Razor’s Traitorous Heart - S.E. Smith - ebook
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An alien warrior is supposed to forge a peace, but all he really wants... is her. We sent messages into space to find out if there could be someone out there, listening. Then six years ago, Trivators came to Earth. They wanted to bring Earth into the Alliance of Star Systems, but worldwide there was such violent panic at the unexpected visit that the Trivators were forced to take control. It’s not going well. Razor is a High Chancellor for the Alliance who has been sent to finally bring order to Earth – by any means necessary. Chicago, a city torn apart by two factions, is an extremely important target to quell the chaos, and it is there in Chicago that a female warrior saves his life and disappears. Kali has devoted her life to her brother’s cause. After all, Destin is the only one has Chicago’s best interests at heart. Colbert just wants power, and he certainly has become a powerful enemy. It wasn’t always that way. Once he was someone they trusted above all others, but that time is past, and now Kali will do whatever it takes to bring peace to their people, even if that means battling giant alien warriors who stuck their noses into Earth’s business six years ago and never left. One night though, Kali sees someone who will die if she doesn’t act, and then discovers mid-rescue that he’s a Trivator! Razor has never failed a mission, and his reputation of ruthlessness is well earned, but for the first time in his life, he finds himself torn between duty and something he is unfamiliar with, his heart. Internationally acclaimed S.E. Smith presents a new action-packed story full of adventure and romance. Brimming with her signature humor, vivid landscapes, and beloved characters, this book is sure to be another fan favorite! Main Content: 212 (6x9) pages, 70,071 words

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Razor’s Traitorous Heart

The Alliance Book 2

S.E. Smith

Contents

Acknowledgments

Copyright

Synopsis

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Sample of Capture of the Defiance

Additional Books and Information

About the Author

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank my husband Steve for believing in me and being proud enough of me to give me the courage to follow my dream. I would also like to give a special thank you to my sister and best friend Linda, who not only encouraged me to write, but who also read the manuscript. Also to my other friends who believe in me: Julie, Jackie, Lisa, Sally, Elizabeth (Beth), Laurelle, and Narelle. The girls that keep me going!

And a special thanks to Paul Heitsch, David Brenin, Samantha Cook, Suzanne Elise Freeman, and PJ Ochlan—the awesome voices behind my audiobooks!

—S. E. Smith

Montana Publishing

Science Fiction Romance

RAZOR’S TRAITOROUS HEART: THE ALLIANCE BOOK 2

Copyright © 2014 by S. E. Smith

First E-Book Published June 2014

Cover Design by Melody Simmons

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission from the author.

All characters, places, and events in this book are fictitious or have been used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations are strictly coincidental.

Summary: Razor’s duty is to settle the conflict that Kali, the woman he needs to claim, is so deeply involved in, forcing him to choose between the Alliance and his heart.

ISBN: 978-1-942562-49-8 (paperback)

ISBN: 978-1-942562-13-9 (eBook)

Published in the United States by Montana Publishing.

{1. Science Fiction Romance. – Fiction. 2. Science Fiction – Fiction. 3. Urban Fantasy – Fiction. 4. Romance – Fiction.}

www.montanapublishinghouse.com

Synopsis

An alien warrior is supposed to forge a peace, but all he really wants... is her.

We sent messages into space to find out if there could be someone out there, listening.Thensix years ago, Trivators came to Earth. They wanted to bring Earth into the Alliance of Star Systems, but worldwide there was such violent panic at the unexpected visit that the Trivators were forced to take control. It’s not going well.

Razor is a High Chancellor for the Alliance who has been sent to finally bring order to Earth – by any means necessary. Chicago, a city torn apart by two factions, is an extremely important target to quell the chaos, and it is there in Chicago that a female warrior saves his life and disappears.

Kali has devoted her life to her brother’s cause. After all, Destin is the only one has Chicago’s best interests at heart. Colbert just wants power, and he certainly has become a powerful enemy. It wasn’t always that way. Once he was someone they trusted above all others, but that time is past, and now Kali will do whatever it takes to bring peace to their people, even if that means battling giant alien warriors who stuck their noses into Earth’s business six years ago and never left. One night though, Kali sees someone who will die if she doesn’t act, and then discovers mid-rescue that he’s a Trivator!

Razor has never failed a mission, and his reputation of ruthlessness is well earned, but for the first time in his life, he finds himself torn between duty and something he is unfamiliar with, his heart.

