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Megan Simmons is a soldier sent into space to protect Earth as members of the Coalition Fleet. After eighteen months of ruthless fighting on a Hive controlled planet, she is separated from her unit, lost and trapped behind enemy lines.
Nyko of Atlan never hesitates to charge into battle against Hive scum. Seeing a soldier in trouble, he follows routine, ripping his enemies to shreds to save the human. When that warrior turns out to be a beautiful and curvy female, the beast he’s been fighting suddenly breaks free and growls one simple demand…MINE.
Editorial Note: Edited for language.
“It was a dream and it was…hot.” I took a deep breath, let it out. Sat up and slapped my palms on the arms of the testing chair. “Is that it? Am I done?”
Her dark hair looked soft, glowing in the harsh light of the medical station, her green medical uniform showed off her olive skin. “I told you it would be painless and easy. A little nap, a hot dream and then you’re matched.” She seemed pleased with the concept and even snapped her fingers at the end. “It’s fun for me, too.” She winked at me and I couldn’t help but grin back at her. “The testing is a reprieve for me from the triage bay where the wounded come in from battle.”
I knew those horrors after seeing it firsthand for the past two years.
“You only have two days left,” she added, upbeat. Obviously, she didn’t want to bring up what could happen to me when I went back out to fight. They didn’t taper off the combat missions even though I was so close to being done I could taste it.
Two days. One more mission. I only had to survive the next forty-eight hours and then my service was up. I could go back to Core command, get this thing out of my head, and walk away. I’d anticipated the end of the fighting ever since that very first battle, counting off the months, weeks, days until I was done. A veteran and free to go home. But as the day of my discharge drew close, west Texas didn’t seem that appealing anymore. My mother would continually remind me I wasn’t worthy or male. Yeah, I would be retired, having served my time, and faster than most, since Coalition duty was only two years. I’d have lifelong benefits and a nice salary. Still, I’d have to deal with my mother, and a planet full of people who had no idea what was really going on out here in space.
Hell, I didn’t need to go home to enjoy my mother’s disapproval. Whenever I had comm time, her larger-than-life face on the screen always showed disappointment and I still heard the whiskey talking in her every veiled insult.
Most days, I wondered why I still bothered trying to please her. And that was a rabbit hole of pain I had no desire to jump down right now.
No. Going home to Earth held no appeal. My father was still dead. My brothers still served, still saved the world. But nothing I did mattered to my mother. I was never as good as her boys.
Didn’t matter that I was saving the entire freaking universe.
What would I do at home anyway? As a veteran, I’d receive benefits, but what was that good? They warned us about sharing what we’d seen and done with people on Earth, scared, panicked people who wouldn’t understand. So, I couldn’t even talk about anything going on out here. My mother definitely wouldn’t be interested. And what human man would want a Coalition combat veteran for a bride? Hell, a girlfriend even? What value did I bring to the society in Podunk, Texas? Nothing.
At least during combat I’d kept my head down, stayed alive and saved a few of my fellow fighters as well. I might have been part of a large team, but I was needed. Well, my brand of crazy was needed. Not everyone was willing to have Hive tech implanted in their head.
Stupid? Probably. But I’d just watched an entire unit of human fighters be wiped out in a strike the Hive shouldn’t have been able to organize. And I’d seen that blue bastard on the hilltop with his blue-skinned friends. I was one of the few ever to witness the Nexus in action. I’d gotten close, close enough to take a kill shot. I’d hit him, but destroyed the one thing the Core wanted, needed, to win this war. Those Nexus soldiers had some kind of processing unit that linked directly to Hive Central Command and transmitted to the rest of the Hive around them. They were like broadcast centers, commanders, if the Hive had such a thing. And the Coalition Fleet needed one of those communicators so they could break the code, disrupt transmissions, spy on their enemy’s communications.
We needed one of them, and I was going to get one. Tomorrow. And then I was going to accept my reward…a hot hunk of alien who would f*(k me sideways and make me forget every damn battle I’d ever fought, every friend I’d watched die. I was going to have some happiness, damn it.
So going back to Earth? Not going to happen. But out here, in the Coalition, I could have a mate. As a warrior for the Fleet, I could be processed as an Interstellar Bride. I’d seen females and their mates on the battleship and I’d envied their obvious connection. Each one of them, from Atlans to Prillons, were bonded in a way I’d never known, never imagined. Mated males didn’t cheat. Hell, they didn’t even look.
I wanted that. I needed it, a connection. Roots. Something. So I’d agreed to the testing—a perk for all warriors completing their service. But that dream? I had to wonder if I even passed. Maybe the whole thing was a big mistake. I didn’t particularly like the dominant Atlan males. So, maybe, in that dream, I got off on his dominance during sex. Hell, yeah. But like? No. They were great on the battlefield, huge hulking beasts that ripped through Hive lines like knives through paper. But talking to one? Living with one for the rest of my life? Oh, no. They were arrogant, bossy…
The doctor was staring, and I realized she’d been talking to me. I hadn’t heard a word. “I’m sorry. What were you saying?”
“I said you only have two days left. While you went through the testing, I can’t match you because you’re still a fighter. Per protocol, I can’t match you until you either consent to it or are finished as a Coalition fighter.”
I understood what she was saying in a very diplomatic way. If I were matched and then died in battle, it wasn’t fair to the mate. Who wanted to be matched and then have the person die in battle before even meeting?
I frowned at the possibility. “So I’m not matched.”
She shook her head. “Not yet. Unless you want to end your time now as a fighter. It is an option.”
I held up my hand. “No. Don’t match me now. I’ve got a couple more days to keep my head attached to my body. Watch my back. Stay out of the Hive’s hands.” Even if I was allowed to know who he was, I wouldn’t be thinking about my mission. I’d be thinking about him.
Grace Goodwin is an international bestselling author of Sci-Fi & Paranormal romance. When she was a wee little girl, she was convinced she was not an average child but was, in fact, a fairy princess. Now a bit older, her fantasies have grown to include sexually dominant men who know how to ensure a woman’s pleasure. Grace believes all women should be treated like princesses, in the bedroom and out of it, and writes love stories where men know how to make their women feel pampered, protected and very well taken care of. Grace hates the snow, loves the mountains (yes, that’s a problem) and wishes she could simply download the stories out of her head instead of being forced to type them out. Grace lives in the western US and is a full time writer, an avid romance reader and an admitted caffeine addict.
All of Grace’s books can be read as STAND ALONE novels. Her Happily-Ever-Afters are always free from cheating because she writes Alpha males, NOT Alphaholes. (You can figure that one out.) But be careful…she likes her heroes hot and her love scenes hotter. You have been warned…
Links to Grace’s website, blog, books, etc.
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