Kissing Steel Page 2

Finally she heard a beep as the doors whished open. She turned, gasping in alarm when it wasn’t Dell or his men who walked into the cockpit of the Bridden. Her knees went weak and her heart nearly stopped before it started to pound in anxiety. It just couldn’t be. She blinked a few times, her focus jerking from one large male to the next to stare at all seven of them. Someone softly whimpered, and she realized she’d made that sound.

The man at the front frowned. He had light, nickel-colored skin and his full lips twisted downward. She couldn’t look away from his intense dark blue eyes as he stared back. His gaze scanned the room then returned to sweep her from head to foot with a cold look before locking with hers once again. He did not look happy.

“I’m Flint.” The man had a deep voice. “Explain yourself for attacking my ship.”

She was mute. She had to be seeing things but she knew there wasn’t a damn thing wrong with her eyesight. All seven men in the room with her were cyborgs. But they didn’t exist anymore. Earth had eradicated them decades before. Her father had told her horrible stories about the brutal, vicious, and cunning manmade species. They had genetically enhanced bodies with enough hardware inside them to make them virtual weapons and ultimate warriors.

One of the men to Flint’s left cleared his throat, drawing her attention to him. He was a light-gray-skinned cyborg with dark eyes and black hair. None of the seven males were less than six feet tall and all were probably at least two hundred twenty-five pounds.

Muscled, human-looking males, except for their sleek metallic skin tones and their larger bodies. The man’s eyes looked black as he studied her.

“I heard some humans keep an onboard pleasure worker with them. You noticed the men’s expensive clothing and it’s a topnotch ship. Hiring a woman to see to their sexual needs stands to reason, and she isn’t in their crew uniform.”

“Pleasure worker?” Her voice finally worked as she glared at the cyborg. She’d gone from fright to purely offended in a heartbeat. “I’m not a space hooker. How dare you.”

The man frowned. “Then who are you?”

Rena straightened her shoulders. “Who is in charge?”

Flint took a step forward. “I am. The Star is my ship. Why did you attack? You sure as hell aren’t pirates unless you’re a group of rich Earth ass**les out here to alleviate boredom.”

“I’m Rena Gates and I work for Demco Insurance. This is definitely not your ship, Mr. Flint. By the authority of Earth Transit I have an order to retake the Star. She was stolen and I’m here to recover her. When the claim was paid out, the Star became the property of Demco Insurance and I represent them in this matter. I demand you release the men who boarded the Star and vacate my ship immediately so they can pilot her back to Earth for me.”

Okay, Rena knew that probably wouldn’t go over well but she had to try. She did have an order from Earth transit so everything she’d said was true and it sure beat dropping to her knees to beg them to not kill her. Her father had taught her when in doubt to never show fear so for good measure she glared at the large cyborg. She saw his eyes widen, the dark blue seemed to deepen in color before he barked out a laugh.

“Is this a joke?”

She managed to keep her shoulders from slumping. “No. I’m the primary lead investigator for Demco. The Star is a stolen vessel that now belongs to my company under Earth Transit laws. We paid the claim so I’m here to recover her.”

More of them laughed. Flint finally spoke, grinning, showing off perfect white teeth as he did. “As amusing as you are, there’s no way in hell I’m giving up the Star to you.

You are far from Earth and we don’t give a damn about Earth Transit or Demco. Here’s how my law works. We took it from pirates, so it belongs to us now. You attacked my ship when you boarded without permission.” He scanned the shuttle and then he glowered at Rena, all humor gone. “Under space law that’s a death sentence and this shuttle now belongs to me along with everything in it, including you.”

A new man arrived, pushing his way forward to the front, shouldering past men so easily she couldn’t miss him. He was taller than the rest, at least six and a half feet in height with light silvery gray skin. His hair was beautiful, a light silver, looking almost illuminated, it was so pale. He was huge—thick chest, massive arms—his big body encased in tight black leather.

“They are all dealt with, Flint.” The man’s voice sounded rough and deep, giving Rena chills just hearing it. “We tried to reason with the two pinned down but they’ve heard that bullshit about us so they wouldn’t surrender.” The man turned his head and a really light blue gaze locked onto Rena and widened in shock.

Flint looked irritated. “I’m glad you arrived when you did. Thank you for the help.

Who the hell started those damn rumors anyway? The worst we’ve ever done is take DNA samples so our scientists have something to work with. We don’t kill people unless we have to and we don’t steal their damn organs.”

The largest cyborg was still staring at Rena. “They refused to believe me. I heard you as I came in. You’re sentencing her to death? She’s a woman, Flint. She’s not even wearing weapons and as bitter as I am right now over women, I think killing her is far too harsh a punishment.”

Flint barked out another laugh. “Tired of the women you’ve dealt with, huh?”

The man tore his strange, light blue gaze away from Rena. “It’s not the females we rescued who have pissed me off. Vonlona believed I was dead so she voided me from our family unit to take another man into her bed.” He sounded angry. “If I’d known I was no longer taken then I would have had a much better few months since I haven’t touched a woman in a long time.”

“I’m sorry.” Flint sighed. “I’m sure you can get her back.”

