Read A Kiss For a Cure Online

Authors: Sidney Bristol

A Kiss For a Cure

 

Cover Copy

 

What’s a girl to do when her parents gift her with a man for Christmas?

 

Caught between two kingdoms, Jordan has given up the privileged world of intergalactic court life to become an interstellar biologist researching space sharks. Unexpectedly saddled with a husband from a race who are rumored to be sex fiends, her life is yanked in a direction she doesn’t want.

But Cai isn't human and he must have the emotional feedback of a mate in order to survive. Charged with protecting Jordan, can he win her heart and keep her safe from harm? 

Will they survive the challenges that arise…sexual, emotional and political? Time is ticking away and it’s not on their side.

A Lyrical Press Science Fiction Romance

 

 

 

Highlight

 

 

Her pulse rate ratcheted up until her heart threatened to break out of her chest. Tiny lights spaced around the lip of the box flickered to life, faintly illuminating the inside. She could see something moving inside. Something that wasn’t small or fuzzy.

“Oh, shark bait,” she said on a whoosh of breath.

She sat down hard as fingers appeared in the space between the box and lid. Hydraulics squealed as a large, masculine hand forced it to lift faster. The golden skin stretched over the knuckles, and veins stood out against the back of the hand, down to the wrist.

Inch by inch, a pair of sculpted, muscular arms were revealed. The top was forced aside on rolling tracks. A man sat up, his body in profile. He sucked in a deep breath and dark, shoulder length hair fell over his face, disguising his features. Her cheeks heated despite the detached scientist in her clinically dissecting his body. And she could see a lot of it. If he wore clothing, it would have to cover his lower body, because Jordan didn’t see a stitch on him.

 

 

 

Kiss For a Cure

By Sidney Bristol

 

 

 

Dedication

 

For my Mom and Dad, who never thought to tell me I was different.

 

Acknowledgments

 

This book would not have happened without many hours of Shark Week on loop. Thank you to Team Awesome, who smiled and nodded through my babbling about made-up science. Jodie, Alice, Suzan, Carolyn, Jessica, Linda and Rebekah, you are the best support group I could have asked for. Thanks to all my Divas and WriteChat peeps. Lea, you stepped in at the end and gave me that final push. Without all of the above, this book would have remained an idea.

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Christmas presents were not supposed to move.

Jordan froze, staring at the seven-foot-long box wrapped in silvery paper. The one sent by her parents. Her heart pounded so hard she could hear it. No, that pounding came from the box. From inside the box.

Blood drained from her extremities. Her chest constricted until she panted for breath.

What had her parents done this time? She clenched her hands and gritted her teeth. In the history of bad, over-the-top and gaudy presents, she feared this might be the worst.

She turned her back on it and put a hand to her stomach. She needed to sit down, preferably on something soft and forgiving, but her furniture had yet to be delivered. The only furniture in her new quarters was her bed. Everything else was packed up in the utilitarian beige plastos she’d purchased secondhand from a shipper to get her things to university. They showed their age with scrapes and dented sides, but they were so sturdy nothing had ever been broken in moving them from place to place. Plastos were stacked against the walls, in groupings in the middle of the floor, and in her bedroom. Everywhere. Her new quarters looked like a cargo hold.

Again, the pounding came from the box, but louder. She jumped and spun to face the box. Whatever was in there wanted out. She leaned against the wall and stared at the silvery paper. Light from the floor-to-ceiling windows made glimmering patterns against the surface of the package. She could escape the room, since her upgraded quarters had a real bedroom and a kitchenette, but whatever was in the box would still be there.

Sucking in a deep breath, she crept toward it until she could touch the top with her fingertips. It was cool against her skin, even through the paper. Bending, she put her ear against it and gently rapped. The box rang hollow.

Maybe she’d heard something in the Center clanging. There was always the chance there was construction going on over the holidays since most people were away for several weeks. Or maybe one of her plastos had fallen.

Something knocked from inside the box.

“Oh crap,” she muttered. A sense of dread settled in her stomach. What was she going to do? What had her parents saddled her with this time?

She jumped as more pounding reverberated through her new quarters. Her fingers and toes froze over from all the blood rushing straight to her head. As much as she wanted to ignore this new problem, it wasn’t going away on its own.

Dropping to her knees, she reached for the nearest end of the package. She ran her fingers along the folds, breaking the adhesive. The paper came off in long strips, revealing an almost seamless steel box. The gleaming surface revealed nothing about the contents. Rising to her feet, she pressed a hand to her stomach. She had a bad feeling about this. This was not a shipping plasto. It was a stasis chamber. She’d never seen one this close before. They were an outdated form of long distance space travel. You laid down for a nap, a polite attendant stowed you on the ship and you woke up at your destination. People used these. Or at least humanoid races. She circled the chamber on wobbly legs. On the other side, she found a keypad with two buttons. One was red, the other green.

“Please be something small and fuzzy,” she whispered, squeezing her eyes shut. If she’d ever believed in old St. Nick, now would be the time for him to listen to her wishes.

She pushed the green button. The discharge of a self-contained atmosphere hissed and the whir of the hydraulics followed as the top of the box began to rise, ever so slowly.

Her pulse rate ratcheted up until her heart threatened to break out of her chest. Tiny lights spaced around the lip of the box flickered to life, faintly illuminating the inside. She could see something moving inside. Something that wasn’t small or fuzzy.

“Oh, shark bait,” she said on a whoosh of breath.

She sat down hard as fingers appeared in the space between the box and lid. Hydraulics squealed as a large, masculine hand forced it to lift faster. The golden skin stretched over the knuckles, and veins stood out against the back of the hand, down to the wrist.