1

“Prepare the cleanup,” Razor’s deep voice ordered as he watched the fires burning in the remains of the city far below. “I want reconstruction of the city to begin within the month.”

“Yes, sir,” the male standing behind him replied.

“Was this really necessary?” the human male standing next to him asked in a shaken voice.

The huge Trivator warrior, known only by the name of Razor, stood in rigid silence on the bridge of the observation warship. The advanced command ship was overseeing the demolition of the city below. The human city that was once called Mexico City was now a pile of burning rubble. All life, all buildings, everything had been wiped clean.

Razor had earned his name. He cut through the resistance like a fine scalpel slicing through a life-giving artery. He was brought in when all others failed.

He was one of three High Chancellors for the Alliance and was in charge of the vast military structure. He was also one of the most controversial members among the council. It was his job to oversee the vast number of Trivator troops that made up the security forces of the Alliance. Their job was to initiate first contact, subdue any fear, and establish a safe environment for additional members of the Alliance to begin the process of bringing the new world under their protection.

He was used to the fear when they first made contact with a new species. Most beings soon realized that the Alliance was there not to harm or control, but to help bring them into the larger and often more advanced star systems surrounding them. For young, unprepared planets such as this, it could be frightening and some resistance was to be expected. Still, the humans had been surprisingly stubborn to the point they would rather destroy their world than accept the visitors they had unwittingly invited through the messages they sent out.

Razor’s eyes narrowed on the ruins below him. This was a perfect example of the waste of resources and life. He had no regrets for his actions. The humans below had been warned that the Alliance had reached the end of its patience with those that continued to rebel against them.

The Alliance had finally decided it was no longer willing to waste time and resources to bring the last of the major cities on the planet under control. The rebels were warned to cease fighting and work with the new world government that was established or be erased. Those controlling the city below had refused the twelve hour grace period. Exactly one minute after the deadline, demolition ships began flattening the city.

Razor stared calmly down at the destruction. Since his arrival on the planet six months before, he had already resolved the issues with the rebels on the other side of the world that continued to resist integration into the Alliance. The small rebel groups in Cairo, Paris, and Riyadh had agreed to lay down their arms and the cities were currently being rebuilt. Of course, those agreements had come after he had ordered the Ukraine’s city of Kyiv leveled after rebels there opened fire. He had warned them what would happen. Those that refused to leave at first had fled in desperation as the huge destroyers began demolition of the city. Those that continued to resist died.

“Yes,” he replied coolly to the human representative that had been assigned to the region.

“You should have…” the man began.

“Resistance will no longer be tolerated. It is time to accept that your world is no longer alone in the universe. The Alliance’s decision is final. It is time to rebuild your world and move forward.”

Juan Rodriguez, the new Mexican representative to the Alliance, swallowed as the large alien next to him turned and walked away. His eyes moved to the city where he had been born. It had taken less than an hour for the city to be leveled. The power and precision behind the destruction left him shaken.

His eyes moved to the dozens of large Destroyers that scanned for remains. A shiver of fear ran through him. It was hard to believe it was only six short years since the alien warships appeared in the skies around the planet. Since then, he had moved from being a simple, newly graduated University of Mexico student in Political Science to being the representative for his people.

His eyes clouded as he remembered his passionate plea for peace. He had been shocked when the Alliance heard of him and approached him about being a representative for his people in the New World Government. They said they were impressed with his determination to calm those that continued to fight, his courage to face his opposition head on, and his willingness to face the council.

“What have we done?” he wondered under his breath as he gazed down at the devastation and thought of the men and women who refused to leave. “They should have listened to me when I warned them.”

Silence was his only answer. Around him, members of the Trivator troops worked seamlessly to guide the command ship over the remains. He glanced at the massive males that towered over his own five foot nine frame. Their bodies were built for killing. He knew from experience that they were fast, agile, and deadly.

His eyes swept over the leader of the Trivators. Razor… no surname… just Razor. He was actually slightly shorter by comparison, if you could call being close to seven feet tall short. There was something about him that made him seem more threatening than any of the others. There was a coldness, a stillness that spoke of barely controlled violence.

Juan turned back to stare down at the fires and sighed. If this is what the man was like when he was calm, he hated to think of what he could do if he ever lost control. He wouldn’t be surprised if the world did come to an end then, this time from the aliens instead of mankind.

God in heaven, he thought as he remembered the cold yellow-gold eyes, I feel sorry for anyone who makes him mad.

2

“What was this city called?” Razor asked the human pilot sitting beside him.

