Hunter Forbidden

Book Cover: Hunter Forbidden

A cowboy on Tarron? Unbelievable.

Nyssa Dakros, potential hunter in training and dignitary escort, was tired of dealing with males who were only interested in her because of her family’s high-ranking status. And she absolutely refused—no matter how much a male persisted—to be claimed by one that wasn’t her destined mate. An annoying situation made worse by her mother’s interference and constant insistence that she choose from a group of undesirable men.

When the circumstances surrounding the recent attacks on the vessels delivering ore from Rivean heat up, Dawson Walker, a quadrant security contractor, finds himself protecting the Earth ambassador on Tarron. The last thing he expected was to have an exasperating—trouble seems to follow everywhere—woman fall into his arms…literally.

Rescued from a forced claiming attempt, Nyssa discovers the gorgeous human male who saved her is also her mate. How can she explain to someone who doesn’t understand or experience the primal instincts and urges of her people that he is meant to be with her forever?

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This is not acceptable. There were many things in Nyssa’s life that weren’t acceptable, but having to deal with a malfunctioning transport was currently the worst.

“Shit,” she growled, using one of the many curse words she’d learned from the virtual she’d borrowed from Libby, her brother Erak’s human mate. She swept her fingers over the transport control panel, glaring at the display as if a visual threat would help. Nothing. She repeated her efforts two more times, her frustration and temper flaring with each swipe. Still nothing. No revving to life, no sensors activating, no movement whatsoever.

She groaned and smacked the panel, wishing she’d been allowed to use her own transport instead of this outdated piece of…oh yes, crap, another one of her favorite human words.

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Being a Tarron, she’d spent her entire life on her home planet and had always wanted to visit Earth. The culture, the terminology, and the unique sayings, or rather slang, had always captivated her. Her favorite virtuals were the ones Libby called “Westerns.”

The males Libby referred to as cowboys were dangerous and always looked so damned sexy wearing the unusual hats with wide brims, boots, and tight pants. Even though the pants, known as jeans, had a way of accentuating their asses and made her mouth water, the hat held the most appeal.

Nyssa knew the virtuals either depicted imaginary viewings the humans had once called movies, or real events from Earth’s past. Libby had assured her that cowboys were rare but still existed in remote places on her planet. Nyssa had often fantasized about what she’d do with one of the males if she ever met one. Fantasies that involved both of them being naked.

Shaking herself for letting her mind wander, she returned her attention to the unresponsive display. At least the vehicle hadn’t broken down until after she’d finished escorting Alayna, the daughter of one of the visiting dignitaries, and returned her to the temporary guest quarters. She enjoyed spending time with the young Ledorrion nearing her eighteenth year. She reminded Nyssa of herself when she was that age, though she didn’t remember her flirtatious ways causing nearly the problems Alayna’s did.

Still innocent when it came to dealing with Tarron males, Alayna hadn’t understood what would happen when she vied for the attention of two at the same time. Both were friends, entering their early twenties, and not totally in control of their hormonally driven sexual urges yet. Nyssa was thankful they’d been in a public area. One frequented by other, older males who’d interceded and stopped the fight before any blood was shed.

Thinking about the chastising lecture she would have received from Alayna’s father if she’d been harmed made Nyssa shudder. The male was insufferably rude, arrogant, and very influential. If he learned about what happened, she would be blamed. He might insist she no longer be allowed to escort Alayna and, if he was irate enough, insist Nyssa be removed from her job. Not that she believed Ryos Davenger, commander of the hunter complex, would actually get rid of her, but he was dealing with other pressures and didn’t need the added stress.

Those pressures were the reason she’d been given the vehicle in the first place. The entire hunter command facility was on high-security lockdown. Over the last few months, several of the dryterron ore shipments leaving Rivean had been attacked, the crews killed, the ore stolen from the cargo bays, and the vessels set adrift. The council governing interplanetary trades had ordered the hunters, the quadrant law enforcers, to provide defensive support and put an end to the attacks. Decisive measures were taken, and the council initiated plans for a conference to be held with the dignitary representatives from all the planets that relied on the ore as a fuel source.

Tarron was not a consumer of the ore, making it a neutral location. Because of their technologically advanced security protocols, the hunter command facility located near Madradie, the planet’s largest city, was chosen to host the discussions. Ryos wasn’t pleased with the choice, but had reluctantly agreed to the council’s decision.

