Chapter Twenty


The corners of Rae’s mouth turned up with a smile when Caprice showed up with bags from various restaurants and a few bakery boxes from Paris Baguette, which was one of her favorites. Rae would miss a few things about Earth, but she realized it mostly revolved around food. Nin told her that she wouldn’t be missing much because Erion had its own delicacies. She’d talked to him last night while curled into his arms after a few more pair bonded orgasms.

“Are there alien food carts?” Rae’s eyes had grown wide with excitement.

Nin shook his head. “Not exactly, but on Erion, food is the center of social gatherings. We have a large communal dining hall where everyone takes their meals.”

“Oh, well, I definitely plan on attending with you.”

Rae couldn’t imagine going to a dining hall to eat every meal. She’d grown up with a fully stocked refrigerator and a well-stocked pantry. She made every meal from scratch, but she would have to adjust to Erion’s standards of living.

The stack of bakery boxes teetered dangerously, threatening to topple over the edge of the bags and fall to the floor. Rae reached forward to grab the pile of boxes. “Let me help you with that before you drop it.”

Caprice rolled her eyes. “I got this, I got this.”

Rae laughed. “Famous last words.”

Xavi’s hands snaked out from around Rae, and he quickly grabbed the top box before it toppled over.

Caprice winked. “Thanks, handsome.”

Xavi smiled. “Don’t mention it.”

Her sister wasn’t exactly what you would call graceful—she was like a small, beautiful elephant trying to dance across a tightrope.

“Do you want me to help you finish packing?” Caprice looked at Rae with sympathy.

“No, but thank you.” She knew Caprice was probably afraid that Rae would get all emotional. “I’ll be fine. I’m almost finished. Nin said to bring anything sentimental and clothes.”

Nin nudged Caprice’s arm. “You can help me carry things out to the ship.”

“I want to help too.” Ferrix grabbed the bags from Caprice.

“I think I’ve got it covered,” Xavi muttered before focusing on Caprice again. His face was so bright it could light a fire, and his eyes shone like two dark comets under his brows. Caprice smiled back as she followed him through the kitchen to the backyard.

Nin trailed behind them. “I really appreciate you helping. This will take a while, and we want to be ready to leave as soon as we return from our excursion into the city for these Philly Tacos that F.U.C.K.D.E.E.P says we must try at least once.”

“And, of course, mates for Xavi and I.” Ferrix’s voice lacked enthusiasm at the prospect of taking anyone back to Erion other than Kat.

Kat looked even less pleased when Ferrix mentioned his intentions of picking up random women for both of them. She didn’t say anything as she grabbed the large suitcase Rae had packed. Rae slung her laptop bag over her shoulder and followed everyone as they marched out to the cloaked ship in the backyard.

When they reached the spaceship, Nin tapped the digital display attached to the band around his wrist. “F.U.C.K.D.E.E.P uncloak the ship and open the hatch.”

The ship’s side door slid open, revealing the interior of the spacious vessel. Rae’s heart started to pound with excitement. She was going to leave Earth, and there was no turning back. Nin invited everyone inside. They all piled into the spaceship, which appeared larger on the inside than on the outside.

Caprice’s eyes lit up. “Wow, is this like a Tardis?”

“Tardis?” Xavi responded with a quizzical brow raised.

Caprice shrugged. “It’s a mythical ship that travels through time on a television show called Doctor Who.”

Xavi shook his head. “I do not know this Doctor Who you speak of.”

Caprice laughed.

Rae squished against Nin as they moved further into the ship because she didn’t want to accidentally touch the wrong thing. He pressed a few buttons into a dashboard with tons of lights and controls. “What are you doing?”

“I’m programming coordinates into the ship. When we get back, we can leave immediately.” Nin pulled his shirt over his head before he started descending a set of stairs. Rae’s eyes widened, and she looked around to see if anyone was watching them, but they were occupied with one another.

Caprice and Xavi were storing the food in a high-tech kitchen. Ferrix and Kat were speaking quietly, oblivious to everyone else. Kat had left Rae’s suitcase near the entrance of the ship. With a deep breath, Rae grabbed it and lugged it down the stairs to follow her sexy, shirtless alien mate.

