Summer and the alien gua.., p.1
Summer and the Alien Guard (Intergalactic Brides 11), page 1
Summer and the Alien Guard (Intergalactic Brides 11)
Jessica Coulter Smith
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Copyright ©2017 Jessica Coulter Smith
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Table of Contents
Summer and the Alien Guard (Intergalactic Brides 11)
Jessica Coulter Smith
Summer and the Alien Guard (Intergalactic Brides 11)
Jessica Coulter Smith
When her family is evicted from their home, Summer knows things can’t get much worse. She blames herself. She should have done something sooner, but now it’s time for drastic measures. There’s only one thing left to do, even if it means tying her life to that of an alien. She drives straight to the Terran Station.
From the moment he first sees the young human step out of her car, Vordro is mesmerized. He’s never seen anyone so vibrant, so beautiful… or so troubled. He wants to be the answer to her prayers, even if he knows he’s too old for her. The thought of her mating with anyone other than him leaves a sour taste in his mouth. But moving Summer into his home proves to be far more temptation than he’s able to withstand.
When things get off the charts hot between them and Summer ends up pregnant, Vordro knows he’ll do anything to protect her and their unborn child -- even if it means defending her from her own family.
Summer watched as the last of her family’s possessions were carted out of their home and loaded onto a truck. If she’d known things were this bad, she might have been able to act sooner, but her parents had never said a word about the bank foreclosing on their property or that they would literally lose everything but their clothes. She didn’t know where they were going, or how they would survive. They’d even lost all but her beat-up Toyota, an ancient car even the bank didn’t want. At twenty, she should be worrying about college. Not whether or not she’d be eating tonight.
There was only one thing she knew to do, and her parents weren’t going to be happy about it. She’d mentioned the bride program once before, and her father had shot down her idea. She’d known that money was tight, but she hadn’t realized how tight until now. If she’d known, she wouldn’t have listened to her dad and would have joined the program anyway. She’d heard they paid well if you signed up.
“We’ll stay with Aunt Martha tonight,” her dad said. “And then we’ll figure something out tomorrow.”
“I need to run some errands after we go to Aunt Martha’s,” Summer said. “I probably won’t return until dinner or later.”
Her father nodded absently as he loaded their meager belongings into the trunk. The drive to her aunt’s house was quiet and gave Summer time to think. She dropped off her parents, then drove straight to the Terran Station. When she pulled into the parking lot, she smoothed her hair and wished she’d stopped to put on makeup and maybe change her clothes. She smoothed on a little gloss, then took a breath before stepping out of her car.
As she approached the station, a tall Terran opened the door for her. She smiled her thanks and stopped at the reception desk. The woman there was on the phone, so Summer waited patiently. There was warmth at her back, and she looked over her shoulder, and up. The same Terran who had opened the door for her was now standing extremely close. She wondered if maybe she looked like someone who was about to go postal on the place.
“I promise I’m not here to cause trouble,” she said.
“I’d be happy to escort you to your destination. Are you here to meet with someone?” he asked.
“I need to sign up for the bride program.”
He studied her. “Interesting choice of words.”
“Excuse me?” She didn’t think she’d said anything wrong. Maybe he hadn’t understood her?
“You said need. Not want.”
She licked her lips. “I meant want.”
“We only take serious inquiries for the bride program. If you aren’t entering it for the right reasons, you might as well turn around and go home.”
Tears misted her eyes. “I can’t.”
His gaze softened, and he placed a hand on her waist, guiding her away from the desk. He motioned for her to take a seat and he hunkered down in front of her, the leather of his pants creaking from the movement.
“Why don’t you start by telling me what’s wrong,” he said. “And then we’ll go from there.”
“I said I need to sign up for the bride program because it’s my only hope. My family was evicted from our home today, and all our possessions were taken as well to pay off creditors. All we have are some clothes and a few pairs of shoes. My father works hard, but it’s not enough. I don’t know how else to help them.” A tear slipped down her cheek as she looked down at her lap. “Please don’t send me away.”
He reached out and gently took her hand. “I’m not going to make you leave, but I don’t think the bride program is the right choice for you.”
“I don’t know what else to do. I can’t keep a job no matter how hard I try. No one will hire me. I even saw one manager tear up my application as I exited the store.”
“Are you hungry? Or maybe you’d like some coffee?” he asked.
