It's release day for LOVED IN SPACE!! I am so excited for this one because some of my favourite people in the world have gotten together to write sexy scifi stories in their worlds and it's AWESOME!! But… it's TIME LIMITED!! Make sure to get your copy today before this wonderful anthology disappears forever!!
And, while I have you… here's a little sneak peak of my story in the Anthology, KISSED BY THE ALIEN MERCENARY!
He’d never seen anything as beautiful as the human females.
Saal J’Qess paused in his duties logging stats on a patient as the Lord Healer’s mate passed by with her mother, who held the baby princess in her arms. Lady Jessica offered him a small smile as she noticed him watching. He smiled back but her companion had already reclaimed her attention. They swept through the healer’s hall in a rustle of skirts, the melody of their voices and laughter a welcome balm for the warriors recovering there.
And for Saal as he followed at a discreet distance, checking on patients as he went. While not technically part of his duties, after volunteering at the hall for months the healers trusted him, and it freed them up for healing. So it was a win-win situation. He wasn’t complaining. He had time. Without family or a unit to belong to, his recreation hours were empty, and a male could only spend so many hours training.
Besides… his gaze followed the females as they turned into a private room… there were other advantages to being around the healer’s hall. He finished with the patient in the end bay, a warrior who’d sustained spinal injuries being kept sedated while he healed, and moved to the counter at the end to log all his results. Well, he meant to log them… instead his attention wandered to the open door.
It was the Lady Lizzie’s room—Lady Jessica’s litaan who was ill.
He’d seen her when she’d been brought in, pale and motionless in a stasis tube. At first he’d thought it was Jessica herself, that the purists who’d tried to kill her before had actually managed it. But the presence of the emperor’s shadow, the legendary assassin, had stopped him in his tracks. Eventually he’d gotten it out of a healer. It was Jessica’s sister and she was ill, very ill. Some type of human illness that meant she slept all the time.
And he found her far more beautiful than the Lady Jessica, even though the two women were identical litaan. There was just something about Lizzie—a softness Jessica didn’t have. At least in his eyes, and he’d spent many hours watching her during the long night shifts.
Making sure she was okay, he told himself firmly. Nothing more. He was a volunteer at the hall, so it was his duty to ensure all within its care were looked after. He ignored the fact that her room was the cleanest of all the ones he was assigned to and that he read to her at night when most of the healers had left for the evening—a book of children’s tales hidden in his daysack until everyone had gone. It might have just been his imagination but she seemed to rest easier when he read, none of the fractiousness she’d had in the weeks after she was first brought here.
Despite the fact that he was often in Lady Lizzie’s room, he kept his distance when the family were there, especially when he heard Lord Healer Laarn’s voice further back in the hall. Although the two had resolved their differences, during training and with Saal’s heartfelt apology for trying to claim Laarn’s mate, he was merely a J’Qess and nowhere near on the same standing in the empire.
Laarn nodded as he passed. The movement was curt but an acknowledgment nonetheless. Saal nodded back, trying to hide his curiosity at the tree Laarn carried. It was an Aathari, usually considered a weed and eradicated whenever it sprang up.
“Don’t ask,” the big healer ground out, trying and failing to get the thing through the door. “Apparently it’s ‘pretty’ and they want it in there for the Lady Lizzie.”
Saal raised an eyebrow.
“A little help here?” Laarn grunted.
Saal nodded, quickly taking the other side of the large tub the tree was in. Between them, the two warriors managed to struggle the recalcitrant weed into the room.
“Oh, it’s perfect,” Jessica smiled. “Just move it over a little so Lizzie can see it from the bed.”
Seeing the pleasure on their faces made struggling it through the door and almost getting his eye gouged out by a branch worth it. Saal grunted with effort as he and Laarn moved it into the required position. He didn’t point out that Lizzie was asleep and wouldn’t see it. In cases like this, it was whatever brought the family comfort.
“Thank you, love,” Jessica lifted on her tiptoes to kiss her mate. Saal looked away, not wanting to intrude on their moment. Then Jessica surprised him by turning to him as well.
“Thank you, Saal.” Then she reached up to kiss him on the cheek.
Draanth. He was so dead.
“Behave!” Jess chided to Laarn, tapping his arm warningly. “Saal is a friend. Humans show affection to their friends. It doesn’t mean I want to jump into bed with him.”
Saal didn’t know where to look. This was obviously a long-running argument with them. He swallowed the pleasure he felt at being named her friend and bowed his head. “You’re more than welcome, my lady. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have duties to attend to…”
He didn’t, but Laarn looked like he was about to explode or commit murder. He’d just as soon not be around for either.
“Please, if you have time…” Jessica stopped him with a hand on his arm, garnering another warning look and grumble from Laarn. “If there are any of those lights to spare. You know the ones… I’ve seen you tape them on the floor for the temporary bays? If you can find any for the tree, I’d be really grateful. Lizzie had a tree like this at home in the garden and put fairy lights in it.”
He inclined his head. There were some in the stores he could… liberate. Especially if it gave him an excuse to be in here more. “Of course, my lady. I’ll see what I can do.”
As he left the room, he couldn’t help overhearing Jess’ soft murmur to her mate. “It’s perfect… if only Lizzie would finally wake up and see it.”
Saal’s heart ached for her, for the love she felt for her sister as Laarn’s voice followed Saal out of the room. “We’re doing the best we can, my love. I promise.”
“I know…” Jess sighed in frustration. “Perhaps it’s not medicine. Perhaps we just need a prince to kiss her and wake her up.”