Assigned to Hope as punishment, Aziza Dakar is more confused by the human inhabitants than anything. They never do what she expects, and that’s doubly true for the gorgeous bartender who makes her want things she can never have. Claiming a human isn’t against the rules exactly, but she’s just a guard, a lowly grunt with zero authority. Besides, she’s already in enough trouble with the Council without waving a human mate in their faces.
But she can’t seem to get Trick out of her head. When he convinces her to spend just one day with him, she knows it will never be enough. Now, she just has to decide how much she’s willing to risk…and if the rewards are worth the consequences.
Note: These stories are not full length novels. Each book in the City of Hope series is approximately 15k words and can be read as a standalone.
Perched on a bench in the middle of the crowded mess hall, Trick McCall tensed, his body priming for a fight as he lowered his fork to the table. He’d mostly finished his meal, though he couldn’t have said what he’d eaten. The display on the replicator told him he’d ordered spaghetti, but pretty much everything on the menu tasted the same. Fuck, what he wouldn’t give for a steak and a giant baked potato with all the toppings.
“You deaf?” the beefy guy next to him asked. “I said—”
“I heard what you said.”
Glancing to his left, he blinked at the green shirt the man wore. It had been almost six months since the introduction of color to their wardrobes, and while he liked it a hell of a lot better than the constant sea of blinding white, he still hadn’t gotten used to it.
Calmly, he rose, stepped over the bench seat, and turned to face the asshole who had interrupted his lunch. The guy stood several inches shorter than his own six and a half feet, but he held his shoulders back and his spine rigid. A muscle in his jaw ticked, and his green eyes flashed with defiance as he slammed his tray down on the table next to Trick’s. He was young, full of testosterone and anger, but his mess of red curls made him look almost innocent. The kid even had freckles, for fuck sakes.
“Table’s all yours.” Leashing his own anger, Trick turned away to pick up his tray, which was why he didn’t see the meaty paw aimed at him until a fist connected solidly with his jaw.
His bottom lip split open from the impact, spraying blood across the ivory tabletop. The kid was spoiling for a fight, but Trick wasn’t going to be the one to give it to him. Wiping the back of his hand across his mouth, he grimaced when it came away bloody, but made no move toward his attacker. It wasn’t that he couldn’t fight. Heaven knew he’d been in his share of bar brawls. He always came out on top, and he always felt like shit for it afterwards.
“You’re barking up the wrong tree, kid. Enjoy your lunch.”
Trick shrugged. “Whatever you say.”
Menace sparked in those green irises, and the kid hauled his fist back again, but he never got a chance to land a second punch. Long, slender fingers wrapped in radiant, bronzed skin surrounded his wrist, twisted sharply, and jerked his hand behind his back, torquing it up between his shoulder blades.
“Again, Brian?” With the barest hint of a smile, the female guard swept the man’s legs, tripping him forward so that she could force his face down onto the table.
“What did I tell you about irritating me?”
Trick was instantly hard.
Thank fuck Star Donavan had convinced the director of Hope to change the dress code within the city, because he’d be giving the whole cafeteria an eyeful if he still had to wear those godforsaken white harem pants. Not only had bright, vibrant colors replaced the boring white, but she’d also made it possible for the residents to have access to the same leather pants the guards wore.
As it stood, his cock swelled, straining against the button fly of his leathers, and his pulse pounded up into his throat. Which was why it surprised him how steady he sounded when he spoke.
The female pinned him with her sapphire blue eyes. “Trick.” She nodded, her gaze settling on his busted lip. “You good?”
Other than his lip, nothing was bruised except his pride. “I’m good.”
“Hey!” Brian yelled, squirming beneath Aziza’s hold. “Let me go.”
Tangling her fingers in his red curls, she lifted his head a fraction of an inch, then slammed it back down on the metal table. Her nostrils flared, and her upper lip curled over her teeth to reveal the tips of her fangs.
Brian whimpered when she wrenched his arm higher up his back, but he was smart enough to shut his trap. Back on Earth, a crowd would have started to gather by that point, but sudden outbursts of violence weren’t so uncommon in the underground city. Putting that many people—especially that many men—together in tight quarters, it was bound to happen.
Officer Aziza Dakar was stunning. She had the kind of long, ebony hair a man could sink his fingers into, and those intense blue eyes sent a flash of heat through his veins every time she looked at him. He didn’t usually go for the biker-chic look, but damn if the black leather that encased her sleek curves didn’t flick his Bic.
“Thanks for the rescue,” he teased. “You’re my hero.”