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Resisting Maxu: Chapter 9

“So now that we’ve all calmed down—” The male officer glanced over his shoulder when Meg sniffed from the far corner of the room.

Four Vondalese officers and Daunet had positioned themselves between Maxu and his mate, even though he’d agreed not to touch her for the moment. They wouldn’t be able to stop him if he really aimed to get to her, but touching her, smelling her, tasting her had calmed the mating instincts raging in him. And in any case, his pretty mate was ready to spit fire at him. Some cooperation wouldn’t be the death of him. For now.

Across the room, Meg slipped a supple thigh over one leg and continued to stare at the ceiling, her nose turned up, her arms crossed over her chest.

Damn, he wanted to wrench those thighs apart. He balled his fists and grinned inwardly at the pulse of pain from his right hand. He couldn’t wait to bite her back.

“Maxu, you claim Meg is your mate?” the male said while darting glances between them. The other guards sat quietly doing the same as their superior spoke. The poor male looked as bewildered as everyone else in the room. It was unthinkable that authorities would need to keep a mated female from ripping out her mate’s throat with her teeth, but here they sat.

“She’s mine. I recognized her back in Tremanta.”

The officer nodded, then shot a tentative look at Meg.

She scowled back at him. “Why do you keep asking him that, then looking at me like the matter is settled? Just because he claims it’s true doesn’t mean it is.”

She turned her head away again and her leg bounced.

It was true, what she said. All the officers had done was repeatedly ask whether Maxu was lying about being mated, then arrive at a loss when Meg didn’t accept his response. It was a miracle that he’d recognized her, something every person on this planet wished for and something that couldn’t be undone. Her pushback had every senior member of the Vondalese authority at a loss.

“They aren’t going to do anything, sweetness. Matehood is sacred, and the fact that you knew about me yet left me behind doesn’t do you any favors.” Sharpness cut into his words, and the murmuring buzz in the room told Maxu all Clecanians present were on his side.

Her dazzling blue eyes narrowed on him. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I told you I’ve never seen you before in my life.”

“That’s not what the fine people of Kitibard said.” Her lips parted and her throat bobbed, making him salivate. The delicate curve of her neck had tasted better than she smelled. His voice a little more hoarse than normal, he continued, “You told a male there that you’d been mated. You described me to him so well that his kin recognized me when I was searching for you.”

Meg gaped at him. “No…I didn’t… That wasn’t this. I didn’t know about you.”

“She lied,” Daunet, who’d been silent and a shade paler than normal, finally stepped out of the corner she’d been stewing in. “There was a cultural misunderstanding, and she felt she had to make up a lie to get a few interested males to lose interest. I’ve been with her this whole trip, and I know Meg. She didn’t know you existed.”

“Thank you!” Meg blurted, pointing to Daunet and then to the officers. Triumph washed away any hint of her earlier surprise, and she shot Maxu a smug smirk. The grin he returned was savage and full of unspoken promises. Her brows furrowed and her foot began bouncing again.

She refused to break their silent staring contest, though he could tell she wanted to. His insides fluttered at the show of bravery. He held her gaze, heat racing to his dick at the stubborn set of her bottom lip as she glared back, unwilling to lose this silent battle of wills.

“So,” the lead officer began, “Maxu recognized her in Tremanta, and you, Meg, didn’t know he’d recognized you? Yet you were moved to lie about having a mate and you happened to describe a male that looks like Maxu?”

“Right,” she said, pursing her lips.

“Wow. You knew him before ever even knowing he existed. You described him so well that others recognized him from just your words. May the Goddess bless us all as you have been blessed.” Awed intakes of breath and murmured prayers ran through the room.

“Right. Wait! What?” Meg’s face fell, and her head whipped around. “No! That’s not what I’m saying at all. I described a guy similar to him, but not him. It was just a coincidence.”

Maxu couldn’t contain the smile beaming from him. They were right. Even if she hadn’t known he’d recognized her, something long buried in her brain had.

