Revealed:Brides of the Kindred(3)By: Evangeline Anderson
Sylvan raised one dark blond eyebrow at him. “What do you mean you can’t? Nadiah is my kinswoman—I am charged with her safety, not you. Give her to me so that I can take her for treatment.”
“I’ll go with you.” Rast held her closer, cradling her small head with its luscious spill of long golden hair close to his chest. “But I won’t give her up.”
“No!” Rast felt something like a growl rise in his throat and swallowed it back down again with difficulty. What was wrong with him? Everything Commander Sylvan said made sense. He was a doctor and related to Nadiah. By all rights he should be the one to care for her.
But Rast found himself completely and utterly unable to give her up. She was helpless in her unconscious state—totally vulnerable. And though he knew that Sylvan would never hurt her, he somehow couldn’t bear to see her in another man’s arms, even her married cousin’s. Something inside him urged him to hold her—to guard and protect her and never let her go. It was an instinct too strong too fight.
“No,” he said again, attempting to keep his voice low and even. “I can’t let her go. We can go wherever you want but I’m going to carry her.”
The big Kindred stared at Rast in evident surprise. He looked like he was going to say something but instead he simply nodded. “Very well. Come with me.”
“Of course.” Rast rose easily, holding Nadiah’s unconscious form in his arms like a baby. “Let’s go.”
* * * * *
The trip up to the Kindred Mother Ship was a nearly silent one. The human detective seemed completely preoccupied with his precious burden and Sylvan was too busy piloting to speak.
Looking up from the controls, he cast a sidelong glance in Rast’s direction. The male was cradling Nadiah in his lap, a look of concern on his usually stoic features. Sylvan wondered if Rast had any idea that the way he was acting was a classic Kindred mating behavior. The possessiveness, the unwillingness to trust her safety to another male, even one he knew to be trustworthy… Sylvan could almost swear he smelled a mating scent drifting from Rast’s direction—something that only Kindred males exuded when they were trying to bond a female to them.
That, of course, was nonsense. Despite his truegreen eyes—(a green so dark it was almost black with a paler ring of green around the iris,) and his size (the detective was every bit as big and muscular as any Kindred warrior)—Rast was human. He’d been born and bred on the tiny blue and white planet called Earth and that was that, Sylvan was sure.
To be honest, he didn’t like the human detective very much. Oh, he admired the dedication to duty that drove Rast to search for lost and hurting females, all right. But the male had started off on the wrong foot with him, as Sophia was wont to say. He’d refused to believe in Nadiah’s gift of the Sight and had even accused her of being connected to some of the disappearances of the AllFather’s intended victims. Lately he seemed less contentious but Sylvan still didn’t like anyone who made slurs against his loved ones.
Of course, to look at Rast, anyone would think Nadiah was his loved one—his beloved. He held her as gently and anxiously as a new father holds a precious baby and the look of fear in his eyes when he’s asked if she had a terminal disease had touched Sylvan against his will.
What’s going on between the two of them? he wondered uneasily. Is Nadiah doing something she shouldn’t? Sophia accused him of being a “cave man” but the fact was, Sylvan had been charged with maintaining and safeguarding his younger kinswoman’s virtue and he took that charge very seriously. Virginity, while not essential to the Kindred, was highly prized on Tranq Prime. If Nadiah lost hers she would be nothing—less than nothing in the eyes of their people. Not to mention that her parents—his aunt and uncle—would disown her without it. She would be an outcast—the worst kind of pariah.
Sylvan didn’t think that she’d been indiscreet with the human detective—Nadiah’s eyes remained the same dark blue they had always been—but he couldn’t help wondering what had brought about the change in Rast. Why else was he acting like a male about to enter the Claiming Period if he and Nadiah hadn’t formed at least some kind of physical relationship?