Wolf's Bounty Page 3

“Cat got your tongue?” he said, and then smiled rakishly. “Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?”

“I-I, uh, brought your supper.”

“Yes, I see that,” Tarr said with an amused glance. He looked the young Lycan up and down again. Really quite good-looking. He actually got a little twinge just looking at him, and his dick swelled a bit. Almost like—but no, that wasn’t possible. Tarr remembered his brother’s almost instant reaction to the nobyohe’d brought him, this man’s cousin he supposed. Tarr had taken to the Lycan immediately, like he’d been his true mate, but that was just a fairy tale, surely. There was no such thing as a true mate, one person who could fulfill you like no other.He’d heard of other species, including these Lycans, who felt they had a fated mate, but he’d always considered that to be just mindless drivel. One good-looking, warm body was just like any other, surely.

“Okay, so…if you need anything else, just um…I-I’ll be in the next room, so you know…I can hear you if you call.”

“I don’t remember you from before,” Tarr said, ignoring the Lycan’s stammering.“You weren’t with the ones who kidnapped me, were you?Who are you?”

The young man opened and closed his mouth, then closed his eyes and seemed to be trying to steady himself.Something was wrong, but Tarr couldn’t figure out what it was. He tried again.

“I said, who are you?”

“I’m LarssonBalenescu,” he said, straightening his shoulders and trying to glare down at Tarr, though it wasn’t a hundred percent successful. “And to answer your questions, no, you haven’t seen me before. I only arrived back on Lycanus 3 this morning. And youweren’t kidnapped. You were taken into lawful custody. You have a bounty on your head.”

Tarr snorted.“Lawful custody? According to whose laws?The Alliance?” His tone turned scornful.“Tygeria doesn’t recognize that entity as having any authority at all and certainly none over Tygerian nationals.Fuck the Alliance.”

The young man—Larssonhe’d said—drew himself up and glared at him again.“Tygeria is a lawless planet—a cesspool of thugs and thieves.One day they’ll be brought to heel by the Alliance, and made to follow intergalactic law or face the consequences.”

Tarr made another rude noise.“One day, huh?And just who is this that’s going to ‘bring us to heel’? The Alliance? Ha!They’ve been trying for over a hundred cycles, and they’re no further along than the first day.” Tarr picked up the bowl of food, along with the ceramic spoon, and took it awkwardly up to his mouth. He took a bite, finding it to be some kind of stew with a flavor he didn’t recognize. He made a face, sat the bowl down beside him, and glanced back up at the boy.

“And for the record, I was kidnapped, no matter how you Balenescus try to spin it.”

Larsson growled menacingly deep in his throat and took a step closer to him, his fists clenched tightly by his sides. “You dare say that to me? You took my cousin, Kyle, against his will, and gave him to your piece of shit brother like he was an animal!He’s been raped and abused, and we’ll have our revenge! You can count on it.”

Though his words made Tarr furious, he refused to let him see how much they affected him. He lifted one shoulder negligently.“Your relative was in my bar to relieve me of my own freedom. He got what he deserved.He wasn’t touched by me or my men. As for my brother…” He fixed a savage glare on Larsson. “There was no rape of any kind. My brother took your relative as his nobyo—a great honor for the man, I might add.He hasn’t been abused in any way. If you knew anything about our culture, you’d know that.”

Larsson took a few steps toward him, growing careless in his rage.“You’re a liar! We have a vidof him being beaten!”

Tarr looked startled and then lowered his brow.“Beaten? Then it’s a fake! My brother is too fond of his little nobyo. He would never hurt him or have any reason to abuse him. Everyone knows what sluts the Lycans are.”

With a loud growl, Larsson rushed him, falling on top of him and putting his hands around Tarr’s throat. Tarr’s hands were cuffed, so he could only push them up to break his hold, but before he could something very strange happened.

The second Larsson touched him, he let out a huge gasp and released all the tension from his hands. They moved up from his throat to cup Tarr’s face, and Larsson lowered his mouth to take Tarr’s in a fierce, possessive kiss that made Tarr’s hands drop uselessly back to his lap. Larsson thrust his tongue inside Tarr’s mouth and ravaged it with his own before pulling back and looking down at Tarr in a daze. By this time, he was practically straddling Tarr, sitting on his lap. The Lycan’s eyes were unfocused and the pupils were huge. Before Tarr could move or say a word, Larsson’s eyes rolled up in his head and he collapsed on top of Tarr, burying his face in Tarr’s neck.

