Claim of Eon - Anna Hackett

Chapter One

There was nothing like the feeling of standing on the bridge of a powerful warship and knowing you were in charge.

“Trennin, report,” Second Commander Airen Kann-Felis said.

“All scans are clear, Second Commander,” the warrior replied.

Airen stood facing the viewscreen—the familiar, never-ending view of space ahead of her. Behind her lay the tiered bridge she knew so well, full of black-clad Eon warriors at their stations. Her war commander, Malax Dann-Jad, was dealing with diplomatic issues in his office, leaving her in command.

No doubt his new Terran mate, Wren, was with him.

Airen had walked in on the pair kissing, and more, once or twice. She’d learned to knock very loudly. It was impossible to miss the depths of Malax’s love and bond with Wren Traynor. It was a true bonding—one where his helian symbiont accepted his new mate as well. Airen touched the band around her wrist that housed her own symbiont and felt a pulse of warmth.

She had no interest in a man, mating, or bonding of any sort. She’d attempted a few relationships in the past. Her stomach churned. She’d learned very quickly it wasn’t for her. She was dedicated to her career, one in which there were very few female warriors. Her work required all her attention.

Her helian pulsed again. One day, she wanted to command her own warship. She wouldn’t allow anything or anyone to interfere with that.

Although, for one fleeting second, she imagined what it would be like to have someone. Someone she trusted soul-deep.

When her belly churned again, she turned her attention back to the viewscreen.

There was a small flash of light on the screen, followed by several more. Frowning, she watched as several small, ragtag starships appeared out of nowhere.

“Second Commander,” a warrior said, voice urgent. “Five intercepts in range and closing in on the Rengard.”

Airen straightened, and studied the ships and their formation.

“Who the hell is that?” a deep voice said from behind her.

That deep, liquid voice shivered through her, and as always, she hid her violent reaction. It belonged to Sub-Captain Donovan Lennox of Earth’s Space Corps.

He was one of their new Terran shipmates. Since the Traynor sisters had crashed into the Eon, attempting to get help for their planet, everything had changed. A long time ago, the Eon Empire had attempted first contact with the Terrans, but found them unruly and chaotic. Now, they had a shared enemy, and with several warriors happily mated to Terrans, the Eon Empire and Earth had a budding alliance.

That alliance included mixing their crews. Several warriors were now aboard Terran ships, and some Terrans from Space Corps were now on Eon warships.

That included this man she found very hard to ignore.

Donovan stepped up beside her, gaze on the screen. He was taller than her, with a muscular body, dark skin, and black hair he kept cut very short. Eon warriors wore their hair long, so the shorter hair was fascinating. His skin was also so much darker than the other Terrans she’d met, and she often caught herself admiring it.

His eyes were a light brown, and he smelled…very good. By the warriors, she sometimes wished she didn’t have her helian-enhanced senses.

Airen’s hands curled into fists, a clawing need flooding her belly. No. She’d felt desire before, or at least she thought she had. Something about Donovan Lennox ignited a wild hunger she’d never, ever experienced before.

Clearing her throat, she tried not to think about the fact that they’d kissed each other senseless in a maintenance conduit a week ago. She’d told him then that it had been an error in judgment. She didn’t make mistakes. She’d fought hard for everything in her life, especially her career. She would not risk it for a moment of fleeting pleasure.

Since then, Donovan had listened to her. He’d been polite, competent. The perfect colleague.

She hunched her shoulders. Apparently, she was easily dismissed. She wasn’t surprised. She’d had it happen before.

“Space pirates.” She focused on the task at hand. “They are usually poorly organized, but sneaky.”

Alarms sounded around the bridge.

“Their weapons are hot,” a warrior called out.

“Sabin?” Airen said. “Fire a warning shot.”

“I’m readying the laser array,” Security Commander Sabin Solann-Ath replied.

A second later, the Rengard rumbled quietly beneath her feet, and then the laser array fired.

The pirate ships scattered.

The Rengard was currently patrolling the edge of Eon space, monitoring for Kantos activity. Their shared enemy—a ravenous, destructive, insectoid species intent on invading Earth and causing problems for the Eon—had been suspiciously quiet of late.

The Rengard had recently helped to