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Her Viken Mates(51)

By:Grace Goodwin

“Incoming.” The voice came from Thalia’s communicator carried to me on the wind, and I frowned.

Thalia looked up from her kneeling position. Her heavy pants took the brunt of the cold from the ground, unlike my cream-colored ones. Yes, they were fur lined, but the fur wasn’t thick, and even that wasn’t doing much to keep the frigid air from me any longer.

Thalia stood, grabbing her weapon as she did so, waited as the two men—their size was a dead giveaway—to approach.

Oh. These weren’t rescuers. These were her partners-in-crime. They wore heavy pants and boots like Thalia, their coats the color of their Sector, but heavy and coated in something shiny that, I assumed, blocked the wind. I couldn’t see their eyes because they were shielded behind reflective glasses. Even their hair was covered by hats.

“You could have taken a rover, Thalia,” one muttered. “No one will pay for a corpse.”

What? Were they talking about me?

“She’s fine. Trust me. The little bitch is tougher than she looks.”

Holy shit. Yes, they were talking about me. They were selling me? Someone was going to pay them money for me?

Seeing the men in their thick coverings made me realize how cold the tips of my ears were, how my lips were going numb. I tucked my hands under my armpits, slumped my shoulders to curl in on myself, but nothing I did helped. I couldn’t stop shaking.

“Stealing one would have been obvious. Tracking one even easier,” Thalia countered. She shook her head as she eyed their vehicle. “Stupid. You should have walked.”

“No one was supposed to be looking for us, Thalia. By the time we got word from you, it was too late to turn back.”

“Fine. I don’t want to argue. Let’s do this and get the hell out of here. Help me finish setting this up.”

It was obvious who was in charge. The two men took the metal pieces, put it together with remarkable ease. The one time I’d gone camping—I was a comfortable-bed-and-bathroom kind of camper—it had taken me an hour to figure out how to set up my tent and I’d somehow had an extra pole leftover.

When they stood back up, I took in what they’d made. I blinked, looked again. It wasn’t a tent. Why was I so focused on a tent? I was losing my mind. There were four poles at the four corners with weird black boxes on top. They were positioned about ten feet apart, in a square shape. Most of the time had been spent aligning them at perfect angles and securing their bases in the hard ground. Four poles. That was it. No nylon cover. No tent.

“Where’s the tent?” I asked. I wanted to close my eyes, take a little nap. Whatever these guys planned, they weren’t going to get much accomplished out here.

All three turned to me. They weren’t shivering. They weren’t huddled together for warmth. “Tent?” Thalia asked. She looked at her two cohorts with a shrug.

“We need to transport her before she freezes to death,” the guy on her left said.

Was I freezing to death? I was cold, but dying? I just wanted to take a nap, not die.

Thalia strode over to me, grabbed my arm, and stared down at me with pure malice shining from her eyes. “You’re going somewhere nice and warm. Lots and lots of sand. Sun.”

I thought of the Caribbean. Palm trees. Fruity drinks with umbrellas. “Sounds nice,” I replied, my teeth chattering.

“Nice?” I barely noticed a shrug of Thalia’s shoulders beneath her heavy coat. “The raiders of Hobart 6 will think you’re very nice. And the arms trade that will come from sending you there will be nice for me.”

I frowned, my cheeks stinging from tightness. Sunburn? Windburn? Oh wait, tears. I had tears frozen on my cheeks. I lifted my hands to feel the frozen tracks, but my fingers were too numb to feel anything. “You’re giving me to raiders?” I had no idea what a raider was, but it didn’t sound good.

“I’m trading you,” she clarified.

“Coordinates are set,” one of the guards said, tablet in hand.

“Good. With you gone, Rager will be all mine. So will the weapons from Hobart 6.”

She stepped away, the snow crunching beneath her boots as she left me in the center of the square.

“You’re going to leave me here?” I asked.

She didn’t walk far, just about ten feet away. “I’m not leaving you here.” She pointed to the poles. “You’re standing in the middle of a temporary transport pad. Goodbye, Bella.”

My words stumbled out of the space between my lips, my cheeks and tongue felt numb. “I’m not going to…to wherever. I’m going to the testing center for new mates.”

“Told you. She’s not even wearing a coat,” one of the men said. I couldn’t tell who it was anymore.