She’s his everything, and he’s nothing without her.
Bane has wanted Ariana since the first moment he met her, except she belongs to his brother Arko. When a tragedy happens, Bane steps forward to claim Ariana as his own, but Keshpan law states a slave can never be a bonded mate. That isn’t going to stop Bane from loving her every day for the rest of his life, though.
When Ariana is kidnapped by space pirates, Bane is determined to rescue her, no matter the cost. But things are getting bad back home on Keshpa, a political storm is brewing that just may rip Ariana from his arms the moment he returns with her. Bane will stop at nothing to have her by his side, even if it means turning his back on his people and his culture. He’ll walk away from it all to have the woman he loves by his side.
“Read to me?” she asked.
Her request brought him joy. She wanted to spend time with him, otherwise she would’ve sent him from the room.
He picked up the book from the bedside table, where he’d laid it down earlier. He hadn’t realized she’d been listening as he read before. It had been a way to pass the time and he’d hoped she heard his voice, but he wasn’t sure how aware she was of her surroundings.
He opened to the page where he’d left off and began reading. He’d chosen a book from her world, something he’d found in storage. When the ships were sent out in search of women for Keshpa, sometimes they brought back artifacts as well. He’d found a small handful of books and had taught himself the language easily enough. He didn’t even need the translators provided in every home and business in order to speak with her. Earth’s language was rather simplistic. It had been much harder to learn Tourmalan and Vendu.
Ariana’s weight grew heavier, and he realized she’d fallen asleep again. He placed the book back on the table and cuddled her close. Once she was well enough to go home, he could hold her every night while she slept. He supposed he should give her some time to adjust to her new life, give her a separate room, but that wasn’t going to happen. He’d waited a year to have her in his life as something other than his brother’s slave. Now that she would be his, he was going to keep her with him as much as possible. Bane didn’t want to suffocate her, but he was anxious to spend time with her.
He’d taken her to appointments before, for his brother, had actually spent a good bit of time with her over the past year. He’d seen her on occasion when speaking with his brother at her apartment. But he’d never had real one-on-one time with her, not in the way he wanted. He’d prepared himself for more because if given the chance he’d wanted to impress her. Their time alone had been limited, and as she hadn’t belonged to him that was as it should’ve been. Didn’t mean he’d liked it. Every second spent in her company, he’d imagined what it would be like to call her his own. Tomorrow was going to be a dream realized for him.