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The Bond That Heals Us

By Christine d’Abo


Sara has been so busy saving the lives of others, her own life has passed her by. But when a mysterious alien captain crash lands his ship on the Eurus colony, Sara feels an unexplained attraction to him and decides to throw herself into an unexpected love affair.

The last thing Davin wants is to walk into a relationship with anyone, let alone a feisty human doctor. But when he is forced to stay on the colony, Davin can't help but be drawn to Sara's strength and spirit. As long as he can hide the true nature of his healing abilities from her, everything will be fine.

They tumble headlong into a fiery sexual relationship, drawing closer until events threaten to push them apart permanently. When a group of miners on the planet begins to exhibit unusual behavior, Davin must put his fears aside and work with Sara to save their lives. If he can't open up to her, all may be lost.


The Bond That Heals Us

Copyright 2017 Christine d’Abo

ISBN: 978-0-9937319-4-5

Discover more books by Christine d’Abo at her website

www.christinedabo.com

All Rights Are Reserved.

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this story are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

First edition: May 2008

Second edition: March 2017

For more information, please contact Christine d’Abo at

www.christinedabo.com



Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Coming Soon

Also by Christine d’Abo

About the Author





The Bond That Heals Us

Eternal Bonds 2

By Christine d’Abo





Chapter 1

Sara Fergus raced through the door to the meeting room and practically threw herself into the only empty seat at the conference table. The chair shifted, making a scraping noise as it absorbed her moving body.

“Sorry I’m late. One of the engineers had a severe laceration on his leg after a conduit exploded and sent metal flying. I had to rush him into surgery. Bloody mess everywhere.” She muttered the last under her breath.

She blew a strand of hair away from her face before she finally looked up at the people who were now all staring at her. Her best friend and chief of security, Haylie, was sitting at the end of the table next to her husband Kamran, grinning like a fool. He stared at her, trying to maintain an air of diplomatic professionalism, but Sara couldn’t miss the twinkle in his eyes or the slight smirk on his face. Sara didn’t need to look around at the rest of the participants to know what their expressions would be.

Dumb, stupid space cadet!

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to cause a disturbance,” she said and felt a blush heat her face.

“Not at all. We all appreciate how busy you are,” Kamran said, unable to contain his smile anymore. “You are just in time to hear about our supply situation.”

Thank god her two friends were here to smooth things over. Sara had been an unorganized mess most of her life. Haylie had been around for most of it and knew how to keep her in line. Now that her friend had formed a mental bond with her husband, Sara suddenly found herself with another powerful friend—and someone who could help keep her out of trouble. Not that she intended to get into trouble, but it always seemed to follow her.

Kamran looked down at Haylie and Sara watched as his smile changed. She knew they were probably sharing some silent thought, a comment or private joke communicated through their bond. Despite the close friendship that the three of them shared, she couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable around them sometimes. She didn’t like that she’d lost some of the intimacy she’d shared with her best friend for years. Hated that she couldn’t claim to know Haylie’s mind as well as her husband.

Petty jealously, she supposed.

Sara gave her head a shake and tried to focus her attention on the portly man in the brown suit who was now talking. A data pad was pushed in front of her and automatically began to flick from report to report, detailing the state of the colony as the man talked. She had to fight back a sudden wave of exhaustion and stifle a yawn when he began droning on about regulations. She really didn’t have time for this crap.

“Administrator Kamran, after taking a closer look at our supply reserves and comparing that against how much profit we can earn from sales of silicate ore from our mines, we will be running dangerously close to the wire for the next six months.” The man leaned his fleshy arms across the table and pressed his belly firmly against the edge. “We will need to increase production if we are to maintain the colony.”

“Why is this just coming to light now?” Kamran asked, his hands folded together in front of him. “We should have had warning long before now.”

“Sir, we don’t have the luxury of trying to figure out how this happened. We need to get matters resolved quickly before this colony is at risk. We need triple shifts.”

Was this guy for real?

“I don’t recommend that at all,” Sara cut in. She made sure all eyes were on her before continuing. “I’ve already had five miners report to the med bay in the past week from exhaustion-related injuries. They barely seem to know where they are or what they are doing. I’ve had to take three of them off active duty and send them on mandatory rest leave. They’re being pushed to their limits already.”

The man in brown snorted. “They’re simply taking advantage of your bleeding heart, Doctor. I very much doubt things are as dire as you are leading us to believe. And the triple shifts will let us—”

Somewhere in her head she registered the sudden sharp intake of breath as Haylie’s, but she was far too pissed off to acknowledge it. Sara was on her feet, leaning across the Briel who sat beside her, so she could glare at the odious man.

“What is your name?” she ground out.

“I don’t see what that—”

“What…is…your…name?”

“Grant,” he squeaked.

“Well Grant, you may take issue with many things about me, but don’t you ever, ever call into question the validity of any of my diagnosis. The health and well-being of my patients is the most important thing to me and under no circumstance will I have my ethics as a doctor disputed by a small-minded bureaucrat. Do I make myself clear, little man?”

By the end of her speech, Sara’s voice was dangerously close to a yell and her body was shaking. For his part, sitting wide mouthed and sputtering, Grant could only nod. Sara flopped back into her chair, folded her hands across her lap and shot her gaze to a blank spot on the wall. Her heart was pounding and it took all her concentration to relax.

“Thank you for your recommendations, both your recommendations, on the situation at the mines,” Kamran’s calm, steady voice filled the uncomfortable silence in the room. “If the situation is as dire as we are lead to believe, I’ll appoint a representative from the colony to start a recruiting campaign to entice some additional personnel to relocate to Eurus. That should help both the production and the physical conditions of the miners.”

