Authors: Julia Rachel Barrett
Tags: #Siren Classic
Julia Rachel Barrett
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Erotic Romance
Copyright © 2010 by Julia Rachel Barrett
E-book ISBN: 1-60601-722-5
First E-book Publication: January 2010
Cover design by Jinger Heaston
All cover art and logo copyright © 2010 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
Siren Publishing, Inc.
Letter from Julia Rachel Barrett
Regarding Ebook Piracy
Many thanks to each and every one of you for purchasing this book from legal online bookstores who signed resale contracts with the publisher. Much hard work, dedication and heart went into
. Please feel free to share your opinion, but encourage your friends to buy the book from legitimate websites. When e-book pirates upload or download these books to and from file sharing sites where there is no respect for copyrighted materials, it hurts the livelihood of many who write and produce these books.
With deep gratitude,
Julia Rachel Barrett
I dreamed the love story of Ekkatt and Mari from start to finish.
This book is dedicated to the night muses.
Keep up the good work.
JULIA RACHEL BARRETT
Copyright © 2010
Mari woke on a cold, hard floor thinking of eggs.
The last she remembered she’d been in the small coop with plastic trays balanced on her left arm.
She was collecting eggs from the youngest hens.
She’d already finished with six houses and stacked those eggs in the back of the cart.
So why was she lying on the floor?
Had she slipped and fallen and maybe hit her head?
She wondered what had happened to the trays of eggs.
Probably every egg broke, and the chickens gorged on them.
Her sister would be really pissed off.
She’d already promised those eggs to the natural foods store.
Mari felt around with an open palm.
The floor didn’t feel much like the dirt floor of the chicken coop.
It felt like some kind of metal grating.
She didn’t hear the cluck of chickens nor smell that familiar dusty feather bird smell.
Mari smelled nothing aside from the musk of her own sweat.
“Open your eyes, Mari,” she muttered. “Open your eyes.”
She did open her eyes then, but Mari closed them immediately.
One brief look told her she hadn’t ended up on the floor of a chicken coop.
This could be bad, very, very bad.
Mari shifted onto her side.
Metal grating bit into her hip.
Where were her clothes?
Her entire body felt exposed, cold.
No way…no fucking way…
Open your mother fucking eyes, Mari, and keep them open
Mari’s eyes responded to her instructions. Lids raised, she stared straight into the face of another woman lying beside her, unconscious, on the hard, metal floor.
Oh my God…oh my God…oh my God
…Visions of torture chambers and bloody horror movies flooded into her brain.
She fought back a scream.
Keep your mouth shut and get the hell up off this floor.
Figure out where you are
Mari pushed herself onto her knees and discovered she was
indeed naked as a jaybird.
Head spinning, fighting nausea, she staggered to her feet.
I’ve been drugged
, she thought.
That’s the only explanation.
Drugged and kidnapped.
Mari spotted a barred door, and she grabbed for it as her feet began to slip out from under her.
With a yelp Mari jumped away from the electric shock that rode up her arm.
Heart-pounding terror threatened to overwhelm her. Mari felt as wide awake as she’d ever been in her life. She wished to God she wasn’t.
Jesus fucking Christ!
Where the hell am I?
Mari stared in horror at row upon row of cages. Some held one occupant, and some, like hers, had two.
All were women, all were naked, and all were unconscious.
Not all the women looked entirely human.
At least, they didn’t all look like the kind of human beings she was accustomed to seeing.
Mari choked back a scream when she caught sight of two large figures standing at the far end of her row of cages.
They wore what appeared to be some kind of jumpsuit, and both studied what Mari could swear was a hand held computer device.
It almost looked like a Blackberry.
It occurred to her that with everyone else unconscious, attracting attention to herself might not be the smartest thing to do.
Then she remembered that she’d let out a yell when she’d touched the bars, so she was willing to bet good money they already knew she was awake.
One of them lifted its head from the device.
It stared right at her.
It was a male. He met her eyes.
Even from a distance Mari could see his were yellow, cold, and very feline.
This person assessed her with a detachment that chilled her to the bone.
Like some of the women lying in the cages he did not exactly appear human.
He was at least seven feet tall and was built like a running back with a muscular chest and long, lean, arms and legs.
His bronze complexion reminded Mari of a Native American, especially when she noticed the long mane of blue-black hair that hung to the middle of his back.
Mari’s eyes fell on his hands.
The person, or whatever he was, had fingers. Mari counted five claw-like fingers on each hand. Mari shivered at the sight.
