Semper Mine (Chapter Four: Katya, page 1 of 7)


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Captain Mathis is an asshole with awesome biceps. I'm normally a thigh girl, but I have to admit - I could be swayed, if he wasn't such a dick.

I want to think I'm old enough not to mope, but well, I'm pissed. This is my world, my brother, my retreat! When he's involved, members of my family die. It's taken every minute of every day to help get Petr healthy again, and I'm still scared that something might go wrong, that he, too, might be taken from me.

"Seatbelt," Captain Mathis directs.

I pull it on.

Damn Marine. Not satisfied with killing people. He's gotta kill the environment, too. I'm reduced to being a silent prisoner in the back of one of the eco-unfriendliest vehicles on the road.

No one speaks for a few minutes. It's tense again, the way it was when I confronted him in Petr's room.

My brother clears his throat. "It's a beautiful day," Petr says. "Will be fun getting back into the forest. Always loved it there." By the smile on his face, I know he's thinking about how he and Mikael built an insane obstacle course in the forest and would race each other through it every time they were home. "I'm definitely testing out the new leg this week," he adds.

I open my mouth to protest, knowing the brutal, three-mile course is the last thing he should do before his final tests next week.

Captain Mathis gives me a warning look in the rearview mirror. "Fifteen clicks."

I don't exactly know what a click is, but I'm assuming it's some military way of measuring distance. I do know that the asshole driving us would dump me on the side of the road in a heartbeat. If there's one thing I sense about him, it's that he doesn't give idle threats.

I stare out the window, clamping my mouth closed.

Petr twists to glance at me. "First time for everything," he says, impressed.

Biting my tongue, I lean forward and slap him on the back of the head.

He laughs. "Captain Sawyer Mathis, meet my sister, Katya."

"We met at your brother's funeral," Captain Mathis says quietly. "She slapped me."

"Katya!" Petr exclaims.

I ignore them both.

"No worries. Like a mosquito bite. Barely felt it," Captain Mathis replies.

Get your jabs in now, jackass. The minute I'm out of the truck …

"Choking down the cookies she sent was worse."

I gasp, staring at him.

"Ex-nay on the ookies-cay," Petr says, laughing too hard. "They were a nice thought, Kitty-Khav. We all appreciated them."

Hurt, I glare at Captain Mathis. I'm tempted to slap the back of his head, too, but something tells me he's more likely to go ninja on me than my brother will. I'll settle for making his life hell this week, since we'll all be spending it together.

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