“Thank you,” she said, casting a glance at Grant.

“We need to look into getting a better forecasting system in place to prevent this sort of thing from happening again,” Haylie said, sitting back in her chair, her arms across her stomach.

“Of course,” Grant nodded, looking pleased he was getting his own way.

Kamran nodded. “Good. I’d also like to arrange a tour of the mines. I’ve put off checking the conditions—”

“I don’t recommend that currently, Administrator,” Grant cut in. “Conditions aren’t ideal at the moment. We had one of the secondary caves collapse and need to get it cleaned up.”

“Can’t have a mess in the mines,” Sara muttered, a bit louder than she’d intended.

Sara felt her face heat for the second time since her arrival at the meeting. She quickly flicked her gaze to Kamran, who only winked at her. Haylie rolled her eyes, but winced suddenly afterward. Her husband’s hand immediately went to hers and gave it a squeeze.

Something’s wrong.

“Were there any other items on the agenda?” Kamran’s voice, while still even, had taken on a concerned note.

The murmur in the room faded out when Kamran gave his head a sharp nod. “Excellent. We’ll meet again next week. Thank you for coming.”

Grant practically bowled Sara over trying to escape the room, but she really didn’t give a shit about his little snit right now. Haylie was sick. Sara strode across the room as fast as her short legs would carry her until she was at her friend’s side.

“What the hell’s the matter with you and why haven’t you called me sooner?”

“Sara, there’s nothing—”

“She’s been sick for over a week now,” Kamran said, his hand wrapped around her shoulder. “She’s barely eating and what she does eat, she can’t keep down. And she’s moody, worse than normal.”

Haylie hit her husband hard across the chest. He completely ignored her.

“Any weight loss or weight gain?” she asked Kamran, blocking out Haylie’s annoyed protests.

“Yes, some weight loss. And she’s been sleeping more than normal.”

Haylie sighed. “I miss one little meeting—”

“She missed a meeting?” Sara couldn’t hide her surprise. That was something she would have done, but never Haylie.

“That was yesterday. I had a hard time getting her out of bed again today.”

Kamran ran his hand through Haylie’s long brown hair and frowned. Sara knew they were communicating through their mental bond when Haylie sighed and nodded.

“Go ahead. But I swear nothing’s wrong with me. It’s probably just the flu.”

Sara immediately set to work checking her over. The last time Haylie had exhibited strange symptoms, Sara had ignored them. It turned out to be the effects of an alien pheromone manipulation, something that had created a temporary mating bond between her friend and her husband. Sara had been thrilled when the Briel council had found a way to make their bond permanent a little over a year ago. She’d never seen her friend this happy.

This time she wasn’t about to ignore any strange goings on when it came to Haylie. The quick check of her vitals revealed lower than normal blood pressure and heart rate. It wasn’t until she pulled out her portable bio scanner that Sara clued in to the problem. The excitement that zipped through her brought an instant grin to her face.

“What?” Haylie and Kamran asked at the same time.

“You, my dearest and oldest friend, are going to be perfectly fine.”

“See,” Haylie said and whacked Kamran across the chest again. “It’s just the flu.”

“Then what’s wrong with her, Sara? She’s not acting herself. And please don’t tell me it’s the flu.”

Not wanting to worry either of them, Sara stood up, taking Haylie’s hand with her. She reached for Kamran’s and laced the two of them together. “I have to say that this is my favorite part of being a doctor. I have the utmost pleasure to be able to tell you that you should expect an addition to your family in about twelve months.”

Kamran was on his feet, eyes wide. “A baby?”

“Twelve months!” Haylie was on her feet just as fast. “What happened to nine?”

Sara couldn’t help but laugh. “Well, the normal gestation for a Briel baby is fifteen months. I figure it’s somewhere in the middle and took a guess. I’ll be able to give you a more accurate reading once I can get you back to the med bay.”

“A baby,” Kamran repeated with a grin fixed firmly on his face. He suddenly picked Haylie up in his arms and gave her a hug. Haylie giggled and, after a brief protest, relaxed against him.

“I’ll leave you two alone. But I want you to check in later on today so we can start some blood work to make sure everything’s in order. And until I do so, consider yourself off duty, Chief.”

She couldn’t be sure either of them heard her at that moment. They were so lost in each other that Sara took the opportunity to slip away.

Light from the planet’s surface streamed in through the windows that lined the outside wall of the colony’s main building. Since the Ecada attack last year, they’d expanded the growth of the colony to include a second building. Sara slowed as she approached one of the windows so she could stare at the half-finished structure. Men and women in EV suits were outside welding metal frames that would soon be fitted with reinforced plastic panels. Another six months, maybe a year and they’d be finished. The Eurus colony would see another explosion of colonists arrive to seek out adventure on the frontier. That, combined with the gradual influx of explorers from neighboring star systems, pirates and wanderers, and the colony would be at its capacity sooner than anyone anticipated.

Sara ran her fingers along her neck, trying to rub out the stiff muscles. With any luck, there would be a few more doctors with the new group and she’d get a rest.

Shaking off her exhaustion, Sara made her way back toward her office, knowing there was a pile of work waiting for her. As she walked, she smiled at the people she passed, trying to mentally review each of their names and, for the most part, actually remembering them. She had no problem recalling the symptoms of most human diseases and more than a few alien ones as well, but give her someone’s name and she was lost. Not for the first time, she envied Haylie’s photographic memory.

The doors hissed closed behind her as she walked into the unusually quiet med bay. Several of the Briel doctors had taken the day off to prepare for some sort of ceremony, which for the life of her, Sara couldn’t remember. It was important, that much she knew. What it meant was she needed to pull a double shift until Jaylin returned.