He glanced down at the darkened ruins. Cutter, his second-in-command, had given him a report on it, but a new issue on the way to the area had taken priority. He had arrived earlier that day to meet with other members of the Alliance council.

He had been furious to discover the number of details that had been deleted from the previously submitted reports. Badrick, the Usoleum council member who had formerly been in charge of this star system, had a lot to answer for as far as Razor was concerned. Badrick was lucky to be alive after he discovered the bastard had approved many of the falsified reports submitted to the Trivator generals and the council over the past six years.

Badrick’s interference, compounded with his incompetence, was a big reason the Earth was still in such a mess. It was only because most of the evidence was circumstantial that he was unable to remove Badrick and ship him off-world. Badrick had done an excellent job of blaming others for his decisions. It was a slow process, but Razor was working on unraveling the Usoleum Councilman’s lies.

“Chicago,” the pilot responded through the headset. “Colonel Baker is in charge of this area. There are two groups of rebels fighting for control. The fighting has heated up over the past few months. They’ve divided the city in half between the north and south by building a huge-ass wall, reminds me a bit of the Great Wall of China only it’s made out of rubble. We call it the Great Wall of Chicago,” the pilot joked.

Razor didn’t reply. He could see the twenty foot high by thirty foot wide wall that cut the city in half. The ghostly figures of cranes towered over sections of it like silent sentinels in the night. There were dots of light, probably from small fires, glowing faintly in the dark. He silently calculated how long it would take to level the city if the two opposing sides refused to lay down their arms.

“How much further to the base?” Razor asked.

“About forty-five minutes,” the pilot replied.

Razor was silent. He would have preferred to have brought his own transport, but an emergency pickup for several wounded Trivator warriors was needed outside the city. He had ordered his own pilot to assist with the evacuation. The commanding human officer on location had offered the use of their own transport so that he could continue to his meeting with Colonel Baker. A journey that should have taken a few minutes had stretched into over an hour so far.

He slid his finger over the tablet in his hand to read over the report Cutter had given him. A picture of Chicago before the destruction showed a fairly modern city for the level of advancement of this species. He skimmed through the facts. Two men, Colbert Allen and Destin Parks, controlled the region. Intel suggested the men had at one time worked together before splitting. Allen took the southern half of the city while Parks took the northern half. The fighting had intensified over the past six months.

He touched the screen and a new image appeared. Several pictures, taken with a long distance, high resolution imaging device showed several groups of people. The top one was marked as being Colbert Allen. He was a tall, slender male with short blonde hair and cold blue eyes. He was surrounded by several men that reminded Razor of some of the lower class miners and pirates he had encountered during his years as a warship commander. His gut feeling told him the male would not be easily persuaded to lay down his arms.

His eyes moved to the next image. A dark-haired male, shorter than Allen stood surrounded by a group of men who were listening intently to whatever he was telling them. Destin Parks was the direct opposite of Allen, not only in coloring but in his expressions. Concern, intelligence, and something else - Razor enlarged the image so he could study the male’s face more closely. He raised an eyebrow in surprise - sadness - if he had to guess, he would say the male was sad.

A dark frown creased his brow as the shadowy face of someone standing off to the left of Parks suddenly caught his attention. He would have missed the person standing in the shadows if he hadn’t enlarged the image. He touched the screen again to enhance the face of the human.

Shock ricocheted through him as the delicate features of a female came into focus. She had a rounded face framed by short, dark hair. He bit back a silent growl of frustration. She was standing too far back in the shadows for him to make out the color of it. It was either a dark brown or black like his.

Her eyes were focused on Parks. A dark intensity in them told him that her eyes probably were the same color as her hair. She had a small, smooth nose that was surprisingly appealing to him. Her lips were firmly pressed together in a straight line that told him she wasn’t happy with whatever Parks was saying. He couldn’t see what the rest of her looked like as Parks and his group blocked her body. He focused back on her eyes. This time the growl of frustration he released wasn’t silent. Fear and worry shone clearly back at him.

“What?” the pilot started to say before a curse escaped him as an alarm sounded. “Fuck! The son-of-a-bitches have fired on us. Hold on.”

Razor’s eyes jerked up to the primitive display. The tracking of a ground-to-air missile moved across the softly glowing display. His mind was calculating the time to impact even as he was calling out a warning as the dark frame of a crane appeared in front of them. The pilot, intent on using defensive measures to miss the missile coming at them, had swerved to the left and reduced altitude. He tried to correct their flight pattern, but Razor knew the machine they were in would not be able to react in time.