“I’m sorry. There’s nothing we can do. He’s your mate. We couldn’t possibly keep him away from you. It would be cruel to you both.” The guard reached out a comforting hand toward Meg, and Maxu snarled at him. The male immediately recoiled with an apologetic glance in Maxu’s direction.

He shouldn’t take as much pleasure in the absolute outrage plastered on his mate’s face as he was, but he couldn’t help it. He’d suffered for the past two and a half weeks, and the sooner she understood she had no way out of this, the better.

Daunet approached her, squatted down, and started speaking in a whisper Maxu couldn’t quite pick up. His mate’s soft skin flushed pink around her forehead and chest.

“No!” She suddenly shot up from her seat. Daunet rose as well, pinching the bridge of her nose with her fingers.

Maxu’s legs tensed. Run, little mate. Make me chase you.

“Everyone out. Give them a minute alone together.” Daunet swung on Maxu. “Behave. Talk to her the way you would a wife.”

Maxu scowled and crossed his arms over his chest but said nothing. If this female got him time alone with his mate, he wouldn’t argue, but he sure as fuck wouldn’t speak to her like a wife—empty compliments laced with desperate pleas for acknowledgment. Never.

The officers filed out of the room, unconcerned with the boiling human in the corner.

“I’ll escort you back in five minutes. Just give him a chance,” Daunet pleaded in a soft voice.

Meg’s teeth ground together. She remained obstinately silent.

When Daunet had slipped the door closed, Meg’s gaze stayed fixed on the wall in front of her.

“Did you dream about me, vahpti? Is that how you were able to describe me so well?” Maxu slowly rose from his seat.

“Don’t flatter yourself—” She turned, rolling her eyes at him, then paused when she spotted his slow movements. “Stop. Stay over there.”

He rounded the table. “Because I dreamed about you.”

That got her attention. She watched him warily as he took another step closer. “You’re lying.”

“I was only able to see the back of you, of course. Only what I saw that day in Tremanta.” Maxu leaned back against the table and hooked one ankle over the other. He took his time running his gaze down her body, not hiding the heat that invaded his blood as he took in the swells of her hips and breasts. Blessedly plumper than he’d guessed. Perfect.

All spirit and emotion packaged in the most luscious body he’d ever laid eyes on. The blush of anger that had colored her chest ran up to her cheeks at his obvious leering.

“Shall I collect your things?”

“My things?” she parroted.

“I could be showing you your new bedroom in a matter of hours.” The sooner he got her into his space, the sooner she’d submit to him. He just needed patience, something he’d always sorely lacked. “I’m sure you’ll love our home.”

“No!” A loud incredulous laugh erupted through the room, raising his hackles. “I’m not going anywhere with you.” Her thick dark lashes fluttered, her eyes wide and unseeing as she whispered, “This can’t be happening.”

He pushed off the table. She noticed and scurried back a step. Maxu called on every ounce of willpower he had not to inch closer.

“Stop,” she yelled, even though he already had. “This isn’t happening again. I’ve made a life for myself. This is my job. It’s important! I have a plan. I’m going to travel the world and meet people, men, live the life I never—”

A growl erupted from his chest at that. “No other men.”

Meg only glared at him and continued on as if he hadn’t said a word. “And now just because some pushy, controlling asshole with a chip on his shoulder comes in and tells me I’m his, I’m just supposed to be okay abandoning everything I want?” She ran a hand through her short hair, making it stick out around her ears. “For the rest of my life, no less?” She added in a croak. “No! I refuse.”

His temper was simmering at the surface now. All the confidence he’d gained knowing authorities wouldn’t keep her away from him dissolved under the weight of her words. Just because no one would hold him back didn’t mean she’d accept him, and to his disgust, the mating instinct making his stomach roil seemed to need her acceptance just as much as it needed her proximity.

