Wanted, Book 2
by Marteeka Karland
eBook ISBN: 978-1-60521-643-0
Dmitry has finally found the woman he loved and lost — the woman who ran from him without a word. Karri did what she had to do to keep her daughter safe from the Consolidation. She has no regrets, but she’s never stopped loving Dmitry — even though she knew when he found her, there’d be a price to pay.
“Got you, you little bitch!” Dmitry muttered and headed down the corridor toward the trollish Tuscian male looming over the woman he’d been pursuing for weeks. OK, so that wasn’t entirely true. He’d been searching for her for four months, ever since he’d awakened to find his bed empty and his woman and her daughter gone.
“I’m all ears, sweetheart.” Dmitry hated it when his Russian accent bled through his carefully practiced neutrality. He was so angry now, there was no stopping it. “What is it you need help with so badly as to sell out me and my friends, eh?” Not that he gave a damn. This woman he’d once cared so much about had betrayed him in the most fundamental way. He’d trusted her, and she’d used that trust against him.
“The Consolidation has my daughter, Dmitry. If I don’t give them enough information to capture Yuri Dubnikov, they said she’d be the one they try their super soldier experiment on next.”
OK, that brought Dmitry up short. Hawk’s hissed curse echoed his own. “Liana? They have Liana?” Dmitry needed to think. This could be an elaborate deception. He’d definitely need more proof before making any decisions. No way he was trusting her that easily again. He just didn’t know what to believe.
No matter what, he needed to get back to Yuri and Storm. If little Liana was held hostage, he’d need equipment and armament to get her back.
Grimly determined, Dmitry grabbed her arm, spun her around and cuffed her hands behind her back. Hawk did the same with the Tuscian Karri had been arguing with so vehemently when Dmitry had spotted her, and they headed to the docking bay and the ship.
“We’ll sort it out later. Right now we need to move.”
Hawk looked at Dmitry, but held his tongue. It was obvious the big man didn’t like the situation, but let it go. He’d most likely question Dmitry extensively later. The only thing Dmitry was sure of at this moment was that he could not let Karri go. He tried to tell himself it was because she’d betrayed him, and he needed to know what other information she’d passed on and to whom, but he knew better.
Rougher than strictly necessary, he gripped her upper arm and dragged her to the ship. She didn’t protest or object to his handling of her, though he knew he’d likely bruised her arm. He simply couldn’t help himself. She had taken his heart and trampled it to pieces. Then she’d betrayed him and his comrades. Did she really hate him so much she wanted to see him dead? He wasn’t sure he believed the line about the Consolidation having her daughter, but he supposed any excuse was better than none. Besides, Karri never went anywhere without Liana, yet here she was. Liana was nowhere in sight.
He and Hawk stowed the prisoners in separate cargo holds. Not the best alternative, but he didn’t like the idea of putting Karri in the same room with the big Tuscian. Hawk was larger than that creature, but not by much, and that was saying something.
“Do you have any idea what you’re doing, Dmitry?” Hawk leaned against the bulkhead, arms crossed over his massive chest.
“I’m taking a traitor to Yuri to decide what her punishment will be.”
Hawk snorted. “That’s not Yuri’s job. You know he’s not about to pass judgment on anyone.”
“Then Storm can do it.”
“If you truly think she’s guilty, you’d have killed her yourself, no matter what your feelings for her are. What the fuck is going on, Dmitry? If the Consolidation really does have her child…”
Hawk deserved an answer, but Dmitry didn’t have one to give him. He knew Hawk was right, and there was simply no way he could describe the overwhelming need to protect the little bitch. Protect her from what, he didn’t know. Himself? The Consolidation? He simply didn’t have an answer.
The first thing he needed to do was get off this station and get the whole story from Karri. If they had Liana, Dmitry would do anything to get the child back. Kill anyone he had to.
“Come on. Let’s get back to the rendezvous. Yuri will be wondering where we’ve gotten to.” Dmitry didn’t wait for Hawk to follow, but made his way to the cockpit and began his pre-launch check.
It took them twenty minutes, but finally they were on their way. Hawk said nothing, but continually checked and rechecked instruments. No doubt making sure they weren’t being followed. They took no clear course heading with many stops before finally heading to Karni 2. It would take them several weeks to reach the rendezvous.
Dmitry scrubbed both hands over his face. He knew he would go get Karri. He knew he’d take her to his cabin and… what? Talk? More likely, he’d fuck her brains out. But he couldn’t. Not yet. He wanted her with a passion that bordered on insanity, but he would not have her until he knew for sure what was going on. If she was a traitor, he’d take what he needed in retribution, then kill her. If not, then he’d find out why she’d left him.
Or so he kept telling himself.
Leaving Hawk without a word, Dmitry stalked down the short corridor to the hold where he’d left Karri. Slamming his hand against the palm reader, he mumbled to himself, “This is not a good idea, Dmitry. What the fuck are you doing?”
The door slid open and Karri raised her head. She sat at the far corner of the room with her knees drawn to her chest. Her hands were still behind her back, and Dmitry had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from wincing outwardly. He shouldn’t have left her bound. It had been spite on his part, but he’d be damned if he showed weakness now by releasing her.
She struggled to rise, and Dmitry crossed the room to her and pulled her up by her upper arm. When she winced, he realized it was the same arm he’d gripped when he brought her to his ship. Apparently, he’d been right to think he’d bruise her.
Inwardly, he cringed, but he wasn’t ready to let her see his emotions just yet. Before he did that, he’d find out whether or not she was worthy of an apology.
