Touching Ice | Chapter 7 of 16

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Chapter Five

When they both got their breathing under control, Ice didn’t move away. He had

her pinned over the side of his bed. His thumb, still against her clit, moved though and

he rubbed her slowly. She didn’t think she could handle him touching her oversensitive

clit but she was wrong because ecstasy shot through her system at his mere touch.

“What is your directive, baby? Tell me,” he ordered softly.

She tried to lift her head but he released her hip, lifting his chest from her back a

few inches, but keeping his other hand firmly against her clit. He pushed her head back

down, pressing her cheek against the bed again. He held her there firmly, not allowing

her to move.

“I don’t understand,” she panted the words, still trying to recover.

“I can do this for hours.” He leaned over her so his weight pressed against her ass

and his still-hard cock ended up trapped between her thighs. “I’ll fuck you over and

over. Tell me what you want or need from me, Megan. How much can you take before

you break? I want you to answer me.”

Her thoughts were jumbled with him rubbing her clit. “I―”

A bell sounded loudly in the room and Ice cursed, he straightened and moved

away.

“Get under my sheets now and cover up. Someone is at the door.” He sounded

irritated.

Saved by the bell, she thought, shaking as she did what he told her. She fought the

covers free of the jumble they were in and moved under them, covering her body as she

turned to face him. Ice had his back to her as he jerked up his pants and fastened them.

He walked the few feet to the door, slapped his palm on the scanner, and it swished

wide open.

She couldn’t see who stood there with Ice’s big body in the way but she could hear

just fine.

“We have company. The Bridden just docked with us. The council contacted them

and they were still close by.” The male’s voice wasn’t one Megan recognized. “They

sent Blackie here to deal with the problem.”

“That’s not necessary.” It was clear that anger ruled Ice’s emotions. It showed in his

tense body and the way his hands fisted at his sides.

“He has his orders and you have yours from the Council. He’s waiting in the cargo

bay with the bots not in use. He’s ordered all of them returned there immediately.” The

cyborg paused. “All of them.”

“I understand.” Ice stepped back. “I’m on my way.” The doors slid shut.

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Questions filled her mind about Blackie. She really wanted to ask but she didn’t as

Ice softly cursed and moved to the side of the room with the built-in drawers and

shelves. He yanked open a lower drawer, shoved stuff around, and then straightened,

fisting a few articles of clothing. He turned to meet her curious gaze.

“Get dressed now.” He threw the clothes at the bottom of the bed. “I have to return

you to the cargo hold and talk to someone.”

Unease gripped Megan while she stared uncomprehending at Ice. He jerked his

gaze from hers and returned to the open drawer, grabbed out a shirt, and kept his back

to her while he put it on.

“Hurry up, Megan. We need to get there now. That’s an order.”

She moved slowly, dressing, and kept darting glances at Ice. He kept his back to her

as he bent to put on his boots, not bothering to even put on socks first. His movements

were jerky and she could tell he was upset for some reason as he straightened and ran

his fingers through his silky hair. His chin lowered. He turned to face her and then he

stared at her with an icy gaze.

“Let’s go. Do exactly what I say, Megan. Am I clear?”

“Yes.” She swallowed the lump that formed in her throat.

He turned, spinning away, and slapped the scanner hard with his palm, opening

the doors. He paused. “Let’s go. Keep up with me.”

The urge to confess to Ice about her lies became so overpowering that Megan

actually opened her mouth as they marched quickly down a corridor. She didn’t know

what was going on or why the council, whatever they were, had sent some man named

Blackie. It worried her that Ice had taken her from his room. She took a deep breath to

fill her lungs for the words that she knew she had to utter. Would Ice be furious? Would

he hurt her? She wasn’t sure.

A door opened in front of them and whatever she’d been about to say was lost to

the shock of seeing a black-haired cyborg with dark-gray skin step into the corridor. He

wore all black from his throat to his glove encased hands, all the way down to his

chunky, military-style, black boots. The look of pure coldness on his harsh features

stunned her enough to keep her mute. He had the coldest blue eyes she’d ever seen,

even icier than Ice’s with his dark coloring amplifying the blue, before his intense gaze

shifted to Ice.

