Not Quite Terran Part 5 (Scifi Alien Romance Serial)

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Part Five

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NOT QUITE TERRAN is a five-part serial (like a TV show) with a new installment out every Monday. The entire storyline will be available for FREE with Kindle Unlimited, or you can wait to download the full story as a bundle for $2.99.

Not Quite Terran Part One
Not Quite Terran Part Two
Not Quite Terran Part Three
Not Quite Terran Part Four
Part Five

 

Even after healing, the skin on Karru’s chest still held a deeper hue than the rest of his body. It now appeared as a bruise and always would. But Rebecca knew the truth. She’d held her hands over the gaping hole, cried as she ran beside the hovo-stretcher into the transport and spat curses at anyone who even thought of denying her access to him. She may resent her position at the moment, but she was not against leveraging it to its fullest potential. That meant she had every specialist on station rolled out of bed and rushed to Karru’s side.

Nothing else mattered. Only him. Her thoughts, her very reason for living, lay in a medical bed. Pale. Unconscious.

They assured her he would recover. His body was merely resting after sustaining such an injury. The physical damage was healed, but the body needed time to catch up.

Time. Fucking time.

One of Rebecca’s guards carefully came into the room and drew near. She rubbed her eyes, brushing away the sleep that attempted to overcome her. Zentri. His name was Zentri. The oldest of the guards Karru brought back from Palia. He’d been an immovable rock of protection from the moment of her first scream. Rasu hadn’t ousted him which was enough of a vote of confidence for her. Between Rasu and Zentri, they’d run interference with every station official, and even some of their own. Nothing mattered—not negotiations or the status of Palia itself—while Karru remained unconscious. Right now, she lived and breathed for him and damn everything else.

“Jhoari G’Zeri,” he kept his voice low.

“Rebecca, Zentri. You held a handkerchief while I snotted all over it. I think we’re a little beyond calling me Jhoari G’Zeri.”

He pressed his lips together in a sign she’d come to recognize as his pure stubborn streak coming forward. “Jhoari G’Zeri—”

“In private then. When no one else is around, you can call me Rebecca. Normalcy, Zentri. That’s all I’m looking for.” She was so very, very tired, but this small argument kept her going. It allowed her to think of something other than Karru.

Zentri opened his mouth to reply, but it was another’s voice—another’s growls—who overrode the guards. “You shall never be alone with her.”

Rebecca immediately swung her attention to Karru and her gaze collided with his. He looked so tired, so exhausted from his injuries. His normally bright eyes were dull and muted with pain, but he was still the most gorgeous male she’d ever seen.

“Karru,” she whispered and rose to her feet, stepping nearer. “You’re…”

“Listening to you get too familiar with one of your guards. Tell him to run fast before I challenge him on the field.” The teasing smile on his lips told her he was kidding.

“You would have to quit crying and climb from your bed first, old man. I have heard the elderly get lazy,” Zentri tsk’ed. “But I had never realized just how lazy.”

“I will destroy you while blinded and with a single weapon in hand.” New lines of tension marred Karru’s features. “Choose the field and time.”

Men.

She ignored them and reached for Karru, carefully sliding her hand beneath his and gently squeezing his fingers. The move drew his attention and when he gazed upon her, a healthier glow filled his face and his eyes brightened slightly. “Hey.”

“Hello, my sweet one.”

Two words she didn’t think she’d ever hear again. “I was—”

Zentri coughed and interrupted her. “Jhoari G’ze—” she shot him a glare and he cleared his throat. “
Rebecca
, there is the matter of Takkol to discuss.”

“It’s too much to hope the men handled the problem for me, isn’t it?” She didn’t care she was whining.

“Takkol?” Karru groaned and repositioned himself, scooting higher on the bed until he sat up.

