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Pirate: Space Gypsy Chronicles, #1 by Eve Langlais (1)

Chapter One

Knock. Knock. Knock-fucking-knock.

The pounding on his door announced, with a certain gleeful relish, that someone wanted to die. Painfully. Perhaps even more than once.

Usually a patient man, Rafe was inclined to indulge them. There truly was nothing more annoying than someone banging on his trailer at the unseemly hour of—he raised his head and peered with a bleary eye at the clock, its gaudy red numerals much too bright—two o’clock in the afternoon.

So early. Didn’t people understand a male needed to sleep until at least four, maybe even five, in the afternoon to recover from the excesses of the night before, a night that lasted until about four a.m. and involved a bottle of tequila—the good kind with the worm at the bottom.

Damned inconsiderate. Knock. Knock. And persistent.

The knocking turned into shouting by a melodious female voice. “Mr. Abaddon. I know you’re in there. You told me the last time I was here to not leave until you accepted the package.”

Yes, he had made that demand because there was nothing more annoying than having to contact the shipping company to reschedule. Did they not realize their schedule should revolve around him?

“Can’t you just leave the fucking thing in its usual place?” he hollered back. Bad move. The indigenes in his head with their drums multiplied. He didn’t recommend it given the purple-eyed, green-tentacled monsters were gifted when it came to discordant percussion.

“You know I can’t do that. Company rules state—”

Even without shouting, sound carried. The joys of non-insulated living. “Your rules blow.” And not in a way that would see him easing the tension in his sac.

“Don’t blame the company policies. You’re the one who keeps ordering items that need a signature. Maybe you should try ordering less stuff.”

Less? What is this word less? As if any male with balls between his legs would do anything less. Size mattered in more ways than one.

And, if there’s one thing I’ve got, it is size. He also didn’t refer just to his ego, although he was the first to admit it barely fit through the door.

“You win, you evil wench. I’m coming to answer the bloody door, but I’ll warn you right now, I’m naked.”

“Is that a warning so I don’t laugh?”

Cheeky brat. Her quick retort drew a smile from him as he flung back the thin sheet he used to cover his body. The warm air, dancing with dust motes, caressed his skin, and he took a moment to stretch, flat on his back, extending his limbs until he achieved a few satisfactory cracks.

“I’m still waiting,” sang his delivery lady before pounding again. At the insistent nonstop pummeling, he laughed.

Forget cheeky brat. She was a demonic imp in need of a spanking. I might just oblige, wench. The only name he had for her since she wouldn’t give him her real name. The one stitched on her shirt said Stan.

And she most definitely doesn’t look like a Stan. Then again, these days, a guy couldn’t be too sure until the pants came off.

As Rafe swung his legs over the edge of the bed, he couldn’t help but visualize the woman outside his trailer. Almost as tall as him, and curvy, with dark-lashed, bright blue eyes, sun-streaked brown hair, and freckles. Totally his type.

Anything with breasts and an in-hole that doesn’t bite is your type. His subconscious ever did taunt him.

Rafe stood and, as he had too many times to count, whacked his head on the stupidly low ceiling of the trailer he called home. Not entirely the ceiling’s fault. By metric standards, he measured just under two meters.

As he scratched his chest, he noted a somewhat clean T-shirt and track pants lying across the dresser by the bed.

He could put them on, an idea he quickly vetoed. The cheeky wench deserved an eyeful for making him rise so early—and maybe if she saw it, she’d do something about his rise.

“Still waiting,” she yodeled. “Get your lazy ass moving. I’ve got a light load today, which means, once I’m done with you, I can go have some fun.”

Once you were done with me, you’d have had all the fun you needed and want a nap. While he would crave a cigarette. Filthy nasty habit, and yet, Rafe quite enjoyed the act of smoking. As they said on this world, it made him look badass. Personally, he thought he had a great ass, but as with many expressions, deep analysis should be avoided.

As his feisty delivery gal pounded on the door some more, he took a quick peek at his place to ensure nothing appeared out of place. Still the same plastic walls, textured and painted to look like paneling. Worn laminate floors, a couch with cushions sporting a pattern of burn holes. Damned hashish burned like a bastard when you dropped an ember.

For all its shabbiness, the compact space seemed positively lavish compared to some places he’d crashed over the years. At least here Rafe didn’t have to worry about waking in an alley naked with no recollection of the past several days. Not that he minded the naked part. It was the bite marks he wished he could recall.

A quick glance down and he was pleased to note he bore no bite marks on his body—but the day had just begun.

He flung open his door with a wide grin. “Top of the morning to you, wench.”

Beautiful blue eyes glared at him from under the brim of a tan-colored company cap. “You are, by far, the most irritating client on my route. A route that, I might add, was extended because of you and your need to live in the middle of nowhere.”

“Wench, you wound me.” He clutched his heart, arched a brow, and grinned, a surefire panty-wetter.

Not only did Stan not melt, she didn’t even look down. So much for the gypsy reputation of being irresistible lovers. Then again, she was the only female to ever turn him down. Consistently. He should add it wasn’t for a lack of trying. He’d been flirting for months in an attempt to get in her pants. So far, utter failure. But he had a feeling about today.

She stabbed a finger in his direction. “I would wound you if it wouldn’t get me fired. You are so annoying. I just want to get this done so I can sign off for the day and get out of these stupid clothes.”

Nothing could have stopped his smile, and he drawled. “Feel free to get naked any time you like, wench. I won’t stop you. Hell, I’ll give you a hand.”

“Perv.” Uttered with a snorting laugh. “Would you stop screwing around and sign for your stuff already?” She thrust the touch pad at him, along with the stylus, but he leaned against the jamb of his door and tucked his arms behind his back.

“You know, wench, your customer service skills leave much to be desired. Isn’t your company motto something about it being all about the client? I know a way you can fix that.” Winsome smile met the expression that wouldn’t melt.

Her lips pursed. “You have a problem.”

Not one for subtlety, he looked down. “Yes. Yes, I do.”

“I’m done here.” She whirled around and marched toward her delivery truck.

Without his signature.

I knew she didn’t really need it. She just wanted to see him. Who could blame her? He enjoyed seeing himself every morning in the mirror. Now that he’d made her day complete by gifting her with a view of his assets, she could finish off her day and, if she was inclined, finish him too.

Yet, if her sole purpose in getting him to answer the door was to ogle, then why was she getting in the truck and starting it? Why was she not around back unloading his boxes?

As she shifted the vehicle into gear, the rumble of her polluting diesel engine growling, his indolence turned to incredulity.

She’s leaving—with my stuff!

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