In the face of Human slavery, Black Sword Captain Ariela of Kassouk must do the unthinkable. Rebel against the Mutant regime. She cannot do it alone.
She suspects the king’s death is no accident, and the tyrant who usurped the throne looks guilty as hell. As leader of the Human rebellion against the Mutant rulers, Ariela is desperate for help, and Lord Starro, the handsome Crown Prince of the Star Children, offers the technology the Human faction lacks. But can Ariela trust a spoiled, arrogant foreign prince, who never fought a battle, and thinks he is destined to rule the universe? Is she trading one tyrant for another? No matter how kind, handsome, or fascinating, Starro has frightening mental abilities. And this alliance is not safe, especially for Ariela’s heart.
Beloved. Starro struggled to sit up but flinched with a violent spasm and fell back on the pillow. "If you have any compassion, finish me off with your lethal blades. I can't even breathe without needles jabbing my insides."
She scowled her deep blue eyes at him and pulled the blanket up to his shoulders. "You have not earned the right to die, Lord Starro. Too many lives depend on your survival."
"Please, don't call me lord." He scoffed and grimaced at the stabbing sensation inside his chest. "You don't understand..."
"You will get better." Her stoic confidence didn't boost his.
He clenched his jaw against another spasm. "There is no recovery from this drug. Only slow, agonizing death. I'm already dead."
Ariela steadied his twitching arm with a firm hand. He closed his eyes briefly, enjoying the calming effect of her touch. He wished they had more time. He wanted a chance to know her. But his quick death would prevent his shame and dishonor. She was Human, hence forbidden... yet Beloved.
She frowned at him. "How can you give up hope? I thought the Star Children were models of righteousness."
The criticism hurt more than the cramps in his innards. Starro managed to sit up on the bed and she pulled and fluffed the pillows for him to lean back.
He let out a calming breath, grateful for her soothing presence. "You have no right to judge me or my people."
"You are their prince. You can't give up. Your people need you." Her condemning gaze upset him greatly.
Starro grimaced but noticed the cramps had somehow lessened to an almost tolerable level. "What have you done to me? I should be dead."
The woman's smile illuminated the square room carved into the rock. "I guess it wasn't your time to die."
Starro chuckled and immediately regretted it as pain shot through his body. "Who says when it's time?"
"The Great Engineer of the Universe, that's who." She flashed a devilish grin. "But I like to help whenever I can."