Slow and Steady – By a Hare – Chapter Sixteen

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Please pardon my typos […more…]

Chapter Sixteen

(Finished)

I know that I keep saying this, but I truly mean it! Just hang in there. Their HEA is coming!

xo Bex

There Be Mature Content Here

Please be advised that the following is intended for mature readers only.

Kin sank his cock into Rez as his heart shattered over and over.

Bracing himself on his elbows, he cradled her face and gazed into her hollow eyes. Her tiny hands were clasped about his wrists—squeezing and easing their grip, but never letting go—while he gently thumbed away her steady stream of silent tears. Together, they breathed each other in, rolling their hips in a beautifully synchronized rhythm that shook him to his core.

They might not be able to make a child, but they were making something between them.

As their bodies moved in unison—giving and taking so that they both got what they needed—something wondrous, yet fragile bloomed.

Love. They were making love.

And it galled him that he was shit with words. That he lacked the ability to tell her that she was wanted obsessively, needed desperately, and loved eternally.

Carding his fingertips into her hair, he shifted and adjusted his hips—sinking into her deeper. As he intensely focused on her face, he noted which thrusts of his cock pulled sultry moans from her. Which sliding retreats had her biting her bottom lip as she tightened her legs about his waist.

It amazed him that working himself over her, determined to give her pleasure, had him falling deeper and deeper into her. By Aku, it was like plummeting from that damn cliff all over again. Their bodies were entwined, clinging fiercely to one another as they crashed into the sea.

Rez moaned a long, low carnal sigh.

Hell, he’d picked up his pace—pumping into her with firm, brisk strokes—and he hadn’t meant to do that.

He slowed his hips.

“Kin.” Rez’s eyelids were fluttering as her head tipped back in his hands, exposing the column of her throat. “Please.”

In answer to her sweetly compelling begging, Kin swooped down and kissed her. Stroking his tongue into her mouth, he let loose a deep growl that echoed in his quarters.

She was gorgeous. Seeing her in his arms and lighting up due to the pleasure that he provided had his arms trembling. Not from fatigue, but from tempering his strength.

“Rez,” he panted out as he stroked into her, his mind and body bombarded with intense emotions and pleasure, “want you. Like this.”

“Oh god.” Her voice cracked and he felt her beginning to quiver around him.

“Always like this.” He kept rolling his hips, coaxing her to her climax. “Perfect mate. So fucking perfect.”

She gasped, arching and pressing her breasts to his plastron. As her hands clenched his wrists and her legs locked around his waist, he was grasped by her orgasm. Her core—so snug and lush—pulsed around his cock, setting off his own release.

He poured himself into her. Not just his seed, but his enduring devotion, his bottomless passion, and his utmost respect. He gave himself over to her.

Then in the darkness of his quarters, he held her tightly as her shoulders shook and his chest muffled her anguished, seething sobs.

His mate; her sorrow had made her pissed as hell.

He let her rage and mourn for the both of them. Right now, his duty was to hold her while she screamed out her sadness. To hold her while she slept fitfully. To hold her as they found comfort in each other’s bodies.

To hold her as he gathered her further and further inside of him, where he would shelter her always.


Rez sat in Kin’s bed, appalled and humiliated as she listened to Jo.

“And that’s why,” Jo said with a straight face, “you should never keep all your eggs in one basket.”

“Fuck.” Rez slapped her hands over her mouth and moaned. “I said that?”

Jo simply arched a reproachful brow at her.

Right. Rez totally recited that old adage when the Akupara medic confirmed the results of her exam. At some point in her life—and god only knew when—she had been sterilized, and the ‘premium’ med-chamber couldn’t reverse it.

Then what did she do? She uttered some entirely inappropriate bullshit. And according to Jo’s telling of it, she immediately plummeted into a downward spiral that had lasted for days.

She shifted her eyes to Jo and lowered her hands from her mouth. “That was the last coherent thing I said?”

“Coherent.” Jo made her grumpy, dismissive huff as she shook her head. “But, on the bright side, you did lunge at Kin’s mom right after.”

She stared at Jo, blinked, then slowly breathed out in hopeful denial, “No.”

“Yes.”

“Shit.” Mortified, she covered her face as a prickly blush flushed her skin.

