To honor the debt her family owes Slayter Cardona, beautiful Teyla Dunai agrees to let him sell her as a sex slave in the markets of Arkhon. Determined to bring as much value as she can on the auction block, but inexperienced where men are concerned, she asks the handsome pirate if he'll teach her how to pleasure a man. Intrigued, and more than a little attracted to the lavender-eyed beauty, Slayter agrees. As he initiates her into the world of bondage, spanking and out-of-this-galaxy sex, though, both Teyla and Slayter find themselves falling for each other.
But Slayter has a responsibility to his crew, and Teyla knows it is her duty to pay off her family's debt. With the deal already agreed upon, there doesn't seem to be any way for their story to have a happy ending. Until Teyla is kidnapped...and they reach the slave auction house...and Slayter has to find a way to reclaim his own "sex slave".
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Pirate's Woman by Paige Tyler
Slayter was in the ship's cargo hold with his crew when Agus arrived. He wasn't surprised Dunai was on time. The man knew better than to get on his bad side, particularly after the pain in the ass he'd been. Slayter was a little amazed to see two women hurrying up the gangway after the heavyset businessman, however. Slayter had met the older woman on an earlier visit, so he knew she was Dunai's wife. From the striking resemblance the younger woman bore to her, Slayter assumed she was one of the couple's many daughters. Dunai must have brought them along hoping they could appeal to Slayter if he refused to accept whatever it was the man had brought for payment.
He hoped to hell they didn't start crying. He'd always been a sucker for a woman's tears. Especially if the woman was attractive. And while Dunai's wife was very lovely, the man's slender daughter was absolutely gorgeous. A fact every member of his crew seemed to have noticed as well.
Slayter dragged his gaze away from dark-haired beauty to turn his attention to Dunai. He'd been so intent on the women he hadn't noticed Agus wasn't holding anything in his hands. From the way Dunai talked, he'd expected the man to show up with a locked box and security guards.
He folded his arms over his chest. "Where is this thing you claim is so valuable, Agus? Or didn't you bring it with you?"
"I brought it."
Slayter waited for the man to produce whatever it was, but instead Dunai glanced at his wife. The look he gave her was almost apologetic. Tears welled in her eyes and she lowered her gaze to stare down at the floor.
Slayter frowned. What the hell was that about? He hadn't even seen the merchandise yet and she was already crying. "My patience is wearing thin, Agus. Hand it over. Now."
Dunai took a deep breath, then looked at his daughter and gave her a nod. She walked across the cargo hold to stand before Slayter, her head held high. Her exotic lavender eyes met his resolutely, but she didn't say anything. She didn't take anything out of the small satchel she held, either, which annoyed Slayter even more.
He looked past her to where Dunai stood. "Okay, Agus, enough with the games. Where is my payment?"
"Standing right in front of you," the man said.
Behind Slayter, his men murmured among themselves, but he barely heard them. He was too busy trying to wrap his head around what Dunai had said. Surely the man couldn't be offering his daughter as payment. "Run that by me again."
The portly man drew himself up. "My daughter Teyla is very beautiful. She'll bring you a fortune from any man looking to possess her."
Slayter narrowed his eyes. "You're suggesting I sell your daughter as a slave? That won't bring the money you owe me."
Dunai lifted his chin. "It will if you sell her in the markets of Arkhon."
Slayter looked at him incredulously. The slave markets of Arkhon were only known for two things--the buying and selling of sex slaves. "Are you serious?"
Beside Dunai, his wife choked back a sob, but the man ignored her. "You said if I brought you something valuable enough to cover my debt, then it would be paid in full. You set the terms of the deal."
Slayter ground his jaw. That was before he knew it was Dunai's daughter they were talking about. Damn the man to the lowest depths of hell. He knew Slayter wasn't a slaver. Then again, maybe that was why the crafty businessman was offering Teyla up as payment. Maybe he was counting on Slayter refusing. If he backed out on the deal because he was squeamish about selling her on the blocks, it was as good as forfeiting the money Dunai owed him. The man was right about Teyla bringing a good price in the sex slave markets. Slayter couldn't make as much from selling off Dunai's company, that was for sure, which is what he would end up doing if he demanded the man's business as payment instead. Selling the girl would be a hell of a lot smarter, not to mention easier, even if it did leave a bad taste in his mouth.
He looked at Teyla. "Did you agree to this?"
She seemed taken aback by the question for a moment, but then she nodded. "Yes. It's my duty."
Slayter hoped she would have said no. At least then he could have had something to argue about. As it was, the man had neatly backed him into a corner.
He turned his attention to the older man with a sigh. "All right, Agus. You have a deal. I'll take your daughter as payment."
If Dunai was surprised, or even upset, he didn't look it. In fact, he seemed relieved. He nodded stoically. "Then our business is done."
The man's wife wasn't as adept at hiding her emotions. The tears Slayter had seen in her eyes earlier flowed freely down her face now. Ignoring him and every other man on the ship, she ran forward to pull her daughter into her arms.
