Slow and Steady – By a Hare – Chapter Twelve

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Please pardon my typos […more…]

Chapter Twelve

(Finished)

I think I am seeing a trend… Here is another installment that I must post or I’ll keep tweaking it forever!

xo Bex

There Be Mature Content Here

Please be advised that the following is intended for mature readers only.
(So, there isn’t any explosive mature content in this installment, but I thought it best to keep this noitce posted. You know, because there could be mature explosions at any time, as the explosive mood takes hold… and stuff.)

Kin ran his gaze over Rez. He did it again—determinedly ignoring the dead Kletka whose limp fingers were tangled in her hair—and focused on her vulnerable hit points and fragile skin.

She was a bit battered, but entirely whole.

Thank Aku. Now he could rail at her for doing something so impulsively rash and—

A pulse blast hit his carapace.

“Yeah, Trigger Happy there,” Rez jutted her chin at the Kletka nuisance standing behind him as she started working her hair free, “is probably gonna—”

Kin pivoted, snatched the Kletka’s gun, then snapped his neck. He also snapped the damn gun in half before turning back around. All without interrupting Rez.

“—keep firing—”

The dead Kletka hit the floor. As did the pieces of his gun that Kin had carelessly tossed aside. Well, those two things interrupted her.

Rez rolled her eyes and huffed—just a short grumpy exhale—as she continued untangling her hair. Kin blew another furious exhale. By Aku, their composures clashed like fire and ice. Compared to Rez’s unfazed demeanor, he must look like a seething beast.

Driven to do something—hell, anything—for her, Kin growled lowly as he unsheathed a knife from his armor. He gave it one perfunctory twirl in his hand before offering the hilt to her.

She flicked her eyes from the knife up to him. “I’m not cutting my hair.”

“It’s for his fingers.”

“Not cutting those either, Kin.” She went back to detangling her hair. “I got this handled.”

Handled?

She didn’t understand.

A nano filament held his rage at bay. When it snapped, the entire Southern hemisphere of Warren’s would be reduced to gristle and ash. Kin was an Akupara on the mating hunt. He’d just tracked down his mate-to-be inside a goddamn combat zone; only to find her laying on the dirty floor of a primitive medical center, pinned down by a dead enemy. Now she pointedly dismissed him while blithely claiming ‘I got this handled.’

Aku restrain him. He was going to go cataclysmic.

“Delorez!” The call was bellowed from the room behind his mate-to-be.

“Shit!” Her hands trembled as she viciously yanked at her hair, tearing it from her own scalp as she tried to get free. “Shit. Shit. Shit. Luna.”

The cracking of Rez’s composure blindsided him. He fucking knew she’d been in a high-adrenaline situation. That the after effects might be delayed. But to actually witness her come undone…

He snapped like flick of a switch.

Zipping past Rez, he barreled toward the target that had exposed Rez’s desperate fear. A snarled challenge—resonating with feral vindication—tore from his throat. Finally. This was his purpose. Not to merely protect his mate, but to shred anything that threatened her.

He jolted to a stop—the scene before him registering with shocking clarity—as Rez bolted around him.

“No, Kin!” She flattened her palms against his chest. “These are friends.”

Her announcement was unnecessary. Her bodily blockade, to be frank, ineffective. He could easily rake his gaze over her head, which he did to reaffirm why he chose to halt his charge. Two human females were on the floor. One cradled the other. Both wore stained, homespun clothing. Their hands held no weapons. Like Rez, their bodies lacked visible natural defenses—no claws, scutes, or sharp teeth. Obviously they were non-hostiles.

More importantly, they were people Rez would fiercely defend.

Well, then. The situation had taken a rather embarrassing turn. As The Last, he never should have charged forth with his blood boiling for a kill without assessing the situation. Now he both looked and felt like a damn fool.

“Stay the fuck back, Kin.” Rez jabbed a warning finger into his chest.

He complied by taking a full step back. “Next.”

Rez narrowed her eyes at him. “Next?”

“Tell me what to do.”

