Bounty hunter Rufus is on the trail of Jobi Wade, one of the most dangerous – and cunning – men in the galaxy. But when Rufus finds Jobi in the wreckage of an unmanned space ship, his reaction isn’t quite the one he’d expected…
Turning a corner, I came across a sight that stopped me in my tracks. A man, who appeared to be somewhere in his late twenties, had been chained to the corridor wall, hands above his head. He was shirtless, and his pants had been reduced to little more than filthy rags. Dirt and sweat streaked his bare chest, and his head lolled forward, eyes closed. He was so still I assumed he was unconscious, or worse.
Moving close to him, I pressed a tentative finger to his neck, searching for a pulse. Instantly, his eyelids shot open. Only one man I knew of had eyes of that distinctive violet hue, coupled with dark hair that fell in tangled corkscrews to his shoulders. Jobi Wade.
“Ssh… Don’t try to move,” I cautioned him, as he struggled in his bonds. I had a water bottle at my hip. I unscrewed it and pressed it to his lips, watching as he drank thirstily. His mouth was puffy and bruised, as though he had taken a backhander there. Despite myself, I couldn’t help but be struck by his fierce beauty. The scent of his sweat mingled with something more earthy, unmistakably male and deeply arousing. There was a scar running across the left side of his chest, close to his heart. I longed to run my tongue along it while he told me the story of how he had come by such a wound. Abel, if he werehere, would have seen in the tender way I stroked the hair out of Jobi’s eyes the seeds of something which could easily spiral out of control. I only saw a man in need of my help.
“Hey, you’re safe now,” I told him. “I’m Rufus. Can you tell me what happened?”
“It—” His voice cracked. He spat out dust and phlegm, tried again. “It happened so quickly. We didn’t even pick the ship up on the monitors before it was on top of us. They started firing before we had time to react. There were only a handful of them, but…” He glanced round, as if properly registering his surroundings for the first time. “Have you seen them? Have you seen anyone?”
I shook my head. His full lower lip was trembling as he told his tale, and I fought the urge to take it between my teeth and nibble gently. Why was I reacting in this way to a man I’d sworn to hunt down and help bring to trial? Good men and women were dead because of the things Jobi Wade had done, and here I was, itching to soothe away his hurt. Maybe it was the strange circumstances in which I’d found him, but I doubted it. Wherever we’d met, I knew I would still be so powerfully attracted to him.
Trickster is available from NineStar Press.