Eok Warriors, book 1
A desperate woman.
A warrior whose craving knows no bounds.
A passion that will change the fate of humanity.
In a world where humanity has been hunted to near extinction, Rose is captured and on her way to be sold on the lucrative black market. Seizing her only chance, she escapes and finds fate waiting for her in the form of another captive of terrifying strength: a legendary Eok warrior.
Together, Rose and the Eok warrior Karian will fight for their survival – and ultimately for the fate of the entire human race. During that fight, a dangerous attraction is born.
Karian, the unyielding Commander in Chief of the Eok armies, feels his control fading a little more every time he looks at the fragile but headstrong human. Soon, the call to make her his mate torments his body, turning his desires into an imperious craving. She seems to want him, too, but she has no idea of the consequences for her should he claim her.
Will Rose accept him as her bloodmate and seal both their destinies, before everything is lost?
The screech of an impact filled her ears, making them ring painfully. The sound rippled through the fog in her brain and reached her bones. Rose’s eyes snapped open but the world refused to come into focus, swirling around like life in the eye of a tornado. Some remote part of her brain understood she was in the pod and that it was tumbling down as it hit the ground. Another sound soon joined the clanking of metal, and it took the burning in her throat for Rose to understand she was screaming. As if on cue, the coppery taste of blood filled her mouth as she bit her tongue, and pain joined fear in the chaos of her mind.
The only light came from the small round window, filling the tiny habitat of the pod with streaks of dusty orange rays. Strong arms held her firmly in her seat, preventing her head from banging against her chest and hurting her neck. It was strangely reassuring, even if she didn’t know the man who was holding her.
His male smell permeated her panic: musky, deep and good. It soothed her, but not enough to stop the flow of the scream that scorched her throat. She used all the air from her lungs, pausing only to gulp more air, and screamed again until everything was spent. Gravity shifted, blurring her mind and making her lose all her bearings as the pod rolled wildly on the hard surface of the unknown planet.
For an endless time, there was nothing but the merciless movement of the pod and the stranger’s grip, his voice hushing calming sounds into her ear like she was some kind of skittish wild animal.
A final, deafening blow invaded the pod, filling it with sounds and light, and her eyes shut in reflex. Air exploded on her face, heating her cheeks with abrasive dust. A sharp pain shot through her forehead and warm liquid poured over her cheeks, entering her open mouth and adding to the coppery taste that was already threatening to make her throw up.
As suddenly as the violence began, it stopped. Everything went eerily still. The world was an unmoving pit of darkness, the only sound the stranger’s breath against her ear, calm and strong.
Her head hurt from the cut on her forehead and her throat was raw from screaming, but other than that, there was no pain. She allowed herself a few more breaths, then the soft brush of the wind on her face pried her eyes open. The stranger’s hands pulled away.
Rose blinked furiously, trying to force her retinas to accept the sudden change in luminosity. After a few moments, her eyes adjusted enough to let her see the inside of the pod through the dust-filled air. There was a large gash in the opposite side, where the impact had ripped the metal open. It was a miracle they were still alive, even more so unharmed. If she hadn’t buckled herself in in time… The thought made her shiver with horror. The stranger had saved her life twice over.
The stranger. She felt his hot breath on her nape.
“Are you okay?” His male voice again, deep and calm, vibrating down deep inside her. Then, with discernible alarm, “You’re bleeding.”
“It’s nothing.” Rose reached and patted at the small cut on her forehead. “A scratch.”
She turned to face him, with all intentions to thank him like she’d never thanked anyone before. Her words stumbled on each other and were lost before they escaped her lips.
The first things her eyes focused on were the bars. A cage. The stranger, her savior, stared from the other side, his shining bright blue irises fixed on her like on prey. His appearance struck her across the brain like a blow.
He was completely bald, and his ear-less head was smooth and round. The features on his face were sharp and angular, with prominent cheekbones and brows, accentuated by a straight nose marred by three ridges. His was a sensuous face, direct and challenging, the face of a man used to the reaction of others to his superior strength. His mouth was stretched in a superior smile, and Rose’s eyes caught on his full, fleshy lips, parted to show a row of pearly white teeth. And fangs. He had two long, sharp fangs where humans had merely harmless canines. His midnight blue skin shimmered in the dusty light, and as the air cleared progressively, so did the fog in Rose’s head.
Her eyes traveled across the landscape of tiny scars marking his skin in a regular pattern over his cheeks, forehead, and along his jaw. He wore pants, but no shirt, and his exposed torso was a tangle of lean muscles, bulging with strength going down to his waist. He was a fine man, with power and raw testosterone leaking from every pore of his being. Supremely masculine, attractive to no end, and definitively not human.
Oh, my God.
She knew what he was.
“You’re Eok.” The words stumbled from her lips in a whisper, as if she spoke them any louder, they would bite her tongue.
“And you’re human.” His eyes traveled up and down her body in a slow assessment. “A pretty sight, and a surprising one too.”
Rose stared at the formidable creature and had never been more grateful for a cage in her life. Eoks were the most feared warrior nation in the Ring—and beyond. Monsters, that was what they were. Killers, merciless and cold-blooded, leaving entire towns empty of life wherever they set foot.