Rationally, he’d disengaged his defensive measures. He’d not consciously make a move against people under Rez’s protection. However, his primal urges were still riled. He’d yet to cup her cheeks and conduct a hands-on examination, thus assuring his instincts and impulses of her apparent good health. His mate-hunting side was driving him to tackle her, tie her up, and give her a thorough inspection.

Which, as he’d been told several times, could be construed as counterproductive to her wellbeing.

Right now, though, he needed simple, executable steps because he did not control an orderly mind. As his mate-to-be, any request from Rez would be treated as a command. Her wishes would reroute his focus, and both his mind and body could stand the fuck down.

Kin’s gut clenched as Rez flicked her gaze over him. Part of him dreaded giving her the reins. Yes, Emys often kept him in check, but she did so as his commander. And he also knew that Emys viewed his temper and urges as advantages that were under her control. She could strategically chose when and where to release her hold on him.

Rez might not view his flaws in the same light. True, he hadn’t fully exposed himself by requesting that she command him, but still, what if…

Rez ran her eyes over him again. “One second, Kin.”

She turned her back to him.

That uncultured comment—’one second’—had him sucking in and hold his breath. It wasn’t an outright rejection, nor was it immediate acceptance, either. However, it was very unlike Rez to hesitate, especially for an entire, lengthy second.

As he waited, his plummeting hope pressed down like a boulder on his chest. 

“Jo,” Rez addressed the conscious female with a soft tone. “How’s Luna?”

“I can’t get her fully awake,” Joia said, sounding strained, as she slightly jostled the smaller woman. Kin watched as the smaller one—Luna—cracked her eyes open, but then immediately slipped back into unconsciousness. “This is not as bad as after the crash, but it ain’t good, either.”

“Right.” Rez turned back to him, and the determination in her gaze had him snapping to attention, eager for a request. Eager for anything from her. “Kin, can you help her?”

For Rez, he would.

His ‘yes’ burst forth, pushed from his mouth by his air-starved lungs. Warm hope bloomed in his gut as he sucked in another breath that expanded his chest and pulled his shoulders back.

Emys would’ve called it ‘preening,’ but fuck that. He was presenting himself to his future mate, demonstrating not only his ready compliance, but his physical fitness for any task that she should request of him.

He stepped forward, but Rez stopped him by pressing her palm to his chest.

She gazed up at him. “Joia or Luna don’t carry any debt from this. Understood?”

Her eyes were intense. Her voice dropped in tone. He knew, she wanted no misunderstanding on her point.

He kept his voice steady and his answer short. “Yes.”

But hell if he knew how he could keep his word to her. Surely, he would think of something. Already he was navigating multiple deterrents that frustrated his efforts to claim his mate. Her request became simply one more thing for his ‘List of Things to Negotiate or Neutralize.’

Besides, the addition to that list was worth its future reckoning. The answer that he gave in this moment relaxed the creased corners of Rez’s eyes. The grim line of her lips softened. She exhaled, exposing an unguarded glimpse of the strain she carried.

An old Akupara saying tumbled forth from him. “I want to hollow myself out so that I may shelter you within me, always.”

Rez’s face screwed into confusion. “You wanna gut yourself and…?”

She glanced back over her shoulder.

Joia, the conscious human female, shrugged. “I heard ‘and wear me like a meat suit.’”

Rez spun back to him, distaste curling her lips and creasing her brow. “Seriously, Kin?”

Seriously. Emphatically. Desperately.

He’d laid his heart bare even though he’d heard other Akupara say that Outbalers struggled to understand that deeply moving sentiment.

Rez chuckled dryly and shook her head, her obvious exhaustion weighing down both actions. “Good god, Kin. I think that’s the most you’ve ever said to me.”

She had a valid point. He’d long believed that verbal expression beyond military jargon was wasted breath. Yet, despite her dismissal of his declaration, he would gladly ramble on about his devotion if it alleviated her fear and stress.

She patted his shoulder cop. “Jo, this is Kin, Pyx’s brother. He’s here to help.”

