The call Daisy had spent the last three years dreading finally arrived just as she started cooking dinner.
She swallowed down her panic and practiced those calming breathes she always told her patients to employ. Her rational mind knew her husband had a dangerous line of work. Pointing sharp objects at evil space lizards was inherently bad for your health. She spent enough time in sick bay, patching up the clan’s warriors to know… what really?
The Mahdfel healed fast and had a high tolerance for pain, which meant they didn’t really think things through when it came to battle strategy, relying on brute force and brawn. You didn’t see too many elderly Mahdfel warriors wandering around.
Maybe that was confirmation bias. The only warriors who sustain injuries were the impatient, battle hungry ones. She could never imagine Kalen, her brother-in-law, racing into conflict without some idea of a plan. He very much was the kind of guy to let fools rush in.
Mylomon wasn’t the sort to rush in, either. And wasn’t lurking about in the shadows his thing? He had been known to stab a bitch in the back, which went against the Mahdfel sense of honorable battle, but whatever. The entire clan gave him the side eye but they kept their mouths shut, because of the stabbing in the back from the shadows thing.
Okay, her husband wasn’t exactly puppies and rainbows. He could be a moody, sulky jerk when he had a mind to, but he was hers and Daisy loved him without reservation. She knew it went both ways.
And if she was being completely honest, she always believed that Mylo’s stabbing-from-the-shadows would keep him out of harm’s way. At least, she had always hoped, but harm’s way was basically catnip to a Mahdfel. They did live to jab evil space lizards with sharp objects, after all.
Knowing all of this did nothing to prevent the queasy, sinking feeling in her gut.
“Your mate requires you,” Kalen, head of medical, said in a clipped, almost annoyed tone.
“What happened? Is Mylo okay?” She barely heard his response over the pounding of her heart. She jammed her feet into a pair of slippers, not caring that she wore her panda print sleep shorts and tee. Actually, a hoodie would be smart. Med Bay was cold. Dashing to the wardrobe, she tossed items haphazardly to the floor until she found Mylo’s hoodie. Too large, the soft fabric wrapped around her like an embrace and smelled of his soap.
“Do not delay,” Kalen said, before disconnecting.
Right, like Daisy would do anything short of running down the ship’s corridors in her pajamas. That morning, Mylomon had pressed a kiss to her cheek when he left on some sort of mission. Still sleeping, she mumbled a goodbye. He never went into the details—she honestly didn’t want to know. Ignorance was bliss? Ha, not likely, but she didn’t have the specifics, she could keep herself busy and push it out of her mind.
Concerned warriors stepped out of her way as she ran to Med Bay. She looked a fright, in her panda pajamas, Mylo-sized hoodie, and tatty old slippers.
If the last words she ever spoke to Mylo were “Turn that freaking light off,” she’d be so ashamed of herself.
Please be okay.
If he pulled through, she mentally bargained with the universe, she’d be sure to only part with words of love. I love you. Be safe. Come home to me.
Daisy pushed through the doors into Med Bay. Immediately her eyes went to the bank of rejuvenation tanks, where the most critically injured went. Thankfully, they were empty. The turmoil in her stomach eased slightly.
Medics standing nearby pointed in one direction, but she didn’t need them to find Mylomon. All she had to do was follow the sounds growling and Kalen’s inventive swearing.
Mylomon sat on a table—shirtless, because that’s the way he rolled. An angry gash sliced across his left arm, the wound raw and swollen. Kalen held a bottle of disinfectant in one hand. Mylo spotted Daisy and rose from the table. Kalen immediately pushed him back down. “Stay. Do not move again or I will sedate you,” Kalen warned.
“You would not,” Mylo growled.
“Do you think this is amusing? Do I look amused to you? As if I enjoy fighting a giant child to complete the most basic of tasks?” Kalen yanked Mylo’s arm forward and squirted the disinfectant into the wound. Mylomon hissed through clenched teeth but did not complain.
