After her father’s death, Ricka Daniels is determined to leave the desolate mining colony on Rivean and return home. To Earth.
Too bad the cosmic universe has other plans.
It turns out fighting off the unwanted advances of a Klorthon warrior is a bad idea, especially when he is intent on selling her to a renegade band of slavers. When Synge Varlik, a Tarron hunter, intervenes and prevents her abduction, Ricka believes she is safe. She soon discovers the extremely hot and totally ripped alien’s idea of a rescue is trapping her aboard his ship and taking her to his home planet.
Synge is sworn to protect the inhabitants in his quadrant, including the human female whose mere presence taunts the animalistic side of his nature. In order to protect Ricka, he invokes an ancient rite—a warrior’s challenge to the death. He will protect her with his life and do anything necessary to keep the spirited woman alive, even if he has to kidnap her and claim her as his own to do it.
“Marry me.” Jimmy slurred the words and reached across the bar’s translucent gray counter.
Ricka took a step back, barely missing his grasp. She winced when he slumped over and smacked his head against the hard surface, knocking over his empty beer glass. Poor guy is going to have one heck of a headache and probably some bruising.
He wasn’t a threat, and she wasn’t angry. She actually felt bad for him. He’d arrived on Rivean less than six months ago, and the lonely miner’s existence was already getting to him. “Jimmy.” She poked his shoulder. “You okay?”
He moaned but didn’t move.
“Oh shit.” His friend Hank jumped out of a chair from one of the nearby tables and rushed up to the bar. He gave her an apologetic look. “Sorry. I think he’s had too much to drink. Again.” Grabbing a handful of Jimmy’s shirt, he pulled him to his feet and hooked a limp arm over his shoulder.
Jimmy lifted his head. “Did she say yes?”READ MORE
“No, bud. Come on, let’s get your sorry ass home,” Hank said.
“Do you want me to get the door for you?” Ricka asked.
“No, I’ve got it.” Hank took a few steps back and banged into a table, then stumbled a few times before he was able to stagger out the exit.
If she was paid for every marriage proposal she received in a week, she’d already have enough rivets to buy a one-way ticket back home. To Earth.
If everything went according to plan, she only had four more months of being ogled and groped in this run-down excuse for a bar before she reached her goal.
She’d been twelve when her mother died and her father decided to leave Earth and pursue an engineering career with the Rivean Mining Corporation. Life on the colony had been different, an adventure. An adventure that changed a year ago when her father had suffered a heart attack and died. According to the company’s legal representative, Brad Daniels’s death was six years short of his twenty-year contract, which meant she wouldn’t receive a single payout that would have been due on his retirement. Not unless she wanted to work in the mines and fulfill his commitment. Being claustrophobic, there was no way she could spend five minutes underground, let alone be willing to do it for several years.
She’d politely refused the job and been informed she had two days to vacate the company-owned housing. Thank God for Libby. If her friend hadn’t taken her in and convinced Orum, the Nexus Pub’s owner, to give her the bartender’s job, she wasn’t sure what she would have done.
Other than a handful of families, the planet was populated predominantly by men. With the scarcity of women, the colony officials had deemed it wise to create establishments catering to the sexual needs of the general populace. The pleasure houses, as the locals called them, had offered the only other jobs available.
As sleazy as her boss might be, this job beat making a living on her back or doing whatever kind of kinky things a few of the locals liked. She’d leave those exploits to the Ryhlarians, the alien women imported from the planet Ryhlara and schooled in the arts of sexually pleasing a man.
Ricka grabbed Jimmy’s discarded glass and swiped a damp cloth over the counter. Business was slow for the middle of the week, and fewer than ten miners from the late-night shift change occupied a couple of the tables. Most of the regulars had already returned home for the evening.
Libby sidled up to the bar and set her serving tray on the counter as she slid onto an empty stool. “I know we need the tips to get off this forsaken planet, but if the new guy on Marty’s crew smacks my ass one more time, I swear I’m going to hit him over the head with my tray.” She scowled at the man over her shoulder.COLLAPSE