Okay--enough talking. Here it is.
Setup: Chiang and Boca are on the mission. Things are not going as planned for them either. There's been a lot of that in this novel. In this scene, they have just barely survived their first "test".
Boca walked to where the guard’s blade had dropped, sweeping it from the floor to her hand with a flick of her toes. She held it up to the light, inspected it, and then slipped it into her skirt band. She walked chin up across the floor, the room silent with the exception of the second guard’s cries of pain, escalating demands for help, and scathing terms for her.
Never looking at Orem Sel, she slipped the blade from her skirt, lifting it to her palms, and offered it to Chiang with a bowed head.
Chiang stepped to Boca, took the blade, and then caught her up to him for a relieved kiss. When he let go, he stared at her hard. “Kneel and put your face on the floor. You just killed a servant of our host. I need to discuss this appalling situation.”
Boca glared at Chiang without the need to fake much, but did as he ordered, stretching her hands over her bowed head. When he was satisfied with her compliance, Chiang turned and offered the blade to Orem Sel.
“It will be a while before your guard will have need of his blade again. What would you like to do with it?”
Orem Sel waved at the blade with his hand. “Keep it for a souvenir of your visit.”
Chiang bowed his head respectfully. “You are a gracious host.”
“And you are an admirable male for having tamed such a dangerous female,” Orem Sel said. “Why don’t you retire for the evening? I’ll have food brought to you and your exciting mate.”
“If it suits you, I’d like to contact Conor to convey your gracious welcome and encourage him to come see for himself,” Chiang said, watching Orem Sel bow his head slightly, but not really.
He turned then and spoke loudly to Boca. “Up. You have rested enough. Be grateful our host is in a merciful mood.”
Boca pulled her body back upright, sparing Chiang one hateful glance before shifting her mental venom to the still seated male who smiled back knowingly.
“Boca,” Chiang said. “If you say anything rude, you will be punished.” He watched as she immediately dropped her eyes and hung her head.
Out of the corner of his eye, Chiang saw Orem Sel motion two guards forward even as he smiled. Hoping to convince them they didn’t need company for the evening, Chiang pulled a leather wrist restraint from the vest he wore. “Hold out your wrists, and this time I want both. No rebellion like the last time.”
He was grateful that Boca kept her head bowed as she meekly lifted both her hands.
Chiang fastened the restraints, knotting the cord slowly and checking to make sure it was secure. When he heard Orem Sel laughing at his precautions, Chiang spared a glance at the male and smiled before returning his gaze to his task.
“I said she was exciting. I didn’t say she was safe, especially after a fresh kill,” Chiang declared, elated when Orem Sel laughed harder.
“I find you and your fighting mate quite amusing Chiang. You would probably find me a more rewarding employer than your current one,” Orem Sel said.
Chiang snorted. “Do you think you’re the first trader to make me such an offer? I am both healer and mercenary. However, I cannot consider other offers until my debt to Conor Synar is paid. Now that he’s taken on a demon, there is no leaving his employ.”
“I imagine not,” Orem Sel said. “Well, look me up if he ever releases you.”
Chiang nodded, ending it on a bow of respect, his hand tugging on the wrist restraint as he dragged Boca along with him, hoping it was to safety.
“See that Chiang and his mate are installed in the elerin suite. I’m sure they will enjoy the accommodations there. When Conor Synar arrives, he can have the adjoining room,” Orem Sel said. “That way, we can keep a protective guard over all of them.”
The guards walked ahead and out of the main auditorium. They all walked for a considerable distance, down long corridors and many rooms. When they stopped, it was in front of a set of double doors. One of the guards pushed open the doors, and then both stepped aside to let Chiang lead Boca into the room. Once they were beyond the threshold, the guards closed the doors behind them.
Chiang dropped the leather tether and stepped to Boca, slowly undoing the leather restraints. Neither spoke for long moments as he deftly undid the straps. “So we are back among the males you escaped. I find their need to restrain their females pathetic and weak. Are they so lacking in bonding expertise? If you’re not talented enough to keep your female in your bed willingly, then raging fires of Helios, let the female go and find another.”
Boca snorted at Chiang’s declaration. He didn’t even sound like himself. “I just killed a male and severely wounded another. Are you not fearful that I could do the same to you if I chose? I could, you know. I may be your mate, but that would end with your death, Chiang of Greggor.”
When the restraints were gone, Chiang flung the device behind him to land on the luxuriously large sleeping platform that he’d barely avoiding looking at with envy.
