Coming June 5th
Three Years Ago
Lie down with dogs, you get fleas.
Never wound a snake, kill it.
Believe people when they show you who they are.
Thalia’s mother had a hundred old sayings for any situation, mostly about not being surprised when the dumb things Thalia did came back to bite her in the ass. Not that mom did anything to stop said dumb things, but she sure did love cackling with glee about being right.
Yeah, mom had been a real charmer. All that woman had ever done after dropping Thalia into the world was give slightly less than a rat’s ass about her child’s wellbeing. There had been booze to drink, after all, and men to fuck for rent money. Finding enough food to keep herself alive and clothing to not be naked had pretty much been Thalia’s responsibility as soon as she understood that none of the adults in her life were going to do anything about it.
Footsteps approached down the hall. Thalia held her breath. How much did it sucked that she wanted her useless, drunk mom right now? Life hadn’t been great but she felt that when it mattered, she could trust her mother. She mainly raised Thalia with all the social niceties of a free range gremlin, but she never actually tried to sell Thalia. That might have changed when Thalia got a bit older, but aliens invaded and blew up the city and millions of people died in the attacks or from disease, and her mom had been one of them.
Thalia scraped by in the ruins of what had been a major East Coast city. People still lived there but municipal services and the population had been scaled way back. Ports, roads and railways still existed, which kept the battered city clinging to relevance. Half of the buildings weren’t fit for human habitation but that didn’t stop no one. Free rent was free rent. Water and power were nice to have but not everyone could afford those luxuries.
The footsteps stopped outside her door. Thalia looked around the room for anything that could be used as a weapon, not that Nicky let her have anything that could be considered a weapon. No convenient vases or heavy bookends in her room, as if they would do her any good against a gun.
She grabbed her medical bag and dumped it out on the bed. She grabbed the pair of surgical scissors. Still not much use against a gun but it was sharp and very stabby. And if the goon lurking outside her bedroom door wasn’t there to put a bullet in her brain, they probably needed to be stitched up, so the upended medical kit looked as if she was preparing supplies and not preparing to stab a bitch in the eye.
If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.
In the chaos of the invasion, it had been easy for kids to disappear and fall through the cracks. No one came looking for Thalia so she had to fend for herself, which wasn’t too different from her life pre-invasion, only now she did it with a group of likewise homeless kids. They begged and stole and damn near starved to death until Nicky took them in. He taught them the art of pickpocketing and general thieving. Being underfeed and looking young for her age totally worked out in her favor. Scrawny malnourished kids were bendy and slim enough to wiggle their way into most places. The whole situation was downright Dickensian–yes, she knew stuff. Just because she never went to school regularly didn’t mean she failed to pay attention on the days she went–but you have to do what you have to do to survive. Nicky took care of his kids–food, a clean place to sleep, and, fuck, even a tutor now and then– as long as you pulled your weight and did the work.
Still, some had it worse.
Her mother never uttered those words but if she had survived the aliens, she would have embraced that bit of philosophical stoicism with zest. Orphaned and living on the streets? Some had it worse and lost their legs, not just their parents. Some people needed more than a prosthetic leg, they had burns on the inside of their lungs. Breathing with an oxygen tank? Some had it worse and weren’t breathing at all.
It was a crappy game of comparing hurts but it was true. Life had been hard for Thalia but she was able bodied and clever enough to be useful, which let her survive. She kept her head down and did as Nicky said.
Some people had it worse. Some didn’t have food or a warm place to sleep. Some people didn’t have the little collection of books she scavenged from abandoned houses. Some people weren’t able to go to school at all and she should be grateful for the days she could attend. Some people didn’t have a guardian–if you could call Nicky a guardian–who ranted about the government spying on them and poisoning the water.
Some people had no one at all.
Then one day she wasn’t a skinny little kid anymore and her body starts to look a bit more adult, even though you’re so not an adult, and Nicky starts to think of other ways you could be useful for the organization.
Thalia attached herself to Old Doc Mitchell, acting as the pair of steady hands and sharp eyes he needed, seeing as how he ruined his with booze and uncontrolled diabetes. Doc lost his medical license long ago but he was a real doctor. No one cared about qualifications and credentials when he patched them up.
