week's episode ended with
Max sneaking inside the ice cavern and Addy following. Find out what he's up to in today's episode.
An abducted cop and a gladiator prisoner must learn to trust each other with their lives…and their hearts…to escape their alien captors.
Catch up reading on CAPTIVE here for free: Chapter 1 Ch 2 Ch 3 Ch 4 Ch 5 Ch 6 Ch 7 Ch 8 Ch 9 Chs 10&11 Ch 12 Ch 13 Ch 14 Ch 15 Ch 16 Ch 17 Ch 18 Ch 19 Ch 20 Ch21 Ch22 Chs 23&24 Chs 25&26 Ch27 Ch28 Ch29
Keeping a stealthy distance so he couldn’t detect the dim lantern light or her footsteps crunching over the hard-packed snow, Addy tailed Max through a maze of twisting, narrow passages of Ice Mountain Caverns. When she turned the last corner, she saw Max nearing the rear entrance. Beyond the cave’s mouth, the moonslight glittered on a stark, snow-covered wilderness.
“Going somewhere?” she called, her voice echoing off the ice.
Max stopped but didn’t turn around. “Yes.” There was no hint of surprise in his voice. If he had known all along she’d been following him, he obviously didn’t care.
Addy rushed past him and turned so they stood toe to toe. “Without me?”
“So that’s why you wouldn’t tell me your plans. You knew all along you were going to ditch me.”
“You lying son of a bitch.” She aimed for his cheek, but he caught her wrist mid-swing.
“I never lied.” His hand was like a vice with pressure so great her bones nearly crushed beneath his gloved fingers. “I promised you two things. One, I’d help you escape. Two, I’d leave you behind if you slowed me down. I’ve kept my word.” He dropped her hand and strode past her into the liquid moonslight flooding the cavern’s mouth.
“You also said you wouldn’t hurt me.” She rubbed the pain from her wrist.
He stopped but again didn’t turn around. “Which is why you have to stay. You’ll be safe here.”
“Safe? Hiding in an ice village? Have you climbed this mountain? You can see a Hyborean spaceport from here.”
“Don’t you understand?” He turned on her. The light from the oil lamp reflected off his angry green eyes. “You can’t have this baby out there. You’ll both die. I can’t protect you.”
“You mean you won’t.” He didn’t want to have to protect her. He didn’t want her or their baby at all. She would have rubbed the tightness from her chest if it weren’t for his dark, angry eyes narrowing at her.
“And why should I?”
“Because I’m carrying your baby.”
“Hell, woman, you’re not on Earth, so stop thinking like a damn Earthling. I have no obligation to you.”
“Bullshit. I am the mother of your child.”
“Do you know how many women have carried my children? Do you think I’ve ever seen any of them again? Or the kids? I am a stud. A fucking animal, as you had said. I do my job, and I don’t get involved.”
“Wait a minute.” Addy stepped back. “This isn’t about me, is it? This is about you trying to forget who you are so you can make sense of this barbaric world. Only you can’t. Can you?”
He didn’t say anything. She didn’t give him the chance.
“In the breeding box when I asked you how many children you have, I saw the hurt in your eyes. You’re only lying to yourself by pretending you don’t give a crap. Tell me, does acting like a beast help ease your pain?”
He wouldn’t meet her gaze.
“I didn’t think so. Maybe because you’re not a beast. You’re a man.”
“I am a beast.” In one move, Max grabbed her by the arm and the neck and slammed her up against the cavern wall.
She dropped the lantern. The light extinguished.
“Do you know,” his voice came cold and rough, “that I feel no remorse when I kill?”
“Let go.” She gasped and clawed at his hand around her throat. Her heart pounded. Her head throbbed from colliding with ice.
“That I enjoy seeing a man take his last breath? Watching his life drain in my bare hands?”
Towering over her in all his gladiator power, his hand tightened around her arm, each finger digging into her flesh. Hot tears cooled her cheeks. Why was he doing this?
“A man doesn’t lust for killing. A beast does. A man has a job and a family and plays catch with his kids. A beast doesn’t. A man can control his primal urges,” he said in his husky breeding-box voice. “The beast in me can’t.”