As Rez stepped aside, she tapped out some sort of code using her foot and the floorboards. Kin thoroughly approved of the tactic. It demonstrated his mate’s foresight to be both sly and prepared.

His mate-to-be’s friend, however, gave him a scrutinizing scowl as she tightened her arms around Luna. “Fanboy and Meat Suit. You’ve rounded up one helluva cavalry, Rez.”

He didn’t like his short designation—Meat Suit.

Though Fanboy matched Pyxis so perfectly that it further reinforced his sibling’s unconventional nature. An Akupara, succinctly described by merely one word was truly unfortunate.

At least Kin had been awarded a two-word designation.

“Cut it out, Jo,” Rez huffed. “He can carry Luna to safety.”

“Easily.” Kin nodded and, since it could earn him another descriptor to Joia’s designation for him, he magnanimously added, “I can carry you as well.”

Joia made a throaty grunt-hum. A human call to challenge, perhaps? Excellent. He was prepared to prove himself before his future mate.

Joia glared at him. “I got two feet and they work just fine.”

Ah. That was disappointing.

Joia jutted her chin, gesturing toward the other room, “But before Luna goes anywhere, get Doc in here, Rez. Gotta make sure it’s safe to move her.”

His mate-to-be nodded once. “On it.”

‘On it’? Wait, Rez actually responded to direct orders?

Kin’s first wave of astonishment faltered when Rez rolled her neck and cracked her knuckles as she strode from the room. A fresh, second wave of astonishment hit him. 

By Aku, he was hard.

Truly, his cock was instantly throbbing and aching for her. To see his mate-to-be square up and stride off into battle—well, more of a confrontation, but still—had hotblooded arousal coursing though his coldblooded body.

That magnificent, kickass woman was going to be his.

Joia made that deep throated grunt-hum again. “I see you, Meat Suit.”

He turned his attention away from the door, where Rez had passed, back to the prickly human who was scowling at him. He was certain that Joia did not see him. As per Bale protocols, his armor effectively covered him, even his cock which swelled with desire for Rez. However, he would not ignore this female’s astute instincts. They made her even more suspicious than his mate-to-be.

From behind him, he heard an indigent human female scoff, “You can’t make me!”

“Really?” Came Rez’s dry reply.

Kin, anticipating his mate-to-be’s sexy temperamental response, stepped aside as a human female was pushed into the room.

“Look at that,” Rez said as she followed right after. “I made you.”

The new human female—the same one he’d sped by as she was tumbling off of a stool—huffed. “How dare—”

“Shut it, Doc,” Joia snapped. “Examine Luna now, or I’ll fucking unmake you.”

Kin watched the human—Doc—still at the threat. Interesting. Apparently, Joia knew how to acquire and apply leverage. Not only was Joia discerning, she was wily as well. Both were admirable attributes. Too bad he’d promised Rez that neither of her female friends would personally repay the Bale for assisting them.

He’d just have to get another human female from the settlement for his mother to give to Emys.

Right. He mustn’t speak that out loud. Human sensibilities were so unreasonable at times.

Doc flung a hand out at Luna. “It’s just exhaustion.”

Joia blinked. “Try again, Doc.”

“She kept running around the settlement when I told her not to,” Doc grumbled as she knelt on the floor before Luna. “She was death waking.”

“Running around?” Rez asked.

Kin stifled a snort when Doc went to answer. “She—”

“Meds, food, water,” Joia spoke over the other female. Hell, even he knew Rez’s question was for Joia. “Taking supplies to others. The Kletka weren’t distributing shit to anyone.”

“Well, it exhausted her,” Doc said as she tugged on one of Luna’s eyelids causing the tiny human woman to groan and wince.

Joia slapped the other woman’s hand away. “Fine. Got it. Can we move her?”

“Move her?” Doc batted her attention between Rez and Joia. “Move her where?”

“Yes or no,” Joia grated out.

Doc hesitated, then nodded emphatically. “Yes. Take her. Just go.”

