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“Bristol has given the alien mate trope an interesting twist.” –Mixed Book Bag
“Torg was totally swoon worthy and Starr was very funny and relatable” – Katie’s Book Blog
“I have loved everything Cara has done…there was a surprise conflict I didn’t see coming.” – Opinionated Woman’s Musings.
“I totally loved this book from start to finish. Cara Bristol continues to be one of the few authors who surprises me with the twists and turns of her plots.” – Naughty Knitter Reviews.
“I am in love with this book…mystery, hot sex, and sweet moments, too.” – Goodreads Reviewer.
“Exciting, with lots of suspense and steamy romance to sizzle things up.” – Goodreads Reviewer.
“This book was funny, and I loved the main characters. Very well done!” – Goodreads Reviewer.
“Absolutely loved this book. It is very well written and the thought put in to it was amazing. The storyline was great right off from chapter one and never slowed down.” –Goodreads Reviewer.
Alien Mate Blurb
I’m Starr Elizabeth Conner. Earth’s government falsely convicted me of a crime, packed me on a ship with other female felons, and sent us to Dakon, a primitive, frozen wasteland of a planet. Why? Earth needs minerals, and Dakon is desperate for females.
But I’m no barbarian’s ‘mail order bride,’ even if he is super tall, muscular, and the chief of his tribe. He doesn’t want a BBW blonde, either–it’s written all over his chiseled face. He’ll be truly angry if he ever learns what my ‘crime’ was.
I am Torg. I have waited 34 rotations for a mate of my own. With this shipment, I was sure to get a fine, sturdy mate who’ll bear me many daughters. Instead, I receive a small, curvy, pale-haired female who looks at me with anger and fear.
It is only when we ‘kiss’ that I believe things may work out between us. But I’m hearing rumors that Starr and her shipmates are law-breakers. To survive, Dakonians must obey all laws … or be exiled into the frozen wasteland. Just when I have found her, will I have to send my mate to die?
Don’t miss this sexy, suspenseful sci-fi romance–get your copy of Alien Mate today!
Read an Excerpt from Alien Mate
By Cara Bristol
Truth would prevail. It had to. It had to. It had to.
The space over the empty juror box shimmered, and then a real-time hologram of the jurors materialized. I kept my face expressionless as advised by counsel and clenched my hands in my lap. The jurors avoided my eyes, and hope drained out, leaving me sick inside. My attorney, Maridelle, covered my hand and squeezed.
“Have you reached a verdict?” the judge asked.
“We have, your honor,” the foreman replied.
“What say you?”
“We, the members of the jury, find the defendant, Starr Elizabeth Conner, guilty of second-degree murder.”
My heart seized in my chest. I wasn’t aware of leaping to my feet, but Maridelle caught my arm. “I didn’t do it! I’m innocent,” I cried. My gaze shot to the prosecution table where People’s Attorney Gil Aaronson, a crony of the Carmichael family—although I couldn’t prove it—stowed his CompuBrief in its case. He didn’t look at me, either, but a smug smile rested on his face.
Electrocuffs in hand, a bailiff headed toward me.
“We’ll appeal, don’t worry. We’ll get the verdict overturned,” Maridelle whispered in my ear as the bailiff fastened the restraints. She’d believed me, but no one else had—how could that bode well for the future? If she hadn’t been able to convince my peers of my innocence the first time around, what chance would she have on appeal? The Carmichaels controlled too much. They didn’t hold political office themselves. They owned the people who did.
“Sentencing is set for one week.” The judge cracked his gavel, and his holographic image wavered and then vaporized. A very solid bailiff hustled me to my cell.
* * * *
A statuesque woman plopped down next to me in the lounge. Her skin reminded me of rich, creamy milk chocolate, the kind only the wealthy could afford. Everyone else bought the synth stuff and pretended it was good. “I’m Andrea Simmons,” she said. “Cyber hacking.” We introduced ourselves on the SS Australia by name and crime.
“Starr Conner…second-degree murder.” Maridelle had cautioned not to discuss my case pending the appeal. Big ships have big ears and all that. So, I’d tried to avoid my fellow passengers, keeping to my cabin, venturing to the mess hall when it would be deserted. Eventually, loneliness—or maybe acceptance of my fate—nudged me out of isolation. My conviction had less chance of reversal than I’d had for acquittal the first time around. My presence on the ship demonstrated how well the trial had gone.
Just in case the appeal was successful, I shifted the conversation back to Andrea. “You were convicted of hacking?”
“Yes. Cyber robbery, actually. I was the best in the New Americas!” Her boast confirmed her guilt. She sighed. “I hear Dakon is quite primitive. No computer technology to speak of.”
