Story Excerpt
Dream Mate

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            Coming to stand at the bottom of the dais, Saris bowed respectfully. “Saris Chattan, as requested, High Ruler.”

            “Ah yes, the good doctor,” the High Ruler replied.

            Saris nodded. He tried to ignore the dribble of red wine falling down the man’s chin and concentrated on finding out why he had been summoned. “Yes, High Ruler.”

            “I have heard of your skills in aiding the brüter during birth. Your superiors have nothing but good things to say about you.”

            “Thank you, High Ruler,” Saris replied. He swallowed past the lump in his throat. Okay, so the king had heard of his healing skills. So what? That didn’t explain why he had been summoned to the royal palace. The High Ruler had his own physicians.

            “It seems that I am not the only one who has heard of your skills,” the high ruler said. He waved his hand, gesturing for someone to come forward.

            The breath that Saris had been trying to keep steady in his chest flew out in one aroused whoosh when he turned to see the man that stepped up beside him. In all of his years of learning different species and training to care for them, Saris had never encountered one so magnificent.

            The man’s features were neither cat nor man, but both. A layer of fur covered what skin Saris could see. Most of his body was covered by black leather, from the tight leather pants that hugged his long legs to the black leather vest type shirt that covered his muscular chest.

            His hair was blond, but not sunlight blond, more the color of a reddish sunset. Small pointed ears came out the top of his head and he had a small protruding nose like a cat. Saris would just bet that he had a pink tongue and long shape canines to match.

                Saris felt his face flush when he looked up to encounter deep black eyes. They seemed to be assessing him just as much. Trying to hide his reaction to the man, Saris turned back to the High Ruler.

            “It would seem that others have heard of your talent and you have been requested to assist in the birth of Demyan Rai, mate to the High Ruler of Katzmann,” the high ruler said. As much as that surprised Saris, the gleam in the Hugh Ruler’s eyes made him nervous.

            “I would be happy to assist in any way that I can, High Ruler.”

            “Yes, I thought you might say that.” The high ruler sat up straighter in his chair. He waved his hand and another man stepped forward. It was his chief adviser, Toc Jerell, a man hated by the population of Elquone nearly as much as the high ruler.

            The man leaned over close to the high ruler’s ear, listening as the high ruler spoke to him. His eyes kept coming back up to Saris, time and time again as he nodded. Finally, the man stood. The smirk on his face sent a cold shiver down Saris’s back.

            “Saris Chattan, it is my understanding that you were chosen as a brüter? Is this correct?” The High Ruler asked.

                Saris nodded. It was true. He had been chosen to be a brüter due to his genetics. It was something that drove Saris crazy. Just because he had delicate looking features, long limbs, and blond hair he was chosen out of the many on his planet and considered more desirable.

            Personally, Saris thought it was a load of crap. He wasn’t any better or any worse than anyone else. Thoughts like those were one of the things that had gotten him kicked out of the brüter program.

            “It is also my understanding that you were removed before your training could be completed.”

            “I was never officially removed, High Ruler. It was decided that my talents could be used in a better manner,” Saris replied.

            “As a doctor to the brüter?”

            “Yes, High Ruler.”

            The High Ruler stared at Saris so long, Saris started to get nervous. He wondered where the High Ruler was going with all of his questions and why it was so important for him to know about Saris’s brüter training.

And he wondered who the man was that stood next to him. Saris could still see him out of the corner of his eye. The man had an impressive bearing. He would dominate any room he stood in. He certainly seemed to be the center of attention in this room.

“So, it is my understanding from your words that you have never been officially removed from the brüter caste? Is that correct, Chattan?”

Saris nodded. “Yes, High Ruler, even though I am not officially a brüter I am still part of the caste. I’m just on the medical side of things.”

The High Ruler nodded. “Very good, very good.”

Saris watched with curiosity as the chief advisor leaned over and whispered in the High Ruler’s ear. The High Ruler nodded a few times then waved the chief advisor away. His eyes turned back to Saris.

“High Ruler Chellak Rai as made a request of Elquone, one that I cannot in good conscience ignore. Therefore, as Trajan Varl is the representative of High Ruler Chellak Rai, I am signing over your brüter contract to him.”

Saris felt his blood run cold at the High Ruler’s words. Having his contract sold was one of Saris’s biggest fears. Having learned to be a doctor for the brüter, he had thought he would be safe. Guess he was wrong.

“Henceforth, Saris Chattan, you will be the property of Trajan Varl, until such time as he releases you from your contract or you have completed your duties,” the High Ruler decreed. “Is this understood?”