I spun around. The Targon leaned against one of the large entryways, white lace dancing from the windows and over his bare legs. His eyes swirled with a life all their own; his dark hair flowed around his shoulders, the sides hooked behind his ears. I could see that his ears were pointy, like the magical Fae in children’s stories. He wore some type of black Scottish-looking kilt and no shirt.

“Give me the necklace and take me back,” I demanded.

Hetsked under his tongue. “We haven’t been properly introduced. You are Eden Black, other-worlder interpreter and government agent. I am Devyn Cambrii, king of this land.”

King.The freaking king. I knew a little about Targon history. A king was appointed not by birth but by telekinetic strength. A thousand tiny knots twisted my stomach. I was weaponless, and my opponent had the power to freeze me in place. How the hell could I fight him?

“Please,” I said, the word escaping through scowling lips. “Take me back.”

“It has taken EenLi over a year to find me a Raka,” he replied. “I’m sorry, sweet angel, but the only place I will be taking you is my bed.”

My fists clenched at my sides. “And if I refuse?”

His lips twitched, and amusement twinkled in his too-amber eyes. “Your refusal will not be a problem.”

No, it wouldn’t, I thought darkly. He’d already proven his ability quite nicely. If he decided to freeze me and rape me, there would be nothing I could do to stop him from doing so. I refused to show him an outward reaction to that comment, however. If he thrived on female fear, he might become aroused.

“Why a Raka?” I asked to keep him talking. I lifted my chin. “There’s nothing special about my race.”

“Oh, I beg to differ.”

“Because of the gold?”

He chuckled richly. “I am not human. Gold means nothing to me.”

“Then why?”

“I’ve never tasted a Raka. There are so few of you on Earth because those silly humans are greedy. And outsiders are not allowed on the planet Raka. Which is a shame, really. I could have feasted for months had I been allowed entry.” His voice lowered one octave. “I’ve wanted to taste a Raka for a long, long time.”

I arched a brow, feigning nonchalance. “Tasted in passion? Or as dinner?”

He laughed again, his features softening. The woman in me appreciated his masculine beauty, his male sensuality. But he wasn’t Lucius. I would have no man but Lucius. In our short time together, I’d learned to respect and like him. I’d desired him constantly. He meant something to me. What, I didn’t know. I just knew that hedid matter.

“Passion, of course,” the Targon said. “I’ve sampled women from across the galaxies. I’m in need of something different. Something unique.” He straightened and slowly moved toward me.

“Stop,” I shouted, bending my knees and preparing for battle.

Surprisingly, he did. He remained a safe distance away as his gaze traveled the length of me. “I only wish to know if you are as soft to my touch as you look. Surely you will not deny me a simple touch.”

“I deny you the right to even breathe in my direction.”

“Your resistance is adorable, so I will grant your request and not touch you. For now.”

“Thank you,” I said, my tone dry.

“You are welcome.” He grinned at me. “I am glad to add you to my collection.”

“Your collection?”

“Oh, yes. I love women, you see. I love their softness, their complexities, their scents, and have decided to sample a woman of every color, race, and size.”

“And it doesn’t matter to you that some of these women might not desire you?”

“They may not desire me…at first.” His grin widened. “I always change their minds.”

“I don’t want you,” I gnashed out. “I want another.”

The Targon merely shrugged. “You, too, will change your mind.” He sounded so confident, so completely certain of my capitulation. Watching me through those too-amber, amused eyes, he renewed his path toward me. “I could begin changing your mind right now,” he said, but he switched directions and stopped at a bureau. He lifted the white stone fruit bowl. Having searched it, I knew only small, azure spheres were inside.

I didn’t move when he closed the distance between us, though my every instinct demanded I attack. He merely brushed past me. Our bare shoulders met, skin to skin, his surprisingly cool, mine hot with desperation to leave. He eased atop the mound of pillows. The scent of exotic spices followed him and lingered in the air. He leaned back, assuming a lazy, seductive pose, and patted the seat beside him.

