The morning after the public execution of Domis, a vile sex trafficking leader of the East side gang of Tortaria, Violet sat on the edge of her bed, feeling sick with worry.
Spot, her mutated Spinner pet, still hadn’t returned home. He’d left for his daily run through the woods behind the back walls of the Keep two days ago. It was an exciting activity for the huge spider-like alien creature, but he always came home at night. Now, he’d been missing for two days.
After the Spinner attack on Earth, Violet was poisoned by the creatures. It had made her violently sick and close to death. If not for the Torian king, Bor, and his warriors, she would have died.
Ever since the events that took place on the Torian command vessel after the attack, Violet had always had a strong mental connection with Spot. It was like he was a small part of her own mind. She could sense his emotions, feel when he was close, or even give him telepathic commands. Most days, while Spot roamed the wild woods of Toria, she would catch glimpses of what he saw. She knew when he was hunting the small woodland creatures Bor gave him permission to eat. They looked like oversized rats, with pale yellow fur. According to Bor, they were an overpopulated pest on Toria, and Spot and the other Spinners were doing everyone a favor by hunting them.
But the last two days, all Violet got from her link was silence. She could feel that he was still alive, but nothing else. And the more she tried to communicate with Spot, the stronger the mental barrier became.
It almost felt like Spot was blocking her. Like he didn’t want her to pick up on what he saw and felt. But why? If he was in trouble, then she would help him.
As much as Spinners were feared and hated by a lot of Torian’s, Spot had grown up in Violet’s new alien family. And even though he looked like a terrifying nightmare, she knew that Bor and her sisters loved the giant, cuddly creature.
Besides, Spot was harmless. He’d been born into the loving arms of Violet, and raised around people all his life. Also, Violet knew, from her mental bond with him, that he truly had no intention of ever hurting anyone. His only desire in life was to be allowed to live.
Getting to her feet, Violet began pacing her bedroom. She had no proof that Spot was in trouble, but in her gut, she knew something wasn’t right. She had nothing to take to Bor and ask for help. And with the Earth delegation arriving the next day, he and Lilly, Violet’s oldest sister, had far too much on their plates to worry about something that may turn out to be nothing.
She could go to Rose, the second oldest of her three sisters, but again, with what proof? Not only that, but Rose had just gone through hell with Domis and his thugs kidnapping her and trying to sell her off.
Even Tulip, the third oldest of the Orson sisters, had her hands full. As the mate to Commander Korom, the king’s right hand man, they were both expected to attend the meeting with the humans.
Everyone was busy. With the Earth delegation arriving, the clean up of the East side of Tortaria, Lilly’s pregnancy, Freyna’s new born baby… There just didn’t seem to be anyone to go to for help.
She paused by the window and stared out at the slowly changing sky. The sun would rise soon, and in three hours, she would have to go to school.
Violet rolled her eyes. Of all things, she had to go to school. Earth was millions of light years away. Billions of humans died in an attack on her planet, they were living on a whole new world, with a race of aliens, who, if she had to admit, were pretty awesome, and she had to go to school!
There was one other person she could go to for help. One male that she knew, without a single doubt, would drop everything to help her.
Captain Keel, of the Elite Royal Warriors. Younger brother to Rose’s mate, Tark, best friends with the king and Commander Korom, and the sexiest man she’d ever seen. Also, the love of her life. As much as Keel liked to repeat over and over again that they were just good friends, and that absolutely nothing would happen between them until she was of age, she still saw him as the man she wanted to end up mated to.
Keel, for all his handsomeness, bravery, skills, honor and loyalty, was as stubborn as an ass! He claimed that she was too young for him. That a female on Toria was only old enough to mate with when she turned forty. Forty!
Eighteen was pretty young, even by Earth standards to get married, but she was not a child. Not the way Keel thought. And she didn’t have to marry, or mate, with him now. She could wait a few years. What she didn’t want to wait for was to be with him. To kiss him and feel his big, warm hands on her skin. To lose her virginity to a man she truly cared about and loved. One that loved her in return. But how long could she wait?
She knew Keel loved her. She saw it every day in the little things he did for her. The way he always made sure he had first meal with her. How he drove her to the academy on his air-bike and picked her up in the afternoon. How he made time in his busy day to sit with her in the evenings and talk about how her day was. The long hours he spent helping her understand her lessons. The soft touches on her hand, or a brush of his fingers on her lower back. The few times he kissed her cheek, or the way he held her and comforted her when things were hard.
He’d even told his brother that he planned to make her his mate as soon as she was old enough. But still, he held back.
Oh yes, Violet smiled, if there was one thing she’d learned over the last two years, it was that Keel could be stubborn and unmoving in his beliefs.
A small part of Violet liked that about him. Another part wanted to scream at the two moons. She wanted him so badly, but she was running out of ways to convince him of that. Every time she tried, only to get shot down by him, it chipped away another piece of her heart. She wanted what her sisters had. A man that loved her and wanted to be with her in every way. That dream, sadly, seemed to be getting further and further away with each passing day.
With a shake of her head, Violet turned and went to the bathroom. It was still very early on Toria, but her mind was too awake, too filled with worry over Spot to sleep. Besides, she could use this time to get her exercise in for the day.