“You liked it when I touched you,” he shot at her. He wasn’t going to bring it up, use her own body’s responses as a weapon, but he couldn’t help it. “You say you don’t want me, but the scent wafting from between your legs painted a different picture.”

Her mouth actually fell open then. Her eyes bounced around the room, and she emitted an enraged sound, not unsimilar to a whistling pot. Swiping a nearby research screen, she hurled it at his head. He caught it with one hand.

“My body had a response the same way it does when I see a cheese curd double bacon burger on the menu. I may like it, but it doesn’t mean it’s healthy for me to eat. You are exactly the type of man I don’t want.” She moved to the door, and he blocked her way.

“This argument doesn’t matter!” He bellowed, her words sinking in and stinging more than he cared to admit. “You’re my mate! We belong to each other now.”

“I don’t belong to anyone,” she hissed in a voice gone deadly calm. “Now get out, or I’ll scream, and they’ll come drag you away.”

He had to give his mate credit. She stood her ground as he closed the distance between them. His neck ached from staring down at her, but he wouldn’t crouch. He’d bend for no one, especially not a little spitfire wrapped in lush curves who refused to grasp the way this world worked.

“There’s a lot of slack they’ll grant a newly mated male who’s being spurned, I guarantee it. You have no idea how much these marks mean to the people out there.” Maxu flashed his hand toward her to show her the marks once more, but she flinched. Not just with her eyes but with her whole body, as if she expected him to hit her. The growl that burst out of him at the thought had her backing down, and the acrid scent of fear hit his nose.

This wasn’t what he wanted. Yes, he aimed to conquer her, but not from terror. When he lifted a hand to touch her, he wanted a very different scent to leak from her pores. At the moment, though, the emotions swirling inside him were too strong. Hurt, lust, longing.

A line of wetness welled over her dark lashes, and Maxu felt like someone was attempting to tear his heart out through his ribcage. She turned away, swiping at her tears but disguising the movement by tucking her hair behind her ear.

He couldn’t win her tonight. Not in his current state. He needed to clear his head, finally get a few hours of sleep, if possible. “I’ll leave you for now. Give you some time to come to terms with this, but believe me, I’ll be close by.”

He ground his teeth when she didn’t look up.

It was a stupid thing to do, but Maxu couldn’t stop himself. He gripped her by the chin and forced her gaze to meet his. Fear flared in her wide eyes and the sour scent invaded his nose once more. She tried to pull away, but he kept her head in place with his other hand on her nape. “I may be rough, Meg, but I will never strike you.” Her lashes fluttered, her gaze bouncing between his eyes. “Never.” He repeated as he released her chin and stalked through the door.

Daunet waited at the entrance, leaning against a wall. He paused, eyes trained on the floor and his insides revolting at the direction he was forcing his feet to carry him. “Make her understand,” he grunted at the female guard.

“I think that’s your job. Do better,” Daunet answered without an ounce of warmth in her voice. She held out his bag, which they’d confiscated.

Maxu swiped it and pounded away, intent on finding something he could rip apart.

“Where are you going?” she called after him.

“The doctor.” Maxu held up his injured hand without turning to look back at Daunet. “Need to make sure my vaccinations protect me against rabid humans.”


Four hours later and Maxu lay awake, staring at the ceiling of the room he’d threatened his way into. All the rooms in this wing of the Vondale housing, except for those reserved for humans and their guards, had been left vacant for the safety of the tour group. But after a drawn-out argument wherein Maxu insisted that if they didn’t give him access to a room near his mate he’d simply knock down whatever door he pleased and stay in the room anyway, they’d acquiesced.

They’d done it not because of his snarled threats but because of the damn marks on his hands. Every employee here had either witnessed or heard about the poor male whose mate denied him. He should’ve been thankful for their sympathy, really. After all, without these marks, his behavior would have landed him in a prison within minutes. But their pitying gazes made him want to tear their eyes out.