“Poison blade?” Daisy asked. Med Bay had receive more injuries like that in recent days. It was a formulation that slowed the innate Mahdfel healing response, which was not new, but it also did nerve damage if not thoroughly rinsed from the wound promptly, which was an exciting new feature. Some warriors only experienced a decrease in sensation at the site of the injury, but if the poison hit an eye or a vital organ, the damage could be life altering. Depending on how deep the cut went, Mylo could lose the use of his left arm.
“Why weren’t you wearing your armor?” she asked. An ugly swell of anger replaced the fear and panic waring in her gut. She needed him to be safe and he needed to do everything he could to come back home to her. Why didn’t he see that?
“I was,” Mylomon replied, his words rescinding the panic.
Kalen patted the wound dry, causing Mylo to hiss between gritted teeth again. Daisy suspected that Kalen used more force than strictly necessary because Kalen, while her boss, was also a bit of a bastard. He was also married to her sister, so that made him her bastard of a boss-brother and she didn’t feel bad about slapping that label on him at all.
“The wound requires sutures. If you will do the honors, Nurse Vargas,” he said, stepping back from his patient.
“Me? You called me down here to work?” Daisy blinked, mentally switching from worried wife into nurse mode. Despite having worked a shift earlier that day, her body hummed with alertness. Okay, more adrenaline than alertness. “I’m too shaky. Someone else can do the stitches.”
Kalen shook his head. “This one will fight my other medics.” What went unsaid was the understanding that Mylomon wouldn’t so much as flinch if Daisy was the one pulling needle and thread through his skin. He would never harm her.
“Let me scrub up.” She rolled up the sleeves of the hoodie and washed her hands with a caustic soap, asking about Meridan while she scrubbed under her fingernails.
“Well for the moment. Hurry so I can return to my mate,” Kalen said, his tone sharp and a bit more bastardy than normal.
“Do not speak to my mate in such a tone,” Mylo snapped.
Kalen opened his mouth, no doubt about to spew a charming sentiment like “She is my nurse and I will speak to her as I see fit,” or something similar. Ever since Meridan became pregnant, his normal rough-around-the-edges temperament had degraded and steadily grew worse as Meridan entered the morning sickness phase of pregnancy. Daisy was happy and all for her sister and Kalen—and a little jealous, to be honest—but Kalen took his stress out on everyone in Med Bay.
“Shut it. Both of you,” Daisy said. She plopped down on a stool and wheeled closer to Mylo. Kalen helpfully set out a tray with supplies. She said to Kalen, “You, go find someone else to yell at for five minutes. And you,” turning her attention to Mylo, “sit still for five minutes.”
Both men had the wherewithal to not argue.
She applied a numbing agent, carefully spreading it over the gash and the surrounding area. She didn’t bother to ask if it hurt. Mylo wouldn’t admit to pain, even if it were excruciating. He grumbled but remained still as she worked. Fortunately the gash was a relatively clean injury, made with a sharp blade that left a straight incision.
Daisy always had to find the bright side, right?
Sucks that your man had to be hacked to pieces, but at least they used a sharp knife.
With a line of neat, precise stitches, she tied off the thread. Mylo immediately raised his arm to inspect the work, and prodded it with a finger. She slapped his dirty fingers away and sprayed the area with a barrier to keep out germs, dirt, and other nasties. “The stitches will dissolve in a few days. We’ll need to keep an eye on it for infection, so no poking. Keep it dry and clean,” she said.
“You are very good at that,” he said.
“Thank you, unless you were surprised that I’m good at my job.” Her tone surprised her. She wasn’t trying to pick a fight, despite the snark. For a moment, his expression was blank and inscrutable—probably trying to gauge her mood. She winked and the tension left his shoulders.
Poor guy: stabbed, poisoned and manhandled by a grumpy medic. “Rough day?” she asked, snapping off her gloves.
“The mission could have gone better,” he admitted. “I am growing old and slow.”
“Not so old.” Sitting on the table, he was eye level with her as she stood. She pressed her forehead to his, letting her fingers tangle in his dark hair. There was a spot at the base of his horns, when she scratched it, he made the best noise…
Mylo groaned, leaning into her touch.
Yeah, that was the spot.
“Do you have anything else I need to kiss and make better. I’m a professional, after all,” she whispered.
