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Snippet Saturday

January 5, 2013 | Snippet Saturday

warriorswife_msr

Another snippet from Warriors’ Wife book two in the Seduction Mission series. Last week y’all had a glimpse of Gideon, next week you’ll have a peek at Marcus, this week Horace. :heart:

Her hand brushed his when she reached for a gauze pack, she didn’t jerk away from the small contact. In fact, she laced her fingers with his. “In another time and place I would’ve fallen hard for you, slick.”

Disappointment must’ve shown on his face, because the corner of her mouth turned up for an instant then she frowned. “It’s nothing personal. You are totally adorable and you smell way too good to resist. I have to keep my distance.”

He didn’t think she was serious. However, he wasn’t certain if she’d intended to make a joke or to discourage him with biting wit. Neither possibility gave him any hope she’d softened toward him. A few seconds’ reflection emphasized how completely ineffective his skills were when it came to winning her acceptance. He would try harder. For now he set aside his failure and concentrated on how to improve her health.

She placed the droid on the ground and slowly lowered herself until she rested next to the pet. The simple act of sitting down clearly caused her pain, but she didn’t make any complaint.

While she doctored her own injuries, he watched. The very slowness of her actions told him she’d suffered multiple contusions, possibly sprains and one or more rib fractures. He winced with every stretch and reach, biting back sympathetic moans and hovering like the anxious bio-geek he was.

Tori was a dream he never knew he had come true. Smart, brave, beautiful and she was the woman fated to become his wife. And she wouldn’t let him clean or bandage a single cut. Finally he blurted, “We’re here to protect and serve you.”

“Uh-huh.” She poured antiseptic on a gauze sponge and began carefully dabbing at her split lip. “What planet are you guys from?”

For a few seconds he analyzed her question. Once again there’d been no hint in her tone or expression that she was joking or frightened. Her curiosity had no logical stimulus, but seemed sincere. “Earth, why do you ask?”

“Replicators aren’t exactly standard equipment even for the most elite special forces troops. Since the pandemic, technological advances don’t happen. So why not tell me where you’re really from?”

“There’s no reason for me to mislead you. We’re from Earth, though not from this particular era,” he assured her absently, distracted by using his built-in scanner to search for internal damage and bot activity. Technically a scan wasn’t an exam. However, he didn’t ask for permission she would be unlikely to grant. So scanning was an invasion of her privacy. He knew how that felt. Mechs were monitored without ever being consulted or granting permission. Their minds were the only thing the techs hadn’t found a way to tap. He hated the constant surveillance that stole their privacy and dignity. Yet he preferred to risk her anger rather than letting her walk away with a life-threatening injury he’d failed to diagnose.

She glanced away from him to wet another gauze sponge.

He took advantage of her inattention to do a deeper internal search. Her vagina and anus readings were normal, ruling out rape. He swallowed the lump of dread that had clogged his throat. Her leg, one rib, and several bruises already showed elevated cellular repair levels. The bots were on the job. He’d done one thing right.

The skin around her eyes tightened as the antiseptic seeped into a deep cut. “You’re time travelers, huh?”

“I should stitch that for you.”

“Nuh-uh, are you avoiding answering my question?”

“Yes, I mean no. I’m not avoiding your question.” Damn he’d be tripping over his own tongue next. “We were inserted into your time from what may become your future, so yes we’ve traveled through time.”

Her expression held obvious doubts. Communication with Tori held unsuspected challenges. Discouraged by his dismal lack of social skills, Horace studied his boots, avoiding her searching skepticism. His poor performance in winning her confidence shouldn’t have come as a surprise. He’d almost failed the seduction course both Gideon and Marcus passed without effort. With practice he should improve, but unless he won her confidence soon he’d endanger the entire mission, to say nothing of breaking his own heart.

He parted his lips to try again. A deafening boom shook the ground and put an end to his awkward attempts at conversation.

“The restorers have these coordinates. Another team of cyborgs will arrive soon. We need to leave soon.” Gideon spoke aloud, clearly for Tori’s benefit.

Horace held out a hand to her.

She rubbed her temples then shook her head. “You guys take off. I’m heading back to my rig anyway.”

“That’s over one-point-seven kilometers.” His dismay tinted the innocuous words with clear alarm. Not even bots worked that fast. She would be alone and vulnerable.

Obviously he’d offended her again. She picked up the engineered pet and hobbled for the exit without commenting.

“Let me.” Marcus scooped her into his arms.

“I can walk, Galahad,” Tori told him, but she didn’t struggle or demand to be set down. Galahad was a clear term of affection.
“How’re those swollen knuckles?” Marcus asked.

Tori flexed her fingers. “Amazingly good.”

“Who is this Galahad anyway?” Marcus winked at Horace over her head.

“One of those ridiculously handsome guys of legend, who is way too good to be real. He was always busy saving fair maidens and such.” She grinned up at Marcus.

Her easy manner with his friend emphasized Horace’s dismal failure. Fear clutched at him. What if she accepted Marcus, but not him or Gideon? Horace couldn’t imagine anyone rejecting Gideon. He amended the question. What if she accepted both of them and denied him? That outcome had a high degree of probability.

Posted by Evanne @ 4:00 am  

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