“I don’t want her,” the man rumbled, clearly vehement. “She was resentful that I made that choice because she wants me, but I want no part of her anymore. She can keep her other male.”

“I am sorry, Steel. I know you were happy with her.” Flint turned his attention back to Rena. “I don’t kill women. I’ll have the single males take a look at her, and I’m sure many will want her, so we’ll hold a lottery to give her away.”

Revulsion washed over Rena, knowing they thought she was a pleasure worker and planned to draw numbers to see who got to sleep with her first. She experienced dizziness and her knees nearly collapsed under her weight. She wasn’t a hooker and she didn’t want to be passed around to a bunch of huge cyborg men. She wouldn’t survive long.

Forced pleasure workers never did.

“Flint,” one of the shorter cyborgs said softly. “Give her to me. Volt and I are bored in our down time between shifts.” Dark green eyes scanned Rena’s body and his tongue came out to lick his lips. “She would definitely make me look forward to getting off my shifts and Volt will be thrilled as well to have her amuse us.”

Another one snorted. “Forget it, Nile. Teg and I would appreciate her more.” The black-haired cyborg winked at Rena. “Pick me. I could eat you alive.”

One of the cyborgs in the back shoved forward. “If she gets to pick who she belongs to then I want to be in the running.” He smiled at Rena. “I promise not to break you and you’d enjoy living with me and my brother much better than them.”

She tried to remember what her father had told her about cyborgs but just one story came to mind about a prisoner her father had guarded who had been damn possessive of his belongings. He was the biggest cyborg in lockup and he’d beaten anyone who had tried to touch his things. Her gaze flew to the silvery-skinned cyborg with the strange pale blue eyes and beautiful hair that flowed to his shoulders.

He was the biggest of the eight cyborgs, she’d just heard him say he hadn’t had a woman in a long time and he was no longer married because his wife had screwed another man. She stared at him, taking note of his handsome features, his attractive, muscled body, and those full, firm lips.

Something inside her was drawn to this cyborg, perhaps it was the fact that he’d been betrayed by his wife. Rena knew all about spousal betrayal, bitterness, and being lonely.

She lived it every day of her life and had for years, trapped in her travesty of a marriage.

She saw a kindred soul in those seconds. If she had to go to bed with a man, he was her first choice, as her gaze swept over him again, feeling attraction in ways she hadn’t experienced in years. The thought of ha**ng s*x with the handsome cyborg made her feel warm and almost eager to explore the reality of how it would feel to be touched by him.

She made a sudden decision. She stared at the big cyborg when he turned his head, maybe sensing her desperate focus on him. She barely hesitated.

“Give me to him.” She pointed at Steel, her gaze locked with his. “Please.”

Shock widened Steel’s eyes and his jaw dropped.

Flint laughed. “Done. You now own a human, Steel. Congratulations.”

Steel whipped his head around, glared at Flint. “No.”

Flint turned, still chuckling as he pushed through his men to leave the shuttle. “I’m your best friend. You wouldn’t want to insult me by not accepting a gift, would you?”

Steel growled a curse before he glared at Rena.

Chapter Two

Rena wasn’t on the Star or the Bridden. The irritable cyborg, Steel, had let her grab her things from the shuttle. Keeping hold of her arm the entire time he’d taken her onto the Star, he then furiously marched her to the other shuttle. He’d locked her in a holding cell for hours and then had collected her. She’d been shocked when he’d escorted her onto another large ship that wasn’t the Star. She’d seen the ship’s tag on a few places as she was led down hallways, reading that she was on the Vontage.

It took her a few minutes but she finally remembered why the name was familiar to her. The Vontage had been a traveling pleasure hotel ship that traveled from Earth, to Saturn, and then to the Moon. Demco hadn’t insured the ship so she’d never seen the claim for the theft but it had made the news. While in repair dock the Vontage had been stolen after a deck fire had caused damage on one of the levels. Her eyes widened as she stared at where Steel had led her.

It was a hotel suite that had a huge four-poster bed. The walls were a bright blue with black carpet and furniture but it was the erotic art hanging on the walls—pictures of human men and women embracing while nude—that prominently covered three of the walls, that stunned her. It looked as if the room had been designed for a romantic getaway for a kinky couple. As she eyed the bed she saw chains and restraints wrapped around the posts of the bed from top to bottom, resembling entwined silver snakes.

“It’s…” She was speechless.

“I never changed the décor since I have better things to do with my time. The bed is comfortable.” His voice was rough and husky.

She turned her head to meet his gaze, having to look up. He was well over a foot taller than her five-foot-three. She swallowed and brushed her brown hair from her face.

“You’re still annoyed with me, aren’t you?”

“You think so?” He growled the words. “You threw yourself at me.”

“I did not. I just asked to be given to you.”

“Why?” He growled the word.

“I’m not a pleasure worker and I didn’t want to become one.”

Those strange eyes locked on her. “What makes you think Flint would have done that to you?”

“I have ears that work.” She put her hands on her hips. “I heard what he said about giving me to the cyborgs and holding a lottery for me. I also heard those…men.”

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