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Authors: Ann Raina

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Lovers in the Woods

BOOK: Lovers in the Woods
7.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

If you thought
falling in love in the woods is romantic, think again.



Rayenne thought
this would be an easy police job—take the suspect to Belson Park
for interrogation and make it fast. However, there is a strange
wood to cross with stranger creatures to encounter before she gets
rid of him. Can she withstand the challenges of both her male
companion and dangerous animals to reach her destination and not
lose herself on the way?


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This book is a
work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either
are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental.


Lovers in the

Copyright ©
Ann Raina


Cover art by
Carmen Waters


All rights
reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or
utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any
electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter
invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the


Published by
eXtasy Books

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Lovers in the


How to reach
your destination without losing yourself on the way.






Ann Raina










consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold


Every man’s
dream is to be able to sink into the arms of a woman without also
falling into her hands.
Jerry Lewis




woke up to sunrays
trying to hack through his closed eyelids. His head felt like a
medium sized bomb, close to exploding. Wearily, he slighty opened
one eye to glimpse at the dark yellow sun and then, with some
effort, at the line of orange trees in front of the window.
After all
I’m still where I
That’s comforting
. However, he did not know exactly where he was,
who had brought him to this room that looked like some cheap hut,
or for how long he had been kept here. Fact was that his right
wrist was handcuffed to the wooden bedframe.
Should I be glad it’s not some
dark hovel and a monster waiting at the entrance? Not by
closed his eyes once more, moaned, and tried to figure out how he
had spent the last hours. There was not even the glimpse of a
memory lurking in the back of his mind. There had been other days
and more nights when he had drowned in Kaniza, but this utter
blankness was new to him. And it was frightening.

He tugged the
chain and, as if waiting for a signal, a black-haired woman entered
the room. She was about twenty-five years old, although her
demeanor told of more experience and self-confidence than her
years. Her tanned face was dominated by two large brown eyes and
framed by thick brows that were not really ladylike, but
complemented her expressive features with high, prominent
cheekbones and dark red lips. She smiled as if she knew more than
she would ever tell.

Sajitar sighed and rolled his eyes. Though she had not worn a
Belthraine Police Division One uniform before, he recognized her.
She had shared some strong drinks with him at the only bar in this
remote village, whose name—if there had been any—he could not
recall. Now she stood with her hands on her hips, looking cocksure
and very attractive. To his chagrin she didn’t look a bit hung
over, which left him wondering if she had fed the bar’s plants with
her drinks. She was tall and he imagined her long legs without
pants easily.
Hadn’t she worn a dress last

He cleared his
dry throat, trying to focus on the main problem.

Where are we? And
he lifted his tied hand. “—am I here? Don’t misunderstand
me. You look great, positively radiant in that uniform, but I hope
we are not here for the game I think we are here. Am I

Her frown quickly vanished and was replaced
by a gentle expression of mockery.

You had one drink too much, and when you
pestered the other guests I brought you up here.”

Her voice was pleasant, her words were

Pestered?” His mind tried a catch-up on
the tidings. “I don’t remember to ever have…okay, never mind. But
what’s the story with these things here? Is there a special reason
why you handcuffed me to the bed?”

Her right eyebrow twitched.

“You had your hands everywhere, Sajitar

The words rebounded like a
shockwave through the lower parts of his body. His catch-up attempt
came to a sudden halt.
Is this a game? Where does it lead?

Oh, and that displeased you? Rayenne,
right?” Sajitar’s lips twisted to a smile when he suddenly realized
that he wasn’t wearing his pullover anymore. His hiking boots stood
like good soldiers in front of the bed, his pants, pullover and
socks were draped across the foot end of the bed and his boxers… He
checked. He was still wearing his underwear. The day started
looking up.

“I had to check you for weapons,” Police
Officer Rayenne said with an all but innocent shimmer in her eyes.
“I like to be thorough.”

Sajitar’s smile couldn’t compete with hers
so he shut it off. Now he knew she was only playing around, as she
obviously had the night before. He had never been shy when it came
to women, so he cursed his lack of memory, sighing.

“Sure. But now that I’m sober—and I assure
you I’ve never been that sober so fast—you could be so nice as to
untie me so I’d be on my way.”

She moved to the foot end and lowered her
head. “Your way and mine will be the same for a while.”

“You bet.”

“Safe bet. My colleague and I are ordered to
take you to headquarters for interrogation.”

His heartbeat sped up and the exchange of
pleasantries was over. Sober was not enough now. He was wide awake
and on alert.

Concerning what?” he asked, more sharply
than he wanted to.

Apparently not insulted, she
didn’t change
her expression.

A trial. Captain Felberi and I are
escorting you because of your knowledge concerning the case against
Sananda Wang, accused of illegal export of substances deriving from
protected Belthraine animals, and the assassination of Environment
Senator Rhyhis Tafni. The trial will take place as soon as all of
the witnesses are gathered.”