Ice stopped, his hold on her arm making her halt as well. “You aren’t needed here,

Blackie.”

“The council disagrees.” The man had a deep, harsh voice. “Bring it into the cargo

hold.”

Ice hesitated but then nodded. “Of course.”

The it” the new cyborg referred to was her and she knew it. Ice took a step, tugged

on her arm, and the other cyborg stepped aside to let them pass. Megan did a quick

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Touching Ice

head count and realized all twelve bots had been returned to the room. Ice stopped just

inside the door and released her. She missed his touch.

Ice turned to face Blackie as the cyborg followed them through the doors that closed

firmly behind him. Ice spoke first.

“What does the council want?”

“The truth, regardless of what it takes.”

“I have this under control.”

The dark-skinned cyborg arched a black eyebrow. “They disagree. Step aside and

stay out of this. That’s a direct order from Councilman Zorus. He put me in charge of

this situation and if you’d bothered to read your orders they sent you, you would be

aware of that.”

The rage on Ice’s features clearly showed but he still moved to the bulkhead next to

the door and leaned against it. Movement out of the corner of her eye had Megan

turning her head to watch as four other cyborgs moved from behind the bots that had

hidden them from her view at first. She had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach

as she looked back at the scary-looking cyborg.

Blackie moved to the bot nearest him, studying it intently, and the bot responded to

his presence.

“How may I serve you?”

He inched away from it to the next one, stopping in front of it, carefully examining

it. The model smiled at him.

“How may I serve you?”

He took a deep breath and then he stopped in front of Megan. Her heart pounded

as she stared at his leather-clad chest, not daring to look up into his frightening blue

gaze. She said nothing, unable to because of the fear that had her frozen where she

stood. She had a really bad feeling that they knew she wasn’t a bot and didn’t know

how to react. She was damned either way. If they knew the truth but she still lied, it

could anger them more. If they didn’t know, she didn’t want to risk her life by giving

herself away.

Blackie’s hand lifted but she never saw the blow coming since she wasn’t following

his movement. Pain exploded throughout the side of her head as she hit the unforgiving

floor on her side. She lay there stunned, her ear ringing, and then suddenly someone

crouched next to her. A warm hand gripped her hip and she turned her head, reeling

from the shock and pain from the cyborg backhanding her, to see Ice next to her, glaring

up at the cyborg who’d struck her.

“What the hell are you doing?” Ice snarled the words.

“I told you to stay out of this.” Blackie frowned. “Move away from it. I’m going to

get answers.”

Ice didn’t follow orders. He instead looked down, meeting Megan’s terrified gaze,

and softly cursed under his breath just loud enough for her to hear him. He twisted

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enough to reach for her with his other hand and she flinched as his hand curved gently

around her lower jaw. His thumb brushed the side of her mouth and she heard him

growl. He twisted his head, glaring up at Blackie.

“You don’t strike her.”

Blackie shook his head. “You’ve gotten attached to one of them? Have you lost your

reasoning, Ice? They are nothing to us. You know better.”

Ice released her and rose to his full height. “You shouldn’t ever strike a woman,

damn it.”

“She’s not a woman. She’s a bot, remember?” Blackie took a step to the right to clear

his path to Megan. “Move out of the way now. That is a direct order.”

“Ice,” Onyx warned softly. “Move away. He’s here on the behalf of the council and

we’ve been ordered to give him whatever he needs to get what he came for.”

“Stay out of this.” Ice didn’t even look at his friend, instead he glared at Blackie. “I

won’t allow you to abuse her. Ask her your damn questions but keep your hands to

yourself.”

“You’re fucking it , aren’t you?” Amusement suddenly curved Blackie’s lips. “Is it

that good? If so, I’ll find out for myself soon if she won’t break since that’s my next

option.” His smile died. “Don’t make me order your own team to restrain you because I

will have them do it. After I’m done here I need to report to the council.” He paused.

