Loving Deviant Page 25

up this great because my sister donated a lot of money to them. That would be seen as her funding a terrorist group. Do you understand? It’s a death sentence for her.”

Mavo studied her and finally relaxed. “I want to believe you. Right now, I need to contact the council and inform them, along with the commander of this vessel, that someone from Earth is aboard.”

“Perhaps we should wait until after we reach Garden.” Deviant lowered his voice. “I don’t want anyone believing they can take her away from me.”

“They won’t.” Mavo held Venice’s gaze. “We used to be able to own Earthers, but now we can’t. We can, however, contract them as workers, taking them under our protection. I have a few friends on the council. I’ll contact them directly first, then let Stag know.”

“He doesn’t like Earthers.” Deviant softened his tone too. “I’d really prefer we wait until we reach Garden. Think about it for a moment.”

Mavo hesitated. “I’ll make certain you’re off duty until we return, so you don’t have to leave her alone. Let me know when you need food. I’ll bring it so you don’t have to risk anyone finding out she’s here. I still need to let a few council members that I trust know what is happening. You won’t be able to get her off this shuttle and into the city otherwise.”

“Understood. Thank you.”

“We are undocking with the station in a few hours. I’ll talk to you in the morning. It will be too late by then to change your mind about taking her home with you.”

“My decision is made,” Deviant stated.

Venice watched Deviant’s father leave before voicing her concerns. “Who is Stag and why does he hate anyone from Earth?”

“He was heavily abused while on Earth. This is his ship we’re aboard.”

She suddenly didn’t feel very safe. “Would this Stag have me tossed out an airlock or something if he finds out I’m aboard? I’ve heard that some captains do that when they discover a stowaway.”

“No. That sounds like something only Earthers would do. I won’t allow anyone to hurt you, Venice. I would fight Stag before I’d let him near you.” He reached out and brushed his hand down her arm. “That’s why I explained how important it is for you to stay here, so no one finds out about you.”

“I thought the scariest part was knowing I was the only woman with seven men on the ship. Now I’m more afraid of the guy with a grudge.”

He smiled. “You’re mine, Venice. I will protect you. We’ll reach Garden and everything will be fine.”

She wanted to trust him. It sure beat still being on the station with Darbis hunting her down, trying to force her to work in a brothel.

She really liked Deviant, and was starting to care about him more than she should. Her heart might get broken in the end if she didn’t rein in her feelings. It was just tough not to be attracted to him on every level. She reminded herself that one day he wanted to join in some family unit thing with a female cyborg.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Anything.” He led her to the bed and sat.

She took the seat next to him. “What’s wrong with cyborg women?”

He arched his eyebrows in question.

“I still can’t understand why you’d have a problem dating them.”

Deviant hesitated and then blew out a deep breath. “My mother had a difficult time conceiving me. I wasn’t her first child, but I was her last. She already had four sons but it was decided I’d be her fifth.”

“That’s a lot of kids.”

“She had one son from each of her other three husbands and two with my father. He was her fourth.”

“She was married four times?”

He reached out and took her hand. “She has four current husbands.”

Venice was stunned. She’d heard of some weird family relationships on Earth. Sometimes the rich would keep a spouse and a known lover, but it was rare for it to become public knowledge.

“The cyborg males vastly outnumbered the females when we fled Earth. It was logical to have them take as many males as possible into a family unit to avoid fighting.”

She was confused, and it must have shown because he shrugged.

“I know it’s not the way it is on Earth. We had to adapt. The males might have started to fight amongst themselves, killing off the competition to win a female’s attention, and we needed to make certain our race survived. Some females have more

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