By Aku, this Doc female was despicable. He understood why Rez and Joia treated her with such derision. Although his protective instincts were gearing up again, he wasn’t an idiot. Rez had Doc well in hand.

But, he didn’t muffle his warning growl that vibrated throughout the small room, making Doc flinch as she gave him a wary glance.

Rez, though, rolled her eyes as she snagged the collar of Doc’s shirt and pulled her up. “Good. Now get the fuck out.”

“‘Get out?’ I actually belong here.” Doc fumed as she shrugged off Rez’s hold. “You, though—”

“Punch her, Rez.” Joia said, her attention focused on brushing the hair back from Luna’s face.

If Kin had blinked, he would have missed it. Rez clocked the useless female.

“Guess we’re done with Two-Four-Kay.” Rez stated matter-of-factly, turning to Joia as the other female crumpled to the floor.

Kin silently thanked Aku as a third wave of astonishment plowed into him. It should have made him weak in the knees, to be so fortunate in his circumstances that Rez severed her own ties to the settlement. Instead, his body continued to burn for her.

Of all things, he impulsively wanted to order her to run, because his instincts longed to race after her. 

“Meat Suit.” Joia’s sharp tone snagged his attention. “We’re done here.”

Then Joia leveled a gazed at him, and it was so indicative of Emys that he knew what she wanted from him. He moved forward and knelt down, enduring a dark warning look before she transferred Luna into his arms.

He started to settle the tiny female over his left shoulder. 

“Yo, Meat Suit!” Joia snapped. “Whaddya doing?”

Truly? He thought it was obvious. “Maximizing the load.”

“The what?” Joia shrieked.

Kin tamped down on his reflexive jerk to cover his ears because his hands were committed to holding Rez’s friend. It would have been all too easy to cover his ear. His hands didn’t want to hold Luna. They wanted Rez. So truly, it was a feat that he hadn’t dropped the tiny female.

Ah, perhaps he finally had control over all his faculties again.

“Kin.” Rez pressed her hand on his load-free shoulder, keeping him from standing. “You can’t carry her all the way to the Bale like that.”

“I assure you, I can.” Kin gave Luna a gentle bounce. “She is very light.”

“No,” Rez groaned. “You shouldn’t carry her like that. Fuck Doc and all, but she did agree that Luna’s hurting.”

Ah. Good point. Perhaps his control wasn’t fully reinstated yet.

He repositioned Luna so that he cradled her in his arms. Rez gave him an approving nod as she finally permitted him to stand.

As he took to his feet, Kin raked his eyes over Rez. She was passing through the door, Joia on her heels. As both women righted cots and helped sick settlers up from the floor, his mind replayed that tiny bit of praise from her. It was just a simple head nod, but…

She had no idea. None.

He was hers to command.

Despite his duty and auspicious rankings, he’d gladly obliterated his self-control when he’d started the mate hunt. A decade and a half of ruthlessly restraining the worst of himself, all so he could become the Last of his people, had been tossed aside without hesitation. All for her. Now he would remain a feral beast—solely biddable by her—until he claimed her.

By Aku, Rez held the reins.

The heated arousal already pumping through his body and mind surged, engulfing all his buffers and restraints. Which meant—at long last—he could finally let go.


“Hey, Rez!” Pyx called out as she approached.

She had to peer around Kin’s massive back to see the Akupara waving at her. Which irked her, because Kin insisted on serving as her forward shield, even though all booming sounds of the cannon and blaster fire had ceased throughout the entire settlement. She was tempted to take a quick run through the streets and buildings to make certain, but she was pretty sure the silence was courtesy of the Akupara cavalry that had liberated Two-Four-Kay.

As Rez glanced around Kin’s hulking shoulders, she added up the number of towering, bulking figures in matte black armor. Six Akupara, including Kin and his two siblings, had rescued the settlement from over two dozen armed, Kletka mercenaries. 

“Over here, Rez!” Pyx kept waving enthusiastically at her as he stood next to an orderly pile of wire components, power cells, and metal panels and pipes.

