We sat in silence, the buzz of the equipment and the faint rumble of the engines our only soundtrack. “Dalton?”
“Yes, Sweet One?”
“Tell me about Charbodey.”
“What do you want to know?”
“Everything.” I needed to know it all.
He was quiet for a second. “When we get back on our ship, I can do better than tell you about it. We have a program that I can essentially show you a holographic story. We can all go in together, if you like. Show you around.
That way, you can actually see it with your own eyes. Would you like that?”
Intrigued, I nodded. “I think it’s essential, since I think— no, I know— I need to go there and take the throne.”
Dalton stiffened for a second. “Then that is what shall be.” He pressed a kiss over my pulse. “Why do you wish this now? It’s a complete reversal of what you wanted before.”
A sigh pulled from me as I toyed with one of the straps on his jerkin. “They will never stop coming now. Your statement about the collateral damage was 100% correct. And I can’t find revenge sitting on Earth.”
He squeezed my thigh. “All good reasons. But you can have your revenge sitting on Earth if you wish it. Just command me to go back and do it for you.”
“No.” I leaned against his chest to hear his heartbeat. He shifted beneath me then squirmed. I looked up at his face and then pulled away from him a bit. Blood soaked through the front of his jerkin. “Dalton?”
He shook his head. “It’s nothing.”
“It’s obviously not nothing.” I tugged the leather open. Sometime in the course of his saving me and eliminating the others who had been here, he’d been injured. I didn’t know because of the dampening of my chip. The wound seeped blood. He’d been knifed, and he’d been walking around like everything was normal.
He met my gaze before he lowered his eyes. “I have promised not to leave you, and I will not. As we don’t have Reese, or any useable medical supplies on this ship, the best thing to do is just to sit still and wait. I’m strong, Khloe, I’ve been hurt before. I will conserve my energy like we are conserving the engines, and we will wait. It will be okay.” He patted his lap. “Please. Your presence close to me is healing.”
“We should bandage it at least, to stop the bleeding.” Then a thought dawned on me. When we talked about talent, the guys said all people with talent had some version of the same things. They just differentiated in who was better at what. When I’d encountered the Jergen, Dalton healed me.
He pulled out more of the gauze, but he did not carry that much in the way of supplies on him. Even pressing the gauze against the injury seemed to do little; it soaked through with blood almost immediately.
“I can help.” I settled on his lap carefully. “My energy can help you heal or at least just sustain you.”
He shook his head. “I would never presume to take your energy. It is for us to feed you, not the other way around.”
The comment sounded like Goran with his bullshit about not sleeping. Men. They were the same across the universe. “No, you are all starved for me.” When he would have objected again, I glared at him. “Are you mine to command or not?”
“There’s that beautiful temper,” he teased, the lazy note in his voice coaxing, but I refused to be lulled.
“Are you going to obey?”
He inclined his head, though still reluctant. I settled my uninjured hand on his chest, just above his heart and a few inches above the wound. His skin was cool and firm beneath my fingers. Closing my eyes, I took several deep breaths. I refused to harm him. The shift along my skin reminded me of the stars that had spread across me with each bonding, the blue stars for Reese, the purple for Briggs, and finally the green for Goran. The patterns swirled together, rich, verdant clouds of power on my skin, a mark of my loves.
As the power shifted, it coalesced along my arm, the blue shimmer tingling and shining a bit bright. With each pulse of my heart, the power began to trickle and flow until the sensation of pins and needles spread through my fingers. I was sending him doses of my energy as gently as I could. I was hardly an expert, so much of it was new, but I focused on the desire to help him.
When Dalton and I bonded, I imagined this would be easier. If Reese were here, he could do it. He was bound to my darkness; all my guys were bound to each other. But between his injury and our location, Dalton and I couldn’t complete the bond alone. He would never allow himself to be rendered helpless until the others arrived.
Still, I could do this.
He jolted slightly before his obsidian eyes took on an almost dreamy quality, his expression softened. “Khloe.”
“That feels good?” I leaned my head against his shoulder.
“Good is not the right descriptor.” He massaged my nape.
I recognized a few things right away. I wasn’t Reese, and despite his proclamation of being perfectly fine at managing this, Dalton was not going to last if we didn’t get him to Reese.
“I want to see your hologram, but I want to hear you talk about it, too. Please. Tell me about our home.”
Dalton needed to keep talking. I didn’t know how long we’d have to wait for help, but we would make it, even if I had to order him to stay alive every second we did.
The corners of his mouth turned up with the ghost of a smile. “You are my home, Sweet One.”
“Charming,” I complimented him. “And you know what I meant.”
The soft huff of his breath on my cheek as he laughed managed to make me smile. “Yes, I did. Very well, if I cannot persuade you otherwise.”
“No,” I said. “You can’t.” I nestled my cheek to him as he seemed to relax in the chair, and I focused on keeping the flow steady. If I had to drain every drop from myself, I would.
Dalton would not die.
Heather Long; Rebecca Royce. Deal Breaker: Heart of the Nebula Book 2 (Kindle Locations 214-262).