Inch by inch, a pair of sculpted, muscular arms were revealed. The top was forced aside on rolling tracks. A man sat up, his body in profile. He sucked in a deep breath and dark, shoulder length hair fell over his face, disguising his features. Her cheeks heated despite the detached scientist in her clinically dissecting his body. And she could see a lot of it. If he wore clothing, it would have to cover his lower body, because Jordan didn’t see a stitch on him.

His head whipped around to face her, black, bottomless eyes drawing her in. He was handsome. Strong-boned features, eyes that flashed with expression and a sculpted chest no surgeon could grant. Jordan’s body heated as she wondered what it would be like to kiss him, and immediately her cheeks burned at the thought. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had an immediate, physical reaction to a man.

“Bathroom?”

Blinking, her gaze dropped from his eyes to his lips. “What?”

“Where’s the bathroom? I’m seriously about to piss myself.”

She pointed at the only two doors besides the entrance. “On the right.” Her voice came out in a high-pitched squeak that could have rivaled a dolphin’s cackling laugh.

“Bless you.” Planting his hands on either side of the box, he lifted out of the chamber. Light, cream-colored pants hung low on his hips. Unsteady on his feet, he stumbled against a stack of plastos and knocked the top one off before he found his balance and hurried into the bathroom.

Jordan’s brain refused to process the last few moments. Her parents could not have bought her a…a…man. That was silly. What would she need one for?

She straightened the overturned plasto and picked up her forgotten breakfast. Eating was the last thing on her mind. Her thoughts ran in circles, around and around the box but refused to confront the reality of what had happened. Sane people did not receive men in boxes for Christmas from their parents.

Her stomach clenched and her head throbbed.

This couldn’t be happening to her.

Retreating to the kitchenette, she stared at two plastos stacked in front of the trash bin. Pulling the top off one, she stared at her small collection of pots and pans. Picking up a skillet, she stowed it in an empty cabinet. She dropped the pastry into the trash and went through the motions of unpacking more of her things. She could pretend the last ten minutes hadn’t happened. Hell, it would be easiest to imagine this day hadn’t started at all, and this was some kind of twisted dream. This was not the way she’d wanted her Christmas vacation to start.

Behind her, the bathroom door depressurized. A chill crept up her spine.

“Oh
reshaun
.” The masculine voice wrapped around her, making her all too aware of the fact that they were alone. He sighed in what seemed to be relief. Heck, if she’d been trapped in a shipping container, even one meant for human space travel, she’d be relieved to get out. But why was he getting out here?

The soft slap of feet padding across the floor was the only sound in the room. She held a stack of bowls and stared at the burnished steel cabinets. Her breaths were shallow and short, and her lungs screamed for oxygen. Already a tingling sensation was spreading down through her body from her skull. Muscles locked into place, preventing her from fleeing. She hadn’t panicked this much since her junior dives in real water.

“Here, let me help you.” Warm breath fanned across her neck.

She yelped, spun away from the stranger and bounced off the adjacent wall. The bowls clattered to the floor. Planting her back against the cabinets, she forced herself to lift her chin and meet the gaze of a very startled man. His eyes opened wide, brows lifted almost to his hairline. He backed away from her, his hands raised, palms out.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.” His voice licked across her senses like tropical water, warm and smooth. The corners of his mouth kicked up into a smile, and her stomach flip-flopped. “Just trying to help.”

“What are you doing here?” she blurted out.

He tilted his head to the side and gestured toward the stasis chamber. “The life support seems to have had a malfunction. I believe the plan was for me to stay suspended for two weeks. Unless today is Christmas.” He glanced around the room, no doubt noticing the lack of holiday cheer. There were no presents hanging from the ceiling, no Yule log, tree or cookies to nibble on.

“Uh, no. You’re early.” Licking her lips, she bent and picked up the bowls. She didn’t like that he was attractive or how she noticed every little detail about him. The hairlessness of his chest, for example. There was no sparse covering of dark hair, or a trail below his navel, that disappeared under the pants that were precariously hanging from his hips. “Seriously, what are you doing here? Why did I get a…a man, in a box?”

“I have a name, you know?” He tipped his head back and shook his hair. He produced an elastic band that looked suspiciously like one of hers, and raked his hair back into a ponytail. His arms flexed with the movement, displaying valleys and peaks. His small, brown nipples were tight puckered beads on his chest. “Want to know my name?”

Anger sparked deep within her. Who was he to land in the middle of her life when things were finally shaping up? Why couldn’t her parents leave her alone? “Are you going to be here long enough for me to need to know?” She jerked a random cabinet open and shoved the bowls inside.

“Did you mean to put those in the freezer?” He cocked his head to the side, an infuriating smile pulling at the corner of his mouth.

Opening the door, she grabbed the bowls and slammed them down on the counter. Leave it to her parents to complicate her life in less than five minutes.

Her unwanted visitor leaned against the cooking unit and crossed his impressive arms. If anything he seemed amused. It didn’t help he was possibly the most attractive man she’d ever seen. Or that he was half-naked.

“Fine, what should I call you?” She planted her hands on her hips. “A transport?”

He chuckled and rubbed his hands down his arms. “You may call me Cai. And you are Jordan, correct?”

She nodded.

“I must confess,” he said slowly, “this wasn’t how I expected you to respond.”

“How am I supposed to respond to learning my parents have given me a person for Christmas? I’m sorry, but I’m at a loss for how to react, or what to think.”

“Hmm.” Cai’s brows drew down into a line. He turned to glance at his former prison. “I assumed you would’ve had some kind of warning.”

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