“…reminscent of the creative genius behind Star Wars,Lexxie Couper provides for her readers a sexy, darkly erotic tale of passion and commitment to principle…” – TwoLips Reviews

The Boundaries ~ Book One

Boundary Guardian Zeric Arctos knows trouble when he sees it – and Raavelian sex-slave Jaienna Ti screams all sorts of trouble. Tracking a nefarious Bliss dealer, Zeric must stay focused on the job, something almost impossible to do with Jaienna in his midst. To make matters worse, the seductive Raavelian brings out the ‘animal’ in him – an ancient blood curse he has struggled to control his whole life. The beast now threatens to consume him and Jaienna’s intoxicating kisses makes the primitive call so much harder to resist.

Jaienna Ti is out for revenge. And she’ll stop at nothing to achieve it. Posing as a sex-slave isn’t the worst thing she’s done – she is, after all an Intel-Patrol Corp termination agent, albeit a rogue one – but it’s definitely one of the more interesting roles she’s assumed. And it gets even more interesting when Zeric Arctos ‘rescues’ her.

Surely being an intergalactic sexual assassin has to come with some perks, right?

 

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EXCERPT

Chapter One

The Rim of the Outer Boundaries

 

Zeric Arctos folded his arms across his broad chest and bit back a low curse, struggling to control his exasperation. His partner hadn’t been able to take his eyes off the beautiful Raavelian slave-girl since she’d entered the Suck and Blow Inn, and now she was walking right past them. Close enough for Jak’s highly attuned sense of smell to pick up the delicate scent of her perfume. He rolled his eyes, shooting his partner a quick look. Oh no, here we go again.

Jak V’t’an was a sucker for Raavelian females. It had something to do, Zeric suspected, with the way they looked, like the gods of sexual torture and pleasure decided to create the perfect woman. Hypnotic violet eyes, smooth tight asses, breasts that filled a man’s hands to perfection, thick wavy hair that shined like spun silk and long, shapely legs that just wouldn’t quit. Zeric moved his gaze to the slave girl walking past them, casting her a slow inspection. This one, well, this one was an excellent example of her species.

A hand slapped at Zeric’s shoulder and he flicked Jak another look, dismayed at what he saw on the Yrathian’s face.

Pure, unadulterated rapture.

This is not going to end well.

“I think I’m in love,” Jak murmured, tracking the Raavelian’s slow progress past them both.

Zeric turned back to the Suck and Blow’s filthy bar, waving down the droid serving behind it. “You fall in love every hour.”

“Yeah, but this one’s different.” Jak leaned away from the bar, watching the barely-dressed slave thread her way through the rowdy crowd.

Zeric nodded at the droid as it placed a whiskey shot in front of him. “They’re all different, Thorson.”

Jak stuck his elbows on the bar and grinned at Zeric, pale grey eyes glinting with what Zeric could only describe as lust. “Didn’t you see that mouth of hers? Those lips? And those eyes? Gods, Zeric, a man could drown in those eyes! I’ve never seen a Raavelian with green eyes before.”

Zeric let out a slow breath, fighting the urge to cast the slave girl one last look before she disappeared in the crowd. Jak was right. He’d never seen a Raavelian with green eyes, either and he had to admit, they were damn striking. He hadn’t missed their unusual power, nor had he missed the soft fullness of the woman’s lips. They were the kind of lips made for kissing.

Jezu, Arctos, you’re getting as bad as Jak.

The disgusted thought made him scowl. When it came to women, his cock left well enough alone. It was safer that way. Unfortunately, when it came to women his partner was ruled by his cock. Thank Jezu Jak’s instincts ruled when they were on duty. Boundary Guardians couldn’t afford to be anything but switched on. If they weren’t, they were dead.

A sharp bang to Zeric’s left made him jump. He snapped his stare to Jak, his hand automatically blurring to his right hip.

Jak stood beside him, his palm flat on the bar’s surface, his grin replaced by a serious frown, the elaborate scars on his cheeks marking his Master Pleasurer status bone white. “I’m going after her,” he said.

Zeric gave his partner a hard look, returning his hand to his glass. It wouldn’t do any good for someone to see him reaching for his gun. Not yet, at least. “No you’re not,” he told Jak, lifting his drink to his lips. “We’ve got a Bliss dealer to catch, remember.”

