Excerpt from Rescuing Reya (The Beast Masters Series) by Reagan Hawk releasing March 19th! Pre-Order your copy from Amazon today!
Reya coughed again, the air from the slave trader vessel hurting her lungs. Each breath she took was agony, and she’d taken more breaths than she could count since she’d been captured and imprisoned aboard the trader vessel months ago. Her upper back was rubbed nearly raw from heaving with her back pressed to the rusty metal wall of her holding cell. She’d been too weak to do much beyond lie there for most of the agonizingly long journey.
The cell door scraped open and she looked up to find one of the two Voxenite guards who normally checked on her. He was the nicer of the two, if you could call only jabbing her once with his electric prod ‘nice’. He’d done that on the first day of her arrival but hadn’t done it again.
He tipped his head and the gills on the sides of his face flapped. He wore a breathing apparatus over his nose and part of his mouth. The sight of him used to cause her to slink back and gasp. She was used to him and the others like him now.
“Come,” he said.
She tried to stand but was too weak.
He glanced down the long outer corridor and then stepped into her cell and bent. He lifted her gently and carried her out of the cell, down the corridor and to a large decontamination chamber. She’d not had a decent bath since she’d been taken from Earth, Old World Section Seven, and she nearly cried tears of joy at the sight of the unit. The guard eased her to her feet and motioned to the unit.
She eyed him cautiously. “Really?”
She couldn’t be sure but she thought he may have done his version of a smile. “Yes.”
The idea of being clean put a spring in her step. She moved as quickly as she could to the decontamination unit and stripped the rags she’d been wearing from her body. The unit kicked on, cleaning away the grime and filth of the past few months. Her long blonde hair fell freely over her shoulders, clean once more. The unit kicked off and the door to it slid open.
Nude, she stood before the guard and lowered her gaze, fearful of what would come next. The guard eased closer to her, holding material in his hands. “Do not fear me.”
She looked up.
He held the material out for her. “This is for you. Dress in it when I am done here with you. Someone should pay a good price for you. You are—” He raked his gaze over her. “—most pleasing to look upon.”
She blushed and eased the material from his outstretched hands.
“We are not compatible,” he said, his voice slightly garbled because of the breathing apparatus.
Tipping her head, she stared at him, confused as to what he meant.
“Sexually,” he supplied. “My species and yours, we are not compatible. If we were, I would have purchased you for myself.”
“Th-thank you.” She bit her lower lip. “I think.”
“Dress. We land soon. Soon you will be bought.”
He touched her cheek gently and then turned to a shelf near her. He handed her a small vial. “Take this. It will help here and here.” He boldly touched her upper chest and then reached around her touching the raw skin on her upper back. “Your cough is worse. This will help. It will help your back heal quickly as well. Slaves are not permitted to it under normal circumstances. It is all I could steal from the supply room. I am sorry.”
She understood the risk he was taking to assist her and appreciated it more than he’d ever know. She went to her tiptoes, totally naked, holding material to her chest, and she planted a kiss upon his gilled cheek. “Thank you.”
He caught her around the waist. “Take the vial.”
She swallowed what was in it and nearly gagged. She thought he’d poisoned her but her airway began to ease nearly instantly. It wasn’t perfect but it was much, much better.
The guard held her close. His body pressed to hers. “Your hair is like the sun.”
She said nothing, wondering if he’d try to join with her even though he’d said they weren’t compatible. He took hold of her shoulders and pushed her out at arm’s length. He then looked her up and down, repeating the steps. She realized he was curious. He touched one of her breasts lightly. “These supply sustenance to your young?”
Reya wanted to hate him because she hated the others of his kind on the ship, but he’d always been different towards her. She nodded. “Yes. Once a woman of my species births a child, our breasts produce sustenance for the child. Here.” She put her hand over his, keeping it on her breast.
He squeezed her nipple gently and a soft hiss of air slipped from between her clenched teeth. He watched her and he touched her other breast with his other hand. He squeezed it as well. “They are sensitive, like our palusions?”
She wasn’t sure what a palusion was so she said nothing.