Stupid. Careless. Jacie has called herself ten times a fool for falling for Myro’s charms. Now she’s pregnant and alone, and she’s been sent to a world unlike her own.
When Barimere, a tall, sexy hunk of alien male, meets her at the shuttle station on his world, Jacie feels the stirrings of desire — even though that’s what got her into this mess in the first place. But there’s something about Barimere that’s different, and she doesn’t mean the scars on his face.
Barimere agrees to guard Jacie from unwanted attention and possible abduction. But one look at her and her demented fur ball pet, and he wonders if he’s insane to accept the mission. He knows a woman like her would never look twice at a scarred male like him, but that doesn’t stop his body from instantly reacting to her beauty and charm.
A pregnancy that is more than what it seems, and a woman determined to find love on an alien world is more adventure than the taciturn warrior has bargained for. Barimere is all for Jacie finding a mate and getting herself out from under his nose. Except for some odd reason he’d like to tear apart any male who looks her way, and beat the living hell out of anyone who tries to hurt her.
An alien warrior intent on fighting his attraction. A human female determined to bring him to his knees. What could possibly go wrong?
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2016 Jessica Coulter Smith
Barimere looked over the women departing the shuttle, trying to determine which one was Jacie Montgomery. The council had given him strict orders to guard her while she visited their world in hopes of reuniting with her lover. His lips tensed into a grim line as he thought about how that reunion was going to go.
He was familiar with Myro — and the mate he’d claimed the previous month. Whatever had transpired between Jacie and Myro, it had obviously been one sided, as Myro had had no trouble moving on with his life after their encounter. Still, he could understand the council’s reason for bringing her here. A pregnant female wasn’t safe on her world without a protector, not when the baby she carried was half-Terran.
Movement near the steps of the shuttle drew his attention and he watched the petite blonde tug her shirt down over a slightly rounded stomach. He took a step in her direction and froze when something orange and furry popped out of one of the bags at her feet. It wound around her ankles before burrowing into the other bag. A head reappeared a moment later with something pink and lacy clutched in its mouth.
Are those… panties? The sex bots he’d used on the floating brothel hadn’t worn undergarments, but he recognized them from the sex videos he’d seen from Earth. He just hadn’t thought he’d see a pair in person unless he claimed a human mate.
“Sugarbutt! Stop that right now!” The small female made a grab for the furball, but it escaped capture and hurtled right toward Barimere. At the last minute, it skidded to a stop, twisting and leaping into the air. Barimere’s eyes widened as the scrap of lace sailed right toward him, landing smack across his face. There were some snickers around them, but he ignored them.
With this thumb and forefinger, he pinched the material and dragged it away. Oh gods… they were panties. His cheeks flushed as he contemplated the tiny garment in his hand and then the flustered looking female in front of him.
“Sugar… butt? You named that demonic ball of fluff Sugarbutt?” he asked incredulously.
“He’s really very sweet,” she said, giving him a slight smile before snatching her panties from his grasp. She shoved them into her pocket then picked up her beloved pet, which was suddenly quite docile.
Barimere wasn’t sure if he should be amused or horrified, by both the situation and the creature’s ridiculous name. He watched as the orange beast rumbled loudly and butted his head against his mistress’ chin. It seemed to be some sign of affection, if the kisses she rained on the feline’s head were any indication.
“Are you Jacie Montgomery?” he asked, almost praying it wasn’t her. The indignity of the situation was almost more than he could bear. Only a human pet would fling underwear at someone’s face.
“Yes. Were you sent by the council to meet me?”
He watched as she tucked her hair behind her ear, taking note of the teal streak in the nearly white strands. What an unusual female. Her eyes were blue and her gaze was a little unnerving as she waited for his response.
“Yes, the council sent me. I’m assigned to be your bodyguard while you’re on Terran and unmated.”
Her cheeks flushed. “You really think Myro will claim me as his mate? I know my visit is going to be something of a shock to him, and the baby will be even more of a surprise, but… I’ve hoped he’s missed me over the last several months.”