“Brace for impact,” he growled out as the helicopter violently shook.

The sound of screeching metal on metal echoed loudly through the helicopter. He gripped the bar near his head as the aircraft swung crazily around before it tilted and started to fall. He ignored the sickening feeling in his stomach as he stared out the windshield as they began falling toward the ground. His body jerked forward when the tail caught in the cabling of the crane. The straps holding him to the seat strained as he hung face down. He thought for a brief second that he might actually live through the crash unscathed. That slim hope disappeared when the air-to-ground missile struck the top of the crane holding them. The explosion above ripped through the metal, sending small, deadly fragments raining down around them. The hot shards sliced through the thin metal skin of the helicopter. An explosive curse burst from his compressed lips as the jib of the crane crumbled under the heat and weight, sending them plummeting downward. The helicopter rocketed into the remains of a skyscraper. Darkness descended as his head slammed into the windshield.

Kali drew in a deep breath, forcing the cold night air into her starving lungs. She bent over with her hands on her thighs, drawing in the clean, fresh air before standing straight and looking up at the stars.

She was near the downtown area tonight. She loved escaping the confining spaces of their current headquarters. She loved being outside. She always had.

She had climbed to the top of the Harrison Hotel Electric Garage. She wanted to go higher, so she walked over to the steel framing that held the partial remains of the sign, high above the city. At over twenty-one stories, it wasn’t the tallest structure still standing, but it was close. She didn’t bother going up to the top of the crane mounted on top of the building. It was a left over from BTA, before the aliens. It was too windy tonight to chance climbing it.

Kali scaled the metal girders holding the lettering of the sign like a monkey. She’d had plenty of practice over the past few years. She didn’t stop until she reached the top of the ‘H’. Most of the other letters had fallen away, but this one still stood proudly against the inky skyline. The letter was wide enough that on a calm night she could stand up on it and raise her arms to the sky. If she closed her eyes as a gentle breeze swept by, she could almost imagine she could fly. Tonight it was too dangerous to stand up. Instead, she contented herself by sitting on the edge and looking out over the city she called home.

“I wonder what it will look like in the future,” she murmured as she gazed out of the ghostly remains. “When Destin reclaims the city, we’ll rebuild it even better than it was before.”

Kali didn’t want to admit in her heart that she was afraid that would never happen. If Colbert… if Colbert was successful in killing her brother and overtaking the northern half of the city, she knew it never would. She lowered her head as she remembered how the young boy she and Destin had befriended as kids had betrayed them in the cruelest way.

“Why?” she whispered as she ran her fingers over the scar on her wrist. “How could he do this? To us? To our own people?”

She shook her head and blinked back the tears of anger. It had been almost two years since Colbert had turned on them. Destin hadn’t believed her at first when she expressed her concern over Colbert’s increasingly irrational behavior. He thought it was the stress they were all under. He often told her it wasn’t easy trying to rebuild a world amid all the destruction and uncertainty of their future, that some people handled it differently than others. Destin had embraced the chance. He was determined to use the skills he had been learning as a mechanical engineer before the world went crazy to build a city like the ones they saw in the Sci-Fi movies they used to sneak into.

Colbert… Colbert saw a chance to rule through power and he wanted Destin by his side. Colbert saw what he thought was a chance to rise above the street kids they had been and become the absolute leader. Only one person stood in his way. One person who knew his weakness. One person who knew who he really was inside and what he desired most next to power.

Destin had almost died because she had been afraid to speak up. She had always known that Colbert loved her brother. When she was younger, she thought he loved Destin like she did, as a brother. When she was sixteen, she caught Colbert looking at Destin with a silent hunger that she recognized as anything but brotherly. Colbert had been eighteen to Destin’s twenty at the time and was the leader of one of the most dangerous gangs in their neighborhood. He didn’t like that she and Destin chose a different path. Kali knew Colbert blamed her for that. Destin would never have allowed that type of danger to come near her and he told Colbert as much. Both she and Destin had other dreams they wanted to follow.

Colbert’s obsession with Destin remained hidden from her brother, but once Kali had glimpsed the hunger in his eyes that day, she had quietly watched Colbert from a distance. Two years ago, she caught Colbert spying on her brother when he was with one of the women who had joined up with them. Kali finally broke down and told her brother about her suspicions.

