Captive Wolfpart #5 of Love Slaves of the Alphas Series by Shannon West / Science Fiction / Romance & Love
Kyle looked down at the comp pad in his hand and got his first look at Tarr Bonnet. The man was young, exotic and gorgeous, a humanoid shifter from the planet Tygeria who was also one of the most notorious men in all the galaxies. This was Kyle’s first look at him and something about the man fascinated him. He traced a finger down one of the stripes on the face in the picture.
Extremely fit and muscular, Tygerians were even bigger than the Lycans, at an average of perhaps seven feet tall. Their skin was a golden-brown, and most were fair-haired. Tarr Bonnet’s hair was long and curly and a shade somewhere between red and gold. His eyes, like all of his people’s, were catlike, slanted, and a rich emerald green. In addition, the Tygerians had exotic, black tiger-like stripes running just under their skin, making the people look like some outlandish fantasy creature.
Gods, he was a gorgeous thing, and Kyle had to adjust himself a little as he stared down at the picture. Too bad he was a thieving, cold-blooded bastard of a Jolly Roger pirate.
Blayde walked up behind him and stood looking over his shoulder. “Nice looking, isn’t he?”
Kyle slanted him an incredulous glance. Calling Tarr Bonnet nice looking just wasn’t adequate. The words were too tame, too ordinary for what he was.
Kyle nodded anyway and traced his finger over the picture again. “This one won’t be easy to catch,” he said. “All of the Tygerians are strong and smart, from what I’ve heard. ”
“I know. Tarr Bonnet is for sure. That’s why I’ll need your help. I’m not taking Ryan on this one, even though I hate to be away from him that long. If anything went wrong…”
“Oh hells, that’s right. The Tygerians love humans. They prefer them, they say, over all other species. ”
“Yes,” Blayde replied, his lips tightening. “For their submissive love slaves. If he got his hands on Ryan he’d have him packaged up and sold to the highest bidder before I knew what hit me. ”
Ryan and Blayde had been mated for almost two full cycles, and still couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Blayde had every right to be cautious about him, though. The young man was beautiful and a former porn star, whose vids had been circulated all over the known galaxies. Not to mention the fact that he was a blond humanoid from the planet Earth, and exactly the type the Tygerians were so fond of as their concubines. They would pay a lot for a prize like him if they could get their hands on him. Though the Alliance would love to put a stop to it, the Tygerians had been trafficking in human slaves for many years, and paid little attention to anything the Alliance wanted. Tygeria had been at war with the Alliance for over a century.
It had all started when the Alliance of Planets had discovered how rich Tygeria was—rich beyond belief—in diamond deposits. Probable reserves using Alliance standard measures had been estimated at five hundred million cubic meters of ore at an ore grade of 2. 29 carats per one hundred cubic meters. With diamonds as the primary monetary system of the Alliance, its governing body first tried diplomacy—and when that didn’t work, they tried invasion.
The Tygerians fought off the Alliance forces with unparalleled ferocity. In the first wave of invasion, almost ninety years before, the invading starship troopers had been totally annihilated by the Tygerian forces when they shifted into massive tigers and wiped out the first wave of troopers to the last man. At that time, they took no prisoners, and made an example of the ones they managed to catch. The bodies the Alliance forces managed to recover had been ripped to pieces.
Then an Alliance ship had crashed on the planet while attempting a covert operation, and its entire crew of one hundred and fifteen men had been taken mostly alive. The Tygerians had imprisoned them and used them in their Exhibition Games, gladiator-style games that were fought before a huge crowd of spectators, with only the most fit and brave Alliance warriors surviving to fight again. At the end of the games only a handful of men had survived, and they were taken as love slaves by their victorious opponents in order to humiliate the Alliance.
They paraded the men around the arena naked and almost defenseless. Young Tygerian warriors came out to face them, and the crowds in the stands gave a thumbs up or down to determine which of the Alliance warriors deserved to live after the dust settled.
The Tygerian battle commander himself had taken one of the survivors as his slave and concubine and fallen in love with him. Since then, Earthan humanoids had become very popular on the planet as love slaves, but any humanoid species whose planet belonged to the Alliance was fair game.
Now, almost a hundred years later, neither diplomacy nor war had brought the Alliance any closer to their goal of taking over the planet. Tygeria was one of the largest planets in the known galaxies, with resources and technology their enemies could still only guess at. The entire planet was shrouded in thick gases that shielded its surface from its sun’s searing rays and from all but the most determined alien intrusion. The Tygerians wanted only to be left alone, but with the diamond standard growing higher every year, it was unlikely that would ever happen.