Barimere tried not to flinch. It was going to cause this small human female pain when she discovered Myro was mated already, and he didn’t want to see the hurt in her eyes when it happened. She seemed pleasant, despite her unfortunate choice of companions. He gave the furball a baleful glare and went to retrieve Jacie’s belongings.
“Follow me. The council has secured lodgings for you within the tower, in the center of the city, and I’ll stay in the suite next door.”
“As a bodyguard, shouldn’t you be in the same suite with me?”
He almost tripped over his own feet at the thought of sharing a space with her. “It wouldn’t be right since we’re not mated. When you pick a mate, he wouldn’t be happy to discover you living with an unmated male.”
“When I pick one? You make it sound like Myro isn’t going to want me.” The smile slipped from her face. “You know something, don’t you? Please, just tell me; whatever it is, I can handle it.”
“I think it would be best if we get you settled, and then we can have a discussion if you’d like.”
She nodded and slipped her small hand into the crook of his arm. It took him by surprise, but he found he liked her soft touch. Perhaps a little too much. Maybe he needed a mate more than he realized. He’d been content with the brothel and figured a mate was too much responsibility. He was only twenty-five and had plenty of time ahead of him to settle down, if a female would ever accept him. But there were definite benefits to having a mate instead of scratching an itch once a month. Perhaps he’d check out the next set of brides when they arrived.
At the tower, he ushered her into the elevator ahead of him, then took her up to the tenth floor. When he reached her door, he stopped and frowned.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Your door won’t open to you until you’ve been to the clinic and have received your implant.”
“Would they have put that in when they did the translator?” she asked.
“Did they implant anything into your wrist?”
She rubbed at a spot and nodded. “I didn’t understand at the time, but the doctor on Earth said it would be essential for maneuvering around Terran Prime. You mean it opens my suite door?”
“It also allows you to make purchases and order food,” he said. “Everything will be charged to an account that your future mate will take care of.”
She swiped her wrist over the locking mechanism and the door popped open. Barimere pushed the door wide and stepped inside, looking around before setting her bags down and motioning her inside. The door shut behind her with a click, and for some reason, Barimere felt like a noose had just tightened around his throat.
Ridiculous! She’s one tiny female who will not be my problem for long.
“Would you like to maybe take a shower or nap? After you’ve had time to adjust to your surroundings, I’ll take you for a meal and then we can discuss Myro and your situation. Once you know all the facts, I’ll leave it up to you how we proceed.”
“That sounds rather ominous.”
“There are things you need to know about your baby’s father, but I think you should rest first. Pregnant women need rest and food. Do you need anything for your pet?”
“There were some things left on the shuttle, but they assured me they would be delivered to my quarters. He has a litter pan, food bowls, and some other kitty essentials.”
She smiled. “He’s a cat, or feline. Sometimes they’re called kitties. Sugarbutt has been with me a long time and I couldn’t part with him. The council agreed he could travel with me. It would have broken my heart to abandon him at a shelter, and that’s what I would have had to do since there wasn’t time to find him a new family.”
“A place where people abandon animals they no longer want. If someone else doesn’t come along and adopt them, they’re put to sleep.”
He stared at her.
“They’re… killed.” Tears gathered in her eyes, but she blinked quickly to keep them from falling. “I couldn’t stand the thought of that happening to him. He’s been with me for six years and still has a long life ahead of him.”
Barimere nodded. “I understand. I’m glad you didn’t have to leave your pet behind. Perhaps he can give you comfort while you adjust to your new life. Welcome to Terran Prime, Jacie. I think you’ll enjoy living here.”
“There are half-Terran babies on Earth. Why do I need to live here if I don’t marry Myro?” she asked. “You make it sound like I’m never going back to Earth.”
“Your situation is different from theirs. The women with half-Terran babies on Earth are mated to Terran males, and those males are there to protect them. You would be on your own, and that could be dangerous for the child and you. The only way you’ll be allowed to return to Earth is if you take a mate who wishes to travel or move there.”
She sighed, a resigned expression on her face.
The feline let out a rumbling sound and rubbed against Barimere’s ankles. He stared at the beast and wondered why she liked the thing. He supposed it was affectionate, but he didn’t understand the compulsion to own something that was alive, other than possibly a plant. Plants didn’t fling undergarments at someone’s face.