“How did you get caught?”
“Greed. I returned to a site I’d previously hacked, and they’d installed a viral tracker. Busted!” Her eyes narrowed. “Who’d you kill?”
“Nobody. I’m innocent.” I’d continue to state that until the end of my days.
She barked out a husky laugh. “We all are. Haven’t you heard? There are no guilty people on the SS Australia.”
“She killed Jaxon Carmichael.” A brunette with a head of bouncy curls piped up with the identity of the “victim” I’d been convicted of bludgeoning to death.
Andrea whistled and eyed me with new respect. “Honey, you roll with the big boys, don’t you?”
The brunette shook her head. “How could you not recognize her from the pay-for-view gov-vids of her trial on the ’net? She’s a celebrity.”
Andrea sniffed. “As a general rule, I avoid the government sites.”
“Too risky?” I asked.
“No money there. Terra One World is damn near bankrupt. Why do you think we’re on this ship? First, they save money by not having to house us in prison, and second, they make money from the illuvian minerals the Dakonians are paying for us. It’s a double dip.”
“They sold us into slavery.” I stared at my hands. Carmichael “justice” had been swift. While others languished in prison for years awaiting a court date, I’d been tried, convicted, and sentenced in a mere two months. Rocket fast—a contrast to the appeals process which would be evolutionary slow. Sitting in prison waiting for an uncertain outcome didn’t appeal, but was this better?
“More like presented us with an offer we couldn’t refuse.” Andrea shrugged.
“What do you mean?”
“We could have finished our sentences. Instead we opted for immediate freedom via one-way shuttle to Dakon.”
“You had a choice?” I glanced between Andrea and the other woman.
“The application form spelled it out.” The brunette nodded. “The selection process was very competitive. Ninety percent of the women who applied didn’t get accepted.”
“Application form? I didn’t fill out any application form.”
Andrea’s gaze narrowed. “You didn’t complete a profile? Health history, activity levels, physical description…”
“No.” I pressed my lips together. Carmichael justice again, which was to say, no justice. They were sending me as far away as they could get me.
“That’s odd.” Andrea squinted.
Maybe becoming an alien’s companion wasn’t such a terrible fate. We could be friends with very limited benefits. Billions of miles between me and the Carmichaels couldn’t hurt, and it beat spending my life in prison. If the Carmichaels could have me wrongfully convicted, they could block my appeal.
But how would I keep track of the status? Since the planet wasn’t connected to the ’net, how would Maridelle update me?
“Well, we’re all here now. It’s kind of like being a ’net-order bride,” the brunette said cheerfully. “By the way, I’m Tessa Chartreuse. I ran an escort service for an elite clientele.”
“So why are you here? Prostitution isn’t illegal.” It had been decriminalized a long time ago.
“No, but money laundering is.” She shrugged.
Andrea laughed. “She’s an entrepreneur.”
I took a deep breath. “Any idea what the aliens look like?” I’d kept to myself, but I’d heard rumors our intended “mates” were scaly blue with long tails. Only recently had Terra One World made contact with Dakon. I’d been told the aliens “looked like us,” but I had little confidence in my government to tell the truth.
“I did a little ’net research before they transported me to the shuttle,” Andrea explained. “They are humanoid, genetically compatible with us, but they’re taller, much more muscular, and bigger.” She held her hands about a meter apart.
“Are you talking about their penises or their bodies in general?” Tessa asked.
Shit, I hoped Andrea was referring to their bodies. I eyed the span between her palms.
Andrea rolled her eyes. “Their bodies in general. I did not research their junk.”
“It would be proportionate, though, wouldn’t you think?” Tessa persisted. You could take the girl out of the escort business, but you couldn’t take the escort business out of the girl.
Andrea placed her index fingers to her forehead so they stuck up. “And they have—”
“Antennas?” My jaw dropped.
“More like horns.”
“Vestigial horns. Mostly hidden by their hair.”
“So we’re the court-ordered brides of horned aliens who may or may not have big dicks,” I said.
“That’s the size of it.” Andrea snickered.
I got up and moved to the observation window. Without the filtering effects of a planetary atmosphere, stars in space didn’t twinkle. They appeared as solid points of light. We’d traveled far enough that none of the constellations were familiar anymore.
“Dakon must be very far away.” We’d been on the ship for two months with thirty days left to go.
“It’s hyper speed compared to the three-year round trip the first contact took. Thanks to the illuvian ore, we’ll do it in three months,” Andrea said. “The Dakonians have been waiting a long time for their mates. After the first contact ship returned to Earth, it took a year to set up the program and recruit the first group of women.”
Tessa giggled. “They’re going to be really horny by now. In more ways than one.”