Two days after her meeting with Destin, the woman was found dead. The woman, Maria, had broken her neck when she supposedly fell through a weak spot while on patrol with Colbert and Johnson, Colbert’s second-in-command. Colbert swore that he tried to save Maria but Kali had been suspicious and asked Doc do an autopsy on Maria. Doc said that the bruising around Maria’s neck indicated she had been strangled and that additional bruising and blood under her nails showed she had fought against her attacker.

Colbert overheard Kali telling Destin the results. At first, Colbert had denied it, claiming the cuts on his arms and face were the result of retrieving Maria’s body from the building. When Kali presented the evidence from Doc and asked for a blood sample to see if it matched the blood under Maria’s fingernails, Colbert exploded into a desperate, jealous rage. The knife aimed for her brother’s heart had cut a deep path across her wrist as she stepped between them to protect Destin.

Destin’s call for help was answered by Jason and Tim. They had subdued Colbert, but his treachery ran deeper than either she or Destin knew. His followers helped him escape the makeshift jail they had constructed. Several good men died that night. Men that had families. All because Destin didn’t love Colbert the way Colbert loved Destin and refused to join him in ruling Chicago.

“What a screwed up world we live in,” she murmured as she leaned back and stared up into the night sky again. “Why can’t people just learn to live together?”

She gasped as the dark lit up when someone from the southern half of the city launched a ground-to-air missile. Her eyes followed the path as it streaked across the night sky. Her low cry of denial was carried away on the wind as she saw the target. A Black Hawk helicopter flying low dipped to the left, heading toward her.

Kali watched as the helicopter approached in slow motion. It took a moment for her to register that it was heading straight toward her. She rolled backwards and flipped over the side of the sign. She scrambled down the metal frame, jumping or sliding as fast as she could. She was almost to the bottom of it when the sound of the helicopter grew louder and she swung around to look. A hoarse curse burst from her lips and her eyes widened in horror as she recognized the shapes of two men in the cockpit.

Time appeared to stand still as the pilot swerved again. It was obvious he didn’t see the outline of the large rooftop crane sticking up like a greedy hand. Kali jumped off the sign’s metal frame as the tail rotor caught in the thick metal cables of the nearby crane. The horrific sound of screeching metal echoed above the wind. She hit the ground and rolled as another sound mixed with the doomed aircraft. The whistle of the missile ended with an ear-shattering explosion.

Kali continued to roll until she was under the metal overhang of a fresh air intake duct mounted on the roof. She curled into a ball and covered her head as flaming shards of hot metal rained down around her. Fear threatened to engulf her as a part of the helicopter’s main rotor blade snapped and several large sections flew wildly through the air. One long piece, approximately six feet long, pierced the metal duct inches above her head.

She lay breathing heavily as the sounds of creaking metal and the snapping and popping of flames continued to fill the air. Cautiously raising her head, she looked around at the wreckage. She was amazed that she was still alive. Rolling until she was on her hands and knees, she slowly crawled out from under the impaled duct. She knelt on the gravel and tar-papered roof staring in shock and horror at the destruction.

The crane that had been installed to replace some of the lettering before the alien invasion now stood twisted and disfigured, as if it had been made out of papier-mâché instead of steel. The ‘H’ was broken in half. The section that was missing had taken out a good ten feet or more of the short wall surrounding the roof. Long ropes of steel cabling hung like the remains of a spider’s web blowing in the breeze. Sparks and small fires continued to burn, lighting the darkness so she could see the hideous outline of what remained of the helicopter.

Kali walked slowly toward the edge. There was no way anyone could have survived such a crash. The tail boom was shredded with large chunks missing from it. The tail rotor was completely gone. She glanced around and saw what she thought were pieces of it sticking out of the building across from her. Climbing over the rubble, she raised a trembling hand to push the hair that blew into her eyes back behind her ear and looked over the edge of the building to see if the helicopter had fallen all the way to the ground.

She drew in a surprised breath when she saw that it hung suspended two floors below her. Her eyes followed the tangle of steel cables that barely held it. She jerked back when the whole thing shifted as the crane tilted and bent under the weight of the helicopter. Scrambling backwards over the broken brick and mortar from the building, she turned and headed for the back corner where the metal fire escape was attached to the side of the building. She doubted that the two men were still alive, but she needed to confirm it. She couldn’t leave them if they were hurt.

One thing is for sure, she thought as she climbed over the edge and began working her way down through the narrow caged ladder to the floor below. If those men did survive the crash I have to help get them out because that crane sure as hell isn’t going to be able to hold them for long.

