The reaction was immediate. All ten of the “workers” threw off their cloaks and charged him. The one closest to him, his newfound mate, leaped on top of him, taking him to the ground and knocking the gun from his hand. The man was much smaller than Nikolai, but the moment he touched him, Nikolai was flooded with dizzying sensations he’d never felt before, and he allowed himself to be taken down. His fangs and claws descended, not to hurt the man, but to lay claim to him. Nikolai had imprinted on the young man the minute he touched him and the unbreakable connection had been formed. Powerless now to hurt him, he could only lie back unresistingly and let the Jayronian do what he would with him.
The young man looked down at him in surprise when he made no move to fight back and laughed, showing strong, white teeth in a handsome face. Nikolai could only speak a smattering of Jayronian, but he was pretty sure the words he said were, “The wolf has no teeth!” He sat up, straddling Nikolai, and reached for a curved sword strapped to his back. As he pulled it out, Nikolai braced for imminent death, but instinctively grabbed the device he had tucked inside his pocket, jamming his finger down on the button. The hatch closed up almost instantly, trapping two of the attackers inside. The young man on top of him leaped to his feet in stunned surprise, banging on the closed door and shouting instructions to the men trapped within in some language that sounded like Jayronian. Nikolai was surprised—he’d thought they must be Rogers. Were the Jayronians, themselves, trying to steal his shipment?
In only minutes, the craft’s engines powered up and Kyle took the craft straight up in a rapid emergency ascent, as Nikolai knew he would. The device was a safeguard his cousin Larsson had developed a long time ago, to be used only in desperate situations like this one. It had set off alarms inside the ship that warned Kyle things had gone badly wrong. It was standard operating procedure for the hatch to automatically close, and all safety doors to slam shut and seal between the loading deck and the comm deck. Nikolai knew the men unfortunate enough to be inside would die quickly, deprived of the oxygen they needed to survive as the ship quickly left Jayron’s atmosphere. This was also standard operating procedure, to leave the area of the danger and achieve an orbit, unfortunately leaving behind any of the family trapped outside, in this case, Nikolai.
It wasn’t intended to be heartless or cruel, only practical, and all of the cousins knew what they were getting themselves into when they became Voyagers, an often dangerous, if lucrative job. Kyle wouldn’t have gone far, only into an orbit around the planet. Nikolai knew that Kyle would already be on the communicator notifying the lead alpha, his cousin, Lucas, back on Lycanus 3, of the situation. A rescue attempt would be made as quickly as possible, and in the meantime, Kyle would stay in orbit, trying to negotiate a release. Powerful demands would be made on the king of Jayron, both by his own Balanescu family and by the large, greatly feared home planet of Lycanus. Nikolai knew all this, but wondered if any of it would do him any good. He first had to stay alive long enough to be rescued.
The handsome young man whirled around to face him, sword still drawn and an angry, vicious look on his face. He glared down at Nikolai, who was still lying on his back on the dock. His face was contemptuous, and he yelled out something in the strangely musical language of the Jayronians. It was too rapid for Nikolai to understand and he shook his head. Impatiently, the man repeated himself in Earthonian, an Alliance language that had become a universal one throughout the galaxy. “Tell the pilot to come back now, or we’ll kill you!” Nikolai thought his accent was charming. In fact, everything about the young man was absolutely delicious.
Nikolai raised up on one elbow and shrugged, answering him in the same language. “I don’t have a communicator with me, and it wouldn’t do any good, even if I did. He has his orders, and we never give in to the demands of thieves and murderers…like you.” The young man’s eyes darkened, and he almost flinched at the words, looking offended. Nikolai felt a tug at his heart for insulting his mate and wished he could call back the words.
The seven men still on the dock with the young man all bristled and came forward with their swords upraised, but the man, obviously their leader, held up a hand and barked something at them that caused them to stop. Nikolai wondered who this young man was to command such instant obedience. He looked very young, maybe just barely out of his teens. The young man gazed down at Nikolai, a sneer on his lips. Nikolai wondered how those full lips would taste on his. He actually put out his tongue to lick his own lips in anticipation.
“Surely they would not leave one of their own to be executed.” He leaned over Nikolai, putting the curved blade at his throat, just nicking the skin there and drawing blood. Again the young man’s scent assailed Nikolai’s nostrils, and he sniffed the air. He was unable to resist a huge grin. The young man regarded him oddly and straightened up, pulling back the sword.