Days ago—when she’d been stomping through the Bale with Kin on her heels—she’d been determined to grab this whole situation by the horns and had promised herself that she wouldn’t lash out at Kin’s mom. Because she’d yet to figure out how Kin felt about the woman—would he shield her or shoot her himself?

Then the medic read the results out loud and a white hot buzzing had started in her brain and…

Yeah. And here they were. She still didn’t know how Kin felt about his mom, considering she’d just gotten her head on straight earlier that morning. From what Jo told her, this was the first time Kin had left her side.

“Shit?” Jo scoffed in challenge as she shook her head. “Nah, you screeching and launching yourself at that conceited shithole was fabulous.”

Fabulous? Apparently, during Rez’s breakdown, Jo had been getting comfy in the Bale.

She peeked at her friend between her fingers. “Pyx says fabulous. A lot.”

Jo shrugged, no shame in her gesture. “Who else was there to talk to?”

Rez already knew. No one.

She and Kin had been unavailable until that morning. Luna was stable, but unconscious in a med-chamber. Jo had shared that she’d spent time with Emys, but only long enough to negotiate for Two-Four-Kay. Which meant, that amongst their allies in the Bale, Pyxis was the only one left.

Silence fell between them. 

Jo, who sat on the bed facing Rez, shifted and resettled her criss-crossed legs.

“You know,” Jo leaned in, just like she did when about to share juicy gossip, “Pyx was toying with that pulse cannon.” She jutted her chin, indicating ‘over there.’ “Back at Two-Four-Kay with the Kletka. Totally fucking with them.”

Grateful for the topic change, Rez nodded. “Yeah, Kin told me about their…” she gestured to herself, like scrubbing up in the shower, “How their armor is just for show. Keeps their super indestructibility super secret.”

Jo huffed, shaking her head, “Watched that crazy idiot take those cannon blasts over and over…” She trailed off, her gaze unfocused as she was obviously recalling the memory. “He was in no hurry to make it stop. He could’ve done that all day, couldn’t he?”

“He could’ve, but not because he’s impervious.”

“Because he’s an idiot,” Jo finished for her.

God, she’d been worried sick for Pyx’s safety. And now knowing what she knew, she wanted to pummel Pyx for nearly giving her a heart attack over nothing. She also wanted to hug the shit outta him for helping them storm the settlement.

She nodded. “He sure is.”

But then she and Jo shared a look. Neither would say it outright, but they were in agreement. It had been impressive as hell to watch.

“Yeah, well, sorry for leaving you with Pyx for so long.” She sheepishly flicked her eyes to Jo, knowing her friend picked up her mixed feelings of embarrassment and frustration over her mental break. “The days kinda all blended together.”

Jo held her gaze and dryly replied, “Sex does that. Copious amounts of sex.”

Rez called Jo’s bluff, giving her a skeptical ‘how would you know’ look.

“Because,” Jo rolled her eyes then flicked her hands toward the bed, “your nasty sheets are stiff as stale bread, Rez. Seriously, I could snap off that corner over there.”

Oh. Well, then.

Rez overtly cleared her throat, buying time before having to answer. “Um, he was comforting me.”

“He was?” Jo challenged. The brat.

“And…” Rez straightened her spine. She wouldn’t be shy about this. After all, if she couldn’t face Jo, then how did she expect to face Kin’s mom or the rest of the Bale. “I was comforting him, too.”

“Of course, you were.” Jo gave her a sly smile and gently shoved her shoulder. “He sexed you sane again.”

Good god, he did, didn’t he?

Over and over, he told her she was perfect. Over and over, he worshipped her body because it was her, not because she could give him children.

Rez looked at her hands in her lap, focusing intensely on her entwined fingers rather than her belly. “It’s not even that I’m sad, Jo.”

Jo tenderly tsked at her as she tugged affectionately on a lock of her hair. “I know.”

Right. Let’s all agree to ignore her big fat lie.

Which she totally appreciated, but she needed to get the rest out. “I mean, I’m really so fucking glad because that means I never gotta worry about—”

This time, Jo made a thick, emotional hum of acknowledgement.

Yeah. Rez knew. All three of them—she, Joia, and Luna—all felt the same. It was the reason they’d banded together and escaped. The scientists had been planning to breed them, hoping their children would inherit their genetically modified traits in a less expensive, more ‘natural’ manner.

