An Earth colony on a primitive world. An Elite Dacton Warrior. A dedicated scientist. And a mating ritual she had no idea she was going to star in.
Humans had colonized the new world before they knew it was already occupied—by the Dactons—a primitive warrior race. It was forbidden to interfere with the development of an alien race, however, and that made it difficult to study them—because even to be seen was considered interference.
Casey figured out a way around that. She wore a cloaking device that made her invisible to get close enough for study of the potentially dangerous primitives. There was one thing she failed to consider—the cloaking might make her invisible to human eyes, but she wasn’t dealing with humans.
And the elite Dacton warrior she was following around to study decided she would make a perfect mate—for him. He herded Casey right into the MATING HUNT before she had a clue she was about to have to run for her life if she wanted to avoid the romance he had in mind.
There was a Dacton warrior standing on the rim of the bluff no more than three yards from her when Casey—Dr. Cassandra Towns—emerged from her abstraction. She jolted to a halt, but her heart leapt and stampeded through her chest as if it would beat its way out. A wave of faintness swept through her. For several moments, she couldn’t command her mind into any sort of order at all. Primal fear was so prevalent within her, she felt weak with the urge to whirl and take to her heels.
Fortunately, the adrenaline pumping through her heart so that it was racing madly didn’t lend wings to her feet. Otherwise, she would’ve been halfway down the hill toward her hovercraft before she’d had time to consider the situation. Instead, she went into ‘mouse’ mode, freezing where she stood.
She must have been huffing like an asthmatic horse, for all that. Despite her terrified focus inwardly, she noted the telltale signs that he’d noticed her presence. He tensed all over and whirled, scanning the bluff behind him in a sweeping gaze that seemed to miss nothing.
Except her—She felt weak all over when she recalled that she’d cloaked herself even before she stepped out of the hovercraft—which was also, thankfully, cloaked. She clamped her lips together to force her panting breaths through her nose, trying to tell herself he hadn’t actually heard her frightened huffs of breath.
She was too far away from him, she assured herself, and the wind gusting over the edge of the bluff had to have deafened him to her approach.
It wasn’t easy convincing herself of that when he seemed to be staring straight at her.
She slammed her eyes closed, focusing on calming her wayward heart. He couldn’t possibly see her. The invisibility cloak insured that. It had to be the sounds she was making that had alerted him, she was sure, but she was too panicked to recall if she’d sucked in a gasp of fright, whether she’d scuffed the soft soles of her shoes on the hard surface, or to think if she’d been panting loudly enough he might have heard her.
There was no doubt that terror was uppermost in her, though. She would’ve liked to have denied that, but this was the closest she’d ever been to any of the aliens and to have stumbled upon a warrior made her faint with fright.
There was a touch of excitement buried somewhere in there, she assured herself. Fear certainly hadn’t been uppermost in her mind when she’d decided to study the Dactons first hand!
She was thrilled at the opportunity she’d stumbled upon!
She should be, anyway!
She discovered he was still looking in her direction when she opened her eyes again. To her relief, though, a distant look entered his eyes. He couldn’t see her! Of course he couldn’t! The cloak made her completely invisible to the human eye. She must have made some sound to alert him.
She was both relieved and disappointed when he finally turned away. She’d been in too much of a panic to actually examine him while she had the chance, damn it!
Some scientist she was!
Dismissing it once she had regained some control of her facilities, she scanned his back and the little of his profile that she could see.
He was definitely a warrior, she decided. Of course, from what they’d been able to determine, all of the adult males of the tribe were and even some of the females. This specimen was so tall and brawny, though, she decided he must be one of their elite warriors.
It struck her as odd. It had been determined that the Dacton people were savages, barely advanced enough to begin building a civilization. That suggested limited nutrition, which certainly shouldn’t have produced so fine a specimen as the one she was currently studying. She was of average height—human height—herself, and she could see that he towered over her, or would if she’d been closer.
Of course, from the little that had been learned of the natives, they were a tall race, or species. The argument was that it was the environment that had produced beings of such a size, either the high oxygen content of the atmosphere or possibly the lower density and/or gravity compared to Earth since the planet was somewhat smaller than Earth. Historically, their own species hadn’t been nearly as tall during this stage of their development. Few males had been much over five and a half feet and the females had been closer to five feet while the Dactons were all six feet to six and half. This one appeared to be six feet six inches, easily, if not more.
Published: July 2021
Length: 19, 588
Word Count: Novella
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Rating: Spicy, Multiple Heroes
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
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