"I want to see your face." Shasta Pasquel begging? Well, he did that to her. How often had he brought her pleasure? So many times.
"When you really want to see me, you will," he said simply. His voice was so deep and low, almost a feral growl. Stars, she loved his voice.
His lips pressed along her spine and traveled toward her shoulder. The trees shaded them, the grass soft, the light muted. She loved this place, and this was where she and her dream lover always made love.
How odd that she would call it that. Even as his tongue swept over her skin, his fingers gentle and teasing, she wondered why it was so different here. Men in her real life barely touched her soul. They gave her release, but no satisfaction. But the lover she dreamed was perfect, always passionate, never judgmental or selfish.
His hands warmed Shasta's breasts, and his short gasp skimmed her neck. Torn between the desire to see his face and maintaining the erotic position they were in, she reached back and threaded her fingers through his hair. She'd only ever caught a blurred shadow, and it didn't matter. He was a dream, a fantasy all her own, the only being in the universe that made her feel safe. She arched, rubbed her curves along his thighs, and reveled in the way his breath caught.
Heat flooded her system, and she shuddered when his hand slid down her belly to her clit. She squirmed, desperate to be closer. She needed this so much, pleasure to take away the strain of responsibility, the stress of being a daughter of Adonis Pasquel.
"Please, touch me," she demanded.
"Where, bilana? Where do you want my fingers?" His lips pressed along her throat.
She didn't know what a bilana was. He often called her that in the same dark, needy voice. She sobbed, a small sound of desperation that slipped from her lips. "You know where." They'd dreamed together many times. He was her match, the key to her lock. No one in real life had been able to reach inside her the way this man did. And she didn't even know his name. Maybe he didn't have one. "Why do you torture me like this?" She thrust against his hand.
"Because I can. Because you're a dream, something I created in my mind."
She was going to remind him that he was her dream, but his fingers sought her erect nub and flicked it with such precision that she froze. It made her forget all the horrors in her waking life, these erotic dreams. Sweet release was only a few touches away and--
Alarms blared, and Shasta jerked awake. Shit. For a moment, she didn't know where she was.
"Asberek Code Level Five. All available colonists report to Med Center. Asberek Code Level Five. All available colonists report to Med Center."
Adrenaline shot through her veins. Another attack. Another group of wounded. Her feet hit the floor, and she headed out the door of her quarters. She lived a short distance from the new shuttle bay that was now the Med Center on Asberek. Several other colonists joined her on the wide boulevard that ran down the middle of the small city.
The Med Center was frantically busy when Shasta pushed through the doors. People scurried, fear thick in the air. She strode to the bay entrance where the incoming wounded were pouring in. Right at the rear of the building was a huge shuttle bay where transports were landing in large numbers to drop off wounded. Shasta had been working there now for a month. It was brutal, heart-wrenching work.
"Look out!" someone shouted just before a shuttle careened into the bay. The metal hull scraped the solid walls of the crowded bay entrance. One of the doors popped open, and a Dormrelian warrior staggered out, his face melting before Shasta's horrified gaze. She rushed across the bay and catapulted over several dead bodies that littered the ground.
She reached the warrior just as his left leg disintegrated out from under him. When she caught his arm, his four eyes focused on her and his scales slid off his skull. Vomit rose in her throat. He tried to talk but only a choked sound escaped.
It didn't matter that the Dormrela scared the shit out of her. It didn't matter that they were four-armed, four-eyed aliens that had tried to kill her father, the famous Donny Pasquel. They were dying for Asberek again and again.
The warrior's body completely fell apart and liquefied before she had a chance to do anything. She stared at what was left. Armor stained by greenish red blood. She wanted to scream. Instead, she rose to her feet and walked to a disinfectant and cleaned her hands.
When would it end? Earth Central was determined to crush Asberek. The war had only just started and thousands had died, mostly Dormrelians. The last few days, Shasta had given her blood too many times and her sister had gotten furious with her. But their blood was the only thing that could counteract the biological warfare Earth Central used to destroy the Dormrela.
She glanced across the Med Center. Kinley should be here somewhere, though she cared for the human patients. Considering that she and Shasta had been kidnapped by the Dormrela when they were children, neither of them should have had to care for the bastards. But Shasta had little memory of the momentous event, whereas Kinley apparently remembered every detail of their seventy-two hour ordeal and hated them with a passion. The only aliens she hated worse were the Ang.
