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Authors: Dawn Ryder

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Hawk's Prey

BOOK: Hawk's Prey
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An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

Hawk’s Prey

 

ISBN # 1-4199-0719-0

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Hawk’s Prey Copyright© 2006 Dawn Ryder

Edited by Sue-Ellen Gower.

Cover art by Syneca.

 

Electronic book Publication: August 2006

 

 

This book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the authors’ imagination and used fictitiously.

 

Warning:

 

The following material contains graphic sexual content meant for mature readers.
This story
has been rated E–roti
c by a minimum of three independent reviewers.

 

Ellora’s Cave Publishing offers three levels of Romantica™ reading entertainment: S (S-ensuous), E (E-rotic), and X (X-treme).

 

S-
e
nsuous
love scenes are explicit and leave nothing to the imagination.

 

E-
rotic
love scenes are explicit, leave nothing to the imagination, and are high in volume per the overall word count. In addition, some E-rated titles might contain fantasy material that some readers find objectionable, such as bondage, submission, same sex encounters, forced seductions, and so forth. E-rated
titles are the most graphic titles we carry; it is common, for instance, for an author to use words such as “fucking”, “cock”, “pussy”, and such within their work of literature.

 

X-
treme
titles differ from E-rated titles only in plot premise and storyline
execution. Unlike E-rated titles, stories designated with the letter X tend to contain controversial subject matter not for the faint of heart.

Hawk’s Prey

Dawn Ryder

 

Chapter One

 

“Your life would be filled with more comfort if you’d spread. You aren’t any better than the rest of the females who earn their way with their bodies. Stop being childish and spread your thighs. Life will be easier when you do.”

“No.” Tova uttered her response in a near whisper. She didn’t want to share herself with anyone, not that Rishan would understand her. Her half-sibling meant well, most likely believed he was guiding her with words of insight. But all she heard was him urging her to earn her food by spreading her thighs. She would not do it, even to gain enough to fill her belly. She would survive on her meager rations and keep that one thing, that single thing that none might force her to surrender.

Her chastity.

No male had spread her and Tova wasn’t going to open her thighs to better her life. Besides, she didn’t believe that more food would make her happy. There were things that could not be bought with credits. She sighed as Rishan grunted and shook his head at her.

“You are far too stubborn, Tova. Clamping your thighs closed gains you nothing. You need to begin thinking clearly. Every action should be determined by the gain it will net you.”

“No.” Tova lifted her gaze to her half-sibling’s and stared at the displeasure on his face. Her body was her only real possession. She wasn’t going to share it with anyone until she wanted to. Her half-sibling glared at her harshly. Rishan would have liked to think that his temper frightened her but it was quite the opposite. His display of anger only inspired her to resist bending to his dictates even more. Tova held her chin steady as Rishan growled at her defiance, the fingers on his right hand curled into a fist as his hand lifted to her face, but he didn’t strike her.

Tova could see he longed to.

Her gaze wandered to the twin purple bands that encircled Rishan’s wrists. Three inches wide, the bands were the mark of guilt. They had been placed there by Hunters when they demolished her home and dragged her father and Rishan here to a penal sphere. Oh Rishan was guilty, Tova knew it, but in those moments of fear and disorientation she had reached for the only family she had, cried out to be taken away with them rather than be abandoned as an orphan of convicts. Life in an outer sphere was not kind to any kin of a convict. The occupants of her sphere would have shunned her. Unwilling to believe that she was completely ignorant of the crimes the males in her family committed. Lifelong friends would have turned their backs on her, even refused to talk to her. She would have become like a ghost still trapped in flesh. Remembered but untouchable by everyone. Now Tova wasn’t sure if that might have been a kinder fate.

She dropped her chin to look at her own wrists. She wore a pair of bracelets too but hers were cobalt blue. A mark of her imprisonment among the guilty but the color announced that she was innocent. A non-convict. At least that was how the Hunters had explained it to her as the bracelets were clasped onto her wrists. They transmitted her location and her vital signs. The black-uniformed Hunters who patrolled the penal sphere could use the metal bands to restrain her just by touching them together. Their fingerprints were the keys to the bands—all they had to do was touch the smooth metal and they might lock her hands together with them.

