Galactic Pirate Brides Box Set by Tamsin Ley
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Qaiyaan paced the galley, eight steps one way, turn, eight steps back. Tovik perched on the edge of the counter watching him. Noatak sat at the table, arms crossed. His scowl had become a permanent fixture. “Are you sure it’s the bond you’re feeling?”
“I’m not sure of anything,” Qaiyaan said. “All I know is something happened when I tested her resonance and now I can’t seem to get her out of my head.” The desire to be near Lisa, touch her even, threatened to block out all rational thinking. Even with her only down the hall in the med bay, he felt too far away. The disconcerting feeling inside him made him jittery, almost ill. He felt as if he’d been thrown into zero-G without his ionic shell. If this was the mate bond, he wasn’t sure he wanted anything to do with it.
“But you didn’t have sex with her?” Tovik asked bluntly. “Maybe you came a little bit in your pants.”
Leveling a gaze at his young engineer, Qaiyaan ground out. “I think I’d remember if I had.”
Noatak chuckled, rocking his chair onto its back legs.
Tovik flushed, looking at his knees while he drummed his fingertips on the counter either side of where he sat. “Okay. Have you tried to communicate through the bond?”
Qaiyaan shook his head. Some Denaidan couples were so well matched in frequency, they could speak to each other over long distances without the aid of a comm system. But he hadn’t even thought of attempting to communicate. Testing Lisa’s resonance instead of fucking her silly had been the most rational thing he’d been capable of.
Noatak let his chair legs thump back to the floor. “Initiating an empathic connection is the highest level of bonding, Tovik. Even most Denaidan couples could never achieve that.”
“But she survived his ionic test.” Tovik frowned. “I bet it’s her nanites.”
Noatak placed his palms flat on the table and leaned forward. “Are you saying she might be hacking into his brain?”
Qaiyaan stopped pacing.
The young man swung his gaze from the ceiling to Qaiyaan’s face. “Not hacking. But the nanites could be acting as an interface for your ionic resonance. Remember when we passed too close to that dark nebula, and I had to adjust the burn frequency on the engines because it was creating a sine wave that caused headaches? Her nanites are sensitive the same way. Sensitive to us.”
“You mean sensitive to Qaiyaan,” Noatak added. “I don’t feel anything from her except trouble.”
Tovik waggled his fingers like he did when he came up with an idea about upgrading the engine. “You know what this might mean? We might be able to create mates!”
Qaiyaan rolled his eyes. Surely such a thing wasn’t possible? It sure as hell didn’t sound ethical. “Spoken like a true engineer, Tovik.”
Noatak remained rigid, his nostrils flared. “I don’t like it. A bunch of micro machines in someone’s head? It’s unnatural.”
Tovik scowled at Noatak. “At least you guys were old enough to experience a woman before the Termination. I’m going to be a virgin my whole life. Can we at least consider the idea?”