Too close, she was way too close to him. She scrambled to undo the belts holding her in place in the seat and fell down on the ground on all fours as the restraints clicked free. In a few ungraceful steps, she was far enough that her racing mind was able to formulate a rational thought. Slowly, Rose turned to face her companion again.
The Eok stood there, boldly intimidating. His long, well-muscled arms were folded across his torso as he watched her with unruffled calm.
Her cheeks burned with sudden shame at her brutal and somewhat childish reaction. Rose wiped her palms on her pants, taking a few seconds to collect her thoughts before scrambling to her feet, her dignity heavily battered. She had reacted like a scared little girl, not exactly what she wanted to project. She couldn’t afford to show weakness, not ever. Not to him. Again, Rose lifted her gaze and studied the Eok.
He was wearing pants made from the same material as Rose’s tunic and pants. He was a slave, then, like her. That was reassuring because if he was a slave, the cage had been built for his spectacular strength and it would contain him. The insidious possibility of the cage being compromised by the impact crawled under her skin, but she pushed it away. If the Eok ever got out of that cage, she was as good as dead—at least, if she trusted the Eok stories.
Rose stared blankly at the Eok, trying her best to hide the undercurrent of terror that still crawled under her skin. Weakness made her angry and she welcomed the familiar feeling, hoping it would quench her impulse to run away screaming.
“Scared of me, are you?” The Eok’s lips twisted upward in an arrogant smile.
“You’re the one in a cage.” Rose crossed her arms on her chest, and wished she could smack the smirk from his lethal, handsome face. “Maybe you’re the one who should be scared of me.”
“Oh, I’m terrified.” His smile widened, and damn her if she didn’t feel a stirring in her stomach. And maybe lower, too. “Pretty Things like you are creatures of nightmares.”
Rose snorted and chose not to answer. Pointedly ignoring him, she tore her eyes away from the Eok and stared at the blazing sunshine that poured inside the pod from the impact point. She had other things to do that were way more important than arguing with him.
“Do you know where we are?”
“No idea.” He shrugged, and the muscles on his chest rippled with strength. “They kept me in this cage for a long, long time. I have no idea what part of the Ring we were in when your charming feet stepped into my prison.”
Her mind ran wild with the information. He was locked up in that seven by seven feet cage, alone and in the dark. There was no way to know what a long, long time meant, but by the way he said it, she knew it was long enough that she would have gone mad by now. Her heart broke for him, to think what torture it was for a force of nature such as him to be trapped inside the confines of a cage. A single week of the cell in the Cattelan’s ship and she had been ready to rip someone’s throat out.
He must want out so badly it hurts.
Rose swallowed, breaking her dangerous train of thought. She didn’t have time to think about the Eok’s feelings.
“Are the Cattelans going to be able to find us? Will they even try?” She hated the uncertainty in her tone but she couldn’t help it.
“The pod was programmed to go to the nearest planet capable of sustaining life.” The Eok spoke calmly, but his blazing gaze never left her. “As for locating the pod, the slavers are scanning every nearby planet as we speak. They’re not going to let their ticket to ten lifetimes of riches get away without a thorough search. They will find us, sooner or later. Sooner, probably.”
“We’re screwed, then.” Her shoulders slumped. “I’m not getting caught again. Not alive.”
“There’s another way.” The Eok leaned against the cage, his muscular forearms resting between the bars. “I can disable the locating chip inside the pod. It won’t mean they’re not already on our trail, but it’s a start. No signal, no locating the pod.”
“Okay, sounds like a plan.” Rose tried not to sound too eager. She couldn’t have him thinking she needed him, even if she undoubtedly did. “What do I need to do?”
“You’re not doing anything.” The Eok lifted his chin. “You’re going to help me get out, and I’ll disable the signal.”
“Like hell you are.” She chuckled. How stupid did he think she was? “Nice try, but you’re going to stay right where you are. Tell me what to do.”
“There’s no way they trained you on micro-computronics.” His smile turned feral, all the warmth drained from his expression. “Guiding you will take too long, we don’t have that kind of time.”
“I wouldn’t even know where to begin to open that cage.” Rose opened her arms and lifted her brows. “You have no choice but to tell me what to do.”
“Get out. Bring me a rock.” The words were sharp and unyielding. It wasn’t a request, it was an order. “I’ll take care of the rest.”
“Fat chance.” Rose shook her head and forced herself to sustain Karian’s smoldering glare. “I’m not letting you out.”
“You need me.” His brows set in a straight line, and his eyes reduced to fiery slits.
“And you’re on the wrong side of those bars. Guess you don’t have all the leverage after all.”
“You’re feisty. I like that.”
The Eok’s smile stretched, but turned cold and deadly, revealing a perfect row of sparkling white teeth with two sharp, elongated canines. A shiver of fear skittered across her backbone. She had an inkling he knew exactly what he was doing, exposing his fangs like that. And even if she hated admitting it, it worked pretty well.
“What’s your name, Pretty Thing?”
“My name’s Rose, not Pretty Thing.” She carefully stepped over some shrapnel and turned to the caged Eok. He was still leaning on the bars, his alien eyes unreadable. “What’s yours?”
“Karian, son of Enlon, of the Erynian tribe.”
“Well, Karian, son of Enlon, consider yourself my prisoner.”
With one last look at the Eok warrior, Rose turned and walked outside the pod.