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       Alien, p.1

           Laurann Dohner
slower 1  faster
Alien


  Alien

  Coto’s Captive by Laurann Dohner

  Book five in the Zorn Warriors series.

  Lynn is tracking a dangerous, wounded animal, which turns out to be a big, sexy alien instead. And he’s the hottest guy she’s ever met.

  Coto’s trip to Earth takes a dangerous turn. He is attacked and injured. The only high point is the courageous woman who tends his wounds. Coto desires her and he will never let her go.

  Bridal Bonds by Leora Gonzales

  Sequel to Bridal Pact

  Andi signed up for the Bridal Pact, but what with having to dissolve her possibly sabotaged mismatch and being kidnapped by extremists determined to wreck the Earth-Phaeton warrior alliance, her space adventure sucks big-time. But before she can catch the next shuttle back to Earth, she’s claimed by two new suitors, the dominant Rodin and the happy-to-try-it Tamin.

  The doctors come as a pair, one warrior providing the discipline she didn’t know she craved and the other lightening her bruised heart. But bonding to not one but two alien warriors? If only Andi dares to try.

  No Way Out: Kari by Jaid Black

  Story 11 in the series Trek Mi Q’an. Can be read as a stand-alone, but we recommend you read the stories in sequence for maximum enjoyment.

  Whisked from Earth to the matriarchal planet of Galis by forces unknown, Kara Summers finds refuge in the mountainous crystal fortress of the Gy’at Li sector. Taken in and renamed Kari by the sector’s High Mystik, she spends seventeen years being honed into a formidable warrior. Sent to Crystal City to complete her training, Kari Gy’at Li knows there is one species of male she must avoid at all costs because of their proclivity for stealing women—the warriors of Tryston. When Kari is hunted by an eight-foot-tall muscled warrior, she realizes what she must do—vanquish the predator or become the prey.

  This is the backstory on Kari and Death; their full story will be told over the course of the next three books.

  Escape by Tara Nina

  Paoni Warrior Shia must capture or kill Kal, an escaped Lanius—the worst of alien criminals—but she has no idea who she is truly up against.

  Kal knows his imprisonment was unjustified. Turning the tables, he takes Shia captive, igniting her curiosity and a lust she can’t control. But siding with him will put both her heart and her life on the line.

  Reader Advisory: These stories have graphic sexual language and scenes—no closed bedroom doors (or other rooms) here!

  A collection of adult sci fi romance from Ellora’s Cave

  Alien

  Coto’s Captive

  By Laurann Dohner

  Bridal Bonds

  By Leora Gonzales

  Now Way Out: Kari

  By Jaid Black

  Escape

  By Tara Nina

  Coto’s Captive

  Laurann Dohner

  Chapter One

  Lynn wanted to just shoot the prick who was standing about five feet to her left. Jimmy Morgan was absolute scum in her book. She resisted the urge. She couldn’t afford to lose her job or get arrested when his uncle found out what she’d done. Lynn had to take a deep breath to calm her boiling temper as she crouched beside the remains of what used to be four dogs. She glared at Jimmy, refusing to look away.

  “Let’s just cut the bullshit, asshole. You know your mayor uncle isn’t going to allow anyone to arrest your dumb ass so you might as well just tell me the truth. What is out here that did this to your dogs?”

  “I’d tell you if I knew,” he ground out.

  Lynn straightened to her feet and wanted to kick him square in the nuts. “You made these poor dogs mean and you turned them loose on your property to protect your pot plants that everyone pretends you aren’t growing. What else did you get to help guard your crops? It killed all four of your best guard dogs, Jimmy. It’s out of control, isn’t it? Is that why you called me in to clean up your mess? I’m animal control but this…” She gestured at the four torn-up dogs. “This was done by a large animal. Is it a bear? A lion? What did you bring here?”

  “I didn’t!” he yelled. “I just had the dogs. I don’t have a clue what did this. Do you think I’d call you if it was mine? I don’t want anyone nosing around my place. They might want to steal my pot.”

