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Kate Rudolph

Intrepid Bond Ebook

Intrepid Bond Ebook

Detyen Warrior Outcasts Book 2

Your book will be delivered on May 8, 2024

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“Ouch!” An unseen pointy piece of metal bit into my finger and I flinched back, staring at the cherry bright drop of blood as it bloomed like a jewel.
Jewels don’t bloom. I had to roll my eyes at myself and at least that made me stop scowling. My face had been stuck in one for the last hour at least. I’d been banished to the far reaches of Nebula Outpost where even the bravest feared to tread and I hadn’t seen another soul since the beginning of my shift.
The hairs on the back of my neck tingled, sending a shiver down my spine and my jaw firmed. I refused to turn around and look down the hallway. No one would be there. They never were.
Two freaking months of jumping at every tiny noise or surprise had me on the edge. I needed to be over it by now, but my nightmares hadn’t figured that out and I’d been working on, at best, half a night’s sleep every night since that asshole tried to make me his mate.
Damn it. There was the scowl again.
I shuddered and then I had to set my tool down. The drop of blood was flowing down my finger now and I needed a bandage. There was probably a medkit down the hall somewhere but I was so close to finishing my work that I didn’t want to get up, as if it might all come undone if I turned away for even a second.
There were gremlins living in the station, I would swear it.
Nebula Outpost was a big station on the edge of nowhere. We weren’t part of any empire, though the Oscavians weren’t that far away. At one point there’d been mining down on the planet of Nebula, but a disaster ten years ago shut it down. Apparently no one survived. I wasn’t sure why they kept the Outpost running. A lot of things on our station didn’t make tons of sense, but I wasn’t going to question it. Maybe we were a convenient waystation for travelers. Or maybe there were just enough of us here that we paid for our own upkeep.
I was uncountable light years away from my home in the Consortium, and until two months ago I’d never been happier.
Something clanged down the hall and I jumped. I pressed my bleeding finger against my jumpsuit, glad the dark fabric wouldn’t show a stain. My ears strained to hear if someone was coming, but it was just the everyday sounds that came from living on a space station.
It took a lot of moving parts to keep us in orbit and sometimes those parts made metal on metal screeching noises that meant someone hadn’t been doing their bit of upkeep.
He’s gone, I reminded myself for the dozenth time that hour. No one escapes penal colonies.
Two months ago I’d almost been killed by a madman I’d thought was my friend. He’d pointed a blaster at my head and told me all I had to do was accept him as my mate and all would be well. It was kind of hard to accept the idea of love and affection under the threat of violence and I was sure I was dead. He’d killed before and attacked other women.
Naively, I’d trusted that station security would do their best to catch him. But if he hadn’t attacked me I was pretty sure he’d still be roaming free, smiling at me by day and murdering the innocent by night.
I sucked in a deep breath and held it for a count of three before letting it out and doing it all over again. My heart rate calmed down, but my anxiety was still there, the surety that if I let my guard down for even a second someone would take advantage and hurt me.
Maybe I needed to leave Nebula Outpost.
It wasn’t the first time I had the thought. No, it had crept up on me much like a feared stalker more than a month ago, on one of the nights were I got no sleep, sure that any shadow in my rooms might be hiding someone intent on doing me harm. I’d been sleeping with the lights at full brightness, but that didn’t stop my imagination from conjuring monsters.
I’d been certain I’d get over it. My best friend, Pippa, lived on the station and leaving would mean missing her. And if I tried to go home I’d face the shame that came from my less than ceremonious departure. But a part of me longed for the high gates and security guards of my mother’s estate. No one would be kidnapping me from there.
But I’d gone willingly with my attacker at first. I hadn’t given it a second thought when he invited me to dinner.
Stupid, stupid girl.
My moping gave my finger enough time to stop bleeding and I gathered up my tools. I only had one more set of checks to do before I could call my shift done and it was what I’d been putting off since yesterday morning.
The maintenance closet was the furthest thing from intimidating on this ship. It was nestled between two escape pods and held some storage equipment and an access panel to some wiring that I needed to check. It would take ten, fifteen minutes tops for me to do my work.
