Rena was sold into slavery at the age of fifteen, ripped away from her home and a loving father, and cast into a life of pain and horror. Despite the abuse she's suffered through years of slavery, she counts herself lucky that no one has ever touched her intimately. When she angers her current owner, and he gives her to a purple alien as a gift, she isn't sure if this next stage of her life will be a blessing or a curse. After five years as a captive, she's too beaten to believe she'll have a happily ever after. Who could ever fall in love with a woman as badly damaged as she is? Even the purple alien called Ryx doesn't seem all that interested.
Beren's scarred body and damaged ear don't make for a very handsome male. When his commander, Ryx, brings a human female on board their ship, Beren is curious, yet cautious. Like him, Rena has wounds both outside and inside. For the first time, Beren wonders if maybe there's a female who will look past his exterior to see his warrior heart, and not someone broken and pitiful. Her courage and strength appeal to him, and yet she's so soft and small his protective urges rise to the surface. Whether Beren gets to claim Rena or not, he vows he will lay down his life for her and protect her at all costs. He just never realized in doing so he would end up with what he wanted most -- her.
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Rena and the Alien Warrior (Intergalactic Brides 16)
Jessica Coulter Smith
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2018 Jessica Coulter Smith
"Why are her feet bleeding?" Ryx asked.
Frih shrugged. Rena wanted to tell the purple alien what had happened, but she never spoke unless she absolutely had to. Not since Frih had damaged her vocal cords. The first time she'd been punished, she'd screamed so loud and long that he'd ordered the healers to fix the problem. They'd knocked her out and when she'd woken, she'd felt the incision along her throat and her voice had barely come out as a whisper. She'd thought it was temporary, just her throat healing from whatever had been done, but now there was a scar there, and she still couldn't talk above a whisper.
Ryx came closer still, reaching out to run his fingers over the scars on her cheeks. She flinched, her eyes shutting, but he didn't hurt her. His touch was light and gentle, unlike anything she'd experienced since becoming a slave.
Her eyes slowly opened, and the kindness in his pansy-colored gaze nearly made her cry. It had been so long since someone looked at her like that, since they'd touched her with anything but malice and ill intentions. Rena decided if Frih was going to place her in the harem, that she was glad this alien would be her first. Perhaps that gentle touch would extend to the bedroom, and he wouldn't damage her too badly. But then, she'd learned not to be deceived. Those who spoke softly were often the ones who hurt her the worst.
"What's your name?" Ryx asked.
She opened and shut her mouth, wanting to answer and yet not wanting to speak. She'd learned the hard way that making noise meant bad things happened. Just because this alien seemed kinder than the others, didn't mean he was actually nice. She'd learned that, if nothing else, since her abduction.
"Does it matter?" Frih asked. "Are you taking her or not? If you don't want her, I'll break her in myself. She's not quite to my taste, but I'm sure I could rise to the occasion."
A shiver raked over Rena. That's exactly what she'd feared. Frih was slightly reptilian, with rough skin, and a forked tongue. The humans he'd taken to his bed had screamed so loud that the sound had echoed throughout his large home. Rena didn't know if the screams were from beatings, or because he enjoyed pain during sex too. Then again, she'd never seen him naked. Maybe he didn't have the right parts for having sex with the females he kept. What if they were grossly misshapen or had spikes or something? Just the thought made her want to run away.
Ryx narrowed his eyes and glared at Frih over his shoulder.
Her owner shrugged and gave an evil grin. "She won't scream, but she might struggle a bit. I have restraints in my room. It's kind of nice when they're strapped down and can't fight back. They just have to lie there and take it."
The purple alien's cheeks flushed, and rage came off him in waves. If her owner were smart, he'd be afraid right now, but Frih didn't seem to notice. Rena took a step back and whimpered as a piece of glass embedded deeper into her foot, then bit her lip to keep from making further noise. Ryx turned back toward her, that gentle touch back on her face as his fingers skimmed across her cheek.
He studied her, as if trying to make a big decision. She'd always thought men would jump at the chance to have sex, and she'd heard that virgins always sold for a high price. With her scars, she knew she wasn't all that pretty anymore. Maybe he just didn't find her attractive. If he didn't want her, then she knew her nightmare was just beginning. Although, perhaps one night of kindness was actually worse, because then she'd know what she was missing once Frih added her to the harem.