Nin opened the door to their bedroom, holding it wide for her to enter. “This is where we’ll be staying.”

He followed her into the bedroom, and Rae set her bag on the bed. She had never seen a bedroom on the spaceship before and was pleasantly surprised. It had an extremely tall ceiling with a shiny white domed roof that showed the sky. The walls were gold, and they glowed with a mysterious light. Large, soft pillows were also decorated with gold designs shaped like hexagons. A soft black carpet cushioned their feet. In the very center of the room was a large black oval-shaped bed. It was also covered in gold cushions, and Rae wondered if it would feel as heavenly as it looked.

Nin pressed a button on the wall. “We can store our things here.” He grabbed the suitcase off the bed and placed it inside the stowaway.

“Yeah, I guess we will be spending a lot of time here while we’re flying and sleeping.”

Nin’s gaze drifted to her breasts. “I’m sure we’ll be doing more than sleeping.”

“I have something for you.” Caprice appeared in the doorway.

“What is it?” Rae turned around to face her sister.

Caprice held up two flower necklaces. One was white with a brightly colored blossom and an orange center, and the other was the opposite with a yellow-orange flower with white petals. “The white one is for you, and the orange one is for me.”

Rae lifted the necklace to admire it. “Wow, they’re beautiful.”

“I know how much you love nature and flowers. And I didn’t know what Erion would be like. So I wanted to give you something that would remind you of home.”

Rae smiled. “They’re gorgeous. I love it, and thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

Rae exhaled, her eyes growing misty. “I’m going to miss you, Caprice.”

“I know.”

“What are those?” Nin peered over the side of the bed.

Caprice smiled. “It’s a flower. It symbolizes friendship and signifies that we will always be there for each other.”

Rae nodded. “It’s perfect!”

The sisterly moment ended with yelling from the other side of the ship where they’d left Ferrix, Xavi, and Kat. Nin glanced at Rae, and she heard him in her mind commanding her to stay. Then Nin took off, running toward the front of the ship. Rae didn’t listen to him when she heard a familiar female voice screaming shrilly.

“Shit, it’s Ruth.” Rae tossed her flower necklace onto the bed.

“Ruth? Oh, no. The crazy lady from your HOA.”

Rae ran after Nin, catching up with him as he reached the last set of stairs before the ship’s entrance. Nin motioned for her to stay and pressed his hand on a console near the door. It slid open. Ferrix and Xavi stood with their hands outstretched in the universal sign of we mean you no harm. Ferrix angled his body in front of Kat protectively. Ruth held a blaster, pointing it at Ferrix with her finger on the trigger. Blue energy blades extended from his fingers like an alien version of Wolverine. A vein on the left side of Ruth’s neck was pulsing. Rae had no idea how she’d managed to get a hold of the blaster aimed at Ferrix and her best friend, but it was shaking in her hands, and energy flowed from it.

Rae glanced at Nin, communicating through the pair bond. Impressions of senses, emotions, images, and words rippled between them. Nin nodded. Rae took it as a sign that she could try to get Ruth to hand over the weapon. Rae stepped forward with her hands up. Ruth’s eyes bulged when she noticed Rae, and she pointed the blaster at her instead.

“Don’t come any closer.” Ruth was shaking so badly that Rae felt shocked that she could keep the blaster aimed at anyone.

Rae kept her voice steady. “Ruth, it’s me, and I’m not going to hurt you.”

Ruth jerked her head around, and her pupils dilated. “Oh my God, what did he do to you?”

“What? I’m fine. Why would you think he did something to me? He didn’t do anything.”

Ruth’s eyes darted between Nin and Rae. “Oh’re not the real you. Oh, my God. You’re not you! You’re with them, and you’re a fucking alien!”

“Calm down now, Ruth.” Nin’s voice was a stillness that coexisted with motion as he slowly stepped forward. “No one has done anything to Rae. It’s really her.”

Ruth panicked, shrieking even louder. “No, she’s not! She’s an alien! You’re one of them. You’re all aliens!”

“I’m not an alien,” Rae snapped. “I swear to God, Ruth. I’m not an alien. Look at me!”

Kat rolled her eyes. She was standing behind Ferrix with her arms crossed. “Why would Rae be an alien? Just because her shit-for-brains ex-husband treated her like she was from another planet doesn’t make it true. You’re fucking insane, Ruth!”

