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"Excuse me?" Tereza tried to ignore the hard knot of fear in her stomach. "Let me out. Now. You have no right to keep me here."
"The Inquirers were looking for you last night. They talked to your crew, and one of them tried to follow me here."
"That Colonel Marr? He's a bastard, with all his damn notions of chivalry. He actually sent me flowers. I blew up my ship, and he sends me a damn bouquet of Terran roses." He did have one thing going for him. "He doesn't think I hurt my engines, though. That's why I'm not in prison. He's trying to prove me innocent. He said when this is over he could get me another engineering job."
"You think it's going to be that easy? He's only one man. A high-ranking one, sure, but it might not be enough. What do you know about him, anyway? Because what I know isn't pretty."
"It doesn't matter. It's not like I'm going to sleep with him." Where the hell did that thought come from? Marr would have been her type. Physically, at least, and he had a certain flair about him that was attractive. But she hadn't felt the least stirring of desire for him, painkillers notwithstanding. "And I don't know a damn thing about you, either. How do I know you're not dangerous?"
And why did the heat in her groin increase when she looked at this total stranger? She felt the unnerving desire to thread one of his dreadlocks around her finger, to tug his face close and kiss him. He seemed nice enough, but then again, so did Marr. Maybe it was because Lukha was different than most men she knew. He looked exotic with the beads in his hair, an effect that wouldn't have been condoned as part of a shipboard uniform. She liked them, but wondered if they hurt tosleep on. She caught herself watching his mouth, the full, dark lips that hopefully felt as soft as they looked.
The concern in his face tugged at her heart. "Believe me, I care a great deal about you, but I can't tell you why. Not yet." He grasped her hand in his, the grip warm despite the gloves. A little shiver ran through her body. Irrationally, she wished he would hold her. "I have no right to ask you to trust me, but I swear that I will allow no harm to come to you, and I will keep you safe from the Inquirers. They want to take you away for questioning; I can't allow that to happen."
Trust him. She didn't even know him, let alone what was going on here. "Tell me why you're doing this."
She jerked her hand away. "Then let me go, because I don't care what happens to me. I lost my ship. I don't know what the hell happened, but it was my fault. I missed something terribly, terribly wrong with my engines. I deserve whatever they're going to give me. So show me the damn door!"
She was trapped. Fear fought with desire. This entire situation was insane. Two men wanted her; both professed to be looking out for her best interests. One had her, and she couldn't look at him without wanting to strip him naked and press her bare skin against his.
"If you won't show me that door," Tereza said, barely keeping her voice level, "I'll show you this one." She stalked into the bedroom and palmed the door shut.
Calling after her was futile, he knew. Part of him wanted to follow her right in there, to pin her against the wall and make love to her to prove how much he cared.
The calm, rational side made him wait outside. She needed her privacy. If that's what it took to keep her here until the doctors arrived, then he'd give it to her.
But, oh gods, was it hard. So was his cock.
He sat wide-legged on the fuzzy green couch and stared at the tent in his pants. This wasn't right. She was business, only business, but the ache in his groin told him she was something more than that, too. He wanted her, more than he'd ever wanted another woman. Idly, he lifted the waistband over his erection and slid his pants all the way off, eager for relief and release. Spit in his gloved palms worked well enough for now. He fisted his cock, imagining it not between his hands, but between Tereza's warm thighs as her slickness surrounded him, took him in, and they spasmed together...
It wasn't enough. His craving grew worse with release nowhere in sight. With that realization, he knew, suddenly, why he'd been so damnably attracted to her. Liam had sex with her. A fierce, irrational anger overcame him. How dare he? Lukha knew his brother needed a place to hide the serum in case the ship was lost, but he'd seduced an innocent woman and convinced her to blow up the engines she cared about for his sake. Damn him.
Once his brother had left his mark, Tereza, too, would be driven to find the other piece of their relationship. Mating with Liam had altered her chemistry just enough that she couldn't be satisfied until she had Lukha, too. The slight alteration also affected Lukha--something about her attracted Lukha so that he couldn't get his lustful thoughts out of his mind until he'd slept with Tereza.
Even knowing that, he couldn't help going up to the bedroom door and putting his palms flat against it. What was she doing in there? It wasn't soundproof. Lukha thought he heard something. A faint moan or two, and a constant, wet sound.
Without meaning to, Lukha moved his hand over to push the entry button.
The door wasn't locked.