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Sky Woman: Book One Of The Seeder Saga

Sky Woman: Book One Of The Seeder Saga

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Sky Woman: Book One Of The Seeder Saga

Length:
236 pages
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 3, 2014
ISBN:
9781310479090
Format:
Book

Description

Miranda “Miri” Reynolds was a fun-loving college student until she found herself transplanted to another world, as part of a cure to a genetic issue that’s been plaguing the planet for over a century. She’s given refuge by a family of three gorgeous and determined brothers, all of whom have their eye on the beautiful “Sky Woman.” (Book 1 of THE SEEDER SAGA)

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 3, 2014
ISBN:
9781310479090
Format:
Book

About the author

Britt DeLaney lives and writes near Philadelphia. In her spare time she watches too much Netflix, eats too many Pop-Tarts, and is currently writing her ass off.


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Sky Woman - Britt DeLaney

1

SkyWoman_Flourish

THE LINE FOR the bathroom was at least fifteen girls deep, and her bladder was screaming. Miri shifted her weight from one stiletto heel to the other, cursing herself for wearing them in the first place—and for drinking that last rum and Coke.

Time to turn on the charm, Miri.

The lone guy was standing outside the single-occupancy men’s room and she couldn't believe her luck. Stepping forward, she flipped her long, blonde hair off her forehead and reached out to delicately touch his arm. He turned to her immediately, his eyes widening as he took in her big blue eyes, then traveled down to the rest of her lean, toned body.

Most of the time, this kind of attention was a bit on the annoying side. Miri wasn’t stupid enough to say she didn’t like it, but it did get to be irritating when men didn’t give a shit about your conversational abilities—a frequent happening in a college bar like this one. Tonight, though, her looks were going to be a godsend. And this guy wasn't hard on the eyes. Not at all. 

Hi! she said, brightly and loudly due to the noise from the band. I really don’t want to wait in that line. She gestured over to the ladies room queue. Do you mind?

The man reached casually inside his coat, pulling out a his phone and tapped the screen quickly. The display lit up and he looked up from it, staring at Miri for a full ten seconds before he answered. 

Okay, so he's hot, but he's weird.

Finally, he seemed to connect his mouth to his brain. 

Go ahead.  He gestured in front of him.

The door to the men’s room opened and Miri slid gratefully inside, shutting it behind her with a murmured Thanks

The man stared intensely at the screen on his phone again. A flushing sound snapped him back to reality, and he stashed the phone back in his pocket as the door opened.

Thanks a million, Miri said with a smile of genuine relief. I didn’t think I was going to make it! As she moved to go around him, he shifted as if to get out of the way. Then he suddenly shifted back, bumping into her and sending her staggering. He reached out, grabbing her hand to steady her. 

Sorry—there’s a spill on the floor over here. He smiled apologetically. 

No harm done, she said, with a wave. "Thanks again!’

The next moment, she was gone, lost in the crowd.

She never felt or noticed the nearly invisible transponder dot he'd pressed on the inside of her wrist.

2

SkyWoman_Flourish

MIRI DIDN’T KNOW how long she’d been in the room. She didn’t even know where the house with this room was. But she did know she was dying.

She had a vague memory of lying in the dirt before being carried into the house she was imprisoned in, and flashes of other memories—waking up wearing a filthy dress she’d never seen before, the man yelling at her in a language she didn’t recognize before shoveling food in her mouth until she choked on it. Vomiting on herself and shaking uncontrollably. The man coming back to yell at her some more, dragging her across the room and throwing her hard into the wall before dousing her in water to rinse her dress off.

She’d lain in the corner for a long, long time—possibly more than a day. There was pain in her side where she'd intersected the wall when he’d thrown her. The shivering had stopped, but her fever lingered. Her vision was blurred and there was a persistent ringing in her ears. She would die here if she didn’t get out, but the door was always locked tight—or at least it had been the few times she’d been able to drag herself over to check it. She’d tried calling for help early on, but no one came, and it only got her a smack across the face from the man, whoever he was. God only knows what he planned for her when she got better.

If she got better. She rather thought not.

The door flew open as the man charged inside. She shrank back instinctively, but it wasn’t her he was after. He shut the door quickly, crouching down next to it and putting his ear against it. A sound of raised voices echoed through the rest of the house, and the man tensed. 

Suddenly there was a crash, knocking the door off its hinges and sending the man rolling. Miri covered her head, pulling herself further into the corner for safety. When she looked up again, the man was on his feet and being dragged by the nape of his neck through the house and into the yard by another man who was easily twice his size.

Now was her one and only chance. She could try to get away or at least find help.

