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Freeing Luka: Chapter 9

Large blue eyes stared up at him pleadingly. Her soft moans echoed in his ear as he tasted her sweet skin. He needed her more than he could say, but she pushed him away.

He reached out to clutch her to him more firmly, but his fingers only grasped at air. Panic made his whole body tense. He spun, looking for her, calling her name. The tranquil mountain setting faded, and hard gray walls rose around him, caging him.

A shadowy figure loomed over him, laughing evilly. Hatred burning in him, Luka lunged at the man, intending to rip his throat out.

As his hands shot forward, an invisible force wrenched them back. He began to struggle though his arms were weak. He needed to get to her. “Where is she?”

The shadowy figure only laughed harder, his loud voice booming and echoing off the walls.

“Luka, wake up!” a distant voice called.

Luka’s eyes shot open. Cold sweat beaded on his skin, and his breaths came in quick, ragged gasps. He was in his room, on his bed, but he couldn’t move his arms or legs. Figures loomed over him. Needing to be free, he began to thrash in his bindings.

A familiar voice thundered over him, “Luka, you need to calm, or I’ll have to sedate you again.”

Luka stilled. Maxu?

His vision was improving with each second, and as it did, the hulking figure of his brother Maxu came into focus.

“Thank the Goddess. I thought we were going to have to knock you out again.”

Luka turned his head toward the voice coming from his other side and found his youngest brother Izor grinning back at him. He studied his brothers’ faces and noticed the dark circles under their eyes and their strained expressions.

“What happened? Why am I tied down?”

Luka tried to recall the last thing he remembered, but a nagging panic and anxiety kept pulling at his thoughts. There was something he was supposed to be doing, somewhere he needed to be, but for the life of him he couldn’t recall what it was.

His brothers looked at each other, the concern showing clearly on their faces. “What do you remember?”

Frustration welled in him. “Let me up! I can’t think tied down like this.”

Izor pulled the corner of his mouth back in a grimace. “You punched Zed pretty hard last time we let you go. Don’t you remember trying to run out of here?”

Maxu said nothing but began loosening Luka’s restraints.

Luka furrowed his brows, trying to recall attacking his older brother Auzed, but it was as if he were examining his memories through thick ice. Hints of images appeared before him, but he couldn’t make out anything clearly.

Suddenly a vision of deep-blue eyes flashed in his mind, startling him and making his scalp tingle.

Soft, unintelligible words floated through his awareness. His cock twitched in response.

What the fuck is happening to me? He absently massaged his now free, aching wrists.

The beautiful, haunting eyes slowly faded, and he felt his gut clench painfully at the loss. Who did those eyes belong to? Were they even real or just a dream?

“What happened?” he said to Maxu more forcefully, feeling an overwhelming urge to leave his home and run…somewhere.

“We have only learned some of the details recently, but from our understanding, you have been working undercover to investigate Helas.”

He stiffened and rose from the bed. His brothers shouldn’t know that.

Luka had been suspicious of Helas for quite some time now. Since starting his role on Helas’ research team, Luka had suspected he may have been doing experiments on his own. His misgiving intensified six months ago when Helas started missing work without a clear explanation, then reappearing with controversial ideas for their research that he’d come upon seemingly out of nowhere.

When Helas had started casually joking that the Alliance laws were holding back their research, Luka had finally broken down and approached the Queen directly with his concerns. His instincts had always warned that Helas was less harmless than he seemed to be, and he’d recognized a grain of truth in the man’s repeated joking.

He’d fully expected to be shut down and punished for accusing a superior. But to his surprise, the Queen had agreed and confided in him that there were rumors of an underground organization bent on saving their species no matter the cost.

The Queen had requested his assistance in bringing this organization to light, and Luka had agreed. He’d convinced Helas to join him and a few colleagues on an extended research trip in the isolated Skuzio Valley. Initially, Helas had declined but a few weeks after their arrival, he’d shown up, claiming his plans had changed. For the last five months Luka had huddled around fires and tromped through marshes, all while attempting to grow close to Helas and learn his secrets. There was no way his brothers should have known about Helas, unless…

Luka’s eyes widened as the memory of a stark white hallway and a set of monitors came back to him.

“Helas found out, didn’t he?” As he looked between his brothers’ tight expressions, bits of memory came rushing back. He began pacing around the room, the heels of his palms grinding against his temples, and tried to follow his thoughts as they returned to him.

Izor and Maxu eyed his movements but stayed quiet, possibly sensing the tenuous grip he had on his memory at the moment.

Luka remembered attempting to infiltrate Helas’ group. He’d slowly earned the man’s trust by laughing and agreeing to his comments about the Alliance laws. He’d then started voicing opinions of his own to Helas concerning their research and how it’d never amount to much at their current pace.

