When an alien hijacks her ship, the chief engineer’s decision may cost her a broken heart and her people everything.
Chief Engineer Hart Engle’s only goal in life is to keep the one hundred and fifty-year-old Earth starship moving toward their final destination. When an alien boards the vessel, he offers hope, but can she trust him?
Karnin risks everything important to him to help the Earthlings. He doesn’t understand his people’s interest in these aliens from a distant planet called Earth. Then he meets Hart and decides they are worth saving.
Hart falls for the handsome, grim-faced alien as they work together to repair the faltering starship. All the while, a greater danger closes in on them. Karnin’s own people threaten the survival of Hart’s.
When the Earthling leaders hesitate to trust Karnin’s warning, he takes matters into his own hands. Feeling betrayed and used by Karnin, Hart picks up the pieces of her broken heart and helps her leaders overcome his alien technology and physical superiority.
If their mutual trust isn’t restored and their relationship healed, not only will Hart’s people perish, but Karnin’s entire race will face extinction.
Hart reached out and grabbed his hand. “Don’t do anything stupid and die. I don’t want to be the one who kills the first alien ever to make contact with us.” She released his hand and put on her own gloves and readied her bulky head covering. It wouldn’t be needed unless the cold reached this high.
Karnin fixed the belt connected to cable around his waist. “Tell your Micky to turn on the cooling.”
Hart talked into the little radio on her collar and then hit the switch that opened the door. It hissed as it slid out of the way.
Karnin stepped in and dropped. He heard Hart shout some nonsense words again, but the cable played out as he needed it. The cool outside air appeared as streams of ice where it shot from the leaks. The guts of the turbine appeared as a great hollow oblong-shaped tube. He braced his feet against the metal wall and moved in small hops to the first spewing leak. His spray can of sealer took care of it in less than three seconds.
He worked as fast as he could, and Hart helped him make good time as she played out the cable in perfect sync to his needs. She also kept a running commentary into the radio.
“Six down, but you have to go lower now. It’s going to get colder.”
“Needless information, Hart Chief. I know that.” Karnin could feel the cold already. An ache and stiffness grew in his joints. Shivers had started running up and down his back. He swept his gaze over the interior of the tube so that his camera would show the situation to Hart. “Four leaks to go.”
“I can hear the shivers in your voice. It’s time to come back up.”
“A Traveler always finishes.” Karnin made that up and wasn’t even sure what it meant. He recognized the fuzziness of his thoughts as the start of hypothermia. But four repairs to go. By the time he’d finished two, his fingers had stiffened so much that he had to use both hands to hold the sealant. He couldn’t feel his feet by the third. Black edged his vision as he finished the last one.
Karnin clutched the can against his chest with his wrists, vaguely aware of traveling upward. Or maybe he was floating in empty space. He lost time and came to awareness as he fell to a hard surface. No, he’d been dropped to the floor.
Hart bent his legs and twisted them out of the way before closing the door. She ripped off her head gear and thick gloves before dropping to her knees beside him. “Damned alien arrogance. Hell-spawned, stubborn man.” She finally got off his mask by luck. And then she worked on his gloves.
Karnin couldn’t help her at all. His vision had narrowed to Hart alone. His body felt like cement, so heavy it might drop through the floor. The air he breathed with his mask off warmed his mouth and thawed his throat though each breath burned.
Hart tugged on his hands, lifting them against her front. At some point she’d opened her spacesuit. And her baggy clothing. She pressed his hands against her bare belly and then tugged her clothing closed around them to hold them in place.
His confused mind thought he was touching her. A shiver rattled his teeth. Another followed shaking his entire body. Shivers were good, and he couldn’t have stopped them if he wanted to. His body moved as it would, his legs jerking, his hands twitching. Feeling returned with needles of pain everywhere but especially in his feet and hands.
Her skin was hot beneath his touch and soft. A softness like he’d never felt in female body. As another violent shiver shook him, his fingers brushed the underside of her breasts. Even in his muddled mind, he was horrified at the sin. He tried to pull away, but Hart moved closer and pushed his hands even higher. Her breasts! His hands were both touching those soft, luscious mounds of forbidden flesh.
Hart shouted at someone other than him. Heavy feet pounded down the metal steps. Karnin didn’t fight when hands grabbed his arms and legs. They carried him up the winding stairs, using lots of those nonsense words Hart liked. As the tingling pain eased, fatigue took its place.
Karnin let his eyes drift closed, but his fingers twitched on as he remembered the feel of Hart’s hot breasts.