Tova sighed as Rishan lost interest in her and turned back to his friends. She returned to her task of cleaning as she heard her sibling grumble about her lack of intelligence. She bit into her lip to keep her response to herself. Harsh words would gain her nothing but another night in bed with an empty belly. Rishan always denied her her ration of nightly food in retaliation for public displays of her temper. Especially when his friends were present. He might eat her dawn meal as well if she informed him that she would rather starve than spread her thighs for his companion. Rishan would enjoy granting her choice.

Oh but she would! Starvation wasn’t too high a price to pay and maybe she was a foolish non-convict. All around her were females in the same position—they had ended up imprisoned along with the guilty. It was by their own choice, but Tova still could not bring herself to change her current life pattern. She might request to be returned to a free sphere and she didn’t doubt that she would be granted permission to resettle, but it was a one-way journey. She looked out the small window that let light into her assigned dwelling. The path was filled with men all intent on their own duties. No one was allowed to be idle. A penal sphere was better than a work colony. You kept your place by being productive. The black-uniformed Hunters stood out plainly because the only color allowed to convicts was purple. A few non-convicts like herself moved past in their butternut robes. Mixed in with them were the Hunters, who stood out like huge stalking predators, their black body armor making them large, imposing pillars of enforcement. They did not mingle with the convicts, they patrolled with their weapons and superior size. There was nothing they did not see. Each convict’s purple bands also transmitted their words and motions when any Hunter demanded an inspection. As convicts, privacy was a right lost due to their own unlawfulness. That was the true reason Rishan stayed his impulse to strike her. His convict bands would have held the record of his violence, and if a Hunter chose him to be inspected, that record would be viewed. Rishan would be bound for the work colonies before sunrise. The Hunters who imprisoned them performed their duty quickly and efficiently.

Tova had learned to get out of their sight as quickly as possible. Rishan wasn’t the only one who believed her body should be for hire. A few of the Hunters had tried to bribe her with better food rations if she would spread for them. She sighed as she scrubbed a pot. There was little point in being unhappy about such offers. She was fully grown now, twenty-four seasons. It was to be expected that men would view her body as spreadable. Truthfully, there were females who dreaded never being asked to part their thighs because they feared they were unattractive, but Tova clung to the one thing that was hers alone to grant. Many called her fearful and it was a part truth. By opening her thighs she surrendered the only thing that was under her complete control. Fearful? Aye, she was, but not because she could not stomach a male’s touch.

That was the darker whisper making its way behind her back. The gossips were beginning to say she detested a man’s touch and longed for a female to join her in intimacy. There were those who preferred such arrangements but Tova didn’t believe she was one of them. A little grin worked her lips up into a smile. In truth, maybe she clung to her chastity because it was so amusing to discover what the gossips might say next. After all, there was little enough to talk about in the penal sphere.

Glancing back towards Rishan, Tova let her eyes linger on the male attempting to spread her tonight. Golan had offered a rather large amount for her favor. Tova considered his body, slipping her gaze over his shoulders and chest. He was a fair-looking male and had a sense of humor. He would not be a poor choice to take as her lover. Tova moved her eyes to the purple bands on his wrists, and all interest in Golan died as she considered those bands. Golan wasn’t the right male for her. Maybe it was foolish of her but Tova longed for a male who was just an honest man. He did not need to be from any great family name or come with large sums of credits. What she craved was a non-convict who might offer her the same thing she could give in return. Just her heart and the fact that she was honest. They might lie down to sleep at night with trust between them. Someday, that honesty might pave the road to love.

Tova looked at Golan again. How could she trust him? All her life she had been raised to respect the laws, well, at least by her mother. As a female child, she spent more time with her mother but it was still a shock to discover that her father held such different views on lawbreaking. She had been tempted by greed too and chosen to remain honest. Knowing Golan had failed that test of life left her cold. He might be the most handsome male to ever live and she still was not interested in spreading for him.

The reason was simple. He was weak. The imperfection lived in his spirit. The pleasure she might gain in his embrace wasn’t enough for her to accept his weakness.

That left her alone. Tova stared out the window and sighed. Maybe tomorrow would be brighter. She’d go to sleep and hold her hope tightly. That way, desolation wouldn’t sneak into her dreams to make her miserable.

* * * * *

“Fay will never submit to you.”

Hawk lifted his drinking mug towards his friend as he shook his head in denial. “Since she has yet to kneel in front of you, it is still possible she might choose me.”

