Rebel Mate (Interstellar Brides Program #20) - Grace Goodwin
Zara Novak, Transport Room, Planet Trion
I blinked. Then again. My eyes couldn’t be working correctly because I had nipple rings. Just a few seconds ago, or a few light years away, I’d been in a drab hospital-style gown. The last thing I remembered was the warden counting down… three… two… one, and I definitely hadn’t had nipple rings then. Sure, I’d had a needle jammed into the side of my head for a voice translator, but I’d have remembered having my nips poked.
When the warden had said I was to arrive on Trion prepared for the planet’s customs, this wasn’t what I’d expected. I knew it to be an arid place. Hot. Desert-like. Maybe I’d be in a ridiculous outfit from I Dream of Jeannie with billowy pants and bare midriff. Me, in harem pants. As if.
Instead, I was just… bare.
I was lying on a small platform, the surface hard and unforgiving. Curled on my side, I looked down at myself. At the little gold hoops that went through my nipples.
I was transfixed. While it wasn’t something I’d ever imagined doing, I had to admit, they looked pretty good. They went pretty well with my navel piercing.
“Thank the gods, you’re awake.”
The male voice had me startling and looking up. A guy came up the few steps to reach me with a garment that looked much like a robe in his hands. I pushed up to sitting, and he wrapped it around my shoulders, covering me. I couldn’t miss the way his gaze raked over my bare flesh before it was hidden.
Again, I blinked.
“I am Naron, your mate. You have transported far and just for me. I have been given the ultimate reward.”
When he squatted beside me, our eyes were at the same level. His were a piercing green. I couldn’t miss the pleased look on his face. Bright eyes, a broad smile. Curious. Eager. Like a well-muscled, broad shouldered puppy.
“Hey,” I said, then cleared my throat. The air was warm, the robe a cool silk. I glanced about. We were in some kind of primitive building with cloth walls. A large tent, like one used as a rental for parties. The material was a sturdy canvas, but a rustic brown, as if it were woven from natural materials. Unbleached.
“You are well, gara?” he asked, his gaze raking over me. “Do you need me to send for a doctor or are you recovered enough from transport to await the examination?”
Examination? I didn’t know what that involved, so I just said, “I’m well.”
I was. I still felt the tingly pleasure from the orgasm I’d gotten during the testing. God, it had been intense. Powerful. I’d even screamed as I’d awoken. But it hadn’t been real, yet I felt it still. But the guy in front of me? He was very real.
He exhaled and gave me a relieved smile. “That is excellent news. When word was given that I was matched, I was on duty. I am relieved I was able to meet you upon your arrival. I didn’t desire for you to be frightened or alone. Due to our remote location, this station is unmanned unless transport out is required.” His eyes continued to shift, taking in my hair, my features. Every inch of me he could see. “I have heard that Earth females are unusual in appearance, but I find you… lovely.”
I didn’t know what that meant or if Trion females looked much different from me, but he didn’t seem to be insulting. The opposite. I seemed to surprise him.
His eyes widened. “I do not even know your name, mate.”
Mate. He was matched to me. This guy. This Trion alien.
He repeated it, then again as he held out his hand. I took it, and he helped me to my feet as I held the robe closed. He eyed me, perhaps ensuring I wouldn’t pass out. I was tired, and I had a head rush standing up, but otherwise, I felt fine. Even my nipples which should have hurt after being pierced didn’t ache.
“I am a sentinel guard to Councilor Bertok. A true honor and position. Now I have you. I am a lucky male.” He wore brown pants with a long-sleeved shirt that did look quite like a uniform. Black striped epaulets were on his shoulders, and he had a—was that a sword?—at his hip. “Ah, here is the region’s leader now.” He leaned close to whisper in my ear. “Females remain silent in his presence.”
An older man entered the tent. I