It was in the fierce need he’d been fighting to be around her. Something he’d come to resent and now at least he knew why. His body had known what his mind couldn’t see.

“Hey, I just heard.”

Kerr looked up as Macon slipped inside the room. His second in command whistled slowly and a burning anger ripped through Kerr as the soldier’s eyes rolled over the form on the bed. An image of his fist connecting hard with Macon’s jaw flashed through him and he had to concentrate hard to keep his emotions hidden.

“And a looker too. How the hell did she keep a secret like this from us?”

Kerr gritted his teeth and ran fingers through the dark hair at his neck. “I have no idea.”

“Why would she?” Macon asked, clearly as puzzled as he.

“Obviously she’s working for the Serpentis,” he spit out.

Macon looked at him, surprise touching his craggy features. “Seriously?” He paused and looked back to the still form. “But why would they attack her if she was working with them?” He scratched his jaw and frowned. “Doesn’t make sense.”

“None of it makes sense,” Kerr replied as he stood swiftly. He looked down at the pale face and felt the muscles along his neck and jaw tense as anger rushed through him.

“But you can bet your ass I’ll find out.” His voice lowered.

“She took a hit for you,” Macon said quietly.

“Part of some grand plan I’m sure.” Kerr snorted and shook his head. “You saw the stranger. Where the hell did he disappear to? They’re hooked up, the two of them. They’re probably paid mercenaries working for the Serpentis hierarchy. I’ve had a bull’s-eye painted to the back of my ass for the past decade. They don’t want a successful evacuation of the planet and they sure as hell don’t want me alive to see this through.”

Macon sighed. “Either way we’re almost done here. We have one more transport due to take off tomorrow night. Your family will be aboard and then we can leave the Serpentis to rot for all I care. Thank Orion the slimy ass bastards need the Kutron in the soil to survive or you could bet they’d be following us to the ends of the known galaxies.”

Kerr nodded. The very thing that was slowly killing the planet, making it uninhabitable for his people, was needed for the Serpentis to survive. It’s why they’d invaded Drakkon decades earlier and started an all out war to annihilate his people. “By this time tomorrow night we’ll rendezvous with the convoy.”

“What about Blackie?” Macon asked.

Kerr shrugged his shoulders. “I’m on my way to search her room.” He looked back to the pale form. “Depending on what I find, she’s either getting a free ride off the planet—” his face darkened and he snarled, “—or she can have a front row seat when it all goes to shit.”

Chapter Five

Lily’s mouth was fuzzy, dry, and it felt like her tongue was swollen to twice its size. She let her senses gather and even though everything

inside of her was screaming to move and find water, she remained still.

Her thoughts were a mess as she lay there and she struggled to keep her breathing even. To not panic. To be smart.

Slowly she remembered the attack, Mallick, the poison…and Kerr.

Her heart began to pound against her chest, banging hard as adrenaline flooded her system. What the hell was she going to do now? How could she protect him if she was no longer a part of his squad?

Carefully her eyes slid open and Lily felt her heart sink even more. There was a guard on post just outside the infirmary. That pretty much said everything. She was now the enemy.

Just then Medic flew into the room, followed by a blast that shook the foundation and rattled Lily’s already painful head.

Automatically she tried to get up but her hands were tied down and her shoulder erupted in pain as she jerked against her restraints.

What the hell was going on? What time was it?

Medic ran to the bed, her face full of fear and as her eyes passed over Lily they became shadowed with anger and distrust.

“Finally awake, I see,” Medic muttered as she checked the instruments beside the bed and took out the lines that fed into Lily’s skin.

“Water,” Lily croaked, surprised at how sore and dry her throat was.

Another blast shook the building. Medic swore under her breath but grabbed a bottle from the tray and held it to Lily’s mouth. Lily drank huge gulps, not stopping until she’d taken too much and began to sputter and choke.

Tags: Juliana Stone Black Opals Science Fiction