She was just down the hall now. Two doors away. Might as well be a thousand miles. His whole body was aware of how close she was, how easily he could break into her room and wrap her up in his arms. He’d walked up to her door so many times already, in fact, that every chip and scratch in the heavily polished wood was burned into his brain. His gaze caught on her manufactured handprint tossed on his small table. It would take no effort to open her door.

He’d barely slept since leaving Tremanta in search of her. Between his fevered dreams and his determination to stay awake and keep his ears peeled for news of her current location, sleep had been the lowest priority. He’d even taken injections to keep himself conscious.

They’d worn off now, but sleep still eluded him. The frenzy of not being near his mate wasn’t so bad anymore. He’d seen her, smelled her. But his insides were still as twisted up as ever. She was his, but she wasn’t his. She hated him. Wanted nothing to do with him.

Maxu rolled on the hard mattress with a grunt and pulled her pillow up to his nose. The heavy scent of her arousal that had clung to the pillow when he’d stolen it had faded, but his dick still filled with blood at the faint scent. He groaned into the pillow, picturing her wide, expressive eyes and lush pink lips. How deep his fingers would dig in when he gripped her thick hips.

As he had every night of his recently cursed existence, Maxu took his shaft in hand. He imagined Meg underneath him, her small teeth sinking into his hand again, but this time to keep from crying out as his hips drove into her. His fist pumped over his cock until ropes of hot cum seared his abdomen, all the while his face remained buried in her pillow.

When his breathing evened out but his dick remained hard and unsatisfied, he let out a moan of frustration.

His hand wasn’t enough anymore. He should be feeling the hot, slick grip of her cunt around his cock, not the rough callouses of his palm.

He needed a drink. Or a tranquilizer. Slowly, he rose in a daze. Exhaustion was catching up with him. His mind couldn’t focus on anything for more than a few seconds. Even his thoughts about Meg were chaotic. What he actually needed, besides her, was sleep.

From his bag, he pulled out two bottles of mott. Dragging a chair from the small table nestled under the window, Maxu trudged outside his room. He set his chair in the middle of the hallway facing Meg’s door, twisted off the top of one bottle, and collapsed onto the groaning wood.

He scowled at the shining door at the end of the hall. How dare it gleam more than any of the others. His gaze remained unblinking as he downed half his bottle.

What might she be doing behind that door? Thinking of him? Cursing him, probably. How was it that she’d described him if she hadn’t known about him? Perhaps it had just been a coincidence. Even so, it meant she at least found males that looked like him attractive. Maxu shifted in his chair. What if she’d been describing someone else?

He lifted the bottle to his lips, only to find he’d emptied it. The mott coursed through his bloodstream, making him drowsy and sluggish. When he set his empty bottle down, he accidentally knocked the other over. It clanged on the stone floor and echoed down the hall.

His attention flew back to his female’s door. Would she come out to inspect the sound? A few silent moments passed. Nothing. A rumble rose in his chest. Swinging his hand over the arm of the chair, he knocked over the other bottle and scowled at her door. She had to have heard that. Was she refusing to come out because she knew it was him?

He brought his second bottle of mott to his lips and sipped as the door next to Meg’s opened. Daunet stuck her head and a tranq gun out into the hallway, spotted him, and pursed her lips. Without a word, she disappeared back into her room.

His eyes refocused on their target, vision more blurred around the edges than normal. Maybe he was overthinking everything. She might be in her room fast asleep, not giving him a second thought.

That idea brought a few choice curses to his lips, but they stalled in his throat when her door slid open at an excruciatingly slow pace.

Meg’s silhouette appeared in the doorway, and Maxu’s breath caught in his chest. Her large eyes spotted him immediately. She frowned. “What are you doing here? You said you’d leave me be.”

Her chin-length hair was mussed, and her feet were bare. Pleasure oozed over his shoulders at the view of pale lavender lacquer on her delicate toes. She was wrapped in a soft, Vondalese sleeping robe. It was short and gaped at her neckline. He’d never appreciated a piece of clothing more.