“Do you really want me to have to tell them that you tried to protect it?”

“She’s not an “it” so stop referring to her as such.” Ice’s voice deepened into an

angry tone. “Megan, get up.” He reached back, holding out his hand. “Now.”

She tried but as soon as she pushed against the floor to rise, the room spun and

black dots blinded her. The dark-gray cyborg had really clocked the side of her head

hard. She made a soft moaning sound as she collapsed back to the floor and then

suddenly two arms slid under her. She stared up at Ice as he lifted her gently into his

arms, cradling her against his chest as he rose to his feet and turned to face her attacker.

“Get me a medic, damn it.” He glared at Blackie. “You injured her.”

“That’s the least of her problems. Put her down and leave if you can’t handle

watching a little blood spilled. This is too important for you to intervene.”

“I won’t allow you to kill a damn woman on my ship.”

“It isn’t yours. The Rally belongs to all of Garden.”

“Today it is mine,” Ice snarled. “Today I’m in command so move out of my way so

I can get her medical help.”

“Damn it,” Blackie cursed. “You really did fuck her, didn’t you? I never thought

you’d honestly touch one. Is that it? Is she that damn good in bed that you feel the need

to protect her? If she’s that great then I need to change my tactics. Show me to a room

with a bed and leave her with me. I’ll get answers from her with pleasure instead of

using pain.”

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Touching Ice

“I said move out of my way.” Ice’s voice grew harsh, a frightening sound to Megan

even though she knew it wasn’t directed at her.

They knew she wasn’t an artificial woman and yet Ice protected her. That

knowledge astounded her. Had he known all along? She went over everything that had

happened between them and realized that he probably had. He’d even fed her so she

didn’t go hungry when he’d brought in that tray of cold food, pretending he couldn’t

eat it, even leaving her alone so she could gulp it down. She hesitated and then

wrapped her arms around his neck.

Ice’s beautiful blue gaze flickered to hers for a few heartbeats before he glared back

at the cyborg in his way. “I said move, Blackie.”

“You have no authority over me.” The man crossed his arms over his chest. “Put

her down and leave this room. You’re obviously too involved with the woman to be

rational. You need to go.”

“Onyx,” Ice’s voice lowered into an even deeper pitch. “Forward now.”

Onyx moved to stand next to Ice, who turned, shoving Megan into the other man’s

arms to both their surprise, leaving Megan being held by one unhappy cyborg. Ice

stepped away and closed the distance between him and Blackie. Ice grabbed the man

and threw him hard against the doors, gripping the front of his shirt with his fists, and

hauled the shocked cyborg a few inches off his feet.

“The Rally is under my command today, everyone on it follows my orders, and now

you’re on my ship.”

“Ice,” Onyx warned softly. “The council sent him. They are going to be alarmed by

your actions and take it as a direct violation of orders if you don’t stop now.”

“I don’t care.” Ice continued to glare at Blackie. “I won’t stand by and watch abuse

on a helpless female. If those are the orders from a council member, he’s wrong in

giving them. I’m taking her to medical and then I will get the answers they seek from

her my way.” He released the other cyborg, dropped him to the floor, and stepped

back. “That is how it will be.”

Ice took Megan from Onyx, cradled her in his arms once again, and stormed toward

the door. Onyx moved, slapping his hand to the panel to open it, and Ice left the cargo

hold with her. Megan hesitated and then wrapped her arms around his neck, staring at

his angry features. He refused to glance at her, keeping his attention on where he

walked.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

“Not now.” He sighed. “You’re trouble, Megan. Is that even your real name?”

“Yes.”

He grunted. “I’m not sure I believe anything you say.”

“It’s the truth.”

“We’ll talk later. For now, are you all right?” He finally glanced at her for a few

seconds before looking away again.

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“I’m a little dizzy and my ear hurts. He nailed me pretty hard.”

“You’re bleeding.” His tone turned gruff.

She licked her lips and tasted blood. She hadn’t noticed that at first, too taken aback

by the unprovoked attack. A cyborg waited in a hallway a few turns later and Ice

stopped.

