Doctor. Hero. Alien.
Time is running out. Victoria Mathers has tried everything. Her daughter has a rare cancer that hasn’t responded to any of the treatments human medicine has to offer. If she can’t convince the sexy alien doctor to help her, she knows she’ll watch her child die. Victoria will do anything to save her daughter, even if it means bonding with an alien for the rest of her life.
Per Earth’s rules, Xonos isn’t allowed to treat humans, unless they’re one of the new human-alien pairs. However, looking at the small human child who is obviously suffering tears at his heart. It’s been his life’s work to save people, and he isn’t sure he can stand by and watch an innocent child die when he might be able to help.
What starts as a simple arrangement quickly turns into something more as Xonos and Victoria grow closer. It isn’t long before she realizes that she yearns for his touch and she wants so much more from him than he may be willing to give. Love was never mentioned when they struck their bargain, but now she’ll settle for nothing less.
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2015 Jessica Coulter Smith
Xonos felt his frustration building. The entire situation was a mess, but it was out of his hands. When he’d asked to transfer to Earth, he hadn’t realized his healing abilities would be restricted. Earth’s government had been adamant that he only treat Terran patients. Terran. What a laugh. His planet had chosen the name to make them seem more human and less of a threat. His planet’s true name was Zelthrane-3, but once lifeforms similar to his people had been discovered on Earth, a rather primitive planet, they had studied every aspect of Earth and its inhabitants. It was discovered through extensive research that Earth women would be viable for carrying Zelthranite babies, so his planet’s ruling council had then changed Zelthrane-3 to Terran, in the hope it would put the humans at ease when contact was made.
“Please,” the woman begged. “None of the treatments available on Earth have been able to cure her, or even slow down the progress of the disease. I know you can help her.” Xonos looked at the small child clutched in her arms. The little girl was deathly pale, as if she’d succumb to her disease at any moment. Her hair was thin and brittle, her body nearly skeletal. Xonos’ heart ached when he looked at her, knowing it was within his power to ease her suffering even if he couldn’t save her, yet being unable to because of diplomatic bullshit. It wasn’t the first time Victoria Mathers had come to plead for his help, and definitely not the first time he’d noticed her, but it was the first time she’d brought her daughter. Eyes that should have been full of life stared at him with a tired acceptance that no child should feel.
“I wish I could help you, truly I do, but your government is adamant that I not treat human patients. If she was half-Terran, or even related to one of the human-Terran pairs, then I could do something.”
“I applied to be a bride in the exchange program, but they turned me down.” Victoria licked her lips and shifted the frail body in her arms. “They claimed none of your warriors would want to be saddled with a sick child.”
“You need to understand that I can’t cure everything. One of our captains recently lost his mate. Her cancer had spread too rapidly. As sick as your daughter is, it’s possible I wouldn’t be able to help her. Ease her suffering, yes. Cure her, I’m not certain. So if you tried to enter the bride program only as a way to help her, it might have been in vain. Then you would have been stuck on Terran with a mate you never wanted. That wouldn’t be fair to you or the warrior who chose you.”
Tears pooled in her eyes, but she blinked them back. He could tell she wanted to argue; it was shown in the stubborn tilt of her chin. Xonos truly wished he could give her good news. It had to break her heart, watching her child suffer, slowly getting worse, inching closer and closer to death’s door. But unless Victoria convinced a Terran male to buck the authority of the council and bond with her, she was out of options. He supposed he could understand Earth’s reasoning behind their decision. If he helped this child, thousands of humans would abandon their doctors to seek his aid. At the same time, however, he couldn’t understand a world that would doom a child to die when help was available.
Victoria’s breasts rose and fell in an enticing way when she huffed out a breath. She really was a rather attractive woman, despite the worry and fear in her eyes. She’d make some warrior a fine mate, if she could get someone to agree to bond with her. Despite the fact Xonos had to control his body every time she was near, he wasn’t in the market for a mate. Not even one as pretty as Victoria.
“I believe you have an Earth expression,” he said. “My hands are tied. Unless you mate with a Terran male, there isn’t anything I can do for you.”
“But no one would want me.” Her lips trembled. “I have precious little time. Even if I were to apply for the program again, the time it would take…” She shook her head.
“Then you need to circumvent the program.” Xonos crossed his arms. “I truly want to help your daughter and you, but we’re at an impasse. You have to mate with a Terran for me to give you any assistance, so I would suggest that you dress in something other than that baggy outfit and try to snag yourself a warrior. We can be a compassionate lot, so your sick daughter may actually be to your advantage.”
Her eyes sparked and her nostrils flared. Through pinched lips she hissed at him. “Do you honestly think I would just whore myself out?”
He shrugged. “I wouldn’t think of it in those terms. The warrior would gain a mate and future children; you would gain the life of your daughter. Think of it as an agreement instead of a marriage if you wish. I’ve studied Earth enough to know that humans have married for less.”
Like for sex. You could mate with her for sex. He gave himself a mental slap. He was not mating with her, for sex or otherwise. Xonos had seen the horror Reyvor went through when he lost his mate, and he wasn’t in a hurry to put himself in that position. Not even for someone as tempting as Victoria. Not even if he had started dreaming of her and her creamy skin practically every night.
“You’re an insensitive asshole.” She cuddled her daughter closer.
Xonos sighed. “Give me some time. I might be able to find someone for you. There’s a warrior here, Thrace, who has been eagerly seeking a mate. He may not mind that you already have a child and might want a mate bad enough to fight our government to keep you. But as I said, there’s a chance I won’t be able to save her.”
Victoria smoothed her daughter’s hair. “But you could take the pain away?”
He nodded. “That much I’m sure I could do.”
“Then it will be worth it. I would give everything I have, even myself, just to give her a moment of peace.” Tears streaked her cheeks. “She’s the most precious thing in the world to me, and I would gladly die in her place if I could.”
Xonos hoped it wouldn’t come to that, that he could cure her daughter if given the chance and with a bit of help from Syl, but he didn’t want to give her false hope. It would be cruel to promise her something he might not be able to deliver.
It pricked his conscience that she might not be a good mate if her daughter died, and he wouldn’t wish that on any warrior, but he didn’t know how else to help her. He’d thought, at one time, that he wanted a mate. Someone to share his life with, to love. And then he’d watched Reyvor’s mate die. He didn’t want to go through that pain, not now, not ever.
He watched the woman turn and walk away, her shoulders hunched as if she felt the weight of the world pressing down on her, and perhaps she did. He wasn’t certain he could help her, but Thrace was a good place to start…