"You don't have to do this, Teyla," she sobbed. "Your father and I will find another way to repay the debt."
Teyla wrapped her arms around the older woman, holding her close. "Yes, I do. As the oldest, it's my responsibility." She took a step back to give her mother a small smile. "I'll think of you and my sisters every day."
Fresh tears filled the older woman's eyes at Teyla's words. Slayter swore under his breath. It felt like he was ripping a newborn babe from a mother's arms. He was on the verge of saying to hell with Dunai and forgiving his debt altogether regardless of what it cost his reputation when the man stepped forward and gently pulled his wife away from their daughter.
"Bronwyn, please," he said quietly. "Teyla is a strong woman. She'll be fine. Let's go before Slayter changes his mind."
Slayter clenched his jaw. The ease with which the man handed over his daughter turned his stomach. He supposed he shouldn't be surprised. The Kallorians were well known for using female children as a commodity for barter. It was practically a way of life on the planet, which for some reason seemed to produce more female children than male. If Slayter hadn't agreed to accept Teyla as payment, then Dunai would have sold her to some other pirate along with the rest of his daughters, if that was what it took to honor his debt.
Although the woman allowed her husband to lead her down the gangway, she couldn't resist stopping at the bottom to give her daughter one more tearful glance over her shoulder. Teyla watched them go, waiting until her parents had disappeared in the crowd of people milling around the spaceport before turning back to face him. Her lavender eyes were bright with unshed tears, and as one rolled down her cheek, Slayter had to fight the urge to gently wipe it away.
He swore silently, cursing the weakness. The woman was headed for the slave market. She was nothing more than a piece of merchandise, albeit a beautiful one.
"Have you lost your damn mind?"
Slayter stiffened at the words. He turned to see Genoone, his communications officer, glaring at him. As men went, the red-haired Belkin was one of the toughest on his crew, which sometimes made the man forget his place.
He fixed the man with a hard look. "What did you say to me?"
"I asked if you'd lost your damn mind." Genoone jerked his head in Teyla's direction. "It's bad luck to bring a woman on a ship. Everyone knows that."
Behind Genoone, the rest of the crew eyed Teyla, too. Either the other men didn't know about the old pirates' tale, or they didn't care, because they weren't looking at her with the same aversion. Instead, most of them were regarding her with open lust on their faces. That wasn't shocking. They weren't used to having women on board, especially one as attractive as Teyla. Those looks told him there was trouble brewing.
"Whatever you're thinking, you can forget it right now," Slayter said to them. "The woman is off-limits to every man on this ship. She's meant for the markets of Arkhon, and anyone who damages the goods will answer to me personally. Touch her and I'll cut off your hand with a metal blowtorch."
From the corner of his eye, Slayter saw Teyla blanch at the mention of the infamous slave market. He swore silently, wishing he hadn't said it so harshly.
Slayter looked from one man to the other, letting his gaze linger long enough on each to put the fear of God in them. "Is that understood?"
A few of the men muttered something under their breaths, but after a moment each member of his crew nodded.
"Then get back to work," he ordered tersely. "We leave in less than an hour."
The men moved off to finish stowing the cargo they'd picked up on Kallor, leaving Slayter standing there with Teyla and his first officer, Hewson. The older man stepped close.
"Since when did we become slavers?" he asked in a voice too low for Teyla or the crew to overhear.
Slayter didn't answer right away. More than thirty years his senior, Hewson was more of a father to Slayter than his real parent had been, which was why the man was the only one on the ship who could question him and get away with it.
"Since now," Slayter replied.
Hewson's mouth tightened behind his bushy mustache. "Well, I don't like it."
Slayter clenched his jaw. "I don't like it either, but we need the money."
It was true. A ship the size of his didn't run on good looks and a charming smile. It needed cold, hard Imperial credits.
Hewson grunted, though whether in agreement or distaste, Slayter wasn't sure. "Where are you going to put the woman until we get to Arkhon? If you put her in one of the general quarters, you'd better get your blowtorch ready now."
Slayter gave Teyla a sidelong glance as he considered the question. She was still standing in the same spot, a resigned, faraway look in her pretty eyes. Hewson was right. Regardless of the warning he'd given his crew to keep their hands off her, there was no telling what stupid ideas might make it into their brain buckets after a few days with her on board. If he put her in one of the empty cabins, he'd have to stand guard outside it 24/7. He might intend to sell Teyla into a life of slavery, but he still felt an obligation to keep her safe. How stupid was that?
"She'll stay in my personal quarters," he said to Hewson.
The older man said nothing for a moment, then nodded. "I'll take her there now and get her settled."
As he watched his first officer escort Teyla up the steps and along the catwalk, Slayter felt another twinge of guilt. He'd never stooped to the selling of another human being before, but it seemed as if that last moral barrier was about to go by the wayside like all the previous ones. Hard times made for hard men, though, and life in the outer reaches of the Imperial realm definitely qualified as hard times.
That didn't mean he had to like it, though. He sighed. Just one more stamp on his passport to hell.