“Rianna? What are you doing here?”

“Saving you.”

“I don’t need saving.”

“You’re in a cell. I’d say you do.”

“I was just about to leave. The guards make their rounds every hour from what I can tell. They just made them.”

“Then let’s get the hell out of here.”

She opened the door and glanced out. “All clear.”

They kept close to the wall as they made their way to the double doors. Just as she was about to swipe the badge, the doors opened and a man stepped through with two guards.

“Agent Richards.” Kristor nodded toward the older man as if they were old friends meeting on the street.

The agent sloshed his coffee over the side of his cup, burning his hand. He yelped and dropped the cup.

“Sir, I—” The guard didn’t get the chance to say anything else. Kristor threw one punch and the guy slumped to the floor. The other guard had barely opened his mouth when he met with the same fate.

Agent Richards turned to run, but Kristor clamped a hand on his shoulder and pushed him toward the cell.

“Maybe I should take you back to my planet and let you see how we question aliens from Earth.”

“Oh, God, please, no.”

Kristor opened the door and shoved him inside. Ria wondered if they really captured people from other planets. Did they poke them with probes?

It had been rather nice when Kristor had probed her. She mentally shook her head. Now was not the time to let her thoughts wander.

Agent Adam Richards was the man who had wanted to dissect the man she loved. She shoved up the sleeves of her lab coat. “Let me at him,” she said. She wasn’t sure what she would do, but she wanted to do something. Maybe punch his lights out.

Kristor shoved the agent against the wall, then clamped the cuffs on his wrists and ankles.

“Please don’t. I swear I’ll retire, anything, just let me go.”

Was he actually crying? The tough expression he’d worn when Kristor was taken to the van was gone. The guy was actually sniveling.

“If you don’t stop torturing aliens I will return, and I’ll bring others with me. Do you understand?”

“I’m not sure I have the authority—”

“Whatever it takes, you will get it done.” Kristor took a menacing step closer.

“Yes, I will. I will. Just don’t hurt me.”

Kristor grabbed Ria’s arm and they started out, but he glanced once more over his shoulder. “Don’t make a sound. If you do, I’ll kill you.”

He shook his head. “No, of course not. Quiet as a mouse. Promise.”

“Then shut up,” Kristor growled.

Ria thought Kristor was quite fierce. She rather liked this warrior side of him. He made her feel protected. Except they had to get out of there fast.

“How did you find me?” he asked as they slipped past the double doors and down the hall.

She glanced his way as they hurried down the hall and out the door. Fresh air was like a welcome caress on her face. He grabbed her arm.


“I shifted. There, I hope you’re happy.”

He grinned, then pulled her into his arms. His lips brushed across hers in a gentle kiss. Then it deepened with emotion as they both realized how close they had been to losing each other.

“I love you,” he whispered after the kiss ended. He continued to hold her close.

She sighed. “And I love you.”

“Then you’ll leave with me?”

“Can we come back to visit?”

“Of course.”

“Then yes, I’ll follow you anywhere. As long as I have a bottle of Valium.”


“Yes, and Dramamine.”

“I will make sure you have plenty then.”

“Good. Let’s go home.”

The fog began to roll in as they both thought about their animal guides. Ria felt the burning pain, but this time she welcomed it like an old friend.

Shintara stretched her wings as the fog dissipated. She looked over at the hawk who was doing the same. Nice wingspan.

You’re not so bad yourself, Labrinon screeched.

Ria mentally shook her head. Having her animal guide free was going to take a little getting used to. But as long as she was with Kristor, she had a feeling she could get through just about anything.

Her life finally felt complete. As it should.

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