I awoke to a cacophony of aches and pains. Commander Adams had worked me over, but he’d stopped short of inflicting debilitating damage.
My hands were still secured behind my back but now I was on my side on the floor. My left arm felt leaden, hopefully because I’d slept on it and not because my shoulder was dislocated or worse.
A soft sound nearby snapped me back to the situation at hand. I kept my eyes closed and feigned sleep. The air stirred as someone leaned over me. A hand touched my neck and I struck, lunging up head-first. My skull cracked against something hard and the person above me fell back with a deep groan.
I twisted around and kicked out with my bound legs. I hit something soft and the groan turned into a grunt of pain. Based on the timbre of the voice, it was likely a man, but all I could see were legs and feet outlined in greenish-gray. We were in a pitch black room but they hadn’t taken my contact lenses. I pulled back for another kick.
“Queen Rani, stop, I’m not your enemy,” the man snapped. He rolled away and sat up. “Your breathing changed. I was checking if you were still alive. Clearly you are.”
A dark smear of blood ran from his nose. His face was bruised even more than before, but Emperor Kos was easy to recognize. Clean away the blood and bruises and the man would be gorgeous—the result of a millennia-long dynasty and the best genetics money and power could buy. …