Star Hunters

Star Hunters by Jo Clayton Read Free Book Online

Book: Star Hunters by Jo Clayton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jo Clayton
head out and twisted around to see what she was looking at.
    The hares were on their hind legs staring at her. Force slammed out of them, almost visible in its intensity. She shivered. Manoreh dropped back on the seat, gasping, drowning. His hands closed tightly on the edge of the door. In the corner of his eye he saw movement and turned.
    The male Hunter had moved quickly behind the woman and put his hands on her shoulders. She leaned against him. Manoreh heard a ripple of dear pure notes, then stared as a crown of light circled her head and a shimmering golden glow sheathed the two of them, then struck outward at the hares.
    Abruptly the pressure from the hares was gone. The crown faded. She slumped back against her partner in obvious distress. He lifted her and carried her the two steps to the car. Hastily Manoreh reached over the seat and shoved the back door open.
    The Hunter slid the woman inside and then was in beside her, cat-quick and neat in his movements. “Go!” he snapped.

Chapter IV
    In the guest quarters at Chwereva Compound the two Rangers stood quietly waiting as the Hunters settled themselves in. Aleytys followed Grey into the bedroom.
    He turned to face her. “What happened back there?”
    She stepped around him and sat down on the end of the bed. “First touch of the enemy. Chwereva was right, this isn’t a matter of animal instinct. There’s an intelligent brain directing those attacks.”
    â€œBad? That damn thing doesn’t show in public unless you’re hurting.”
    Aleytys lifted her hands and examined them, an excuse for not looking at him. The diadem had been the focus of too many bitter quarrels. “Bad,” she said dully. “I’m still shaking.”
    He leaned over and touched her face. “Find out anything more?”
    â€œNot really. Just that he’s horribly dangerous, our enemy. And, of course, that he’s got a pipeline into Chwereva. He was waiting for me.”
    â€œNot thinking, Lee. Why wouldn’t he be waiting, having arranged for you to be here. Can you handle him?”
    â€œHead to head?”
    â€œYes.” He walked to the door, then stood there looking back at her. “Can you?”
    â€œI don’t know,” she said slowly. “I don’t know enough about him, whoever or whatever he is.” She eased down on the bed and stared up at the ceiling. “That Ranger out there, the long one. He’s my contact. There’s a kind of link joining us that both of us are finding very uncomfortable. Could be a complication.”
    He tapped the wall behind him. “We’ve got to report in. Let me handle that. You get straightened out with your Ranger. Get what you can out of him, he’ll probably know more about the local situation than the Reps.”
    â€œGrey.”
    â€œUm?”
    â€œIt’s …” She sat up. “It’s been good seeing you again. Thanks.”
    â€œWhat for?” His left eyebrow arched as he watched her, skepticism cutting deeper lines in his face.
    Aleytys rubbed at the nape of her neck. “For being a thorough professional, I suppose.”
    With a slight shake of his head he went out.
    Aleytys sat on the bed wondering if he’d ever trust her again, wondering if she wanted him to. Then she brushed the tiny tendrils of new hair back from her face and stood. Time to get to work.
    She stopped in the doorway. The Ranger was sitting on the couch. A tall man. Worn, silver-green skin. Scale marked. Eyes so dark a blue they were almost black. Slit pupils like a cat’s. Firm, wide mouth. A beaked nose. He wore a thong-laced leather jerkin, torn in two places at the shoulder and marked with a spot of blood by a half-healed cut on his arm muscle. His leather shorts were cut off just above the knees. His boots were scuffed and battered, a tough, hard-used, wary man. He definitely didn’t like her but there was that link that bound them

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