One of the Asberekian soldiers gave her a curious glance when he limped by. Well, Shasta was a curiosity. Her DNA was special, a miracle agent that could heal. Of course, there had to be something left to heal.
A shuttle landed, and a Dormrelian warrior ducked when he jumped off the descending door. His gaze was frantic, determined. When his stare focused on her, she couldn't breathe. He sprinted toward her and grabbed her arm. "You have to save him. You."
He wasn't wearing a Mechanical Interpreter, but spoke her language perfectly. She tried to free her arm. "Let me go." God, she hated their arrogance, their warrior mentality. She also hated that her height and strength made no impression on this asshole at all. There was an edge of panic to her resistance she tried to squash.
"Now. Save him," he ground out.
He dragged her into the shuttle, and she tried to shut out the vision. Puddles of green gelatinous material coated the floor. How many had died? Ten? Twenty? Her captor led her to a warrior who was still somewhat intact. She cupped her hand behind her neck and closed her eyes for a moment, the pain in her head beginning again. At least this warrior was in better shape than the last one she'd tried to save.
She glanced around the shuttle. It was a Dormrelian transport so the med kit should be--there it was. She grabbed the kit and jerked a needle out. Without a thought, she jammed the needle deep inside her vein. Two seconds later, she took the now filled tube and placed it in another needle. Practice made it easier, but nerves made her hands tremble. Add to it that she had given too many injections and she had to focus to keep her vision clear. The throb in her head increased, and she noted her hand shook. Damn it, she had to be steady.
The Dormrela had a vessel in their neck that transported blood quickly so she inserted the needle into the warrior's throat. Her DNA, wrapped in unique cells, was some kind of bonding agent. It contained the cellular structure from three different races, all descended from one mysterious race from millions of years ago. Nobody knew how the hell it worked. They just knew it did. Would it save this warrior? She didn't know.
The man who'd dragged her into the shuttle spoke in Dormrela behind her. She didn't know what he was saying, but it sounded encouraging. At least it wasn't angry and frantic as his orders to her had been.
She watched the Dormrelian, hoping he'd live. How strange was that? Only a few weeks ago, the Dormrela had been the enemy, an alien force that interfered in Asberek's existence. But after she'd been requested, ordered really, to care for the wounded Dormrelian warriors who fought side by side with the colonists, she'd come to respect their courage.
Damn. She fingered her throat, realizing she'd forgotten her Mechanical Interpreter again. When was she going to learn? The Dormrela were an isolated bunch, and most of them didn't speak Standard. She glanced at him. "Can you understand me?"
He glared at her. "Of course. Haven't I spoken to you in your language already?"
Shasta sighed. Stars, these assholes were sensitive. "I need you to carry him to a bed. Can you do that?"
He hesitated. "Will it hurt him?"
"He's not feeling anything at the moment. If he lives, he won't give a shit that you carried him." He picked up the huge body with his four arms. She rose and strode toward the exit, trying to ignore the smell of death that filled the shuttle.
The bay echoed with noise and confusion, but Shasta led the Dormrelian warrior and his burden through the maze of corridors to a diagnostic room.
Though unconscious, the soldier would likely be fine now that he'd been injected with her DNA. She was a bit woozy, but it was all part of her job. Depressed, she realized she wasn't much use for anything else. Her DNA and being Adonis Pasquel's daughter were the only worth she had to the colony.
Before Earth Central tried to whip Asberek in line and reclaim the colony as their own, she'd been a party girl, useless, a fucking boil on the ass of society. Her sister, Sierra, had stepped up to cement the treaty that now saved the colony from destruction, not Shasta. In fact, Shasta's words when her father had asked that one of them save the colony by mating with a Dormrelian ambassador had been...regrettable.
"In here," she said to the tall warrior.
The Dormrelian laid his friend on the small bed and stepped back. Shasta grabbed a med kit and checked the prone alien's vitals. Weird how different they were. Higher levels of everything and thicker linings had thrown the human med workers at first, but now it was old hat. She checked his upper eyes which were better indicators of blood flow and used a laser light to peer at the vessels behind the sclera. "He's fine," she said, and clicked the scanner and the laser light off. "He'll wake up in an hour or so."
She was pretty dizzy. She'd extracted her blood too fast and probably given the alien more than he needed. Plus, she hadn't been a hundred percent when she arrived so she wasn't surprised to feel nauseous.
"You're one of the Pasquel women," the warrior said.