“Is this part of changing my mind?”

“So suspicious, little Raka.” He popped a fruit into his mouth and chewed. “Alas no, this is a getting-to-know-you moment. If you prefer, we can jump ahead. I am not picky. Come to me.”

I considered refusing his demand. I didn’t want to get to know him better; I didn’t want to sit next to him and play his silly game of seduction. The need to get to Lucius and the women intensified with every second that passed. Damn it! I’d never felt more helpless.

“Come,” Devyn said, his tone firmer and harder than before. The amused sparkle faded from his eyes, going flat with expectation.

I approached him and sank onto the pillows beside him.

“That’s better,” he said, reaching into the bowl and withdrawing a sphere. His stark white teeth sank into it, consuming half. “You will eat.” When he attempted to slip the rest past my lips, I ripped it out of his hands and tossed it across the room.

I grabbed a piece of fruit without Targon germs and shoved it into my mouth. The sweet, sweet flavor made each of my taste buds shoot to life. I found myself reaching out for another.

He sighed, pieces of his amusement having returned. “We will have to work on your stubbornness. It is an honor to eat with the king, you know.”

“I have to go back to Earth, Devyn.”

“Thisis to be your home.”

I leaned forward, beseeching with my eyes, my voice. “Please. Give me the necklace and take me back. I have a man, a mission, and Imust get back.”

Devyn reached out and sifted my hair through his fingers. The gold strands were beautiful draped over his pale skin. “The man who was shot. Hunter, I think was his name. He is your man, yes?”

“Yes.” I clenched the pillows, wadding the material between my fists. “How did you know?”

His huge shoulders lifted in a shrug. “The way you looked at him; the way he looked at you. I’m curious, though. If he is your man, why was he there to buy you?”

I ignored the question. “He’s hurt. You saw Jonathan shoot him. I have to help him, get him medical care.”

“He is not hurt, angel. He’s dead.”

Everything inside me frosted with ice. Cold, hard ice. Strong, vital Lucius was not dead. I would have known it, felt it. We were connected in a way that I didn’t understand, but now accepted—and was grateful for. I could not, would not, believe he was dead. He possessed too much life, too much strength. He was indestructible.Please let him be indestructible.

“How do you know that?” I said softly, my jawbone so tight it could snap at any moment.

“I saw the blood just as you did. He is human, and humans cannot lose so much blood.”

“Humans can survive with blood transfusions. That’s why I have to get to him.”

“If there was any life left inside him, EenLi would patch him up and sell him as a slave. This I promise you.”

Yes, I thought, hope melting the ice. Ever the businessman, EenLi would not let a prime specimen like Lucius die when he could be bringing in a profit. “I cannot let him become a slave. Nor can I allow the other women who were imprisoned in that house to become slaves. I have to go back. I’ll do anything you ask if you’ll just take me back.”

“What does this man give you that is so special, sodifferent from what I can give you?” Devyn’s tone was hard.

“He’s…mine.” It was the only answer I had at the moment.

Hands fisted, he shoved angrily to his feet. He glared down at me. “I will not send you back, because I am not willing to give you up. I have had enough talk of dead men and enslaved women.”

We’d see about that. He might be telekinetic, but perhaps if I worked quickly enough, I could defeat him. I kicked out my leg and connected with his ankles. He toppled backward, dropping the fruit bowl with a clang. Blue spheres scattered across the floor as I sprang on top of him, using my weight to cut off his air, my knee in his windpipe.

“I’ll kill you if I remain here,” I vowed.

Far from being intimidated, he grinned. “I see I will have to bring my guards back. I had hoped you would appreciate the privacy.”

I fought a wave of defeat. “You aren’t even winded, are you?”

“No.” A wicked gleam flittered over his amused expression. “I can put you to sleep with only a blink of my eyes, and then I can do whatever I want to you.”