“Onyx said you were coming with a human.” He waved his arm. “Bring her in.”

The room appeared to be the same size as Ice’s quarters, obviously not a medical

room but instead the cyborg’s private quarters. Ice gently placed her on the man’s bed.

The new cyborg brought over a bag, dropped it at the end of the mattress, and his dark-

brown gaze studied Megan for a few seconds before he focused on Ice.

“Onyx informed me she took a hit to the head and a tumble to the floor. What are

her complaints?”

“I don’t like being hit,” Megan said softly.

Ice’s lips twitched but he didn’t smile. “The side of her lip is bleeding, her ear on

that side hurts, and she’s dizzy, Varion.”

“She’s too damn small for one of our males to strike.” The medic frowned at Ice.

“I’m in agreement.”

“Then why did you do this to her?” Varion moved, pushed Ice out of his way, and

bent over Megan to stare at her mouth. “Open up wide and allow me to see the

damage.”

“I didn’t hit her.” Ice sounded insulted. “Blackie did.”

“He’s such an asshole,” the medic muttered, gently touching the side of her mouth

and it made her flinch. “The cut is small but facial cuts bleed a lot. I don’t see any inner

cheek damage.” His gaze locked with hers. “Open your eyes as wide as you can and do

not look away from me. I am checking the extent of your injuries.”

Megan did as he asked and then realized the guy had strange eyes. His pupils

weren’t rounded exactly but more squared. She frowned but didn’t mention it, not

wanting to be rude. She had to blink but he didn’t complain when she did since she

looked right at him again every time. A few minutes passed and then he straightened

and turned away to face Ice.

“I scanned her. She has no internal bleeding, no swelling, no cranial fractures, or

trauma to the brain. She has a slight concussion but she will be fine. It’s mostly shock

trauma from the blow. She may experience dizziness for a short period of time and

perhaps a headache. I’ll give her something for the pain.”

“You scanned my brain?”

The medic turned his head after he removed something from the bag at her feet,

meeting Megan’s curious gaze, and nodded as he gave an injection in her arm. “I’m a

medical model implanted with special features such as enhanced vision that can

perform medical scans. They created me to be a medic unit.” He faced Ice again. “I

heard―”

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The doors suddenly opened and Blackie stormed in, looking smug as he gave Ice a

cold smile. “I informed the council of your behavior and they have made a ruling. They

were not pleased with this turn of events. They are confident she’s working alone since

she’s not being tracked or attempted to send a distress signal to any co-conspirators

now that she’s aware her cover is blown. Councilman Zorus was very persuasive in his

argument due to the fact that we’re close to home on how threatening the female is.”

The man shifted his stance as he paused for long moments, seeming to silently

communicate something with a flash of his cold gaze to the other two cyborgs. “You

know how Zorus is. They voted in his favor. More of them agreed with him than not.”

“Son of a bitch,” the medic hissed.

Megan had a sinking feeling that, whoever this Zorus was, whatever vote he’d won,

it would be very bad news for her.

Ice’s features hardened and he moved to the wall. He planted his hand on a panel

there and it came on. He stood there with his back to the room and his body tensed

noticeably. He jerked his hand off the panel and turned to glare at Blackie.

“I just read the order.”

“Did you think I would attempt to deceive you?” A black eyebrow arched.

“Get off my shuttle. I just sent a message to the Bridden that you are on your way

and they can undock with us in minutes. Go now and return to your original mission.”

“I’m not leaving yet. I am to verify the council orders are followed so I will do it

myself.” He took a step toward the bed.

Ice moved fast, shoved Blackie back hard until he slammed into the bulkhead wall

next to the door. “I understood the order and I will take responsibility for the female

since I am the one who chose to take us to Folion. I’ll take her to my quarters and make

her as comfortable as possible.”

That didn’t sound bad or terrifying. Megan relaxed. “What’s going on?”

No one answered until Blackie met her gaze. He sighed. “You are going to gain

your freedom from us. We’ve been ordered to drop you and the bots off at Hixton

Station as previously arranged.”