In order to prevent potential death threats or the use of explosive devices to harm the visiting officials, Ryos had ramped up security for the entire facility. All personal vehicles were kept in a secure location far from the launch area and arriving vessels.

Anyone escorting or working with the visiting dignitaries and ambassadors had been ordered to use a vehicle from one of the heavily guarded, and regularly inspected, fleet of transports. Each vehicle was equipped with special systems designed for tracking and the ability to detect any tampering done to the control system.

Considering the layout of the buttons and lack of current design modifications on the display, Nyssa guessed the antiquated vehicle she’d been assigned had to be older than her twenty-six years of life. It was too bad all the new, actually working models had already been assigned based on priority. Babysitting a dignitary’s offspring didn’t qualify as important and ranked Nyssa at the bottom of the list.

If she’d officially been classified as a hunter and not as someone who’d only undergone the training, she might have qualified for a better vehicle. Ryos had hired her to work with the dignitaries and royals who regularly visited Tarron. Having dignitaries as parents, she was well equipped to deal with the high-ranking elite from numerous planets. Most of the time, she enjoyed the position. Other times, like today, she understood why her brother Erak, a hunter for many years, had hated being assigned escort duties and had gladly let her replace him.

Nyssa slumped back into the stiff pilot seat. She puffed out her frustration and stared out the viewing pane. The lot for parking transports was to her left, and the long row of individual buildings specifically designed for off-world guests was on her right. The colors of the smooth rock exteriors ranged from light to deeper, darker shades of gray. The single-level structures varied in size, some larger than others to accommodate the needs and size of the visiting parties.

If she wasn’t already running late and required to return the assigned vehicle to the other side of the facility, she’d abandon the piece of useless metal and walk.

Tarrons were descended from warriors, and their females were taught from an early age to be strong and self-reliant. She knew if she contacted Erak, he wouldn’t refuse to provide assistance. Of course, she’d have to endure one of his brotherly lectures, and after already suffering through a challenging day, she quickly decided to handle things herself.

She slammed her palm on the pad to release the lock, then shoved on the door and exited the vehicle. Reaching into the concealed compartment behind the seat, she sifted through the contents until she found the emergency repair tools. This should work. She retrieved a medium-sized metal cylinder with a sharp point on one end. Circling to the front of the transport, she activated the sensor and waited for the panel protecting the operation system to retract.

Nyssa excelled at mechanical complexities. After a quick inspection of the power grid, she determined a loose connection wasn’t the source of the problem. Curious by nature, and to the disappointment of her mother, she’d spent a considerable amount of time during her youth taking things apart and rebuilding them to discover how they worked.

Sometimes a strategically positioned tap to the console was all these older models needed to fix the problem. She raised her arm and concentrated on the spot she wanted to hit.

“Do you need some help?” Startled by the male voice coming from behind her, she stopped her hand inches from its target. There was a deep, smooth quality to his words, and unless her universal translator implant was in need of repair, his dialect was different from any she’d encountered before.

Great. Another male who thinks I am helpless. “No, I am fine, thank you,” Nyssa answered without turning around. She didn’t have time to waste discussing the best way to hurry her repairs. If she didn’t leave soon, she would be late for her scheduled meeting with Lyna and their evening out. She still needed to obtain her own transport before returning home to clean and change.

With all the security, and given their proximity to the guest quarters, she figured he had to be a staff member, and wasn’t worried about her safety. If she was wrong and he tried anything, the tool she held would work well as a weapon.

“Are you sure? Because I…” He moved closer, his body blocking the late-afternoon sun and casting a shadow on the console.

“I do not wish to be rude, but I am running late.” Nyssa continued to ignore him and raised her arm to strike again. “I am quite capable of fixing the problem myself.”

Fingers, firm yet gentle, curled around her wrist, stopping her from hitting the panel. “Darlin’, that’s an expensive piece of equipment you’re fixin’ to destroy.”

Fighting back the urge to smack the interfering male, she yanked her hand free. “I said…” She spun and came face-to-face with the sexiest human male she’d ever seen. For the first time ever, words escaped her, and all she could do was gawk with her mouth hanging open.

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