Unexpected Mates (Sons of Heaven), page 1
Angel Wing: Sons of Heaven
Published by Phaze Books
Also by Brenna Lyons
Will of the Stone
Daughters of Man: Prize Match
Sons of Heaven: Beldon
Raised To Be His Own
The Master’s Lover
This is an explicit and erotic novel
intended for the enjoyment
of adult readers. Please keep
out of the hands of children.
Copyright © 2014 by Brenna Lyons
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Edited by Kathryn Lively
Cover Art © 2014 by Niki Browning
First Edition March 2014
Ebook ISBN-13: 978-1-60659-743-9
An imprint of Mundania Press LLC
6457 Glenway Ave., #109
Cincinnati, OH 45211
All rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, Mundania Press LLC, 6457 Glenway Avenue, #109, Cincinnati, Ohio 45211, email@example.com.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Legal File Usage – Your Rights
Payment of the download fee for this book grants the purchaser the right to download and read this file, and to maintain private backup copies of the file for the purchaser’s personal use only.
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this or any copyrighted work is illegal. Authors are paid on a per-purchase basis. Any use of this file beyond the rights stated above constitutes theft of the author’s earnings. File sharing is an international crime, prosecuted by the United States Department of Justice Division of Cyber Crimes, in partnership with Interpol. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is punishable by seizure of computers, up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000 per reported instance. Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights and livelihood is appreciated.
Glossary of Sakk Terms:
Appamora- akin to an apprentice on Earth, an appamora is trained in a particular trade by a master craftsman on Sakk
Bio bed- a bed that contains medical apparatus, designed to code bio chains, to do baseline medical tests, and to communicate with a bio tracker to perform continuous monitoring on a medical patient
Bio chain- ullium chains that mated couples wear; they are coded by a bio bed to the genetic signatures of the mated couple in the mating ceremony; they are the most basic type of bio tracker; they are worn for life, even if a spouse dies and a female remarries and gets a new bio chain, unless severed after being found guilty of a crime
Bio crib- see bio bed; a crib-type bio bed for infants and young toddlers
Bio tracker- usually contained in a medallion, sometimes decorated with a Kieta, this is a continuous monitoring medical device; it is worn by all members of the royal family and by those with medical problems who would benefit from continuous monitoring
Bionette- see bio bed; a bionette is a small cradle or bassinette bio bed for use with newborn infants, especially those with medical problems
Cazta- a female’s clothing, usually wrapped around the body and secured with metal clasps
Cu-wrap- a male’s informal clothing, worn around the waist not unlike an Egyptian schenti or a wrapped towel, secured with clasps; the cu-wrap is typically only worn for bedtime or for going to and from the showers on board ship or at the consulate
Cuzta- a male’s clothing, usually wrapped around the body and secured with metal clasps
Eight-turn- a Sakk week, which consists of eight turnings (the Sakk term for a solar day)
Kahdi- a potentially-dangerous condition that affects Sakk females in the latter half of pregnancy; it is typified by violent movement by the baby in the womb, often occurring at night; it is treated most effectively by soothing sounds and motions, carried out by a Sakk male the mother trusts; untreated, Kahdi can result in bruising and tearing of the mother’s internal abdominal cavity; at its worst, Kahdi can result in the death of the unborn child, death of the mother, or sterility of the mother
Kieta- a family crest
Sa- a term of respect in the Sakk language, used to refer to a master general
Sa-sen- a unit of time akin to an Earth month; a sa-sen lasts roughly twenty-four earth days
Sakkan- the main deity of the Sakk people, Sakkan is the first winged human on their world; known as the son of Sky and Earth, he was sent to the surface of Sakk and there married into the Sakk royal family and became progenitor of the modern Sakk race
Sakkra- the title used by the second son of the Sakk emperor; no one but the prince’s family and mate may use his given name
Sakkraas- the joint title used when addressing a couple or group of princes and/or princesses
Sakkrettieff- a godchild of the Sakkrel (Sakk emperor) or Sakkriel (heir apparent); a Sakkrettieff is raised by his or her own parents but is otherwise treated like the children of the emperor, including quality of medical care, food, education and training, and preferential treatment in choosing a mate at adulthood
Sakkrel- the title used by the Sakk emperor; only his mate may use his given name
Sakkriel- the title used by the heir apparent to the Sakk throne; only his mate may use his given name
Sakku- a princess in the direct line of the seated emperor or who is mated to a prince in that line, but who is not mated to the heir apparent; since there is often more than one princess with this title, it is often used in conjunction with the given name of the princess in question to differentiate them in conversation
Sakku Yalu- a term of respect for an infant or toddler Sakku
Ses-time- a unit of time akin to an Earth hour; a ses-time lasts roughly seventy-five Earth minutes
Tova- soft, silky material used for most Sakk clothing; tova resists stains and most scents, but they are still washed daily for reasons of sanitation
Uba nut- a medium brown nut native to Sakk that resembles a chestnut in taste and consistency
Ullium- an element not found on Earth but native to Sakk; it is gold in color and very difficult to break or cut; it is used to make royal clothing and Kietas, Kietas for master generals and highly-decorated military men of lower ranks, and armor
Yan- the Sakk equivalent of a year
Zadek bajou!- a Sakk phrase meaning ‘Damn it all!’