"I'll accept her as a gift. On one condition," Ryx said.
"Anything you wish," Frih said. "You're one of my best customers, and you've been a great help to me in the past. I want you to be happy while you're here."
"Instead of giving her to me for a night, I want her permanently. You will sever your ownership of her and give her to me completely." Ryx narrowed his eyes. "And I want the papers to prove she's no longer yours."
Frih's eyes popped wide, but it didn't take him long to agree. "She's yours. Do with her as you please."
Ryx nodded. "Did you put me in my usual room?"
"Yes. The blue suite is set up for you. I had planned to offer my harem to you, but since you have your own slave now I guess that won't be necessary. Unless you desire more than one female?"
"One is enough," Ryx said. "Send her belongings to my quarters, and then make sure we aren't disturbed. Leave a tray outside the door at mealtime."
Frih agreed eagerly agreed and snapped his fingers at a nearby slave.
When Ryx turned toward Rena again, she couldn't decipher the look in his eyes. Slowly, he eased his arms around her back and under her knees, then lifted Rena against his chest. He cradled her carefully, as if afraid he might hurt her, and then began striding out of the room. She hoped she hadn't just traded one monster for another, but she didn't see evil lurking in the purple alien. Maybe things would be better for a while. At least, until he tired of her. Maybe a short reprieve was better than none. Someone like him would never keep a scarred woman like her, not when he likely had his choice of females. The only value she'd had to aliens was her virginity, and that was about to be taken. She'd be deemed useless after that, except to be added to personal harems or sold to a brothel. She knew once that happened, she wouldn't live for much longer. Being used by many, and often, tended to wear on the slaves. She'd watched as they first gave up hope, then gave up on life in general.
They entered the blue room, and he eased her down onto a chair, then knelt in front of her, inspecting one foot, then the other. He lightly touched the raised welts on her thighs and arm, then Ryx stormed across the room and pressed the Comm button on the wall, demanding a healer be sent to his quarters. Anger rolled off him in waves as he returned to Rena. She didn't know what to expect from the male, but the unknown no longer made her nervous. Not as much as it used to. She'd been a slave for years, or so she thought... Time was different as a slave. She knew her body had changed, had become more adult, so years had to have passed. She'd been through several owners during that time. There would likely be at least one more in her future, if she survived her current master. It wasn't uncommon for slaves to die while they were still young, especially the females.
"What's your name?" Ryx asked.
"Rena," she said in her soft whisper of a voice. Not that she had any other way of speaking anymore.
"I'm not going to harm you, Rena. You have my word. As you've heard, my name is Ryx. I'm the commander of a ship, and a warrior for my people."
"Who are your people?" she asked, wondering if questions were permitted. Some owners didn't mind them, and others thought her insolent for speaking out of turn.
"Zelthranites, but humans know us as Terrans. Women are scarce on my world."
She blanched. Was she going to be used by many? Would he take her to his world and put her in some sort of brothel? He'd seemed kind, but what if she was wrong? She'd thought maybe she had a little more time before something like that happened to her. It was a fate she'd dreaded for so long.
"Easy," he crooned, reaching out to stroke her cheek. "Remember, I promised no harm would come to you. What did I say that scared you?"
"I'll be put in a brothel?" she asked. "To serve everyone?"
He cursed. "No, Rena. I'm sorry if I gave that impression. When I said that women are scarce on my world, I meant that you will have the chance to find a mate, someone who will care for you."
"Mate?" Animals mated. And she vaguely remembered her father saying he needed a mate. Was it possible that her people were similar to Ryx's? While they're coloring was vastly different, he did have the same type of features as the people from her world. The males on her planet were a golden color, while most of the females were so pale they were nearly a brilliant white. She wasn't quite that pale, but she was nowhere near as golden as her father either.
"I promise that whoever claims you will take excellent care of you. Females are precious to my people. It's why we started the Bride program on Earth."
Earth. That sounded vaguely familiar to her, but why would she know anything of a place called Earth? And why did he mention that planet to her? That wasn't where she was from, and she didn't recall any of her alien owners being from there. Flashes of green trees and small homes filled her mind, along with a smiling blonde woman who called her... something. Something just out of reach. She shook her head, the images faded quickly. That had never happened before and she didn't know if it was a trick of her mind, or something more...