She’d been more than a little suspicious of the new Briel doctor when he’d arrived shortly after Ray’s death. The elder council vouched for him and his abilities until she was satisfied he wouldn’t launch an attack against them. But it didn’t stop her from having Haylie and Taber run a background check anyway. She wasn’t taking any more chances when it came to who she worked with.

“Hey, Doc. I thought you had a meeting?” Rachael asked, throwing a nutrition bar at her.

Sara smiled at her head nurse as she ripped into the packaging and pulled a piece of the moist bar off.

“I did. Showed up late, got out early. Anything exciting going on here?”

“Nope. Quiet enough that you can steal a nap in the isolation room,” Rachael said and winked.

The temptation was certainly there. Instead, Sara sighed and made her way toward her office. “No, I have a pile of reports I need to get through. Earth Medical sent me another nasty communication yesterday, and if I don’t get these done, they’ve vowed to replace me.”

“Well, we don’t want them tossing our favorite Earth doctor out an airlock.”

Sara grinned at Rachael. “I better get at it then. Yell if anything exciting happens.”

Her office was blessedly cool and quiet. Before sliding behind her desk to tackle the data pads stacked there, she made her way over to the food dispenser as she chewed on the mostly bland bar.

“Large glass of water.”

Instantly, her request appeared in the small slot in front of her. She would never get tired of that particular piece of Briel technology. Instead of drinking, Sara poured the water over the large Briel plant Kamran had given her as a birthday present a few months ago. He swore she couldn’t kill it, and so far she hadn’t let him down.

But anything could happen.

With nothing left to help her procrastinate, Sara began to work away at the reports. As she read, her eyelids became heavy and she had to adjust her body in her seat several times to keep from nodding off. When she realized she’d read the same paragraph on the data pad three times, she pushed it aside.

“Just a quick nap.”

Leaning back as far as her chair would allow, Sara tucked her feet under her butt, crossed her arms across her chest and let her mind wander. She couldn’t help but think of Haylie and Kamran and how happy they were. Someday, she wanted that for herself. All she needed was to find a man who could look past her particular idiosyncrasies and love her.

Not normally much of a dreamer, Sara felt oddly aware of her surroundings as she slipped into sleep.

She was on a beach back on Earth, one she hadn’t been to since she was a kid. The tide was up as the waves crashed on the sandy beach, pulling and pushing seashells with it as it moved. Sara wandered close and enjoyed the feeling of the water on her feet. It had always relaxed both her body and mind.

She heard a person, a man, come up behind her and wrap his arms around her body. Leaning back, she soaked in his warmth and his scent as it mixed with the salt air. She kept her eyes closed, scared to wake up and lose the comfort of her dream lover. She’d been so lonely over the past year, it felt wonderful to have someone just for her. To have that same type of closeness Haylie shared with Kamran.

“I’m so tired,” she whispered.

Her dream lover placed a slow, sensuous kiss on her neck. Sara tilted her head to the side to give him better access. As he nipped and licked the sensitive skin, he moved his hands to reach up and cup her breasts.

“I’ll look after you,” he spoke the words against her damp neck.

“But you’re not real.”

“I’m here with you now. That’s all that matters.”

She sighed as his fingers brushed over her nipples lightly before he gently rolled the swollen tips, stoking her desire. His breath came out in hot pants and she could feel his hard cock pressing against the small of her back.

“I could so fuck you right now,” he whispered.

Sara’s body instantly reacted to his words as she arched her back hard against him. Her pussy was soaked, ready for him to push inside her, take her as his own.

“Please, I need you,” the words rushed out of her.

“Only if you look at me. I want to see your face.”

Her heart began to pound. She knew if she did what he asked, the spell would be broken, everything would fade away.

“Sara, look at me.”

His voice was demanding, needy and very tempting.

“Sara?”

“Yes.”

Slowly, she spun in her dream lover’s arms, but she kept her eyes closed. His chest felt hard against her sensitive breasts. Her heartbeat was loud in her ears as she felt him lean forward and place a kiss on the tip of her nose.

“That’s cheating.”

“Hey, it’s my dream.”

“Open your eyes. I want you to see me.”

She opened her mouth to argue, but nothing came out. Why didn’t she just open her eyes? It was only a dream.

As she was about to give him what he wanted, a loud siren blared, instinctively forcing her to open her eyes. Instead of her dream lover, the only thing Sara saw was her office. It took her a few seconds to realize the siren was real. Sara was on her feet and in front of the computer console before she’d even given it thought.

“Eurus control, this is Dr. Fergus in med bay. What’s the emergency?”

The face of a young Briel soldier immediately filled the screen. She’d sized him up instantly as one of Taber’s new recruits. A nervous one from the look of him.

“Doctor, we have a shuttle of unknown origin on an emergency descent to the colony. They contacted us long enough to say they have casualties before their com gave out.”

“Which bay will they be near?” When he didn’t answer her right away, Sara couldn’t hold back her annoyance. “Damnit, which bay!”

“East bay. A security detail will meet you there.”

Not waiting to sign-off, Sara bolted from her office into the main med bay. Rachael already had two emergency med kits ready to go and held one out to Sara.

“What’s the scoop?”

“Shuttle about to crash land near the east bay. We’ll have to hurry.”

The two women set out at a jog towards the transport tube that would take them to the lower level. They didn’t speak and the crowds parted to let them pass through unimpeded. They were slowed briefly as they made their way through the bazaar until Rachael yelled for people to clear the way. That gave them enough of an opening to hop into the tube.

“Shuttle level,” Sara barked at the computer.

