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A Question of Trust

By Barbara Donlon Bradley


Sana doesn’t want to work with Karni. He is obnoxious, and pushy, yet there’s something about him that makes her blood tingle.

Karni doesn’t trust Sana, she kept information from them and as second in command of the compound he found that unforgivable. Now he’s saddled with her because she’s the only one who can detect Marlick, a shapeshifter from Krenon.

How was he going to spend long lonely nights with her and fight the growing attraction blossoming between them?



Sana stood in front of Tye’s desk, feeling her heart sink in her chest. His request was preposterous.

“No!” Well, that came out a little too forcefully, but Tye needed to know she was serious. There was no way she would do as he asked. Star told her to hold her ground, and that was what she planned on doing.

“Come on, Doctor.” Tye stood behind his sleek metal desk. Resting his palms against the shiny surface, he leaned forward and looked at her. “Marlick escaped months ago, and this is the first lead we’ve had on him. His shape-shifting abilities keep him well hidden. Only you know how to tell my race from everyone else. Only you know what to look for.”

“I understand that, Tye, but not with Karni.” She had already gone on one trip with the man and it still amazed her they made it back alive. They came very close to killing each other.

“Why not?” He crossed his arms over his chest and gave her a lopsided smile.

“Because he’s stubborn and rude,” Sana blurted out the words. Not what she wanted to say, but Tye didn’t need to think Karni could get under her skin. She didn’t want to think about how her heart raced just being near Karni. She wasn’t sure if it was fear, and she refused to take the chance it could be anything else. “Send me with anyone else.”

Tye shook his head. He stepped around his desk and leaned his hip against it. “He’s my second and the best man for the job. Sorry, Doctor. I need both of you to make this trip.”

“So you’re going to make me go, even though I don’t want to?” She thought about stomping her feet but thought better of it. Temper tantrums wouldn’t help her cause.

“Yes. I’ll make it an order if I have to.”

She nodded once, turned on her heel, and practically dashed out the door. This mission was not what she wanted. She knew she could fight it, but Tye was their leader and no matter what she did, somehow she’d be talked into it anyway.

The corridor had a few people in it, but she didn’t pay any attention as she moved quickly down the hall. Her mind whirled over what spending time with Karni could do to her.

“You don’t look very happy.”

Sana felt her heart skip a beat. She never did like people sneaking up on her. She centered herself before she stopped and turned toward the voice.

“Star.” She gave her a bright smile. “I’m fine.”

“Uh-huh.” Star stared into her eyes for a moment. “You get that look every time Karni walks into the room. Tye has asked you to travel with him again, hasn’t he?”

“You know me too well.” Her shoulders slumped. “He wants me to travel with him to see if we can find Marlick.”

“His escape has bothered Tye,” Star stated. “He felt he should have expected Marlick to shift and when he turned himself into a small bug and escaped. That upset Tye. He’s obsessed. That’s why he needs you to go.”

“I know. But, to have to travel with Karni?” She shivered. “The last mission was enough.”

“So what will you do?” Star never said much, but she always made Sana think.

“As he asks.” Sana dipped her head at the silence. “He is our commander. I will do what he needs me to do.”

“That doesn’t sound like you, unless of course you want to spend time with Karni.” Star started to walk away, leaving Sana standing and staring at her back.

“Of course not,” she said a little too forcefully before she ran a few steps to catch up with Star. “He’s pushy and nosy. He makes me shiver.”

“I know. It’s wondering why he makes you shiver that has me thinking.” Star rested her hand on Sana’s arm. “And I don’t think it’s because of his obnoxious personality. He does something to you, doesn’t he?”

“Of course not.” She walked faster, leaving Star behind. Her mind reeled. No. Star’s comment was way off base. Her feelings for Karni were nothing more than loathing and she refused to see it any other way.