Zhick- a Sakk swear word that pertains to a feeling of great disgust with a situation gone wrong
Zuda- a Sakk card game, played by a single player
Section One: Asylum
Meredith and Jarem
“May I help you with your young one?” a Sakk warrior offered with a tip of his head.
I hope so. God, I really hop
“Do you have a medical referral, ma’am?”
Alice picked that moment to look up at him. She clapped her little hands in glee, and her wings started flapping under the oversized cape-style coat she wore.
Meredith glanced around at the crowd, wincing at the attention Alice was drawing. The absolute last thing they needed right now was attention. Not until we’re inside the consulate. Technically, we’re still at the gates.
A blinding white screen blocked her view, and Meredith gasped in surprise. He’d extended his wing around them.
“May I?” he offered, his hands out to take Alice from her.
She handed the wiggling baby over, and the warrior unfastened the coat. He removed it carefully, and Alice’s little wings flapped furiously.
A smile curved his mouth into a lush bow. “Your daughter is beautiful,” he complimented her. “And fully winged. We haven’t encountered any native young born winged until now, let alone fully winged.”
Meredith swallowed a lump of fear as she rubbed at her forehead. She’s not my daughter. I wish she was. If Alice was mine, none of this would be necessary. “Yes. She is.”
Murmurs rose around them, reminding Meredith that time was limited. “I do need to speak to one of your doctors.” Quickly. Before they figure out we’re not where we’re supposed to be and come here looking for us.
His smile faded into a look of horror. “Is the young one ill?”
“I don’t know,” she admitted. “That’s what I’ve come here to find out.” It was an accurate statement. I hope to God I’m right. If I’m not, I’ll go to jail for the next decade for nothing. Going to jail would be worth it, as long as I’m right.
“Then there is no time to waste.” He turned with Alice in his arms, his extended wing guiding Meredith with him. “A hole!” he thundered. “A hole, please.”
In the distance, other warriors passed that command along. A line of armed and armored Sakk men waded into the crowd and widened the area between the rows for them to pass through.
Her heart hammering, Meredith hurried into the main consulate building. And to safety. I hope.
Jarem played with young Alice’s toes, laughing at the babe’s squeals of delight.
In the distance, Meredith waited for the healers’ determination. Her hands were clenched in the young one’s coat, her face tense.
The dame bore little resemblance to the babe on the bio bed. The former had hair as black as deep space and eyes the color of uba nuts at harvest. By comparison, her young one’s hair was the color of cooling embers and her eyes a vibrant green.
Alice must resemble her sire. Jarem tried not to obsess over the question of where that male might be. What sort of man wasn’t at his child’s side in a medical emergency?
“I see no cause for concern,” the healer decreed.
Jarem breathed a sigh of relief. The idea of a young one at risk was a difficult thing for any Sakk male to cope with, their own or those of other Sakk.
“You’re certain?” Meredith asked urgently.
“Then Alice needs asylum.”
“Asylum?” Jarem asked. Even with his grasp of English, the term made no sense to him.
Meredith turned his way. “Your protection.”
“She has that.”
“Here in the consulate. She has to stay here in the consulate,” she insisted.
“I do not understand,” the master healer admitted.
Meredith visibly calmed herself and started her explanation again. “If you let them take her out of the consulate—”
The doors opened and Master Beldon marched in, sword drawn and armored for battle. A half dozen warriors followed in his wake, similarly armed.
Jarem stared at them, at a loss to comprehend this turn of events.
“Protect the young one,” the master ordered.
Four of the six warriors surrounded the bio bed, and Alice startled at the rush of bodies. Jarem lifted her into his arms and let her fuss against his chest.
Master Beldon took another step toward the babe’s mother. “Meredith Mallory, will you come with us peacefully?” he challenged.
She took a calming breath. “If you promise Alice asylum, you can take me away, hand me over, and I’ll spend the rest of my days in a prison cell without complaint.” Her eyes pleaded for his agreement.