She entwined her fingers with his. “Do you remember what happened?” He furrowed his brow and then finally shook his head. “I ordered him to stay away from me, I told you and I’m sure you heard it from others. He came to our rooms and knocked—” Karru understood the word even if he didn’t necessarily grasp why she preferred that method of notification of a visitor. “—and you went to answer the door before me. He had his phaser ready and was anticipating me opening the door. He didn’t know you had returned.” Tears stung her eyes as she stared at the healed skin. “He got your chest, aiming for my head.” She reached out and let her fingers hover over the evidence of his injury. “He almost killed you. I would have died.”

Karru enveloped her hand with his and carefully laid it over the darker skin. “I am right here, my sweet one. Nothing will tear me from your arms.”

Her throat ached and eyes stung with suppressed cries. “You don’t understand how close it was.”

“Anything that brings moisture to your eyes is too much.” Karru looked beyond her. “What is his status now?”

She turned her attention to Zentri as well and couldn’t miss the evil grin that graced his lips. “Much, much worse than you, my friend. Your men were less than happy with your condition.” Zentri chuckled. “The male met many ‘doors’ during his travels from your rooms to medical.”

Rebecca should be disgusted that her people were capable of such violence toward a bound man. Should be, but wasn’t.

Karru snorted. “You six always were bastards. Loyal, but bastards.”

Zentri shrugged as if he didn’t care, but there was something else lingering in his expression. A different kind of hurt, a different residual pain that increased with Karru’s words.

“Zentri…” She furrowed her brow and stared at him more closely. So much had happened, her attention split in so many different directions, that she hadn’t taken a moment and truly looked at the male. And not just him, but the others as well. It was then she recognized something that had been staring her in the face for wentics. It was the eyes, the shape of the nose, the cheekbones… His—all six—were masculine and sharp, but familiar just the same. “Are we…” Zentri looked everywhere but at her and she shot a look to Karru. “Karru?”

He hesitated. “It is not discussed openly in court, but Terrans would call you half-siblings.”

“Half…” Her attention bounced between the two men.

“From our father, but not from his mate. He was a long distant cousin of the Jhoari and used that slim connection to seduce females. He did not respect the bounds of mating.” He shoved the words past gritted teeth.

“He wasn’t the Jhoari?”

Zentri shook his head. “No, merely a relative, but the entire family is gone which left us and now you.”

“And he wasn’t loyal to his mate?” She shook her head. “Of course he wasn’t, I’m proof of that. But how can I be the Jhoari, when Zentri and—”

“There is evidence your father was married to your mother and his first mate was dead. By law, you were born within the bounds of mating. Your siblings were not. It is an open secret, Rebecca. Known, but not discussed.”

A growl escaped her. “Well, it obviously wasn’t
that
open.” Karru coughed, placing a hand over his chest as the sound rattled, and she glanced at Zentri. “I would like to get to know my brothers.”

It seemed her words shocked him because he didn’t speak for a moment, his mouth hanging open. “Jhoari—Rebecca, it is not done. As Karru has said, we are seen as throwaway guards, not as the brothers to the Jhoari.”

She shrugged. “Then everyone else needs to get over it. It’s not my problem, it’s theirs and their backward thinking.”

Karru stroked her hand and she refocused on him once again. She met his gaze, saw a swirl of emotions ranging from concern to what she believed was love, skating over his face. His attention remained on her, but he spoke to Zentri. “Speak with your brothers, but know Rebecca is very stubborn. I believe she would hunt you to the training grounds if you six don’t come for a meal in the near future.”

Zentri stuttered for a moment, stumbling over his words. “But… I… We…”

“The appropriate response is ‘okay,’” she supplied.

He swallowed hard. “Okay.”

“Good,” she nodded. “Then I would like to be alone with Karru for a while. You can tell them he’s awake, but I do not want any medical personnel in here for at least a full zentic. They can monitor, but no one steps through that door unless it’s you or one of our brothers.”

Zentri shuddered when she referred to him as her sibling, but quickly recovered and nodded his agreement. “Of course, Jho— Rebecca. And what about Takkol?”