“I haven’t knocked, have I?” It’d taken all his restraint not to, but he hadn’t. Limbs heavy from the alcohol drugging his system, he draped himself over the chair, spreading his knees and relaxing his head on the tall wooden back, making it clear he was prepared to enjoy this unguarded view.

That ruddy pink blush stole over her cheeks, and his cock hardened. He’d only known her for a few hours, yet she’d tied him in knots without an ounce of effort.

“No, but I wouldn’t say camping yourself outside my door and making a racket is leaving me alone either.”

“I apologize if I interrupted your dreams of me, sweetness.” Maxu lifted his bottle. “Care for a drink?”

“I wasn’t dreaming about you,” she hissed, flashing a glance between the two other doors.

He took another sip, reveling in the slight pinching of her lips. Was she lying? “Ah. So you must have been lying awake thinking of me.”

The door across from Daunet’s opened then, and an older human he vaguely recognized stepped into the hallway. The females exchanged glances.

Meg’s nostrils flared as she huffed out a breath. “Everything’s fine. I’m going to sleep.”

“Pleasant dreams, my little vahpti,” he crooned, forcing his legs to remain still and not stalk her into the darkness of her room.

With a final glare, she disappeared into her sanctuary.

His eyes lingered on the smooth wood for a moment longer before he noticed the other female still hovering in the hallway. He donned his usual mask of cold indifference and stared back at her. The look should have cowed her into vanishing, but rather than retreat, she smiled.

Finally, she disappeared into her room. Maxu grumbled his approval, but before he could feel too pleased about the effectiveness of his intimidation, she’d reemerged from her room with a chair.

“Maxu, right? Mind if I join you?” She pulled her chair alongside his and settled into it. His mind was so slow that he only watched her with a slack jaw, his bottle frozen halfway to his lips.

The female crossed her legs and let out a contented sigh while staring at Meg’s door. Maxu lowered the bottle and straightened in his chair. Now that there were two of them blocking the hallway and scrutinizing someone else’s room, he suddenly felt awkward.

“Congratulations on your marks.” She nodded toward the hand currently gripping his bottle. Maxu hated the way his chest bowed with pride at the acknowledgment. Yes, he’d found his mate, but the amount of emotion tied to these damn marks was overwhelming. He was hanging onto his old, calloused self by a thread.

“Do I know you?” he grumbled through clenched teeth.

“We’ve met. I’m close to Alice, your brother’s mate.” The female smiled gently, causing the faint lines around her mouth to deepen.

He narrowed his eyes and managed to place her. Rita, he believed her name was. He’d met her a handful of times when visiting his brothers. And if he remembered correctly, she’d coupled herself with one of their old family friends, Zikas. He didn’t say any of this, though, he only gave a grunt of acknowledgment and turned back toward the door where his future hid.

Rita remained quiet for a moment, but not uncomfortably so. The relaxed sway of her legs and faint smile made him sure as fuck uncomfortable. What did she want? And why were humans so damn difficult?

Finally, she spoke. “What’s your plan here?”


“Your plan. You made an…interesting first impression. Not quite off on the best foot with our Meg, I’d gather. How do you intend to make it right?” Rita’s gaze held something he couldn’t place. Her warm brown eyes weren’t critical, exactly, more hinting, as if she were trying to get him to arrive at some conclusion she’d already reached.

He inhaled through his nose and took a long pull from his drink. “Splendid. Another blasted female telling me how I should behave.” He gave her a harsh grimace and added, “With my own mate, no less.”

Rita hummed thoughtfully, not even a little put off by the obvious dislike he was aiming at her. “You don’t like being told what to do?”


“Or controlled, I imagine?”

“No,” he growled again. Buzzing in his head from the mott and his fatigue had his temper pulsing under the surface rather than flaring to life. Maybe that was why this human wasn’t scrambling away.

