Hunted (Warriors of Karal Book 4)By: Harmony Raines
Garth is intent on filling the hours aboard the fourth deep space mission with pleasure, in the form of his curvy human female, Tamzin. With his prime upon him, he knows he as to breed a son with Tamzin soon. So what better way to pass the time? Yet soon he learns another side of himself, a softer side, and he begins to feel less like a primal hunter, as his love for his female grows.
Tamzin has had a tough life on Earth, and is relieved when she wins the lottery, and is given to Garth, although the shock of being told they are only stopping on Karal for two days, before going into deep space, is not welcome. But she sees it as her duty to help find a new home for the human race.
Their journey takes them to a new world, a perfect world, but the world hides a secret, which means it will not be suitable for humans to colonize. Disappointed, they leave the planet, only to receive a distress call from another Karalian cruiser. When they go to investigate, they discover that the Karal are no longer the hunter, but the hunted.
Can they outsmart the slavers and return to Karal? And when they do, will the Karal close their defences, or stand up and fight?
Chapter - One – Tamzin
Tamzin looked out over the dirty landscape and sighed, there were definitely better places to work than in the middle of a desert. At least she had a job: that was what she told herself every day that she had to come out here and shovel dust. The money she made was enough to live on, but what damage she was doing to her lungs she couldn’t imagine.
No, scratch that. She had seen the other workers, those who had been working out here, trying to find scraps of iron in the sand where buildings once stood. Two years and you were fucked, that’s what she had heard. Tamzin had been working this job for fourteen months; time was running out.
She laughed to herself. What time? If the dust didn’t kill her, then something else would, like lack of good food, no real sunlight—the list was endless. Damn, she wanted out. She didn’t want to decay in front of the mirror every morning as she had watched her mom do for the last six months of her sorry miserable life.
Slowly, everything had failed, shutting down: her lungs, her kidneys, her whole body wrapped in paperlike skin until even that fell apart. Sores caused from too much exposure to the acid air out here in the deserts had covered her body, leaving her in constant pain, but all Tamzin remembered of her mom was her smile: bright, happy despite everything.
A large boom sounded through the hot air. They were blasting over in the next dry valley, trying to find minerals. The Earth was littered by these pockmarks. She shook her head and went back to work. Next month she was going to take the small amount of coin she was paid and go to where green grass grew and the air didn’t scour your skin.
Tamzin had been saying the same thing to herself for the last eight months, but she still hadn’t found the courage to go. A woman alone was vulnerable. But at least the road inland gave her some hope, where here there was none.
“Water?” The old woman on bent legs came around with the casket every hour, a continual circuit keeping everyone hydrated.
“Thanks, Mary,” Tamzin said as she took the casket from the old woman. The air was cool on her face as she tipped her head back and took a long drink. Putting the stopper back on, she noted the worried look on Mary’s face. “Everything all right?”
“Air feels strange,” Mary said.
Tamzin let her senses take in her surroundings: the hot air, the sand shifting under her feet, making her calf muscles ache, and the cool breeze. The breeze was never cool.
“What is it?” Tamzin asked, her voice mirroring Mary’s concern.
“We should move.” Mary took the water casket back from Tamzin and began to hobble away. Tamzin had never seen her move so fast, and that worried her more than the unnatural breeze.
“Sandstorm?” she asked Mary’s back as the old woman moved, her hip hitching up to get her arthritic legs moving faster. From behind she saw Mary shake her head, but she didn’t stop, didn’t turn.
In two steps Tamzin was alongside her, taking the water casket from her hands and hooking her arm under the scrawny arm of the old woman, propelling them both forward as fast as she could. The breeze, now stronger, was pushing them along, but not as fast as the fear that was seeping into Tamzin’s bones.