Trauma affected people differently. Basic, right? Some people were resilient and they bounced back, stronger than ever. Other people had to learn to cope with stress, anxiety and all those lovely acronyms that fancy doctors flung at you pre-Invasion. Probably still did but it was a fact of life that everyone on the damn planet had some sort of trauma. That’s what happened when aliens invaded and started blowing shit up and millions of people died. She was traumatized. Nicky was traumatized. Poor Doc was hella traumatized.
The point was some people coped by staying busy. Others mediated or some shit. Some developed a fanatic devotion to the aliens who allied with Earth, the Mahdfel. And plenty of people medicated themselves with the chemical of their choice. Doc’s was alcohol.
He reeked of beer and sweated alcohol. His nose was all red from busted capillaries and his hands shook until he got his morning top off. He never talked about what happened during the invasion or who he lost, but that was fine. Thalia didn’t talk about her mom, either. He was a drunk and more likely to be passed out than awake to practice his version of frontier medicine, but he taught her everything he knew, or at least the bits of knowledge that clung to his surviving brain matter despite the years of pickling. He took care of her, in his own way, mind, and Doc was the closest thing Thalia had to a father figure.
Which was so fucking sad it wasn’t even worth mentioning.
So that’s how she got by. She learned to dig out bullets, stitch up knife wounds and watch for infection. She knew her antibiotics from the pain pills and even which pills helped with common chronic ailments like high blood pressure. What she didn’t know she looked up in Doc’s old medical books, but that didn’t come up often. The people who ran with Nicky were more likely to suffer a traumatic stabby-type injury than develop diabetes or hypertension.
A fist pounded on the door. “Tallie, get dressed. The boss wants you.”
“It’s the middle of the night,” she shouted through the door, adding a dramatic yawn.
“No rest for the wicked,” the man said. Everyone had to have a maxim. Fuckers.
“Speak for yourself,” she grumbled. Already dressed, she took her time getting her kit together. Nicky’s goons didn’t need to know that she heard them coming and had been prepared to fight. It was safer to let them think she had been fast asleep.
Nicky’s paranoia had been growing in recent months, not that she could blame him. His line of work wasn’t the safest of professions so it was smart to be wary. Maybe if Doc had died from liver failure the way he anticipated instead of being gunned down in a hit, Nicky might have had a bit more chill nowadays.
Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after you. Another one of her mother’s sayings.
Turf wars sucked, and not just from the constant vigilance required to keep from being stabbed in the back. The stress wore a person down. It wore Thalia down. Between being dragged out of bed at all hours to stitch together Nicky’s minions and listening to Nicky rant about aliens tracking people through implants, she needed a break. Or at least a few hours of decent sleep.
Thalia ran a brush through her hair for decency’s sake and pulled it back in a ponytail. Whatever Nicky needed, she needed to keep her hair out of her face. She tugged on the ends, disappointed to see the green color already faded. Her normally dishwater blonde held color fairly well but she tried a new brand the last time she colored her hair.
The pounding resumed on the door. “Get your ass out of bed, Tallie. They’re almost here. Nathan needs you.”
Ugh. That guy.
She swept the scattered supplies back into the bag and flung open the door. “I’m here. You can stop shouting.”
“Downstairs. Now,” the man said, his face pulled into a scowl. If she didn’t know him to be a heartless bastard, she’d say he looked worried.
In the kitchen, Thalia wiped down the counter to lay out her supplies and scrubbed her hands. The backdoor banged open as two men carried in a third. Nathan clutched his gut, blood staining his shirt.
Not good. He had no color and barely looked conscious.
“What happened?” she asked.
“He got shot,” the man with the buzzed cut hair said, ever so helpfully.
“He needs to go to the hospital,” Thalia said. Gut wounds were more than just tricky, they were a fucking disaster. Too much could go wrong and too many vital organs to hit. Doc had been an actual doctor, albeit unlicensed. Thalia, was, at best, a paramedic. “Seriously, a hospital.”
The men ignored her and hauled Nathan’s onto the table. He moaned in pain, the poor bastard.
“Hey! You, buzz cut, don’t put him on the table. I have to clean that,” she said, as the men hoisted Nathan onto the kitchen table. Shit. Fine. Whatever. Nathan would be lucky if he survived long enough to worry about infection. “Remove his shirt.”
“I’m not your servant and my name is Blade,” he said.
“Of course it is,” she muttered, snapping on latex gloves. “How exceedingly original.”
“You think you’re hot shit, but you ain’t nothing Nicky can’t replace,” Blade said, stepping towards her.