His eyes gleamed and he tapped his left check, marred with a slight scrape that was mostly healed.
“Poor baby,” she muttered, pressing a soft kiss to his cheek.
He tapped his lips.
“Here?” Her fingers brushed his bottom lip. For such a hard man, he had the lushest lips, all pliant and giving.
Kalen cleared his throat. Daisy sprang away, hiding her hands behind her back. “All done,” she said.
He made a noise of disbelief but refrained from making a snarky comment as he leaned in to inspect the sutures. “Acceptable. Wiggle your fingers.”
“I feel ridiculous,” Mylomon grumbled. “The wound is not deep and barely worth mentioning.”
“If I say the injury is of medical concern, then it is of medical concern. Do not argue.” Kalen stripped off his gloves and tossed them in the hazardous waste bin. “One day rest.”
“Unacceptable.” Mylomon moved from the table, crowding the doctor.
Kalen tilted his head back but would not allow the larger man to intimidate him with his size. “Two days.”
“You are not my commanding officer.”
“When you are in Med Bay, I am.”
The two stubborn ass alien man stared at each other, each refusing to back down.
“For crying out loud,” Daisy said. She dumped the ruin of Mylo’s shirt into the waste bin, stripped off the hoodie and shoved it towards him. “You’re taking a sick day and resting.”
“I do not require—”
“You were poisoned. The wound won’t heal and your arm is held together with string. You’re going to sit on your ass, watch a load of bad movies with me, and not tear your stitches being stubborn, got it?”
He nodded, then pushed the hoodie back to her. “Would it be inappropriate to ask you to cover yourself as I do not want other males to see you in your sleep clothes?”
She slipped the hoodie back on, tugging it down over her bottom. “Yeah, I was in a bit of a rush.”
They arrived at their quarters with a minimum of grumbling and Mylomon insisting that he was not sick and did not require rest. Daisy blithely ignore him, understanding that rest and recuperation had only been theoretically concepts to him. The Mahdfel’s enhanced immune system guaranteed they never caught a common cold and as far as she knew, Mylo had never sustained a serious injury, thanks to his stab-from-the-shadows strategy.
“Remember when I got the flu?” She dumped ground beef in a skillet and set the chopping board and veggies in front of her husband. “Chop chop. It’s taco night.”
He reluctantly picked up the chef’s knife, as if sensing a trap. “I was ordered to rest.”
“Helping me with dinner won’t strain your arm.”
He huffed but began slicing the lettuce. “I remember your influenza. It was distressing.”
Daisy had a high fever and vomited for an entire day. The virus left her weak and she felt like a zombie for two weeks. “And you remember how I wouldn’t let you help me do stuff and I exhausted myself. My stubbornness probably set my recovery back a week. If I had just slept, I would have been back on my feet sooner.” Probably. Daisy did have a nasty habit of trying to push through illness on willpower alone, instead of staying in bed like a sane person.
He grumbled, most likely thinking the same thing.
“Your arm is going to heal slower than normal. Just take a day to let your body do what it’s designed to do. If you carry on like nothing’s wrong, it’ll do permanent damage.” Scarification at best. Nerve damage at worst.
“One day. The warlord will not tolerate loafing.”
Daisy turned her attention to the ground beef, breaking up chucks with a spatula. She really didn’t think Paax would ever use the word “loafing” and no one would ever describe Mylomon as a lazy bum. He worked. Always. As the warlord’s second in command, long hours were to be expected, as well as an elevated level of risk.
Her heart fluttered in her throat.
Try not to think about that.
“Well, then I’ll give Paax a piece of my mind. You’re following doctor’s orders.”
He huffed, almost amused.
“I found a great movie to watch,” Daisy said, as they sat down to eat. “It’s a four episode murder mystery miniseries.” Mylomon rolled his eyes. She continued before he could object, “And you get to complain and make your snarky little comments because you’re injured. This is gonna be fun.”
He made no reply.
“It is! You love nitpicking my shows.”
