Doctor Raymond Ayers carefully repacked his medical bag. His back burned with each movement. Warm liquid oozed from the gashes where the switch had broken the skin. He shivered in the memories, felt his balls tighten. Pain and pleasure. Pleasure in pain. His sadomasochistic streak had made him the perfect instrument for this job.
And the job was its own reward.
Head Provider Marshall Zuni stood naked in front of him. Sunlight slanted through the clouds overhead. Water dripped from the outcropping protecting their camp. Lean muscle rippled over her one-and-three-quarter meter frame. No hair marred her body but faint white lines danced over her tan skin. Some even spelled his name.
He liked to mark his property, even knowing she’d kill him if she found out. His blood heated at the thought. She nearly killed him twice in the six months they’d been together. His climaxes those times had been unforgettable. He couldn’t wait to experience it again. Folding his stethoscope, he set it on top.
“Well?” Jet black tattoos swirled over her skin. A few new ones glistened around her brown aeroelas and over her pubis bone. Two covered the birthmark on her wrist. Tapered fingers danced over the soft swell of her belly.
“The babe is well.” He kept his attention to her thighs as she’d taught him. She would tire of being dominant in a few hours, then it would be his turn. Her use of the switch had given him a few ideas to try on her.
Ones that, if past experience held true, he guessed she would enjoy suffering through as much as he did inflicting.
In that, they were perfectly attuned sick fucks.
Marshall’s small breasts jutted in the air. “Truly. I—I still carry the child?”
“Yes. Your beating by the former mayor of Abaddon caused no permanent damage.” He cupped his knees, waiting for his opportunity. Soon. It had to be soon. He had waited so long, risked so much. Siding with Minos Charon had almost undone his life’s work. But that was behind him. Success lay ahead. “You are past the three month mark. I must still check on the babe every couple of weeks, but you should carry it to term.”
“I will have a child. A fine child. And she will avenge all that my people have suffered.” Marshall hugged her torso and danced in circles around the smoking campfire.
Ayers bit his lip, trapping the words inside his mouth. Their roles had not yet been reversed. He didn’t have permission yet to speak his mind.
She shimmied behind him then flopped onto the nest of clothing that made up their bed. Raking her nails down his back, she ripped off the newly formed scabs. “The babe shall need nourishment.”
Her hot mouth closed over the wounds. The suction as she drank followed the curve of his spine.
Blood flooded his penis. The pain was so beautiful. “You will need more than my blood to keep yourself and the baby healthy, Head Provider.”
With one final lick, she rested her chin on his shoulder. Crimson ringed her mouth as she rubbed against his back, smearing her body with his life’s blood. “It’s Marshall. For now.”
He spun about.
Her brown eyes sparked with excitement as he gripped her wrists in one hand and squeezed. “Well, I’m still your doctor.”
Her lips turned down at the corners.
With his free hand, he pinched her chin and roughly angled her face until she stared at him. “Today, I noticed two warning signs in your pregnancy.”
She blinked and jerked at her wrists. “My baby?”
“Yes, they could jeopardize you and your baby.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Why did you not tell me before?”
“Because I can manage them. I can keep you both alive.” He stressed his words, knowing the power they had over her. “But I can’t do it if I have to protect and feed you both.”
Her nostrils flared. “I do not need Tribute to protect or feed me.”
He shrugged off the derogatory connotations of Tribute. He was here because he chose to be, because it served him to be. Her power was only what he gave her. “If you get this disease, you will be weak, unable to hunt, or even walk.”
She clamped her lips together.
But she listened.
After he’d kept her biological father alive for twenty-six days as her private pantry, Marshall had begun to depend on him and his expertise.
Of course, she still believed the ideas to be her own, but he didn’t care. He kept his eye on the goal, not the number of scrimmages. “My hunting skills are lacking and I take longer than you. While I am gone, you and the child will be vulnerable to your many enemies.”
She drew in a deep breath and jerked her head once. “I have many enemies.”
“You could also take a turn for the worse while we are apart and I could lose one or both of you.” He kept the focus on the baby, but knew she liked it that he cared about her.
And he did, despite himself and his self-appointed mission.
Her shoulders relaxed. “What do you propose, Doctor?”
His heart hammered his chest. Six months of work and he was so close to his true purpose he could almost taste it. “I propose we try to find your people. If things do worsen, they will take care of feeding you and the babe, while I can focus on keeping you both alive.”
“Release my wrists, Doctor.”
He obeyed and set his shaking hands in his lap. Would she or wouldn’t she?
She cupped his cheek. “We are heading back to my people now.”
He blinked. “We are?”
But he’d checked his GPS. They were only forty miles from Abaddon and two days on foot from the nearest Mag-Lev train station.
“Yes. Of course, it shall take us a month to reach them, but we shall reach them.” Her brown eyes twinkled and a mischievous smile toyed with her lips.
For a moment, he almost forgot she was a ‘Vider. The Head Provider. He couldn’t get stupid, not when success was at hand.
“As for food…” She held up her hands, wrists pressed together, waiting for him to restrain her again. “We passed a Tribute’s home some miles back.”
He cast back in his memories. There’d been two houses. One of adobe brick slowly melted into the dirt. Another had a metal roof and a yellow crop of corn on a patch of mud. He vaguely remembered a couple with a small child and an infant. His stomach cramped and he squeezed her wrists until her fingers turned pink and her veins rose to the surface. “Which would you like?”
“Young flesh is the tenderest.” Marshall’s pupils dilated.
“Then you shall have it.” He picked up the switch, sticky with his blood. One more death. Unlike the ‘Viders, he killed painlessly. Death was a means to an end.
Soon the screams of his aunts, uncles, and cousins would be silent.
One more month and he would join the main ‘Vider horde.
One more month and he would use the items hidden in his medical bag and murder every last cannibal.