Loving Deviant Page 42

in shape, before they created surgeries that could remove any excess weight and implants that make you look as if you have muscles. It’s costly though, so few can afford the upkeep as they age.” She glanced at his exposed arms. “Those aren’t implants.”

“No. They are not.”

She leaned in and surprised him with a kiss on his lips. He released her hand and she laughed as he wrapped his arms around her and easily lifted her, proving how strong he was. She straddled his lap, snuggling in close.

“I think we should celebrate,” she whispered against his lips. “I know the perfect way.”

“Me too.”

The door chimed.

Deviant groaned, and she could totally relate as he pulled away and lifted her once more, setting her on the bed next to him.

“What do they want now?” His irritation sounded in his voice as he stood, crossed the room, and slapped his hand on the pad by the door.

The door opened and Mavo pushed past him, entering the room. “Are you both well? I couldn’t leave Control. But Stag just relieved me of duty for the rest of the flight home. He’s furious.” Mavo ran his gaze over Venice, looking relieved. “He didn’t take her from you.”

“I wouldn’t have allowed it.” Deviant closed the door. “He was very angry.”

“He still is. I didn’t know what was going on. He stood up in Control and told me to take his seat, then contacted me to change course away from Garden. He just returned to Control, snapped at me about how he knew I was aware of the Earther’s existence, then ordered me out of his sight for the remainder of our time on the Varnish.”

“I’m sorry, Father.”

Mavo waved a hand. “It doesn’t matter.”

“My actions have resulted in Stag disciplining you.”

Mavo stepped close to his son, gripped both of his arms, and held his gaze. “Don’t think of it that way. Do you hear me? I know you too well. I don’t care about that. Stag has a reputation for being harsh with his crew. It won’t affect any of my future assignments. I would consider it an honor if he writes me up for this offense. Your happiness is always my priority.”

Venice really liked Deviant’s father. He didn’t seem upset in the least that he’d been chewed out by the menacing captain she’d met.

Deviant gripped Mavo’s arms too. “Thank you, Father.”

“Has Stag confined you to quarters?”

“Yes.”

“I am only banned from Control. I’ll take care of bringing you all of your meals. We reach Garden in the morning. Stag changed course again and increased our speed. He wants the Earther off his ship as fast as possible. That’s good news for us. We’ll be home soon.”

“He really hates me, doesn’t he?” Venice said.

Deviant released his father and approached her, sitting close. “It’s not personal, Venice. You’ve done nothing to deserve his ire.”

“Stag has always had issues with Earthers. It’s common knowledge.” Mavo held her gaze. “He suffered major losses of the cyborgs assigned with him on an Earth battle cruiser. Some of his close friends were murdered by the crew. I was told he was one of the first batches of cyborgs produced, and saw a lot more death than most of us because of his age.”

“Father had it rough as well, but he met one Earther who gave him hope that not all of them meant us harm.”

Mavo smiled. “My Emily. She helped cyborgs escape, and now she’s my daughter. We call her Cyan though. It’s a long story.”

Venice glanced at Deviant. “You didn’t tell me you had a sister. Is she from an Earther mother?”

He smiled too. “It’s not a biological tie. Father adopted her. She was born on Earth, with health issues, but her father was the one who created cyborgs. He built her a new body to replace her failing one. It took her a long time but she found us. She’s married to Krell. He’s the cyborg I spoke of, the one for whom my father petitioned the council to force my mother to birth me, in order to ensure Krell’s obligation to have a child was technically met.”

Venice wanted to hear more and had a lot of questions. Mavo had other ideas.

“May we talk alone, Deviant?” He gave an apologetic look to Venice. “This isn’t about you. It’s about a family matter concerning his mother.”

Venice stood. “I’ll go wash my face.” Deviant wasn’t allowed to leave and the only way to give them privacy was to enter the cleansing unit.

“That was

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