3

Razor blinked several times in an effort to clear his vision. He remained perfectly still as he ran an assessment over his body. Every part of him felt bruised and beaten. He ignored the throbbing in an effort to assess what was minor damage and what could be life-threatening. A low curse echoed through the cockpit when he realized that he was still face down. The only thing holding him in place was the seat harness. There was nothing else between him and the ground far below. The windshield of the helicopter was missing on his side.

He slowly raised his hand to wipe at the blood that kept blurring his vision. A deep cut ran just above his right brow. His arms were fine, but excruciating pain in his left leg hazed his vision when he tried to move it.

Drawing in a deep breath, he lowered his chin until he could look down at it. A shaft of metal, over six inches long, was embedded in his upper thigh. He turned his head so he could look at the pilot. The male hung lifelessly from his harness. A thick metal rod protruded from his chest.

“Hey, is anyone alive in there?” a soft voice called out from behind him. “Oh God!”

Razor turned his head as far as he could, but from the position he was in he couldn’t see who had called out. He could only feel it. A deep heat mixed with the pain running through him. Frustrated, he closed his eyes and wrapped his hand around the top of the metal in his leg and pulled in another deep breath in preparation for the pain that would come with removing it.

His eyes jerked open when he felt slender fingers close around his wrist. “Wait,” the husky voice whispered next to his ear. “Let me make sure it didn’t hit an artery. If it did, you’ll be dead before I can get you to safety.”

Razor turned his head and breathed in the sweet scent of wildflowers. A low moan escaped before he could contain it. The heat inside him flared again, rushing through him at such a speed that he had to close his eyes again to calm the dizziness.

“I am dead either way,” he murmured as the metal around them creaked and shifted again.

“Not on my watch you aren’t,” the voice replied with a trace of amusement. “Now, keep your pantyhose on. I’m going to reach around you and attach a strap to you so I can release the harness and free you. Is your other leg good?”

Razor’s eyes jerked open and his breath hissed out when the most beautiful almond-shaped brown eyes, mere inches from his face, looked back at him with a combination of humor and fear. The first thought that went through his mind was that this was the female from the image he had been studying right before the crash. The second and most disturbing was that she was in imminent danger.

“Leave me,” he ordered with a dark growl. “It is too dangerous. The whole thing could collapse at any moment. Get out now. I will get myself out if I can.”

Kali ignored everything around her, but what she was doing. If she thought about it, she would do exactly like the alien demanded. Hell, if she had known that there was an alien on board the damn ‘human’ helicopter, she would have left his ass to die instead of risking her neck to save him.

No, you wouldn’t have, her good side argued silently with her bad side. You would have helped anyway because you are a sucker for those in need.

“Yeah, and look where it has gotten me,” she muttered under her breath.

“What?” the alien male demanded before he let out a curse as the helicopter shifted again. “Get out!”

“Shut up!” she snapped back, quickly tying the thick cloth of a rolled up fire hose around his waist.

“You…” Razor’s voice died as the helicopter shifted violently.

This time the entire thing dropped several feet. A large section of the tail boom opened up and fell to the ground far below. The shift caught Kali off-guard as she adjusted her feet to get into a better position to unhook the straps holding him to his seat.

She screamed as the footholds she was using dropped from under her feet. She tilted and would have fallen through the opened windshield if his hand hadn’t shot out as she fell and wrapped around her arm. She slid down until his fingers clamped down with an iron grip around her wrist. Looking down, she stared at the ground wondering briefly if this was the way she would die.

“No,” the voice growled out.

Kali looked up at the face of the male who held her life in the palm of his hand. Dropping her gaze to his thigh, she studied the metal for a moment before deciding that unless they were built vastly different, the metal should have missed all the main arteries. She looked back up to see sweat glistening on his brow and his eyes glazed with pain, determination and anger.

“Well, I think the metal in your leg missed your artery. It’s still going to hurt like a bitch when I remove it,” she replied grimly. “You can’t pass out on me when I do, you hear me? I need you to keep it together until we are out of this mess.”

“Are you crazy, female?” his deep, rich voice asked in disbelief as he stared at her hanging from one hand over certain death. “You are going to get yourself killed!”

“Not tonight, I’m not,” Kali replied in a husky voice. “Just… don’t let go of me yet. I’d hate for you to prove me wrong.”