Now that she was a full time trainee in the warrior training camp, she had to stay in top form. Not only was she the only human, but she was also the first female to be allowed to train. And keeping up with a species of alien males that were genetically faster, stronger, and built to be fighters, was hard for a five foot five skinny eighteen year old human girl. But Violet was determined to succeed.
After her morning exercises, Violet had a quick shower and got ready for school.
As much as she told everyone that she hated the fact that she was the only one of her sisters that had to go back to school on a new planet, Violet secretly loved it.
Sure, the classes were hard, and just like any other school, there were people that didn’t like her or the idea of an alien in their classes, but she was having a blast.
She’d made new friends, she found most of the classes fascinating, and she’d learned so much about her new home planet. Even the mean kids couldn’t get her down. If kids was the right term. Most of the Torian students she was in class with were already in their thirties. They looked young, like Violet did, but it was strange to think they were as old as Lilly.
Checking herself with a distracted glance one last time in the mirror, Violet grabbed her jacket and left her bedroom.
The halls of the Keep were quiet at this time of the morning. A few staff members moved around the halls, quietly whispering to themselves. They gave her a smile and a bow of their heads when they saw her leaving her bedroom.
Violet greeted them before she made her way downstairs to the main kitchen. When she stepped inside, the smell of fresh food being cooked had her stomach growling in approval. There was the thick smell of fresh bread mixed with the salty scent of some meaty strips being fried on a flat silver pan.
From the other end of the huge kitchen, Violet got the sweet aroma of Gomo cakes being baked. The round, sweet treats were a favorite of her pregnant sister at the moment, and the kitchens made sure they always had plenty of fresh Gomo’s on hand every day.
Waving a greeting to the cooks working hard behind long counters, Violet passed through the room and used the service entrance to the private dining room.
This was the room where they all had breakfast most mornings. It was an intimate space for family only. Despite the huge twenty seater table that dominated the room, it still had a cozy, family feel to it.
She stepped in, letting the door swing closed behind her and paused. Keel stood by the large windows looking out at the stunning gardens at the back of the Keep.
When he heard her enter, he turned and smiled.
“Good morning,” He said, that sexy deep voice of his making butterflies roar to life in her belly.
“Morning handsome,” she smiled, giving him her best flirty look.
Keel grinned, showing off those sexy sharp fangs, and came towards her.
“Having trouble sleeping?”
She blushed, “How do you know?”
He paused in front of her, filling her nose with his spicy, masculine scent she loved.
“I heard you pacing your room most of the night.”
She put her hands on her hips, raising a brow, “You heard me?” She asked skeptically, “This Keep is made entirely of stone. There’s no way you could hear that.”
His pointy ears twitch. “I have very good hearing, Violet. But I also know you. Spot has not returned home yet and you are worried about him.”
Violet’s good mood faded and she dropped her gaze to his broad chest. “Yeah.”
“I’m sure he’s fine. If he was in trouble, you would feel it, correct?”
She nodded, trying again to push past the mental block between her and Spot.
“Hey,” Keel raised a hand and gently lifted her chin so she would meet his eyes, “If he is not home by tonight, I will ask commander Korom to search for him, alright?”
She gave him a weak smile, “Thanks Keel. I don’t know what I would do if something happened to him.”
“Don’t think like that. There is no need to worry about something you are not sure has happened. For all we know, he is chasing some poor creature through the woods and has lost track of time.”
She so badly wanted to believe that. Violet knew that no one really understood the connection she had with Spot. She’d tried to explain it to her sisters, but it was difficult to explain something she didn’t fully understand herself. All she knew was that something felt different. Different and … wrong.
“He’s blocking me, Keel. Every time I try to push past the barrier in my mind, I can feel him pushing me back. He’s never done that before.”
“Do you sense anything else? Any feelings coming from him?”
She shook her head. “No. Just that he’s alive. That and he’s not letting me in.”
He nodded. “Once we return from the command vessel I will help you figure this out.”
She smiled up at him, “Thanks, big guy.”
He stared at her for a long moment, his eyes locked with hers. There was a longing in his golden yellow gaze that pulled at Violet’s heart. She saw the desire burning in his eyes, but he held himself back. She could almost see him physically pushing it down as he held her gaze.
Finally, he blinked and stepped back. “Are you not putting your drops in today?” He asked.
Violet frowned and bowed her head, closing her eyes. She’d forgotten to put her eye drops in this morning.
After she’d gotten so sick back on Earth, the poison had changed the whites of her eyes to a blood red color.
Oris, the Medical commander in Bor’s inner circle, had made her specialized eye drops that temporarily turned her eyes white again. They only lasted a few hours, but it was enough to not scare the crap out of the other students.
“Sorry,” She mumbled, turning to go back to her room, “I must have forgotten this morning.”
Before she could leave the room, a warm hand gently grabbed her arm and turned her back. Keel pulled her into his big, warm arms and held her to his chest for a moment.
“I told you this a thousand times before, Violet, and I will tell you again. I do not hate your eyes. They, like the rest of you, are the most incredible thing I have ever seen.”