Revealed:Brides of the Kindred(6)

By: Evangeline Anderson

“Nadiah?” Sylvan pulled her upright, his deep voice filled with fear. “Are you all right?”

She tried to laugh but the sound came out sounding rusty and weak. “Never better, son of my mother’s sister. I’m ready for a stroll around the sacred grove, can’t you tell?”

Sylvan frowned. “This is no time to joke. We need to get you back to Tranq Prime and soon.”

“I know.” The pain had dissipated but Nadiah’s forehead was damp with sweat and her mouth was dry. “I know it, Sylvan. I just hate to let him win—hate the fact that he has so much power over me.”

“I hate it too,” Sylvan said grimly. “If it were up to me, the whole practice of blood bonding would be abolished. It’s archaic and cruel. And—”

“Sylvan?” Sophia’s voice from the other side of the door interrupted his thought.

“What is it, Talana?” he asked. “You can come in.”

Sophia slipped into the med room and closed the door behind her. “It’s a call on the viewscreen,” she said, and Nadiah saw that her green eyes were troubled.

Sylvan frowned. “A call from who? Whoever it is, tell them I will get back to them.”

Sophia bit her lip. “I don’t think this can wait. It’s a call for Nadiah from her parents and…” She looked at Nadiah directly. “And I think your fiancé.”

Nadiah felt her heart drop like a lead weight. “They’re all calling me at once?”

Sophia nodded. “I’m afraid so. But, Nadiah, you’re not well—you don’t have to take the call.”

“Yes, I do.” Nadiah crossed her arms over her chest and shivered. This was the call she’d been avoiding—the moment she’d been dreading from the first second she stepped foot on the Mother Ship for Sophia and Sylvan’s wedding. Now it could no longer be put off. “It’s not just a call, Sophie,” she said quietly. “It’s a summons. And I must go.”

* * * * *

Rast kept his head low and his eyes trained on the crack between the two medical drapes which shielded the cot where he was hiding. After leaving the room in the first place, he’d convinced Olivia that he needed to use the john and then slipped back to listen at Nadiah’s door the minute she started talking to Lauren and Kat.

Eavesdropping wasn’t exactly the most honorable way to get information but his time as a private detective had taught him that sometimes you got the intel anyway you could. Nadiah had a secret—a secret that was hurting her—and he intended to find out what the hell it was. When he was sure that Nadiah and Commander Sylvan and his wife were far down the corridor, he risked following.

As he slipped down the long curving metal hallway, he thought about what Sylvan and Nadiah had said. He hadn’t gotten the specific details but it was clear she was being hurt by someone—being forced to go back to her home planet where she obviously didn’t want to go by this blood bond, whatever it was.

The question is, who’s hurting her? And how can I get to the son of a bitch to hurt him back? He didn’t question the protective instinct that rose in him or the animal rage at the idea of someone causing Nadiah pain. He only knew that it needed to stop, now. And if no one else intended to do anything about it, he sure as hell would.

There was something else she’d said too—soft words that echoed in his heart as he jogged quietly along behind his targets. “…the only person I ever seem to dream about is Detective Rast,” Nadiah had told her cousin. But there had been despair in her voice when she said it, as though that was a bad thing. And then Sylvan had said something about how she couldn’t dream share with a human—whatever that was.

Rast couldn’t figure out what dreaming had to do with anything. Come to that, he’d had a few interesting dreams about Nadiah as well. Most of them were ordinary enough—he saw her talking to her friends or walking down the halls of the Mother Ship. But there had been one where she was in the shower with hot, soapy water running down her small but firm breasts…

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