Miri pulled herself up to her knees, pausing a moment to gather her strength. She was a lot shakier than she had thought she was but managed to lever herself up by leaning against the wall. With an enormous push, she made it through what was left of the doorway. 

There was no one in the main room of the house—everyone seemed to be out in the yard, where the man lay curled up on the ground. The larger man stood over him, speaking in a low, but forceful voice. 

She had no idea what was going on—she didn’t understand their words, but she knew a bad situation when she saw one. Were they traffickers? Was this over a deal gone wrong? Was she going to end up as payment for a debt—or worse—collateral damage?

Miri knew she had bare moments to get out of there before the drama in the yard played out and someone noticed her missing or running. With another giant push off the doorjamb, she stumbled out into the yard.

3

SkyWoman_Flourish

LUNAN WAS DONE being patient.

He had been in the small port town of K’tuan, finishing up his business, when he had discovered his taifa was missing. He’d left the mount tied up outside the market when he’d stopped to buy a few provisions for the return trip and some houseless scum had ridden off on it. 

Fortunately, that particular houseless scum had more than a few enemies, and was sold out almost immediately by his former associates once Lunan began making inquiries. The man’s name was Vutai, and he was a thief, a purveyor of stolen goods, and an unlawful pleasure broker, as well. Lunan could find him just by following his stench.

The compound Vutai maintained had stables and small outbuildings full of stolen animals and contraband, and a hovel with a few seedy rooms for customers with a taste for perversions that weren’t allowed in a reputable pleasure house. Lunan made short work of finding this piece of filth and discussing the matter of his taifa, which was found tied up outside in the yard.

And now after hiding from him like a coward, the man was curled up in a ball on the ground and sniveling like a child, claiming over and over again that it was all a misunderstanding and that he had mistaken Lunan's mount for his own. Lunan had half a mind to crack his skull just to shut him up. He wasn’t going to kill him, though. He just wanted his property back and he wanted to be out of here. He had a ship to get to.

He turned away to collect his taifa, but stopped short at the sight of a woman, obviously very ill and also obviously abused by the look of her. She was incredibly dirty, her hair was so matted with filth that it didn’t even look like hair anymore. She staggered across the yard. Her face was downcast, but from her body language, she was desperate to escape. She tried to speed up, but she was far too weak. Lunan’s lightning-fast reflexes got him to her side just as her legs gave out. 

He turned her over in his arms, and once he saw the extent of her bruises and felt the fever coming off her skin, he was ready to go ahead and crack Vutai’s skull after all. She seemed young. Gods only knew how long the deviant had held her here, or what the scum had put her through. Lunan began to straighten, holding her in his arms, when she lifted her eyes to his. 

They were as blue as the sky. A small frown knit her brow as she took in the Lunan’s astonished look, and then her blue eyes closed as consciousness fled.

4

SkyWoman_Flourish

MIRI STRETCHED, FEELING deliciously warm, and she was hit by the immediate realization that she wasn’t on the hard ground. She wasn’t cold, she wasn’t hungry, and she didn’t even ache much.

Was she dreaming?

She turned her head slowly to the light that was streaming in through the open window, noting the beautiful scrollwork in the marbled stone around it. A shutter, rather like a trap door, hung down beneath it, but it too was elaborately decorated with painted patterns in the shape of ocean waves. 

She took a deep breath, and she could smell the sea. Her eyes closed and she savored it for a moment—the freshness of it, the feel of the breeze on her face. She’d been breathing in the dank for so long, she wasn’t sure her lungs knew what to do with clean air. She turned her head in the opposite direction, starting when she saw the big man in the chair next to her bed.

She immediately shrank back, pulling the covers to her chin as she stared at him, wide-eyed. It was the man who caught her when she was trying to escape. She'd only gotten a glimpse of him before, and even though he was intent on violence with her former captor, his face and his hands had been gentle in her memory of him. She also had a vague memory of waking at some point and being on—a ship? She remembered it rocking beneath her, and he had been sleeping in a chair nearby. She wasn’t able to stay conscious long enough to find out why. 

His hands came up, palms toward her, as if to reassure her, but Miri eyed him warily. She still didn't know where she was and now she was wearing a soft, clean shift dress instead of her former rags. Had he changed her while she slept? His voice broke the silence.

L’ me. Fa’a tua mala.

She couldn’t understand a word he said, so he tried again. Finally, she shook her head, hoping he’d understand that she didn’t speak his language.

I don’t know what you’re saying, she said apologetically, shaking her head.