What the hell? Rez darted her eyes about her, confirming that, yes, she was approaching the settlement’s square. Right where the Kletka had positioned their pulse cannon.

“Look!” Pyx swept his arms, grandly gesturing toward his organized chaos.

Yep. Those pieces were the pulse cannon. Pyx had obviously survived his direct charge against it, overcome its Kletka operators, and then dismantled it and organized its pieces—all since she’d last seen him. Perhaps twenty? Maybe thirty minutes ago?

Off to the side, there were smaller piles of organized components as well.

“Three-hundred and fifty-seven individual components,” Pyx said proudly as his helm gazed down at the cannon pieces. With his hands on his hips, he nodded once, clearly satisfied with his accomplishment. “Eighteen of which are interchangeable—hey! We can hold them!”

From across the square, Pyx gawked at Kin. Well, Rez was fairly certain that he was gawking at Luna.

Pyx pointed at Joia. “Can I hold you?”

Jo huffed and jabbed a warning finger. “Back off, Fanboy.”

Pyx, practically bouncing on his toes, shifted his pointing finger to Kin. “Well, can I hold that one?”

Rez and Joia chorused, “No.”

Pyx shifted his pointing finger again, landing on Rez. “Then can I hold you?”

Of course he turned to her. Whereas Jo had irrevocably shut Pyx down, Rez had tempered her reply with tenderness, unintentionally dangling bit of hope before him. And people like Pyx joyfully pounced on the slimmest threads of possibility.

Ah, the poor guy.

Though, she was so damn glad to see he won his battle against the pulse cannon.

Rez opened her mouth to decline, but Kin’s growl drowned her out. “Fuck, no.”

Appearing neither disappointed nor deterred, Pyx resumed his pivoting finger pointing. “You! Can I carry you?”

He began slow, measured strides toward a settler who was talking to Emys. Shit. It was Rogers. She would know those pretentious hand gestures anywhere. 

“He likes bear hugs, Fanboy!” Joia shouted with her hands cupped around her mouth. “Crushing bear hugs!”

The leader of Two-Four-Kay, looking merely disheveled rather than battered and bloody like most of the settlers, was probably doing his typical grandstanding. She would bet he was issuing insane orders to Emys even though it was the Akupara who just saved the day.

Which made Rogers an entitled jackass, but that didn’t mean Pyx should pop him like a grape.

“Seriously, Jo!” Rez whapped her on the shoulder. “He’s gonna snap Rogers in half!”

“Yeah.” Joia chuckled. “I know.”

“God, Jo.” Yes, her friend was vicious, but it was cruel to play with Pyx like that. Poor guy would be crushed if he literally crushed someone. She turned to Kin. “Could you…”

She trailed off.

When she’d turned toward him, Kin snapped to attention. He appeared excited and eager and an awful lot like his boisterously unhinged brother.

She ran her eyes over him. “Kin?”

He shifted closer to her, dipping his head down and twisting his torso so that Luna wasn’t between them. “What would you have me do, Rez?”

His deep, rumbly voice lit her up in delicious places, leaving her kinda breathless as she gazed up into his faceless helm.

What would she have him do? Well, for starters, her.

As she listed toward him in order to—what, suck on his faceplate?—another Akupara strode over to them.

“Kinixys the Last.” He slapped Kin on his armored shoulder as he passed by. “Leave Pyxis the Restrained to me.”

Okay. She could still recover the moment. Perhaps if she licked her lips while Kin was watch—

“Who’s that?” Joia sidled up to her as she jutted her chin toward the Akupara chasing Pyx. “Pompous the Ass?”

That did it. The moment was truly obliterated.

Kin must have shared her frustration, because he grumbled sourly as she turned to address Jo. “It’s what his friends call him?”

Which—the hell if she knew—could be accurate. Based on that Akupara’s pretentious voice, Rez was pretty sure it was Ryorin, Emys’s future husband, who’d swaggered past them.