It almost sounded like an insult. She tipped her chin up and met his gaze. "Yes. That's why your friend is still alive." Take that, bastard. She glared at him.
His nostrils flared. "Which one?"
"What difference does it make?" she said wearily. "The results are the same." She started to leave the room and noticed that the man had a huge gash in his belly. The material of his uniform had been ripped away, and the scales were sliced open. "You're wounded. Why didn't you tell me?"
"Don't touch--" he started, but she'd already put her hand on his stomach, determined to discover how deep the wound was.
The room spun.
The gelatinous figure loomed over him. "Leave me alone," he said. He was a little child, too small to fight them. "Go away."
"Give us your arm. You won't be harmed."
"No!" He shouted and kicked. The figure had tentacles, long arms that gripped him and squeezed him tightly. "Mommy!" he shouted, but the still form of his mother lay motionless, her four eyes open wide and unseeing. "You killed my mommy. Let me go!"
The door burst open, and a small Dormrelian child pointed. "There! Stop them, Daddy!" A huge Dormrelian male aimed a weapon at the shivering form that gripped him.
"Let the boy go, you fucking pile of shit!" the male Dormrelian yelled.
The figure released him, and he collapsed beside his dead, bleeding mother. He shook her. He knew it wasn't any use, but he couldn't believe she was dead. "Mommy."
His friend was there, trying to pull him away. "She's gone, Andev. Come away."
The adult Dormrelian was on the com. "Another Ang attack. They killed the females and tried to take the children."
"Get the fuck out of my head," the Dormrelian warrior snapped.
Shasta snatched her hand away and reeled back. "I didn't mean to. I was trying to--"
He glared at her. "You're an Ang."
"No! I'm not," she protested, her hands raised to protect herself from him. The violence in him was potent and strong. She flinched when he lifted a hand. "I don't know what happened."
She hadn't realized she'd fallen to the floor until another med tech rushed to her. "Shasta!" It was her sister, Kinley. "Are you okay? Stars, you're white. Did you give another DNA injection? Damn it. I told you to use the synthesizer."
Her sister lifted her by the arm. The Dormrelian warrior had retreated to the corner, his dark eyes narrowed. Shasta shook her sister off. "I'm fine, Kinley."
But she wasn't. What the fuck had happened? She'd touched that man and had seen his past from when he was a child. She knew it was him, and she knew the friend who had rescued him, who pulled him away from his dead mother was now lying on the bed. She met his stare.
The room closed in, and she wanted out. It was too much, too overwhelming. She whirled around and practically ran from the room. Her sister called after her, but she didn't turn around. She needed to get away from him and ignore the feeling that something irrevocable had just happened.
It couldn't be her. Andev watched her leave the room and gritted his teeth. Shasta Pasquel, party girl, little DNA miracle, was the woman he'd dreamed about, the woman who haunted him past and present.
The other woman glared at him, but he didn't say a word. If Shasta Pasquel could get into his head like that then so could her sister. The last thing he needed was these two women in his brain. Secrets were hard enough to keep.
"Your entire ship was gassed. You and your friend are the only ones who lived," the woman stated.
He didn't move a muscle. "I know that," he said. Hell, he'd watched them all die, helpless to stop it. And when Tylan was dying, all he could think was to find someone to save his friend.
Shasta Pasquel had saved him. Damn her. Andev had known the minute she touched his mind who she was and what she was. She was the woman he'd dreamed about, the woman he'd made love to but never seen before today. She was the woman he'd known was like him. Human.
His cysuit gave him the appearance of a Dormrelian warrior, but had been damaged, opened at below his ribs. When she had touched him, her fingers brushed his real skin, and she'd rampaged through his thoughts like a geffer, like an Ang. He clenched his fists.
The other woman, what was her name? Kinley. Kinley Pasquel. She stepped closer to him. "How is that possible?" Those sharp blue eyes narrowed on his face.
"I was lucky. They were not." And they hadn't been wearing what he was wearing. If Andev hadn't covered Tylan with his body, his friend would be a pile of liquid fluid on the floor of that fucking shuttle.
"What did you do to my sister?" The woman was persistent. He curled his lip in a sneer. These women had it so soft, their DNA protecting them from everything and their father standing behind them. What had they suffered? Nothing. From what Andev had heard, only the youngest daughter had been willing to be a Dormrelian's mate. Yet, these humans were willing to let Dormrelian lives be spent for their pathetic colony.