Janus grumbled under his breath as both Hunters cast their gaze over to where the females were sitting. Among the gathering of Hunters, females were simple to spot, their light-colored robes rather obvious opposed to the amount of black-clad uniformed Hunters. Fay cast a quick look their way but her eyelashes fluttered as she discovered them looking at her. She quickly turned her head back towards her female companions.

Janus growled. Hawk took another drink as he recognized the sound coming from his friend. Janus was fighting a powerful attraction to the blue-eyed Fay. Right then, his eyes were roaming over her pale hair as he turned his drinking mug in his hand, gripping the container tighter as he stared at the back of her head. The need to mate was a powerful urge. Even a Hunter could not suppress it completely. Fay snuck another look their way but it wasn’t aimed at him. Hawk finished off his drink and considered getting another.

No, Fay would never kneel in front of him to offer her body with submission. Her slim fingers would never reach for his cock, nor would it be his body she spread her thighs wide for. Even as she jerked her eyes away from them, it was clear the female was fighting her own urge to mate.

But she wanted Janus. Her pale cheeks were stained with a blush and her eyes lingered on Janus’ chest before she turned her back on him again. It was almost amusing the way she taunted his friend by showing him her back. Fay might not know it but she was issuing a challenge to Janus. She was daring him to find a way to force her to face him.

Hawk chuckled as he slapped Janus on the back. His friend jumped and snarled at him as he broke off staring at Fay. “Good luck, you’ll need it to get her to cross the distance to you.”

Janus hissed softly in frustration as his eyes traced the dark green line running across the tile floor. Chaste females were allowed to mingle on the south side of the hall. It was forbidden for unmated Hunters to invade their territory. A Hunter might stand on that green line and attempt to get the female of his choice to meet him there for conversation but the female held the power to just leave a male standing in the center of the room. For a Hunter, it was a risk to his pride to approach that border.

Janus was snarling against the surge of heat filling his cock because Fay was pushing her chair back now that she knew he was watching her. Resistance glittered in her pale eyes as she cast quick looks back at Janus to assure herself he was conducting himself with honor. “We should apply for outer sphere patrol.”

Hawk cussed now.

Janus raised an eyebrow at his displeasure as he tossed the remainder of his drink into his mouth. “It might be a good solution for both of us. A captured Trophy doesn’t have the right to hide from her Master.”

That was very true but Hawk wasn’t interested. Hunters could apply for outer sphere duty and if any female invaded Hunter territory on his watch, it was his right to capture her and train her as a submissive mate. That practice didn’t interest him. A lawbreaker held no attraction for him. Most of the Hunters in the room would have laughed at him. Trophies were coveted among most of them, over half the females on the opposite side of the meeting hall wore black bands on their wrists. They were captive submissives, females who had broken the law and been chosen as mates. A few of them might have come from a penal sphere but the majority were captured during outer sphere duty.

Hunters waited long months for a chance to serve on the outer limits. As soon as they captured a female, their commanders reassigned them so that the next Hunter might step up and await his chance to capture a Trophy. His cock twitched at the idea of being allowed to run his choice of female to ground. He studied Fay and the green line separating them. His cock gave another twitch as he considered the surge of conquest he might gain from a willing submission. Watching a female choose him in front of her community would surpass any triumph capturing a Trophy female might. Females were much smaller than Hunters, and that fact made capturing a Trophy significantly less grand. The outcome was not in question, especially when it was a trained Hunter on patrol.

The outer spheres were completely peaceful now. Lawbreakers were removed the moment guilt was proven and they were never allowed to return to spawn their tainted ideas among the law-abiding population. Convicts were not allowed to reproduce, the only exception were females who were claimed by Hunters from the work sphere and penal colonies. But the children remained in the custody of the father if the female demanded to be returned to her sphere. It was a strict life but one that ensured peace. The history records were solid proof that their current life was better. The innocent were not preyed on by members of the population who did not have discipline.

Hawk cast a last look at Fay—his cock burned but not for her. His blood heated merely for the idea of what she was. A pure female who would give him her submission and her well-disciplined respect. A grin sat on his lips as he left the gathering to return to his post. The odds were against him ever enticing a non-convict female into the center of the meeting hall but the challenge of that only fueled his determination to make certain he was in attendance at the next weekly function. He had not earned his rank by quitting. A grin turned his lips up as he moved. Janus shouldn’t give up either, Fay was still attending too. The female knew Janus was sure to show up and she came. A chuckle shook his chest. Another reason to show up next week—watching Janus prowl was entertaining.

BOOK: Hawk's Prey
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