“That makes sense. I believe Meg feels the same way. It could be why she didn’t fall upon your cock when you showed up, made a scene, and told her she belonged to you.”

“I—” Maxu’s head jerked toward Rita as soon as her blunt words settled in his mind. She gazed at Meg’s door with a vacant smile, somehow knowing he needed a moment to compose himself. He turned away, mulling over her words. All he could think to say was, “She’s my mate.”

“Indeed.” Rita angled her body toward him. It must’ve been the mott toying with him, but he found he was eager to hear what she had to say. “Zikas has talked about you a little, you know.” Maxu clenched his jaw. “Nothing bad, I promise,” Rita added. “He told me you don’t want a wife. That you find ways to get out of the ceremony each year because of your dislike for the practice. Can I ask why you hate it so much when most men would kill for the chance to be picked?”

“Zikas should keep his mouth shut,” Maxu muttered. With a sigh, he tried to form an explanation. “I… My instincts run too hot. I get angry and I’m possessive. I do things incorrectly and want more than I can have. It doesn’t fit with how a husband is supposed to act.”

“Hmm.” She raised a brow, considering. “You sound very human to me.”

Maxu eyed her again. He couldn’t decide whether her words were meant to be reassuring or insulting.

“I know you don’t want advice from another blasted female, but can I give you some advice as a human?” Rita’s gaze held no superiority or condescension, so despite years of ignoring everyone else’s opinion, Maxu gave a quick nod. “Meg is one of the few humans I’ve met that is excited to have been taken from Earth. She knows more about Clecania than any of us. She’s studied all the cities and cultures of this planet. She learned to read your language within a few months even though she could just as easily use a translation glass. Meg is a smart, adventurous ball of light, and if your goal is to take her away and snuff out that light because she’s yours and because you can, you’re going to have a very hard road ahead.”

Maxu didn’t want that. He’d only just met her, yet the fire in her soul called to him on a level surpassing his mating instinct. He wanted to stoke those flames, bask in them. But he knew Rita was right. If he didn’t change his approach quickly, he’d burn to ash trying to tame her.

“How?” he asked without elaboration.

Rita’s smile widened as though she were pleased with her student. “I’d start with getting to know her. Did you even bother introducing yourself?”

“Yes, I…” Maxu thought back to their brief interactions. Fuck—no. He hadn’t even told her his name. Daunet had provided it. As it always did, his frustration morphed into anger. “She’s the other half of my soul! Formal introductions are trivial.”

Rita chuckled. “I would have thought you’d be eager to know the other half of your soul.”

Goddess, was that ever true. Even now he wondered how her laugh might sound and which city she was most excited to visit after all her studying.

Maxu jerked in his chair when Rita laid a hand on his forearm. “One more piece of advice?”

He fought back the impulse to pinch her middle finger and lift her hand. “What?”

“Clean yourself up. You look like you’ve been lost in the woods for a month. And get some sleep.”

Maxu let out a humorless chuckle. As if sleep was that easy to manage. As if a buxom brunette didn’t dance behind his lids every time he closed them.

“Here. This might help.” Rita reached into the pocket of her navy robe and produced a small vial of sleep spray. “I have trouble sleeping most nights. Zikas gave it to me to help on the trip. It’s illegal for civilians to have, but I’m assuming you won’t rat us out.” Her smile widened. As if she couldn’t hold the words back, she added, “He’s such a thoughtful man.”

He didn’t know how to express his thanks, not when he was simultaneously irritated, exhausted, and lost, so he took the vial and muttered, “He’s very lucky to have found you as well.”

Rita beamed and rose from her seat. “He is. I think I’ll call and remind him.”

Maxu remained in the hall long after Rita had left, brooding. Meg was his. It wasn’t a claim of ownership, it was a fact. Simple as that. His body, heart, and mind were in agreement on this. But if he forced her, she’d hate him and his heart would lose out even if his body was satisfied.

The Queen’s words floated back into his mind, hardening like cement. Fuck.

He had to win her.


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