Her body hummed from the adrenaline and unfulfilled desire, sending her into hyper-mode. Her heart pounded harder than it should have and her palms were sweating as she gripped the coated cord of the med kit’s strap. She knew she would crash hard after the emergency was done and probably have a killer headache to show for it. For now, she needed to focus and get through this.

When they came out of the tube, Taber and a small group of security personnel were waiting for them. Sara and Rachael fell into step with the group and they made their way to the east bay.

“Do we know what we’re dealing with?” Sara asked Taber as they reached the outer blast door.

Taber’s normally composed face currently had a deep frown fixed on it. That told her more than his words would ever say.

“I don’t want either of you to come in until we have cleared the area,” he said, shooting a sideways glance at her. “Haylie won’t forgive me if you get hurt.”

“Yes, she must be chomping at the bit wanting to come down here.” She couldn’t help but smile. “I bet Kamran has his hands full right now.”

“I haven’t heard her use such…interesting human expressions before.”

They looked at each other and she saw Taber’s lips threaten to twitch into a smile.

“So, I’m assuming they told you?”

Taber nodded. “I’d wondered about her behavior changes. I’m very pleased for them.”

“Commander,” Taber’s communicator cut in. “The ship is on final approach. It looks like the captain has enough control left to land in the bay. But they are coming in hard.”

“Damn good pilot,” Taber muttered. “Stand back everyone,” Taber said and physically took Sara by the arm and moved her several paces away from the door firmly behind him.

“Excuse me!”

“Your friend’s wrath is far greater than yours,” he said over his shoulder.

“Yes, but I can make your next physical a living hell.”

For a second, Sara actually thought she heard Taber chuckle.

All her rebuttals and smart remarks were pushed aside when she heard the rumble and creaking metal of the outer blast doors being raised. Unable to see, she relied on her ears to give her an idea as to what was going on. The wind began to howl as it whipped into the open shuttle bay. Very faint in the distance, like a high-pitched buzz coming in above the wind, Sara could make out the howl of a damaged stardrive.

“Rachael, get ready for plasma burns and radiation poisoning.”

“On it.”

The group grew silent, waiting for the inevitable crash that was due to come any second. The screeching of the stardrive grew louder and louder until it was punctuated with a deafening bang and screeching of metal on metal. She couldn’t help but jump at the noise and she felt Taber reach out to give her arm a quick squeeze.

“Wait here until I give you the all clear,” he said again.

“Not moving.” So not moving.

Taber motioned for the security personnel to follow and cautiously approached the inner blast door.

“Computer, status of the east shuttle bay?” his calm voice filled the corridor.

The system paused before the too pleasant sounding voice finally answered. “External doors secured. Atmosphere purged of contaminates.”

“Computer, release security lock on inner east bay door. Authorize Taber zero-delta-five.”

“Access granted.”

The stench of burning wire mixed with the heavy sulfur from the planet’s surface turned Sara’s stomach. Rachael began to cough and had to cover her face with a bio mask. Sara inched her way closer to the open door, trying to see what they were in for. She gasped at the sight in front of her. The damaged ship, larger than a short-range shuttle, but not as large as a passenger ship, was resting half on its side with the nose jammed hard against a bulkhead. The metal had peeled back, exposing conduits and cables as gases vented into the bay. How it hadn’t exploded she wasn’t sure.

Taber and the security force were quickly putting out the few flames that had erupted with a suppression gas. It took a few seconds, but everything was eventually extinguished.

“Looks like a cruiser,” Sara said over her shoulder. “Maybe five to ten for a crew. We should call for two more medics.”

Rachael was looking a little pale. Sara knew she was timid of unknown alien visitors since the Ecada attack. But she thought Rachael had gotten over it through a few months of talking with a psychologist from Earth. Rachael swallowed hard, her eyes glued to the ship. When she finally looked at Sara, she clearly saw her panic.

“I’ll get them,” Rachael offered a bit too quickly and took off down the corridor without a backward glance.

“Nice,” Sara muttered, turning back to wait for Taber’s signal. She’d have to see about getting Rachael a bit more help.

In the shuttle bay, she watched Taber and the security guards edge cautiously toward the shuttle door, their weapons drawn and pointed at the cockpit, which was showing no sign of life.

“Occupants of the shuttle. You’ve crash landed on Eurus colony,” Taber’s commanding voice echoed loud and clear. “Open your door so we may offer assistance.”

Sara rolled her eyes. “You’re supposed to say please, Taber. And don’t point your weapons at them,” she muttered to herself.

When a loud hiss of atmosphere vented from the shuttle door, every security guard in the bay raised their weapons a fraction higher, fixing them on the spot. Sara gasped when the most unusually handsome man she’d ever laid eyes gripped the now open entrance and leaned out of the ship to stare directly at Taber. His shoulder length brown hair fell forward, partially covering his face.

“I have wounded in here. I need a doctor,” he snapped.

Before she had time to blink, he retreated inside the shuttle. Kicking her body into overdrive, Sara was through the door and halfway across the shuttle bay before Taber could turn around.

“Sara!”

“Come with me if you want, but I’m not stopping. You heard him, they need help.”

Somehow, she managed to skirt past Taber and threw her med kit up into the open door. The entrance, which would normally be only a foot from the ground, was a full five feet in the air. For not the first time in her life, Sara cursed her five feet five inches and tried to pull herself in.

“Let me help,” a voice said from above.

Sara looked up and into the most amazing golden eyes she’d ever seen. His irises were reptilian shaped and Sara found herself unable to look away.

“You’re the doctor, I assume?” His voice was deep with an unusual accent. His English was surprisingly good for a race she’d never seen before. And he sounded more than a little amused, despite the circumstances he was currently in.

She had the distinct impression he was laughing at her. She hated it when people laughed at her.

“Are you going to help me up or not?”