"I did nothing to your sister. She did it to herself." He stood beside his friend's bedside. Tylan's color seemed better, and the warrior's scales were intact again. A long sigh of relief escaped Andev's lips.
"I don't believe you," Kinley Pasquel snapped.
Andev stared at the woman. "We're dying by the thousands, Miss Pasquel. I don't give a shit if you believe me or not."
She flinched, a flash of pain crossing her face. "I'm sorry." She took a deep breath. "I've never seen Shasta rattled like that." The woman's gaze held his. "Our colony is in your debt."
He blinked. Okay. She'd surprised him. First of all, she apologized. Second, she acknowledged the debt. No excuses, nothing. He took a closer look at her. Dark circles, like the ones he'd noted on her sister's face, were black smudges under her eyes, and she seemed tense. He shook his head. "You paid your debt. The mating of your sister to Terek Majii fulfills the treaty."
Kinley Pasquel said nothing to that. They both knew that the mating wasn't enough. She frowned. "You say my sister dug around in your head. Well, I'll tell you that, if she did, it wasn't intentional."
"What do you mean?"
"She's never done anything like that before," Kinley explained. "I mean, my parents can communicate telepathically, but that's because they're mated."
"She doesn't talk to you with her mind?" Had he misjudged her?
Kinley shook her head. "No. Our DNA is the only gift we've ever had."
His gaze narrowed. "Are you trying to say I'm lying?"
"No. Are you trying to be an asshole?" she snapped.
His lips twitched. "No. But I've been told I don't have to try."
She snorted. "Well, don't take it out on Shasta. She's been overdoing it lately."
"Really?" Okay, his tone was probably filled with doubt. But he couldn't picture Shasta Pasquel as a ministering angel who was "overdoing it".
Kinley caught his tone and glared at him. "You know, you don't have to try hard. She gives too much of her blood, her DNA. We're only supposed to supply a fresh sample once a day. She goes way beyond that. The synthetic blood is okay, but direct transfer is better." She waved her hand to Tylan. "As you can see."
He felt like a piece of shit. Shasta had seemed weak and unsteady, but he attributed that to the fact that she witnessed all that death. She certainly hadn't hesitated to stick that needle in her arm and give the injection to Tylan. He groaned.
"Where is she?"
Kinley's eyebrows shot up. "Shasta? Well, if she was smart, she headed to the infirmary down the hall for a vitamin shot. But she's probably back down in the shuttle bay receiving more wounded."
He strode toward the door and stopped when Kinley gripped one of his arms. "Watch out for her right hook."
Her what? He blinked and Kinley sighed. "You'll find out," she muttered and let him go.
Andev retraced his steps to go back to the shuttle bay. He would apologize, thank her, and then get the hell off this colony.
He should have known she was trouble. When he arrived at the shuttle bay, she stood alone surrounded by a group of Dormrelian fighters. Her voice rose, filled with authority. "I don't care if he's the crown prince of fuck all. Get out of my way so I can give the man treatment."
Ah, the Crown Prince Devad Tama. He was the last of the ruling family that once reigned on Dormrela. They were still a powerful family, and Shasta was wrangling with the bodyguards.
Fucking Tamas. They thought no one but the highest caste should touch them.
When Shasta shouldered her way past the crowd of warriors, one of the bodyguards grabbed her arm. She reacted so fast, Andev almost didn't have time to stop her. Her right fist shot out, and Andev just managed to step between her and the guard before the blow landed. Even with the cysuit that protected his face, her strike made his teeth rattle.
She gasped and winced in pain. "Motherfucker," she cursed.
"Hitting a guard of the Crown Prince Tama would create an interstellar incident," he said.
She glared at him. "What do you care?"
He shrugged. "I don't. But I thought you might. And since you saved my friend--"
"Forget it. Just tell these goons to leave me the fuck alone so I can save their precious prince."
"Where's your MI? That would help."
She sighed. "I forgot it this morning."
He shook his head and turned to the guards. "Why did you stop her? She is trying to help."
One of them threw out his hands. "She's human."
"All the colonists are human, you Grack sucker. Let her help him."
The guards moved aside, and Shasta knelt beside the dying Dormrelian prince. Before he could stop her, she shoved a needle into her arm and injected the prince with another shot of her blood.
"Damn it," he burst out and caught her just before she collapsed.
"What happened?" the guard asked.
"She gave him her DNA. She's one of the Pasquel women."
"He looks better," one of the other men announced.