Less expensive. Shit, that was it, wasn’t it?

Rez barked out a dry, chest squeezing chuckle.

When Jo gave her a questioning arch brow, she said, “I must’ve tipped my worth into the red after all.”

Jo’s brow wrinkled and she shook her head. But Rez didn’t feel like elaborating. Jo didn’t need to know everything. That outta this entirely unbelievable shitshow, Rez had won a bitter victory. Her dedication to being an absolutely relentless menace to the scientists had deemed her undesirable for breeding.

So, yeah. There was that sweet spot.

But that damn buzzing started in her brain again. Not white hot, like when her sterility was confirmed, but a chilling doubt.

“Jo.” She looked at her friend and waited for her to respond.

“Yeah?” The word scratched from Jo’s throat.

Yep. Just as Rez had gotten lost in her own dismal thoughts, it appeared that the same had happened to Jo.

“You know about Kin’s title, right?” Rez asked. “The Last? It makes him some kinda Akupara V.I.P.?”

“Yeah.” Jo nodded distractedly. “He’s, like, the most important Akupara out of all the Akupara everywhere. Go Meat Suit!”

Her cheer rang hollow.

Rez suspected that Jo—who always seemed to know everything—had already figured out the rest. “My Most Wanted Bounty doesn’t really compare to that.”

Jo frowned at her. “Is Meat Suit off, trying to court some High Whatever lady from an influential Bale?” Her tone carried her scolding. “Or did he not just spend days by your side, sexing you sane?”

She knew the answers to both.

First, no. But he really should be courting some fancy lady leader from another Bale for the good of his own Bale.

And second, of course, yes. He’d stayed with her because he was absolutely amazing and she was totally addicted to his dick and—

“He’d make such a badass daddy,” she blurted out, unable to hold back that last bit of gutting regret.

Fuck you, Cosmic Payback, for fucking with her victory.

She got what she wanted, which meant Kin would have to do without.


Kin stood before Emys, gaping at her as she sat at her desk. “You proceeded without me?”

“You were otherwise engaged, Sibling Mine.”

Emys hadn’t lifted her gaze to him—keeping her attention on her tablet—while admitting that she’d deliberately excluded him from the hunt. That over the past several days, other members of the Bale had tracked down and eliminated the remaining Kletka on Warren’s.

Had he caused her that much shame?

“I’m your enforcer.” By Aku, he sounded like a whining child who was denied a treat. “You give the command and I raze.”

“I gave the command,” she looked up, pinning him with a reprimanding stare, “just not to you.”

That stung.

“Emys?” He drew her name out.

His sibling knew him well. She would know what he was asking. Which, truly, was manifold—

Why had she excluded him from hunting the remaining Kletka? What was the status within the Umara Bale? Amongst all Bales?

—but ultimately his question boiled down to the longstanding foundation of their relationship. She was his commander. Therefore, she needed to tell him what came next.

Because he honestly hadn’t a fucking clue what to do.

Kin knew his skillset. It firmly resided within physical accomplishments. Relentlessly hunting targets. Strategizing on the battlefield. Razing, thrashing, and pummeling anything that he was commanded to annihilate.

But holding the entirety of the Umara Bale in his hands? Being trusted to make decisions that would have long lasting benefits?

He could be an arrogant ass, but in this regard, he acknowledged his limitation.

Emys slowly moved her gaze over him, assessing him. “The threat to the Bale had to be eliminated.”

Apprehension prickled along his spine. There was something in her tone that he rarely heard. Uncertainty.

She lowered her gaze back to her tablet. “I had thought—”

Her abrupt stop spiked his tingling apprehension into full-blown alarm.

His sibling bowed her head. “I thought I had it all under control.”

By Aku, his assumption about causing her shame wasn’t accurate. She was ashamed of herself.

He strode around the desk and knelt so that he could look her in the eye. She grimaced, an expression that tore into him.

Emys’s composure never cracked. He wasn’t fool enough to believe that she didn’t have heightened emotions, but he’d always admired how she conducted herself honorably. Remaining constant. A steady rock. The model Akupara who was destined to become High Umara.

His sibling turned to him and the pain in her eyes struck him like a pulse blast. “I’ve failed you, Kinixys.”