He stared at her a long moment, a furrow forming over his deep brown eyes. His hands came up to push through his dark hair and he leaned back in the chair, the air coming out of him in a long exhale. He leaned forward, trying again.

"Lunan, he said, pointing two long fingers at his own chest. Lu-nan."

Lunan. His name. The name of the man who rescued her. But why? He stared at her expectantly, eyebrows lifted slightly.

Miranda. My name is Miranda, but I go by Miri. He looked a bit confused. Too many words. She pointed at herself.

Miri.

He nodded, smiling slightly. Then he stood and extended a hand to her. 

He wanted her to come with him. She froze a moment, considering her options. He could have killed her or hurt her by now if he’d wanted to. He wouldn’t even have had to try—he was close enough to dead when he found her, after all. Even if he had some nefarious plan for her later, he'd saved her life and taken her away from the previous hell-hole. She took his hand.

Lunan helped her rise slowly, which turned out to be a good thing. Her head was spinning, and she let out an involuntary gasp at the pain in her side.

He stopped her ascent immediately, a look of concern on his face. He put one strong hand on her back to steady her and set her back down to regain her equilibrium. She smiled up at him gratefully, only to have him crouch down in front of her, his hand moving gently to her midsection.

He spoke to her again, watching her carefully, and it seemed that he was asking if her side hurt. She nodded. Then, with a grimace, she realized that her body had more pressing needs to attend to. 

How do you say bathroom in their language? Miri tried English first, then Spanish because she remembered a little from her high school classes. He looked at her blankly. 

Hey, um . . . I’m an American. You know—USA? She smiled, gesturing to herself. I don’t know how I got here or how long they had me.

He continued to stare, obviously not comprehending. Where was she? She was on a coastline, that much she could tell. The man, Lunan, looked like he walked right out of a fire show at a luau. He definitely had an islander look to him.

Aloha? she tried. His eyebrows lifted, but he shook his head, a smile tugging at his lips. 

She tried bonjour, and even counted to ten in German—a long ago relic from a foreign boyfriend in her freshman year at college. Nothing.

I’d better come up with something quick, she thought. This is going to get embarrassing.

She squirmed uncomfortably and Lunan’s look went from concern to enlightenment. He mumbled what was probably an apology, then took her hands and helped her slowly to stand. 

Once she gained her balance, he steadied her wobbly legs and led her to a small room on the other side of a huge, sunken bathtub set in front of a large fireplace carved into the marble wall. She stopped to take a good look around the room, blinking at how immense it was. Lunan directed her into the smaller room, stepping back so that she could have some privacy. Miri nodded gratefully, heading inside and shutting the door.

There was a perfectly circular bowl with a wide lip around it in one corner of the room. It had a foot pedal on the bottom, but no other flush lever that she could find. 

She took care of her business, looking around for toilet paper and finally discovered that the foot pedal sent a jet of water up from the bowl like a bidet. Along a nearby wall was a decorated sink, equipped with a foot pedal of its own that also dispensed water. A crystal vase stood on the wide lip, and it had fragrant liquid soap in it. There was no mirror anywhere, which seemed a bit odd.

Where was she? 

It crossed her mind to wonder if Lunan understood her perfectly, but for whatever reason, he was trying to keep her in the dark. 

But why? So far, he was treating her like a guest. Right now, she was still too tired, still too sore, and entirely too grateful to him to work it through. She’d figure it out soon enough. For now, she was safe, and she was feeling stronger.

Miri stepped out of the little room to find that a bath was running and the tub was filling with fragrant, steaming water. Lunan stood talking quietly with an older woman, who smiled at Miri with kind eyes.

She stepped forward, introducing herself as Tuva, then reached out and stroked Miri’s hair with wonder. Hadn’t she ever seen blonde hair before? Not that it was close to its normal golden color, as sweaty and dirty as it was. Even though she had been bathed, it wasn’t a thorough bath as she could still see and smell the grime. She couldn’t wait to sink into that water. Tuva shooed Lunan out of the room, then turned with a smile to help Miri out of her clothing and into the tub.

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Lunan leaned against the wall, taking in a deep breath. She was going to be all right. The Sky Woman—Miri—had looked near to death when she’d discovered her. He’d taken her immediately to a healer he knew in that area, where she’d fevered in an unconscious state for another three days before she’d cooled and he could bring her home. Her ribs weren’t broken, but badly bruised. She had cuts and assorted purple and green marks scattered on her back and forearms—likely defensive in nature. 

The thought made his jaw clench. For anyone to raise a hand to a woman was unthinkable. To do so to a Sky Woman was obscene. When she’d fallen into his arms, he saw an abused

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