Redeeming Zorus Page 12

“Why would you do that? How much money do I owe you?”

Zorus hesitated. He peered around the room more carefully instead of looking at her. “Which ship is this? I don’t recognize it.”

Charlie reached out to touch Zorus on his arm. “Talk to me. How much do I owe you?”

Flint answered Zorus. “It’s not one of ours. We borrowed it from the human female over there. Her name is Jillian and she’s involved with Coal.” He jerked his head in the direction of the woman with the scary-looking bald cyborg. “We didn’t want to bring one of our ships this close to Earth in case they identified them as stolen. The last thing we need would be a run-in with Earth Government. We’re going to meet the Star and Rally when we’re safely out of range. From there we’ll take you home where the council awaits you. I’m supposed to send you their regards and well sentiments regarding your safe return.”

Zorus nodded. “I want clothing and a secure com link to the council.”

“Fine.” Flint moved closer to study them both with a frown. “Who is she and what do you want done with her?”

“She belongs to me.” Zorus stated coldly. “She isn’t your concern.”

A horrified expression transformed the tall cyborg’s features and he definitely shot her a look filled with pity as his voice lowered. “I know you hate humans and are always looking for a way to torment them but please allow me to give her to one of the men instead.”

A gray-haired cyborg who’d blocked them from leaving the cargo hold suddenly drew closer. Charlie couldn’t help but gape at him. His hair appeared the same shade of gray as elderly people had but he looked no older than his early thirties. His eyes were a pale blue, nearly glowing with enough white in them to make her wonder if he were sightless, but then his gaze locked directly with hers.

“Give the human female to me, Councilman Zorus.” He glared at him then. “I’ve taken enough of your shit for you to owe me. I’ll even buy her from you.”

Zorus tensed. “No, Sky.”

Charlie released his arm when the tension between them radiated enough for her to sense a fight brewing. They were both big, powerfully built cyborgs. She wasn’t sure what was going on but her inner alarms screamed warnings at her.

“Damn you,” Sky hissed. “Did she do something to you while you were on Earth? Is that it? She’s a female. I won’t allow you to torture and kill her the way I’ve seen you do to a few of the male humans you’ve gotten your vicious hands on. You enjoyed beating them to death but I’ll be damned if I watch you do that to a woman, human or not.”

“Silence,” Zorus demanded, his tone icy. “They deserved it.”

“She doesn’t.” Sky advanced, going chest to chest with Zorus, his voice rising in volume. “You’re a sick bastard who gets off on killing humans. You even made a few of them believe you were their friend before you attacked. You’re the one who demanded all humans be made nothing but property on our planet and you’ve tried to order every female killed who hooked up with one of us. I’m sorry you survived, if you want the truth. I’d have been happier if you’d died on Earth. I won’t stand by and watch you turn on this female. You’ve killed your last damn human.” He pushed Zorus hard. “I want ownership of her and I’ll fight you for it.”

Charlie jumped out of the way when Zorus slammed hard into the bulkhead. Horror at what she’d heard left her grasping to make sense of it. Her gaze flew to Zorus when he pushed away from the wall, rage twisting his features. The other cyborg said he’d killed humans after befriending them. That horror sank in slowly and when Zorus glanced at her, he didn’t deny any of it. Instead he looked away before he lunged to go after the other cyborg.

Their bodies hit hard, one of them grunted, and then they went down onto the cargo floor. The other cyborgs rushed forward to separate the two fighting men. They managed to pull them apart by dragging them away from each other but not before more punches were exchanged between Zorus and Sky.

Her brain jolted from the distress of knowing she had once again been lied to and betrayed by a man she trusted. Zorus wasn’t even liked by his own people and he obviously had lulled her into believing him by using his sexual skills. Pain burned hot inside her chest and tears nearly blinded her at how easily he’d manipulated her into buying all the bullshit he’d said to her. He hated all humans and planned to kill her.

One of the cyborgs backed up closer to her, his arms wrapped around Zorus to pin his arms to his sides from behind, and Charlie saw the weapon strapped to his hip. She grabbed at it, surprised when she found it in her grip, and stumbled back. Her hand shook when she raised the weapon, not sure who to point it at. She put more space between her and everyone inside the cargo hold just as they realized what she’d done.

The cyborgs released their holds on Sky and Zorus, going for their own weapons. Terror threatened to give her a heart attack when she stared at five deadly cyborgs taking aim at her so fast she couldn’t believe they were able to move that quickly.

“Drop the weapon,” one of them demanded.

“Easy,” Flint ordered softly but his own weapon pointed at her head. “Put it down, human. Otherwise we will kill you.”

“Don’t shoot,” Zorus roared, spinning around to face her now that he wasn’t restrained. He stepped directly in front of her and blocked her body from the weapons aimed at her. “If you kill her, I’ll kill the one who fires.” His gaze locked with hers. “Charlie, trust me.”

She shook her head and her hand trembled harder. She realized with him standing where he’d moved that the only clear shot she had would kill him because her weapon pointed directly at the middle of his chest. She moved it to target his shoulder instead. She just couldn’t kill him, regardless of how badly he’d hurt her with his lies. Winging him though, to get out of this mess, wouldn’t cause her any sleepless nights. At least not too many.