“What happens if they don’t like the brides they receive?” I asked Andrea. She seemed to be in the know.
“Then we’ll be sent back to serve out the remainder of our sentence,” she replied. “With credit for time served on Dakon.”
In my case, that still meant life without the possibility of parole, not the usual sentence for second-degree murder, but my attacker hadn’t been the usual victim. Fortunately, despite the Carmichaels’ influence, they hadn’t been able to charge me with first-degree murder because security vids showed Jaxon’s laser pistol falling out of his pocket. But the jury hadn’t bought Maridelle’s self-defense argument. Excessive force, the prosecution had argued and won. Two weeks after being sentenced to life in prison, I’d been shuttled to the SS Australia where a government agent deactivated the electrocuffs, shoved a duffel of my possessions into my arms, and announced I’d been inducted into the Terra-Dakon Goodwill Exchange pilot program.
Or, as I thought of it, Rocks-for-Brides.
“I don’t see them rejecting any of us,” Andrea said. “They’re desperate. They have a critical shortage of women.”
Tessa nodded. “An asteroid killed them.”
I moved away from the window. “Like the one that hit Earth and killed off the dinosaurs by causing a massive winter that destroyed their food supply?”
“Just like that. The planet is still suffering the winter it triggered,” Andrea answered.
“But how would an asteroid strike kill females and not males?”
“They think it carried a virus to which only women were susceptible, and it caused a genetic mutation. Each subsequent generation has produced fewer and fewer females. The planet is 90 percent men now. No worries, though. Everyone who got the virus died a couple of hundred years ago.”
I gawked in awe. “You had time to research all that?”
She shook her head. “It was in the orientation packet.”
I frowned. “Orientation packet?”
“On the little disk,” Tessa supplied. “Everyone got one in their cabins.”
“Oh, yeah.” Vaguely I remembered seeing something like that. I’d found it when I’d boarded the ship but tossed it into a drawer. A depressive fog had engulfed me since the verdict. What difference did anything make? My future was out of my control.
However, Andrea and Tessa had sparked my curiosity. I would pop that disk into the vid player and watch. Horned? I still couldn’t get over that. Would the planet resemble Terra? An asteroid-induced winter sounded freezing. It couldn’t be that cold, could it? People lived there. Male people, anyway.
Terra had the opposite problem, although not as severe. Women outnumbered men with more than 10 percent more females surviving to adulthood than males. Another reason female convicts were expendable. “Ninety percent men, huh? That’s a lot of testosterone.”
“I know, right?” Tessa rubbed her arms.
“Assuming they produce testosterone. They might have alien hormones,” Andrea pointed out. “In fact, that’s pretty much a guarantee seeing how they are aliens.”
“But we’re still genetically compatible?”
“Theoretically, according to preliminary lab tests. We can’t be certain until we start producing children.”
Even though I’d been in the grips of an I-was-wrongly-convicted funk, I recalled a couple of blood draws. How could my life have come to this? Sent to a planet light-years away to become an alien’s bride. I hugged my midsection. I gave birth to an alien baby. It sounded like a story from one of those cheesy ’net vid-zines that focused on celebrity gossip—and sensational news items like my trial.
“I can’t believe that the first time we discover intelligent life on another planet, the first action our government takes is trading its female citizens for illuvian ore.” Space exploration had discovered alien life a couple of centuries ago in the 2200s, but they were single-celled jelly-like organisms and bacteria. Another planet had had heat-resistant insects, but that was about as advanced as it got.
“Terra One World has been quite civilized compared to what happened the last time Earthers coveted a particular metal ore they deemed valuable,” Andrea said.
She meant the quest for gold. A millennium ago, monarch and church-backed explorers decimated native populations in their avarice to acquire the Earth metal. I was aware of our planet’s ignominious history, even though I was nowhere near as knowledgeable as Andrea. The woman knew her business, and I suspected, everyone else’s. She was sharp—which probably wouldn’t serve her well on Dakon. I predicted that having no ’net access would be her biggest adjustment.
“You never ran across a single still or vid that showed what they look like?”
“Not a good one,” she said. “There was a still in the orientation vid.”
“You couldn’t see much because of the fur,” Tessa piped up.
“Fur? Good mythological gods, they’re furry?” Horns and fur?
Tessa and Andrea laughed. “No, they were wearing fur garments with hoods, so you couldn’t see their faces clearly,” Tessa said. “Just a chin and a nose.”
“How did those look?”
Tessa shrugged. “Like a chin and a nose.”
“Like a Terran chin and nose?”
Be thankful for small mercies, anyway. If the dude looked too alien, I would focus on the lower half of his face.