Sajitar swallowed, trying to
cope with the news.
The remotest village was not remote enough. If they found
me, who else will?

He sounded breathless when he finally

“So I am a witness. Fine with me. It includes
that I’m not to be treated like a criminal.” He clanked the
handcuff again. “Untie me.”

Not so fast, Mr Haju.” The smile vanished
and left a mask of seriousness, all down to business. “The
investigation not only brought forth your connection to Mrs Wang,
but revealed that you were an accomplice to the

An accomplice?” he echoed. In his mind,
the different possibilities of how to get out of this situation
reverberated, but he came up with nil. The two officers were armed
and he was not. His fighting skills had been honed in street
fights, but would not suffice against shotguns. And he had no
chance as long as Ms Officer kept him handcuffed.

If I got it right, you
also succeeded in getting money from Mrs Wang
.” Mockery was back. She cocked her head. “If that is
possible under the circumstances. I wonder why she didn’t give you
the money voluntarily. Did you disappoint her?”

Sajitar shook his head. He was
sweating, searching his memory for all the deeds and misdeeds in
his recent past. He didn’t come up with anything, since he’d tried
to vanish from the radar of everyone during the last moon phases.
He licked his lips and tried to take a deep breath, but it felt as
if a load of stones weighed on his ribcage.
Why have I been so stupid?

He put on his best innocent look.

“No, Ms Police, you got the wrong guy. I
don’t know this Mrs Wang and I never had anything to do with an
assassination, no matter what you investigated or where.”

“Believe me, we
work thoroughly. There’s no mistake. You’re not just a

He put a hand to his temple. The headache had
reached its climax.

And I’m telling you that you handcuffed
the wrong man. How did you get me that drunk, anyway? Usually, I
remember where I was and what I did.”

Officer Rayenne smiled knowingly. Her voice
turned cheerful and still he could not tell how much of it was real
or just mockery on his expense.

“It’s a pity you don’t know anymore.”

With that unnerving shot, she left Sajitar
behind to brood over lost hours, the context of Rayenne’s happiness
and how to get rid of the handcuffs. He needed to see a man about a
horse and had forgotten to tell her.


Police Captain Ron Felberi made the
impression of a no-nonsense guy in his late forties, ready to leave
Belthraine to find joy and happiness on a planet with more water,
beaches and attractions instead of woodland and one booming city
that was as crowded as it was dangerous. When he walked into the
room, grunting and lifting his wide-cut pants to fit under his
paunch, Sajitar realized he was caught between a rock and a hard
place. While Rayenne would take him to headquarters to earn praise
and promotion, Felberi would do it to get rid of a nasty obligation
and start an overdue vacation.

“Thank you,” Sajitar said politely when
Felberi opened the handcuffs. He eyed the man and came to the
conclusion that it would do no good to try and convince him to let
him run. It would only earn him a grunt and a bullet in the back
with the first wrong step. “I thought, I’d burst any minute.
Where’s the bathroom?”

Felberi grunted again and nodded across his
right shoulder. His oblong face with thin lips and eyes the color
of stone did not even twitch.

Sajitar hastened to relieve himself. When
he got out of the bathroom, washed and smelling of soap, Rayenne
checked his body up and down to end with a curt twitching of her

“Nice as before.”

Felberi stood in the doorway, hands on his
hips, looking bored and angry at the same time.

“Stop undressing him with your eyes, Officer
Whiteclaw. He’s wearing little enough for my taste.”

“Whiteclaw? You’re one of the Whiteclaws?”
Sajitar lowered his voice to imitate the rumble of an advertisement
speaker. “A member of the famous family, known to find traces
everywhere and under any circumstances. Great.” Sajitar whistled
through his teeth, indicating a bow. “I should be honored, I guess,
to have you at my heels.”

“And you stop flattering her,” Felberi warned
with a pointed finger.

Sajitar kept the smile to
himself, got dressed and joined the officers, who packed their
stuff. Felberi indicated with one hard glance that he would suffer
no offences or tolerate misbehavior. Sajitar grimaced.
This will be a hard
and long ride

Where’s your headquarters?” he asked, just
to start a conversation.

Belson Park, of course,” Officer Whiteclaw
answered, and swung the saddlebags across her shoulder. She
appeared light-hearted and in a fine mood. She was smiling as
innocently as a student girl he had once known.

Sajitar’s memory made a virtual jump. Bits
and pieces of yesterday’s entertainment came back to him. The slim
cut of her gown, the view of her deep décolleté, and her inviting
glance. Music had played and she had wrapped her arms around him.
Her perfume, an invitation to do much more than talk.

BOOK: Lovers in the Woods
7.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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