Zorus took a slow step closer, his hands opening at his side. “I’d never harm you. You know that.”

“I don’t know what to think,” she admitted, her voice shaking worse. “Please don’t come any closer. I don’t want to have to hurt you.”

“Move out of the way,” one of the cyborgs ordered Zorus. “We don’t have a clear shot.”

“Let her shoot him,” Sky urged. “Just don’t kill her. Aim for her shoulder so she’ll survive. She’s just terrified.”

Zorus didn’t budge, his intense brown eyes still locked on her. “Charlie, listen to me. Those humans I killed were bounty hunters sent after cyborgs. I had to befriend them to learn truthful information from them. They wanted to locate the planet we settled on to get a fix on it to give Earth Government the ability to send war ships to take us out. I needed them to trust me to discover what information they’d learned so far to sell to Earth. They would have turned us in for the bounty on our heads without a second thought. Releasing them or allowing them to live wouldn’t have been feasible. They would have escaped the first chance they were given and I had to protect my people.”

Her hand wavered. She really wanted to believe him but she knew he could be a real ass**le. “I trusted my brother and look where that got me. I just can’t trust you. There’s too much at stake if I’m wrong.”

“She’s smart,” Sky muttered loud enough for her to hear.

Zorus turned his head to glare at the other cyborg. “Shut up. That’s an order. I’m still a councilman and your superior.”

Charlie glanced toward Sky and spotted him about ten feet away, to the left of Zorus. He looked pissed off but his lips pressed tightly together. From the corner of her eye, she saw movement and focused back on Zorus but he lunged at her. She didn’t have time to react.

His body slammed into her shoulder when he tackled her, throwing her arm back to avoid the weapon, and she hit the floor hard. Pain exploded inside her head when it hit the unforgiving metal surface. Weight crushed her as she fought to stay conscious. The heavy body on top of hers shifted off her chest until she could breathe again. Zorus yanked the gun from her numb fingers and then peered down at her. He looked furious.

“Get a medic,” he snarled. “Her head is bleeding.”

Charlie passed out.

* * * * *

Zorus paced the room, boiling with rage, and then paused. He glared at the android. “Well?”

The disfigured, hulking thing spoke. “She will be fine. I’ve scanned her entire body the way you requested. The trauma to her head is the worst of it and there is no internal cranial bleeding or swelling. She will have a lump and I estimate the probability of a headache when she wakes. With your permission, I’ll give her an injection for the pain she should experience upon waking and a few hours beyond.”

“Do it.” Zorus then turned to glower at Sky who stood at attention just inside the door. “You can live.”

Sky frowned but then his body relaxed. “I’m sorry. How the hell could I have known you had grown soft over a woman?”

“Don’t make me regret not killing you.”

The cyborg grinned. “I can’t believe you’re fond of a human. I take it Earth turned into an ice ball?”

“What does that mean?” He longed to punch Sky again.

“Hell froze over.”

“Get out.”

Zorus watched Sky leave and turned back in time to witness the android give Charlie an injection to her hip. The thing moved forward and then paused.

“Is that all?”

“Leave,” Zorus ordered, detesting the android that had come with the ship but grateful it had medical training. “Thank you.”

It rambled out of the room to leave him alone with Charlie. She could have been killed when she’d grabbed hold of a weapon. She didn’t trust him and that made his level of fury notch higher. She’d been hurt, something he hadn’t meant to do, when he’d disarmed her but he’d taken advantage of her distraction. It could have ended far worse. No one had died and her head injury wasn’t life threatening. He moved to stand at the side of the bed.

He hesitated and then sat on the side of the mattress to hold her limp hand. He closed his eyes and allowed his feelings to surface. He could have lost her. It really made him angry and he didn’t want to part with her. She had heard Sky, obviously believed he’d tricked her with deceit and he guessed she wouldn’t trust him easily again.

She’ll try to escape. That’s what I would do but I won’t allow it.

He carefully placed her hand over her stomach before he stood. His gaze drifted around the captain’s quarters. The room belonged to the human woman whom Coal had claimed. He searched it quickly and found some stretchy material. To keep Charlie unconscious with drugs wasn’t a possibility he wanted to consider with her head injury. He approached the bed.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “You’re going to have to learn to trust me again.”

Regret wasn’t something he experienced often but he did when he gently undressed her. Charlie never stirred, which worried him, but he didn’t hesitate to finish what he’d started. He secured her to the bed, covered her with a blanket to keep her warm, and then connected with the ship’s computer. He sent a message to one of the three androids that cared for the shuttle.

Minutes later food arrived. Zorus studied the android that brought it. “Thank you.”

“No problem,” it stated. “Is there anything else you need?”

“No. I’ll let you know if there is. Tell my comrades I don’t want to be disturbed.”

“I will relay the message.”

Zorus stepped back with the tray in hand and then sealed the doors to lock them from the inside. He disconnected his link to the onboard computer after making sure they were on their way to the Star. He wanted to return to Garden as quickly as possible.

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