Home > Found (Brides of the Kindred #4)

Found (Brides of the Kindred #4)
Evangeline Anderson

Chapter One

Lauren Jakes was bored.

Although how it was possible to be bored when she was a hundred light years from Earth on a strange planet in a far off galaxy where no other human had ever set foot was beyond her. By al rights she ought to be soaking in the exotic sights and immersing herself in the fascinating alien culture. It was certainly better than the tiny metal cel shed been kept in on the Scourge Fathership.

The Scourge were a menacing alien race which had come to Earth searching for the one female they believed could mate with their evil overlord, the Al Father. She and she alone would be able to revitalize their race by bearing daughters. Lauren was that female and she had been taken and held within their immense ship for weeks.

While she was there, however, shed made a connection with Xairn. The huge alien with the burning red-on-black eyes was the Al Fathers son, but he had severed his ties with both his father and his race in order to free Lauren and take her home. Of course, first they had to travel through a wormhole to another galaxy in order to get their DNA modified which, according to Xairn, was the only way they could go back to Earth safely. Lauren wasnt thril ed with that but if he said it was necessary, she believed him. So shed been prepared for danger and adventure and excitement but not for boredom.

Because in order to soak up exotic sights and immerse herself in the alien culture, she would have to leave the smal silver Kindred spaceship where Xairn had left her. And the enormous Scourge warrior had made it very, very clear before he left that she wasnt to do that. Sighing, Lauren remembered their conversation

Under no circumstances should you step foot outside the ship, he told her sternly as he was about to leave himself.

Why? Lauren looked out the viewscreen apprehensively. Xairn had landed them in a dark al eyway in a city hed said was cal ed Oah but she could catch glimpses of the street beyond which seemed to be the site of a busy marketplace. Are the native people dangerous or hostile? she asked.

Anyplace is dangerous if you dont know the language and customs, he replied obliquely. Il be back in one of your Earth standard days. Until then, stay in the ship and speak to no one.

Al right, Lauren agreed. After everything theyd been through together on the Fathership and the Scourge home world, she trusted Xairn implicitly to keep her safe. Stil

I know youre going to find the uh, DNA, guy, she said, looking up at him. But I stil dont understand why I just cant come with you. Wouldnt that make it easiersave you a trip? After al , you got me some decent clothes.

She nodded down at the voluminous robe that reminded her of the muumuus her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Goldman, liked to wear back on Earth. It wasnt very pretty, and the silver-blue material it was made of was extremely scratchy, but it covered her from neck to ankles which was al Xairn seemed to care about. After the cloak hed loaned her had been ruined, Lauren hadnt had a thing to wear but the thin towels shed found in the smal ships bathrooma fact that had seemed to bother the large warrior greatly. So much so that the first thing he did when they landed in Oah was to go out and buy her the silver-blue muumuu dress.

It wouldnt be safe for you to come. The splicing quarter is too rough for a female like you, Xairn growled.

What do you mean a female like me? Lauren put a hand on her hip and frowned at him. Do I need to remind you that I helped when we were fighting your fathers guards? I may not be as strong as you but Im not stupid, Xairn. If you give me a weapon I can take care of myself. I wont slow you down.

I didnt mean that you were stupid or weak. He sighed and ran a hand over the thick, glossy black hair he kept in a club at the nape of his neck. Lauren had been dying to see his hair let down from the moment shed met him. With his stern, proud features he would have looked almost Native American if not for the strange coloring of his skin and eyes.

What did you mean then? Lauren demanded.

Your kind has never been seen here. Youl be considered very

exotic. His red-on-black eyes flickered over the faint outline of her body under the voluminous muumuu, making her feel warm al over. Many males wil want you.

Lauren was getting exasperated. Xairn, are you trying to say Im too pretty to go with you?

That word does not describe you accurately. He looked away from her, frowning. It doesnt do you justice.

Lauren found herself unexpectedly touched by the oblique compliment. Up until a little while ago Xairn had claimed to have no sexual urges at al toward her or anyone else. Even now, when he had admitted to her that she had woken new and unfamiliar emotions inside him, he stil seemed hesitant and uncertain about expressing those emotions. Lauren thought it was because hed never been given any love as a childhow could he learn to show affection for anyone else when hed never received any himself? She was determined to work on that, to try and help him as much as she could. But now wasnt the time for a therapy session.

Thats very sweet of you, Xairn, she said. But Id stil like to go with you.

He shook his head. You dont understand. Your beauty makes you priceless here in Oah. Any splicer would give his left hand for a chance to replicate your flawless skin and lovely eyes. I am only one male and there are gangs that search for exotics. If they set on us al at once, I dont know that I could protect you. He lifted his chin. I would die trying, of course. But that would be of little comfort to you if they kil ed me and took you away to a stripping shed.

A stripping shed? That sounded bad to Lauren.

A laboratory where candidates with good or unusual DNA are rendered into their component parts for maximum cloning potential.

Lauren felt sick. So they kil you and cut you into little pieces?

Xairn nodded. Essential y. But thats only in the splicing district. Not here in the main part of Oah.

But how do you know this

this splicer person youre looking for wont want to do the same thing? Lauren demanded. How do you know he wont just kil me and strip me down for parts like a stolen car? She shivered at the thought.

Because the DNA specialist I am searching for is one I have had dealings with before. His name is Vrr and he wil not betray me. Xairn reached out one large hand awkwardly as though he wanted to comfort her somehow.

Lauren leaned toward him after hearing about the grisly things they did on this planet she needed al the comfort she could get. Xairn, she whispered.

His long fingers almost brushed her cheek, but then he drew back without touching her. His hand flexed into a fist at his side. Ive been thinking about this for a long time, Lauren, he said in a low voice. Planning it. Ive wanted to get away from my father almost my entire life. This is the only way to get away from him foreverfor either one of us. Only by changing our DNA wil we make it impossible for him to lock onto either of us with the molecular transfer beam.

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