Haunting Blackie Page 15

“Would they have made it law that canine units had to be with more than one cyborg? It wouldn’t work. Canine units are loyal to the extreme.”

“They would have taken your needs into account. It also would have put more females into our society and lessened the need to pair cyborg women with multiple males.”

“You think cyborgs would have accepted us the way we are?”

He tugged her closer until her body pressed against his. “Yes. You have no idea how difficult it has been for our unbalanced society.”

“Tell me.”

It was hard to think when warmth seeped through his uniform into her clothes. She wished they were na**d and back inside their quarters. She might have avoided sex all her life but now she knew what she’d been missing with Blackie. It would be nice to make up for lost time.

“We turned off our implants. It allowed emotions to rise inside us, allowed us to experience them, good and bad.” His hands slid higher, to her waist. “Jealousy and possessiveness were present but we had to conceal them for the harmony of all. It wasn’t fair to expect such a high percentage of our male population not to have the ability to join family units. They would have resented the ones who did.”

“Do you feel possessive of me?”

“Yes.” He didn’t hesitate to answer. “You belong to me.”

She liked that. “So you’re saying they feared a lot of men would kill the married ones just to put some widows back on the market?”

His lips twitched at the corners but he resisted the smile. “That is a very Earth way to put it but it’s accurate. The council feared the men would fight over women. It is also a requirement that we produce children. Pairing only a single male with a woman would have restricted our genetic pools and caused health issues in the future generations.”

“They want women to hook up and have babies with multiple partners so the DNA is more diversified when those kids grow up and have some babies of their own?”


“There would have been a lot more women available if we hadn’t been left behind. You really needed us, because even with multiple male partners, many children still have the same genes—the mother’s.”


“Do you think it’s going to piss some of your guys off that we were left behind?”

“I’m certain they will be angry.” He paused. “The family unit structures would have had a more satisfying outcome.”

“What does that mean?”

“Our women were given an unfair advantage over the men.”

“They got to pick and choose who they married instead of men having much of a choice?”

He stepped back, releasing her. “Yes. The women were empowered by their situation.”

“They rub it in?”

Anger flared in his gaze. “They lost their compassion.”

That surprised her. “They are mean to their husbands?”

“I have avoided joining a family unit for many reasons.” He paused. “Let’s go to our quarters. Did you eat enough?”

“You’re changing the subject.”

“It’s not a good one.”

“I want to know.”

He lifted a hand and brushed a tendril of her hair back. “Our women are cold, controlling, and any male who doesn’t comply with their demands is considered unworthy of joining a family unit—by all women.”

“You piss off one, they all hold it against you?”

“The male is deemed undesirable by all and has no chance of entering into a contract with another woman. They can be merciless with their demands.”

She studied her mate’s dour expression. “You avoided getting married because you’re an alpha but you would have been forced to be a beta. That sucks. Do they make you clean house and treat their husbands like slaves or something?”

“There’s much more to it than that, Eve.”

“So fill me in.”

“Why are you so curious?”

“I’m going to live with these people on your world. I want to know the score.” She grinned, deciding to lighten his grim mood with teasing. “Are you afraid to tell me in case I become really demanding and high maintenance? I won’t.”

“That’s not it.” He blew out a breath. “They are ice cold and rarely show emotions unless it is contempt, anger or disapproval. They choose their males according to their rank in our society or for physical traits they wish to pass on to the next generation. Personality traits are ignored. We’re expected to conceal those while with them. It irritates them otherwise.”

Eve was stunned.

“Sex is initiated by women only when they decide to conceive a child or if they deem that our physical needs have been ignored long enough. They activate their sex drives, order us to and it’s usually timed down to the second. Occasionally they allow us to touch them if we’ve done something to earn their respect. It is nothing like what you and I have.” He sighed. “I’ve witnessed men who joined family units turn bitter but they are locked into the contract without any recourse to negotiate for more satisfying terms.”

“Wow.” She didn’t even know what to say. It sounded horrible to her.

“I wish to end our discussion of this subject.”

It was kind of depressing so she agreed. “Okay.”

He held out his hand. “Let’s return to our room.”

“How did your meeting go?”

Blackie led her out of the cafeteria and down the hallway. “Fleet contacted the council again. They demanded we return to Garden immediately.”

“Because of Danica and me? Did they know about us?”

His tone became chilly. “I’m not certain what they were told. Fleet didn’t share that information. I know one member who does. Parlis.”

“How would he know if you didn’t?”

The door to their quarters opened and Blackie ushered her inside. The moment it sealed, he gripped her h*ps once more. “He was the one you knew as Freedom.”