“That is true,” he admitted. Daisy had been on a mystery-theme show kick recently and her darling husband loathed them. It was probably cultural. He claimed they were silly and unrealistic. He could happily watch historical dramas about ancient warriors that were no more accurate than her amatuer sleuths, but she kept her mouth shut. Knowing when to let your love enjoy something, even when they were stubborn and wrong, was what made a strong marriage.
“Two families. An isolated farm in Scotland. A double murder. Secrets.” She gave a happy wiggle in her chair. “We’re gonna have a good time.”
They settled on to the sofa. Mylomon stretched out on his side, taking up most of the room, and she nestled next to him. His injured arm rested over her hip and his solid bulk felt like a furnace behind her.
He said, “That is a very sloppy kill. They should be ashamed. Amateurs.”
He said, “He is obviously the murder. We saw him over the bodies. Why is this a mystery?”
He said, “The murderer happened to run off the road at the family’s farm? Improbable.”
He said, “Leaving the amatuer alone in the barn is inviting him to be murdered.”
He said, “I am completely surprised that the amatuer assassin was slaughtered overnight while he remained unsupervised and isolated. Completely surprised.”
He said, “If they are going to obfuscate this murder from the authorities, they need to secure the silence of the weakest members.”
He said, “There are too many people to keep this secret.”
He said, “I told you, three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead.”
Daisy paused the show at the end of the third episode. “You having a good time?” she asked, shifting to look him in the eyes.
“I am enjoying myself.” Mylomon grinned, his fangs a stark white against the dark aubergine of his complexion. Once she found that visage menacing and brutal but now it was comfort and home, the face of the man she loved. If she lost him—
She traced his only tattoo, a small flower, on his pec. Her namesake glowed silvery.
His grin melted into a look of concern. “Daisy. I can not make assurances to my well being.”
“I know. I know,” she said. “You’re a soldier. You’re going to be injured.”
“I make pains to avoid poisoned blades,” he said softly.
“Was that a joke?” Not funny. Not funny at all.
“Did you find it amusing?”
“Do I look like I’m laughing?” She leveled a stare at him. He blinked. She shook her head. “I didn’t tell you I loved you this morning.”
The sternness of his expression softened. “You tell me.”
“Not this morning. I told you to turn off the light. I was so scared that those were the last words I said to you.”
“You tell me everyday. I do not need the words.”
“Well, you deserve to hear the words, because they’re true and I love you.”
“I dislike it when you worry. You get a line here.” He pressed his index finger between her eyebrows.
Her breath hitched in her throat, half offended even though she knew what he meant. He wasn’t making a crack about getting wrinkles.
“I dislike it when you get stabbed and try to act like it’s no big deal,” she said. “I can’t stop you from getting hurt and that tears me up inside, but I can deal. Please, please, please do everything you can to get better, though. When you act like you don’t need to recuperate, it makes me feel—” Her breath hitched again. “Sorry. Long day. I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster, which is my least favorite kind of rollercoaster. I’m tired. And babbling.”
Mylomon sat up and arranged her in his lap. She tucked her legs up under the enormous hoodie. “I am enjoying this sick day.”
“Shut it. No you are not.”
His arms tightened around her. “My instincts are to hide any wound from you. I never want you to think your male is inferior or can not protect you.”
She wanted to tell him that taking a day to lounge around their apartment and be lazy was hardly failing to protect her, but she rested her head on his shoulder and remained silent.
“Returning to you is my only thought when I am away. Every action is weighed against this,” he said. “When my calculations fail, I want to hide my shame.”
“Oh, that’s just silly,” she blurted, then clamped her lips shut.
“But you do not view this injury as a failure. I understand that now.”
“Sweetie, I’ll take you any way I can get you when you come home. Preferably without knives sticking out of you, but let’s not quibble.”
“That happened once.”
Once. Honestly. She snorted, inelegantly and loudly.
A warm, sappy smile spread across his face. “I have enjoyed this sick day and I never wish to experience it again,” he said.
“Now, I believe there are injured part of me that require a kiss to make it better—”
She slipped from his lap and gave a throaty laugh, and pulled her monster of an alien to his feet. “Tell me what hurts.”
He did and she kissed it better.
Daisy and Mylomon star in my book Mylomon.