“Shut up, you bitch!” Ruth’s eyes grew even larger as she stared at Kat.

Caprice came up behind Rae. “What’s going on?”

Ruth jumped at the sound of Caprice’s voice, and the blaster fired. The world became a blur, and adrenaline pumped through her veins. Rae could hear her own heartbeat pounding in her ears. Her breath seemed to be coming in and out in slow motion. Her vision narrowed until she could see the figure in front of her. Ruth raised the gun. Rae tried to stop her but wasn’t fast enough. Nin jumped in front of Rae to take the blast instead. He hit the floor hard, growling in pain as electricity coursed through his body.

“Nin!” Rae dropped to her knees next to him. She reached for him, but Ruth yelled at her to stay back.

“Don’t touch him!” Ruth warned. “I’ll kill him if you make one wrong move.”

Rae’s tears flowed as she watched Nin writhe on the floor. She wanted to help him, but she froze in place. His eyes were closed, but the muscles in his neck strained, and his breathing was heavy. She knew she should help him, but Rae was too scared to move because she didn’t want Ruth to blast him again.

But the sound from Ferrix was one that Rae had never heard before, and it reminded her of a lion, but louder. “You shot my brother!”

Rae slowly rose to her feet, moving in a fluid motion to stand in front of Nin. Her heart was pounding in her chest, and her hands were trembling, but she refused to show fear.

“Stay back, Rae!” Nin reached for her, but she slipped through his fingers.

Rae clenched her jaw. “Not a fucking chance.”

Ruth took a step back and pressed the trigger again, but nothing happened. Ferrix stepped forward and grabbed the blaster out of her hand. Ruth was still screaming at the top of her lungs and started beating her fists on Ferrix’s chest. He grabbed her arms and pulled her against him, his arms wrapping around her. Ruth struggled against him, but Ferrix lifted her off the ground as though she weighed nothing.

“Put me down, you alien piece of shit!” Ruth screeched.

Ferrix held her tight. “I would not recommend that.”

Kat shook her head. “She’s fucking nuts. I knew she was a bitch, but you never told me your HOA lady was such a fucking fruitcake.”

“No! Get off of me!” Ruth yelped. “Help! Help! Alien! I’m being abducted!”

“Believe me, lady. You’re the last person I want on this ship,” Ferrix grunted.

“Put me down.” Ruth writhed in Ferrix’s arms. “Put me down, asshole!”

He carried her, kicking and screaming out of the hatch.

“As you wish.” Ferrix tossed Ruth on her ass rather unceremoniously. She splayed across the grass, still yelling and screaming.

Rae ran to Nin, and she dropped to her knees beside him. She put her hand against his neck, and she felt for a pulse. Rae wondered if that was even the right thing to do since her knowledge about alien anatomy was limited. She glanced up at Kat, her eyes wide with fear.

Kat’s hands flew to her mouth. “Is he dead?”

“No, but he’s not breathing very well.”

Caprice knelt next to Rae, Nin, and Kat. “Is he going to be okay?”

“I don’t know, Caprice.”

Her voice cracked. “We have to do something to save Nin.”

Rae bit her lip, and tears welled up in her eyes. “I can’t. He needs his symbionts to heal him, but he’s not bleeding internally.”

Kat’s lips parted. “How do you know all this?”

“I don’t know, but I do. I think it’s our pair bond.” Rae placed her head near his chest. “Wait. I think he stopped breathing.”

Rae put her hands on either side of his head and pressed her lips to his. She exhaled and breathed into his mouth to force air into his lungs. Nin choked and coughed, and then he pushed her away.

“No.” Nin started coughing.

Rae looked on in horror as he spat up blood onto the floor. Nin tried to roll onto his side, but his body shook with another coughing fit. Rae cried out in relief when Nin finally managed to take a deep breath. He shook his head and tried to reassure Rae with a smile. “I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure?”

Nin grimaced. “I’m tougher than I look.”

Rae shook her head. “You’re sure you’re not hurt?”

“Positive.” Nin grabbed her other hand and placed it against his cheek. He kissed each of her hands, and calmness washed over her. “I will be fine. I healed myself with symbionts.”

