Alien Romance: The Barbarian's Owned: Scifi Alien Abduction Romance (Alien Romance, Alien Invasion Romance, BBW) (Celestial Mates Book 1)

THE BARBARIAN’S OWNED

 

MARLA THERRON

 

Copyright 201
6
by Marla Therron

 

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced

in any way whatsoever, without written permission

from the author, except in case of brief

quotations embodied in critical reviews

and articles.

 

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any

character, person, living or dead, events, place or

organizations is purely coincidental. The author does not

have any control over and does not assume any responsibility

for third party websites or their content.

 

First edition, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

It was a normal Saturday for the rest of the world, but it was supposed to be the most important day in Rae’s life. Not her final most-important day, of course, but one in a series of most-important days, each bigger than the one before.

The last was six months ago when she’d graduated with Ph.D.s in genetics and astrophysics; before that, it was the day she left for university, and before that, the day she dosed Cory Wilson’s Gatorade and turned his urine green, thus establishing her reputation in junior high as “
that
girl.” The girl who took no B.S. from Cory Wilson, yes, but also who knew the kinds of science her teachers worried about.

To Rae, if science couldn’t be used to turn an obnoxious junior’s urine an alarming shade of neon, it wasn’t worth doing.

She mentally walked through her day in the shower, dressed, ordered a cab to the Chicago conference center, and checked her word of the day.

Conjuncture.

No matter how many peer-reviewed journals she published in, Rae could never shake the last remnant of her Midwestern faith in a universe without coincidences. That word of the day seemed inauspicious. Recalling her earliest research lectures, a favorite professor taught her that the foundation of science was in understanding the word “conjuncture.”

There were only two types of thing in all existence. The first was the domain of science. These were the built-in things, the normal patterns in the universe. The software and GPS churning out her location to a cab driver, the locomotion of his engine, even the day’s typical weather: Chicago wind rippled her open jacket as she exited her hotel.

The jacket’s closely patterned white-and-black colors would smudge and appear gray from a distance, offsetting the dark of her slacks and blouse. From engineering to optics, all those variables could be understood. They were… reliable.

Rae was good at these variables. She had them figured; she always had. But conjunctures were the second type of thing in the universe. The one-offs. The strange combination of circumstances that couldn’t be anticipated, accounted for in a model, that by their very definition existed outside the normal order—and therefore, outside the reach of her discipline. They could be described, but never predicted.

Rae did not want any conjunctures today.

Her presentation was at 2 p.m., which was primetime. Even astrophysicists liked a drink on Friday night, but 2 p.m. on Saturday was late enough that the last straggler had kicked their hangover. It was far enough from lunch that no one was in a food coma, and not yet so late that it bled over into the cocktail hour.

If anything had surprised Dr. Rae Ashburn about her discipline, it was how much alcohol fueled the whole social end of the enterprise. Put a thousand egotistical nerds into a room and more than a glass or two of wine was needed to lubricate those rusted social gears.

By a quarter till, she’d set up her PowerPoint and was patiently waiting as the room filled. They’d headlined the day with her paper, whose subject had made a splash. It made the newspapers, and science and tech journalists were jockeying for a position at front.

She did a summary check of her discussant panel, whose job it was to say useful things about the working paper. There were three. She guessed, based on age and tenure, that maybe one of them had read it ahead of time.

The normal thing was to shred through it fifteen minutes before; she could guess what each would say based on their research areas. There was no sign of her dreaded conjuncture, and Rae breathed easier.

“What are you thinking?” asked her former advisor, Dr. Ravi, seated to her left.

“That Midwestern superstition loses again,” Rae said with a grin.

“Pardon?”

But it was too late to explain. The moderator introduced her paper topic to the audience: “Defending the Earth from Extra-Solar Threats: Lessons from the K-T Extinction Event.” It was an awful title, but Dr. Ravi had insisted and Rae had finally acquiesced.

She’d wanted to title it, “Were the Dinosaurs Killed? Or
Murdered
?” She’d discovered, after all, that materials she’d collected near the Chicxulub crater—the impact site of the asteroid that zapped the dinosaurs—had residue from ancient, foreign materials that didn’t exist in nature.

Talking about aliens in astrophysics was dicey. It brought press attention, but not much professional esteem. A lot of Rae’s graduate colleagues snickered behind her back—including Reese, who she noticed in the audience, a possible conjuncture that knotted her stomach.

He was picking at lint on his tweed jacket, a young man with a boyish face who liked to dress up like the real professor he planned to become one day. The disdain in the gesture was obvious. He picked at it the same way he’d picked at Rae every time they’d talked since their break-up.

The competition for tenure-track slots was fierce, and Reese too professionally jealous for their relationship to work. Since then, he’d mocked Rae’s research as either “methodologically flawed” or “kooky.”

Rae shut down her fear instinct and focused, instead, on how
good
it would feel if he finally mocked her to her face. If, instead of sniping, he attacked her theories in a public forum, she could finally have it out with him.

The moderator signaled her. Time to talk. She stood, took to the microphone, cleared her throat, and began: “I’ll level with you. There are two types of people in this room right now. One, the journalists, who get to write a punchy story about aliens killing the dinosaurs.” Rae’s aside had them in the palm of her hand, and she gave them every watt of her smile.

“The others, of course, are the scientists who hate the fact that the public only cares about space when it’s full of aliens who we imagine to be hilariously like us.”

Just then, her eye caught someone strange. He stood at the room’s edge, a head taller than the professors and scientists around him. He wore what looked like a black kurta, a sort of long jacket that hit knee-level, and white pants beneath that.