“Don’t,” Ice snarled.

Blackie frowned. “I have my grievances against humans but I’m not totally without

sympathy. I see that you care what happens to her and that you don’t want her last

moments with us to be frightening. I’m not leaving until the order is followed and she’s

no longer a threat but I will allow you to take her to your quarters to say goodbye.” He

paused. “I’ll have a special meal sent to your quarters so she has a good meal first.

That’s the most I can do for you both. It will make things easier to end this.”

The tension eased from Megan’s body. “Thank you. I swear I really won’t tell

anyone about the existence of cyborgs. I’ve known about your people for months and

never once reported you.”

Blackie ignored her as he stared at Ice until Ice broke eye contact and faced Megan.

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Ice studied her carefully and then nodded, taking his attention from her to glare at

Blackie again, who still stood by the door. “I understand.”

Blackie’s mouth tensed in a firm line as he nodded, spun around, and quickly left

the room. “Don’t take long.”

The medic had a grim expression on his pale-gray features. “You can leave and I’ll

take care of her until she departs.”

Ice shook his head. “I’m the commander today and my orders put us in this

situation. We’re going to my quarters now.”

“Of course.” The medic nodded.

Ice met her gaze. “Would you like me to carry you again? Are you feeling weak or

dizzy still? I apologize for Blackie striking you. It never should have happened and it

wouldn’t have if my council wasn’t afraid you were a threat to our future. You lied

about what you were, which makes them wary of you.”

Megan sat up slowly and realized the shot had made her a little lightheaded but she

moved fine. She didn’t suffer any dizzy spells or disorientation. She swung her legs off

the side of the bed and then got to her feet. The room didn’t spin and her knees held her

weight easily. She looked up, having to raise her chin a lot since he stood so tall, just to

meet Ice’s concerned gaze.

“I’m fine. I can walk.”

“Good. Follow me. It is just down the corridor.”

Megan started to follow behind him as he moved toward the door but then she

paused, giving the medic a small smile. “Thank you for being kind to me and treating

me.”

He froze, his dark gaze locking with hers. “You are welcome.”

“Come with me, Megan,” Ice urged softly.

Four doors down he paused, placed his hand the scanner, and they entered his

quarters. Megan was glad to be back in a familiar setting and moved to his bed. She sat

and faced him, only to realize he stayed far from her, just inside the door. The grim set

of his lips had her feeling ill at ease again.

He said nothing for long moments and then he took a deep breath. “You said you

knew of our existence for months?”

She nodded. “I’m not normally allowed to see the clients on Folion but you came

onboard with a weapon so it triggered the alarm. When that happens I have to monitor

the situation visually on the security cameras. That’s when I saw you.” She didn’t

mention that she’d ordered Clara to deem him a high-security risk so that every time he

returned to the station she’d be informed. She really didn’t think he’d meant to bring a

weapon onboard or that he was dangerous, it being just the only way she could see him

again. “I only got to monitor verbal interaction between the main computer and

incoming ships unless there was a problem that arose.”

“We were unaware that there were any live employees aboard.”

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“The company wants people to believe that. They had an incident where someone

tried to hijack Folion once. The hijackers who grabbed the programmer tried to use him

to steal the station. They murdered him when he refused to order Clara to move the

ship into deep space. It keeps me safe from the same fate if no one knows I’m there. I’m

a programmer and I’m permitted to override the main computer for emergency

situations, making it possible to move Folion in case something happens that it wasn’t

programmed to respond to. As an example, I ordered Clara to move when that freighter

didn’t slow as it came at us because she’s not programmed for that kind of situation but

it happened too fast for us to totally get out of the way. If it had been a meteor she

would have automatically moved to avoid the hit. No one foresaw a drunken captain

not reducing his speed, and since Clara had already given him clearance to dock, her

automated collision alarm wasn’t triggered as it approached. Normally when the alarm

is activated it would have her start the engines to avoid it.”

“Clara?”

