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.Holding his gaze, she gave him a slow, subtle wink.Chapter 12If Onca had been Comanche rather than Zetithian, he would have let out a war whoop loud enough to curdle the blood of any foe.Instead, he opted to wink back at her.“Why, thank you, Kim.” His smile stretched into a full grin.“You don’t know how much that means to me.”“She’s really cute, dude,” Rashe said.“Don’t fuck it up.”“Oh, Kim, say it isn’t so,” Roncas lamented.“Say what isn’t so?” Kim shot back.“I only said he was a little cocky.And he did save my life—or at least my freedom.” Her chin dropped and her voice grew soft.“I realize that now.”She seemed so tiny sitting there next to Rashe, who was easily twice her size, perhaps more.Onca wanted to take her in his arms and kiss her like there was no tomorrow—the way he’d kissed her last night and yesterday in the speeder.His heart gave a little twist as the realization struck.This is happening whether I like it or not.The scariest part of it was, he was rapidly approaching the point that he did like it.And she obviously liked him.Too bad he was the only Zetithian she’d run across since she lost her family.She might not think he was so hot when she had other options.Still, saving her life and freedom had to count for something.“We’ll do our best to get to the bottom of this, Kim,” Onca said.“I can’t promise you more than that.”Roncas tapped an imperative fingernail on the comlink pad.“We need Jack.Call her.Now.”Onca couldn’t think of many people he would rather have on his side in a fight than Jack Tshevnoe.Tough as nails, she came with a lot of firepower and some damn fine warriors.Unfortunately, she was also the one who ragged on him the most about settling down and starting a family.No doubt she would scare poor Kim to death with all of her talk about Zetithian procreation.And then there were her sons.Those boys would give Onca some serious competition.He wasn’t sure he was ready for that, whether it was in Kim’s best interest or not.I’m so fuckin’ confused… “What’s the matter, Roncas? Don’t you think our best will be good enough?”“I’m saying we need help.I don’t want any of us to get caught or killed.” Her lips formed a moue of distaste.“And I especially don’t want anything to happen to you.”Momentarily stunned, Onca gaped at her.“Who are you and what’ve you done with Roncas?”Her lips thinned into a sardonic smile.“Very funny.It’s just that I’m seeing something I should’ve seen when I walked in here yesterday.”“I’m not even going to ask what that is,” Onca said—although he suspected it had something to do with his lack of tact and common sense or his volatile temper, none of which he would admit to.Well…maybe a tiny bit of a temper, and he did have a tendency to be blunt, but that remark about lacking common sense was uncalled for.After all, he hadn’t been the one to go haring off after Jatki without backup.“I’m gonna tell you anyway,” Roncas said.“You and Kim are members of an endangered species.Risking your lives unnecessarily is fucking stupid.”Rashe chuckled.“Don’t mince words, Roncas.Tell them what you really think.”Favoring Rashe with a withering glance, Roncas went on, “Remember what you said about how pissed Jack would be if you let Kim get away? Well, she’d skin me alive for letting you get yourself killed.”“I have no intention of getting killed.”“Famous last words,” Roncas said.“Call Jack.If she can’t get here soon enough, we’ll take it from there.But at least try.”Onca hadn’t planned on asking for Jack’s help in finding the girls.All he really wanted from her was a ride to Terra Minor.And if she wasn’t available, he could always take Kim there on some other ship.“Okay.But if she can’t get here in a day or two, we’re going ahead without her.Agreed?”“That’s easy for you to say,” Roncas drawled.“I mean, what’re the odds she’ll be that close?”“Astronomical.But Jack isn’t our only hope.There’s Val and I know some other guys we could ask.Shemlak for one.Having a Darconian army might even be better than Jack.” He knew his argument was weak.What they needed was— “What about Leroy?”“Now you’re talking,” Roncas said with a nod.“Call him.”Onca sent out the same message to all three.Needed on Rhylos ASAP for rescue mission involving a Zetithian girl.It wasn’t strictly the truth, but it would get their attention.Kim heaved a weary sigh.“Okay.Who’s Leroy?”“Lerotan Kanotay,” Onca replied.“Arms dealer.”Kim nodded.“’Nuff said.”***Shemlak and a few of his friends promised to lend a hand, but by the time his fourth attempt finally got through to Val, Onca’s temper was obviously beginning to fray.Kim felt like she was about to come unglued.She sat at the table with her chin on her folded hands, her tapping foot reflecting her impatience.Rashe gripped his tomahawk as though considering the best way to smash the comlink.“Where the hell you been, Wings?” Onca snapped.“Don’t you ever answer your fuckin’ comlink?”“Hello to you too, Fangs.” Kim couldn’t see the viewscreen from where she sat, but Val sounded annoyed.“Mr.Tactful strikes again,” Roncas murmured.She stood behind Onca, waving at the viewscreen.“Hi, Val.”“Hello, Roncas.” Val sounded only slightly less irritated.“I see you’re still hanging out with this loser.”“Not really,” Roncas replied.“He retired, so I’m out of a job.”“Congratulations.”Onca rolled his eyes and visibly counted to three before he spoke again.“We need some help [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]