“Hoy!” Ryorin bellowed as if declaring a challenge. “Pyxis the Restrained!”

Pyx turned, but he’d only twisted his torso to glance back; as if he couldn’t get his entire body to give up the pursuit of Rogers for the slim possibility of some new shiny. Whatever Pyx saw must have been lacking enticement, because he shrugged and continued toward Rogers.

Ryorin reached out, swiping at him. “Cease—”

Both Akupara jolted to a stop when Emys casually tossed a Kletka pulse gun at Pyx.

Without turning her helm away from Rogers and his blubbering, she added a succinct order. “Decommission.”

“Marvelous!” Pyx replied, and with his helm fixated on the weapon in his hand, he strode toward his smaller piles of parts. “One-hundred and thirty-one individual components with only twelve being interchangeable.”

Rogers startled, then flung a hand out toward Pyx. “Now, wait a second. The settlement could use—”

The Akupara in the square growled in warning. It definitely piqued Rez’s interest to note that Kin joined in their censure of Rogers as well.

Joia gaped slack-jawed, then her mouth curled into a wide, beaming grin. “Oh! What’d Rogers do?”

Rez shook her head. “I don’t know.”

Well, other than being Rogers, that was.

“Well, find out,” Joia eagerly nudged her. “Go on. Ask your Meat Suit. Whatever Rogers did, I wanna make sure he does it again.”

Yeah. She wasn’t so sure that engaging with Kin was the right move at the moment. She could feel him staring at her. Typically, her flash hairs would be buzzing if someone as dangerous as Kin was boring his gaze into her. Hell, he was practically carving a target on the back of her neck with his damn laser focused eyes. Even though her flash hairs remained unconcernedly inert, a shiver ran over her skin.

And that heated shiver seemed to pay special attention to her nipples and clit.

Like, a lot of attention.

Since now wasn’t the best time for all of that, she would stay right where she was, nettling Jo while Emys, hopefully, stomped Rogers into a mushy flesh puddle.

Keeping her eyes off Kin, she nudged her friend right back. “You know you’re pro-murder, right?”

“Eh.” Jo shrugged. “Not blaming you, Rez, cuz you were off getting help. But you weren’t here. Rogers surrendered the settlement to the Kletka after that first explosion.”

True, Rez wasn’t there. But she’d spend a good decade watching how Rogers ran the settlement. He loved to talk like a visionary leader, but really, his sole concern was himself. She doubted that he even cared for the people that comprised his inner goon circle. People like Doc Skylar, whom Rez coldcocked just minutes ago.

Jo made a disgusted sound. “The man did shit before, during, and,” she shifted her gaze to Rogers and Emys, “now after as well. He’s gonna piss off the Akupara. Means everyone’s gonna have to fend for themselves.” 

Rez side-eyed her friend. What was she missing? “Thought we were done here.”

“You and I sure are,” although Jo nodded, she was frowning, “but not our Baby Bunny. You know what she’s gonna be like once she’s back on her feet.”

That Rez did.

Luna would be sweetly tenacious as she picked up where she left off. Running herself ragged trying to hide her super-enhanced speed, all while caring for people who should have been caring for themselves.

Caring for people who’d done shit to care for her in return.

Why?

Cuz that was Luna.

Jo, never one to drop a murder plot, turned to Kin. “Meat Suit, what was all the boo-hissing all about?”

Rez viciously stifled her groan. She had to. If she’d vocalized her venting, it would come out sounding husky, starved, and very much depraved.

Seriously? How could she be responding to a heated stare, when she couldn’t even see the heated stare through his damn opaque faceplate?

“Because you desire me as well,” Kin rumbled in a low, deep voice.

Right into her ear. If he wasn’t wearing that faceplate—and know what? She was really starting to hate that faceplate—she would have felt his warm breath on her neck.

Cue more delicious tingles to her bits, followed by humiliation-tinged warmth to her face.

Rez locked her gaze face forward, but didn’t register the view before. “I said that out loud.”