“We’re all replaceable. You gonna hold Nathan down or am I going to tell Nicky that his best friend died because his minion had to front?” Thalia asked, suddenly tired. She took her scissors to the ruin of Nathan’s blood soaked tee shirt. Gut wounds were the trickiest. Gunshot wound, dead center of the admonin. Sloppy. Hits were normally a single shot to the head. Boom. No chance of survival. If Nathan had been the target, someone wanted him to suffer. “Roll him to one side. I need to check the exit wound.”
Nathan’s bulk moved enough to expose his perfectly smooth, unblemished back, sans exit wound.
The bullet was still in Nathan. He was going to die horribly on the kitchen table and Nicky would blame her.
Thalia pressed the wadded up ruins of the shirt against the wound, helpless to do anything else. Short of surgery, she could only alleviate the pain. She could pour whiskey down his throat and try to get him to swallow enough pain pills to make his last moments bearable.
“Get me some towels,” she ordered. “And a bottle of whiskey.”
“Drinking on the job? Must have learned that trick from Doc,” Blade said. He jerked his head to the door and the other man went to fetch the towels.
“It ain’t for me,” she said. Not that she had to explain herself to anyone but Nicky.
The back door banged open, bringing in a draft of cold air.
Speak of the devil.
“He needs a hospital,” Thalia said, moving Nathan to rest on his back again.
“Not an option,” Nicky said, elbowing past her. He leaned over his wounded friend, his black wool coat falling open and the ends of his scarf brushing against the bleeding wound.
Thalia bit her lip to keep her snarky comments about no one caring about keeping the wound clean to herself. “The bullet is still in there.”
“Then get it out.”
“With what? My fingers?” Thalia held up one bloody gloved hand. “He needs to go to the hospital.”
Towels arrived and she pressed one to the wound, leaning forward with all her weight.
Nicky frowned, his demeanor shifting from concerned to cold. “Mitchel would patch him up, no questions asked.”
Thalia shivered, afraid to anger Nicky. Somehow, she found her voice. “Doc went to medical school but he wouldn’t be able to do much with the bullet somewhere in that mess. I’m not qualified here at all.”
“Didn’t I send you to him to learn? Are you telling me that I should have sent your stuck-up ass to walk the streets?”
Thalia shook her head. Blade snickered, no doubt loving Nicky putting her in her place. He just needed a bucket of popcorn to go with the look of utter glee on his big, dumb face. “He’s lost a lot of blood, too. He needs a transfusion.”
“So do it. I’ll have one of the boys donate.”
“I need equipment, an IV, a pic, and I don’t even know Nathan’s blood type. The wrong one will kill him. Please, Nicky, he has to go to the hospital.”
“If I get you the equipment?” He had out his phone, already typing orders. Brand new medical equipment would arrive in minutes if she asked for it.
“I don’t know how to use it. Doc never did anything like that. I’d have to read up and Nathan doesn’t have that kind of time.”
Nicky fixed her with his cold blue gaze. His eyes were empty. Soulless. She swallowed but did not flinch or look away. Tougher guys than her had caved to that heartless stare. “Tallie, Tallie, Tallie,” he said, drawing out her name. “Doc’s only been in the ground for three weeks and you’ve done nothing but tell me no.”
Her eyes fell to the floor, all submission, and she whispered, “I’m sorry.”
“You tell me ‘I don’t know how to do this’ and ‘I don’t have the tools’,” he said, pitching his voice in a mockingly high tone. Blade and the other meathead snickered. “Did you learn anything from Mitchel or did he just keep you around to suck his cock?”
She flinched, because it hadn’t been like that with Doc. At all. Doc had been, if not a good man, a decent man. Decent in his own way, at least.
Thalia lifted her eyes. Doc taught her a lot but he also taught her to know her limitations. “If I dig around in Nathan for that bullet, I’d be going in blind. He will die. If I pack the wound with the stuff the military uses to stop the bleeding so we can take him to the hospital. He could live.”
Nathan circled around the table, his hands making a mess of his hair. Calmly, too calmly, he took off his well-tailored suit jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his shirt. The leather of the shoulder holster contrasted sharply with the brilliant white of the shirt. There was no missing the matte black metal of the glowing green lights of the high illegal blaster in the holster. “I want to believe you, Talie, but if I take my friend to the hospital, they’ll put a chip in his head. The government will be able to track him. That’s how they found Doc, because of the damn translation chip the aliens put in his head.”
