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Mated To The Vikens (Interstellar Brides Book 8)(10)

By:Grace Goodwin

Except for the dead man at my feet.

I looked down at the strange weapon in my hand, pointed it at the ground a few feet away and squeezed. Nothing happened. I tried again and again, but the weapon was useless.

Irritated, I tossed the gun aside and turned my back on the small building. I needed water, something to get the taste of death out of my mouth, but I couldn’t go back into the transport center. What if the man with the tattoo came back to finish what the ensign had started? What if someone else did?

I had to get away. I wasn’t safe here, even with this man now dead. Even with nature all around me. I had no idea where I was. There could be others about who would find me. How would I explain the dead body?

Walking into the woods, I didn’t look back. I was an alien here. They’d see the dead Viken and I’d be looking at a murder charge. Why would anyone listen to me? I was from Earth. I was on another planet. Were there any laws governing the right to kill in self-defense on Viken? God, I couldn’t go to prison. That was why I volunteered for the Bride Program in the first place.

First things first, I had to put as much distance as possible between myself and this fucking horror story.

The woods closed around me and I kept walking until the small building disappeared from my view. Looking around, I saw no obvious path and had no idea which way to go. The forest looked the same in every direction.

It didn’t matter which way I chose, as long as I ran far, far away.

I picked up the hem of my dress and dashed through leaves and vines, wound my way past trees and flowers, and kept moving until my legs ached and my lungs burned.

I’d survived on Earth with the Corellis. I would keep going until I found some people who looked friendly enough to ask for help. The language thing that giant needle had poked into my skull as part of my processing on Earth must have worked, because I’d understood the two men who’d wanted me dead all too well.

Yes, running was a risk. But staying, waiting for tattoo man to come back and finish the job, seemed worse.

I found a small stream and rinsed my mouth, splashed water on my face and kept moving.

Yeah, I might die out here. But at this point, I had nothing left to lose.

Chapter Three

Gunnar, Viken Transport Room

The technician had a better angle than I, and he paled, swaying on his feet. “My Queen?”

She sat slowly, a baby in her lap, both with dark red hair. The Queen turned to face me, confusion written on her face. “Where am I? Gunnar? Erik? What is going on?”

“Wolf!” Baby Allayna lifted her arms when she saw one of her favorite playmates, Rolf. The tiny girl could not say his name properly, and so he’d become Wolf. I learned from the Queen that a wolf was an animal on Earth, fierce and loyal, ruthless and cunning. She considered it to be apt, for my friend was all those things.

Rolf hurried forward and lifted Allayna from Queen Leah’s arms.

I bowed my head and stepped forward, offering my hand to assist her from the transport pad. “My Queen, what are you doing here?”

She looked around, confused. “We were transporting to Sector Three. My mates are already there, awaiting our arrival.”

Erik barked at the transport technician. “Contact the transport room in Sector Three immediately. Her mates will be ready to tear the place apart.”

“Yes, sir.” The wide-eyed technician followed Erik’s order, his voice clipped but firm as he contacted the other transport room and let Queen Leah’s mates, Tor, Lev and Drogan, know that their mate and daughter were both alive and well.

“Transport imminent. Please clear the pad,” the technician yelled the warning, and I tugged on the Queen’s hand until she was safely behind me as the transport pad fired up once more.

Seconds later, Lev stood on the platform, his scowl made fierce by the deep scar over his right eye. Lev was one of our triplet kings, but he’d been raised in Sector Two, my sector. He was the most ruthless of the brothers, the most feared. There was no forgiveness in him, no softness, at least not until Queen Leah.

Leah cried out and ran into his arms. “Lev!”

We silently watched him transform from tense warrior to comforting mate as he held her close. He lifted his arm in a silent command for Rolf to bring his daughter to him. Rolf stepped forward and Lev lifted the tiny girl into his arms as if she were the most delicate glass. A shudder racked the King’s body. The little one nuzzled into her father’s neck and I had to turn away. I could not stand the sight of so powerful a warrior broken by fear for his loved ones.

He was decimated by just a transport malfunction. Witnessing such vulnerability served as an effective yet simple reminder that it was better not to love. To risk such complete despair over a mate.