Drowning in You
DROWNING IN YOU now and forever.
Lila has been on the run for sixteen years with her daughter, living and working in some of the most dangerous stations in the Outer Rim. She has protected her daughter from hunters, assassins and those intent on destroying them. She’s fought every ruthless male that was after them, but she knows of one male she would never be able to hurt, one male from her past who has the power to ruin sixteen years of sacrifice.
Serran has been looking for his target for sixteen years and every time he gets close, they elude him. A chance meeting in a filthy corridor of one of the most notorious stations in the universe and his search is finally over, but keeping the girl he has been ordered to find and the female who protects her safe will take more than just his skills as a hunter. Keeping Lila this time will take him showing her he isn’t the same male he was sixteen years ago.
Determined to run again, Lila finds herself trapped aboard the Fallen Star with a teenager who refuses to leave and a mate intent on claiming her. However, Serran isn’t the only danger aboard the pirate’s ship and for the first time in sixteen years, Lila will have to rely on others to keep her daughter safe. Will Serran be able to save them both or will they be torn apart again by the vicious hands of a monster?
Length: 144 pages.
The stench of piss, vomit, and liquor was nauseating as Serran walked down the corridor of Doksal station towards Skoll’s bar.
Koff was dead. Wex, Prixy, and the new cyborg Artel, were recovering in medical, and he was free to do what he needed to do. He was free to seek out the people who would have the information he sought.
Sixteen years he’d been searching, and not once in in all those years had he come close to finding his quarry. He was always too late, usually by months, once by a week, but every time, they slipped through his fingers. Every time, all he found was the scent of them in the air and nothing more.
He could find no trace of them for the past six months, and most of the reports for a year before that were old. Years old. It was as if they had disappeared.
He didn’t expect to find anything on this station either, but he had to do his job and ask. The station was rough, harsh, filled with people who would slit your throat for the smallest amount of credits. Not the kind of place you’d raise a teenage girl unless you wanted her raped and beaten or stolen from you and sold into slavery.
Serran stepped over the legs of a male lying in the corridor, the overpowering smell of vomit sour and distasteful. The almost non-existent lighting left the corridor dark, the lights shining out of open doors the only illumination. Raucous male laughter spilled out of an open door accompanied by tinkling female giggles and the heavy beat of sensuous music.
A blue neon light flickered on and off further down the corridor announcing to the darkened corridor that Skoll’s was right at the end.
The person he was to see worked in that bar. A female. She was an information merchant who made it her business to know of every person who lived on the station and many who didn’t. His source assured him, if anyone on the station knew of the females he sought, she would be it.
A body flew past him, out the door to slam into the wall opposite and crumple in a heap to the floor of the corridor. Serran glanced in the doorway as he passed to see a Scarrloy female with her hands on her hips glaring back at him, her red eyes flashing in the lights of her establishment.
Skoll’s was in the roughest, seediest part of Doksal station. Surrounded by warehouses and businesses, all closed at night, it was dark, quiet and an ideal place to be set on by a person intent on taking your credits, your life, or both.
That didn’t stop people from going there as the steady stream of patrons showed. Males weaved their way along the corridor, others scurried along casting furtive glances at Serran as they passed. Bodies lay in the corridor, some beaten and bloody, others snoring so loud it echoed down the corridor, and amongst it all was the overpowering stench of piss, vomit, and liquor.
When he was only halfway along the corridor, a body slamming into him from behind almost knocked Serran off his feet. Fuck! He spun around and grabbed what turned out to be a small figure.
A small, beautiful face looked up at him through the dark, framed by white blonde hair. The light of a doorway shone across the smooth skin of her cheek and forehead. Deep turquoise eyes stared up at him, wide and innocent, framed by dark lashes that made them sultry and beguiling. It was an odd combination and Serran realized the girl, and that was what she was, could only be about sixteen, maybe younger—too bloody young to be running around Doksal this late at night.
Heavy footsteps coming down the corridor made them both turn to look. The girl whimpered and tried to pull away.
“Are you in trouble, little one?” Serran asked the girl.
She glanced behind her with wide eyes, then looked up at him.
“Help me. Please,” she pleaded.
The footsteps pounded louder, closer, echoing along the corridor. A huge male rounded the corner and ran towards them.
“Please! Help me,” the girl begged her voice high and panicked.
Fuck! This was just what he needed.
Serran drew her to one side, one hand wrapped around her upper arm the other going to one of the long knives he had strapped to his thigh. He’d left his sword on the ship. He hadn’t thought he’d need it so it was still hanging on the chair in his quarters.
The male slowed to a stop and stared at them. Long, tense seconds ticked by, the male watching them. Serran didn’t move, and the girl trembled under his hand.
“You have something that belongs to me,” the male finally said.
Serran looked down at the girl. “Do you belong to him, little one?”
He finally took her all in. Bare feet, bare legs, and a tiny pair of thin shorts only just covered her lower half. A thin, ribbed tank clung to her upper body leaving her arms and shoulders bare. She was wearing the kind of clothes one would sleep in. Not the kind of clothes a girl, a budding beauty, should be wearing to this sector of the station or to any part of Doksal station.
Males would see her and look not at the youth on her face, but see the enticing breasts pressing against the fabric of her top. They’d see her long bare legs and ass just covered in the tiny shorts. They wouldn’t care that she was too young, and they wouldn’t care that she was little more than a child. They would just take. They would destroy something that had only just begun to emerge.
“No!” the girl burst out. “He broke into my home and attacked me. I’ve never seen him before.”
Serran’s gaze cut to the male as his hand tightened around the hilt of his knife. The male didn’t miss it. His gaze flicked down to the knife and back up. A sneer twisted his pale features. “This isn’t your fight, Dragressie. Just walk away.”
