Revealed:Brides of the Kindred(7)

By: Evangeline Anderson

Stop it, he told himself sternly. No time for that now.

And indeed, there wasn’t. Just ahead, he saw Nadiah, Sylvan and Sophia turn into the viewing room—a place he recognized from seeing it from the viewscreen of the Sarasota HKR building down on Earth. His first impulse was to go in with them and confront whoever was calling her. He’d threaten to pound them flatter than a pancake if they didn’t leave her alone. But years of detective work and caution made him pause.

Get the facts first, he thought grimly, settling in the recessed doorway of the viewing room, just out of sight. Know your enemy.

Since the three people appearing on the large, rectangular viewscreen were obviously aliens from Nadiah’s home world of Tranq Prime, he thanked fate he’d gotten a shot of the translation bacteria only offered on the Kindred Mother Ship. Originally he’d gotten it to help him understand different languages on Earth, now it appeared the bacteria would be much more helpful away from his home planet.

Two of the people were older and dressed in furs—obviously Nadiah’s parents. Rast could see the family resemblance in their tall, slender bodies and blonde hair, not to mention the mother’s aristocratic features. But there the resemblance ended. The coldness in their blue eyes was nothing like the lively warmth that animated Nadiah’s—at least when she wasn’t at death’s door. And the look of stern disapproval on their haughty faces made it clear that she was in some kind of trouble.

But as compelling as the parents were, Rast found his gaze drawn to the young man who stood between them the most. He was tall and thin but there was a wiry strength to his muscles that couldn’t be discounted—obviously he was stronger than he looked. His hair was a blond so fair it was almost white and his eyebrows and eyelashes were even lighter. They seemed to melt into his pale skin giving him the odd, lashless look of a white rabbit.

Like Nadiah’s father, he was wearing the traditional male attire of Tranq Prime—a furry skirt looking thing Rast had learned was called a tharp and fur boots made from the hide of a vranna. The boots and tharp were both dark purple and they should have looked ridiculous on his thin, pale form. But the young man wore them with a patrician air of belonging, an unconscious arrogance that somehow put him above common concerns.

Know your enemy, Rast thought again, studying the young man closely. Could this be Nadiah’s intended—the one called Yo-dah or Y’dex that she’d spoken briefly about back in Sarasota? Rast had thought the guy’s name was unintentionally hilarious but he had no urge to laugh now.

There was a greedy look in Y’dex’s pale, bulging blue eyes as he looked at Nadiah’s slender form. The look of a rightful owner about to claim his property. And the property, apparently, was Nadiah.

Chapter Three

“Mamam… Patro,” Nadiah greeted her parents. “And Yo-dah—I mean, Y’dex,” she added reluctantly, nodding at the tall, lanky figure of her fiancé. “How are you?”

Y’dex sneered at her, his thin face twisting in an ugly way. “I think the question is how are you, my dear one? Are you feeling quite well, lately?”

Nadiah lifted her chin. “Yes, perfectly well, thank you.”

He glared at her. “You’re lying.”

“Of course not.” Nadiah shook her head, determined not to let him know how she really felt. “I’m fine. So if you simply called to ask about my well being, you can be assured of my health and we can end this conversation now.”

Y’dex’s face twisted into an angry sneer. “You know that isn’t why we called.”

“Nadiah, it’s time you came home,” her mother cut in. “We let you go to attend Sylvan’s bonding ceremony but that was ages ago. Now that it’s over, you need to get back to Tranq Prime.”

“You didn’t let me go—I escaped.” Nadiah crossed her arms over her chest. “What makes you think I’m in a hurry to come home again?”

Her father frowned. “You will come home, young lady. We have your bonding ceremony all planned.”

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