“She is the main computer that runs and oversees the ship and the bots. She’s got

artificial intelligence and can learn from interaction with the clients just as the bots do

but after a few problems arose with the bots, they knew someone needed to monitor

what they were learning. Clara couldn’t do that.”

“What kind of problems?” He shifted his weight and his body seemed to relax.

A grin curved Megan’s lips. “Well, as an example, one of the clients happened to be

into a little rough sex.”

“And you find this amusing?” His eyebrow arched.

“He taught one of the bots to spank him and told her what a turn-on that was so

when the next client came, she grabbed him, bent him over the bed, and spanked his

ass. She thought that would arouse him.” A laugh escaped her. “He wasn’t amused. He

became really angry about the whole experience and wanted the company to pay for

the bruising he suffered from her smacks. Now I have to go over what they’ve learned

from clients and delete some of it so that doesn’t happen again.”

A muscle in his jaw jumped. “You have reviewed everything my men and I have

done with your bots?”

“No.” She shook her head. “Not exactly. The bots are programmed to ask questions

if a client does something outside of their programming parameters and I answer their

questions. Now they would question if it were acceptable to spank a client. I tell them

no and they delete that information.”

“Have you ever had to review anything I’ve done?”

She shifted her weight on the bed, fidgeted, and her gaze lowered to his chest.

“Um…” Heat flushed her cheeks.

“What did you review?” His voice deepened.

She glanced up at him, seeing his tense expression, and she found his black boots

suddenly very interesting. “It was just once and you didn’t teach her anything I had to

have her erase from her programming.”

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“What did I do?” He took a step closer.

Wow, is it hot in here? No, it’s just me, she thought. She forced herself to meet his gaze

and just open her mouth. “You have a preference that the bots weren’t programmed

for.”

“What did I do?”

“You examined her vaginal area very closely when you had her pose with her

lower region exposed to your view. Clients don’t do that normally. It had her

questioning if she should use that with other clients to turn them on or if it should be

deleted.”

Megan could have sworn the man blushed as he glanced away, the color in his

cheeks darkened just slightly. He moved slowly to his bed and he sat down on the edge

of it hard, making it creak under his heavy weight, just a few feet from her. He didn’t

look at her.

“I’m curious by nature.”

“No need to explain. I find them fascinating myself.” She shrugged when he met

her gaze again. “I’ve had to repair a few of them. They are very lifelike.”

“You’re a programmer and you do hardware repairs as well?”

“Minor ones. We have a maintenance bot onboard Folion that does it but she goes

offline for upgrades from time to time so I handle repairing units for that day when it

happens. I’ve actually only had to repair two of them. They don’t get damaged often.”

“What happened to them?”

“One had skin damage from a client who scratched her and the other one a breast

problem when one of the gel packs under her artificial skin ruptured. I had to replace

it.”

Ice smiled. “That’s what is under there?”

She nodded. “They feel pretty close to the real thing.” A grin split her lips again. “I

never thought I’d have to grope breasts but I had to so I could get them just right. They

have to be perfectly aligned with each other.” She paused. “There I was, hand on each

breast, squeezing to make sure they felt and looked the same. I had to adjust the gel a

few times.”

“You must enjoy your job.” He still grinned, looking really handsome.

“If I were into girls, hell yes, but I’m not. I’m kind of uncomfortable with that aspect

of my job, actually. I had her shut down because it was just too weird having her

blinking at me and asking me questions while I messed with her girls.”

A deep, wonderful chuckle poured from Ice’s mouth. His eyes lit up with

amusement as he stared at her. He got the slightest little laugh lines on his temples. It

amazed her and before she gave it a thought, she leaned over, inches from him, and her

hand reached for his face. His eyes widened with shock and he stopped laughing as his

hand shot out, wrapping around her wrist to halt her from touching him.

“What are you doing?”

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She backed away immediately. “I’m sorry.”

He stood quickly, frowning down at her, still gripping her. “What were you doing?

Answer me.”

“You get laugh lines. This is the first time I’ve ever seen you really laugh.”

“That surprises you?” His voice deepened.

“A little, yeah. I don’t know much about cyborgs but I thought you’d have a lot in

common with the bots. They have certain limitations on their expressions and I

assumed you would too.”