“Sara, let me,” Taber said from behind.

She found herself being pushed and pulled up—directly into the waiting arms of her unusual alien. The air in her lungs whooshed out, leaving her shaking and very much aware of the large, firm, male chest she was currently pressed against. He wasn’t as tall as Taber or any of the other Briel on the planet, but he was more than big enough for Sara. A full head taller than her, she was forced to tilt her head back to look into his golden eyes.

“If you’re the doctor, I might have to get ill.” He practically purred as he spoke and then he winked.

“Dr. Fergus, step back please.”

The edge in Taber’s voice was enough to shake her out of her momentary haze. Thankfully, the alien let her move to the side and turned his attention to Taber.

“Name’s Davin. I’m the captain of this bucket. Some of my crew were wounded in the crash. I just managed to get the cabin door unjammed to get out. My copilot was knocked unconscious when we took damage entering the atmosphere.”

“Your ship isn’t registered for this sector.” Taber took a step closer. “My crew will have to inspect it for contraband.”

“After your doctor looks at my men. When she’s done, go ahead. You won’t find anything.” Davin crossed his arms and leveled a stare at Taber.

Taber stiffened slightly. “Because there is nothing to find or because it’s well hidden?”

Sara had to clear her throat twice before either of them would look at her. “Hi. I’m going to help the dying people. Once you are done with your pissing match, I could use a hand.”

Shaking her head, she moved toward the front of the ship to where she hoped the wounded crew member was. Her exit wouldn’t be half as dramatic if she had to turn around and come back. She’d just shoved the cabin door release when she felt Davin come up behind her.

“My copilot, Rafe, took a nasty crack to the head when we entered the planet’s atmosphere. I tried to stop the bleeding, but had my hands full trying to keep the ship together as she came down.”

When the door opened, Sara could smell the blood in the air. Ignoring Davin behind her, she crossed the small space to where a man sat slumped forward in his seat across a control console. Sara pulled him back to reveal half the man’s face covered in burns and blood.

“Med kit,” she said to Davin over her shoulder.

“Lady, I’m not your servant—”

“Now!”

In the next second, she felt the weight of the strap in her hand. She pulled it around and tore into it until she found her scanner. Grimacing at what it told her, she looked up at Davin.

“I need to get him to med bay now or he’s dead. He has massive cerebral hemorrhaging and I need to get him into surgery right away to relieve the pressure. Are there any others? Anyone else hurt?”

Davin frowned and clenched his fists. “Three with the engines. They were keeping us going, but I’m not sure if they’re hurt or not.”

“Rachael should be back by now. I’ll send her and the other medics to the engine room.”

She draped the wounded man’s arm around hers and tried to pull him to his feet. Davin stepped beside her and helped get his copilot up. He started muttering something under his breath, like he was arguing with himself. When she tried to pull the injured man away, Davin resisted with a sigh. She didn’t have time to fight with him and was about to call for her med team.

Before she could yell for help and a stretcher, Davin said something that sounded like a curse and placed his hand in the middle of the injured man’s chest. Closing his eyes, Sara watched as he seemed to focus his attention on the other man. For a moment, she wanted to hit him, wake him up from his trance. But then she felt a tingle of energy coming from the wounded man, as if Davin was sending a jolt through his body. She was about to ask what was going on when the injured man sucked in a deep breath and began to moan. Davin opened his eyes and looked at her quickly, as if he’d been caught doing something wrong.

“What did you do?” she asked, completely awestruck.

“Nothing. Bought us a little time. Let’s get him to your med bay, Doctor.”

“Sara!” Rachael popped her head in from the shuttle bay floor. “I have a stretcher here if you need it.”

“Call med bay. Have them prep the operating room.”

“You got it.”

Davin helped hand his co-pilot down to the security guards and medics waiting below. “Take care of Rafe. I need him back in one piece.”

Sara turned to look at him, trying to size up the captain. “Are you hurt?”

“No, I’m lucky that way.” And he winked at her.

“You fucking bastard!”

Both Sara and Davin spun around to face an extremely pissed off, burly man barreling down on them. Before she had time to react, Sara was shoved aside as the second man took a swing at Davin.

“You’re trying to fucking kill us!” The man was blindly swinging at Davin, connecting several times with his jaw.

“Calm down, Silas.” Davin managed to say, spitting out a mouthful of blood. He took a swing of his own and landed a punch on the side of Silas’ head. “We made it in one piece.”

“Fuck you!”

When Silas swung this time, Davin blocked him and managed to land a kick that knocked the large man back into Sara. The last thing she remembered was being thrown back against the bulkhead and hearing a loud crack as darkness overtook her.


Chapter 2

When Sara finally regained consciousness, she felt as if her brain was on fire. She tried to push her body into a sitting position, but her head pounded harder at the change of elevation. She fell back against the pillow and tried to brace herself against the pain.

“Shit,” she muttered.

“Nice to see you up and running again.” Haylie’s concerned voice floated over to her.

Sara turned her head so she could see her friend sitting in the visitor’s chair. The look on Haylie’s face told her she’d given everyone a scare.

“How long?” She rubbed her temples, looking for relief.

“Long enough for Taber to throw your assaulter in the brig and tear his ship apart looking for anything illegal so he could keep him there. Just over four hours.”

“Shit!” Sara sat up again, ignoring the wave of nausea that slammed into her. “What about the copilot? He needed surgery.”

“I know this might come as a shock to you, but there are other doctors on this colony.” Haylie was on her feet and moving to Sara’s side. “He was in and out in under an hour. He’ll be fine.”

Sara’s mind began to whiz through the events leading up to her crack on the head. “Wait a minute, Taber threw Davin in the brig?”

