I like that fiery blush of hers. Is she thinking about last night? I can still feel the furrows her short little nails dug into my shoulders, and they fill me with masculine pride.

She immediately gets to her feet. “Would you like breakfast? Your people like noodles in the morning, right?”

“Noodles are good for every meal,” I agree. I reach out to touch her, wanting to breathe in her scent, but she sidles away before I can and heads into the small kitchen. Someone’s a bit shy this morning, it seems. “I can make my own food. You don’t have to do it.”

“You’re a guest.”

“Am I back to being a guest, then? I thought last night changed things.” I cross my arms over my chest and regard her.

Her cheeks flush a deeper shade of red and she looks nervous, pulling out a container of water and putting it on the stovetop to heat. “Until you decide if you’re staying, I suppose you’re a guest, right? Or have you made up your mind?”

Neatly trapped. “I…guess I’m a guest.”

Her full mouth thins into a firm line but she nods and won’t look me in the eye.

I guess there’s no more sex this morning. That’s a shame. I will my aching cock to be patient and distract myself with other things, moving over to her project. “What are you doing?”

“Oh.” Piper hesitates for a moment, and then speaks. “I’m, ah, working on a tapestry.”

“A tapestry? Why?”

She shrugs, watching as the water boils, and then takes the flask off the stove, pouring it into an old, chipped bowl and then adding noodles and spices. “Most people on this end of the galaxy don’t read or write human English. I figured pictures would be a good way to tell my story.”

“Your story?”

“Of how I got here. Of everything that’s happened to me.” She blinks at me with those big, serious eyes, and then shrugs. “I guess I wanted some sort of record of my past. I wanted to tell someone of all the things I’ve gone through. I guess…I want to be seen.” She forces a bright smile to her face as she puts the bowl on the table. “Doesn’t everyone?”

Kef me, but she’s good at making my heart ache for her. “You can tell me about your past.”

“Maybe some other time.” Piper gestures at the bowl. “Please. Eat.”

I sit down and do so, noticing that she doesn’t make her noodles quite the same as everyone else does, but they’re still tasty and fresh, and I eat the whole bowl in moments. She sips a cup of tea, watching me, her eyes guarded.

“Should we talk about last night?” I offer, when she remains quiet.

She moves to the tapestry and folds it up, putting it away. “What about last night?”

I can’t believe I’m the one that has to bring this up. “What happened between us?”

Piper gives me a calm look, tidying the living area. “What happened between us is that I was trying to convince you to stay. I’m showing you what I can offer as a partner.” Her voice is even and casual, but her cheeks are bright pink, betraying her emotions. “Nothing more.”

Such a little liar. “You’ve had sex before, but not like that.”

Her chin lifts. “Is that what you want this morning? To have your ego stroked?”

I chuckle. “No, I’m just curious about you. Has…no one ever touched you like that before?”

Her expression changes from defiance to wariness. “No one out here cares what a human thinks.”

“No one cares what a convict thinks, either.”

She relaxes a little at that, coming to sit at the table with me once more. “Jutari says you broke out of the same prison he did. Was it for the same reasons?”

I eye her, curious if she knows that Jutari was a famed assassin or if he’s told them a much tamer version of his past. I decide to avoid it entirely. “I escaped Haven with my friend Tassar. We were both prisoners of war and instead of being sent home after the conflict ended, we got dumped in with the scum of the galaxy.” I shrug. “Wrong place, wrong time. You learned to toughen up or you didn’t survive for very long.”

“I see.”

I tilt my head, studying her. “You’re not scared of me, are you?” It’s more of a statement than a question. She hasn’t shown a bit of fear towards me, not once. I remember how she skirted wide around the praxiian back at the jail. That one, she was afraid of. But not me.

“Because you came from a prison planet? You were a soldier.”

“That doesn’t mean I was a schoolboy on Haven. Like I said, you did what you had to do to survive. My hands aren’t clean.” It’s as much as I’ll admit to her right now, because I don’t want her to look at me with unease or hate. I want her to look at me again like she did last night when I made her come—I want that look of wonder and bliss in those deep brown eyes.


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