Since the Tygerians became aware that diamonds were the monetary standard of the Alliance and its planets, diamond mines had begun to proliferate the planet. As a result, most of the Tygerians now had little need for any other income, and the wealthy Tygerians had plenty of time to indulge their leisure activities, like trading in gorgeous, young, male love slaves. The Alliance was desperate to stop it, and that was where the Balanescus came in. Considered the best bounty hunters in the known galaxies, they had a reputation for always getting their man.
The one the family was after now was Tarr Bonnet, the foremost dealer in Tygerian love slaves. It was a lucrative business and Tarr thumbed his nose at the Alliance laws.
To obtain the slaves, Tarr Bonnet had circumvented the huge and far-reaching influence of the Planetary Alliance and set up trade agreements with the Nilaniums, or the so-called Jolly Rogers. Most of the Jolly Rogers were Nilaniums, an ancient culture, dating back thousands of cycles. The Nilanium home planet was destroyed when their sun went supernova two centuries before, but rather than find a home on another planet, the survivors became nomads, traveling the galaxy in their ships. Like the Tygerians, they were warlike and unfriendly to outsiders, considering themselves superior to most other races.
At some point in their history, the Nilaniums became space pirates, known as Jolly Rogers, so-called after the skull and crossbones flag they painted on the sides of their ships. Little more than cutthroats and thieves, the Rogers made their living preying on the ships up and down the space corridors. Usually piloting small, fast ships, they used docking technology to allow them to latch onto a larger starship, and, once docked, enter by force, rob and terrorize the crew before taking off and losing themselves in the vastness of space. If the crew had any young, good-looking members or passengers, Tarr and the Rogers would often take them along as captives to be sold on the slave markets. They became just another valuable commodity to be sold or traded.
“How did a Tygerian come to be a member of the Rogers anyway?” Kyle asked.
Blayde shrugged. “I’m not sure, but he’s a major player and runs most of their slave traffic. ”
“Tygerians only buy males, though, right?”
“Yes. Tygerian males and females don’t mix. That is, the females don’t live with the men and don’t want to. The gods only know how it got started—some say the early Tygerians bred too much and their planet was seriously overpopulated and running out of resources, but it’s only speculation. For whatever reason, the women have stayed in their own sectors for hundreds, maybe thousands of cycles and the men in theirs. They breed with each other only by artificial insemination—then if the child is female, it’s raised by the mother. If male, the father takes it to rear. That’s one reason the Tygerians purchase love slaves. The slaves rear the babies for them. ”
“What, like nannies?”
Chuckling, Blayde shook his head. “No, more like concubines. They call them their nobyos. To them, it’s almost like a spouse and another father for their children. They keep them very submissive, but it’s said they’re well-treated. ”
“So Bonnet trades in these love slaves, or what did you call them? Nobyos?”
“Yes, primarily, but never underestimate him. He’s tough and ruthless and able to shift into one of the Tygerian tygers, huge, vicious creatures—more than a match for our wolves. ”
Kyle’s family, the ancient Balanescus, were Lycan shifters, commonly referred to as werewolves, though there were significant differences. Lycan wolves had supernaturally strong metabolisms and lived a long time, but weren’t supernatural or immortal, by any means. If their opponent was big enough and strong enough, they could be defeated. Tygerian tigers, it was said, could be up to sixteen feet long and stood at least five to six feet tall at the shoulders—tough to beat by anyone’s standards.
“Remind me again why I decided to help you with this bounty. I was all set to enjoy a couple weeks off. ”
Blayde clapped him on the back and laughed. “Just be careful Bonnet doesn’t get the drop on you or else you’ll wind up being led around on a leash as some Tygerian’s pet nobyo. You always were the pretty one in the family. ”
Kyle’s snarl and look of outrage had Blayde bounding out of reach and laughing at him. “Sorry, just kidding! But I’m serious about one thing. If he catches either one of us, we’ve had a bad day. We could really wind up as Tygerian nobyos, taking care of little tiger babies. Both of us are young enough to be concubines, and we’re Lycan alphas. Those facts alone would appeal to some of the Tygerian buyers. They hate us in particular, because the prisoner of war camps for captured Tygerians is on Lycanus. Bonnet’s just twisted enough to think enslaving and selling us would be some kind of humiliating coup, not to mention making an example of us for what happens to anyone who comes after him. ”
“Okay, duly noted. We both need to be careful. Do you have a good lead on him yet?”