Blade leaned back in a wooden chair. The pub was
dark and smoky and the music was loud and ear-splitting.
Topless dancers slid down a metal pole in the middle of
the dance floor. He paid them little mind while he waited
for Barrick to show up for this meeting. Barrick was
already an hour late and Blade was beginning to feel
restless. He tilted his head back as he drained the rest of
Earth’s whiskey down his throat, hissing between his teeth
as it left a burning path down and into his stomach. He
slammed the shot glass on the black-glass top and
The bartender glanced over his shoulder at him. Blade
shook his head, pushing the glass away from him with his
fingers. He let out a deep sigh pushing away from the bar
and spun side to side as the topless girls danced around
the pub. Their breasts were painted with various colors
and patterns, hiding their nipples from the men’s view,
leaving them to wonder what they had hidden under the
Blade glanced away from the women as his green eyes
scanned the patrons, searching for Barrick. The man
hadn’t come in yet, and Blade was beginning to worry
when a lone blonde-haired woman stepped into the pub
with hesitating steps. Her eyes raked over the men who
were too busy watching the dancers. Then her eyes looked
right at him, then past him. She looked as out place as he
did. Blade turned away from her, missing as her eyes flew
back to him and she smiled. She pushed her way through
the crowd of men ogling the strippers toward him.
Sitting down on the empty stool next to him, she made
sure her arm touched his. Tobi kept her eyes straight
ahead of her when Blade looked down at her with
surprised eyes. Her breath caught in her throat at the jolts
of electricity shooting from him, searing her skin. Her
heart began to beat at a fast tempo just as when she saw
his picture in the file. Tobi wiped her sweaty hands along
her denim shorts, inhaling several deep breaths. I’ve been
in dozens of pubs but not with a man like Blade Mathews.
I need to concentrate on this mission, she told herself with
a stern voice.
The bartender stepped up to her. “What’ll be?” He
leered down into her face.
“Just plain water, please.” Tobi replied, hating the way
her voice sounded so deep and husky. She swallowed past
the lump in her throat, not understanding why she was
trembling inside or the way she kept fidgeting as the
bartender turned away from her. Tobi had done this a
thousand of times and she couldn’t understand why she
was hesitating. Looking up at the man sitting next to her,
the smile froze on her face. Quickly she turned away from
the man. He’s better looking in person then in the picture
in the files.
“You don’t look like the type to be visiting a place like
this,” Blade muttered, turning his gaze down toward her
again and smiling. He didn’t know why he’d asked her the
question; it slipped from his mouth before he could stop it.
Turning away from her before his mouth got him into any
trouble, he glanced over his shoulder, searching for
Barrick, again. The man still hadn’t shown up yet. What’s
taking him so long? Blade asked silently with a shake of
“I usually don’t but I was thirsty and it’s hot as Hades
out there.” She pointed over her shoulder at the door to
make her point. Her body began to relax but her heart was
still beating rapidly. Flutters began to swirl around in her
stomach and it clenched. Tobi pressed her trembling hand
over her stomach, hoping to stop the fluttering. It didn’t
stop. Why is this happening to me? she asked herselfÃ¢â‚¬â€
think of the mission.
Blade nodded his head as his hands wrapped around
the empty shot glass in front of him. She reached up to
throw her hair over her shoulder and sighed. Sweat coated
along her skin, it was hot as Hades outside with three suns
hovering over the afternoon sky. She lifted her thinstrapped
white shirt from her chest and waved it in front
of her, trying to cool her burning face.
Blade’s body began to tremble with desire for the
woman sitting beside him. He turned away from her as the
bartender set down a large glass of ice water in front of
her. He waved his hand, indicating that he wanted a refill
of whiskey. The bartender nodded his head as he turned to
lift a large brown bottle from the shelf behind him. He
refilled the glass then set the bottle down.
“What about you? You don’t look like the type to be in
this kind of bar either!” she asked Blade after she took a
deep gulp of water. She sighed as she set the glass down
and turned to him.
Blade tilted his head back as he downed the shot, then
slammed the small glass down on the table. He breathed
in deeply as his throat burned from the whiskey. He
looked down at the woman sitting next to him and his
heart began to beat wildly. Blade sensed something in this
woman and he couldn’t figure it out what it meant.
Shaking his head he looked over his shoulder, looking for
the man he was to meet. His hand tightened around the
“I’m here to meet someone and he’s late.” Blade
muttered, looking over his shoulder again. “And here he
is.” Blade stood and made his way through the crowd. He
shook hands with the smaller man with graying hair
before he pointed to an empty table in the far corner of the
“Damn. This isn’t going as I planned it,” Tobi muttered
as she spun away from them. This was the first time out
on a mission, when her plans weren’t going right. She
needed to get Blade out of the pub and into the open
where she could get to him. Wracking through her brain,
she tried to think of some way to get him off this planet.