“I’m made of flesh and blood.”

“Oh. I wasn’t sure if you had real skin. I thought you might have synthetic because

of the color of it. It feels the same as mine does but they’ve come so far with

technology.” She glanced at his hand gripping her wrist, studying the gray color. “Do

you know why they didn’t make you human-flesh toned?” She looked up at him.

“They didn’t want us to be mistaken for human.” He paused and then slowly sat

back down. His fingers unwrapped from her wrist as he locked gazes with her.

“Proceed. You may touch me.”

Now that she thought about what to do, she hesitated before lifting her hand. She

barely brushed her fingertips along his cheekbone. His skin was soft, smooth, and

warm, just the way she remembered from exploring him while he slept. Now he was

aware of her touching him and she told him what she thought.

“You’re so warm, more so than I am.”

“I’m not a bot.” He took a deep breath. “Cyborgs were cloned and genes were

altered. All hereditary diseases were filtered out, only the strongest genes were used,

and they added in some artificial ones to help us heal faster and live longer. I have

implants and stronger bones than you do. I also run slightly higher in temperature but

only by a few degrees.”

“I noticed that you have tattoos. I’ve never seen anything similar to them. Do they

have meaning?”

He hesitated. “It’s the cyborg language we created. All cyborgs have them but I

didn’t like the idea of being branded. It’s our way of identifying each other so it was

necessary to have it done. I just had them put my information on one arm and in

smaller writing so it wasn’t as irritating to me.”

“Oh.” Megan nodded. “What do they say?”

“My name and what I do. When we first started to build our city on our new home

world, the work was very harsh. Some of our people died and since there were many of

us, it was hard to keep track of names. It’s why they decided to brand us this way. They

could identify those who were injured or dead.”

Her gaze flickered down his leather-clad body. “What kind of implants do you

have?”

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He tilted his head, moving away from her touch so she let her hand drop, then he

straightened his head again. “There are some inside my head to help me communicate

with technology. Emotions were not expected when we were created so they installed

chips to shut off sections of our brains in an attempt to block them. I also have a heart

monitor in my chest so, in case of failure, it will shock it back into functioning.”

Her gaze flicked down to his broad chest and then back up again. “Why the backup

system? Do cyborgs have weak hearts?”

“I’m designated to be a mechanic and work with electronics. If a strong current is

ever introduced into my body during an accident, it could stop my heart.”

“Hence the backup system,” she guessed aloud. “Well, I guess that’s handy.”

“Yes.”

“So your emotions are blocked? That’s weird. I figured you had them since you

have a need for…” Her voice trailed off and her mouth slammed closed.

His eyebrow lifted. “Sex?”

She gave a sharp nod. “Yes. The bots don’t have a sex drive. They just do what they

are programmed for. They recharge when they aren’t in use and just stay at their

docking stations inside the rooms. They couldn’t care less if they are activated or if they

stay dormant for months.”

He stared into her eyes. “I have a very active sex drive but I do have the ability to

shut it down if I wish. I don’t. I enjoy having access to everything that I am.”

“Oh. I would too.”

“You have had sex with me and you still believed me to be more bot than

humanoid?”

She hesitated. “You taste really sweet.”

Astonishment widened his stare. “Sweet?”

Megan knew her cheeks were warming from the blush spreading there. “When you

come, it tastes sweet, which made me think that perhaps they made you flavored that

way and that got me to thinking that maybe you were more artificial than not.”

An uncomfortable silence stretched as they watched each other. She’d obviously

been a little too blunt and had stunned the cyborg speechless. Megan started when a

loud buzz sounded in the room. Ice stood.

“It’s the food Blackie ordered.”

Megan didn’t recognize the cyborg who brought her meal. She wondered how

many of them were on the ship in all but didn’t ask. Ice nodded at the other man and

accepted the tray. The male at the door hesitated.

“Why feed her?”

“Silence,” Ice ordered him.

The man looked down at the tray of food, paled, and then nodded. “I see.”