But at what price? Andev stared down at the white, still face of the woman in his arms. This woman wasn't what he thought she'd be. Andev didn't like being wrong.
When he lifted her up, she didn't stir. But her body brushed the opening at his ribs and the connection sprang to life again.
Her body was unconscious, but her mind was still spinning.
"I can't save them all. Why was I born with this DNA anyway? I didn't ask for it. Didn't want it. What am I supposed to do? Stand by while another one disintegrates in front of me? I'm so tired. So fucking tired. I want to stay asleep and dream. That's the only time shit makes sense. Sooooo tired."
"Shasta, let go. Stop thinking so much."
Her shock reverberated through her brain and then, she lashed out. "Get the fuck out of my head!"
He snapped his mind away from hers, but her body relaxed a little more and curled in his arms. What the hell was he supposed to do now? He strode out of the bay, a limp human in his arms, and found the nearest whitecoat. "Where's the infirmary? This med tech has passed out."
The man sighed. "Is it Shasta? Yes, of course. Down the hall and to the right. I wish she'd take care of herself."
Andev found the infirmary, and a human female fluttered around him as he laid Shasta on one of the beds. One of the doctors arrived and gave her a vitamin shot, but no one seemed surprised to see the woman had collapsed.
When Shasta's eyes blinked open, a tight coil released inside Andev's chest. "What happened?"
"You gave the crown prince your blood and then passed out. Apparently, a regular thing for you so I understand."
She tried to sit up, and Andev pressed on her shoulder to keep her down. "No. My people need you alive, and you're determined to kill yourself."
Her blue eyes blazed with fire. "Fuck you. You don't know me."
I know you. The thought drifted through his mind, and he wondered if she could hear it. He'd been in her head. She'd been in his dreams. He knew her.
He had to get the fuck off this planet.
Her gaze focused on his hand still touching her shoulder. Heat emanated from their connection, and Andev couldn't seem to make his arm move. But when she reached out to touch him, to slide her fingers over his wounded side, he jerked away.
This woman had been his dream, his fantasy for so long, and all he wanted to do was stroke the curves he knew so well. But did he know her? Shasta Pasquel was famous, her exploits common fodder for gossip all over the system.
"I know what I've seen on the vid streams," he snapped. Distance. He needed distance from her.
She winced and glanced away. "I see."
Why hadn't he noticed the similarities before? He'd seen vids of Shasta Pasquel and her sister. Yet, he'd never once connected her to the woman he dreamt of so many nights. "I believe your exact words were 'The Dormrela can't help being barbaric. The Ang enslaved them and bred them for centuries'," he sneered, mimicking her nonchalant tone.
To his surprise, Shasta shot to her feet, fists clenched and color in her cheeks. "Those words were taken out of context. Which you'd know if you'd bother to find out." Before he could stop her, she ripped out the I.V. from her arm and flung away from him.
"Perhaps they were. But you don't disagree with the sentiment, do you? After all, most of us heard what you said when your father proposed one of you should mate a Dormrela." He was as angry as she was, but used ice instead of fire to cut.
She tipped her chin, blood running down her arm and her white face stark against her golden blonde hair. "No better than your crown prince's guards who wouldn't let me touch him because I was human. Don't judge me, asshole."
Even barely able to stand and pale as a ghost, she was beautiful. "One of these days you'll have to explain to me what asshole means. I can see it's a derogatory name but--" He stopped when color flooded Shasta's face, and her gaze dropped to the floor.
Sweet. She was embarrassed. He knew what an asshole was. He even knew what a dick was. In fact, right now, his was giving him a lot of trouble. Without thinking, he cupped her chin and tipped her face toward him. Her eyes widened, and she froze. All his resentment was gone when he got a glimpse of her expression. Shame and fear.
"I--" She stopped and licked her lips, which almost brought Andev to his knees. "I may have once had a negative opinion about your people." She blinked. "But I have my reasons. I realize it's wrong."
Again, these Pasquel women surprised him with their straightforward honesty. He stared at her, struggling with himself, knowing he should drop his hand and walk away.
"What is your name?" she asked him.
He swallowed, every cell in his body screaming at him to take her, devour her. "You know my name," he said harshly.
"Andev." She said it like a sigh.
His name on her lips set him on a path of insanity, and he cupped her face with both his upper hands, yanking her closer. His mouth met hers in a collision of need and desire he couldn't have stopped if he'd wanted to.