All the stuff she had heard before. Back in the Invasion, when Thalia had been scrounging for food, Doc had still been a licensed, respectable member of the medical community. He worked in a refugee camp and had been fitted up with a translation chip that allowed him to talk to the alien allies. Mahdfel. Whatever.
Nicky couldn’t seem to let the idea of an implanted chip go. She got it. Really. Having a piece of hardware shoved into your brain that altered the way you processed language seemed bizarre. Unhealthy.
Keeping pressure on the wound, she glanced at her bag. The expanding foam compound was in the front pocket. If she used it without permission, Nicky might take Nathan to the hospital.
Or he might punish her for defying him. She never knew if she was going to get Reasonable Nicky or Punisher Nicky.
That wasn’t completely true. Punisher Nicky had taken up permanent residence since Doc’s murder. He desperately fought to maintain his control over his business but the younger, hungrier rivals kept coming.
“A man should have privacy in his own home. In his mind.” Nicky’s delivery grew more hurried and more erratic. Blade and meathead shared a look.
“Tell me what you want to do,” Thalia said.
His head whipped around, his body tight with tension and all his attention focused on her.
Nicky stalked towards her and gripped her head, forcing her to look him in his icy, empty eyes. His fingers dug in her scalp to the point of pain. “Are you certain he won’t won’t make it? Are you telling me that Nathan is as good as dead. Right now. Dead. Even though he’s still breathing.”
“Yes. If the bullet hit an organ, he needs surgery. Even if I dig it out, he needs blood to recover and nothing in here is sterile. He’ll get an infection and go septic.” It was a terrible way to die, your body burning alive from fever. She had seen it once before, with a low-level flunky who waited too long to be stitched up by Doc. He didn’t respond to the antibiotics they had on hand. The really strong stuff was harder to get than gold.
Nicky’s gaze bore into hers, determining the veracity of her statement. This close, the stink of his cologne and stale cigarette smoke burned her sinuses. “Okay.”
“Okay?” Her shoulders slumped in relief.
“Okay.” Nicky turned to Nathan’s prone form on the kitchen table and leaned down, whispering in his friend’s ear. “I won’t let them have you. I won’t let them.”
He kissed Nathan’s forehead, drew himself up to his full height, pulling Nathan into a sitting position. With an arm wrapped around the unconscious man’s shoulders, the harsh overhead light was unforgiving on his lean frame, highlighting every brutal angle. Pulling out the blaster from his shoulder holster, the weapon hummed, and he shot Nathan once in the center of his forehead.
The back of his head exploded like a melon, spraying the wall and everyone in the vicinity.
Thalia screamed and jumped back, her bloody gloved hands clamped over her mouth. She bumped into the counter, the hard edge jabbing into her hip.
She could taste it, all salty and metallic. She could taste Nathan in her mouth.
Nicky holstered the blaster and calmly reached around Thalia to rinse his hands in the sink. Blood spattered his expensive white dress shirt and clung to his face. A car pulled into the driveway, the lights moving across the walls. He grabbed a towel for his hands and then used it on his face. The towel merely smeared the blood across his skin, instead of removing it.
He grinned at her, the blood of his friend on his lips and in his mouth. “Now, I’ve got more men coming in with various workplace injuries. Are you going to be able to help them or should I save us all the trouble and put a bullet in their brains when they walk through that door.”
“No. No. I can do it,” she said, her voice barely louder than a whisper.
He smiled, all teeth and empty, cold eyes, and raised a hand as if to pat her on the side of her face. He hesitated. “Get cleaned up. We’re professionals.” He turned to others, “Take Nathan to the funeral home. Get him something nice. Lilies and roses, all that shit. You know how he was.”
The men shuffled their feet, unsure.
“Now,” Nicky barked and they sprang into action.
Thalia tore the gloves off her shaking hands and tried to scrub herself clean, to no avail.
The elders say the sun could burn away most anything and if the sun can’t scour it away, then the sand could.
Havik walked for the sands for three months. He headed north, because he had never seen the ocean. The idea of so much water seemed unfathomable. As a youth, he had wanted to see the sunlight glitter on the ocean’s surface like shattered glass and have the waves crash at his feet. Fathers often took their sons on the journey when they reached a certain age, venturing out into the sands for weeks.
Havik had dreamed of the journey, sweating during the day as he and his father walked the endless miles and of the nights spent camping under the stars, just him and his father. No one to compete for the warlord’s attention.
