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Mated to the Beast(5)

By:Grace Goodwin

“Very well,” the warden replied, swiping her finger over the tablet, which released my restraints. “Since I do not have your consent to be a bride, you are free to go to the Interstellar Battle Battalion’s testing center and begin your processing so they can get you sworn in.”

I spoke as I rubbed my wrists. “So, all of this was a waste? I have to start over, over there?”

She sighed. “I’m afraid so. I’m sorry.”

“As long as we’ve got the whole mate problem straightened out, it’s fine.” I felt better knowing the reason behind the sex dream. For a minute, I’d wondered if I had some repressed, kinky woman I didn’t recognize hiding inside my head. I was relieved to discover that it wasn’t my fault. I hadn’t done anything to make that sexual imagery bubble to the surface.

I swiveled in the chair and put my bare feet on the cold floor. My legs were shaking but I refused to think about the reason. Why was having a bossy mate more frightening to me than battling pitiless, inhuman, alien cyborgs?

Well, for starters, if a cyborg pissed me off, I could blow his head off and walk away. But a mate? Well, he’d make me angry and I’d be stuck with him forever, festering like a volcano, never able to blow… And, God knew, I had a temper. It had gotten me into trouble more than once. But it had also saved my life. Seth used to tease me about it, saying I would end up immortal because I was just too stubborn to die.

“I will escort you personally to ensure you are indeed in the right place this time.” The warden spoke to me, but she was looking at the cringing mouse. “And that all protocols have been followed to the letter.”

I offered the mouse a small smile. “Don’t be too hard on her,” I replied. “She’s new. And I had an amazing dream.”

Shit, had I ever. If the guy I would have been matched to was anything like the big, aggressive lover in the dream… the thought made my nipples harden.

The warden lifted a brow. “It’s not too late to change your mind, Miss Mills. You should know that was not a dream, it was processing center data experienced by another bride during her claiming ceremony with a male from Atlan.”

“Processing data?”

The warden flushed, her cheeks turning a bright pink as I tried to wrap my mind about what that meant, exactly.

“Yes. When she is sent off world, a bride is implanted with a Neurostim Unit right here. The same for coalition fighters.” She lifted her finger and tapped the bony protrusion of her skull just above her temple. “It will help you learn and adapt to all the languages in the Interstellar Coalition.”

“I’d be able to talk to anyone?”

“Yes. But that’s not all.” Her eyes darted away, then back to mine. “When a bride is claimed by her mate, the sensory data, what she sees, hears, and… feels,” the warden cleared her throat, “is recorded and used to mentally stimulate and process future brides to determine their suitability for that planet’s men and customs.”

Holy shit. “So, it wasn’t a dream. I was reliving someone else’s memory? That really happened?”

The warden smiled. “Oh, yes. Exactly as you experienced it.”

“To another woman?”


Wow. I had no idea what to do with that knowledge. Did that mean that all men from Atlan were as dominant as the one in the dream? He’d spoken of a fever, a rage that only I—the woman in the dream—could tame. Did he mean he was hot for her? If that was what a dream felt like, I could only imagine how amazing it would have been if it had been real. God, that man, he was unlike any guy I’d ever met on Earth. That dream had been hotter than any experience I’d had actually taking a man to bed.

But it was a dream, at least for me. I shouldn’t linger on it. It was a mistake. I was going to fight for the coalition. I was going to find Seth. I didn’t have time to be distracted by lust. It was pure, mindless lust. I was thinking about killing cyborgs, and yet my nipples were still hard. Totally unacceptable. Duty first. My bottled-up libido would have to wait until after my brother was home safe. I had to find him, fight with him, and finish up our terms of service. Then we could go home.

I looked up to find the warden watching me closely. “You can still change your mind, Miss Mills. You will be matched to a warrior from Atlan. He’ll be yours completely, your psychological profiles and preferences aligned. He will be totally devoted, loyal, and perfect for you in every way.”

I remembered the hard thrust of the man’s cock, the way I’d moaned and squirmed against the wall as he took me. The powerful lure of being wanted, desired to a point of mindless fucking flooded me with longing. I could have that. I could have one of those big, rough lovers all to myself—