Feeling alarmed, Tarr quickly pushed him away to check the pulse in his throat. He seemed to have a strong one, if the solid thumping was any indication. Tarr knew nothing about Lycan physiology, but he was hoping most humanoids were somewhat similar. He was at a loss as to what to do. He thought momentarily of trying to snag the keys, but even if he were able to get to them, he’d still have the chain around his waist to contend with, and the lock was currently digging into his back. Even if he found the right key, he wouldn’t be able to contort his body enough to unlock the chain.

Larsson gave a little sigh just then that Tarr found adorable, and he gazed down at him. This close, the young man’s long eyelashes smudged across his cheeks like little fans and his lips puffed out a bit with each breath. Unable to stop himself, Tarr bent to taste those lips. Larsson tasted a little like mints and tea, and his lips were warm and soft and lush. Tarr suddenly was overwhelmed by his nearness and bent to brush his lips over Larsson’s again and again.

Larsson started to stir and Tarr pulled quickly away, leaning his head back and looking down in amusement at Larsson when his eyes flew open. He straightened up immediately, pulling down his shirt and looking at Tarr in outrage.

“What-what did you do?” he shouted, scrambling back to his feet.

Tarr smiled lazily.“Ididn’t do anything. You, on the other hand, suddenly grabbed me, kissed me on the lips and then fainted dead away.”

Larsson’s hair was a burnished brown, but his skin was as pale and translucent as a redhead’s, showing every emotion clearly. Color sprang to his cheeks and his eyebrows shot up. “I did not faint!”

Taz cocked his head. “Pretty sure you did.”

“Don’t be ridiculous!”

“It’s all right, baby. It’s not the first time I’ve had such a strong effect on a man—first time anyone ever fainted though.I’m kind of flattered.”

“I didn’t faint, I tell you! II just…I mean I…oh gods!” He turned on his heel and stormed from the cell, slamming the door behind him, casting back a glare that was so icy it should have frosted up the entire cell. Larsson pointed a finger back in through the bars at him.“I’m warning you.Try something like that again, and you’ll be shipped back to Tygeria in little pieces!”

Larsson turned and strode angrily from the room, slamming that door behind him too, leaving Tarr alone in the stifling little cell. Tarr picked up the water bottle and poured some in his bowl to take a cool drink. He was beginning to like this Lycanus 3 a bit more. Maybe the next few days wouldn’t be so boring after all.

The handsome young Lycandidn’t show up again until two days later. Every time the door to the cell room opened, Tarr found himself looking for him, but it was always one of the others. They dealt with him silently, their surly faces showing only their distaste for him, though no one actively abused him in any way. On the second day, the big one they called their leader came in, followed by the handsome Larsson. Larsson stayed outside the cell and refused to make eye contact with him.

Their so-called alpha came in, though and stared down at him grimly.“We’ve contacted your brother on Tygeria and asked him for an exchange of prisoners.”

Tarr snorted.“You can forget it. We don’t negotiate, and besides, he’d never give up his own nobyo.It would be unthinkable.”

“Kyle is not his fucking nobyo.” Clenching his fists, he took an aggressive step toward Tarr. “And you better hope he negotiates, because we told him that soon we’ll start sending little pieces of you back to Tygeria as an incentive.”

Though he wasn’t focused on Larsson, Tarr was almost sure he saw him visibly flinch at the words.Tarr’s lips twisted into a smirk. “Yeah, I’ve heard that before. Bring it on, dog. My brother is a warrior, like all Tygerians.He won’t be swayed by your stupid threats.”

The big alpha gave him a feral smile, pulling a huge knife from a scabbard on his side.“Oh, it’s not just an idle threat.I’ll take great pleasure in carving you up myself. We can start right now.”

“No!” Tarr and the alpha both looked in surprise toward Larsson. The word had been spoken in a loud, harsh growl, and the younger Lycan almost leaped forward to stand between Tarr and his alpha.“Don’t touch him!”

The words were garbled and barely comprehensible because Larsson’s face was already partially transformed into his wolf. The lower half of his face was pushing out with a popping and cracking of the bones, and extra teeth were sprouting from his gums. Thick hair sprang up from his skin and sharp claws pushed out of his elongated hands. His body was growing much larger and more muscular right in front of them. Tarr caught only a glimpse of Larsson’s face as he’d leaped forward to take his belligerent stance between him and the Lycan, but what Tarr had seen caused a shiver of alarm to spear down his spine. At the same time he glimpsed a look of horror on the face of his alpha.

“Larsson!” the big Lycan exclaimed, his eyes huge in his face.“What’s wrong with you?” He took a step toward him, and Larsson backed up to stand directly in front of Tarr, his arms slightly outstretched in an obviously protective stance. He growled again low in his throat and seemed ready to spring on top of the alpha.

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