Caught by Menace(7)

By: Lolita Lopez

had wrapped him around her little finger. As far as

Menace could tel, Vicious had never been happier.

Halie stepped into the waiting elevator. “I’l see you at


Vicious nodded. “I’l cal if I’m running late.”

Menace wondered at the domestic scene before him.

Menace wondered at the domestic scene before him.

As little as six months ago, he would have been repulsed

by such a sight. Now he yearned for these little moments

of sweetness Vicious shared with his wife. Al the long,

hard years of unending war had taken their tol. He was

tired of the loneliness and the bachelor quarters. He

wanted a real home. He wanted someone to protect and

love. He wanted a woman to support and love him back.

Alone now, Vicious turned his ful attention to him.

“You’re going to Connor’s Run?”

Menace nodded. “It’s a midsized Grab today. Less

than twenty girls, apparently.”

“Good odds,” Vicious commented. “You want my


Menace laughed. “Not realy, but you’re going to give

it anyway.”

“That’s what superior officers do, Menace. But

seriously, pick a woman and stick with her. Don’t change

your tactic halfway through the Grab. Listen to your gut.

You won’t be led astray.”

“Did your gut tel you to Grab Halie?”

Vicious chuckled. “I had this crazy idea that I wanted

some tal, blonde, buxom beauty. My head told me that

some tal, blonde, buxom beauty. My head told me that

this imaginary woman was the perfect match for me. You

know, someone with similar genes to complement my

own.” He shook his head. “But the moment I spied Halie

with that dark hair and those dark eyes?” Vicious

touched his chest. “I felt it here. I knew she was the


Menace couldn’t help himself. He let the image of that

young woman from the flower stal in Connor’s Run

invade his thoughts. With her soft brown skin and black

hair, she was so unlike the typical Harcos woman. One

look at her and his heart had stuttered in his chest.

But that mouth of hers! He’d been wrong to knock

her over but she’d bitten his head off before he could

apologize for his accidental colision. The string of

expletives that had left those pouty lips had blitzed his

instant attraction, but her friend, the sweet brunette with

dark eyes who had sold him the flowers? Now that was

a woman he wouldn’t mind catching. Modest, quiet,

friendly, sweet. Maybe he’d look for someone just like


“Are you taking the ful honeymoon period?”

Puled from his thoughts by his commander’s question,

Menace shook his head. “Raze and the SRU boys have

Menace shook his head. “Raze and the SRU boys have

some weapons recertification needs. I’l be doing those

during my days off just to get them out of the way. Terror

and his crew wil probably need rearming at some point.

You know how they are about running through weapons

and ammo.”

Vicious grunted at the mention of his best friend’s

name. Terror exceled in his work with the Shadow

Force the silent, secret arm of the military that carried out

al the covert operations required to keep their people

safe, but he was such a difficult man. The war hadn’t

been kind to him and he seemed to grow colder and

more withdrawn with each passing year.

“Try not to work too hard during your bonding

period,” Vicious instructed. “Halie and I weren’t able to

have any kind of honeymoon and it made things difficult

in the beginning. You should take the time to get to know

your new wife. You only get one chance to do things



Vicious clapped him on the back. “Let me know how

it goes.”

“Wil do.” Menace headed toward the reception desk

“Wil do.” Menace headed toward the reception desk

and checked in for his physical. He was in and out in

twenty minutes and on his way to the departures deck for

the trip to the surface. He eyed the smal crowd of

waiting men and judged his competition. Only three were

felow officers and al of them lower ranking. As the

highest-ranking officer taking part, the younger, lower-

ranking soldiers would defer to him. He would have the

pick of the litter, so to speak.

An hour later, a quiver of excitement pierced his bely.

Menace leaned against the railing of the hastily erected

stage and gazed down into the group of women who had

been picked by the lottery to participate in the Grab. He

scanned the offerings and tried to find a woman who

piqued his interest.

A few of the women were much too young to tempt

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