Luka had spent months in the lab and then in the wilderness, carefully convincing Helas’ he was an intelligent, likeminded male, set on saving their species at the expense of others. During the last week of their trip, Helas had finally offered to show Luka a “project” he’d been working on in his free time.

In preparation, Luka had contacted the Queen and implanted an antiquated tracking device into his calf.

“What happened? How were you found out?” Izor asked quietly.

He turned to face Izor, his head pounding from the onslaught of recalled memories. “I remember him bringing me to an underground facility,” he began. “He took me to a room with viewing screens and showed me some live feeds, explaining they were from other outposts.”

Luka blanched as he recalled what he’d seen on those screens. He looked to his brothers. They knew too. Their somber expressions gave them away. “There were females being held captive,” he croaked.

Guilt washed over him as he recalled losing his temper and exposing himself to Helas. What had happened to the females from the screens? He could’ve saved them if he’d kept up the ruse, but instead, he’d broken character and had allowed Helas to see his outrage.

The last thing he could remember before his thoughts became too muddled was Helas’ two henchmen knocking him out.

“I’m not sure which females you saw, but we’ve found several from two separate locations, and Helas is in custody,” Maxu said quietly, resting his hand on Luka’s shoulder.

A momentary wave of relief washed over Luka, but then the familiar anxiety set back in. There was something they still weren’t telling him. When had he moved so close to the door? And why did he still feel the urgent need to leave? Luka stared at his bedroom door and twitched, suppressing the urge to bolt.

Maxu silently stepped in his path and crossed his arms over his chest.

Luka narrowed his eyes and looked back to Izor, who was staring fixedly at the ceiling and rocking back and forth on his heels. “Izzo, what aren’t you telling me?” Luka asked through gritted teeth.

Izor’s eyes flashed to meet Maxu’s, and they exchanged telling glances.

“You were captured one month ago, and we don’t know everything that happened to you in that time, but one of the females rescued was able to fill us in on the events of the last few weeks,” Maxu said slowly. His eyes were fixed on Luka’s face, never straying. It was as though he were purposefully forcing himself not to look anywhere else.

How would a female know what happened to me?

“Apparently,” Maxu continued, “they were testing a drug on you that allowed them to collect your seed more easily.”

Bile rose in his throat. He felt violated and sick over the fact that he couldn’t recall the last month of his life or what had been done to him against his will.

He dropped to his knees when he thought about the female who’d known the purpose of his drugging. How and why had she known he’d been drugged for this reason? What had Helas forced her to do?

A tangible feeling of mind-blanking lust came back to him, and he paled further. What had I forced her to do?

“The female—” he began. “Is she…? Did I…?”

Izor knelt down before him, his eyes flashing down to his wrists before settling back on his face. “She’s okay. I only spoke to her briefly, but from what she said, I don’t think you did anything to her. She was actually more concerned about you than anything else.”

“Why was she concerned for me?” Luka rasped, not sure he could handle any more revelations right now.

Izor inhaled deeply and gave Luka a lopsided forced smile before continuing, “Well, I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but you guys fought your way out. When your tracker suddenly started working again, we came to retrieve you.” Izor glanced at Maxu and then down to Luka’s lap again. “I sort of had to tranq you when I found you, because you were trying to…”

Izor didn’t have to finish his sentence. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Luka could recall the feel of soft flesh under his palms and warm skin on his tongue.

He hung his head in shame. It didn’t matter that he’d been drugged. It didn’t matter that he hadn’t been in his right mind, or that the female seemed to be incredibly understanding. He’d be sent to prison, and he knew deep down that he deserved it.

Was the panic he was experiencing an impulse to run? To avoid punishment?

“We should go to the Queen now so she can decide my punishment,” he said, standing.

Izor stepped in front of Luka, halting his progress toward the door. “The Queen has already decided there will be no punishment. The female agreed.”

Luka swung his confused gaze to Maxu. “How can there be no punishment? I tried to force myself on a female! Drugged or not, it doesn’t matter.”

Maxu, who’d always been the most reserved of his brothers, stared at him oddly but said nothing.

“I would say it was more like heavy petting, not forcing, and because of your circumstances, and the female’s acknowledgment of your innocence, the law is on your side,” Izor said brightly.

Luka stared at him slack-jawed. There was no law that would protect him from harming a female.

Maxu finally spoke. “The laws of matehood are on your side,” he clarified.

Again, the image of blue eyes flashed through his mind, and his stomach clenched painfully. Luka blinked at him, not understanding. Why would the laws of matehood protect him?

A wave of dizziness came over him as he recalled the feeling of supple hands sliding over his body.

Alice, his mind hissed.

Maxu finally allowed his unwavering gaze to slide down Luka’s body, settling at his wrists.

Luka followed the fixed direction of Maxu’s stare and had to take a step back. Blue mating marks circled his wrists.


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