My hands shook as I picked up my tool bag and walked towards the door.
This wasn’t G-man, an incinerator on the other end of the ship that had been used as a weapon to murder one woman and attempt to kill another. Even if I got locked into the maintenance closet I could call for help on my comm or on the communications panel on the wall. Someone would come for me in less than an hour.
But the shadows were deep in the closet. And no one could hear me scream.
Just get it over with. I had to get this done. No one else was going to be assigned to do this work and if I missed something, some crucial part of the ship’s inner workings might malfunction. What if it was life support? Or sewage? I didn’t want to be responsible for that.
I opened the door, half expecting something to rush at me from inside, but the closet was empty.
There was an acrid, spoiled, musty smell that made my nose wrinkle and for a second I wondered if something had died in there. We didn’t have rats on the station, but ships came in from all over the galaxy and sometimes things escaped, despite the most stringent controls.
But as I got a second whiff I realized that nothing had died. No, this was Solar Flare. The drug was cheap to make and impossible to stamp out. Station security may have not been very good at catching murderers, but that was because half of their job was taken up finding Solar Flare producers and destroying the drugs.
Or selling the stuff themselves, I had a feeling Pippa might tell me.
I pulled out my comm and approached the source of the smell. There was a small burner in the corner and a pan that was scorched black with strange streaks of bright blue and green. This looked like someone’s private kitchen, a single pan wasn’t big enough to produce enough Solar Flare to offset even the minimal costs of the ingredients.
Not unless artisanal, small batch poison was catching on.
I didn’t touch anything. Procedure when we found spots like this was simple: record the area and report. Station security would deal with it. Or the janitorial staff.
For some reason the mundanity of finding evidence of drug production calmed me down. It was so normal that it seemed to reset my fears. There had always been a seedy underbelly to Nebula Outpost, and I’d found dozens of sites similar to this before. It was just part of living on the station.
My ear twitched and my head snapped toward the door just as it started to slide closed.
I lunged for it, desperate to put my fingers in its path and trigger the sensor to keep it open, but the closet was deep and I wasn’t fast enough.
Any calm vanished as the close plunged into darkness.
I fumbled with my comm, trying to turn on the light, but my hands shook so much that I dropped it and when I fell to my knees to search for it blindly, my fingers only felt the metal of the floor beneath me.
I’m going to die.
Was this what Pippa felt when she got locked in that incinerator?
I knew I was freaking out. I knew this was a complete overreaction to something that wasn’t a big deal. But my heart threatened to beat out of my chest and sweat poured down my brow as the panic tried to sweep me away.
My breaths were choppy, I could barely drag in any air and I felt like I was going to pass out.
I forced myself to crawl towards the door. There was a light switch, I just had to find it and turn the lights on and all would be okay. The lights should have been triggered by a motion sensor, but whoever was cooking their drugs in this little closet had probably disabled it for some unknowable reason.
Was there enough air? I couldn’t breathe.
I found the door and crawled my way up. I pawed at the wall and didn’t find the light switch, but I must have palmed over the sensor that opened the door. The door opened with a whoosh and I stumbled out and ran into a broad chest.
I looked up and for a second that panic rushed back as I saw turquoise skin, short dark hair, and dark eyes.
I reeled back, but sense came rushing in a second later. My would-be murderer wasn’t back from a penal colony.
The male studied me with his cold gaze. Ryklin.
The Detyen who seemed to be stalking me.

Stalked and stranded...
All Noelle wants is some peace and time to recover. But a gorgeous blue alien can't seem to stop following her wherever she goes. His icy demeanor is enough to drive her crazy.
And his intense looks heat her up inside.

He can't stay away from the beguiling human...
Ryklin is on the edge of fixation. It's the only excuse the soulless Detyen has for his obsession with Noelle. The only way to save them both is to leave Nebula Outpost, never to return. If only he could walk away.

When they end up stranded on an abandoned planet, they'll need to rely on one another to survive. And as Ryklin's ice thaws, nothing can stop the inferno that flares to life between them.

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I like all of Kate Rudolph books this books is great