Her name is Anika Kaleen. She’s a galactic bounty hunter.
My enemies call me Death. I’m her target.
Falling for her should be the last thing on my mind. Yet, she’s all I think about. It’s ironic that the only female I want, wants me dead. She’s no match for me. Her pride drives her to continue searching for me. My feelings for her keep me from ending her life and putting a stop to this madness.
I’ve tried warning her away. I’ve tried scaring her away. Nothing is working. The only thing her determination is doing is making me want her more. I told her to stop hunting me. I told her if our paths crossed again, I would take her. She didn’t listen. She never listens. But I always keep my promises.
She wants me dead.
I want her… period.
Let’s see which one of us completes our mission.
She’s a fighter.
Perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to her. No matter how many times she fails, she never gives up. Instead, she grows more determined. For the past year, I’ve been the reason she’s driven. She’s determined to capture me.
I chuckle as I stare at the screen. She doesn’t know there are cameras in this building. I’ve been holed up here for two months. I have cameras everywhere. My silent alarm was triggered the moment she stepped foot inside.
She has no idea I’m watching her. I feel slightly guilty for doing so. I shouldn’t. I’m pretty sure she feels no guilt over her reason for being here. She’s here to arrest me, to turn me in for the murders I committed over a year ago.
She turns a corner. I switch screens so I can keep my eyes on her. She’s a curvy one, my Anika. Over the past few months I’ve begun to think of her as that, mine. That’s further proof that I’m losing my mind.
She’s not mine. She’s the daughter of a bounty hunter. She’s the huntress that has vowed to bring me in and seek justice for the people I murdered. There will be no judge or jury for me. Only a swift death.
That is how the galaxy bounty hunters on Uranus work. They capture, contain until they receive their reward for the hit, then they kill. They don’t care if you’re innocent or not. In my case, that doesn’t matter.
I’m not innocent. I killed those people. I remember it vividly. I remember each blood splatter, each scream of agony, each plea for mercy. I destroyed over a hundred lives that night. I deserve to be punished.
But not by the bounty hunters of Uranus. No, they have no right to punish me. And I’m slightly offended they sent a small female to do the job. They sent her. The one being I refuse to hurt. If I was as ruthless as they thought me to be, she would be dead by now.
She’s smart, but she’s careless. She can fight, yet she lacks the grit to actually take a life. She is no match for me. Yet, I can’t bring myself to destroy her as I have the others that came before her.
Since I can’t kill her, I watch her. I observe her from afar as she searches the city for me. And when she finds herself in bad parts of town, surrounded by real killers in her pursuit of me, I come to her aid.
She doesn’t know it’s me helping her. I believe she thinks I’m one of her fellow hunters watching over her. I wear a mask to conceal my face. Though she wants me dead, I cannot allow her to be harmed.
She is my Anika.
Damn it. I swipe my hand across my face. I have to stop thinking of her this way. I have to stop dreaming about her each night. Though she is no threat to me, she torments me daily. I smell her fragrance even when she’s not there.
I hear her voice in my dreams. I see her face every time I close my eyes. Though she doesn’t realize it, she’s already captured me, just not in the way she intended. I am hers. And that puts her in grave danger.
She stops in the middle of the room and turns in a complete circle. She’s frustrated. I know this because she’s rubbing her hands through her long black hair and biting her bottom lip. After a year of watching her hunt me, I’ve come to know her well.
She reaches into her back pocket and pulls out her tracker. She shakes her head then stares around the room again, growing more upset. Her device has pinged off my phone. She knows I’m here, but has no idea where I am.
It’s amazing how often I find myself smiling when she’s around. Before she began this crusade to bring me to justice, I was just a broken male trying to stay off the radar. Now I have a purpose. I have goals.
All because of her. My Anika. I shake my head. She’s not mine. Not yet. But she will be, as soon as I find a way to clear my name. Oh, I’m guilty. I killed those people. But there’s more to it than that.
I didn’t want to kill them. I had to. As soon as I find the male responsible, I will turn him over to the bounty hunters so he can be punished and so my Anika will stop thinking of me as a cold-blooded killer.
Who am I kidding? She’ll always think of me as a killer. That thought angers me. I can’t allow myself to become angry, not when she is near. I may blackout. I don’t want to hurt her. Never her.
I take a deep breath. In through my mouth. Out through my nose. I repeat three times, until my hands unclench and the need to hurt something, someone, resides. I stare at the screen once more.
Without realizing it, she stares directly at the camera and sighs. My breath catches. She’s beyond beautiful. I have never seen a female like her before, not on Uranus or on my home world. I could stare into her brown eyes forever.
“Dylix, I know you’re here. Come out. You’re wanted for the murders of…”
“I know exactly why I’m wanted,” I speak into the microphone that disguises my voice. The sound echoes through the empty room she’s in.
“You deserve to pay for what you’ve done,” she yells at the ceiling while turning in a circle, not knowing which way my voice is coming from. “I’m tired of these games,” she says. “Come out. Let’s end this.”
“I tire of these games also. Why don’t you return home to your family and let me be, before you get hurt.”
“Hurt by who, your goons? The ones you sicced on me the last time I was close to catching you?”
Those idiots who threatened my Anika are dead now. My only regret is that I didn’t get there in time to stop one of them from slicing his blade across her beautiful brown cheek. The mark is still there, small, but noticeable.
She is forever scarred because of me. And it hurts that she thinks I’m connected to the males who harmed her. They weren’t my goons. I don’t have goons, or accomplices or friends. I don’t have a family. I don’t have associates. I don’t have a pet.
Aside from Anika, there is no one and nothing on this world or any other world that I care for. I’m a loner. Always have been. Always will be. Ignoring the way my chest begins to hurt at that thought, I lean closer to the microphone.
“Those idiots weren’t mine. I did not send them after you.”
“Yeah right. I guess they attacked me for no reason. You must think I’m a fool?”
Her eyes widen in surprise.
“I do however, think you’re naïve.”
“And I think you’re a killer who needs to be brought to justice.”
“And what gives you the right to bring me to justice?”
“Because it is my duty as a bounty hunter of Uranus….”
“That’s a scripted speech. I didn’t ask you to recite your creed. I want to know what gives you the right to take me in?”
She doesn’t have an answer. I’m not surprised. The hunters never should’ve sent a girl to do a male’s job. It pisses me off that they’ve placed her in danger this way. By remaining on this world, I’m continuing to place her in danger.
She’ll never stop running into unsafe parts of town to search for me. She’ll continue being reckless and seeking me out in dark alleys and abandoned warehouses.
She’s a fighter. She’s not a quitter.
She will not rest until she captures me. I have no intention of being captured. She will get herself killed in this quest of hers. I cannot allow that to happen to her. With me out of the picture, she will give up on this mission, eventually.
“I’ll answer for you,” I tell her. “You have no right, Anika Kaleen. You are just a girl playing at being a hunter. Go home, where it’s safe.”
“I am a hunter,” she yells and I can hear the shaking in her voice.
The ache in my chest intensifies. “Go home Anika. After tonight, you will never see me again.”
“I have never seen you, period. You run from me. If I’m just a girl, why don’t you show yourself?”
I’m tempted. Part of me wants to go down there, gather her into my arms and kiss her until she forgets about this mission. The few rational brain cells I have left tell me I need to keep my distance.
I need to stay the hell away from her. I cannot have her blood on my hands. I don’t think my damaged mind could handle that. Not that. I rub my finger over the screen.
My beautiful Anika. She wants me dead. I want her to be mine. Neither of us will ever get what we want.
“I’m leaving now,” I tell her. “Do not look for me.”
“Stop running,” she yells. “I will find you. You cannot escape justice.”
“You do know what my enemies call me, don’t you?”
“What do they call me?”
“They call you Death.”
“I do not fear death,” she yells.
“That’s because you have not stared death in the eyes yet, my Anika.”
“I am not your Anika. I will never be yours.”
That angers me. I can feel the heat flooding my veins. I have to leave, now.
“No, you are not mine. But if you continue searching for me, you will be.” There is only so much I can take. I can only keep my distance for so long. I am not the male I used to be. I have changed in so many ways that I barely recognize myself. “If you value your life, if you value your freedom, I suggest you stop searching for me.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“If our paths cross again, I will take you.”
There is finality to my words. I am not only saying this for her. I’m saying it for myself also. I have resisted these urges for over a year now. If she keeps this up, I will release my rein on the little control I have left. I will claim her.
“Take me? What do you mean by that?”
“I didn’t stutter. Goodbye Anika.”
“That is not my name. My name is Death. Never forget that. I suggest you get as far away from this building as you can. It will blow in five minutes.”
I gather my things. My eyes are still on the screen. I watch her shift from one foot to the other, nervous. She glances down at her timepiece.
“This isn’t over, Dylix. I will find you. I will bring you in,” she yells as she backs out of the room.
“I will never let you bring me in little one. If I see you again, Anika, I will not let you go.”
I set the timer and leave. First, I make sure she’s clear of the building. Once I’m certain she’s safe, I hop on my rover and hit the road. There’s a guy who owes me a favor. Orion. He builds space crafts. I need one so I can get as far away from temptation as I can.
Over the past year, I’ve grown accustomed to the frozen tundra of this world and the never-ending storms that plague it. It’s time for a change of scenery. I’ve always known I shouldn’t stay in one place for too long.
I only remained here because of her. Now I am leaving, because of her. Next stop…. Earth. Unable to help myself, I stop in the middle of the icy road and stare over my shoulder in the direction I know she’s gone.
Goodbye my Anika, for now.
I wasn’t lying when I told her I would never let her go if our paths crossed again. Part of me hopes she searches for me so that I can keep my promise.
I always keep my promises.
Book 3 is available on Amazon.