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Choosing Theo: Chapter 38

Warmth and weightlessness washed over Jade as she came to. Her lids were heavy, but she forced her eyes to slide open.

She found herself lying in a small bed. The room was unfamiliar but not unpleasant.

“You’re awake!”

She glanced over and saw Asivva sitting on a low couch. The demon who’d carried her out was also sitting there staring at her curiously. She smiled when she saw that Zikas was leaning on him, snoring.

He must be a big softy to let Zikas use him as a pillow.

Asivva hurried over to her. “How do you feel?”

Jade thought on it a moment and then giggled. “I feel high.”

Asivva’s brows drew together in confusion.

“High as a kite.” Jade continued to giggle uncontrollably. “Did you guys give me drugs?”

“Oh, I forgot,” she said and quickly reached over to a low machine behind Jade’s head. “Yes, they did.” The giddy feeling began to fade. Asivva looked at her apprehensively. “We healed your body but we didn’t know what your mental state would be when you woke up. After everything you went through, we thought you might wake up screaming or swinging.”

Jade rubbed her temple trying to clear away her mental fog. “How long have I been out?”

“A few days,” Asivva said, still watching her intently.

Jade sat up in the bed and looked around the room again, searching. Disappointment flowed through her. “Where’s Theo?”

The demon answered in his booming voice, causing Zikas to jolt awake. “He stayed behind to aid the other captives as you requested.”

She softened. He’d kept his promise. “I’m sorry. I forgot your name. Do you know what happened?”

Zikas leapt off the couch, running to her other side. She gave him a smile and then focused her attention on the demon.

“My name is Rhaego. I believe all prisoners have been located and he’s handing off the investigation of the facility to enforcers from The Intergalactic Alliance.”

“How many humans did they find?”

“A dozen female humans and about twenty other females of different species.”

“Did they capture any of the assholes who kidnapped them?” Jade noticed Rhaego’s fingers tighten on the arm of the couch.

In a growl, he said, “Some were captured, some escaped.”

Asivva faced the two males. “Can you please excuse us? I’d like to speak with Jade privately.”

Zikas gave her hand a squeeze. “I’m glad you’re alright, Jade.”

“I’ll alert Theo that you’re awake,” Rhaego said with a bow.

“Rhaego,” Jade said, stopping him in his tracks. “Thank you.”

“It’s nothing,” he said with a quick incline of his head.

“No, I mean thank you for helping me. You’re a good guy.”

Rhaego opened and closed his mouth wordlessly. He gave a sharp nod before leaving.

When they were alone, Asivva chuckled.

“That guy is not good at receiving compliments.”

Asivva gave a shrug. “I expect he hasn’t been given many compliments in his life. The Tuvasta are a hard people, and in Tremanta he’s treated with fear and wariness.” Her stare became serious. “Jade, can you tell me what was done to you? We found evidence of physical assault but not sexual. Is there anything that happened that you want to tell me about?”

“No, I’m fine,” she said, patting Asivva’s hand reassuringly. “Theo got there in time. That asshole Nedas jumped Xoris’ and attacked me.”

Asivva still look fraught with worry.

“Now that I’m safe and everything is okay, I’m almost glad it happened.”

Asivva’s head snapped back like she’d been slapped.

“If it hadn’t, then no one would’ve known what they were doing down there. All of those women would still be trapped. If a little pain means we’ve uncovered an underground organization of dickheads bent on kidnapping and impregnating women, then I think it was worth it.”

Dickhead?” Asivva parroted with a chuckle. “I agree that it’s good the ‘dickheads’ were revealed.” She touched Jade’s arm. “It was more than a little pain, but I admire your bravery.”

Asivva gave her a bitter smile. “I need to tell you some things, and I hope you take them well.”

Jade tensed. What the fuck now?

“First, I want to explain that there was a reason for Theo’s behavior at The Gathering.”

Jade held up a hand. “We don’t need to talk about that. He was just being a pissy possessive alien. I’m sure he’s over it by now, and so am I.”

“Indeed, he is.” Asivva smiled. “So, you still wish to stay with him?”

“Yes.” Jade sighed. “I haven’t had the chance to tell him yet, but I’ve fallen in love with the pissy possessive alien.”

“I’m so glad to hear that, because something extraordinary has happened,” Asivva said, clutching Jade’s hand in a tight grip. “His mating marks have appeared. You’re his true mate.”

“Mate?” Jade smirked. “I thought that was just a fairy tale you guys had.”

Asivva shook her head silently. “They’re real, but haven’t been seen in years. The last mates died off a hundred years ago at least, but Theo has his marks. His eyes changing was the first sign, but you didn’t know what it meant. His temper flare-ups and his uncontrollable possessiveness were all symptoms that got worse because he didn’t recognize the bond right away.”

Jade’s smile slowly faded as she took in the significance of what Asivva was telling her. Hadn’t Zikas said that true mates stayed together for life?

Jade knew she must have a goofy look on her face, but she didn’t know how to take this news. “So, what does that mean? He doesn’t want me, so he didn’t accept me at first, but now he has to? Is he, like, trapped in a relationship with me now?”

Asivva laughed. “Not at all. He didn’t accept you because he’s an idiot, and his deep insecurities made him think he didn’t deserve someone like you. Now that he’s finally accepted you’re his mate, he won’t want to be apart from you for long stretches of time.” She raised her delicate brows sardonically. “I’m surprised he’s stayed away as long as he has, to be honest. Promise or not.”

The corner of Jade’s mouth lifted in a grin. “So, he’s stuck on me?”


