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"Take your clothes off..."

I barely hide a smirk. He may be my captor, but I can read him like a book. 


I don't mind being naked. It will distract him more than it distracts me. It will make him substantially more stupid, driving blood away from his centers of reason and putting it toward circuits of instinct. 


“I have to stand up to do that. Is that permissible?"


“Yes. And do it slowly.”


I stand and reach for the zipper at my neck, drawing it down even more slowly than I imagine he wanted. Sithren wants a show? He’s going to get a show. His last show. 


There’s a small pistol in my cleavage. Always is. I do not go anywhere unarmed, not even safe places like Authority Academies. One never knows where the enemies spies are. I know better than anybody that nothing can be trusted. Not the walls, not the sky, not the postal boxes. Spies will use anything and everything to gain advantage if they can. 


I palm the gun as I smooth my palms over my breasts. He is smiling, leering. He is enjoying the bare sight of me. Human men love breasts. Dinavri men have a thing for bare bellies. The belly is the most vulnerable point on their anatomy, and they tend to be fascinated by the exceptional vulnerability of a human stomach, which has not even a layer of toughened skin to protect it. 


He steps forward into range. 


“So pretty,” he murmurs, extending his palm toward my belly. I feel his scaled fingers make contact with my body. He's surprisingly warm. They must have put themselves under heat lamps before taking over the ship. 


I lift my hand and I press the snub nose of the pistol into his belly in turn. It meets armor plating, but that doesn't matter and we both know it. If I pull this trigger, I will put a hole in him the size of a dinner plate, and large as he is, that will still be fatal. 


“Turn this ship around," I tell him firmly, but calmly. “Take me back to the nearest dock, and I will let you go.”


He blinks slowly, that golden gaze so very disconcerting. He is very alien. The Dinavri are notoriously alien. It is why all our diplomatic efforts have failed. They are unpredictable because their priorities do not mirror human desires the way we instinctively expect. Sithren tilts his head to the side and regards me with interest - not anger, and definitely not fear. 


“If you do pull the trigger, you may kill me. But you will find yourself surrounded by six Dinavri warriors. Two at the controls now, four in the other room, all of whom have been instructed to kill you in the most painful and humiliating way possible in the event of my death. Can you imagine what that might be like?”


Unfortunately, I can imagine. I have seen atrocities in my time the likes of which are absolutely unrepeatable. I see them when I close my eyes, and in my dreams.


“Give me the weapon,” he orders firmly. 


I want to squeeze the trigger so badly I can barely stop myself. What happens next, happens next. They could try to hurt me, but I would still be armed. 


“I could kill you all with this.”


“No. You couldn’t. Do you know how I know you couldn’t?”




He leans in, his voice more threatening than ever. 


“Because you haven’t.”


He swats the gun out of my hand like I am a petulant brat, and swiftly tosses me over his lap, sitting down where I once reclined .


“That was very foolish, and more likely to get you hurt than you might imagine,” he growls.  “You must be more careful. You are precious. I have not had the opportunity to make you hurt in all the delicious ways you deserve to hurt yet. Do not deprive the both of us of that pleasure.”


His palm meets my ass in a hard stroke, knocking the pride out of me. I scream, and I don’t know why because I never scream. Screaming is what people do when they’re not familiar with fear and pain, and those two things are all I have ever known.

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