“Well, he went a bit ape-shit crazy when you got knocked out. Apparently, he just about took his engineer’s head off.”

“Davin or Taber?”

“The captain.”

A shiver of desire rolled down Sara’s back. Davin had tried to protect her. She didn’t know why, but the idea was very appealing.

“Now I know that look, Doctor Fergus,” Haylie said and chuckled. “Your mysterious captain must be cute.”

“Oh please. He gave me a concussion. And he was a bit of a pompous ass.”

“Definitely cute. I’d go down and check him out myself, but I’m not currently on active duty.” Haylie paused, bit her lip and looked over her shoulder briefly. “Look, think you’re up to giving me the go ahead to return to work? I’m going a bit crazy.”

“It’s only been a day. Not even.”

“Sara, please.”

It was Sara’s turn to chuckle. “You’re asking your doctor, who has a concussion and is unfit to dispense a bandage at the moment, to give you medical clearance. I haven’t even run a full exam on you yet to satisfy myself that you are fit for duty.”

“I’m sure the baby is fine.” Haylie rolled her eyes and sighed. “You’re going to be as bad as Kamran, aren’t you?”

“Probably worse. It’s not like we have any previous cases of human-Briel mating to draw on. For now, I want you as far away from the action as I can get you.”

“That’s what I told her.”

Both women turned to look at Kamran as he entered the room. Taber was trailing close behind him, wearing a scowl. Sara knew he was annoyed with her.

“How are you feeling?” Kamran asked as he gave Sara’s hand a squeeze.

Sara shrugged, the motion sending a dull ache down her neck and along her left arm. “Nothing a little shot of pain meds won’t cure.” She looked up at Taber and offered him a small smile. “Sorry to have caused trouble.”

“For once, you were not the cause, simply caught in the crossfire,” Taber said in his normally even voice.

She really wanted to be offended at his comment, but she caught the slight smirk on his face in time. When had Taber developed a sense of humor?

“How is Davin? I hope you didn’t rough him up too much.”

Kamran straightened. “We were on our way to talk to him. I wanted to stop by and make sure you were okay first. He’s been asking about you.”

Sara’s heart began to pound. Before anyone could protest, she slid off the gurney and walked over to the med dispenser.

“Should you be up?” Haylie was beside her instantly. “I doubt even you would let your patients up this fast.”

“No, I’d probably tie them down. But I’m a lousy patient. All I need is a little shot of this.” She pressed an injection into her arm. The drug instantly took the edge off her pounding head, making it easier to breathe. “Now I’m going to check my patient in the brig and make sure that my charming, but overly protective, security escort didn’t cause him any harm.”

Not waiting for anyone to answer, Sara turned and marched out of the room. She’d made it half way down the hall before Taber fell into step beside her.

“You…are a stubborn woman,” he said simply.

“You’ve known me for over a year and you’re just coming to that conclusion now?”

She swore she heard Taber sigh.

“Kamran will be joining us shortly. It seems his mate is under the impression that she can save the planet in her current condition.”

“The only way we’re going to keep Haylie off a case is to give her something else to do. She needs a mystery to unravel. Preferably one that will keep her in front of the computer.”

“I’ll mention that to Kamran.”

They walked the rest of the way to the brig in silence. Since the Ecada attack last year, the colony had rarely needed use of the lower level cells. Haylie and Taber had converted one of the side storage rooms close to her office as an intermediary brig. Sara couldn’t remember the last time it had been used.

The doors to the brig whooshed open and she immediately saw Davin standing, arms crossed over his chest, in the middle of the cell. She swore when his reptilian gaze landed on her, relief washing across his face. She felt a blush heat her cheeks when he licked his lips and offered her a lop-sided smirk.

“There’s the little blaster. Nice to see you back in the land of the conscious, Doctor.”

Sara straightened her back and walked purposefully over to stand in front of his cell. Neither one of them said anything at first. Sara really looked at him this time. Davin’s brown hair was long, kissing the top of his shoulders and falling over his golden eyes. His broad shoulders were tucked into a black leather vest that held an assortment of survival gear. He wore no shirt underneath and she saw an intricate pattern of tattoos covering both his biceps and forearms. Interestingly, he wore a pair of black leather gloves that covered his hands and wrists.

When Davin chuckled, Sara’s gaze snapped back to his. He cocked an eyebrow, issuing either a silent challenge or seeking her approval.

“I see you survived your brawl,” Sara asked, clearing her throat. “Where is your friend?”

“Silas? You’ll have to ask your Briel attack ravak. I haven’t seen him since they hauled my ass in here.”

The door behind her whooshed open and Sara looked over her shoulder to see Kamran walk in. Taber was by his side, whispering to him, most likely filling Kamran in on the pertinent details of their unexpected guest. When she looked back at Davin, she quickly noted the change in his demeanor. His arms were now clasped behind his back and his face had lost some of its humor.

“It’s okay,” she whispered. “Kamran is one of the fairest people I know.”

Davin didn’t respond, his jaw tensing instead. Sara stepped to the side, allowing Kamran room to stand in front of the cell.

“Hello, Captain…I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your last name,” Kamran said with a smile.

“Davin Jagt.” The two words came out clipped.

If Kamran noticed the hostility, he completely ignored it. “If you could be so kind as to tell us what had damaged your ship. Both the head of human and Briel security are wondering if they should be planning a defense against an alien invasion force bound on getting you back. Or getting back at you.”

The two men locked gazes and Sara fought the urge to squirm with the sudden intensity in the room. Kamran had a way of getting information from others that didn’t require he do any more than raise an eyebrow. Davin wasn’t immune to Kamran’s gaze, which gave her a strange sense of comfort.

