Loving Deviant Page 39


“I knew it!” Stag curled his upper lip. “That discussion you started on your shift was your way of testing my responses. And you didn’t confess to smuggling an Earther onboard my damn shuttle, so you’d already deduced I’d be furious! I’ve felt something was amiss ever since we left Colton Station. I should have heeded my instincts. Get her out here!”

Deviant braced his body, prepared to fight. “No. She belongs to me. The council has been notified and is aware of her presence.”

“What?” Stag appeared ready to attack. “You notified them but not me? It’s my ship!”

Another cyborg entered Deviant’s room, since the door remained open. Hellion moved in between them. “Why the shouting? What’s going on?”

“I’d have expected this from you.” Stag glared at Hellion. “Were you aware there is an Earther female aboard the Varnish?”

Hellion shot a stunned look at Deviant, then back at Stag. “No shit? I didn’t know. Where is she?”

Stag jerked his chin up. “Inside that cleansing unit. Move aside, both of you. I’m hauling her ass into the cargo bay and securing her there until we reach Garden. I’ll have Kelis guard her.”

“I’m not going to allow that to happen, Stag.” Deviant backed up farther, placing his body against the cleansing unit. “Venice is mine. We’re verbally contracted. You have no right to take her away from me.”

“This is my ship. I can do whatever the hell I want. And you didn’t ask my permission to allow an Earther onboard because you knew I’d say no!”

“Verbally contracted in what way?” Hellion glanced at Deviant again.

“She belongs to me.”

Hellion’s eyebrows shot up. “We’re not allowed to own slaves anymore. Not even hot ones. I take it she’s hot?”

“Shut up, Hellion. All that matters is she’s an Earther,” Stag spat. “Damn you, Deviant! Is she being tracked? Did you even check her for that? We’re on our way to Garden. You could be allowing her to lead those bastards right to our planet.”

“She’s not a spy for Earth Government. I saved her on the station.”

“You mean she set up some scam and you fell for it?” Stag spun, touched the pad, and connected to it. He faced Deviant again seconds later. “Maze is on his way. You’re going to allow him to examine her. Get her out here.”

“I will if you give your word to stop shouting—and you’re not allowed to touch her. She’ll be frightened.”

Stag’s eyebrows rose and he curled his lip again. “Oh, I wouldn’t want that. You brought a plague on my ship but let’s all be aware of her feelings.”

“She’s not a plague.” That pissed Deviant off. “Why would you call her that?”

“Because she might well be the reason our race is wiped out if she’s been embedded with a tracker. I never should have agreed to let a born cyborg on my ship. You know nothing of the kind of treachery Earthers are capable of committing. Did you hear nothing I said? It’s a game to them to earn our trust and get us killed!”

The medic arrived, carrying his kit. “What is the emergency?”

“Deviant brought an Earther female aboard the Varnish.” Stag pointed at the cleansing unit. “Get her out here right now.”

“Your word?” Deviant didn’t budge. “You aren’t to hurt or frighten her in any way.”

“I’m going to kill him,” Stag hissed.

Hellion stepped closer to Stag and shook his head. “Let Maze scan her before you blow your top.”

“My top?” Stag seethed.

“Temper,” Hellion clarified. “Calm. We all want to see the Earther female. Let’s be reasonable and assess her first.”

Stag backed up and leaned against the wall next to the door. “By all means. Let’s not scare the Earther. Deviant, open that unit. Maze, check her over. See what kind of shit we’re in. I’ve just ordered Mavo to change course away from Garden. I’ll be damned before I lead the battle cruisers right to our home.”

Deviant glanced at the three cyborgs. The medic appeared surprised but not angry. Hellion seemed neutral. Stag remained furious but at least he had moved across the room.

Deviant turned, overrode the lock, and stepped inside to shield Venice from the males. She smiled, obviously unaware of what had happened. The unit would have blocked all sound.

“Stag is aware of you,” he whispered.

Her smile faded. She paled a little and began to tremble.

He reached out and gripped her arm. “It’s going to be fine. Three cyborgs are in my quarters. One is a medic. Maze needs to scan you. I won’t allow anyone to

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