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Choosing Theo: Chapter 35

Jade had been confused and terrified while being dragged into the woods kicking and screaming. Were they planning to rape her here and then dispose of her body in the woods?

Her fear had transformed into dread when Nedas had opened a secret hatch in the ground and led her down into an underground facility.

Crazy horny dudes in the woods was bad. Crazy horny dudes with a secret underground lair was worse.

A spiral escalator led them down to a long white hallway. Jade’s stomach roiled. The spotless all-white hallway was chilly and looked sterile. It reminded her of a hospital.

There were four doors lining each side of the hallway and one set of double doors on the end. Nedas moved toward the double doors, and Jade was too scared to lift a finger in protest.

The large doors swung open when they neared and Xoris grinned at her from within the room. Jade dug her heels in when she saw a large reclining chair bolted into the floor next to him. It looked like a dentist’s chair except, to her horror, she noticed there were straps.

“Has she been fighting the whole time?” Xoris questioned in a bored tone.

“Nonstop.” Nedas grunted. Lifting her bodily and slamming her down into the chair, he held her arms down and Xoris strapped her in.

“What is this place?” She glanced around, straining to see behind her.

“Good work, Nedas. You may go now. I’ll call you back when I need you.” Nedas nodded and left through a door somewhere behind her.

Xoris gestured around at the room. “This is where we’ll save our race.” He smiled happily and then turned to rummage through a few drawers out of sight.

Jade’s voice shook when she asked, “What do you mean?”

“I see you’re more than happy to talk to me now.” He moved to stand in front of her, a thin cylindrical device in his hand.

The audacity of this motherfucker! Her rage washed her fear away. “I’d like to know what the fuck is happening before you kill me! Send me to my grave well informed!”

He chuckled and placed the base of the cylinder at her arm. “I’m not going to kill you, Jade. Just taking a sample.” She felt a painful jab on her arm as he removed the device.

“I’m very sorry we had to go through all of this to get you here. If those damned Cae had done their jobs well, you would’ve never knocked me out. I would’ve taken you directly here and saved you from weeks of debasement at the hands of that Traxian.”

“You kidnapped me?” she said wide-eyed, taking in his words.

“Yes and no,” he said, moving to place her “sample” in a softly humming machine. “I gave the Cae certain parameters for what kind of female to take, but they chose you ultimately, not me.”

Anger flared through her, but she tamped it down. Better to keep him talking to her then to make him angry.

He turned to her, clasping his hands behind his back. “As you know, our race has been going extinct for a long time now. Some Clecanians…” he scowled, “have taken to interbreeding with other species like Theo’s Traxian whore mother.”

Jade ground her teeth but again said nothing.

“A group of loyal Clecanians, who wanted to ensure the survival of our race, came together and formed this society.” He said this with such pride. “We do what needs to be done to find a cure for our population.”

“Even if it’s against the law?” Jade tried to keep her voice even.

Xoris’ face grew tight. “Our leaders are cowards who won’t examine every possibility. Those laws have kept us from finding a real cure.”

“I don’t understand what you want with me. You hate other species and that’s exactly what I am, another species.” Jade tugged quietly, testing her restraints. They were secure.

Xoris looked at her triumphantly. “But are you? Haven’t you ever wondered why we look so similar? How the features of an alien species could be so similar to yours? Do you think you’re the first human we’ve examined?”

Jade’s face paled.

“Facilities like this one were built decades ago by organization members all over our world.” Xoris began pacing in front of her like a deranged history professor gearing up for a lecture. “You see, not all Clecanians migrated here. The way they teach it now makes it seem like we decided to leave our old world in a mass exodus, but really, overpopulation and finite resources had pushed droves of Clecanians to leave their home world in search of somewhere new for hundreds of thousands of years before we finally abandoned the planet.”

“My clever forefathers set out to find those places where they’d settled. He posited that if our species survived and thrived on another planet, maybe they were the key to preventing our extinction. For centuries we’ve been bringing aliens with potential ties to Clecania here with no luck.”