Lifting her legs up, she found a good foothold and reached up to grab the back of his seat. The move had her straddling his legs and her forehead pressed firmly against his. She knew that he was going to be pissed with what she was about to do, but there was no time for making the task at hand any easier. The moment he released her hand, she gripped the metal shard in his leg and pulled it out as quickly as possible.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, staring into his eyes. “I’m so sorry.”

She dropped the blade of metal, letting it fall through the shattered glass to the ground below. Readjusting her position, she reached into her back pocket and pulled out the bandana that she sometimes used to hold her hair back. It was barely long enough when folded diagonally to wrap around his thigh.

She hated having to hurt him, but some instinct told her that they were running out of time if they were going to get out of this alive. She needed him to be able to move and he wouldn’t be able to with a spear of metal in his leg. She glanced up as she finished tying the strip of cloth.

His head was pressed back against the seat, not an easy thing to do considering he was hanging by a few straps. His face was pale and his lips were pressed together so tightly they were almost white. His eyes had turned to a darker gold. It was the look of pain, anger and exhaustion shining in them that pulled at her sympathetic heart. She knew all too well what those feelings felt like.

She reached up and touched his cheek before pressing her lips lightly against his. It was the only thing she could think of to give him a moment of comfort. Resting her forehead against his again, she reached down and grasped the buckle holding the straps together.

“Are you ready for this?” she asked softly. “I’ll help balance you. Use your good leg to brace against the dash. I’ll act as your left leg. Try not to put too much weight on it if you can. We don’t want it to give out and have you collapse. The shift might take the whole thing down. Once we get on the back side of the seats the side door is open. If we get to the opening and the crane gives way, don’t worry about falling. I have the hose around you and it will hold you. Let it swing you down to the lower floor. The windows are all gone and I’ve kicked out the rest of the glass so just let the momentum take you to safety.”

“What…” he started to say hoarsely as the buckle opened and he gripped her as she wrapped her arms around him to keep him from falling. “What about you?”

“Don’t worry about me,” Kali whispered in his ear. “Tonight isn’t my time to die.”

4

Razor’s mind rebelled at the thought that any night would be her time to die. Gritting his teeth, he braced his good leg against the instrument panel. He kept one hand wrapped around the strap tied to his waist to help steady him and his other arm around the waist of the slender female.

They moved in a slow, painful synchronized dance over the seats toward the open door. He tightened his arm around her when the helicopter shifted again under their weight. He could feel it as it began to tilt. The sudden knowledge that things were about to change quickly hit him at the same time as it must have hit her.

“Hold on,” he ordered as he bent both legs and pushed off, ignoring the burning pain as he pulled on the jagged cut on his leg.

For a moment, time stood still as they were suspended in the air. Razor felt the female’s warm breath against his neck as she buried her face against it. Her arms had moved from around his waist to around his neck. He turned at the last minute so his body could take the force of them hitting the brick building. They briefly bounced outward, but her hold on him never loosened. He rolled as they came back against the side so his back was to the falling debris that was dragged down under the weight of the helicopter.

He bent his head forward as she splayed her hands protectively over the back of it. It took several seconds before he realized that she had wrapped her legs around his waist and was pulling him closer to the building. He groaned against her shoulder as she held him tightly against her.

“I think… we… made it out of the helicopter,” her trembling voice whispered against his ear.

“Yes,” he muttered, pulling back.

He watched as she tilted her head upwards before looking down, then returning to look into his eyes with a small grin on her lips. He felt her body relax against his as she stared at him in curiosity. He saw her frown as she studied the cut above his eye.

“You’re going to need stitches for that one as well,” she murmured before meeting his eyes again. She tightened her legs around him as she raised one hand to gently push his hair back from his face. Her expression changed as she rubbed it between her fingers. “It’s soft.”

“Can we discuss the softness of my hair when we are not hanging almost sixty meters above the ground,” he muttered through his teeth.

He didn’t know if it was pain or exhaustion causing the confusion swirling through his mind, but he was finding it almost impossible to concentrate on anything but the female wrapped around him. It wasn’t like him to allow anyone, much less an alien female, to distract him from his mission.

“Sorry,” she muttered, releasing his hair.

If it wasn’t for the fact that she was still in danger, he would have demanded that she continue her exploration. His arm tightened around her waist when she slowly lowered her legs. Fear that she was about to fall swept through him.

“What are you doing?” he bit out as she let go of him.