“Settle down, my fierce little warrior. There is no more fight to be had today. I am grateful that you received so little damage to yourself. If they had hurt you, I would have been compelled my violent Greggor nature to avenge you. Then we would both likely be dead. Orem Sel trusts no one. But then who can blame him after what happened to Fener Sel.”
He pulled Boca into his embrace, careful not to touch the arm wound that was starting to seal over. Pulling the scanner discreetly from a vest pocket, he touched it and put it between their bodies. Boca leaned into him, so it could rest on the tops of her exposed breasts, the screen tilted up so they could both see it. She saw the corner of Chiang’s mouth twitch as he fought not to laugh.
“You are a strange male to embrace me when I am covered with evidence of death. Release me and let me wash away the filth before you indulge your dreaded needs,” Boca demanded, voice dripping sarcasm as she ground out the last word with all the disgust she could manage. She wanted to push out of his arms, but as usual they were banned like steel around her. She was discovering that Chiang never let go of anything he held until he was ready.
“Silence, mate. I must reassure myself you still live, so be still and let me. Then we will clean and treat your wound,” he said roughly. “Hug me back and stop fighting. Don’t displease me further.”
Giving in, Boca tightened her arms around him and relaxed in his arms. Looking down, she saw a small picture appear on the scanner screen. Three dots were highlighted. They were being watched, which also meant their conversation was probably being monitored as well.
“I have no wish to anger you further,” she said softly.
“I have no wish to start over with another female. So let us both rejoice at our good fortune that you still live,” Chiang said quietly, but with the force he knew was expected of males on Lotharius.
Boca bowed her head respectfully and then raised her gaze to his. She moved her arms down instinctively to shield his large hand as it slid the scanner across her breasts before palming it. The little shiver of excitement she got from Chiang’s fingers was revealing to both of them.
“I want you more each time it becomes a possibility,” he said tightly. “I want to be at your mercy and yet pleasure you endlessly. I want you to pass out in my arms again. Perhaps a Lotharian would be a less demanding mate. If you like, I can sell you back to one of them. You may claim this as your reward for saving our lives.”
To prove his words the lie they were, he brought his palm up to cover the mark on her shoulder. Chiang bent down to Boca, kissing her temple and sliding lips down to growl low in her ear. He whispered ‘mine’ soft and hoped she heard. When she trembled in his arms, he growled again.
“I must have you soon,” Chiang declared honestly, raising his head.
“What if the room is being monitored? You can’t seriously expect us to bond while they watch, or listen,” Boca hissed in a quiet voice, hopefully covering the fact they already knew it was.
“La dracu, lasati-le. Let them listen and watch,” Chiang said bitterly, lacing his fingers with hers in support of their predicament. “Perhaps the stupid Lotharians will learn why you do not kill me.”
“What does it matter who calls himself my mate? All males are alike in their pride,” Boca declared, squeezing his fingers to let him know she was playing her role too.
“Come. Be nice and I will consider not tying you up for the night cycle,” Chiang said tightly.
“After fighting and winning, don’t you agree that I deserve to be left free for at least one evening?” Boca demanded, trying to sound petulant about having to even ask the question.
“Yes, I suppose I must agree in this instance. And you may even take your pleasure first,” Chiang said, smiling at her rolling eyes.
As much as he hated knowing they were being watched, nothing was going to keep him out of her. They would use the covers for a shield if needed.
“Instead of first pleasure, I would just appreciate some new clothes, Chiang. The guards I fought ruined these,” Boca said, lifting her tattered clothing with her free hand."I am still angry enough to kill more of them."
Chiang forced himself to laugh, even while he wondered how true her statement was. “You may have both pleasure and new clothes for allowing the second male to live. I am feeling generous because you obeyed me without argument this time. Let your bloodthirsty side be sated for a while,” Chiang suggested, not really having to put anything into faking that part, his tiny Sumerian mate was indeed fighting both anger and bloodlust. But she let him lead her into the small upright bathing compartment without further resistance.
“For the moment, I wish no one further harm,” Boca offered, but narrowed her gaze on him. “Yet it is early in the evening still, Chiang of Greggor. If you displease me, things might not go well for you. Perhaps you should restrain me tonight after all. I can promise nothing.”
“We’ll see if I can change your mind,” Chiang said back, smiling as he closed the door behind them. It was going to be a long night cycle. The one bright spot was knowing he would have the opportunity of pleasuring Boca throughout it.
He could only hope their lack of communication with the Liberator would bring help quickly. They were definitely not going to be able to have full freedom to look for the High Ambassador’s daughter without Conor Synar negotiating directly with Orem Sel.
How that would work out was anyone's guess