The journey never happened. Years passed. He told himself it was not so very important if he missed a rite of passage with his father. Not everyone could survive the weeks in the extreme heat of the day and the freezing temperatures of the night with little water and only the food they could hunt. Many failed. Even more never made the attempt. His father’s lack of interest held no deeper meaning.
Havik had looked forward to standing on the ocean’s rough shore with his own son.
It was not to be.
When Vanessa arrived, Havik had been overjoyed. He ignored the whispered concern from his father that the Terran female was too soft and weak to thrive on Rolusdreus or that he was barely old enough to no longer trip over his own tail. True, he was young and the wind and sand would strip her delicate skin to the bone but that did not matter. She could not tolerate the radiation levels and had to be kept indoors, shielded constantly.
Havik did not care. She was for him and him alone. Her differences, her softness, made her beautiful. Sequestered away to the shadows, the rest of the clan never set eyes on his uncommon mate. He already had to share his father with the clan, as Kaos was the warlord. Surely the universe would be kind enough to allow Havik this selfishness.
The universe was not kind. All he had to do was look out to the wastelands that stretch from east to west to know that little survive on Rolusdreus, especially kindness.
Ultimately, his father had been correct.
“You lost your mate and son,” Kaos said in that flat, brisk tone Havik heard so many times before. His father offered to arrange the funeral fires for Vanessa and their unnamed, unborn child so Havik could talk the sands. The unusually generous offer took him by surprise. Finally, Kaos saw Havik. He saw that his son needed him, despite being a fully mature male. This tiny scrap of acknowledgement bolstered Havik and he hoarded it close to his heart.
Havik walked to stay ahead of his grief. If he kept moving, he could outpace his traitorous thoughts that whispered he had paid enough attention to his mate. He failed to notice how she struggled or how exhaustion took her after the simplest of tasks. In his selfishness for a son, he overlooked his mate, and now he had neither.
The flowing fabric of his hooded wrap and trousers kept his temperature regulated during the heat of the day and kept him warm in the freezing nights. He dug roots for water. He hunted the small creatures that burrow under the sand. The mechanics of keeping his body alive kept him too occupied to worry about the sharp pang of grief.
Eventually, he arrived at the north shore.
The light broke across the water like shards of glass.
His feet sank into the damp sand.
The water was cool and smelled of brine. Unusual creatures lived in the waters and the tide pools. The air was cooler than he liked but he constructed a fire from driftwood to stave off the cold.
Days blended together. When he felt more like himself as less like a male hollowed out by disappointed fancies, he returned to the clan.
“A monster stalks the sands.” When Havik arrived at the village clustered around a desert oasis, the elders greeted him with their problem. He came to replenish his water but welcomed the opportunity to hunt.
On his belly on a sand dune, he lowered the binoculars. The creature was not a monster. Kumakre were normally docile, if territorial. They burrowed under the sands, as did many creatures on the planet, and hunted via vibrations. A young warrior is told to walk softly across the sands and to speak only with solid ground under their feet.
A kumakre only attacked a settlement for two reasons: a fungal infection that inflamed the brain or poachers. The fungal infection inflamed the brain and made the creatures abnormally aggressive. They attacked everything from the smallest sand vermin to entire settlements and had to be put down to end the violence. Poachers, however, disturbed their nests. Unable to distinguish between one villain and an innocent, the kumakre killed indiscriminately until it felt the threat had been eradicated.
If Havik could not find the powdery white fungus in the crevices between the carapace, then the village harbored a poacher. Ancient tradition claimed the kumakre’s shell, when ground into a powder, could extend a person’s life. Such claims were false but that did not stop the desperate and fearful.
Sleek dark red, nearly sanguine under the moonlight, the kumakre approached the oasis. It was a gorgeous creature, absolutely lethal with two front pinchers, six legs and a barbed tail that curled upwards to strike.
Havik hated to end the kumakre’s life but it had attacked vehicles traveling the main road to the village. Soon it would attack the village itself. Beings would be injured, possibly killed. Havik had spent his entire life training to protect the people of his home world, from Suhlik or any other threat. He would not let the village suffer.
He crouched down, his right hand holding a blade. Energy coursed along the cutting edge, glowing a faint blue. The blade itself, hone to a wicked sharpness, was not strong enough to pierce the carapace. The added boost of electrical charge would be enough if Havik aimed true. A badly placed blow would bounce off the kumakre’s shell and he’d be exposed to the barbed tail. The venom in the barb was potent enough to slow a Mahdfel’s heart, making him sluggish and vulnerable to attack by the pinchers.
