Story Excerpt
Adwaka's Blade

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“You can’t go with me, Adwaka,” Blade said as he pulled a phaser out of the weapons storage unit and pushed it into the holster on the side of his heavily muscled thigh. He added a couple of knives as well, placing them in hidden sheaths on his dark black uniform.

Adwaka felt his stomach coil into knots as he watched Blade tuck the knives into various pockets. He didn’t like that Blade needed to be armed to the nines when going on a mission. It scared the crap out of him how easily Blade walked into danger. His mate wasn’t even batting an eye at the possibility that he may not return. He looked like a warrior standing next to Adwaka. Although this made him proud, it also made him want to beg for his mate to stay and let someone else go in his stead.

“I promise not to get in anyone’s way,” Adwaka pled as he wrung his hands in front of him. The thought of Blade leaving the Lady Blue nearly had him throwing up. “I’ll stay on the shuttle.”

Blade shook his head as he locked the weapons storage unit then looked down at him. Adwaka hated when Blade looked at him that way. He could see the frustration in Blade’s eyes. He had a deep need to please the coyote shifter and obey, but Adwaka was terrified of being left alone.

“You can spend time with Pax and Gigi while I’m away.”

Blade cupped the side of Adwaka’s face, his thumb playing over Adwaka’s cheek. Adwaka leaned into the touch. He needed Blade to stay with him and not go off on some mission on Beta Five, but Adwaka knew the shifter was going to leave him regardless of what he said.

Adwaka didn’t like Blade leaving his side any more than he liked leaving Blade’s. The coyote shifter was the first person he had seen when he opened his eyes in this new place, and he immediately clung to him. They hadn’t stayed glued at the hip, but Adwaka felt the separation deep in his soul every time Blade left him. He was terrified he’d never see Blade again.

Adwaka knew his obsession with Blade was just that—an obsession. Being away from the man almost made him go into panic mode. Blade represented everything that was strong and safe to Adwaka and he was afraid of losing him.

Adwaka also knew that the feelings that welled up inside of him for Blade were not returned. Blade tolerated him. There wasn’t a soul-deep need inside of Blade to hold him close and never let him go. Blade put up with him because there really wasn’t any other choice.

Adwaka had heard the whispered rumblings between the other crewmembers of the Lady Blue. He knew he was supposed to be Blade’s mate. He also knew that beyond keeping him safe, Blade had never made a single move toward him. There wasn’t any of the cuddling and closeness he’d seen between the other mated couples on the ship. Blade kept him safe and made sure his basic needs were seen to—and that was it.

The one and only time Adwaka had tried to take things further—a kiss, a simple kiss—Blade had pushed him away and told him no. There had been no explanation for his gesture, but Adwaka wasn’t stupid despite what anyone else might think. Blade didn’t want him like that.

Adwaka was almost surprised that Blade didn’t drop him off on the nearest planet. He assumed it would happen eventually. No one wanted to care for someone long-term without getting something in return, and the only thing Adwaka had to give Blade, Blade didn’t want.

Adwaka sighed and stepped back when Blade started for the door. He trailed behind Blade, wishing with everything in him that he didn’t feel the need to follow the man around like some lost puppy looking for a home. He just couldn’t bring himself to find one that didn’t involve Blade.

“Blade, maybe I ca—”

“No, Adwaka.” Blade turned and reached for Adwaka, drawing him under his arm. “It’s safer for you if you stay here on Lady Blue. I won’t be gone long. I promise.”

“But—” Adwaka clenched his hands when Blade started shaking his head. He had promised himself he wouldn’t beg, but it was on the tip of his tongue to do just that.

“No, Adwaka.”

Adwaka shivered at the harshly spoken words. He pressed his lips together to keep from begging. He hated feeling needy, especially when it was obvious that Blade didn’t like it. He kept trying to make himself less clingy, but that went right out the window every time he saw the strong shifter. All Adwaka wanted to do was curl up in Blade’s arms and let the world fade away.