I jerked back my elbow, making a fist along the way. As my hand flew closer to his face, his grin only grew wider…and the muscles in my arm stiffened completely, holding me in place before I ever reached his nose.

“I like your spirit,” he said, the words laden with excitement. “You will be my finest possession.”

I grated my teeth together so forcefully, I could have made powder. “Let me tell you something, Targon. I will never willingly give myself to you, and if you try and force me, I will carve you into little pieces and feed you to your people.”

His lips dipped into a pout. “It will not be force. You are my slave—”

“Itwill be force. Hunter is the only lover I desire.”

That angry spark lit once more in Devyn’s tawny gaze. “You are my property, and I will not allow you to think of another man.”

“I’ll think of him and desire him and long for him for the rest of my life,” I said, pricking his male pride. “Every time you touch me, I’ll pretend it’shim. Thathe’s the one giving me pleasure.”

Growling low in his throat, he shoved me off him and jumped to his feet. I jumped up, as well, my arm muscles released from his spell. We faced off.

“You are more than you seem, Raka,” he bit out, “and I admit I was beginning to like that. You have the courage of a warrior, but you are as foolish as every other woman, andthat I do not like. I am king here, and you will learn not to fan the flames of my anger.”

“Please,” I said then, desperate. How could I make him do what I wanted?

“Please what? Please touch you? Please be merciful?”

“Please send me home.”

A heavy pause erupted, our breathing the only sound. Then he grabbed my hand and tugged me down a wide, open hallway, as white and pure and mocking as a virgin’s bedsheets. At the far end was a bedroom, as open as the rest of the house and just as white. Pillows littered the floor, and a pool occupied the far end.

He tossed me onto the pillows. When my back hit, air whooshed from my lungs. I hopped up immediately, panting for breath.

“I told you not to ask to be returned again. And so, your training will begin now.” He crossed his arms over his chest.

“Training to do what?”

“Pleasure me, of course.”

Chapter 24

Devyn’s gaze remained locked with mine as he stripped out of his only clothing, the black kiltlike skirt. He posed before me wearing nothing more than a smug smile. His skin was pale. His dark hair hung around his shoulders in disarray. He made a striking picture, handsome and strong.

I wanted no part of him.

Unfortunately, he was determined to have every part of me.

My blood boiled at his arrogance and intentions, at his sheer selfishness, and I forced my energy to center. I would have to attack him; surprise would be my only avenue against this Targon. I drew in a deep, cleansing breath. Hold…hold…His attention deviated from me.

I was just about to pounce on him when I noticed the two naked alien women entering through the side doorway, one with thick, silky blue skin, the other with white skin—and five arms.

What was going on?

Devyn waved them over. “Come, ladies.”

The first, the pretty, pale-skinned blonde with too many arms, clapped and giggled. The second, the exotic azure one, licked her lips. Both possessed lean bodies and sculpted muscles.

“Watch us,” Devyn told me. “And learn.”

My mouth almost dropped in shock. He didn’t mean to rape me, but merely wanted me to watch how others pleased him? I shook my head, unsure I had heard him correctly.

“Do not think to leave, either, while I am distracted,” he said, admonishment ripe in his tone.

In the next instant, my knees buckled of their own accord and I fell onto the pillows. My muscles froze in place. I tried to fight against the paralysis, to no avail. Damn him.

The two women reached him, eagerly scratching their hands over his body and leaving amber welts in their path. The five-armed woman was able to cover a lot of ground. Not even trying to be gentle, they nipped at his chest with their teeth, drawing little beads of gold blood. They pinched his nipples and tightly squeezed and pumped his erection.

The Targon groaned with rapture. His eyes closed.

This is it,I thought.My only chance. I couldn’t move my body, but I could still move my spirit. I concentrated on a spot just beyond his shoulder, focusing my energy inward. I had to risk leaving my body vulnerable. This might be my only chance to find the necklace he’d used to send me here.