Wolf's Bounty Page 5

Jex had helped Kyle escape his brotherTaz’s home, after Kyle Balenescu had promised Jex he would return as soon as he was able to convince his family he was in no danger and truly wanted to be with his mate.

Predictably, Taz wanted to go after Kyle right away and Tarr had agreed to help. Tarr even had some vague notion of capturing Larsson to explore the issues between them. Try as he might, he hadn’t been able to forget that one night in his cell with Larsson and no one else had satisfied him since—and he’d tried plenty.

The attempt to take Kyle and Larssonsimply hadn’t worked out as planned. The Lycans had been expecting them. Taz was captured and Tarr had barely escaped, but not before sending Larsson a message through the compnet, telling him he would be back for him. At the time he’d meant it as bravado, a taunt, or a simple thumbing of his nose at the Lycans. But as time wore on, taking Larsson became all he could think about, even long after his brother and Kyle happily returned to Tygeria together to resume their lives there.

Now as Tarr waited impatiently for his men to intercept Larsson’s transport, he received a subspace message telling him the Lycan ship had been spotted, and the Rogers were using their cloaking mechanisms to hide from the Lycan ship in order to intercept and board it. Taz sent back a message reminding them that Larsson was not to be harmed in any way. They were to incapacitate the two Lycans, leave Blayde on the ship, and bring Larsson to him.

He wasn’t sure what he’d do with Larsson once he got his hands on him again—he just knew he had to have him.He’d never yearnedfor anyone like he did for the Lycan, though he’d have to be careful not to let him know just how much he wanted him. That could be a weapon for the Lycan to use against him, and whatever happened, Tarr had to protect himself. After all, he’d never loved anyone before,and he wasn’t about to start now. He’d have his fill of this Lycan and then perhaps keep him as his nobyo or even send him on his way. It would be easy enough—he was almost sure of it.

Chapter Two

Larsson was sleeping when the alarm sounded. The noise went right through him, shocking him awake with a harsh, blaring sound that made his heart race. He jumped to his feet, biting down so hard on his lip that it brought blood. Racing to the door, he flung it open and was met by the sight of three huge Jolly Rogers coming down the corridor toward him. Before he had time to shift to his wolf, before he even had time to figure out what he was seeing, one of them lifted a hand-held disruptor and fired.

The disruptors, mostly used by the Nilaniums, caused damage by exciting the molecular bonds of targets—this one must have been set to stun its victim, not kill him, and Larsson dropped to the floor in a twitching heap. His mind wasstill working perfectly, and there wasn’t even a great deal of pain—at least not yet. He knew that laterhis chest would feel like he’d been kicked by a Leerian mule, and he’d have a bruise the size of his fist.

Larsson wanted to shout at them, to ask them about his cousin Blayde, but they gave him no chance to recover. Hewas hauled up and slung over the biggest one’s shoulder like a sack of Ionian coffee beans. TheRogers’ shoulder was bony, and hanging upside down over it was painful. His position stole what little breath he had away. Partially blacking out, he was only vaguely aware of being carried off his ship and onto theirs. They threw him face down on their deck and trussed his arms and legs up tightly, but made no move to harm him any further.

He could hear their shouts and laughter close by as he lay there. They were Nilaniums, all right, the bastards. Commonly known as Jolly Rogers from the skull and crossbones they painted on the sides of their ships, they’d been given the name by humans in the Alliance who said the logo was like the old Earthen pirates of ancient times. They were ruthless outlaws whose home planet had been destroyed long ago and who roamed the galaxies now in their huge ships. Larsson knew Tarr frequently worked with the bastards and some of them were his best friends and made up his crew.

Larsson was gradually coming out of the disruptor-induced paralysis. None of the Rogers came any closer to him, though hewondered how long they’d leave him alone. One of them approached him and he tensed, but the man merely rolled him half over with the tip of his boot, as if checking his breathing. When Larsson snarled up at him and tried to spit on his boots, the man laughed and walked away again.

Within another thirty minutes or so, Larsson felt the bump and vibration on the deck beneath him, letting him know they’d docked with a larger ship. Almost immediately, they came back, hauling him to his feet. Two of the larger men took him under each arm and dragged him between them over onto the new ship. From the looks and size of it, it was a transport, much like his own. Though this one was a Roger ship from the markings he saw on the walls of the corridor they were dragging him through, it was cleaner and more stowed away than most of the ones he’d boarded in the past.

They hauled him onto what looked like a command deck and over to a man who sat with his back turned, working some kind of controls on a console that was unfamiliar to Larsson. When the man heard them enter, he turned around quickly, a huge smile lighting his face. It was Tarr Bonnet.