Jak let out a sharp sigh. “Yeah, you’re right.” He gave one more lingering look at the Raavelian, watching as she slipped with nimble grace between a group of drunken Ornithions. He returned his attention to Zeric, reluctance written all over his face. “But after we nail this bastard I’m coming back here and taking her away from all this shit.”

Zeric cocked an eyebrow. “And take her where? To The Reaper? A Boundary ship isn’t exactly the place for domestic bliss.”

Jak pulled a face, taking a quick gulp of his own drink, a vile Irithian concoction Zeric wondered how anyone could stomach. “Just ‘cause you’ve decided to be a lonely, miserable bastard for the rest of your life doesn’t mean I have. I don’t plan on being a Boundary Guardian forever, y’know.”

Zeric swallowed the sudden and far too unexpected lump in his throat. He looked at his reflection in the bar’s mirrored wall before turning away, the shadow in his eyes too tormenting. Being a Boundary Guardian forever hadn’t been on his list of planned situations either.

Neither had killing your—

“Hey!” Jak’s smooth voice cut over the dark thought, killing it immediately. “Looks like our friend’s just arrived.”

Zeric raised his glass to his mouth, checking out the raucous mob behind him in the bar’s filthy wall mirror. A Xolotlan barged through the crowd, mottled blue skin rippling over his enormous gut, his blunt snout and short tail both twitching nervously.

“Ugly bastard, isn’t he?” Jak said into his own glass.

Zeric unclipped his holster on his hip, freeing his gun for immediate use and straightened from the bar, focussed adrenaline filling his veins. Beside him, Jak seemingly adjusted his jacket, hands flicking briefly over his own weapons. He gave Zeric a slight nod—ready—and they moved into the packed bar, pushing through the unruly drunken patrons as they followed the Xolotlan toward the back rooms.

Zeric’s stomach knotted. It seemed their prey had a taste for the sex-dens. Jezu curse it.

He moved through the dank, narrow corridor, his fingers hovering over the hilt of his weapon, Jak close behind. The low moans and grunts wafting from the dark dens lining the passageway told him business was good for the Suck and Blow. His stomach knotted again, sour contempt in the back of his throat. If he didn’t have a Bliss dealer to shut down, he’d gladly spend the rest of the night fucking up the existence of more than one sex slaver operating from the inn.

A low growl rumbled in his chest and Zeric ground his teeth, locking his stare on the closing doorway through which the Xolotlan had disappeared. He had to keep his anger in check. He couldn’t do to let it get the better of him. Not tonight, not ever, no matter how much he wanted to. It wasn’t—

“Fucker’s locked the door.”

Jak’s mutter jerked Zeric’s stare from the closed entryway to the red light glowing above it.

“Do you think we should knock?”

Zeric cast his partner a quick look, knowing his glare told Jak now wasn’t the time for jokes. “Lyso knows we’re coming. He arranged the location, remember?”

Jak cocked an eyebrow. “Kick the door in then?”

The growl rumbled in Zeric’s chest again, far less human than it should be and he sank his nails into the palms of his hands. “Deactivate the lock, Thorson.”

Jak pulled a face, stepping around Zeric to flip open the door’s control mechanism. “You’re no fun anymore, Arctos.”            His fingers moved over the exposed circuitry with fluid ease before, with a clunk and a whirr, the door slid open.

As always, Zeric was the first in. In the time it took him to blink, he’d taken in the dimly lit sex-den and the situation unfolding within it and the knot in his stomach turned into rolling disgust.

The Raavelian slave-girl Jak had so quickly declared undying love for was on her knees, her luscious mouth wrapped around the Bliss dealer’s grotesque cock, her head bobbing up and down as she pleasured him with oral sex. The Xolotlan had his meaty hands tangled in her thick red hair, holding her head in place, a satisfied smirk on his round face as he watched her through heavy-lidded eyes.

Zeric ground his teeth, even as he forced his expression to remain indifferent. Damn, Jak isn’t going to like this.

Jak? It’s not making you want to smile, either.

Psy Lyso raised his attention from the woman at his feet and gave Zeric an indolent smile, his bloodshot gaze flicking over Zeric’s form. “Ho, Terran.” He removed a hand from the Raavelian’s hair and held it out, palm upward in a melodramatic show of welcome. “Come, join the entertainment.”

Sickened anger coated Zeric’s mouth and he curled his fingers around the butt of his gun just as Jak stepped into the den. Lyso’s bony eyebrow ridge shot up. “Two of you?” He turned his smirk to Jak. “A Yrathian Master Pleasurer at that? My, won’t this be fun.”

