Read an Excerpt
The Summin fem-beast was more resourceful than Galen had expected. Instead of charging downhill in the futile hope of outrunning him, as others of her kind had done, she'd headed toward the rocks. Smart. Although she risked falling on the uneven ground, it also made maneuvering his space cycle around the boulders damn difficult. Someone with less experience on foreign planets might have given up the pursuit. A brief, cold smile flitted across his face. He wanted this one. After all the time he and the others had spent securing their environment, finally the day for reward had arrived!
Galen bent low over his sun-powered, two-wheeled machine, the engine's power vibrating through his body, and took off after her. He felt alive! Free, for now, from the work, pressure, and politics, to say nothing of the insistent question about his life's meaning. Blood surged hot through him.
Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a fellow colonizer closing in on another fem-beast. Unlike the one he'd chosen, the other creature lumbered along. She kept looking behind her while she sobbed. What easy prey she was! No challenge, no sense of a job well-done.
Galen returned his attention to the creature he tracked and noted her long, strong legs and the loose, nearly white hair that streamed behind her as she ran. He gave her credit, she ran with purpose and pride, almost as if she relished the opportunity to pit herself against the enemy. But before he made the mistake of granting her human intellect, he reminded himself that, although she looked human, she was nothing more than a beast.
An animal intent on escaping.
Stretching out over his machine, he debatedcapturing her before she reached the rocks. Much as he wanted to get his hands on her, though, he was content watching her smooth, loping stride as she tried to outrun him. The simple garment she wore, made from what looked like woven grasses, barely covered her ass. Although barefoot, the fem-beast gave no sign that the hard ground caused her pain. Quite the contrary; she ran as if she'd been born to run, as if there was nothing she loved more or would rather do, the fear of him and his pursuit having been pushed aside while she reveled in the challenge of escape.
To be that free--
Teeth clenched, he shook off the inane thought. No way could he possibly envy a simple creature. After six years of service spent on as many planets, he'd learned that life-forms came in all shapes, some nightmare-producing, while others, like now, tightened his cock.
Did this one have a cunt? Were her kind truly clones of Earth's females?
Driven by the need to know the answers to his questions, he pushed his cycle to a dangerous speed. Then, holding on with one hand, he reached into the open pouch behind him and pulled out a snake rope. Because it could wrap itself around whatever it came in contact with, it was perfect for safely bringing down a foe.
Straightening, Galen launched the solar-powered snake. The guidance mechanism inside the snake rope, and his considerable experience using it, sent it unerringly toward the fem-beast's ankles.
There! He watched as it latched onto first one slender ankle, then reached for the other, looped itself around that ankle as well, and pulled the creature's legs together. She fell to the ground. Hard. He expected her to scream out in panic or pain. Instead, she surprised him and grabbed at her bonds. The snake's free end instantly extended toward her hand, much as a snake's tongue would. Before it could entangle her hand, however, the fem-beast jerked back. The snake finished the job it had been designed for, circling her legs nearly to her knees, until they were hidden beneath a layer of rope.
The fem-beast slapped at her bonds, tried to pull or tug them off, even went so far as to drag herself on the ground. Impressed by her determination and unexpected calm--he'd expected fighting, cursing, spitting--he studied her. The longer he looked at her, the more convinced he became that she could pass for human. Physically, at least. Too bad preliminary research back on Earth had indicated her brain wasn't as advanced as her body.
Galen got off his cycle, not even bothering to glance and see if it self-corrected so it wouldn't tip over, and walked closer, then stopped a few paces away. She was smaller than he'd originally thought and probably didn't weigh much over one hundred pounds. He frowned. Strange. Given her kind's primitive existence, one would think nature would have made them more substantial, so they could withstand the rigors of this rough planet. He shook his head. Yet, he always learned something new about the universe and the infinite variety of life-forms that existed, many of which totally disproved one's assumptions.
At the moment, looking at the very feminine body before him, he could think of only one other thing he'd rather be doing.