Neither said a word, but Dmitry didn’t miss the defiant lift of her chin as he marched her to his cabin, and the pain in her eyes was there for all to see. An ache settled deep in the center of his chest. Everything he knew about her, everything he felt for her, couldn’t be wrong. She was a good and decent human being. She wouldn’t knowingly put his men in danger unless it was the only way to save her daughter.
Gods! He honestly didn’t care. She was back. He had her with him. Did anything else really matter? He needed her with every fiber of his being, and it galled him that he wasn’t man enough to determine her guilt or innocence before he surrendered his heart to her.
No! Not again. Never again. She’d played him for a fool once. Twice was unacceptable. He’d have her again, but he’d damned well keep his heart out of it. She owed him, and by God, he was taking what he deserved.
When the door slid shut, Dmitry spun her around and slammed her into it.
“Now, you little bitch,” he growled through clenched teeth, “you pay for your crimes.”
She’d hit the door hard enough to knock the breath out of her. When she opened her mouth to gasp, Dmitry took advantage. He descended on her like a predator to his prey. Invading, his tongue thrust inside forcefully, ruthlessly. Her little whimper and the trembling of her lips and body only spurred him on. He hoped she was scared. As scared as he’d been when he’d awakened to find her gone without a trace.
He pressed against her, rubbing his erection against her belly. Despite how furious he was, despite her betrayal, he still wanted her. Needed her. Everything in him screamed for her.
Still he kissed her. It wasn’t a gentle kiss. Even when he knew he was frightening her, he couldn’t stop his relentless assault. Something inside him had snapped, and he needed to brand her, to let her know she could never again leave him.
Roughly, he shoved her tunic up her torso, his hand rasping up bare flesh until he found her breast. He squeezed until she flinched. Her flesh was soft and welcoming, but he punished it anyway. His other hand groped her other breast until she cried out, not in pleasure, but in pain.
“Does it hurt, little Karri?”
She didn’t answer, didn’t look at him even though he’d pulled back from her. Dmitry cupped her chin in one hand and forced her to look at him, his fingers digging into her jaw.
“I asked you a question.” He could barely control his rage. He knew he was crossing a line he never thought he’d even come close to, but he couldn’t seem to help it. He wanted to punish her, to make her hurt. Just like she’d hurt him.
“It does,” she whispered. “But I imagine you mean for it to.”
Her resignation made him all the more furious. He threw his head back and bellowed his rage. Picking her up, he slung her over his shoulder and stalked to his bed, tossing her in the center. She cried out as she landed on her bound hands, no doubt hurting her shoulders and upper arms.
Dmitry advanced on her. She tried to scramble away from him, but he grabbed her ankle and simply pulled her to the edge of the bed. With quick, efficient movements, he stripped her, leaving only her underwear.
“No, Dmitry!” Her squeal only made him all the more furious. She dared to deny him after everything she’d put him through!
“No what, Karri?” He continued to yell at her. “You professed to love me, yet you almost got me killed!”
“I only did it for Liana!” In the months they’d shared together, he’d never known Karri to raise her voice. Now, she sounded almost as furious and helpless as he felt. “They have her, Dmitry! They’ll start their experiments in less than eighteen hours if that bastard in your hold doesn’t deliver more information on your movements! Help me rescue Liana, and you can do what ever you want with me. Just don’t leave Liana to the Consolidation’s mercy.”
“Why should I believe you? This could an attempt to save yourself and your lover in there. Give me one good reason why I should believe anything you say!”
“Because I’m willing to trade my life for hers!” She screamed at him now. Tears streamed from her eyes, and she looked so distressed, it was enough to break through his anger and really see her. “Find her, swear you’ll take care of her, and you can kill me the second you know where she is. My life means nothing if I can’t protect Liana!”
She looked haggard. On edge. Dark circles marred the skin under her eyes. Looking down her body, his eyes fell on the skin he’d revealed. Bruises covered her legs from the top of her feet, up her legs, past her waist.
Dmitry just stared. He couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t breathe.
Without warning, the door to his cabin slid open, and Hawk loomed in the archway. He took a moment to register the half-dressed woman on the bed, black and blue from head to toe. Dmitry could see the moment Hawk’s own rage took over and the normally controlled, big man descended on Dmitry. Hawk grabbed him by the hair and flung him out the door like he was a rag doll without a moment’s pause.
“I do not care what the fuck she did, Dmitry. I absolutely will not let you treat any woman like that! Now get the fuck back to the cockpit and don’t come back here until you’re in control of yourself.”
Dmitry just stood there for a moment. He really wanted to apologize to Karri, to explain to Hawk he hadn’t put those bruises on Karri’s flesh, but he couldn’t. He had hurt her physically, and would probably have gone on hurting her, if not physically, then mentally.
Instead of offering excuses or trying to explain himself, he tossed the key with the code to her cuffs to Hawk and did as Hawk had ordered. It was better he not have contact with the little dark-haired woman. She’d only befuddle him more, and he certainly didn’t need that. Besides, he needed to think about what she’d told him and what he’d just seen. And what he was going to do about it.
Before the door slid shut again, he watched as Hawk carefully removed the cuffs from Karri’s wrists. He helped her to her feet, and when she looked up at Hawk, she simply crumbled into uncontrollable sobs. Then the door slid shut as Hawk enfolded her in his arms, and Dmitry was left alone in the corridor.
She would be the death of him, and he’d go happily as long as she was there when it happened.