Then she realized he wore sheaths or gloves of some sort that he used to interact with what looked like a computer screen.
Mari heard him utter something in a guttural voice to his companion, right before he strode her way on his long, powerful legs. His strides ate up the distance between them.
Unconsciously, Mari backed away from the door of her cage.
In her current state, naked and vulnerable, if this thing wanted to rip her limb from limb, gut her, and eat her alive, he could.
stopped in front of her and stared into her face.
Legs shaking, Mari ordered herself to meet his eyes.
She watched his nostrils flare, as if he could smell her fear.
How could he not?
She could smell it herself.
Being naked made it worse.
But, what was she supposed to do?
Attempt to cover herself with her hands?
That would be an exercise in futility.
His eyes roamed over her perusing her from head to toe.
He grunted something.
Even though the language sounded alien to her it was impossible to miss the dismissive tone in his gravelly voice.
He stood in front of her with his arms crossed and his eyes challenging. He was obviously waiting for her to cower and cringe.
Mari didn’t know where she was or what the hell was going on, but she remembered something she’d once read:
the antidote to fear is courage.
She realized she had no choice but to stare right back, step forward, cross her arms mocking his posture, and say loud enough for his companion to hear, “
Fuck you, asshole
The fucker laughed.
His laugh sounded human. Mari recognized it instantly.
She didn’t know if he laughed at her words or at her chutzpah, but the fucker laughed.
“That is good,” he said in heavily accented English. The words sounded slow on his tongue.
“You have courage, female.”
Mari watched him shift his weight.
He seemed impatient.
“You should not be awake,” he stated in his very thick accent.
The man swept a sheathed hand toward all the other women lying on the floor of their cages.
“You should not be awake,” he repeated.
Mari ignored his statement. Instead she pointed at his uniform.
“I want my clothes.”
The man grimaced.
“You speak my language.
You understand what I’m saying.
I want my clothes.”
One thing at a time.
“You have no need.
You are a beast.
He enunciated clearly for her sake.
“An animal has no need of clothing.”
“If I’m an animal, then why do you bother to speak with me?
I want my clothes.”
He laughed again.
“You are like a trained pet.
Pets have no need of garments. Our buyers must be able to see the merchandise with imperfections and all.”
Mari’s heartbeat sped up.
She watched him tilt his head, as if listening for something, giving her the impression he could actually hear it.
She swallowed, hard.
He knows you are afraid.
Be brave anyway.
Her voice quivered.
“I am not a piece of meat.”
“To some you are,” he replied.
“We do not eat human flesh, but there are some who consider your species to be, what is the word…a delicacy?”
Mari felt bile rise in her throat. She knew she must have paled because he called down to his companion.
You will not throw up in front of him.
“You will go to sleep now, like the rest of this cargo.”
Mari watched the other man approach.
He held something in his hand.
“No.” She shook her head.
I don’t want to sleep.”
“It is…easier this way.”
“Easier for whom?”
“For you, of course.”
Don’t make me sleep.
I’ll sit here and keep quiet.
Don’t make me sleep.”
Terror threatened to overwhelm her once again.
What if they put her to sleep and she never woke?
What if she went straight to a slaughter house?
“If you do not sleep, then you must be fed and watered and taken to relieve yourself.
We do not have the time to attend to your needs.”
“Show some compassion,” Mari urged.
“If I’m going to die, I want to know it.”
Both men stared at her.
They spoke to each other in their own language.
Mari tried hard to pick out individual words.
As a trained linguist she spoke French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, and Japanese in addition to her native English.
If she could discern a pattern, she thought, she could begin to understand.
“The females of your race are cowards,” the other man scoffed.
“You are no different.”
Mari forced herself to look at him.
His eyes were even colder than the first man’s.
“Until you stand in my place, you have no right to call me a coward.”
The first man gave what passed for a snort of amusement.
“Leave her awake,” he said in English.
“She will make the time pass quickly.”
The second man spoke a few words in his own language. From the expression in the first man’s eyes she guessed he did not like what he heard. His reply sounded brusque.
He turned back to Mari.
“We do not have sexual intercourse with beasts,” he said.
“If you require anything, I assume you will make noise.”
He turned and strode back the way he had come.
“I have a name,” Mari called out after him.
The man stopped in his tracks.
He turned on his heel and faced her once again through the bars.
“Only sentient beings have names,” he scoffed.
“No human has ever earned a name.”
“Mari,” she ignored his insult.
“My name is Mari Damon.
What is your name?”
The man stared at her, unblinking for a moment, then he spat out a jumble of words.