Retribution (Tribute, #2)
Cheated out of his exit from the Tribute program, Kai Mexr is forced to return as a trainer for one more year. His trainee, Aled Price, is an idealistic Mitan patriot who Kai struggles not to loathe on sight, and who seems up for any challenge Kai sets him. As Aled learns to give up control and endure the program’s worst, Kai is drawn into an intense sexual game that leaves him wanting more.
But then Aled must fulfill his duty as Tribute. He must endure the Ungrich—or die.
When Aled returns, it takes Kai’s ruthless presence to pull his trainee back from the brink of madness. Surviving the Ungrich makes Aled doubt his blind allegiance to his planet—and to everything else he’d never thought to question. But with Kai at his side, Aled finds a new cause to believe in. And with the help of master trainer Akran and his partner Anna Lee, Aled and Kai forge unbreakable allegiances of blood, sex, and love that could save the entire planet from the Ungrich for good.
Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish.
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Kai Mexr was not in a good mood. He had a killer hangover and, due to a government error, was back in his least favorite place in the world—the Tribute training facility. Because of Solly’s death he still had one more trainee to get through the program. Kai had been allocated a trainee, which meant he’d get the worst of the bunch: a loser destined to fail on the first day, who would either be executed or kicked out depending on his incoming status. And then Kai would have to do it all over again.
Kai flinched as the overseer’s bracing tone rattled through his headache, and forced his gaze to the viewing screen, which displayed an image of the trainees being lined up to enter the facility. From what he could see, it was the usual collection of death row inmates, no-hopers, and—worst of all—patriots who were stupid enough to actually volunteer for this greez.
He nudged Malke, who was sitting beside him. “Which is mine?”
“Not sure. He’ll be in cage eleven.”
“It’s a male?”
“Most of them are. The females just can’t take it. You know that.” Malke grinned. “And there aren’t that many females up for execution to choose from.”
“Or in our military.”
Kai pictured the lithe form of Anna Lee. Ex-trainee, Ungrich survivor, and the female of his best friend Rehz Akran. Occasionally, when Rehz was in a generous mood and shared himself with Kai, Kai got to fuck Anna too. He envied them their closeness. A partnership formed in the unlikely setting of the halls of the training facility where he now stood.
He was glad it was a male. It was easier. And in his current mood? The man was in for a lot of pain.
He watched the trainees file into the cages and then followed the rest of the staff down through the labyrinth of tunnels to the holding center. Nodding at the trainers he knew, he strolled along to cage eleven, opened the door, and went in. The tall man immediately stood to attention and saluted him. He had dark red hair, pale skin, and unusual light blue eyes that held a hint of gray and reminded Kai of Anna.
Oh good, it was a patriot.
He’d looked like that once. Eager and willing to lay down his life for the super-secret mission his superiors had dangled in front of his patriotic little heart.
“I’m Kai Mexr.” He didn’t bother with any pleasantries. “Name?”
“Aled Price, sir.”
“Doesn’t sound Mitan.”
“My great-grandfather was a refugee from planet Earth, sir. The names have been passed down through the family.”
Kai fought down his surprise. Anna Lee also claimed to come from Earth, but he’d never heard of it before. Twice in one year seemed something of a coincidence.
“You were military?”
“I am proud to serve in our military, sir.”
“You’re not serving anyone but me now, Aled, baby. Strip.”
“I beg your pardon, sir?”
“I said strip.”
The man’s throat worked. “I don’t understand.”
“Then listen up,” Kai drawled. “I’m not going to repeat myself. When I give you an order, you comply. If you don’t, I will punish you. Got that?” He held the trainee’s bewildered gaze. “Strip.”
He leaned back against the door as the male complied. Price was slender but well muscled, with reddish hair at his groin that matched his head. His cock looked nice and long even when at rest. Kai would enjoy playing with him, watching him come, making him scream.
The orders from on high, which he had begun to suspect came directly from the Ungrich, insisted that the trainees weren’t just learning to endure marathon sex sessions, but experiencing every possible emotion along the way. Something about the combination of sexual arousal and panic seemed to interest the Ungrich immensely. Kai fought hard to desensitize his trainees, but it was an impossible task. No one could face what happened in Ungrich space without fear.
Again, Price did what he was told. Kai sauntered toward him, buckled the leather collar around his throat, and attached the leash.
“Now open my pants, take out my dick, and suck it.”
There was silence, and then Price shot to his feet, his expression furious. “What the hell are you playing at? Suck your own fucking dick.”
He swung at Kai; with a smile, Kai avoided the blow, offered one in return, and brought Price crashing to the ground. He straddled him, one knee in the small of his back, one hand wrapped around the leather leash, and yanked hard on it, making the male’s head jerk backward.
“I said to obey my orders.”
“Fuck off, sir.”
“Every morning I’ll come into your cell, and you will kneel down and suck me off. Do you understand?”
“I will fucking not, sir.”
He tugged harder on the leash. “Then you wish to walk out? You are free to do so, but say good-bye to any future promotions, sonny.”
“This isn’t what I expected when I volunteered, sir.” Price sounded like he was speaking through gritted teeth.
“Poor little you.” Kai yanked again until Price started to cough. “Make a decision right now.”
“I’m not a quitter!”
“Then prove it.” Kai eased off the pressure. “Get back on your knees and suck my dick.”
Aled Price wiped a shaking hand over his mouth and went back on his haunches, staring up at the implacable face of Kai Mexr. This was so far out of his expectation and experience that he felt like he was speaking a foreign language.
“Do it, Price.”
He instinctively reacted to the command, kneeling up and fumbling with the closure of Mexr’s pants.
“Make sure you don’t bite.”
He stared at the man’s cock, which was already filling out, and swallowed hard.
“Get on with it.”
He leaned forward and gave the shaft a tentative lick, then yelped when his tormentor grabbed hold of his head and simply shoved his cock down Aled’s throat.
He breathed through his nose, and did his best to comply with the order. It was hard not to, as the male standing over him simply fucked his mouth regardless of what Aled wanted. The sudden hot wave of come that blasted down his throat made him cough and choke, but he managed to keep swallowing until his head was released from the painful iron grip.
He fell forward, gasping for breath, and tried not to retch.
“Welcome to the Tribute facility, Price. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
The leash was unclipped but the collar remained on. By the time Aled opened his eyes, his clothes were gone too. There was no water to wash out his mouth, so he sat in the corner, wrapped his arms around his knees, and wondered what the hell he’d gotten himself into. Volunteering had seemed like an important thing to do. Hell, he’d been asked to step up! He’d never expected to be sitting in a cell naked, sucking dick.
But it was too late to complain. He straightened his spine and looked down the line of cages. Everyone else looked traumatized as well. A couple of the trainees were even crying. He tried to find some excuse for what had just happened. Maybe it was like most military facilities and he’d just been through a ritual hazing. Tomorrow would probably be better. That thought comforted him enough to help him fall asleep on the thin blanket.
Next morning, he was given basic army rations and water and ate everything as fast as he could, aware of the noise of approaching men and the beginning of a new training day. He spotted his trainer coming toward his cage. The male had dark skin, white close-cropped hair, and the lean, muscled body of a superb athlete. He wore a tight black T-shirt, military-style pants, and heavy boots. He looked amiable but bored as he talked to the other trainers when he went past them.
His smile disappeared as he unlocked the cage door and stepped inside. Aled put his water bottle down and stared at the ground just in front of his trainer’s combat boots.
“Come on, Price. You know what to do.”
The sneer in his trainer’s voice made Aled stiffen and glance covertly along the line of cages at his fellow inmates, who were all currently either sucking dick, about to suck dick, or being yelled at for refusing to suck dick.
He couldn’t fail. His family bled military, and they’d not care for any excuses he would make. He’d signed up for this mission. He might not like the reality of it, but that didn’t make him a quitter.
Setting his jaw, he crawled over to the motionless figure and knelt up, his fingers fumbling with the opening of his trainer’s pants.
“I’m not a fucking dog,” he muttered, and was rewarded for his sarcasm with a savage hand twisting in his hair and shoving his face onto a hard dick. Again, he didn’t have much to do except breathe and swallow as he was basically mouth-fucked.
“Yeah, that’ll do.”
The grip on his skull lessened and he was allowed to pull away, his breathing uneven.
He was more than happy to get off his knees.
“Are you hard for me?”
The question drew his attention down to his own dick. “No! This is just normal . . .”
He yelped as Mexr wrapped a fist around his morning erection.
“You’re going to learn to be hard for me. To beg for my mouth or my dick.”
Aled met his trainer’s vivid green gaze. “I will fucking not, sir. I’ll do what you order me to do, but I can tell you right now, I will never enjoy it, and I will never beg.” His breath hissed out as the grip on his cock tightened.
“You’ll do whatever I tell you, Price. If I tell you to get on your back, jack yourself off, and offer your ass to every fricking male in this facility, you’ll damn well do it.”
Aled had nothing to say to that. He wasn’t stupid. He’d pick his battles, and sensed Mexr would like nothing more than to have some resistance so he could demonstrate the power he held.
So he’d shut the fuck up.
Kai looked down at his trainee’s nice thick cock, which was now almost erect. The male definitely had bigger balls than he’d anticipated. Price also seemed aware of when to back off, which wasn’t what he wanted at all.
Adjusting his grip to something little short of brutal, he pumped Price’s cock up and down between his fingers, practically pulling the guy off his feet on the upstroke.
“Ah . . .”
Price groaned as he tried to rise to his toes to lessen the severity of the pull. Kai would have none of that, and clamped his other hand down firmly on the male’s shoulder. Price shuddered and within seconds started to come in thick waves all over his still-pumping hand.
He released his hold, wiped his fingers on Price’s heaving chest, and stepped back, clipping the leash onto Price’s collar.
He jerked hard on the leash. “Right now, or I’ll make you walk while I do it again.”
Come dripped down over Price’s lean stomach and thighs. There was nowhere to hide, everyone would see, and that was exactly what Kai wanted. The quicker Price got over his inhibitions, the more smoothly the rest of the training would go. Price needed to get used to being handled and fondled and fucked by anyone Kai wanted. He had to get used to being emotionally jerked around even more.
He opened the cage door and Price followed him, the harsh lights catching the pearled whiteness adhering to his skin. If he’d had time, he would’ve liked to slick some of that back to explore Price’s no doubt virgin ass. He was looking forward to having that ass . . .
As soon as the doors of the training facility opened, he forgot about the sex and focused on assessing Price’s overall fitness, stamina, and something else—his stubbornness. Unlike a lot of the trainees, Price was military and was already pretty damned fit, his body lean and muscled with almost no excess fat. That was a good thing.
The problem with the military types was that they had been taught to give up control to a higher authority. Individuality was beaten out of them during basic training because they needed to act as a unit, to be unquestioning and willing to run into fucking danger and die if they were told to do it. Which meant they did what they were told, but often cracked under the extremes demanded of them at the Tribute facility.
Soldiers fought to win against an enemy, and the battle with the Ungrich wasn’t like that. The upcoming conflict was all about fighting to maintain their concept of self in an alien environment and not go mad. It was a stark situation with no real winners, and he couldn’t even tell them the truth because the treaty forbade it.
All the most successful trainees, the survivors, had something within them that just refused to let them fail, some cussed, stubborn streak that just wouldn’t quit regardless. Working out whether a trainee had that was a question of trial and error. Bringing it out was Kai’s specialty, a process he had honed to perfection over the past few years and that Price, being his final trainee, would receive the full benefit of.
He stripped off his shirt and watched as Price’s gaze fixed on the ridged scars that decorated his chest and throat. He had double puncture wounds from two excruciating encounters with the native alien species called the Ungrich that slept beneath the planet’s surface. Of course, he couldn’t tell Price any of that yet.
It was confidential.
He unclipped Price’s leash and handed him a pair of shorts. “Put these on.”
As Price bent to put on the shorts, Kai rushed him, knocking him to the floor in a tangle of limbs. To his credit, Price abandoned the shorts and turned his attention to Kai, getting in a couple of decent blows to the kidneys before Kai regained control by grabbing his balls.
“You don’t fight fair,” Price growled.
“Why should I?” He grinned down at his trainee. “You want me to rip them off? You said you didn’t need them, that you weren’t interested in being fucked.”
Price set his jaw and continued to struggle, until Kai increased the strength of his grip and he went still. Watching the other man’s eyes, Kai wedged one knee over his throat and chest and walked fingers down over his flat stomach to the tangled wet hair at his groin.
“Nice cock, Price.” Gathering up the wetness that still clung to Price’s skin, he eased a finger beneath his balls, along the smooth skin of his taint, and back toward the man’s ass.
“Ever been fucked, Price?”
“That’s none of your business, sir.”
“Yeah, it is. You have a nice tight ass.” He eased the tip of his finger inside Price’s clenching hole. “I’m going to enjoy having you.”
“I doubt it, sir.”
He eased his finger a little deeper. “You think I care about whether you want it or not? Doesn’t affect my getting off. You’re just another hole I can stick my dick in and flood with my come.”
Price’s breath caught, and at the same time his dick jerked. Kai laughed. “You think you’re going to suffer nobly for the cause, Price? Let me tell you now, you’re going to want it bad by the time I’ve finished with you. You’re going to dream of having my dick in your ass or in your mouth.”
There was a shout from one of the trainers nearby, and he raised his head. “Time to go. Physical trials are about to begin.”
Kai rolled off Price and stood up, watching his trainee take several deep breaths before he reattached his leash and jerked it hard.
Price got up with easy grace, his cock at half-mast, his light blue eyes narrowed and already spitting fire.
“You’ve got a temper, haven’t you, Price? I like that.”
“I’m glad to hear it, sir.”
“Put on your shorts.” He walked over to the group of trainers, leading Price behind him. “What’s up first, Malke?”
“Endurance. Then medical wants to see them all.”
He sighed. “Haven’t they been cleared already?”
“There are a couple of new blood tests Palk is insisting they all have.”
“Palk? Shit. He’s not around, is he?”
“Nope.” Malke grinned at him. “Seeing as his favorite’s gone, you’d better watch your ass.”
“Strangely enough, Palk’s not real fond of me after I almost bit his dick clean off.”
“Good for you. He’s fucking insane.” Malke cleared his throat and looked out at the trainees. “Okay, listen up! Line up at the side of the arena and wait for my signal, then run in your lane for as long as you can.”
Kai and the rest of the trainers leaned on the barriers to watch the trainees run, amusing themselves by placing bets on who would be the first to stop and who the likely winner would be. He also kept a close eye on Aled Price, who ran well, with a natural grace that made him wonder how long Aled would last in bed. That at least, Kai had every intention of finding out.
Aled glanced across the arena at the other male who was still running. Everyone else had dropped out. One guy had passed out, but whether from fear or lack of fitness Aled didn’t know. For some reason, he wanted to win. He wanted to show that bastard Mexr he wasn’t just a walking fuck toy, but a soldier who deserved some respect. The other trainers had all gone, leaving Mexr and the one called Malke watching.
He almost stumbled when the two men vaulted over the side of the arena and came toward him. His wary gaze shifted between the grinning males. Malke jogged up to him and Kai went to the other guy. Just to add insult to injury, Malke ran backward in front of him, his breathing unaltered.
“If you lose this race, Price, do you know what’s going to happen to you?”
Aled just kept moving, his gaze fixed somewhere over Malke’s head.
“You’re gonna get fucked.”
“And . . . what about . . . if I win?” He managed to grind out the answer.
“You think you’ll win?” Malke smiled. “Dream on, buddy. My guy? He’s an ex-pro athlete. You don’t stand a chance.”
Aled set his teeth and just kept moving, wiping sweat from his eyes and ignoring Malke as he strolled back to the sidelines. Time passed in a blur and his feet felt like lead and lifting each knee was agony. He heard a groan beside him and risked a glance to his left to see his opponent stumble, fall to the ground, and not get back up. He set his sights on the far wall. The guy might still recover. He couldn’t afford to stop.
He put his head down and slogged onward, unaware of where he was in relation to anything and all too aware of the searing agony in every part of his body.
He collided with something solid and tried to swerve, but he no longer had the ability. Two big hands clamped around his upper arms, holding him still.
“You won,” Mexr said.
He tried not to sag into the arms of his trainer, but it was impossible. With a chuckle, Mexr lowered him to the ground and pushed his head between his knees.
“Rest up a minute. Malke is coming over with his trainee.”
He focused on breathing in air and was only just aware of the other man who slumped down beside him.
“This is Graif, Price,” Malke said. “As the winner you get to fuck him.”
“I . . . can’t,” Aled managed to wheeze out.
Mexr nudged him in the ribs. “Not an option, Price. You didn’t really think we cared who won, did you? You’re still just meat, and right now your dick is closer than us having to drag Graif to the lab for a nice long session with a dildo. So shut up and pick a hole to fuck.”
“I don’t want . . .” He shut up as Mexr yanked his leash, making his neck snap back.
“Then you want us all to fuck you? Right here, right now? Graif would do it, wouldn’t you, Graif?”
The other guy nodded but kept his gaze on the ground.
Malke shifted his feet and stroked his erection through his pants. “Come on, Price. I’m gonna fuck something and I don’t care which one of you it is.”
Mexr pushed Graif’s shoulder. “Let’s make it simple, Graif. Suck Price’s dick and Malke will fuck your ass.”
“And what will you be doing, Kai?” Malke inquired. “Judging?”
“Whichever one of you finishes first, I go next. Hell, if Graif is lucky, maybe I’ll do him both ways.”
Graif shuddered and looked up at Aled, his expression wry.
Mexr patted Aled’s head. “Take your dick out, Price, or do I have to do everything for you?”
Aled barely managed to shove down his shorts before Graif crawled closer and carefully licked his dick into his mouth. Malke uncovered his cock and crouched behind Graif, spitting on his fingers. Aled felt Graif shudder as those fingers disappeared between his ass cheeks. Then he groaned as Graif was shoved forward onto his cock in a regular, pounding rhythm.
Aled’s hips moved in the same rhythm. He couldn’t stop them or take his gaze away from the sight of his dick moving in and out between Graif’s lips.
“Yeah, that’s good, isn’t it?” Mexr murmured. “Fuck his mouth like I’m going to fuck yours.”
Aled yelped as Mexr grabbed a fistful of his hair and brought his head up to meet Mexr’s thick cock. He sucked and let himself be used—too tired to do anything else but endure.
Malke slammed in one more time and started to come, pulling out so that Aled got a far too close view of the come decorating Graif’s ass. Kai let go of Aled’s head, drew his cock away, and took Malke’s place behind Graif, fucking him hard and fast until Aled could hear each whimpered cry around his dick.
He closed his eyes and climaxed, hardly moving as his come pulsed out into Graif’s still-sucking mouth. God, it hurt. Each thrust exhausted him. With a groan he fell forward toward Mexr, who was still fucking away. He was unceremoniously pushed to the side. From his ground-level view, Graif’s dripping cock desperately fucked the air.
Mexr came and thrust deep, holding Graif’s hips to stop him going anywhere. When he finally released him, Graif just lay on the arena floor, shuddering.
Mexr stood and rolled Graif over. He touched the toe of his boot to the straining tip of Graif’s cock.
“Don’t lose next time.”
He scraped the edge of his insole up Graif’s shaft and the man climaxed. Graif didn’t even cry out, but his body jerked like a puppet. Aled didn’t get much time to stare as Mexr was already motioning him to get to his feet. It hurt to walk and he followed blindly, the rock walls and floors of the endless passageways torture on his bare feet.
Kai held open the door.
“I’m fine,” Aled managed.
“Such a brave little soldier. But I wasn’t offering you a bandage. You’re needed for blood work.”
He sat on the side of the gurney and stared at his bare feet. The rest of the trainees had already been processed and moved on. He was almost too exhausted to think about what had just happened. How had his promising military career ended up here? How in hell was he ever going to explain this to his parents? He remembered the paperwork he’d signed, swearing him to legal silence about this mission. For once he was grateful for that protection.
A couple of minutes went by, and then Malke came in with Graif. Graif sat next to him and Malke went out, leaving the two men in silence.
“One day,” Graif said conversationally, “I’m going to get those two guys, cut their dicks off, and fuck them with them.”
Aled glanced over at him. “You and me both.” He shifted awkwardly in his seat. “I’m sorry you lost.”
“No, you’re not. Or else it would’ve been you. No one wants to lose like that. Although I like sucking dick, so it wasn’t too bad for me.”
“You like—” He felt his cheeks heat up. “Sorry, none of my business.”
Graif cracked a smile. “It might be. Just remember if you have to fuck me, it’s okay. I’d rather it was one of the trainees than the trainers. Those guys are professional bastards.”
“You like pussy then?”
The door opened, and a female dressed in a white coat entered, carrying a cloth-covered tray. She came around to Aled first, wrinkling her nose as she got close presumably at the smell of sex and sweat coming off him. He was too tired to even be embarrassed.
She grabbed his arm and turned it out before jabbing two needles into his flesh. He watched the two microscopic pumps go to work, filling the blood vials attached to them until there was a beeping sound.
“Hold this.” She slapped a dressing over the oozing wounds, and he obediently held it in place while she attended to Graif. He closed his eyes, leaned his head back against the wall, and just let his shoulders relax.
All too soon he was jerked awake and instantly on his feet to find Mexr smiling at him. “No time for a nap, Price. Time to eat.”
Graif had already gone. Aled dropped the dressing in the trash and followed Mexr out into another of the identical rock passageways. There were no markings on the wall. He wondered how everyone found their way around and then realized that the authorities probably didn’t want the trainees to find their way anywhere. Although from what he’d seen on the incoming journey, there was nothing to run to, as the training camp was in the middle of a desert.
Gods, he could barely pick up his feet. The smell of food became clearer and his stomach growled. To his annoyance Mexr walked past what appeared to be a mess hall and took him back into his cage. In the center of the concrete floor sat a tray with a box of military rations and a bottle of water.
“Enjoy your dinner.” Mexr unclipped the leash. “See you tomorrow bright and early.”
He sank down onto his blanket and contemplated the rations. He didn’t feel like eating a thing, but he needed his strength. He looked out at the other trainees and saw Graif three cages down, eating some kind of energy bar. Two of the cages were now empty, and two of the others held inmates who were curled up in the fetal position, crying. He almost didn’t blame them.