Jade clarified. “He wants to stay with me. He won’t ever want to leave.”

“Oh, yes. He’s very stuck on you. Your happiness will be his only priority.” Asivva’s brows drew together. “Well, almost his only priority.”

“What do you mean?”

Asivva shifted from side to side nervously. “When the doctor was healing you, they discovered that you’re with child.”

“No, I’m not,” Jade said immediately. “I’m on birth control. I can’t get pregnant. I got the shot—it’s supposed to last for months.”

“Well, either your birth control failed or it doesn’t protect against Clecanians, because you are.” She gave her a nervous smile.

“Xoris did tests on me. He would have said something.”

Asivva shook her head. “I can’t say for sure, but from what I know of Xoris, the idea that you might have slept with Theo probably never crossed his mind. He was extremely bigoted toward Traxians.”

Jade thought back to the blood test Xoris had run. From the information he’d relayed to her, all the test showed was that she had traces of Clecanian DNA. Would he really have been so arrogant as to not test to see if she were already pregnant?

Pregnant? I’m pregnant. Jade didn’t know how to feel about this. She hadn’t even decided if she wanted kids or not. She rubbed her stomach absently. An image of a little tattooed boy popped into her mind, and she smiled.

Jade nodded slowly, still smiling. “I guess that’s okay.”

Asivva let out a breath she’d been holding, clearly relieved by Jade’s response. “No one but me, you, and the doctor know,” she said, smiling. “I wanted to allow you to tell Theo in your own time.”

She and Theo had never talked about children. Their relationship discussions had always been limited to three months. Nervously Jade asked, “How do you think he’ll feel about this?”

Asivva opened her mouth to speak but suddenly the door slammed open, making both women jump.

Speak of the devil.

Theo stood in the doorway. He looked out of breath. His hair was disheveled, and dark circles stood out against his overly pale skin and black eyes. His eyes flashed to Asivva, then, without warning, lifted her and set her outside of the room, ignoring her loud protests. He closed the door in her face and pushed the couch in front of the door as easily as if it were inflatable.

He turned to stare at Jade again, then self-consciously glanced down at his body. His shirt and pants were splattered with dried blood. Removing his shirt, he tossed it out of sight.

Jade didn’t know what to say. So much had happened over the past day. Tears began streaming down her face. “I’m so sorry about Cebo.”

“No, Jade.” He rushed to her and knelt at her bedside, looking stricken. He reached his hand out to her but then pulled it back. “Cebo’s okay. We were able to heal him.”

Relief washed over her. Jade had felt so guilty about the goofy loyal hound being killed because of her.

“Jade…I… I’m sorry about what I said and how I acted. I can understand if you’d prefer we end our marriage now.” He said each word as though it had to be extracted from him.

Jade smiled. If what Asivva said was true, Theo was standing before her offering to give up his own happiness. “Are you going to lock me up? Beat up any man I talk to?” she asked, already knowing she’d forgiven him.

Theo winced. “No. I regret what I said. The mating bond was causing me to act erratically.”

He flexed his hands again and rested them on the edge of her bed, still not touching her. He looked so unsure.

She snagged his hand, examining the new bands on his wrists. The resulting purr was instantaneous. “Are these the new mating marks?” Two thick bands circled his wrists, and four smaller bands wrapped around each finger from base to fingertip.

He nodded tightly but said nothing for long moments. “Do—” he croaked before clearing his throat. “Do the marks offend you?”

Jade felt herself melting. He was worried she wouldn’t accept him now.

She leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to his mouth. “I wish I had some,” she said, smiling at his shocked expression.

The worry on his face faded, his eyes returning to a pale green. He crushed her to him in an instant. Theo kissed her desperately, running his hands along every inch of her body he could reach. She wrapped her hands around his neck and pulled him down until he was lying atop her, supporting his weight on his elbows.

He clutched her head in his hands and looked down at her. “I’m so sorry I didn’t get to you sooner.”

“I didn’t think you would ever find me. How did you?”

Grinning widely, he said, “The marks. They led me to you. I’ll always be able to find you.” His eyes grew serious. “Jade, I want to be with you forever. No more marriages. You’ll be mine and I’ll be yours alone. You are my heart. Do you think you could be happy staying with me forever?”

Jade could feel him holding his breath. “Theo, I wanted to tell you after The Gathering. I love you.”

His body sagged with relief and he leaned down to kiss her softly. “I love you too. More than you can know.”

Jade pushed him back. “I can’t agree to being yours alone though.”

He tensed and opened his mouth to argue.

“I can’t agree,” Jade began, “because we’ll both need to be there for someone else.”

His perplexed eyes searched her face.

Jade raised her eyebrows and placed a hand on her stomach between them.

Theo glanced down at her hand and then did a double take, looking dumfounded. Like lightning, he sat back on his knees, removing his weight from her.

Rising to her elbows, she chuckled. “You can’t hurt it by laying on me.”

Still staring slack-jawed at her stomach, he whispered, “You’re with child?” His voice broke. “My child?”

“Well, that’s a little offensive,” Jade said in an amused, admonishing tone. “Of course it’s your child.”

He blinked up at her before returning his gaze to her womb and smiled sheepishly. “I know that. I just…” He rested his large palm against her abdomen. “I never thought I’d be lucky enough to have a child.”

Easing back down to kiss her, he murmured, “I have a mate and a child? How did I ever get so lucky?”

He began laughing heartily.


“I’ve hated my scars for as long as I can remember, but I believe I have them to thank for drawing you to me.”

“I guess you’re right.” Jade smiled at him. “Now take me home so I can finish licking them.”


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