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.Instead he saw that look of outrage and disgust Kiri had given him last time they spoke, like he was the dirty pavement under her feet.‘She’ll always see you that way,’ whispered an insidious voice in his head.‘You’ll never be anything but a street rat to her, an outlaw ganger who does dirty deeds.You’d better look in the gutter for your own kind.’He broke the link, bringing himself back to the Z, surrounding him in dark, gleaming luxury.Fuck the voices from his past.He wasn’t just a ganger, he was the fucking lord of gangers.He could buy and sell city councilors; he could summon the fucking mayor if he felt so inclined.His people knew his worth.He saw once again the look on Scala’s face when she’d walked aboard the Z, wary but full of admiration, nearly awe, like it was the most luxe craft she’d ever boarded.And the way she looked at him, those beautiful eyes filled with mingled distrust and longing.She couldn’t fucking resist him, and knowing this filled him with a hot, surging triumph.And so what if she didn’t trust him? Hells, he could count on three fingers the beings he trusted.He respected a suspicious woman, especially one who could use the power of her sexy body to back that up.He scowled, as he pictured Scala sauntering away for good.The hells with that.He’d keep her around.She just needed to learn her place with him, that was all.Not as his lady, but.ah, he didn’t know.Part of his coterie.An important part.He remembered how she’d smiled at Darry as he, Tal, fucked her against a wall.How she’d kissed Trix with unselfconscious enjoyment.And when he pictured her in his arms while Trix and Darry came naked into the room and asked to be included, he could see her looking up at him and smiling, that naughty twinkle in her eyes that said ‘Now we’re gonna have some fun’.Damn it to all seven hells, no! She was the wrong woman.He scowled impatiently and broke the link, scrubbing his hands over his face.Fuck it, he was tired, that was all.He had a tough, canny crew and more firepower than most IGSF fighters, should they have need.He’d complete this mission and show her his worth, and then the infuriating woman would look at him in a new light.Kiri, he meant Kiri.Fuck, he needed sleep.* * *Scala stood at the turn of the passageway into the Z’s galley, her feet stuck to the floor like stones.She did not want to face Tal and his.lovers.Every time she pictured the three of them holding each other, the same pangs of anger, envy and loneliness snarled in her chest.“You’re only here for a few more days,” she told herself.And nights, a sly voice murmured.She shoved it down.Didn’t matter what he’d offered, she couldn’t accept.Taking a deep breath, she stepped around the corner.The voices she’d heard when she stepped out of her cubby quieted.Trix and Darry looked up from their breakfasts to study her.Dalg kept shoveling food in his mouth.“Morning,” she said, avoiding all their gazes.Tal leaned against the counter beside the coffee maker, a steaming mug in his hands.She chose a mug and turned to fill it, refusing to react to the prickling electricity of his nearness, the warm brush of his shoulder on hers.“Sleep well?” he asked in her ear.She hunched her shoulder, shivering as one of his silky braids caressed her cheek.Were the damn things alive, for goddess’ sake?“No.Which is why I need caffeine.” She watched her mug fill with dark, steaming brew, then pressed the button to add soy creamer.Taking a long drink, she nearly groaned with gratitude at the strength of the brew.“What’s on for today?” she asked.When he didn’t answer, she looked up at him over her mug.He was examining her, a look in his eyes that sent a frisson of alarm down her spine.Possessive, analytical.Like she was a weapon or a vehicle that wasn’t performing well and needed work.He took a drink of his own coffee and gave her a limpid look over the rim.At least he didn’t seem to be carrying a grudge, although with him, who could tell? And why should he anyway, when he’d promptly slid into bed with two willing bodies, while she’d slept alone, only her pride for comfort.“Today you earn your keep,” he told her.She took another drink of scalding coffee, wishing it contained a shot of something stronger.“As long as I get to do it with my clothes on.”Tal smiled.“In a manner of speaking.”Oh, hells.That didn’t sound good.But it seemed he was done tormenting her.“First,” he said, straightening to pace across the galley with restless energy.“We need to find out which of these places the Serp is holed up in—if any.Since you’re a native, we’re gonna send you in.”She shrugged.“Just ask around?”“No, I picked out a cover for you [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]