Unemployment is stressful enough—but throw in the threat of being tossed out the space station’s airlock as a vagrant, and human Del is in desperate need of employment. No job, no place to stay, Del wants nothing more than to be back out amongst the stars, preferably as a bridge crewmember. Trouble is, his dreams are bigger than his starship experience and years, and Del finally heads to a bar to drown his frustrations.
Getting drunk might not have been the smartest thing to do—as he wakes in a strange, handsome alien’s bed, with no memory of the night before. When that strange alien calls him mate, Del thinks that maybe all his problems are over. He finally has a job. Or does he?
Quinn wants love and a family, but his duty as captain to a Xolian space cruiser leaves little time for forging relationships. When drunk and adorable human Del propositions him in a space bar, begging to be his first mate, Quinn hopes that maybe he can have both duty and love. Until the next morning, when the alcohol wears off and cultural barriers and misunderstandings set off a chain reaction of mayhem, mischief, and trouble that follows Del wherever he goes.
A relationship that began as a mistake may become something more—bound by love and desire, and all they must do now is survive the journey.
**Gay sci-fi romance featuring a sassy human, an irascible alien captain, and adventure beyond both their dreams.**
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1 First mate
The bed was warm and soft. I snuggled back into the arms embracing me and sighed, trying to fall back to sleep. Yesterday had been a long day of seeking work and when I hadn’t found any, I had sought solace in the space station’s bar. My binge drinking explained the wave of dizziness and nausea that swept over me in the darkness. Prying my eyes open slowly took a great deal of effort. What the hell had I drank last night anyway? Was it even made for human consumption? As I struggled to sit up and get my bearings without throwing up, I caught sight of the hand resting on my chest. It was a man’s hand- a rather large one. There were clawed tips at the end of each long, thick finger I noticed with some alarm.READ MORE
Everything about last night after the second pint of whatever it was I sucked down seemed a distant blur. I knew one thing for certain, even though I was an open minded, hetero-flexible type of guy, waking up in another man’s bed when you’d never been in one before was alarming, to say the least. I grasped the hand and attempted to move the arm back to its owner. The second I touched him he grumbled from underneath the blankets, slid even closer and tucked me neatly under his arm like I was a toy.
“Hey, um, excuse me,” I mumbled from my spot at his side. “Could you let go?”
“It's early. Sleep!” a deep, resonant, bear-like voice answered.
When I pushed ineffectively at him again, there was movement beside me. The owner of the pow- erful arm emerged and he glared at me with star- tlingly bright green eyes, the pupils only black ver- tical slits. My mouth gaped open. Obviously he wasn’t human and it took me a minute to identify the alien race to which he belonged. When I did, I felt my stomach drop. He was Xolian, a humanoid race; they were incredibly strong, intelligent, cunning, and stubborn. Their faces, though very similar to humans, were more muscular along the jaw, which gave them a powerful bite and their canine teeth elongated when they got angry. These details, plus the ability to endure great hardship and pain, made them exceptional fighters. They could often be found serving as mercenaries in someone else’s war or hired for impossible missions to harsh planets. Xolians were known as the badasses of the universe. Here I was in bed with one. I had run into their kind once before and found them to be overly sensitive and thus prone to being short tempered. I was in a tricky spot. It was time to turn on the ol’ Del charm and talk my way out of this situation.
“Um, hi. Uh. Good morning. I guess we met last night at the bar? Thing is, I’m bad with names. You are?” I asked as calmly as I could.
The Xolian shifted his head to get a better look at me and ran a hand through his thick, pitch-black hair. When he gently caressed my hand, it took all my reserve to keep still and not shriek in panic. He grinned, showing extra-sharp canines. “I am Captain Quinn. And you are Del Foster, now my First Mate.”
I thought back to the day before when I had been trolling the space station for work. I’d just complet- ed a six-month tour aboard a trash trawler and had been looking to move up in life. A First Mate position was quite a huge leap, though, from Relief Navigator. Twenty-one years old was a bit young for a position in the command crew and I didn’t have any experience at all. Hell, maybe the Captain had been drunk too or knew little about humans, probably both. “Did I sign the contract?” I asked. “For how long?”
