Kidnapped by pirates, all Meghan wants is to return to Earth and her brother, the only family she has left. Unbeknownst to Meghan, her kidnapping was not a matter of chance. The pirates were sent after her. But before they can sell her, or worse, she is rescued by more pirates and taken to the alien world of Tarnan, where she is told she must choose a warrior mate. Determined to return home at any cost, Meghan refuses every advance made to her.
Zayne, an inventor of weapons, isn't sure what to make of the Earth female. She isn't anything like the ones that have been brought to their world before. She's prickly and rude, and sometimes downright hostile. When he beseeches the Prime to allow her to return home, he, instead, ends up with her in his home, as his assistant.
As time passes, the two grow closer. When Meghan receives devastating news, it's Zayne who is there for her, comforting her. She begins to see the alien-hybrid in a new light and allows herself to open her heart to the possibility of a mate.
But the road to their union is a bumpy one, and both are left wondering if they will ever be allowed to be together as more than friends.
Shading her eyes from the sunlight, she looked up at the tall warrior who had sneaked up on her. He was different from the others, his skin a light green. There had been whispers among the women that some of the Tarnans were hybrids and she figured he must be one of them. She supposed he was handsome, with his shaggy hair and golden eyes. As she took in his features, she noted the tense jaw and wondered what she’d done now. For the past several days, one warrior after another had berated her for something or other.
“You shouldn’t be out here alone,” he finally said.
“I’m within sight of the house.”
“Yes, but what if a filar decided to come after you?”
Her brow furrowed. “Filar? What the hell is that?”
He seemed to search for the right words. “It’s similar to your crocodiles on earth. Very nasty tempered and they would think your Earth flesh was a delicacy. You wouldn’t know it was upon you until it had snapped its jaws around your ankle.”
She looked at the tranquil water and eased her feet back onto the grassy shore. Who knew something so simple like wading through the water would be hazardous to her health? She’d only wanted to ease the ache in her feet. A vitril, similar to a draft horse, had stepped on her feet the other morning and they were still slightly bruised.
He frowned down at her black and blue feet. “You’re accident prone, aren’t you?”
“No. I just haven’t learned the ways of your world yet. How was I supposed to know that beast would stomp on my feet if I got close to it? It looked perfectly harmless standing in the field near the house.”
“There are dangers on my world that you know nothing about. It would be best if you didn’t leave the house without an escort from this point forward.”
“If all of you would quit denying my request to speak to whomever is in charge, then I’d be off this damn planet and none of you would have to worry about me again.”
He shook his head. “You don’t seem to understand. Women, on Tarnan, are worth more than any gems, marks, or gold. There is nothing your Earth could offer us that we would accept. Is it really so bad, having men practically worship you? A warrior you took as your mate would do anything for you. He would die to protect you and would love you with his last breath. Is that such a horrible fate?”
Perhaps not, but she still didn’t like being stuck in this strange place, with no one she knew. The other women weren’t friendly with her and she had no one to talk to. There was absolutely nothing for her to do around Tarnan and she was bored. When Meghan got bored, she tended to get into trouble. Not that she went looking for it; she just sort of stumbled upon it.
“Come,” he said, holding out his hand. “I’ll take you back to the house.”
“I don’t want to sit in that house all day! There’s nothing to do there!”
She saw a flash of confusion in his eyes.
“But you have the other women for company,” he said, as if that cured everything.
“They don’t like me.”
“Maybe it’s your sharp tongue they don’t like. I’ve met Earth women before, several have made their homes here, but I’ve never met one such as you. It is most unusual that Sol would pick up someone so prickly.”
“So sorry for not bowing and scraping at your feet or kissing the ground you walk on just because one pirate took me from another. I didn’t ask for this life. I never asked to be taken from all that’s familiar to me, to be forced to choose a mate. Did you ever think that maybe I don’t want one?”
Now he looked really confused. “Don’t all women wish to have homes of their own? A man to take care of them and children to play at their feet?”
She snorted. “I took care of myself on my world. I worked hard to get where I was with my company, had a nice townhouse, a decent car. I had enough money to do whatever I wanted. Go to movies, buy books, and take vacations. Now my freedom has been stolen from me.”
“You truly wish for freedom? To be on your own?”
“Very well. I will speak with the Prime about finding you a job. You can earn a place to stay on our world. If you refuse to take a mate, we will not house you and pay for your needs. If you wish to be independent, you shall have it.”
She swallowed hard. What had she done? She didn’t know anything about this place. How was she going to find a job if she didn’t understand how anything worked? If they weren’t going to house her, where would she live? How would she buy food? What if she was injured? Would she have to pay for a doctor?
He reached down and gripped her arm, hauling her to her feet. Picking her shoes up from the ground, he began dragging her back toward the house. Meghan stumbled, trying to keep up with his long strides. She hadn’t meant to anger him, but she was just so lost in this world. She didn’t want to be a broodmare, but it seemed as if she’d had little option to do anything else. Now he was going to give her a chance to have a job, but she had to admit she was terrified.
They reached the house and he shoved her toward the door. “Go inside. I’ll return within the hour to collect you. Make sure you have your possessions gathered and ready to go.”