Entwined (Intergalactic Loyalties 1)
Jessica Coulter Smith
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Copyright ©2014 Jessica Coulter Smith
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"All right. I'll have someone at the auction house draft the transfer papers. You don't have to pay me for her since you're my brother, but I'll take you up on your offer to cover the hospital bill. I'll make sure all that's in there."
Bane grinned. "I'll be ready to sign them first thing in the morning. You can bring them here."
Arko frowned. "Why don't I bring them by your house?"
"Because I'll be here."
Tyre folded his arms over his chest. "Your brother hasn't left Ariana's side since I brought him up to this room three days ago. It may injure your pride, but maybe knowing she doesn't have to go home with you will snap her out of this... well, whatever it is. I don't have a diagnosis for what's going on with her other than depression. I think it killed part of her to lose that baby."
"I'll go now and get it taken care of," Arko said. "I'll return at first light."
Bane nodded. "Tell Cael that I'll be back to work once I have Ariana settled."
"I still can't believe you're working with our baby brother."
Bane shrugged. "I come up with the ideas, he helps put the logistics to it. We make a good team."
"Until tomorrow, then."
Tyre checked the IV fluids, walked over to a panel on the wall and punched in a bunch of numbers. When a syringe with orange goo popped out, Bane frowned.
"What's that for?"
"To wake her. I think you need to tell her the good news. It might be just what she needs right now."
Bane settled on the edge of the bed and held her hand as Tyre administered the injection. Almost immediately, her eyes began to flutter.
"Ariana? Can you hear me?" he asked softly. "Come back to me, sweetheart. I have something to tell you."
"I'm not dead?" she croaked.
"No, you aren't dead, and I hope you won't be anytime soon. I have good news."
"This was all a nightmare?"
He ran the backs of his fingers down her cheek. "I wish that were so. I can't take away what happened, but Arko did agree to sell you to me. You never have to see him again after I sign the papers tomorrow if you don't want to. I can arrange it so you're never in the same room. Once you're able to leave the hospital, you get to go home with me."
"You'll need time to procure quarters for me."
"No, you don't understand. You're coming home, to my home. I want you to live with me, Ariana."
Her eyes widened. "In your house?"
"Your life is going to be very different from this point forward. No more slave apartments, no more slave dresses. When you're back on your feet, I'm bringing a clothing designer into the house, and you can have new clothes made. I know the Keshpan dresses won't fit you because our women are stick thin, and you have such a lush delectable figure, but there's no reason they can't be tailored to fit your needs. I want you to be comfortable."
"Why are you doing this, Bane?"
"I told you why," he said. "It's time you were able to enjoy the beauty of my world. Let me share it with you."
She nodded. "I'll try to get better."
"Does that mean you'll eat now?" Tyre asked.
Her gaze flicked to his a moment before returning to Bane. "Yes, I'll eat something."
Bane smiled. "Wonderful. Tyre will get you anything you want. Their food simulator can produce meals from your home planet, if you'd like something familiar. I had one installed in my home, as well, so you can enjoy pizza or spaghetti. I've tried both meals and found them fascinating. I think, perhaps, my favorite was pancakes and scrambled eggs."
She smiled. "Eggs and bacon sounds good. Maybe a biscuit on the side?"
"Whatever you want." He kissed her hand. "I'd give you the moons from the sky if I thought it would make you better."
She made a face.
"What is it? Are you hurting?"
"No, it's just... you're a little hard to get used to after being with Arko for so long. He's always been considerate, until now, but he's never been very enthusiastic about my wellbeing. It's going to take me some time to adjust to the differences between the two of you."
Bane squeezed her fingers. "You take all the time you need. I'm not going anywhere."
No, he wouldn't leave her side. He hadn't told her the complete truth. The honest to gods truth was that he'd fallen in love with her the moment he'd laid eyes on her. With her fiery hair and pale complexion, those vibrant green eyes, she'd been breathtaking. Then she'd spoken, a soft sweet voice that had made him smile the instant he heard her. And she'd been his brother's. It was the only time he'd truly hated his brother, had ever wanted anything that Arko had.
But now she was his. Even if it took him the rest of his life, he was going to show her what it meant to be loved and cherished by a Keshpan male...