Jade felt her stomach turn. This was a jail. A testing facility for sick men to experiment on abducted species. How many captives were being held in places like this even now? How many places like this were there?

Xoris placed his hand on her chair arms, hunching over her. “About fifty years ago, one of our members spotted a human on a slave cargo ship. He knew she had to be a descendant of Clecania. Her features were too similar to ours. He brought her here and found enough likenesses in our DNA to confirm his theory.”

Was he saying that humans were descendants of an old alien race? Jade glared into Xoris’ eyes, unable to keep her anger in check. “Fifty years ago? What happened to her? How many women have you taken from Earth since then?”

His eyes twinkled maliciously. “Hundreds. As for the female, she died long ago.”

“Why would you keep us here? If you already know we’re an offshoot of your species, then why not tell the world what you’ve found?”

“We haven’t found a cure yet. Human and Clecanian unions have yet to produce a viable pregnancy. If we exposed ourselves now, we’d be arrested as traitors, if we expose ourselves after finding a cure, they’d have to thank us.”

Xoris was the worst kind of evil. He thought what he was doing was right. In his mind, abducting humans and running tests on them until they died was somehow a moral imperative. If she ever wanted to see daylight again, she’d have to figure out a way to break out of here. Xoris would never let her go.

Assuming everything he’d said about this wackadoo organization was true, then she knew she’d never be found, either. They’d apparently operated in secrecy for centuries. In order to pull it off, there must be thousands of loyal organization members stationed everywhere.

What would happen to Theo? she thought miserably. He’d get back home, only to find her gone and Cebo dead. Would he think she’d left him?

She noticed Xoris’ eyes had fixed onto her chest. She looked down and saw the chilly air had made her nipples hard. Their outline was visible through the thin material of her dress.

Maybe she could manipulate Xoris. He believed in this mission wholeheartedly, but she also knew he was attracted to her. He wasn’t a stupid man, but he was arrogant. She’d have to earn his trust over time and wait until she found an opportunity to escape.

“I’m sorry,” she said in a shy voice. “It’s cold in here.”

He glanced up at her and swallowed. “I’ll get you a blanket.”

He left but returned swiftly with a small blanket. His hand brushed over her breasts as he drew the blanket up to her chin.

She felt bile rise in her throat but she sweetly thanked him anyway. He smiled down at her, seeming pleased by her gratitude. “What’s going to happen to me? I just want to be prepared.”

“I’m going to artificially inseminate you in the hopes that you and the donor are compatible.”

“Who’s the donor? Nedas?”

He looked taken aback. “Why would you say that?”

Turn them against each other. “He told me you were going to give me to him when you were done with me. Since you’re a scientist, I assumed you wouldn’t want to mix donors.”

“True, I don’t want you to have multiple donors. This sample is mine.” He placed his hand on hers, and she had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from flinching. “No one but me will touch you here.”

Jade knew he meant for this information to calm her. He was oblivious to how repulsive she found him. She let out a sigh of feigned relief. “Oh, good.”

Trying to keep the emotion from her voice, she asked, “What will you do about Theo?”

His hand shot back from her and he sneered. “Nothing. Why do you care?”

“Well, he’s going to be furious when he finds me gone. He does have a very bad temper.” She looked away from him as though embarrassed. “You’re the last man to have shown interest in me. He was very angry by that. He may conclude that you took me.”

Xoris relaxed and waved his hand at her. “Even if he does, he’d never be able to prove it or find this place. I’m a highly respected member of society. If he comes after me, he’ll be thrown in jail.”


Globs of greasy purple blood washed off Theo’s hands as he reviewed what he’d learned.

“Xoris is behind this,” Rhaego intoned from his side.

Theo looked over his shoulder at the two Cae, or rather, what was left of them. It hadn’t taken them long to divulge all they knew to Theo. His torture had been vicious. So much so that even Rhaego had turned away.