52

Touching Ice

The man glanced at Megan, a look of pity on his features, and then spun on his heel

to walk away. The door closed and Ice faced her with tray in hand.

“Here is your meal.” He hesitated, looking uncertain, and took a step back, the

movement opposite of his words. It was almost as if he didn’t want to feed her.

No one had ever accused Megan of being dimwitted. Why feed her? That cyborg had

given her a look that reflected pity. She studied Ice and saw his grim expression.

“You are supposed to eat this.” Anger clearly sounded in his tone.

She wiggled back on the mattress until she ended up in the corner of the bed with

her body pressed tightly to both walls. Panic welled inside her. “I’m not hungry,” she

lied.

He looked away from her, stared instead at the floor for long seconds, and then his

gaze lifted. Regret was an easy expression to read on his handsome face.

“Oh God.” Tears welled in her eyes as she stared into his beautiful ones. “I swore I

wouldn’t tell anyone about you. I could have done that months ago but I didn’t. All I

would have had to do was open up a communication with Earth to turn you in. I know

you aren’t sure if you can trust me but if I’d tried to collect a reward for you, they

would have been waiting to attack you the second you docked with Folion or even

before you reached it.”

He watched her silently, holding the tray, his expression carefully cleared of

emotion now.

“Please believe me. I’m no threat to you or your other cyborg people, Ice. I’d never

hurt you in any way.”

“I tend to believe you. I gave you an opportunity to harm me yet you didn’t do it.”

The tray in his hands said otherwise. She could feel it in her gut, and also knew

something had been done to the food. She stared into his shuttered gaze again, seeing

the remote look.

“Is it poisoned?”

His mouth tensed, the only reaction he allowed to show. “No.”

“You’re lying.”

The big cyborg took a deep breath before he expelled it slowly. “It’s not poisoned

but it is drugged with a strong sedative that will put you to sleep.”

“Why?” It hurt that he’d be a part of anything that would harm her. They’d shared

so much in the time they’d spent together. Disbelief and shock tore at her. “Ice? Are you

going to hurt me?” She fought back tears.

He looked away and then met her gaze. “I don’t want to cause you any harm.” His

jaw clenched. “Believe that if nothing else.”

Megan watched as he seemed to struggle with whatever thoughts he had and then

his face cleared of emotion.

53

Laurann Dohner

“You are aware of us. We have a council and they have deemed it too risky to allow

you to return to Earth with the knowledge you possess. We are close to our home world

and your Earth Government may realize that if you were to talk to them. They could

start searching this area, hunting for our planet and they would find it. While we have a

defense system, we don’t want to test it. We enjoy the freedom to travel and do not

want a war with Earth. We left your planet to avoid just that.”

“I’d never tell the government about you. I don’t know much about cyborgs but I

heard every word you said about getting a real raw deal in the past when they made

you and then tried to wipe you out.” She paused. “I’m not a fan of mass murder.”

“The council has determined that you are too much of a risk. They believe you are

either a spy for Earth Government or that you are a bounty hunter searching for a large

group of cyborgs to collect a reward.”

“That’s not true. I’m just a programmer who got offered a lot of money to live out in

deep space on the Folion and my existence was deemed classified so some jackasses

didn’t try to find me to attempt to use me to get control of Clara so they could steal it.”

He studied her. “I tend to believe you, if that matters, but orders have to be

followed. It’s not my call to make.”

“So you’re going to drug me and then what?” Megan feared asking and suspected

the answer already. The idea that he’d do that to her had her fighting tears again. She

had believed she could trust him to never hurt her but she’d been wrong, obviously.

“Are you going to kill me?” Her voice broke.

Ice physically flinched. He took another slow, long breath. “It’s a method Earth

Government trained cyborgs to use to take a life painlessly while the target slept but I

can’t do it.” He suddenly spun, slamming the tray on the table. “I don’t want you to die

but an order has been issued. I can’t disobey a direct order from the council but I find

myself unable to comply either. We’re both in a hell of a lot of trouble, Megan.”

54

Touching Ice

Comments

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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