“I don’t think I could eat if I tried. I’m not a big coffee drinker, but I like hot chocolate.”
The Terran rose to his full height and pulled her up. “Come on. We’ll see if the café has hot chocolate.”
She let him lead her through the station to a food court area. He settled her at a table before walking off. Summer looked around and noticed several of the Terrans were watching her with interest. Would it be like that on their world, if she were to sign up for the program?
When the Terran returned, he had two cups in his hands. He gave her one with a smile and then claimed the chair next to her. She was amazed he could fit his long legs
“I’m Summer,” she said as she took a sip of her drink.
“It’s nice to meet you, Summer. My name is Vordro. Now, why don’t we talk a little about your problem and see if we can come up with a solution other than the bride program.”
“Since I’m assuming the only reason you were signing up for the program is to help your family, I get the feeling marriage isn’t something you’re really ready for right now. You seem young.”
“I’m twenty.” Her chin shot up. “I’m not a child.”
His lips twitched as if he fought a smile. “I’m thirty-five, which almost makes me old enough to be your father. On my world, males can start a family as early as sixteen years old. I believe the legal age here is eighteen.”
“So, you’re an adult by Earth’s standards, which is good if you decide to proceed with your plan. What are you going to do when you’re on another world and never see your family again?”
She felt herself pale a little. She’d known she’d have to leave Earth, but she hadn’t really thought about never seeing her parents again. They’d always been close, or so she’d thought. With her parents hiding their financial difficulties from her, she had to wonder if maybe they still saw her as a burden and not someone who could help. She’d have taken a job to help with the expenses, even if she couldn’t seem to hold onto one more than a week or two. Being punctual was not her strong suit.
“Never?” she asked.
“It’s possible your mate would bring you here for a visit, but it wouldn’t be often. You’d have to assimilate to our ways. There’s only one restaurant on my world that serves Earth cuisine. You’d have to learn to like Terran food. Do you think you could do that?”
“I don’t know,” she answered truthfully. “I guess I didn’t think of anything other than helping my family.”
“Your parents both work?” he asked.
“No, just my dad.”
“So, knowing you were having problems, your mother didn’t offer to get a job in order to help, and yet you feel the need to bail them out?”
She shrugged. “Mom hasn’t worked since I was born. It’s always been her job to take care of us and the house. As long as she’s been without a job, I’m not sure she’d have gotten hired anywhere.”
“If you’re determined to go through with this, to apply to the bride program, I won’t stop you. But there is an application process, and you would have to be selected in order to go to my world. And even then, the financial reward wouldn’t be enough to bail your family out for long.”
“I don’t know what to do.” Summer sighed and looked around. “Why is there a bride program? Do you not like your own women?”
The Terran tilted his head to study her. “You know nothing of my world or why my people are here?”
“No. I’m sure it was on the news or something, but I was still in high school when you came to our world. I’m afraid I didn’t pay much attention at the time.”
“There are very few women on my world. And the last generation who mated with Terran females produced only male offspring. We had to look outside our world for mates, and Earth women seem to appeal to us the most. There are other alien species out there who are compatible, but very few of my kind have selected them as brides.” He took a sip of his drink. “Could you see yourself mated to one of us?”
“I guess I don’t understand the question. If you say we’re compatible, you must be like human men except your coloring.” Her cheeks flushed.
“Have you ever seen a naked male?” he asked, his lips twitching in amusement.
“Of course, I have.” She tipped her chin up. “Plenty of them.”
He chuckled, and she knew he didn’t believe a word she was saying. She nibbled her lower lip and took a swallow of her hot chocolate. Who was she kidding? She’d not only never seen a naked guy before, but she’d barely even been kissed. Why would one of the handsome aliens want her? She tried not to stare and looked everywhere but at Vordro. She’d never seen a man who looked like him before and not because of his coloring. He reminded her a little of her long-time celebrity crush, Adrien Brody, just with more muscles.
“So, what was your backup plan?” he asked.
“I didn’t have one.”
“What type of jobs have you had in the past?”
“Fast-food places, a laundromat, answering phones at a hotel. I have this problem with getting places on time, so my jobs never last very long. My car isn’t very dependable, and it takes me a little while to get it cranked sometimes.” She shrugged. “I do my best, but employers want more.”
“Do you know how to cook and clean?” he asked.