When Theo had shown up to the safe house, Rhaego had explained that the two scaly Cae wanted to make a deal—give information about a traitor in Tremanta in exchange for their release. Theo had laughed maniacally at that and had explained, to the two terrified Cae, that their information would earn them a swift yet painful death rather than a long, painful death and nothing more.

Rhaego had watched as Theo had torn into the Cae abductors. His friend had understood his need for violence in that moment. Rhaego’s people, the Tuvasta, held matehood as sacred even to this day, when mating marks hadn’t been seen for so long. He’d initially marveled at Theo’s mating marks and had comprehended the gravity of the situation instantly.

Studying the mating marks on his now-clean hands, he acknowledged that what he’d done to the Cae would be nothing compared to what he’d do to Xoris.

Before expiring, the Cae had told Theo that Xoris was the one who’d paid them to find and abduct Jade. To Theo’s disappointment, they knew little else. Only that he intended to hold her somewhere in the woods away from prying eyes.

He needed to figure out his next move. She’d said that her pod had landed somewhere in the woods. He needed more information about where she’d run from.

“How is this possible? She’s an alien,” Rhaego asked, interrupting his thoughts.

Theo had been asking himself the same question on his ride here in an effort to remain calm and focused. “She’s similar enough to us that we could have ancestors in common.”

“Or maybe the Goddess has finally decided to bless us with matehood again,” Rhaego mused, hope shining in his gray eyes. “We’ve treated our new world much better than the old one. We learned from our mistakes. Maybe this is our reward.”

He gave his friend a tight smile. Rhaego was slightly larger than Theo, and his sharp horns and fangs made him look intimidating. His appearance could cause even the bravest of males to cower. In his own city, Rhaego was considered to be an attractive male; here in Tremanta, females tended to shrink away from him. He and Theo had bonded immediately.

What no one else knew about the male was that he was a hopeless romantic. Since they’d met as young males, Rhaego had always talked about finding a true mate. He returned to his home city to chase a bride every year.

“I need to find her, Rhaego,” Theo said, letting his emotions wash over him for a moment. “I won’t survive without her.”

“I will help you in any way I can, old friend.”

Regaining his composure, Theo used his communicator to call Zikas.

The old man answered quickly. “Have you found her?” he asked, the worry in his voice evident.

“I know who took her and I know she’s being held somewhere in the Manta Forest. I need to know everything you can tell me about Jade’s arrival here. I think she’s been taken to a location near where she originally landed. If I can backtrack her journey to Tremanta, I might be able to find her.”

“She was found near the Sauven-Tremanta intercity road,” Zikas said swiftly. “On the east side of the forest.”

“I know that when she was brought in to Meya, she’d been without food for two days,” Asivva chimed in from the background.

“Yes!” Zikas agreed. “She said she’d been running through the wilderness but was too afraid to eat anything.”

Jade was smaller than him and couldn’t cover as much ground as a Clecanian could. She must’ve been scared, and there was no way to tell how much energy she’d had when she’d started running. He motioned for Rhaego to follow him to the cruiser he left waiting outside. He set a course for the old intercity road. “Anything else you can think of?”

There was a moment of silence. “Possibly,” Asivva began. “She told Meya she’d seen the cruiser from above. She had to run down into the valley to hail it.”

“That helps. Rhaego and I are headed there now. I’ll call with any other questions.”

“Wait, Theo!” Zikas interjected.


“I’m not certain how true this is, but you may be able to sense her if you get close enough to her location.”

“From her scent?” Theo asked.

“Your soul is bound to her. She’s your mate. There are some stories that suggest mates can always find each other because they can instinctually sense where they are,” Asivva explained.

“Since Jade is human and can’t experience the mating bond, we can’t be sure your sensing will work but, if you start to feel an urge to move in one direction or another, trust it,” Zikas added hastily.

“Thank you both,” he said before ending the call. He glanced at Rhaego, knowing his excellent hearing would’ve allowed him to hear his conversation easily.

Rhaego nodded eagerly. “Our people have stories about similar occurrences. You may be able to find her through instinct.”

Theo hoped with everything in him that what they said was true.


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