Drumming her fingers on the table, she looked over her
shoulder at Blade with the other man. They were talking,
rapidly. The man slipped an envelope across the table,
toward Blade. Blade picked it up, peering in to it. Pushing
away from the bar, she walked out. “There’s only one way
to get the man,” she sighed when she stepped out of the
Blade watched the woman leave the pub. He palmed
the envelope off the table, peering inside of it and tucked
it in his black leather pants’ pocket as he stood. He
nodded his head at Barrick then stepped around him.
“It’s been a great pleasure doing business with you,”
Barrick stated and grinned at Blade from across the table.
Barrick stood and walked around the bar to where the
ladies were dancing.
Blade scratched his chin, trying to decide if he should
follow the woman or not. She piqued his curiosity. Blade
pushed through the crowd and out the door. The blonde
was walking across the dirt path in determined strides.
He kicked at a small stone before he looked up as she
disappeared around the corner of a single story building
made out of scrap metal. He started after her as he tucked
his hands into his pockets.
Blade paused as he came around the building. His eyes
landed on a ship as he searched for her. “Where did she
disappear to?” he asked himself quietly, then he stiffened
as he felt something cold and metal at his back.
“Don’t turn around,” a soft female voice spoke in his
ear. Her breath at the back of his neck sent shivers
dancing down his spine. He couldn’t sense any real danger
from the woman behind him.
“Don’t move,” she ordered again in a determined
voice. He knew that voice. It belonged to the woman from
the pub. His spine stiffened and he inhaled a sharp breath
while his heart began to pound in a fast tempo. He
couldn’t move; there was a laser pressing into his back.
His eyes closed briefly then he opened them when the
laser pressed deeper into his muscle.
Tobi looked over her shoulder, feeling she was being
watched. She placed her hand on his back as she shoved
the laser deeper into his spine.
“Move,” she said softly, turning her gaze back to him.
“You said not to move,” Blade replied, trying to even
out his breathing. He was wondering why this was
happening in the first place and who this woman was.
“I don’t have time for games. You’re coming with me,”
she spoke harshly, pushing his back, trying to get him to
“Is it the money in my pocket? You can have it.” Blade
started to lower his hand to reach for the envelope
containing the money.
“It’s not the money I want, but your life,” Tobi spoke,
pushing the laser harder into his back. “Let’s go,” Tobi
ordered, pushing her hand into his shoulder, again, to get
him moving. She looked over her shoulder then started
moving him away from the building toward her ship that
was waiting for their arrival. The hatch opened for them.
“What’s going on?” Blade murmured, hesitating at the
bottom of the ramp. His heart beat as he looked up into
the small scout-ship.
“I don’t have time to explain everything right now. If
you want to live, you better get on this ship,” Tobi
muttered and shoved him up the ramp.
Blade stumbled at the bottom of the steps, then righted
himself and started up the ramp. Tobi paused at the
bottom of the ramp when she felt a slight brushing in her
mind. She frowned and a crease formed in the center of
her forehead. She turned around to search the area behind
her when a hand grabbed her neck and her laser was
yanked out of her hands. A hard-male body was pressed
too close behind her. She was backed up the ramp, the
hatch closing in front of her.
Her arms were shoved behind her back as she was led
down the short corridor and into the control room. Blade
held her laser in his hand, aiming it right at her. “Who the
hell are you?” he demanded through his teeth. He was
acting harsh and didn’t like this one damn bit. Gritting his
teeth, he stared down into her face.
“I’m here to save your life. Someone wants you dead.”
Tobi spun around and began the sequence for lift-off.
Blade felt the slight vibrations under his feet. He
couldn’t believe what she’d just told him. The laser
lowered to his side as he reached up to press his hand on
his forehead while he looked away from her. “Who?” he
asked softly, looking back down at her with wide green
eyes. “Who wants me dead?” he gritted through his teeth.
“Damn it, I don’t have time to go into details right
now,” she muttered, as the ship began to lift off the
ground. Turning in her chair, she faced him when she
spoke, “If you must know, I was paid to do the job.”
Blade jerked his gaze away from the keyboard toward
her. “You were paid... to kill me?” He couldn’t believe
what he was hearing. His mouth dropped open as he
stared down at her, clearly stunned by what she’d just told
him. Shaking his head, he tried to clear the troubled
thoughts swirling through his mind.
“You’d better sit down and strapped yourself in. This is
going to get really intense.” She pointed to a chair beside
her, telling Blade to settle himself in.
His head was whipped back when the ship shot through
the clouds and into space in a matter of seconds. He’d
never heard of a ship that could travel this fast. “Who the
hell are you?” Unstrapping the harness he stood, his voice
harsh as he spoke. He pointed the laser at her, eyes hard
and fierce; his body shook with anger.
The Guardian of Her Heart