Fighting for love, honor, and freedom on the galaxy’s lawless outer rim…
The gladiators of the House of Galen are back! This time, gruff barbarian gladiator Nero doesn’t know what hit him when he faces off with human survivor Winter.
Barbarian (Galactic Gladiators #6)
Out 27th June
Excerpt from Champion featuring Nero
Nero held Winter in his arms as they traveled on the tarnid. Night was falling, and he was eager to get to the trading post. He knew that the open desert was the favorite hunting ground of the night beasts.
He looked down at the sleeping woman in his arms. She’d fallen asleep a while back, slumping back against him. He tightened his arms around her and sniffed. She was so slight, so delicate.
Women on his world of Symeria were almost as big as the males. Strength was prized, and sickly, small babies didn’t survive the planet’s harsh climes.
Winter shivered, and he reached in his saddlebags and pulled out his fur cloak. He wrapped it around her, and saw her slender fingers reach out to stroke the soft, gray fur.
“Thank you,” she said quietly. She tipped her head up, and his gaze dropped to her sweet smile and that terrible white film over her useless eyes. “It smells like you.”
He grunted, guessing that her lack of vision had enhanced her other senses. “You should have returned to Kor Magna.”
Her smile disappeared. “Did you want to miss the mission?”
No, he didn’t. Nero wanted blood, and he wanted Saff back. They had to right the wrong of the attack on the House of Galen, and the abduction of the human women who’d been stolen from them.
On his world, a barbarian warlord was required to show his strength and protect his people.
“You can stash me somewhere when we reach the trading post,” Winter said.
He frowned, disliking the idea of her huddled alone in the darkness with no protection. “You shouldn’t be here.”
She stiffened. “Because I’m blind? Useless?”
On Symeria, she would be considered inadequate, weak, a hindrance. “Yes. You’re small, lacking in strength, and without sight, you can’t add value.”
She sucked in a shocked breath. “And you’re an asshole.”
There was a bite to her voice that made him raise a brow. “On my world, the small and weak don’t survive. They are a burden.”
She shot him a fierce look. “A barbarian world, right?” She snorted. “I’m not surprised you’re so unenlightened.”
Nero frowned. The bite in her voice had turned razor sharp.
“You prize physical strength above all else. No matter what someone has to offer.”
“My world has always needed strength. It has a harsh environment.”
Winter turned to look ahead, even though he knew her damaged eyes couldn’t see the vista before them. “Do you know what I did before the Thraxians stole me, experimented on me, and blinded me? Before they made me a burden?”
Nero felt the lick of an uncomfortable emotion. “No.”
“I was a doctor.”
A healer. He hadn’t known that. He’d looked at her and just seen her delicate bone structure and lack of sight.
But he’d always been honest with himself. He’d also noticed her stubborn chin, pale skin, and inky-black hair.
“Save your arrogant views, barbarian. I don’t have time for idiots who are all brawn and no brains.”
Nero stiffened, but stayed silent. Maddening Earth woman. Regardless of her thoughts, she was a member of the House of Galen now. He’d protect her, whether she wanted it or not. And whether she liked him or not was irrelevant.