She raised one delicate eyebrow at him. “Like you said, we can’t just hang from the side of the building. I’m going to turn around so my back is to you. Hang on to me and I’ll walk us along the edge until we get to the window. Once I’m through, I’ll pull you in and take a look at your leg. Will any of your people come looking for you?”

“No and yes,” Razor snapped out in frustration.

“No, no one will come or yes, they will?” she asked in confusion, even as she twisted nimbly in his arms by holding onto the hose that ran above his head before it ran down his back and tied at his waist. “Hold on.”

Razor gritted his teeth until his jaw began to throb. The irritating female didn’t listen to anything he said, had no concept of survival, and needed her ass thoroughly whipped for putting herself into such a dangerous situation. He didn’t bother trying to hide his opinion either.

Soft laughter filled the air around them as she gripped the jagged bricks and scooted along the narrow lip that separated the different levels. He refrained from making any more comments, afraid he would distract her. Right now, his arms around her and his body pressed against her back were the only things keeping her from falling to her death.

“Have you no concept of survival, female?” he asked as she pulled them closer to the window.

“Of course I do. Just be thankful I was here to help you,” she replied softly. “I’ve done this before without help, you know.”

A soft, rich growl escaped him at her comment. “Where is your protector? Your male should not allow you to do such things.”

He felt her body tremble. At first he thought it was because of fear of what her male would think of her risking her life. A flash of hot rage swept through him at the idea of her belonging to another male. A male like – Destin Parks. It took a few seconds for him to realize the trembling was caused by her chuckling.

“I don’t have a ‘male’ as you put it,” she replied as she gripped the open frame of the window and stepped through. He grasped her hands when she turned and held them out to help guide him through the opening. He used his good leg to steady his body as she pulled him inside. “Even if I did, he wouldn’t have much say about what I do.”

Razor rested his hands on her shoulders as she worked at cutting the thick cloth from his waist. “I would,” he answered in a surprisingly husky voice.

Her head jerked up in surprise at the change in his voice. He caught the soft gasp on her lips. He pressed his lips against hers like she had done earlier. He did not understand what it meant to do this. He just knew he wanted to feel her lips again. His people did not press their lips to another. Their sharp teeth and aggressive behavior made it too dangerous, but her teeth were smooth. He groaned as her tongue tentatively touched his lips.

He had an overwhelming urge to rub his nose along her neck and face. He wanted to leave his scent on her so others would know that she belonged to him. He wanted to mark her as his. He tore his mouth free from hers as the thought ripped through his mind.

Mine, he thought in shock as he swayed. She is mine.

“Hey, big guy. Hold on to me,” she was saying as she wrapped her arm around his waist. “You’re beginning to crash from shock and your injuries. Let me check your leg, then I’ll see if you are hurt anywhere else.”

“I… You are…,” he muttered before he slid down the wall she had backed him up against.

“Yeah, I am,” she teased in a light voice. “Destin has a tendency to mutter the same thing whenever I’m around.”

Razor’s eyes cleared for a moment at the mention of the other male. “Who is he? What is he… to you?”

Slender fingers tenderly ran down his face before cupping his cheek. “He’s my brother,” she replied simply.

Exhaustion, pain and his injuries darkened his vision, even as he tried to fight it. The feel of her slender fingers tenderly caressing him felt unbelievably good. He had never before experienced such a sense of rightness like he felt now at her touch.

“Mine,” he muttered in a slurred voice. “What are you called?”

Her soft, warm breath caressed his face as she leaned forward to hear what he was trying to say.

“I’m called Kali,” she chuckled. “Kali Parks.”

Razor tilted his head back against the wall behind him. “You are mine, Kali,” he whispered faintly.

“Whatever makes you happy, big guy,” she chuckled again as his eyes closed. “Whatever makes you happy as long as you don’t die on me.”

Her words registered like a gentle breeze in his mind. A small, unfamiliar smile tugged at his lips as he closed his eyes. He had a feeling that having her under him would make him very happy.

Mine, he thought as darkness descended around him. My Amate.

5

“Razor,” the deep voice quietly called out from behind him.

Razor didn’t bother to turn. His eyes were focused on the three figures running, or should he say ‘jumping’, through the ruins of the city below. He was following one figure in particular. The slender form in the front was covered in black and slipped in and out of the shadows, at times disappearing from his view. He cursed under his breath when that happened and quickly switched to infrared so he didn’t lose her. His gut tightened when he saw another human rise from behind a destroyed transport and open fire on the group.

“What is the current report?” he growled as his second-in-command approached to kneel beside him.