Because deep down she knew not all men were like that. Mitch was unique, unlike any man she’d ever met.

By some miracle, Kate had managed to escape being raped by the rutting beasts who’d raided and overtaken the colonies one by one. Becoming a trader had secured her safety from Ronin’s men to some extent, though she still had to be vigilant. Wary. A lone woman was never safe, no matter where she went or what she did. Kate had had a couple of close calls over the years from overly eager men, but so far her knife had deterred any would-be rapists. Ronin’s own soldiers were terrified of him. If he told them to leave the trader women alone, they did, for the most part. No one wanted to face the wrath of Ronin Dred.

“I’ll help you,” she said at last. “What do you want me to do?”

Ronin contemplated her for a moment. “Mitchell can’t stomach violence very well. He gets a little green in the face when I have to torture someone.”

That’s because he’s an empath, you asshole. It hurts him when others are hurting.

Kate barely managed to keep from blurting that thought out loud. If she gave away Mitch’s secret, it would give Ronin an advantage over him.

Sympathy tugged at her again. Mitch had said he’d once been part of Ronin’s army, but not by choice. It must have hurt him deeply to witness and be involved in so much violence. How had he escaped? What had he done to make Ronin want him dead so badly?

And why did she even care? Her life was hard enough as it was without getting tangled up in this mess. But she couldn’t help wanting to defend Mitch.

“Not everyone enjoys violence, you know.”

Ronin chuckled. “True. Maybe if I threaten to torture you, he’ll come out of hiding.”

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