She sighed and raised her eyebrows in a question for Karru. Honestly, if they sent him out an airlock, she’d be overjoyed, but she didn’t think that would be an option.

Karru mimicked her sound. “Tell your brothers he can no longer run into any ‘doors.’ Rebecca and I will render our judgment once we have been married.”

“Married?”

“Yes.” Karru’s affirmation was immediate. “You should research the topic in the Terran databases. I would like each of you to stand witness for Rebecca and me.”

And that was… perfect.

* * *

Another dress, but at least this one was of her own choosing. There was no fashion advisor or other male poking and prodding at her closet. No, it was a simple matter of going to a shop—her brothers in tow—and selecting a garment
she
liked. It was long, long enough to just brush the ground, and was a delicate fall of fabric down her body. There was no skintight constriction, but a freedom of movement she wasn’t used to. The body wasn’t designed to highlight her markings that proclaimed her as the Jhoari G’Zeri of Palia, mate of Jhoari C’Hali of Palia, and the neck carefully exposed only a hint of her cleavage. It was almost chaste in its design, but so very perfect for her.

And white. She had a Terran mother and grew up knowing Terran customs despite not being raised by her own people. Even orphans had dreams, and hers included a delicate white gown.

Kia slowly made her way toward Rebecca, the lithe body carefully traversing the maze of bodies and furniture that crowded the room. Despite their attempt at keeping things quiet, many of those brought from Palia were in attendance. Some wore disgruntled frowns, not appreciating her plans while others were visibly relieved at the idea of having Karru in a position of power. They knew Rebecca had many experiences and knowledge that could benefit Palia, but it was Karru who had a lifetime of ties to the empire. Their coming together was a perfect blending of old and new. She knew their road would be bumpy at first, but truly believed they could serve Palia well.

Her friend paused beside her and Rebecca noted the graceful woman drew more than one male set of eyes. This new agreement with the federation was expanding Palia’s reach and it seemed the men were more than happy to engage with other races. Several seemed to have their eyes on Kia already. She knew if any one of the warriors decided they wanted to wrap Kia in a bundle of cotton, they’d be in for a painful surprise. In all honesty, she kinda wished she would be there to see it. Alas, as soon as the wedding was done, the treaty signed with the federation, and Takkol sentenced, they’d be heading home.

“Is this what you wish, Rebecca Varda?” Kia’s voice was soft and lyrical.

A low rumble came from one of Rebecca’s brothers who stood nearby. The sound was low, barely audible, but the threat was clear. It seemed now that she’d acknowledged them, they were truly
acting
like brothers. That included an overwhelming protectiveness.

Her friend slowly and carefully drew her attention from Rebecca and focused on Rebecca’s brother Dechan. “You have something you wish to say?”

Ouch. Rebecca knew that tone. Knew what would immediately follow if he wasn’t careful.

“You should speak to the Jhoari with respect,” he snarled and was truly showing his ignorance.

Sure, at a glance, Kia did not appear threatening, but it took one full look at her face to realize she was a predator. It wasn’t one specific feature that declared her friend dangerous, but all of them together. The eyes… The shape of her face… The sharpness and length of her teeth… Was Kia small? In some ways, yes. She was tall, yet thin. And solid. Pure muscle coated her from head to toe. Her height gave her a greater reach, but her lack of ostentatious bulge and increased weight gave her superior speed.

Rebecca wondered if she’d see those aspects of Kia in action this wentic.

“And who are you to speak to me in such a way?” The words were soft and careful, yet hard and menacing.

“I am…” She noted the rising color of Dechan’s cheeks.

Rebecca stepped between them. “Okay, we’re not doing this here.” She turned to face her brother. “This is my friend Kiarana P’tor from Tsumazoar. She was a friend to me before I became Jhoari G’Zeri and there was more than one time when she held my life in her hands. I am Rebecca to her. Period.” Then she looked at Kia and shrugged. “He’s my brother and… male.”

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