, and it probably was, but Brian caught the tightening of the man’s right hand on his left hip. He was hiding something instinctively.
“What’s your name?” Craig asked.
The guy swallowed before taking a step away from them. “Sandy.”
“Who are you running from, Sandy?” Sidney asked again.
Sandy’s right hand flexed. “Promise you won’t send me back to Thebes?”
Brian looked to his captain and first mate, who in turn looked at him. Sidney shrugged before turning back and nodding at Sandy. “Promise. Now, who are you running from?”
“Sylvain,” Sandy answered, his entire body trembling like mad. “Sylvain Lockhart.”
“The slaver?” Craig demanded.
A.M. Halford lives in Southern Oregon and enjoys spending as much time outside as she possibly can. Her and her partner often find themselves hiking with their two dogs when the weather permits it. Fishing, camping, and photography are also activities she greatly enjoys. If the weather doesn’t permit going outside she can be found curled up with a sketch book, drawing whatever comes to mind.
A.M. got into writing as an outlet for personal therapy and has since expanded that into a hobby and profession that she enjoys. She often writes down anything that comes to mind, combing through the ideas and expanding on plots that sound the most interesting. She likes to write believable relations between people overcoming unfair hardships set before them. She always loves a happy ending and no matter the hell her characters go through they’ll always get their forever person.
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