Black-eyed with charcoal hair, he seemed to project a bubble of space in the crowd on all sides. Though he had his hands in his pockets, there was something dangerous in his stance. She couldn’t put her finger on what, but the intensity of his stare set her fine hairs on end.

She fumbled her next line and her words stalled.

For two heartbeats, she tried to breathe. The man hadn’t moved. There was no logical reason for him to even draw her gaze, other than his size and that unrelenting, fiery-eyed stare.

Forcing herself to look away, she focused on Reese and reminded herself:
If I mess this up, he wins.
It put just enough iron in her backbone that she could ignore the kurta-wearing giant.

He hadn’t disappeared, though. She dove into her lecture, acutely aware he still watched her; with heart in throat, she had the strangest sense she was putting on this performance for him.

***

He’d come halfway across the quadrant on the whim of his domé, whose dreams had been disturbed by meddling on this side of the spiral arm; but now that he saw the troublesome female in person, Garr knew his own needs and his goddess’s would align.

Even with domé Kaython translating in his ear through her linguistic microbes, the aliens were hard to comprehend. The problem was their culture. He gathered that he stood in some primitive war council, though they were too backward to have a prime.

He’d noticed they permitted mating-class females to participate. Folly, surely. And they listened to the female at front, whose dangerous tampering had brought him to this world.

Garr could see her pulse race in her throat—smell the faint traces of floral perfume on her body through the crowd. He repressed the impulse to stride up and peel open the collar of that stiff, primitive shirt near her throat and inhale.

What insane male permitted a female so exquisite to head a war council? She was just standing there, publicly, no protector in sight. At any moment, he expected someone to issue a challenge and claim her.

Can you believe that’s her?
messaged Vaya from her position in the seats. Kaython’s microbes didn’t just translate: they also let he and his soldier communicate silently. Vaya couldn’t stand among the aliens without them gawping, because this species lacked the bioform diversity that characterized his own. Vaya would… stand out among them.
Those scouting reports I showed you didn’t really get it across.

No, Garr had known from the moment he’d seen those reports that this human was special. He’d announced his interest in her then, to the obvious dismay of Vaya. Now that he saw her in person, he wanted her that much more.

I can’t believe someone so soft and small is causing Kaython so much distress,
Vaya complained.

Garr wasn’t certain Kaython was distressed. Like all domé, she could be damnably obscure in what she desired. Certainly, Garr didn’t
want
this alien to be his enemy.

He surveyed the way those trim, primitive fabrics clung to the curves in her hips, body, and bust—she’d be softer than a Ythirian female. She kept her golden hair in a tight braid like a warrior, and he wanted to comb it out with his fingers.

Are you seriously still interested in her?
Vaya asked, distaste obvious.
You won’t claim a 98 percent match, but you’re interested in the one whose genetics are twenty cycles behind ours?

I do as I will, Vaya.

Fine. But mark my words, boss. The short ones are always trouble.

Hold position. I want a closer look.
He needed one, really, and soon had the opportunity: the female’s gaze had shifted elsewhere during her talk, and he crept toward the stage.

There appeared to be a debate now, between her and a tiny male near the front, who Garr had momentarily mistaken for a child.

Apparently, these aliens would let
anyone
into a war council.

***

Rae kept her lecture short, explaining the mathematical model she’d used to locate the asteroid debris, then the analysis of metals that supported her conclusion. In its essence, the paper was simple.

The most complex part of the task had been calculating the best location for harvesting intact materials from the region surrounding the impact crater.

Naturally, Reese interrupted her roughly halfway through. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But are you
really
standing in front of your peers and arguing that aliens smashed an asteroid into our planet?”

It wasn’t the critique she’d wanted. He didn’t go after her methods. She would have had numbers for that. No, Reese’s whole objection amounted to a scoff and a roll of his eyes.

He turned to the audience, addressing them directly, as though Rae weren’t even in the room. “Are we honestly having this discussion about extraterrestrials based on the findings of
one
overeager researcher?”

“See here,” Rae said, enough invective in her tone that Reese spun immediately.

He smiled at her like he’d won something. “The heart of science is replication. If you can’t stand the heat…” Because he
had
won something. He’d baited her.

Rae took a breath and counted to three, bringing her riotous pulse under control, lowering the temperature of her glare to freezing. “So out with it.”

“Pardon?” Reese asked, smiling at first.

“Your critique. I’m certain you have one.”

The smile continued, but now it was plastic. “I’ve said my piece.”

“Have you a
substantive
critique? I’m always looking to improve my work, Reese. Do you have something to contribute beyond, ‘she’s talking about aliens! How dare she!’ ”

Reese worked his jaw and shrugged. “I
do
question the analysis. All you’ve determined is the elements don’t match anything from Earth. The question of—”

“They’re
not
elements,” Rae insisted. “They’re complex molecular structures which, after careful review, appear to be assembled using nanotechnology not available anywhere on Earth, and they’ve been carbon dated to approximately the crater’s era. Not only are they not
natural
, but they’re beyond the capacity of mass manufacturing.”

Reese went to speak, but instead, someone stepped forward from her peripheral vision.

It was that man in the kurta, and he was
closer
. She could see his face, broad and with perfect bone structure, and she noticed how his shoulders would have made a fully padded linebacker look small.

The scientist in her knew these were signs of high levels of testosterone through puberty and—likely—still today. The woman in her knew she’d get a thrill out of feeling the hard line of his jaw with her fingertips.

Still advancing, he seemed possessed of a graceful confidence. “I have a question.” His voice rumbled and he was focused entirely on her.

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