He wrinkled his brow. “What is so funny, Lycan? You think I will not kill you?” “I have no doubt that you would—you seem very fierce and brave.” Nikolai could hear the proud note in his voice and saw that the young Jayronian heard it too. His eyes narrowed, thinking perhaps that Nikolai mocked him. Nikolai was still having a problem wiping the smile off his face. Realizing he needed to start negotiating before his fiery little mate totally lost his temper, he leaned forward just a little and held out one hand in a conciliatory gesture. “My family will pay to get me back. I’m worth nothing to you dead. If you harm me, I can promise you they’ll hunt you down wherever you might try to hide.”
The Jayronian blew out a short, dismissive breath, but his eyes had sharpened at the idea of ransom. “And will they give me my men back as well?”
Nikolai shook his head. “Sorry, but they’re already dead. The alarm signal I sent to my brother closes all the hatches and cuts off oxygen to all decks except the command deck.”
A shocked and angry murmur swept through the men on the dock and several made quick moves toward Nikolai, but again, the young man beside him held up a warning hand and spoke a rapid phrase in his musical sounding language. Whatever he said stopped them in their tracks, and Nikolai was once more impressed with his command of the others, who were all older than the young man. Who was this little beauty? He was a good looking young man with the long, silky, navy blue hair common on Jayron and startlingly blue eyes. He was probably six or seven inches shorter than Nikolai, who was almost six-foot-five, and he had a slim, yet muscular build and lovely goldenbrown skin that made Nikolai ache to touch him.
“We will wait to see if your family will pay for your return. However,” he leaned in close, his sweet breath assailing Nikolai’s nostrils. He was probably trying to intimidate Nikolai, but only succeeded in making his cock thicken in his pants, “I can’t guarantee what condition they will find you in when you are returned.” His blue eyed gaze fixed on Nikolai and he looked him up and down contemptuously. “You will pay the price of my men with your own body, wolf, and when your family decides to pay your ransom, they may find I have tamed their wolf for them.” He straightened back up and looked down at him with a sneer. “Although you already seem pretty tame to me. The stories I’ve heard about your people must all be gross exaggerations, but then perhaps you are more of a cub than a wolf.”
He laughed and turned his back contemptuously, barking another order to his men, who came forward and roughly brought Nikolai to his feet, pulling his arms behind him and securing his wrists with rope. Nikolai felt his fangs sting his gums as they descended in response to the harsh treatment, and he forced them back up. He would pretend to be meek and docile for the moment. He knew he could easily take down all the men on the deck, but his mate would attack if he tried that, and he didn’t want to risk his safety. Until he had a clear avenue of escape, he would bide his time. His mate had assumed he was frightened when he’d jumped on top of him, so he would allow him to continue thinking that. It might lull them all into a false sense of security. If he displayed any of his real power, they would take extra measures to contain him, and he didn’t want that. For now, he would pretend, and allow them to think they had nothing to fear from him.
Once his hands were bound behind him, and his ankles had been hobbled with a short rope tying them together, his mate came back to him with a piece of black cloth in his hands, a hood that he thrust over Nikolai’s head. He bared his white teeth with slightly elongated incisors to Nikolai before the hood came down over his face. Nikolai smiled beneath the cloth, knowing his mate had intended to frighten and humiliate him. Nikolai was pushed roughly forward, and almost stumbled, if not for a strong hand on his arm, steadying him, preventing him from falling. He knew the touch immediately as his mate’s.
Ah, not quite as cruel as you would have me believe, are you, little one?
Pushed and shoved forward, Nikolai soon felt his mate’s hand urging him to step up onto what felt like the bumper of the truck. He was hauled up by several pairs of hands into what must have been the back of it. He fell onto a hard surface, not a seat, and some kind of door slammed behind him. Soon they were off, picking up speed and bouncing him around on the metal floor of the truck. Nikolai jammed his legs against the other side of the truck bed to keep from being tossed around and endured the trip as best as he could until they came to a halt some twenty minutes later. As they pulled him from the truck, he picked up the sounds and scents of many people around him before he was pulled into a cool interior.
The sounds there were muffled and distant, and he smelled strong incense in the air. His captors seemed to lead him a long way, possibly through long corridors in the building before he heard the sound of a door opening. He was pulled forward again and suddenly he was falling forward. With his hands tied behind his back, he braced for an impact with the floor, but instead hit what felt like a soft mattress on a bed, with his legs still hanging over the side. He tried to raise his head, but a firm hand on the back of his neck pushed him back down. He heard the musical sounds again of his mate speaking to someone behind him, and then suddenly his shirt was pushed up and a hand grabbed the waistband of his pants, giving them a sharp downward tug. Before he could even get out a startled exclamation, a needle pierced his skin, and he hissed in a surprised breath.