“Indeed. I heard. My body is primed.” Good god, he shifted even closer and dropped his voice. “What would you have me do?”

“First off,” Jo said. “How about priming yourself right back down while you’re holding our unconscious friend.”

Yeah. That. What Jo said.

“Second,” Jo tipped her head to Emys and Rogers. “Don’t think we’re going anywhere while Rogers the Ridiculous over there—”

Rez startled in confusion as Kin reared back and spun away from her.

“Ryorin Alast!” He bellowed while striding—rather more hastily than the other Akupara in the square—to the other man. “I entrust you with the heart and soul of my mate, Luna the Baby Bunny.”

Pyx looked up from his disassembling and gushed, “Oh, bunnies are fabulous!”

Kin passed Luna to Ryorin, who seemed to accept her more outta stunned bafflement than agreement.

And… what the actual fuck?

“My mate?” Rez echoed as her heartbeat pounded in her ears.

Jo gasped. “What’s all this ‘heart and soul’ bullshit? What the hell am I?”

“Who the fuck cares, Jo!” Rez rounded on her friend, her eyes popping in exasperation and… anticipation? “What’s this ‘my mate’ bullshit?”

Kin turned toward her. The man was empty handed, but hell, that only made him more of a… sexy threat?

“Emys, Scute of the Bale!” He bellowed out as he returned to Rez with thick-thighed and long-legged strides, “Joia the Ruthlessly Cunning will parlay with you on Two-Four-Kay’s behalf.”

“What?” Rez chorused with an equally astonished Rogers.

“All right, then.” Jo, nonplussed, crossed her arms and nodded. “I’m with ya, Meat Suit.”

“Jo?” Rez lowered her voice as she tapped out a frantic ‘what-the-ever-living-fuck’ with her foot.

Because to her, it sounded like one of the most loved and important people in her life just gave an alien permission to claim her as his mate.

You know what, she needed to say this out loud as well. “What the ever living fuck, Jo?”

Jo dismissed her with a wave. “That man would rip his own arm off and beat himself with it. And that’s if he thought he upset you.” Jo pinned Rez with her ‘listen up’ gaze, adding her ‘I’m not fucking around here’ single arched eyebrow for emphasis. “Imagine what he’d do if you asked him, Rez?”

Rez’s shoulders drooped as her thoughts turned inward.

Well, now. There were entirely too many possibilities. Even for someone whose mind raced as quickly as hers—

“Meat Suit,” Jo called to Kin as she started to walk away. “You’ve been upgraded to Sexy Suit. But be a goddamn gentleman, or I’m gonna make you Ground Meat. Got it?”

“Affirmative.”

Neither of them stopped their determined steps during their exchange. Jo headed to Emys; Kin to Rez.

Yep. All that grumpy determined intensity—barely contained by black armor that did otherworldly wonders for his sculpted body—continued to barrel straight for her.

She heard Joia call out to Ryorin, but only a few words penetrated the shell that Kin had cast about them.

Joia, gruff and firm. “Luna… leave my sight…Pompous.”

Ryorin, indignant and defensive. “Pompous!…not how it’s done…”

Jo shot back with something, but hell if Rez heard or cared what that rip-roaring insult was. She felt like prey caught out in the open, yet bits of her were cheering?

Yeah. Fine. Her aroused bits were cheering, rearing and ready to go.

Kin stopped a hand’s span away and silently loomed over her. She gazed up into his faceplate. The thing was black as night, with absolutely no reflection, and she was certain that he must be fogging it up.

Seriously, his chest was billowing like the mine’s ventilation compressor.

“Run,” he said.

No. Wait. “Did you just growl at me to run?”

“I did.” He dipped his chin, a sharp nod. “I said it out loud.”

“You did?” Was her voice quivering?

“Twice now.”

“Oh.” Yep. She was totally quivering.

“But I shall only say this once, so listen well.” He shifted closer, brushing her diamond pointed tits with his rock hard sternum. Well, that’s what would have happened if not for her stupid shirt and his annoying armor. “Are you listening?”