“Your colony is fine. We’d dropped off a shipment of supplies to Radon Three and got caught in the gravitational eddies of the asteroid belt.”

Taber made some sort of noise Sara could only assume was a sigh as he left the room.

Davin chuckled, softening the harsh lines of his face. “I take it that because your ravak left, you believe me?”

“Of course. We simply needed to confirm what our own engineers suspected. You do realize Radon Three is under martial law and is off limits to outsiders?” Kamran asked, his eyebrow raised.

“It’s the reason we were smuggling supplies to the rebels. Even the bad guys need to eat.”

Kamran smiled. “If one would consider them bad instead of merely fighting for what they believe.”

That seemed to catch Davin off guard. “You know of the conflict then?”

“Computer, release the security locks for cell two.”

The door popped open and Kamran took a step back. Davin hesitated for only a moment before stepping out, right beside Sara. Again, she couldn’t help but let her gaze travel over his body, drinking in every luscious inch. A distinctly male scent washed over her and she enjoyed the spicy musk.

“Please forgive our rude treatment when you first arrived.” Kamran held out his hand. “Welcome to Eurus colony.”

Davin eyed Kamran’s outstretched arm. “Your reputation precedes you, Ambassador. They say you always get what you want and do it with a smile.”

Kamran didn’t move, though the very smile Davin mentioned played on his lips. Finally, Davin reached out and gripped his hand. From her position, Sara was better able to see the tattoos on his arm. Blues and blacks twined together like a snake crawling down his arm. Kamran noticed too.

“You’re a Raqulian.”

Sara gave her head a shake. “I can’t keep up with all of the planets in this sector. Where is that one?”

“Furthest away from Briel, if I’m not mistaken. You certainly have a tremendous understanding of your distant neighbors.” Davin dropped Kamran’s hand.

“It’s my job to know. While you and your crew are here, please enjoy the recreation facilities of the colony. I’m sure Sara won’t mind showing you around.”

“I should really get back to med bay. I’m sure there are—”

“I believe you told my wife you weren’t fit to issue her a medical clearance. I assume that means you need your rest.” Kamran winked at her. “I’m sure the colony will survive without you for a day. Besides, you should enjoy the festivities tonight.”

Sara couldn’t believe it. She opened her mouth to protest, but nothing came out. Not that Davin had any such problem.

“Festivities?” Davin grinned. “It seems we choose an opportune day to crash.”

“We would be happy to have you attend. And Sara wouldn’t mind giving you a tour. That is, if she is feeling up to it?”

“Of course, I’m fine.” Like she would admit to feeling like shit in front of them.

“I would love a guided tour. Thank you for your hospitality, Ambassador.”

“It’s administrator now. In any case, you are most welcome. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my wife is about to do something foolish.”

With a small bow, Kamran turned and walked out of the room.

Davin looked at Sara and frowned. “Bonded?”

“Oh yeah.”

“I pity his wife,” Davin muttered.

“Don’t. She gives as good as she gets.” Sara snorted. “Haylie would kick his ass if he gave her a reason.”

Davin turned and faced her. Relief seemed to settle over him. Whether it was relief from being free of his cell or from being released from Kamran’s presence, she wasn’t sure.

Sara felt the air rush from her lungs when he took half a step closer to her, closing the already small distance between them.

“So, Doctor. I see you are feeling better.” His voice was smooth and seductive, with a hint of mischief in it.

“I’m conscious, if that’s what you mean,” she said and began to walk away.

Unfortunately, she turned too quickly and a way of dizziness washed over her. Before she knew what was happening, Davin had his arm around her waist, holding her up. Sara suddenly found it difficult to breathe and it had nothing to do with her injury. Being this close to him, having his body pressed against hers, made her insides quiver. When she looked up into his golden, reptilian eyes, she couldn’t help but suck in a deep breath. They seemed to see straight through her, see what she was thinking.

“Easy now, Doc. I much prefer to have you awake. I don’t think your security boyfriend would much appreciate you ending up unconscious.”

Sara couldn’t help but chuckle. “Me and Taber? He just hates it when someone steps on his toes. There’s nothing between us.”

“Really?”

The way Davin said the word made Sara shiver. He ran his thumb over the arm he held in his hand, letting his gaze travel over her face to stop on her breasts. She felt the blush return with a vengeance and withdrew her arm from his grip.

“Not that it’s any concern of yours,” she muttered. Straightening, she tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “I suppose you’d like to see the station?”

Davin licked his lips and smiled his slow, half smile. “I wouldn’t miss it. Lead on, Doc.”

Not wanted to be caught under his devouring look for too long, Sara crossed her arms across her chest and walked out of the room, Davin half a step behind her. As Sara led him through the corridors, she could feel her skin tingle from his nearness. Her body would lead her down a dangerous path with him if she wasn’t careful.

When he leaned his head down so it was near her ear, she shivered.

“So, is this a silent tour? I should try to guess what it is I’m seeing?”

Sara cringed. “Sorry. I guess that crack on my head didn’t knock any manners into me.”

Davin reached up and brushed a strand of her hair that’d escaped her ponytail. “Consider yourself forgiven.”

He draped his arm around shoulder and Sara felt his body heat penetrate into her. It should be a criminal offense to have that much sex appeal and use it on a woman in public. She tried to ignore the strange looks people gave her as they passed by. Not wanting to give him the satisfaction of letting him know he’d gotten to her, Sara acted like she didn’t have a care in the world.

“We’re coming up to the bazaar. It looks better now than it did a year ago. The Ecada tore this place apart when they attacked us.” Her thoughts threatened to drift back to the day of the attack, so she gave her head a soft shake and quickly regretted the motion when it made her head throb. The pain brought her back to the present. “Tore it apart.”