A prepared warrior would wear a complete set of armor but armor was heavy to carry and too hot to wear under the Rolusdreus sun. Havik had a reinforced jacket, hardly adequate coverage.
Best to avoid being jabbed.
Injuries only enraged the creature. Hormones flooded it’s body, giving it a boost in strength. An injured kumakre was a formidable opponent. The fastest way to end the battle was to piece the creature’s brain.
The kumakre raised its head, manibles flexing as it tasted the air.
“Turn back. Do not make me end you,” he whispered.
It moved towards the village.
Havik sprang into action, running along the crest of the dune. Sand gave way under his feet but he had months of practice walking on the sand. He adjusted his posture with each step, moving swiftly and making no more noise than a whisper.
He lept down, landing in a crouch and barely pausing before running directly towards the kumakre. At the last moment, he veered left, doding the tail strike, and slashing with his blade.
Aiming for the joint in a leg, the blade sliced through the weak spot. The kumakre shrieked as the limb fell away.
Havik spun, dust floating in the air. Reduced to five legs, the creature still moved swiftly. The tail lashed out. He rolled away but did not escape unscathed. The barb pricked his right leg, near his ankle.
Rising to his feet, his right foot already felt sluggish and numb. He didn’t have much time.
Havik leapt onto the beast’s back. It bucked and thrashed, trying to dislodge him, but his legs wrapped around it’s torso tightly. The tail struck him again and again in his shoulders and back, each blow hitting his armor jacket.
The kumakre had a vulnerable point in the back of it’s head, where two carapice plates joined. He noticed the deep black color of the joint with disappointment. No powdery white fungus.
Energy hummed along the edge of the blade, crackling blue, as he pushed it in. Meeting resistance, he threw his entire weight against the blade, driving it deeper.
The dying shrieks of the kumakre filled the desert air. The tail whipped about dangerously, hitting the back of his neck and his jaw.
Havik held tight, refusing to loosen his grip, until the creature stilled. He slid off it’s back, landing ungracefully on his back. The venom made him lethargic. He needed to reach shelter to protect him from the cold night air before his body completely shut down.
Stumbling to his feet, he retrieved his abandoned pack and returned to the creature to remove his blade. His hand fumbled around the handle but it would not move. Frowning, he realized he had run out of time.
Once more, he tried for the blade, this time wiggling it out. Blood and fluid oozed out the wound.
Grasping the tail, still warm to the touch, he said, “You were a worthy foe. I will wear your barb with pride.” Concentrating, he removed the barb and placed it in his pack. Warriors who defeated a kumakre alone often wore the barbs around their necks. He would do the same, if he survived the night.
Losing dexterity, Havik dumped half his pack onto the ground. He curled up next to the hulking body of the kumakre, letting it block the wind. His heart thudded slowly. The natural effects of the cold on his person combined with the venom threatened to drag him down into unconsciousness. Wrapped into a foil sheet designed to reflect body heat, he would stay awake and endure the night.
The poacher had been apprehended in short order. In an out building, Havik searched through documents and equipment for any other collaborators. He found evidence that the poacher worked for a wealthy individual in another settlement. They were also arrested.
Then, buried under heavy tarps and broken equipment, he found a trunk with a heavy, top quality lock. Curious. The trunk was rickety and nearly falling apart. Why give it such an expensive lock?
Using the handle of his blade, he broke the rusted hinges and removed the top. Inside, three pink shelled eggs nestled in rough cloth.
Betrayed and sold at auction, Thalia is a long way from home. When she’s given the opportunity to bring those who abducted her to justice, she’s all in. One problem. Her alien partner hates humans, and he really hates her.
Too bad for him that she loves to tease the monstrous cross between a devil and an orc. He’s big, dangerous, and hits all her buttons.
No problem. She can keep it professional. Right?
A disgraced warrior.
Havik’s arrogance lost him a mate. Determined to regain his honor and complete this mission, he will not allow the human female to distract him.
He can’t trust a liar and a thief.
And he definitely shouldn’t be kissing one.
This books contains one grumpy alien, a woman who won’t loose hope, villains getting their just desserts, an HEA, no cheating, and no cliffhangers. While Havik can be read on it’s own, the book is best enjoyed after Jaxar.
AVAILABLE JUNE 5th
Pre order now: books2read.com/Havik