Captain Quinn snorted and his chest shook in laughter as if I’d made the best joke ever. “We are mated for life, Del. And yes, you and I and our witness signed the mating license. It’s all legal, I assure you.”
“Wait! First Mate isn't the title of a position on your ship? It’s what? Like being married?” I gasped, feeling sick. I inched away slowly, hoping he wouldn’t notice. Unfortunately, he did and pulled me back to press against his side.
His hot, panting breath was in my ear as he remarked, “Married? That is a human tradition on Old and New Earth, yes? What does it mean?”
I wiggled uncomfortably as I tried to answer. “I’ve never thought about what it means exactly! I never planned on getting married! It means, oh hell’s bells, like a legal commitment to live together, love each other, and I guess special rights go with that. I don’t know!”
He quietly petted my arm as he considered my explanation. He finally said, “Mmm, Xolian mating sounds the same. Once we consummate our mat- ing, the license will be finalized and our commitment to each other will be legally recognized on every Intergalactic Treaty planet.”
“Whoa, whoa! Hold on,” I choked. “Consummate? That’s uh, sex, right? With you? Don’t rip my arms off when I tell you this, but I’d like to go now.”
I shoved at him and he released me. I leapt from the bed as though it were on fire and backed all the way to the wall. I was only wearing my boxers. I snatched a small throw pillow from a nearby chair and covered myself.
My supposed mate pushed back the covers and rose, his slightly alien face contorting in confusion or concern. I couldn’t really tell which. He was completely naked, his bare skin a light milky caramel color on his arms and legs while his chest and belly were a bit lighter. He was heavily muscled, broad chested, and when I saw how well-endowed he was, I nearly choked. I swear, even if he was only half hard, the damned thing was a fifth limb. I looked away, a little embarrassed when I felt my heart rate and breathing quicken.
He straightened to his full height, which appeared to be over seven feet, and grunted something at me. Was he talking in his own alien tongue? I had no idea. He started to take a step towards me, but stopped. He held up one hand to calm me. He caressed his dark five o’clock shadow, apparently in thought.
“Del,” he finally said softly as if talking to a frightened child. “What’s wrong? You were pleased to be offered my First Mate position last night. You responded to my touch, you shared my bed. I’m confused. What changed, my mate?”
“I made a big mistake, obviously. I thought you were offering me a position on your ship! And um, the other stuff, well, I was really, really drunk. So tell me, we didn’t... you know... did we?”
“Consummate?” he growled. I could see he was getting agitated. “Not yet, it was late when we boarded the ship. I just stripped you and put you to bed.”
Thank God. I still had a chance to get out of this. I told him, “Ok, so we can get an annulment or whatever they are called, since this was a terrible, drunken mistake. We’ll just have the stationmaster rescind it. Hold up, we’re on your ship?”
“We left the space station last night,” he informed me gruffly. “As to your mistake, I’m sorry to inform you that we have no such provision for an annulment on Xolia. Mating is permanent even if it is done in a shamefully drunken state. Further- more, to enter into this legally binding contract and then try to break it is bad form, little human! This angers me greatly! If we had already consummated our union, I would certainly discipline you for being so rude and audacious!”
This is the first published book by this author, although you would never know that Christine Wright wasn’t a seasoned writer.
Del Foster wakes up to the surprise of his life. Finding out that he has accepted what he at first thinks of as a position on a starship, but finds out that he is mated to the Captain instead. The plot is fast paced and the surprises keep coming as Del tries his best to escape his fate. Although once he begins to learn more about his mate, Captain Quinn; the less he wants to leave and the more he wants to explore what being a mate to his Captain means.
Captain Quinn is a very respected and feared member of his species. He shows his new mate Del a surprising amount of patience while trying to keep him out of trouble (that Del finds himself in anyway), and disciplining him to teach him how to live this new life. Love this story! Very original and I can’t wait for the next installment.
Great job Christine Wright, Keep up the good work!
Book 1 of a series.