Her stomach felt as if it dropped to her feet. “Parlis?”

“That is his name. Freedom was his code name for the mission, as yours was Hellfire. It was to protect his true identity. All cyborgs who had any association with him before he escaped would have immediately been killed if Earth Government discovered he was behind our rebellion. They wouldn’t have taken a chance that he hadn’t infected other cyborgs.”


“That’s what Earth Government considered any dissident in our ranks. As if being aware of our situation and demanding it change was a virus instead of a sign of intelligence.”

“They were dicks.”

He smiled. “Your Earth speech is entertaining. I’d forgotten that over time.”

“Well, you will have plenty of reminders as my mate. I have atrocious English. Living all those years with Danica on the freighter only made it worse. Then there were the people we dealt with on the stations we occasionally came into contact with. Criminals and losers in general who couldn’t integrate with any semblance of society.”

“No more.”

“Right. Will you correct the way I speak?”

“No. I wouldn’t want you to change.”

Her mate knew the right things to say to make her love him more. “I’m glad.”

“You are perfect.”

“You so want to get me naked, don’t you?” She grinned, reaching up and sliding her fingers under the bottom of his shirt to feel his skin. He was so warm and so hers. “You don’t need pretty words.”

“I mean it.”

Yeah, he’s been worth waiting so long for. She had no doubt about that as he helped her strip off his shirt. He removed his boots while she yanked off her shoes. Danica might be worried about being locked into a mate bond but her littermate had no clue how wonderful it could be.

The door chimed, startling them both. Blackie hissed a curse and jerked his head. “Go inside the cleansing unit.” He yanked up his pants and closed them. “I’ll get rid of them.”

“Who is it?”

“I’m not linked to the computers to ask before I open the door.”

She fled, mostly naked, into the small room. The unit closed, sealing her inside. It was the only place to go for privacy if the door to the hallway opened. She strained to hear what was going on.

“What do you want?”

“I need to talk. Where is the woman?”

The voice of their visitor was deep, male and unfamiliar.

“She’s here. We’ll take this outside. Step out of the way.” Blackie’s tone was clearly angry.

“I wish to speak to her as well.”

“Too bad. I refuse to allow you near her.”

“I am your superior.”

“On this trip. I already warned you I wouldn’t take orders from you. She belongs to me. You don’t have the right to demand access.”

“You don’t own her.”

“She’s my mate. I have the right to protect her.”

“Mate? What does that mean?”

“It’s the canine version of forming a family unit.”

“No one gave you permission to do that.”

“I don’t need it, nor would I ask. It’s done. I refuse to argue with you. Why are you here? I already stated that I refuse to take orders from you.”

“I just wish to speak to her.”

“No.” Blackie was really pissed, his voice loud.

“Parlis wished me to ask her some questions.”

“He certainly won’t be allowed access to her.”

“What is your source of aggravation?”

“You refused to discuss this earlier and shut down to avoid it. You were there the day I was freed. You were a part of mission 895589 and I know you had to be aware of the canine units.”

“It wasn’t a suitable time. That’s classified information not to be discussed in front of the crew.”

Eve grabbed a towel out of the compartment on the wall and wrapped it firmly around her body. She wanted to speak to the other cyborg if he knew anything about what had transpired on Earth. She hit the door release and it slid open.

The cyborg stood in the hallway, Blackie blocking him from entering their quarters. Her mate turned, his expression harsh. “Wait inside the unit.”

“He was part of mission 895589 and I want to speak to him.”

Blackie’s lips pressed firmly together, his displeasure apparent. “I will handle this. You’re not properly dressed.”

“Screw that.” She stepped closer, looking past him at the other cyborg. “What do you know? I’ve never met you. What part of the mission were you involved in? Did you know we were lied to and that Freedom planned to abandon my entire line after we helped yours escape?”

“I am Fleet.” He glared at Blackie. “Could we please take this inside your quarters? This is a private matter.”

Blackie didn’t budge. “You’re not going to be able to conceal the truth for Parlis. Is that what you wish to discuss with my mate?”

“Step back and allow me to enter.”

Blackie stood firm. “I expected more from you. Do you have no honor left? You’re here on Parlis’ orders, aren’t you? What exactly are those? The other council members weren’t told they are onboard, were they?”

Fleet glanced around. “There is a shift change soon. Please allow me entry into your quarters to talk to the woman.”

“No.” Blackie shook his head. “I don’t care that you don’t want anyone to overhear what is said. Speak if you are going to or wait until we reach Garden. I’ve already left messages with all the council members. I suspected you didn’t inform them that we rescued two canine units when you requested our immediate return to Garden. I demanded a meeting.”

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