“Larsson, how good of you to drop by.” Larsson snarled at him, struggling in his bonds. The men holding him tightened their grip and Tarr made a tsking sound with his tongue.“Settle down, nobyo.I don’t like hurting you like this.”

“Is that why you’re having them do it?” Larsson asked, snarling at him. All he wanted at that moment was to feel his hands around that gorgeous neck of his. “Bonnet, you son of a bitch! If you’ve harmed Blayde in any way, I’ll…”

“Temper, temper,” Tarr broke in. “You cousin is fine and probably already home by now on your ugly little planet. And as I promised you that you would be, you arehere with me.” His complacent, self-satisfied smile faded a bit as he leaned in closer, noticing for the first time the cut on Larsson’s lip where he’d bitten it when the ship alarm sounded.

His face turned dusky red, making the usually barely noticeable stripes on his face stand out in sharp relief. He glared at the men holding Larsson, his face full of rage.“Who did this to him? I said he wasn’t to be touched!” He reached out to trace the cut with his fingers, and Larsson jerked his head away. Impatiently, Tarr grasped his chin and turned his head back around.

“I’ll touch you whenever I want to, Lycan, so get used to it. Youbelong to me now.” “Like hells I do!” Larsson glared up at him, glad for the first time that the men on either side of him were holding him up.He thought he’d grown immune to the weakness Tarr’s touch always brought him, but at the first touch of his hand, his knees buckled, and he would have fallen to the floor if they hadn’t been holding him up.

“No one touched him, sir, I swear it!” one of the men holding him said. “Maybe it happened when he fell, I don’t know. But none of us so much as harmed a hair on his head, just like you said.”

Tarr seemed to calm down some, but still held Larsson’s chin in his hand, as if he didn’t want to stop touching him. Finally, he nodded and stepped back.“Untie him.”

The two Rogers looked at each other over Larsson’s head and blanched visibly. They obviously knew what Lycans were capable of.

“But sir…”

“You heard me. Release him. Hewon’t hurt me, will you, Larsson? Afterall, I’m your mate, isn’t that right?”

Larsson only glared at him, and the men on his sides shuffled nervously.“You may be, sir, but we’re not! Idon’t like the looks of this one.”

“Really?” Tarr said, rubbing one finger over Larsson’s jaw. “I like his looks very much indeed.” He peered down into Larsson’s face. Larsson forgot how much taller Tarr was—he stood well over seven feet tall, so he was a good eight inches taller than Larsson.“Will you promise to be good and not hurt my men if I untie you?”

Larsson gave him a feral grin and a sly look.“Sure.”

Tarr tilted his head to the side.“Somehow I don’t believe you. How about this? Swear it on your Lycan honor. On your love for me.”

“Who said I love you, asshole?”

“Don’t you?” Tarr smiled down at him, daring him to deny it, and he desperately wanted to. But his wolf wouldn’t allow it, already leaping around inside him at the first touch of its mate in so long. Larsson shifted his eyes away stubbornly instead. Tarr laughed and dropped a kiss on his lips.

“Uther, come over here by me.”

One of the huge Nilaniums holding him dropped his arm and quickly moved to stand beside Tarr.

Tarr grinned.“Now twist my arm behind my back until my mate agrees to behave himself.”

All three of the other men looked at Tarr as if he’d gone completely mad, but he only smiled confidently.“Do it. Push it up until it hurts.”

With a shrug, Uther pulled Tarr’s arm around behind his back and pushed upward until Tarr winced in pain. He gave Larsson a soulful look.

“Help me, baby,” Tarr said softly. “Promise you’ll be good so he’ll stop hurting me.”

Larsson shook his head.“This is fucking ridiculous.”

The Nilanium grinned and pushed up harder, making Tarr hiss in a sharp breath. Larsson cursed silently under his breath.The bastard knew his wolf couldn’t stand by and see him hurt, even if the idiot had asked for it himself. The Nilanium gave another sharp twist and Larsson gave in.

“All right! Stop it, you gods damn fool,” he said, not meaning the Nilanium.“Untie me and I won’t hurt anyone. Where in the hells am I going to go anyway?”

Tarr gave a broad smile and the Nilanium instantly released him. Larsson shook his head. “Stupid asshole. I knew you were crazy, but I underestimated just how crazy. I should have let him break your arm.”

Tarr chuckled and sat back down in his chair rubbing his shoulder, while his men released Larsson’s hands and feet. “Take him down to my room and lock him in,” he said to his men. “And you,” he said, pointing a long finger at Larsson.“Remember your promise. We’ll see if Lycans have any honor.”

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