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Exile’s Hunter Chapter Nineteen: Free Sci-fi Romance

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This was some friend Mad had. Kenzie wanted to rush up to him and tell him he didn’t get to lay hands on Mad, but considering Mad looked ready to burst, she stayed in place.

She wasn’t wrong. Exiles were criminals. They’d been exiled from their home as punishment. If Jaek was here, he was most likely an exile. Krudare had declared him an outcast.

But so was Mad. And he’d only tried to save people.

What if Jaek was the same?

Life wasn’t exactly fair back on Earth, and plenty of people went to jail when they were innocent or only guilty of ridiculous crimes. But that didn’t change the fact that she knew Carise would be safest with her. How could anything else be true? She was Carise’s big sister.

She studied Jaek as he stomped through the homey little cave. He was even bigger than Mad, both in breadth and height. Was he seven feet tall? Maybe more? They grew them big on Krudare.

A nasty scar cut through his eyebrow, missed his eye, and continued on down his cheek. His blond hair was long and messy, though some of it was held back with simple braids. He had no expression on his face, and it made her think of a caged lion she’d seen in a zoo once.

There was a killer under all of that indifference.

Carise was supposed to be safe with him? Jadirel might be the better bet.

Mad hadn’t stopped talking to Jaek, asking him questions about Carise and dancing around the fact that there was evidence of a second person in this charming little cave.

If Carise was with Jaek, Kenzie had to get her away from him. There was no telling what he’d do to her defenseless little sister. Her fingers itched to go for one of her knives, but Kenzie forced herself to stay still.

She couldn’t take Jaek in a fair fight. Only dirty tricks and surprise would work. She wasn’t opposed to trying them, but that didn’t mean she was going to pounce just yet.

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Not until they knew whether he’d laid a hand on Carise.

“I don’t even know what this girl looks like,” Jaek ground out. He looked ready to take on an army, he was so big and angry. “Stop asking questions.”

Kenzie could fix that. She smoothed her hand down her arm and marched across the room, shoving her forearm in Jaek’s face. She didn’t care how scary she looked when there was a chance he’d seen Carise. “How about now? Have you seen her?”

Jaek was frozen looking at Kenzie’s arm, and his expression slipped. She couldn’t read it, but he wasn’t the cold killer anymore. No, he looked somehow even scarier.

Who the fuck was this guy? What had he done?

“I just want my sister back.” She had to be calm. Mad said Jaek knew a lot of people on Guerran. Maybe his information network rivaled Layala’s, and she could use as much information as she could get.

Kenzie could keep her cool around Jadirel. So she had to keep even more cool around Jaek. Besides, Mad trusted this guy. That made him better than the exile king.

She hoped.

“That’s enough.” Mad stepped between her and Jaek, and she pulled her arm back. “You don’t need to touch her.”

Jaek’s fingers had hovered above Carise’s image, but he hadn’t touched her.

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“This is my house.” Jaek glared at Mad. “I can do what I want.”

The two Kru’dari were standing close, and the testosterone in the air was thick enough to choke on. If Kenzie had a bucket of water, she might have dumped it over the two of them to distract them.

What was the issue here? Weren’t they supposed to be friends?

She forced her way in between the two men and looked all the way up at Jaek. “Have you seen Carise?” she demanded.

His eyes softened. “Cari.” He smiled. “Pretty name.”

Oh no, no, no, no, no. “Not pretty,” she insisted. “My sister. Have you seen her?”

Jaek looked down at her arm, but the tattoo was already starting to fade. “No.”

She was almost certain he was lying. He had the kind of possessive look that men got when they had pretty things they wanted to keep forever. And he wasn’t allowed to have her sister.

“If you hurt her, I’ll end you.” It would have to be a knife in the dark, a blow he never saw coming, but she was more than capable of that.

Jaek reeled back as if she’d slapped him. “Get out! Both of you!” He shoved at Mad, and Mad stumbled before righting himself and rushing towards Jaek.

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This was going to come to blows.

She forced herself to stay where she was, blocking Mad from getting in a good hit. He’d have to shove her out of the way or hit her to get to Jaek, and she knew deep down in her soul that he’d never do that.

“I think we’re done here,” she told Mad.

He froze where he stood, looking between her and Jaek. “Yeah, I think we are.” He glared one last time at Jaek before turning and walking out.

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