“I’m not a gourmet chef, but I know my way around a kitchen. I can make simple things, and I’m good at following a recipe.”
“I have a house on the other side of town. It’s not overly large, I don’t think, but I could use some help. I work a lot of hours here, and when I get home, I don’t feel much like cleaning. And I haven’t quite grasped cooking human food just yet.”
She sat up a little straighter. “You want to hire me to take care of your house and cook for you?”
“It’s a little more than that. I would like to have a live-in housekeeper. I would expect you also to eat whatever you cooked, and I would provide a room for you. Whatever salary we agree upon you could use however you wished.”
“You mean I could help my family.” She bit her lip. It was a tempting offer. “When would I start?”
Her eyes widened. It wasn’t much time to think it over, but she wasn’t certain when she’d get a better offer. She’d never lived away from home before, but she didn’t think the alien would hurt her. He seemed kind, even if his bulging biceps did look like he could snap her in two if he wished to do so.
“What do you say, Summer? Will you come work for me?” he asked.
“What about when you start dating or get married? Your new wife won’t want me underfoot anymore.”
Amusement flared in his eyes. “I’ve been on your world for years without finding a mate. I don’t believe I will find one anytime soon. I honestly don’t have time to search for one. I spend most of my time here.”
For some reason, it pleased her that there wouldn’t be a future Mrs. Vordro anytime soon. Not that a guy like him would ever look at her romantically. She was thankful for the opportunity he was giving her. Only an idiot would turn him down, but she wondered what her parents would say about it. Maybe if they knew she was doing it for them… Her dad tended to be overprotective, and she knew he would worry about her safety.
“I’m off duty today,” Vordro said. “I was merely helping out on my off day, but if you would like to come work for me, I will follow you so your parents can meet me.”
“You’d do that?”
He nodded. “If I had a young daughter moving in with a strange male, I would want to meet him. Besides, you might need help getting your things loaded into your car.”
“I don’t have much,” she admitted. “Just one small bag.”
He frowned but didn’t say anything. Instead, he stood and held out a hand to her. Summer slid her fingers against his and let him haul her to her feet. A thrill ran through her at his touch, but she tried to tamp down the feelings. No sense getting a crush on her new boss, but it was going to be hard not to have any fantasies about him.
Summer followed him out to the parking lot, and he held open her car door for her. Once she was buckled, she pulled out of the parking space and then waited near the entrance for Vordro. A large, black SUV pulled up behind her, and a lavender hand waved to her out of the driver’s-side window. She pulled forward and drove to her aunt’s house.
She had no idea how her family would react to Vordro, or her new job, but she hoped like hell they didn’t embarrass her. Her aunt had a small home on a barely respectable street in the older part of tow
She pulled up to the curb in front of the one-story home and waved to her family, gathered on the front porch. If she’d wanted time to come up with a compelling argument about her new job, she was out of luck. Summer got out of her car, wincing as the door creaked when she shut it. Vordro had pulled up behind her and was now walking her way, his long legs eating up the ground. He paused beside her, his presence somehow comforting.
“Is that your family?” he asked with a nod toward the house.
“Yes. And let me just apologize up front for anything they may say or do. I promise they weren’t raised in a zoo, but sometimes they act like poo-slinging monkeys.”
His lips quirked up on one side. “Noted.”
He placed a hand on her lower back as they made their way up the cracked walkway. Her father stood as they drew nearer. His eyes narrowed in distrust at Vordro, and Summer had a feeling she was about to have a fight on her hands. Her father didn’t do well with change and didn’t particularly like anyone who wasn’t just like him. It had embarrassed her on more than one occasion over the years.
“What’s he doing here?” her dad barked. “We don’t want his kind here.”
Her cheeks flamed, and she looked up at Vordro with an apology on her lips, but it died the moment she saw the look in his eyes. He looked fierce, every bit the warrior he was, and for a moment she worried he might go after her father. Attacking a Terran was not the smartest move, but she’d never claimed her father had much of a brain. He could be really sweet to his family, but he lacked common sense.
“Dad, this is Vordro. We met at the Terran Station, and I’m going to be living with him.”
Her father’s face turned purple, and he barreled off the porch. “Like hell! No daughter of mine is moving in with one of them.”
by Jessica Coulter Smith / Romance / Young Adult / Science Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes