Redeeming Zorus Page 23

Rais gawked. Coval nodded, his features suddenly serious. “Apology accepted on behalf of our family unit.”

Jazel stood. “I’ve heard enough. Obviously the charges were greatly exaggerated by Darius.” She glared at him. “Close your mouth and do not say another word. You have done enough damage today. I vote not guilty and this matter is closed. All in agreement?”

Every head nodded. Coval stood next. “All in agreement. Councilman Zorus, you have been cleared, your title reinstated, and this matter is dropped. There could never be a question of your integrity or loyalty to all of our people after your years of service with this council. We’ll see you again when we meet next week.” He paused. “Congratulations on finally embracing the things we fought so hard to establish the right to have. You are more than what Earth created you to be. You have stopped being cold inside, released the hatred you lived by, and have discovered the ability to love.” He paused. “You are truly alive now.”

Zorus hung his head, his body going unusually still, and the room started to clear. Charlie sat there watching the man she loved long after everyone left them alone. She had no idea what to say or do to help him with whatever thoughts were obviously weighing upon him so heavily.

Chapter Twelve

Zorus had been unusually silent on the walk home. Charlie kept glancing at him after they reached his apartment but he seemed to be on autopilot while he prepared food she doubted he’d touch.

“Are you all right?”

“I’m fine.”

“No. You aren’t. Ever since the council meeting, you look about as happy as a kid who just got a butt whipping. What is going on?”

He slowly turned. The look in his eyes seemed cold to her, distant, and his emotions were on lockdown, obviously.

“I did not predict the emotional ramifications of bringing you with me to Garden.”

Her heart missed a beat while she tried not to show him the hurt that gripped her. “Are you sorry you brought me to Garden with you?” She hated to even ask. If he said yes it would not only break her heart but destroy the rest of her already fractured life.

“I am trying to adjust to the new circumstances.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“My son distrusts me enough to publicly charge me with treason. The council always held great respect for my strong beliefs yet they just chastised me in an open meeting in front of my people.” He drew in a deep breath. “They were amused by my humiliation. I never would have suffered that before I met you, Charlie. The emotional scales have been tipped. I am currently assessing how that affects me.”

“Okay.” She hid the tears that filled her eyes by turning on her heel. “You assess.” She headed for the bedroom to put some distance between them.

Damn it, she thought when she stepped into his room. The view along the far wall remained breathtaking but it had lost all appeal to her. Zorus obviously regretted falling in love with her. She’d cost him a lot. He wasn’t the only one who had lost but yelling at him for hurting her feelings when he’d already taken emotional hits today would only make matters worse.

I gave up my life too. Not that I really had one anymore after Russell got us into that jam. I’ve got the government looking for me, I’m a fugitive on the run from them, and I’m flat broke. I could have gone to Saturn to get my money. I could have started a life of my own but no. I decided to―

A loud buzz jerked her from her angry thoughts. She heard it again. It took her a moment to realize the source. She headed to the living room, hoping it wasn’t someone else at the door who would give Zorus hell for being with a human. When she entered the large room, she paused at the shocking sight before her.

Zorus stood with his back to her while a woman dropped her coat onto the floor near the still-open elevator doors. Soft, metallic-gray skin had been revealed when the heavy leather landed on the floor. “I need Sky,” the woman demanded. “You will have intercourse with me in exchange for the breeding right with him.”

“What the hell?” Charlie’s voice sounded too loud to her own ears but she was more than a little angry over the woman who demanded to f**k her boyfriend.

Zorus glanced at her over his shoulder. “This is nothing.”

“I don’t agree.” She strode forward, her gaze fixed on the tall, beautiful, na**d cyborg woman. “Who are you?”

The cyborg woman ignored Charlie. “I will not take no for an answer. We will exchange intercourse for your favor.”

“Alis,” Zorus growled. “I told you, Sky is on a mission. I also turned down your offer. I have not changed my mind.” He glanced at Charlie again. “That is my human female. I told you that I plan to form a family unit with her.”

The cyborg woman flicked her wrist in dismissal. “She’s human. It isn’t as though she could leave you. She’s property.” She stepped into Zorus, her body pressed flush to his, and she wrapped her arms around his neck to stare into his eyes. They nearly were eye level. “You know you will enjoy the physical connection we make. You always have in the past.”

Charlie moved before she could think about what she’d do to the bigger, muscled, na**d bitch who had just admitted she’d had Zorus in the past. Her jealousy at the sight of the other woman’s arms around Zorus burned too hot to deny. She lunged but Zorus suddenly grabbed Alis around the waist to swing her out of the way. Charlie ended up with a handful of the back of his shirt rather than the woman’s hair.

Zorus snarled at Charlie when he peered down at her over his shoulder. “Do not attack her, Charlie.”

He might as well have slapped her. The pain hit her that sharply. She released his shirt, staggered back, and then tore her hurt-filled gaze away from his angry glare. She couldn’t even talk. He released his hold on Alis with one arm only then reach up to tear her hands from behind his head.

Charlie couldn’t stop the numbness that took over. She didn’t know what to do or where to go. She darted toward the elevator, to leave. If he wanted to f**k the cyborg woman, she sure wasn’t going to stick around. They were over. He regretted bringing her to Garden, obviously had decided to move on, but she wasn’t about to watch him with his new girlfriend. She entered the lift but the doors didn’t close. She reached for the controls. She’d hack it if she had to.

“Where are you going?” Zorus snarled the words. “Charlie? Get back in here.”

She refused to look at him. The system wasn’t one she’d ever seen. It didn’t have a panel or any opening that she could detect. She tried voice command. “Down please.”

The elevator doors didn’t close. She gritted her teeth. “Bottom floor. Move, damn it. I want to leave.”

“You’re not going anywhere.” Zorus stormed toward her.

From the corner of her eye, she saw him approach and jerked her head in his direction to give him a murderous glare. “Don’t come near me. You made your choice. I bet your son will be thrilled that you’ve chosen a cyborg woman over me.”

“Unreasonable females,” he muttered a second before he gripped Charlie’s arm in a firm hold to haul her out of the elevator.

She dug her heels in but he easily dragged her back into his living room. She yanked hard, attempting to break his hold on her. It didn’t work.

“Do you see what you’ve done, Alis? Put your coat on and leave. I said no. I do not want to make an agreement with you.” He gave Charlie’s arm a rough tug. “I did not protect her for any of the reasons you must assume. She’s a cyborg and you are human. If you draw blood from a cyborg on this planet, she can have you arrested.”

Charlie ceased her struggles to peer up at him. He shook his head at her, an angry look plastered on his handsome features before he addressed Alis again.

“Get out and never return. Find another male to breed a child with. Sky will not be returning to Garden until his mission is complete. You have my word that you will never receive permission to spend another minute with him if you cause trouble for me again by pulling a stunt such as this one.” He drew in a deep breath. “Leave.”

Alis bent, showed off her muscular, smooth ass, and then pulled on her coat to conceal her nakedness. “You will regret this.”

“I already do. I should have verified who wanted entry into my home. I wouldn’t have permitted you onto my floor if I’d know you were there.”

“You have lost your ability to be logical.” She sneered at Charlie. “The human has impaired your intelligence.”

“Get out.” Zorus released Charlie to take a threatening step toward the cyborg. “She can’t throw you into the elevator to get you out of our home but I can.”

The threat hung in the air. Alis made tracks for the elevator. The moment she cleared the doors they slid closed. Zorus closed his eyes.

“I’m very angry.”

“Me too,” Charlie admitted.

His dark eyes opened to fix on her. “With you.”

“Me? What did I do?”

“I am not an idiot. You left a male who chose another female over you. You have no forgiveness for such things. Did you honestly believe I would accept her offer of intercourse?” He growled low in his throat.

“You really need to stop doing that.”

“Being logical?”

“Growling. It ruins that whole cyborgs-are-way-better-than-humans motto you always spout. What was I supposed to think when I walked out here to see her pawing you? Did you notice that she didn’t have any clothes on? Another minute and she would have climbed you like a tree.”

He gaped at her, mute.


“A tree?” Zorus still looked baffled.

“You’re damn tall. Use your imagination to figure that one out.” She tried to calm down. Maybe the situation wasn’t as bad as she’d thought but the sight of a na**d cyborg attempting to seduce Zorus had temporarily made her go with emotion rather than reason. She’d already been upset anyway. “Never heard that saying, huh?”

“Charlie…” Zorus faced her head on. “You do not trust me if you believed I wanted to have intercourse with that woman. I do not.”

“You just admitted, not five minutes ago, that you regret bringing me here.”

His dark gaze widened. “I made no such statement.”

“Didn’t you?” She sighed. “Look at what I’ve cost you. You said you need to assess things, which tells me that you’re sorry you brought me home with you. Let’s not bullshit each other after we’ve been totally honest so far. I’ve brought you nothing but trouble since we landed on this planet. Your son is pissed, your council embarrassed you, and I’m sure you’re wondering what the hell you were thinking by hooking up with me.”

The anger melted from his face. “Charlie—”

She held up her hand. “I don’t need a roof to fall down around me to see daylight. The view is pretty darn clear.” Her hand dropped to her side.

“I do not regret bringing you with me.”

“Right. Sure. That’s why you’re so happy right now that I’m living with you.”

“I am happy that you are here.”

She wanted to believe him desperately. “You don’t look it and I don’t blame you.”

“I’m trying to come to terms with the things that have changed. My feelings for you haven’t. That’s what I meant. You took my words wrong. The only certainty in my life at this moment is you.” He took a step closer. “Come here.” His arms opened.

Charlie moved before she could think. She walked right into his body to wrap her arms around his waist. He hugged her close, his chin rested on the top of her head, and she fought back tears.

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