A high-pitched, distant scream distracted him from the too-familiar longing for something he could never have. Although he couldn't see what was going on, he didn't need to. One of his companions had brought down his own prey.
"That's your fate," he told her, even though he suspected his pale-haired captive was incapable of comprehending speech. "Until I grow bored with you, you belong to me."
For the first time since she'd fallen, the fem-beast looked up at him. The intensity of her gaze gave off an energy that slid down his middle and settled in his groin. As the connection continued, he acknowledged that today wasn't going to be just a simple matter of learning what he could about one of the lesser beings that lived on this section of Planet 8361X.
If she proved to be more female--he hesitated--human than beast, he'd take advantage of her sexually.
Why not? There was no one to stop him.
Not taking his eyes off his captive--her striking, sky blue eyes held him enthralled--he returned to his cycle and dug in the well-supplied pouch for another rope. This one was much simpler than the snake and required effort from him, something he relished. It gave him a chance to be up close and personal with the fem-beast. Conditioned by years of being in unfamiliar and sometimes hostile territory, as well as around said hostile life-forms, he approached her one cautious step at a time. He watched her upper body tense and her hands clench as he approached, saw how her body tautened like a bowstring as he drew nearer. Interesting. No matter how advanced Earth had become in its twenty-four centuries of civilized existence, there were times when instinct played a greater role than technology. Even this little fem-beast displayed the fight-or-flight instinct. She might not be able to stand, but that didn't mean she'd given up the fight. As her stiff posture showed, far from it.
"You'd like to kill me, wouldn't you? Slit my throat and applaud while I bleed to death."
As he slowly circled her, she dragged her body around in her own circle, keeping careful watch of his movements, her large eyes reminding him of a beast of prey, vanquished, but not broken. Her mouth was parted, and he heard her quick, uneven breathing. She was alarmed all right, but doing her best not to let it show.
Not a skill a beast would use.
"What's under that garment of yours? Maybe you're armed."
Something in her expression made him wonder if she understood him after all. Relying on a speech chip implanted in his brain, he'd spoken in 8361X's base language. Maybe the Afras he and his fellow colonizers had identified as X's dominant species had lied about the Summins's primitive nature. Either that, or--was it possible the Summins kept their intellect hidden?
Nah. Everything they'd seen so far led him to believe they were simple creatures.
The fem-beast's short-sleeved covering was loose enough that she could easily hide something next to her body. With the low neckline and high hem, she had two ways of reaching a weapon. He snorted. Not like he'd give her a chance in hell.
Damn, but he loved a challenge. Needed one.
Halfway through his second circle around the slight form, he dropped to his knees beside her. Not giving her time to react, he grabbed her shoulders and flipped her over so that she lay on her belly. Hissing, she fought with such strength he was forced to plant his elbow against the back of her neck and press down to hold her in place. She bucked under him, her hand reaching ... not for him, but the bottom of her garment. He grabbed her elbow and yanked that arm behind her back. Only then did he release the pressure on her neck. He quickly straddled her and settled most of his weight on her buttocks. The instant he sat, his cock took notice.
With both hands now free, he had little difficulty wrestling her other arm behind her back as well, but every time he tried to loop the rope around a wrist, she managed to pull free. He slid forward onto his knees so that he straddled her waist, his weight on his knees, then forced her hands between their bodies. She tried to see what he was doing as he looped the rope around both her elbows and pulled them together. There. She wasn't going anywhere.
He felt a shiver run through her body. Did she just now feel the danger and panic over a stranger tying her up? Breathing heavily, Galen circled her elbows twice more and tied the rope off. Her arms nearly touched behind her. He'd left her hands free, but they were essentially useless.
Leaning back, he studied his handiwork and the creature he'd subdued. Her muscles were still taut. At the same time, her entire body trembled. A sense of power he'd seldom experienced filled him. For the first time in years, he understood what it meant to be in control.
"I've never tamed a wild animal," he said, sounding breathless to his own ears. "But I'm going to do that to you. Train and ride you."