Revealed:Brides of the Kindred(5)

By: Evangeline Anderson

Rast frowned at her, obviously knowing he was being manipulated but not quite sure how to handle it. Finally he put a hand on Nadiah’s knee and looked into her eyes directly. “Are you all right?” he asked, his deep voice surprisingly gentle. “Just tell me, sweetheart. I need to hear you say it before I go.”

For some reason, Nadiah’s heart started thudding in her chest and she found it hard to meet those truegreen eyes of his. “I…I’m fine,” she finally managed to say. “Just fine.”

“That’s bullshit, but at least you’re conscious.” He frowned. “I get that I’m not wanted and your cousin here wants me to keep my nose out of your business, but if there’s anything I can do—”

“Thank you, but no.” Nadiah shook her head. “There’s nothing you can do.” Unless you can break a long standing blood bond, that is… But she didn’t say it out loud. Rast was human, not Kindred. Of course he couldn’t break the bond that bound her inextricably to her home world, so many thousands of light years away.

“All right, then.” He patted her knee once and then withdrew. “I’ll be outside if you need me. For anything.” With a last frown at Sylvan, he followed Olivia out of the room, leaving Nadiah alone with him.

“Well?” Sylvan rounded on her the minute the door to the small exam room snicked closed. “It’s the blood bond, isn’t it? It’s pulling you back toward Tranq Prime.”

Nadiah sighed in defeat—there was no use denying it. “Yes,” she whispered, nodding wearily. “I’ve been feeling it for awhile but lately it’s getting worse. It’s almost like he’s yanking on it—trying to pull me back to him across space.”

Sylvan frowned. “That’s possible, I guess. Depending on the strength of the bond.”

Nadiah laughed bitterly. “It’s strong, all right. Mamam and Patro made sure of that when they linked me to Yo-dah.” She sighed. “I guess I should stop calling him by that childhood nickname—it always makes him so mad. I’d better use his formal first name since it seems I have no choice but to join with him. Y’dex.” The name tasted bitter on her tongue. “Y’dex, the one my parents chose for me. And they bound me to him as tightly as they could—that way they could be sure I wouldn’t run off.”

A reluctant grin twitched the corners of Sylvan’s mouth. “I guess you proved them wrong on that score.”

“Only for a little while.” Nadiah’s chest felt tight and there was a lump in her throat she couldn’t swallow. “But now…now I’ll have to go back. The pain is getting worse—it’s like someone is twisting a knife right under my heart.”

“I could tell you were hurting but I had no idea it was getting so bad.” Sylvan sat on the edge of her cot, concern clear on his chiseled features. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because…” Nadiah’s eyes burned and she blinked them rapidly, hoping to hold back the tears. “Because I knew you’d send me back. And I just wanted a little more time. I kept hoping I’d start dream sharing with someone—anyone. Because anyone would be better than Yo-dah—I mean, Y’dex. But…” The tears came now, she couldn’t stop them. “But the only person I ever seem to dream about is Detective Rast.”

Sylvan frowned and shook his head. “You can’t dream share with a human, Nadiah. And even if you could, it wouldn’t do you any good.”

“I know.” She sniffed and blotted her eyes on the sleeve of her tharp. It nuzzled her cheek comfortingly. “I know but it’s like he’s gotten in my head somehow and he doesn’t…doesn’t leave room for anyone else.”

He sighed. “I’d tell you to make room but I’m afraid it wouldn’t do any good. I can’t let you stay here on the Mother Ship any longer—not when you’re in so much pain.”

“I know.” Despair welled up inside her, threatening to drown her like a salty, bitter wave. “I know, Sylvan but it’s so hard to go back. So—ahh!” Her words ended in a gasp as a bright bolt of pain stabbed her. It slid between her ribs like a red hot blade, just below the heart, and ripped downwards. Nadiah doubled over in agony, clutching futilely at her chest and belly. The searing pain took her breath away and for a moment the room around her went gray and pinpoints of light danced in front of her vision.

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