His hand was off her neck and promptly squeezed her breast. Hot, fierce lips covered her mouth. A sudden leg sweep widened her stance, knocking her off balance until his hips pinned hers against the ice, pressing the baby between them.
Since that day in the shower, she’d imagined his hands on her body, his mouth on hers again, but never had she imagined his raw hunger. He unleashed his feral need, and her heart pounded, caught between fear and desire.
Her body had burned for his touch, but not like this.
He jerked his head back into the moonslight. Disgust lit his wild, green eyes. “I can’t control the beast.”
Unable to catch her breath in time to stop him, she watched Max’s silhouette stride into the frozen wasteland.
“You just did.” Her words fell on deaf ears. “For the second time.”
* * *
The arctic air chilled his burning cheeks as he trekked out into the vast emptiness. He could feel the daggers of hate she shot him penetrating his spine.
Don’t look back. The last few minutes replayed over and over in his mind until the memory burned itself there. He had to remember her fear. Remember her hate. Remember her eyes seeing him as a monster.
Because that was what he was.
And she needed to remember his brutality. She had called him a man, but she sure as hell knew better now.
Maybe there were times when he had tried to be human, but his animal instincts had always taken over. That was why he was better off alone.
That was why she was better off without him.
She’d never survive the journey to the equator, anyway. Though she hadn’t complained, he knew she’d been starving and was exhausted and in pain. He’d seen the way she held her swollen belly.
A blast of wind from the north pressed into his back. Taking advantage of the gust as he had done many times before, he adjusted his backpack and ran, Mother Nature pushing him over the packed snow.
Even if the damn woman managed to make the long trek to the ocean, what would she do when she got there? His plan was to hop on an iceberg, an ice floe, or driftwood and let the South Arctic Current take him to the Southland continent. There was no way in hell she could pop out a kid on an iceberg.
He’d rather she stayed in the safety of the village and hate his guts than risk their lives in the wilderness. If she’d left, neither she nor his baby could survive.
And he couldn’t survive in the Tuniit village. He was no damn provider. What did an ex-gladiator have to offer anyone? All he knew how to do was fight and mate. Hell, he’d probably murder the Hyboreans for all the suffering he’d had to endure. But even if he could control that urge, he’d wind up picking fights with the men and sleeping with the women.
One woman’s shapely body came to his mind. And that woman deserved a home and someone to love and look after her and his baby—the baby, he corrected himself. He couldn’t be that someone. He’d never stayed in one place since his abduction.
For him, home didn’t exist.
She’d be safe in the Tuniit village. Neither the Hyboreans nor the humans there would hurt her. They’d find her a husband, and no other man would ever touch her.
Never again would he feel the heat of her sleeping body curled against him as they huddled for warmth in their shelters. Never again would he watch her hands slip beneath her clothes to reapply thermal cream when she thought he wasn’t looking. Of course he’d been looking. He’d wished it had been his hands moving over her bare flesh, caressing her breasts, her hips, her firm ass.
He wanted to taste her mouth, to run his tongue down her body, to kiss her dark birthmark on the soft, sensitive flesh just inside her pelvic bone. Oh, to feel her squirm beneath him as he made her hot and wet and ready.
Legs turning over faster now and arms pumping harder, he sprinted until his chest burned from the cold air, taking comfort in the familiar ache of his muscles. The pain would not quell his lust.
He could still see her body writhing, could hear her begging him to fuck her, could see her gray eyes filled with wanton desire...
He hadn’t meant to hurt her, but he couldn’t stop himself. How he’d managed to not rip off her thermal suit and take her right there in the ice cavern, he didn’t know. Another minute and the beast would have consumed him. And he would have devoured her.
But now she was safe.
Poor Addy! Was scaring and leaving her at the Tuniit Village the best way to keep her safe? Max seemed to think so, but he isn't aware that Regan is on the hunt for them. Will Regan find Addy at the village and force her back to the Human Breeding and Research Center? Find out in next week in Chapters 31 & 32 or read the full story now for only $2.99 at your favorite retailers.