“You cannot legally ask for asylum for this young one. You are not her dame.”
“I’m the closest she has.”
Master Beldon’s wings ruffled in offense. “You abducted this child. The rightful authorities are waiting to take custody of her, and I will return her to them.” It was a blatant warning that Meredith should not stand in his way.
“What?” Jarem protested. His arms tightened around his wriggling bundle. Abducted? Alice’s parents must be frantic to find her.
“She’s an orphan,” Meredith countered. “She’s a ward of the state.”
Beldon didn’t seem to understand the latter half any better than Jarem did.
“She has no parents. They died. Or rather... Her mother died. We have no clue who her father is.”
Beldon questioned her. “She has been...adopted? Those are her parents if they have adopted her. You still have no right to—”
“She. Has. No. Parents. The government is raising her. Do you understand?”
He didn’t seem to.
“You need to understand. They’re going to surgically remove her wings. Today. They said it’s for her health, but it’s not. Your doctors have confirmed that Alice is healthy with her wings.” She motioned frantically with one hand. “If you give her back to the government officials asking for her, they will take her wings away. Do you understand that?”
Jarem curled his wings around Alice. She was perfect, and someone wanted to maim her? His fury uncorked. “Who will take her wings? Why would they do such a thing?” I will kill them if Master Beldon does not get to them before I do.
“It’s...complicated. There are three agencies that oversee orphans like Alice. They asked the courts to allow them to do this and were granted permission. I was ordered to take Alice to the surgery, but I couldn’t do that without knowing there’s no other way.
“Now, please...I beg of you. I did this, knowing I would go to jail for it. All I’m asking is for you to meet me halfway. My job... My former job was advocating for children like Alice. God knows, I tried to do that. I argued to stop this. If what I’ve done legally isn’t enough, you’ll have to advocate for her while I pay the price of stepping outside the law.”
“In what way?”
Jarem startled at the sound of Ambassador Janice’s voice.
Meredith focused on her. “I’m not Alice’s family. I wish to God I was, but I’m not. Genetically, she’s more Sakk than human.”
Janice nodded. “You’re saying we are the closest relatives Alice has.”
Words seemed to fail her. Meredith nodded, a tear escaping her eye. “Please. Grant her asylum.”
Meredith’s throat bobbed, but she managed a shaking nod. The two remaining warriors strode toward her, and more tears splashed to her cheeks. They shackled her wrists in front of her but used soft restraints in deference to the fact that she was female, Sakk or not.
“Should we hand her over to the human authorities?” one of the warriors asked.
“Yes,” the master rumbled.
“No,” his mate ordered.
Beldon snapped a look of disbelief her direction.
Janice sighed. “Ms. Mallory has abducted a Sakk child. I believe the Sakk have questions for her.”
Beldon stared at her for a moment, then nodded his agreemen
“Make sure to feed her,” Janice added.
Meredith sat on the cot, her legs snug to her chest.
Overall, the Sakk prison cell was more comfortable than the human cell she’d envisioned for herself. The food she’d been given had been tasty and plentiful. Not that she’d managed to eat much of it with her stomach tied in knots. The cot was twice as wide as most prison cots she’d seen, thick and soft.
Wings. They built it for the housing of winged prisoners. The beds had to be set to minimum standards for their comfort.
It won’t last long. Eventually, the Sakk would turn her over to the local police. After that, there would be no comfortable beds for a long time.
Will they hand me over to the local police? They might hand me to the feds. Meredith wasn’t entirely sure whether taking Alice onto Sakk sovereign soil equated to leaving the country with an abducted child. That decade might turn out to be a lot longer.
A speaker crackled to life. “Ms. Mallory? Are you prepared for questioning?” It was Beldon, she was sure.
“No time like the present, I suppose,” she answered in return. She winced at the truth. The longer they waited to interrogate her, the longer she could stay in the comparative lap of luxury.
Master Beldon entered the room first, followed closely by Representative Janice. Another warrior brought a chair in for Janice, then left and closed the door behind him.
Once she was seated, Janice started speaking. “The child protection authorities have confirmed that you were supposed to be taking Alice to surgery. They tried to dodge the question of what kind of surgery it was, of course.”
Meredith breathed a sigh of relief. “Then you’ll give Alice asylum?”
“With someone threatening to take her wings for no good reason? There’s no question. If I returned her to them, I would have a riot on my hands at every consulate on Earth. Believe me, that is not something I want to risk. Sakk warriors are well trained.” Her smile said she was making light of the situation, but Meredith didn’t doubt she wasn’t lying about it.