“I am so listening.”

She wasn’t listening.

He chuckled, deep and full of delighted desire, as he cupped her cheeks. “Are you listening now, my mate?”

Oh, she was listening now. “Mate?”

“If you’ll have me.” Before she could reply, he rushed on. “This is your only warning. The only advantage that I’ll give.”

He paused, patiently and tenderly palming her face, while he’d captured her full attention. His hands were covered in armored gloves, but she could swear that she felt the heat of his skin.

His brushed his thumbs over her cheekbones.

Ah, he wanted an answer. “I’m listening.”

Once. He would only say this once.

“I am outside the Bale, so I must move at Outbaler speed.”

He paused, so she nodded encouragingly. “Outbaler speed. Got it.”

“But if I am fortunate enough to encounter no humans, I’ll move at my true speed.”

Which was fucking fast. She had first hand experience.

But he’d paused again, so she now nodded eagerly. “No one around. True speed. Keep going.”

“Run to Briarwood. Hide.”

She knew the drill now. “Briarwood. Hi—Wait. Why? You’re always telling me not to run.”

She expected him to chuckle at her baffled rambling, but instead he groaned and lowered his faceplate to her crown. “Because once I scour this pathetically dismal settlement for some decent rope, I’ll be coming for you.”

“Rope?” Someone help her. Her heart was pounding in her clit.

Kin slid his hands down, caressing her neck and shoulder. “Strip you bare. Tie you up.” He growled as his hands traveled farther down, gliding over her hips to cup her backside. He pressed their bodies together. “Make you mine.”

Rez slapped her hands onto his thick shoulders and used her upperbody strength to keep herself upright.

Good god. Her knees just buckled.

Kin’s sinfully rumbly voice had her core slick and clenching in achy need, so her genius legs had done what? They’d called it quits. Done. Over. Just take me!

Don’t misunderstand. She wasn’t against any of that. She just thought, that when it finally happened, she would have her dignity in place. You know, she would be the one totally sexing Kin up instead of becoming a limp and soggy…

Okay. Not helping. New plan. New plan. 

Rez panted as she squeezed her eyes shut. Trying to focus and regain her composure was hopeless. Her whole body, brain included, had lit up with so many possibilities…

Deliciously bound possibilities.

“Rez.” Kin released her, leaving her to stagger. “Run.”

Run. Right, run. She needed to run. She should be running.

Why the hell wasn’t she running?

She blinked and gave her head a fierce shake. When she looked up, Kin was already prowling way from her. His shoulders were hunched. His head lowered. The man was hunting…

For rope.

Right.

Rez spun around and ran.

This chapter is complete! I’ve enabled commenting and have added my own thoughts as well.

As always, thank you so much for reading!

xo Bex

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From Slow & Steady: By a Hare
Copyright © 2020 by Bex McLynn
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5 thoughts on “Slow and Steady – By a Hare – Chapter Twelve

  1. Eek!! RUN!! Love the dynamic between Rez and Kin!!! This man needs some rope!! He needs to start carrying some with him at this point!🤣🤣
    Are we going to get chapter 13 this weekend?!?🤞🏻🙋🏼‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right! He needs to carry rope with him from now on! I won’t get to chapter 13 this weekend, but hope to have it done by the end of next week. And thank you so much for reading and commenting! I greatly appreciate it.

      Like

  2. This chapter was kinda hard. I found my mood turning, and Kin was getting rather grim with his thoughts. I had to scrap several paragraphs, take a break, and try again. I think I got closer to the intended humorous tone of the story with the version that I’ve posted here. When it came time for Rez’s POV, though, I had a completely different issue. Pyx. He was hijacking the scene. But, once I got him under control, then Joia stepped right up. Honestly, I didn’t mind. I love, love, love the contributions of secondary and tertiary characters to a story. I did curb them some (seriously, even Ryorin was joining in on the fun!), so that I could refocus and finally kickstart Rez and Kin’s race! Can’t wait to write the next bit!

    Like

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