Wired For Love

By: Michelle Howard

Dedication




This is in honor of Frieka, the best pet secondary character I’ve ever read in a romance





Chapter 1




Music blared from overhead, the heavy pulsing beat thumping throughout the bar. Voices in conversation rose and fell along with occasional barks of laughter. Words flowed in a variety of languages yet all overlapping in a smooth melody that Hunter found oddly soothing.

This place was his business and had been for the last few years since he bought it from the owner looking to move on. Initially Hunter hesitated when the Telian made the low offer for him to take the bar off his hands. Until then, it never crossed Hunter’s mind to settle down in one spot after losing his career in the military.

He didn’t have much of a family like many who volunteered for the soldier program in the Great War against the Vargos. No one for him to go back to and nothing to call home. Even his wife had procured a legal dissolution of their union   during his third tour, leaving him without a spouse to connect with on his rare off time.

Hunter didn’t blame her. He wasn’t the same man any more. He didn’t have the same body or face she’d fallen for. Hell, everything about him was different and that didn’t count some of the physical upgrades made along the way. All of which left Hunter at loose ends with his time and overflowing credits. Credits given in a poor apology from the government to Hunter after he’d been wounded and his career ruined.

As a result, not much excited him any more and yet Abline’s offer for The Zone tempted. For once instead of following his instinct and saying no, Hunter accepted. He now owned everything in the bustling hot spot including the small two-level apartment on the floor above. It amounted to more than he’d ever hoped to have and then some.

“Don’t you think it’s time you found a woman?”

Hunter barely glanced up from the bar top and wiped the rag one final time over the shining mahogany surface. “I already found her.”

The man on the stool jerked and Hunter sighed, tossing the rag aside.

“You found her?”

Hunter wondered if he should be offended by the doubt in the tone. “Yes. Much to my regret she’s not interested.” He shrugged. “It happens. Nothing left for me, but to be destined to live alone.”

The Bounty Hunter who caught his eye visited this out of the way satellite location periodically during the course of her work. She’d yet to take him up on any of his overtures.

Gore snorted and lifted the bottle of pale pink liquid to his mouth. “There are about ten women in here easily who would love for you to look in their direction for longer than it takes a man to piss.”

Hunter doubted that. For one he wasn’t much in the looks department and that was before a shock bomb exploded ruining one side of his face and damaging his body beyond repair. Hunter fingered his chin, the skin tough from aged scars. Appearances didn’t matter much to him. Never had, but he’d lost friends that day and a loyal partner. The memory would forever bother him far more than his looks.

He faced his frequent customer. “Why don’t you try your luck with the ladies, Gore? I’ll do what I do best and serve drinks.”

Gore stood on a stretch and set his empty bottle on the counter with a hefty credit chip to pay. “My wife might have something to say about that.”

She definitely would. Maai was not a female to trifle with. The corner of Hunter’s mouth quirked up. “I guess we both lose.”

“Speak for yourself. I’m going home to sleep next to a warm female body and you’ll be sleeping all alone my friend.” On that note Gore smiled and nodded on his way out, his large bulk surprisingly spry as he made his way to the door.

Hunter returned to his work, thoughts already on finding his bed tonight and going to sleep. Alone as Gore said, but he liked it that way.

Sometimes.

***

The mewling cry cut through the night and grabbed Narelle’s attention. She paused and cocked her head to the side, listening for the sound again. Silence greeted her. It was late and she hoped to stop in at The Zone before they closed the doors for the night. Maybe squeeze in a quick chat with the striking owner and bar keep. A grin tugged at her lips. Hunter Gils definitely warranted her best effort to get there on time.

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