“Lyso.” Jak pushed past Zeric, the muscles in his arms and shoulders bunching. His distaste emanated from him in tangible waves and Zeric gripped his gun tighter. If Jak decided to shoot the fucker’s head off there and then—and it was entirely possible—their mission would be sunk. Zeric couldn’t have that—as much as he liked the idea of Psy Lyso’s existence obliterated from the planet.

He shot another look at the Raavelian. For a brief moment the overwhelming desire to rip her from Lyso’s cock, wrap her in his arms and take her away to some place safe burned through him.

A scowl creased his forehead. Get a grip, Arctos. Saving slave-girls isn’t your job. Grinding his teeth, he returned his attention to the Xolotlan. “Sorry to interrupt you while you’re busy. Maybe you should have locked the door.”

Pink, beady eyes drilled into him, Lyso’s stare far too thorough for his liking. “Funny,” the Xolotlan said. “I thought I did.”

Zeric shook his head, meeting the Bliss dealer’s gaze. “You have something for us, yes? Or did you just ask us to meet you here for the show?”

Lyso grunted, shifted his hips in the oral-pleasure chair and let off a flat fart. The female paused for a second, finely-muscled shoulders growing rigid. Another fierce wave of protective desire rolled through Zeric, unnerving him but he shoved it aside. If he didn’t he would pull his gun and shoot Lyso before Jak got a chance to even draw breath. He glared at the drug dealer. “Well?”

“Possibly. Depends on what you’re after.”

Before Zeric could open his mouth, Jak stepped forward, his face a mask of controlled rage. “We’ll take the Raavelian.”

Lyso’s eyes narrowed. “She’s not for sale.”

Jak tensed, but before he could reach for his gun, Zeric took charge of the situation. They were posing as Bliss buyers—pulling a weapon when a fuck-wit wouldn’t sell his slave wasn’t part of the cover. “Get the Raavelian off your prick and cough up the product, Lyso. We haven’t travelled to this shit-hole of a planet to stand here and watch you get a blow job.”

That same intense, thorough stare drilled into Zeric again and he ground his teeth. Something felt wrong. Like you’re being played?

“I tell you what, Terran,” Lyso said, flashing his teeth in what Zeric assumed was meant to be a smile. “While you and I do business your Yrathian hothead friend beside you can entertain himself with the bitch in another den. How’s that sound? Save us all the distraction?” He slid his gaze to Jak, giving him a smutty sneer. “Be warned though. Master Pleasurer or not, she’ll suck your dick right off if you’re not careful.”

Jak snarled and Zeric shot him a warning look: You can fuck him up later. Play along for now. He turned back to Lyso, not even trying to hide his disgust for the Xolotlan. “Deal,” he said. “Now let’s see the product.”

“Excellent.” Lyso smacked his palms together over the Raavelian’s bare back. “I knew you boys would be smart business.” His smile stretched wider and again, a dark sense of foreboding rippled through Zeric. Something was definitely up. He gave Jak another quick glance, letting his apprehension show in his eyes: Be careful.

With a rough shove, Lyso dislodged the Raavelian from between his legs. “Get off, slave,” he barked, giving her hair a hard yank. “Go show the Master Pleasurer how it’s really done.”

The female stood, eyes downcast, long red hair hiding her face. Zeric’s gut twisted again, something about the situation telling him something was not right. But what? He quickly flicked his gaze over her slim, nubile body, searching for a weapon. Where she would hide it dressed as she was in typical slave attire—short, diaphanous loin cloth and nothing else—was beyond him, but something was making him uneasy and it had nothing to do with the unexpected, powerful desire to run his hands over her naked breasts, down her torso and over her belly to the sweet heat between her thighs. If she did have a weapon hidden there, Jak would be the one to find it, not him. He knew his partner well. Jak would search the slave all over—from head to toe—just to be sure before he did anything else.

An image of Jak doing just that, flittered through his head, his partner’s palms cupping those gloriously heavy breasts, his fingers skimming up the length of those smooth, toned thighs and for a split second, hot jealousy stabbed through Zeric. He jerked his gaze from the Raavelian, giving Jak a level look instead, hoping to Jezu Jak could keep his lust under control. “This won’t take long,” he said with a sharp nod. “Have fun.”

* * *

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