Serran felt the girl jerk at the male’s words. He shot a look her way to see her staring up at him, her eyes even wider than they had been and her lips parted in shock. Something about what the male said surprised her. Serran frowned down at her, was it that he was Dragressie? Why would that surprise her?
He let his gaze rove over the girl, taking in her full pouting lips, the gentle, elegant arch of her dark brows that didn’t match the white blonde of her hair, the bright turquoise of her eyes, and the soft brown of her skin that was shades lighter than his own dark brown skin.
Her hair was all wrong, the wrong color and she didn’t have the traditional dreadlocks of his people, but the eyes were the right color, and she looked just like what the queen had looked like as a young woman.
Lords! It was her. He was sure of it. Almost positive. Sixteen years he’d been looking for her and now, here she was, falling into his hands.
Looking back at the tall male, Serran growled as he drew his knife, “I’m making it my fight.”
There was no fucking way he was letting this asshole get his hands on the girl he’d spent the last sixteen years looking for.
“You don’t want to do that. You really don’t,” the male threatened as he stepped forward.
“What’s she to you?” A little information went a long way. Maybe he could get out of the male what his intentions were.
“Just a job.” The male’s gaze lingered on the girl, sweeping down her body and back up.
Just a job, his fucking ass. One didn’t look at someone he intended to kill that way. Serran felt his lip curl. One didn’t look at anyone who was a minor that way.
The girl drew back, and he looked down at her to see fear on her face. Yes, it so wasn’t happening.
Serran shifted his weight and looked back at the male. “You need to walk away from this one, or it will be your last contract.”
The male’s dark eyes fired, his face going hard before the subtlest movement of his body was all the warning Serran had. A blade flashed in the light of an open doorway, and the male was in front of him slashing out with a long knife.
Steel rang as Serran countered with his own knife before shoving the girl behind him and drawing his second knife from its thigh sheath. A fist swung towards his face. He blocked it again and slashed out with a knife, cutting through the male’s top and slicing through flesh.
A deep growl rolled out of the male, then Serran was fighting for his life. Fists connected with his face and body, the blade the male wielded slashed at him, but Serran was nothing if not fast and as deadly as the male and avoided any serious wounds.
The match was even, though the male topped him by several inches, until Serran tired of the fight. Noises behind him indicated the girl was having problems with patrons of the various establishments along the corridor and Serran wasn’t about to lose her when he’d just found her.
Slashing out with his knife in a move so fast the male didn’t have time to block, he cut a deep slice across the male’s stomach. The male stumbled back, one hand going to his abdomen before he just…disappeared.
Turning, Serran discovered the girl surrounded by males, cowering against the wall, hands touching, grabbing, and stroking her exposed flesh. Damn! She shouldn’t be here. She shouldn’t even be outside in those clothes. He’d seen whores who wore more clothes than she was wearing.
“Come on, baby, don’t be shy. We’ll have a good time,” a slurred voice coaxed.
Striding forward, he pushed and shoved, knocking males out of the way to grumbled cursing and one swung fist that Serran dodged before planting his own fist, the knife still clasped in his hand into the face of the male stupid enough to have swung at him. Fucking idiot!
“No!” the girl said loud enough for it to ring down the corridor, then started to move.
Serran watched her push the males back with small fists and well-executed blocks. Someone had taught her to fight, but against a group of males, she stood no chance. It would only take two of the drunks working together to subdue her, then she’d be at their mercy.
Serran reached her, grabbed her arm, and pulled her away from the males.
“Hey! She’s ours. Get your own female.”
Turning just his head, Serran searched out the male stupid enough to challenge him. Anger bubbled inside him, dark and hot. The male sobered and stepped back, his hands raised in defeat.
With his hand wrapped around the girl’s upper arm, Serran walked away from Skoll’s dragging her with him.
“Wait! Where are we going?” the girl asked.
A low growl rumbled up from Serran’s chest, but he didn’t answer until they were at the end of the corridor. “I’m taking you home. You shouldn’t be anywhere near this part of the station, especially dressed like that.”
The girl tugged on her arm, but he refused to let her go and kept dragging her along.
“But my mammy works in Skoll’s. She told me if I was ever in trouble to go there.”
Serran turned to look at the girl, his gaze skimming down the length of her and back up to meet those astonishing eyes. “Little one, you cannot walk into Skoll’s looking like that. You’ll cause a riot and there is no way your mammy can protect you against a bar full of drunken males.”
Her eyes widened as she stared up at him, shock painted across her face. “I…” She looked away, glancing around almost as if finally realizing where she was. A deep shudder wracked her body. “I can’t go home. He knows where we live. He could come back.”
Serran looked down at the girl he was sure was his future queen. He might have finally found her. He could go home. “That’s why I’m going with you, Princess. I’ll guard you until your mammy gets home, or until your pappy gets home.”
“I don’t have a pappy,” she said, her voice low.
Of course she didn’t. The fewer people who knew about her, the safer they were and the easier they could move around.
“Then I’ll wait until your mammy gets home.” He reached up with his hand and touched a darkening patch of skin on her cheekbone. A bruise. That bastard hit her. “I’ll protect you, Princess. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
That vow was one he intended to carry through with if it killed him.
The girl studied him, and he had a curious feeling as if she could see inside him. As if she could see through to the heart of him, and knew his intentions and his motivations. Her mother had been like that. The queen had had an unusual ability to read people that served her well when dealing with traders who came looking to get their hands on precious Dragressie silk.
She seemed happy with what she found, and the girl nodded and turned in the opposite direction from where he was heading.
“We live this way.”