Abducted by her one night stand. Confined on a ship. Stalked by a traitor.

She wanted a prince, but it just *ucking figured Shira Perez’s alien baby daddy turned out to be an intergalactic pirate.

Slick, amoral, hot as hell, Malko thinks just because his DNA helped create her son that she is his genetic fated mate, and permission is a pesky detail.

Shira’s no pushover, and even when Malko’s bonding marks begin to spark, she fights for her independence.

But with a traitor on board, everything isn’t as it seems, and underneath Malko’s dark side is a streak of honor. His armor may be tarnished, but just maybe he’s still a knight.


They returned to his cabin. Shira stopped short, surveying the clean dining area with disgust.

“That’s cheating,” she said. He must have flunkies.

He glanced at the table, but headed to the beverage station and withdrew the same bottle as before.

“Another glass? You didn’t finish your first.”

Shira glanced around and went over to the three-seater, streamlined couch shoved against one wall. She plopped down, paused to kick off her shoes, then curled her legs under her.

“Just bring the whole bottle.”

Malko paused his pouring, then brought the bottle and two glasses over. He tapped the floor with his foot and a low coffee table emerged.

“I don’t suppose you have Earth chocolate on board?” she asked.

“No, but I could procure some.”

“Not steal.”

“I don’t steal food.”

“Just people.”

He sipped his wine, settling on the other side of the couch, and watched her. “So you seem to be in the mood for a fight.”

“What I’m in the mood for is an explanation. These last few weeks—I thought you were normal. And then you kidnap us.”

Malko shrugged. “It was too dangerous to leave you and Ori planetside. I didn’t have time to discuss it with you.”

Her fingers curled around the stem of the wineglass. Don’t throw it. Don’t throw it. Don’t throw it.

“You seem perturbed,” Malko observed. “You shouldn’t. I saved your lives. I have enemies.”

“The attack in the park probably wasn’t even about you. These traffickers hate losing their merch and Tai’ri figured someone would try and recoup us sooner or later.”

Malko’s expression darkened. “I have somewhere safe you can go when I’m done with my current business.”

“Just what is your business, Malko? And don’t tell me you’re transporting mugs or ovens or beach towels.”

“That’s an odd assortment. Very well, I won’t tell you so.” He stared at her, expression enigmatic. “All you need to know is I’m not a danger to you or Ori.”

Shira took a deep breath, then knocked back her wine. “I want to go back to Yedahn.”


“See, that’s not how the flow of this conversation should go.” She reached for the bottle, poured herself another glass.

“Careful, this vintage is a creeper.”

“Boy, I was drinking grown men under the table when I was thirteen.” She’d stopped drinking at eighteen after seeing the toll it took on her aunts and uncles. But the last few years . . . well.

“We have something besides Ori in common then,” he said.

She pointed at him. “Ori is not something we have in common. You had nothing to do with his conception.”

He lifted an eyebrow. “By that standard, neither did you. My dear.”

“I carried him, gave birth to him. He’s mine.”

“We can discuss ownership later.” His expression altered. “What did I tell you about pointing at me, Shira?”

Oh. She tucked her arm behind her back. “There.”

Malko shook his head slowly. “Too little. Too late.”

Shira unfolded her legs and stood. “This was a great chat. We shouldn’t do it again sometime. We shouldn’t do it again on Yedahn.”

Malko stood, mouth quirking a little. He took her glass and set it next to his on the table, then stepped closer.

“We have a son,” he said quietly. “I want my son, Shira. I swore to never abandon a child of mine.”

She opened her mouth, then shut it and shook her head. What could she say to that? He wasn’t saying anything wrong. Just inconvenient for her.

He lowered his voice. “If the mother comes with the child, I don’t see that as a deterrent.” His finger trailed down the side of her face. “I’ve tasted you, been inside you. It isn’t a deterrent at all.”

It was so hard to think rationally when all she wanted to do was lay back and let him have his way with her.

“Do you even have a home on planet?” she asked in an unsteady voice. “Because we do. And soon this won’t be an adventure for Ori, he’ll notice that we aren’t there. With his friends, the people he’s known since he was born. His routine, his parks. His toys and his bed. We have a life, Malko.”

“I know. But don’t tell me there’s no room for me in it. For his father. For your lover.”

“We’re not—”

He kissed her. Sealed her protest shut with sensual lips on hers, hands spanning her waist. Malko pulled her roughly against his body as the kiss deepened, his tongue invading her mouth to duel with hers. Her hands rose as she forgot all the reasons he was a rat bastard, tangling in his silvery hair, and yanked.

Just like that, her body was on fire, her core throbbing and aching and screaming for his merciless invasion.

Suddenly she was on her back on the couch, the sound of shattering glass dim in her ears. Strong fingers on her thighs, shoving down the waistband of her leggings. God, she wanted those fingers inside so bad.

His mouth trailed kisses down her throat. “Let me have you,” he said, voice harsh, his fingers in her slit, on her clit.

Fuck yeah. But wait—no, that wasn’t a good idea. That wasn’t a good idea because . . . because . . .

“Wait, Malko, wait.” She needed to think. There were reasons why this wasn’t a good idea. “Malko!”

He swore, but lifted himself off her. “Fuck,” he snarled. “Are you joking?”

She dug the heels of her hands in her eyes. “I’m not thinking clearly.”

He seized her wrists, pulled them away from her eyes and peered down into her face. “Are you drunk?”

“No, but I’m a little fuzzy.” Every nerve ending yearned. It would be so easy. What was wrong with a little quickie?

What was wrong was she had a feeling this was the kind of man who used sex to control women. Oh, there was plenty of heat in his eyes, his cock was hard and ready, but just the slightest hint of calculation laid behind his gaze. He thought he could overwhelm her with hormones and get her to do whatever he wanted.

A little static shock zinged her where their arms brushed against each other. Shira yelped.

Malko pulled away, pulling her up into a sitting position next to him. He frowned at her. “I told you that vintage was a creeper.”

“Stop pouting,” she said, rubbing her skin until the tingle was gone.

The pout turned into a scowl. “Do you expect me to be gracious about it?” His eyes had morphed from lavender into searing violet. “I want you.” He leaned in. “Just a taste? Just a little—”

“Begging is unbecoming of a man and an officer.” She scrambled off the couch and retreated.

But he didn’t follow her, instead draping his arms over the back. “I’m not an officer.”


“Well, goodnight, then. I hope you don’t mind if I don’t see you to your room in my current state.”

Her gaze drifted down, and she nearly forgot her resolve.

Shira fled.

“Just say the word,” he called after her.