“Emys?” Truly, he had nothing else to say. No clue as to what she’d meant.

“All of your struggles and sacrifices? I’ve wasted them.”

He knew well all his struggles and sacrifices. She was referring to his bid to become The Last of the Akupara. Simply contending for the title had brought the Umara out of obscurity and placed them in an unfavorable spotlight.

If he’d failed to win?

Well, things would’ve become far worse for his Bale than if he’d never tried at all. The ridicule and retaliation from other Bales—that the Umara had dared to rise again—would have been the final blow to his people.

But he’d done it. He won the title, garnering all its prestige and privileges for his Bale.

Emys’s lips curled into a tender smile, but her gaze remained heavy with sorrow. “You are yourself again, Kinixys.”

He couldn’t help it. He reared back from her. 

Himself again?

In his determination to claim renown and influence for the Umara, he’d ruthlessly crushed core aspects of himself to win the title.

Brash and brutish. Impatient and demanding. Riled and fixated.

By Aku, he’d fucking unmade himself. Toiled relentlessly to overcome the worst of himself to become The Last of his people.

And Emys was now claiming to have wasted a solid decade of grueling effort.

He refocused his attention on his sibling and made no attempted to tamp down his temper. After all, as Emys had said, he was the worst of himself once again.

He gave her a meager handful of seconds to elaborate. But fuck decorum, he was an impatient brute once more. “Wasted, Emys? How?”

She swallowed and breathed out a heavy sigh, then handed him the tablet.

He read the decree over and over. Although the impact of the words seared him, they flashed out before he could grasp their meaning.

Emys must have seen his struggle, because she said solemnly, “Ryorin is challenging your title as The Last.”

Her softly spoken words pounded inside of his head, though they echoed as wasted, wasted, wasted.

If Ryorin won the title, then the Umara would lose their only influence amongst the other Bales. Ryorin could end his courtship without consequences. The social blowback would tarnish Emys, discouraging other suitors. The Umara, already impoverished, would be stranded on Warren’s. Ultimately, his Bale would suffer.

For one disgracefully unforgivable second, Kin envied Ryorin. The other male had the luxury of placing his Bale above his mate without tearing his own heart out.

This was why the Akupara had shunned the old ways. Why generations ago they had come together as a people to suppress the mating instinct from both males and females. When instincts drove a mating, everything else fell to the wayside. The Bale was not held above all. 

Something cold and sterile notched inside of him, like a component sliding securely into position. He knew this feeling. It was the dropping of the shield that enabled him to brutally force himself to conform to Akupara standards.

That bright, almost magical bit of freedom that he’d experienced with Rez—when he could finally let go of the societal strictures that had always bound him—flared and thrashed.

By Aku, it was Kin refusing to be extinguished by Kinixys The Last.

‘Kin’ battered him with viscerally vivid memories of Rez giving herself over to him completely. Claiming him within the idiosyncrasies of her guardedness—gruffly bucking as she declared him to be her mate—yet gloriously surrendering herself to his soul-aching longing for her.

He felt Emys’s hand on his shoulder, squeezing with firm insistence.

“Kinixys.” Her voice quivered, which should have kicked off additional alarm, but he was wrung out. He couldn’t even brace for her next words. “I don’t know what to do.”

“I do,” he said as he stood.

How spitefully fortunate that it was true. He knew what had to be done.

Which left Kin to travel at the most agonizingly slow and steady pace of his life. One foot, then the other, he took measured steps toward an unavoidable future.

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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One thought on “Slow and Steady – By a Hare – Chapter Sixteen

  1. Here we go. The last bits of Rez’s and Kin’s reservations have reared their nasty heads. Since I am huge fan of layers, I’ve tied the obstacles to Rez’s sterility (which she always wanted) to Kin’s title (which he always wanted). For a brief time, they got to have what they wanted. They got a glimpse of how good it could be. Now, they have to fight for their relationship.

    This is the fastest chapter I’ve written thus far, and it’s all thanks to the earlier chapters. Remember those chapters when I said the characters kept revealing things too soon? Well, I didn’t scrap those passages. I saved them and now here they are!

    What’s next? Rez and Kin go through their ‘break up/dark night’ then fight for their love. Good times ahead!

    As always, thank you for reading!

    Like

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