Her hand brushed his skin beneath the tear in his cysuit, and their minds crashed together like opposing waves in a brutal storm.
"Oh my God." Her thoughts were jumbled, foggy. Confusion reigned, and he ruthlessly took advantage of it to possess her if just for that moment.
"You're beautiful." He loved the strength of her muscles, the lean length of her body against his. Her mind spun, and his spun with her. He had to be careful. She couldn't know who he was, what he was.
He broke the kiss and caught her when she collapsed to the floor. Twice in one day. That had to be a record.
"What exactly are you doing?" A cold, male voice startled Andev, but he kept a hold of Shasta's body against him.
Without turning, Andev laid Shasta on her cot and said, "Catching her before she hit the floor."
"From what I saw, you kissed her until she passed out." The man sounded amused.
Andev whipped his head around and glared at the newcomer. Tall, muscular but slim, dark eyes and dark hair. The man seemed familiar, but Andev couldn't place him. "And you are?"
The man's eyebrows shot up. "Human. You?"
There was an edge to that question, and Andev realized who the stranger was. Michael Tarune. Son of General Jake Tarune. He had to be very careful. "Ms. Pasquel saved my friend. I was...thanking her."
"Is that what that was?" Shasta mumbled from the bed.
"I see," Michael said.
"Shut up, Michael," Shasta said weakly.
"I don't think so, little bud." Michael strode into the room and crossed his arms. "I come back on a quick leave and find Kinley fretting over you. What the hell are you thinking?"
"Leave her alone," Andev snarled before he could stop himself.
Both the colonists stared at him. Michael shot a glance at Shasta, then he stepped closer to Andev. "One kiss and you're ordering other men to leave her alone? Is that a Dormrela thing?"
Andev tightened his lips. "She's tired, worn out. And she saved my friend."
"What ship are you on?"
"I was on The Antwak, but the ship is gone." Andev straightened and stood at attention. He wasn't sure why. Maybe it was the expression in this Michael Tarune's eyes, a worn, dangerous look.
The man nodded. "I was there. I was on The Faith of Asberek."
Andev stared. This colonist had taken out five Earth Central battleships, sustained severe damage, and still managed to board the EC flagship. Unfortunately, the fucking Earthlings had flooded the corridors with their deadly weapon. Andev had thought there were no survivors.
Michael spoke as if he could read Andev's thoughts. "Those of us who were born on Asberek seem to have a resistance to their weapons. We don't know why." The bleak expression tore through Andev.
"It doesn't help, does it?" Andev knew what the man had to be feeling. The only survivor of a boarding party of only a hundred would fuck any warrior up.
"The only thing that will help me is seeing Earth Central blown out of the fucking sky." Michael stepped closer to Shasta. "I have to go back. Are you going to take care of yourself, or do I need to send Kinley over here to babysit."
"No way. Don't tell her anything. She'll yell at me."
"Maybe she should yell at you," Andev said sharply.
She lifted one eyebrow. "What's it to you?"
He narrowed his eyes. "Nothing. Nothing at all."
"Oh that's a load of bullshit," she said, sitting up, her blue eyes sparkling. "Are you going to take care of me, big boy?"
"Shasta," Michael said in a low tone.
"Are you challenging me?" He stepped closer to the bed, looming over her, trying to intimidate her.
It didn't work. "Yes. I believe I am."
A flurry of activity cut through the muted noise of the medunit.
"Where is she? Shasta?" a male voice shouted.
"Shit." Shasta flopped back against her pillow. "It's Ben. Michael?"
The dark man lifted his shoulders. "Your lookout, little bud. All that flirting has a price you know."
A blond man burst into the room and grabbed Shasta's hand. Andev stiffened, but noted that Shasta didn't resist the touch. "Are you hurt? What happened?" He shot a glance at Michael and then stared at Andev. "Did he hurt you?"
"No!" Shasta shouted.
"Stand down, sergeant," Michael snapped.
Andev recognized a man who felt he had lover's rights. Stiffly, he bowed to Shasta. "Miss Pasquel. I should return to my unit."
"Wait," she said, but he turned his back. If the woman made a habit of collecting men in real life, he didn't want anything to do with her. It seemed his dream was flawed.
"Who was that lizard?" the man Ben asked in a loud voice.
"Oh, shut your mouth, Ben," Shasta snapped.
Andev shook his head and slammed out of the med unit. It was just as well. Shasta Pasquel was dangerous.