Kat raised an eyebrow. “How did Rae know?”

“This was the first time it has happened since we were pair bonded. Usually, it’s my conscious thoughts that Rae can scan, but she was able to tap into my unconscious mind when we were in danger,” Nin explained.

Ruth was still screaming and kicking at Ferrix in the grass outside the ship. She’d scrambled to her feet, her eyes wild and hair flying, and screamed at the top of her lungs, loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear. Nin struggled to rise from the floor. His face was pale and sweaty, and his breathing ragged, but Rae managed to help him to his feet.

Kat cracked her knuckles. “We have to make her shut up.”

“I would.” Nin coughed again. “But I’m afraid we don’t hit women where I come from, not even the truly mindless ones.”

Rae was startled by sirens and flashing red and blue lights. One of the neighbors must have called the police because Ruth was screaming bloody murder. The uncloaked spaceship in the backyard certainly didn’t help matters.

“The cops are coming,” Rae whispered. “Ferrix, you’d better get in and lock the door.”

“Goddamn it!” Kat’s voice was tight, like a wire about to snap. “Stay if you want, but I’m out of here. I’m not going to jail, that’s for fucking sure!”

Ferrix ran inside the ship and wrapped his arms around Kat like he didn’t want to let her go but was hugging her goodbye at the same time. His grip was tight and desperate, but Kat struggled in his arms, trying to break free.

“You have to go. You need to get out of here!” Rae screamed, but Caprice stood frozen in fear. Then her gaze landed on Kat, who was still locked in Ferrix’s arms. “You both have to leave before it’s too late! There’s a gate in the back fence—if you hurry, you might make it.”

Rae’s heart was pounding as another police car came to a screeching halt in front of her house. She thought they would be arrested for assaulting Ruth, even though it was the other way around. She didn’t want to see her sister or friend in trouble for something that wasn’t their fault. She also couldn’t let them capture her mate. If the police caught him, he would be taken to some secret government facility and used for scientific research. Rae’s mouth dropped in horror as the police ran up the driveway toward the ship.

She turned toward Nin, pleading with her eyes. Before Rae could communicate with him through the pair bond, Xavi leaned backward. His hindquarters nudged a button on the dash where Rae had seen Nin punch in coordinates earlier. The ship thrummed and glowed with a soft white-blue light. Its hatch door began to slide shut, leaving Ruth screaming next to the pool. The police drew guns and ran into the backyard as the hatch slammed shut. The light pulsed in time with the thrumming, and the thrum seemed to get faster and faster, the light brighter and brighter until it nearly blinded her, and Rae shielded her eyes from the light.

She could hear Ruth screaming, but she couldn’t see her. The light was too bright, and it was getting harder and harder to breathe. She could feel her heart racing, and Rae thought she would pass out. Rae tried to reach for Nin. Her arm was dragged away by the force of the light and the sudden motion of the ship. The spaceship moved up, hovering a few feet above the ground, then it rocketed into the sky and vanished from sight in a blink. Rae could feel herself being pulled away, and then she was gone.

Nin grabbed Rae, closing his arms around her. “You’re safe now.” He pulled Rae into his arms, wrapping them around her. Nin cupped her face in his hands and kissed her. His kiss was fierce, demanding, and all-consuming as his tongue plunged into her. His body heat and the heat of his kiss, the heat of the pair bond, surrounded her, shattering her reality. She pressed against his hard, muscular body and knew that this was coming home. This was forever, and he was her mate. Nin was the other half of her soul, and she would never be whole without him. His love consumed her, and she surrendered to it, knowing that this was where she belonged. In his arms, she was safe, loved, and cherished.

“You are mine now as much as I am yours.” Nin heard her through their bond but answered her with words as he broke their kiss.

Rae wanted to tell him that she’d been his from the first moment she laid eyes on him and never belonged to anyone else, but she was shaking, too stunned by the events to speak. She finally managed to answer with her mind.

“Yes,” she said telepathically and rested her head on his chest. “We are forever.”

As their hearts beat in unison, Rae knew they were truly one. She felt his love for her through their bond, filling her with warmth. She nuzzled closer to him, relishing the feeling of finally being home.


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