She looked up to see him frown and nod.

“I heard about the attack from some of the traders out on the rim. I’m surprised you’re here to tell the tale.”

“If it wasn’t for Haylie and Kamran, we wouldn’t be. And Sean too, though he wouldn’t admit to his part in helping.”

She felt her heart ache at the thought of Sean and the shell of a man he’d turned into since the Ecada were defeated. She’d tried to work with him over the past few months, but nothing seemed to help. He hated himself for the part, however outside of his control, he’d played.

“And where were you during the attack? On the front lines, saving lives, I imagine.”

For a moment, she thought he was being flippant. It wasn’t until she looked into his eyes that she realized he was serious. Sara stopped walking and turned to face him. The crowd and noise around her seemed to fade away until there was only Davin.

“It was horrible,” she whispered. The pain and fear she’d felt came rushing back in a heartbeat. “They kept bringing the bodies to us to patch up, but we couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t even look at their faces, knowing I would heal them just so they’d be thrown back into the fight. One broke through the front lines and almost wiped out me and my team.”

Sara swayed, her head suddenly feeling dizzy. Davin’s arms were around her as she leaned hard against him. The strength and warmth from his body seemed to seep into her, giving her a slight boost, but not enough to help her overcome the overwhelming pull of her emotions.

“I think you hit your head a bit harder than you realized. I need to get you back to med bay,” he said with more concern than a stranger really should.

“My quarters are closer. I have a med kit there.”

She tried to walk away, but Davin scooped her up in his arms. Sara would have fought him under normal conditions, but it was easier to give in. If anyone thought it odd that their chief of medical was being carried away by an alien they’d never seen before, no one said anything.

Davin managed to get her close to her quarters with little direction on her part. When she was only a short distance away, she tried to get him to put her down so she could walk under her own power.

“And lose my chance to touch your sweet ass, I don’t think so,” he said in a voice loud enough to turn the head of a passing engineer.

“Do you try to embarrass people?” she said, her face flaming.

“People? No. Apparently just you. This yours?”

“Thank god. I’d hate to have to share this honor.”

Still, he didn’t set her down. Instead, Sara was forced to lean over and press her hand against the ID scanner to unlock her door.

The air inside was cool as the door whooshed shut behind them. Davin walked across her small living room and set her gently on her couch. Instead of moving away, she was surprised when he sat down beside her and began to remove his gloves.

“Nice place. Roomy.”

Suddenly feeling nervous being this close to him, all alone, Sara began to chatter away. “You should have seen the room we had when we first arrived. They had us sharing quarters in a place half this size. Thank god I was sharing with Haylie or I would have gone—what the hell are you doing?”

Davin had tossed his gloves aside on the coffee table and reached up to place his hand in the middle of her chest.

“I’m making your head better. Now sit still.”

“I don’t think so, buddy. I’ve just met you, you’re the reason I have a bump on my head in the first place and now you want to feel me up!”

“Feel you up?”

The confused look on his face was almost cute. Sara sighed and rolled her eyes.

“Touching my breasts. You know, these things.”

She motioned her hands in front of her breasts as if to cup them. Davin’s gaze followed her action and she watched as he licked his lips.

“Perhaps we’ll save that for another time. Right now, I simply want to heal your wound.”

Dropping her hands in her lap, Sara shook her head. “And how to do you propose to do that?”

“What do you know about my people?” He said the words quietly, his normal teasing tone surprisingly gone.

“Nothing,” she shrugged, sneaking a glance at his arms. “Who did Kamran say your people are?”

“Raqulians.”

Unable to stop herself anymore, Sara reached up and traced her finger down along his arm. She could almost feel the lines of the tattoo and the intricate patterns woven on his skin.

“Do all your people have these?” she spoke quietly, enjoying the feeling of touching him.

Davin didn’t move. His eyes were fixed on her face, while she stared at where her finger connected with his skin.

“We do, but they are different depending on which cast you are born into. And which cast you pledge yourself to.”

She continued to trace the tattoo all the way down his forearm to the top of his hands. When she started to retrace her path, he caught her wrist, lifting it an inch.

“Touch is a very powerful thing for my people. It has the power to heal, the power to kill. Or the power to arouse.”

Sara’s gaze shot to his and she could see it. See the desire dancing in his golden eyes, the tightness of his jaw as he swallowed hard. Her heart began to pound and she found herself being drawn into his arousal. Her nipples hardened and she couldn’t get enough air into her lungs.

“I’ve only just met you,” she said, her voice shaking.

“I brought you here to heal your head. Not claim you as my mate.”

She shivered at the thought of being in his bed, under him as he slammed his cock hard into her. That is, if he had a cock. Sara looked down between his legs and could see the outline of a large bulge straining in his pants. Davin took her hand that he was holding and pressed it to his cock.

“I trust we are compatible,” he drawled, a sexy half smile on his face.

Whether it was from the concussion or her own ignored desires, Sara wrapped her hand around his shaft and squeezed. She sucked in a breath, amazed at his girth. “I thought you weren’t going to…do this?”

“Can you blame me? A beautiful temptress is sitting practically on top of me, devouring me with her eyes.” He chuckled. “But you are correct.”

Gently, he lifted her wrist again, this time placing it back in her lap. Sara flexed her fingers and bit down on her bottom lip. “So, how do you want to heal me?”

“Do you trust me?” He asked the words with all seriousness, even though his eyes were twinkling.

“No,” she snorted. “I just met you.”

“Fair enough. I’m going to place my hand on your chest, like I did with my co-pilot. You’ll feel a tingle, but that should be all.”

Sara couldn’t help but frown. “And that will fix a concussion?”


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