  The man’s stupidity amazes me. “Growing it is illegal. Of course, you could probably state that you murdered someone and your uncle wouldn’t allow anyone to arrest your worthless butt. Now you want me to track down whatever did this and take care of that problem for you?” She raised her hand and gave him the middle finger. “Not a chance.” She spun around and stormed away.

  “Damn it, Lynn. You can’t do this. What if it kills me or one of my friends? How will you feel then?”

  She paused by her SUV to face him and met his gaze with a cold smile. “Um…let’s see. You’re the guy who takes cute little puppies and turns them into vicious killers just for the sake of protecting your illegal drug operation. I wouldn’t shed a tear, Jimmy. Not a one. Yeah, that’s a way to get to me. Make me ponder the concept of a few less assholes in the world.” She loudly snorted. “I’m out of here.”

  “I’ll call my uncle,” the jerk threatened. “I’ll have you fired before you even reach town if you leave. You need to track down what did this and kill it.”

  Frustration roiled through her. She knew he’d do it and that his uncle would pull every string to get her canned. She had a house payment and jobs were nearly impossible to find within a hundred miles of Green Bend. That’s what she got for growing up in a small town in the middle of a wooded area—dealing with assholes and a bad job market.

  “Get out of my sight and tell your two loser friends to stay out of my way too.”

  “Not a problem. We’ll go smoke some dubbies and watch porn.”

  “Sick pervert,” she muttered.

  She opened the back of her vehicle and lifted out her tranquilizer gun, grabbing the tranquilizer-dart bag as well. She wasn’t into killing animals, hoping to dart them instead and relocate them where they’d be safe. It was always preferable to take them deeper into the woods where they would thrive. Whatever had killed the dogs had probably been cornered and fought its way free.

  She tugged on her jacket last, studied the sky, and took note that only a few hours remained before the sun set. Her father had raised her alone and had taught her to be an excellent tracker. He’d dragged her out into the woods every weekend to hunt something, depending on the season. At sixteen she’d finally put her foot down. She hated killing animals, instead had wanted to protect and save them.

  Lynn returned to the scene of the crime, carefully expanding the search for clues of what had killed the dogs. Their throats had been torn into, leaving deep, vicious wounds. It came as a shock when she located a new set of prints. They weren’t from an animal but instead what she guessed to be about a size-sixteen boot. From the size of the boots she assumed it had to be a man. The grooves were deep in the soft dirt, letting her know the person weighed over two hundred pounds. It put a whole new spin on the situation.

  “Damn it!”

  She considered returning to the truck but the blood on the ground looked fresh. She guessed it had happened less than an hour before. One more visual scan of the area revealed a large, bloody handprint on a tree trunk about ten feet away. Whatever had killed the dogs appeared to have been an animal with sharp teeth but the clues weren’t adding up anymore. She’d gone from tracking something with four legs to something on two.

  DEA agents might want to see if the rumors about Jimmy were true. That concept left her feeling cold. Maybe one of them had come on Jimmy’s land to take a look-see. It made sense. A local resident would know to avoid Jimmy’s property. It would have to be an outsider—someone who was unaware of how insane Jimmy could be, or o
f the danger of being torn to bits by his vicious guard dogs.

  She picked up her pace, wanting to find the person quickly. He’d need medical attention and help escaping the area. Jimmy was stupid enough to kill an agent to evade arrest, but his uncle couldn’t control the DEA.

  She lost the blood trail when she came to heavy brush but spotted a drop of red in the direction of the river. She could hear the rushing water and figured it would only be logical for an injured person to be drawn there.

  Jimmy’s fence blocked her way to the water. She studied it. Blood smeared the low tree branch next to the metal barrier and there was more on the ones that extended beyond, indicating how the man had left the property.

  She climbed the tree too, and dropped the five feet to the ground below when she cleared the fence. Boot prints were just inches from her own where she landed. Avery Johnson was blind and older than dirt. He didn’t shoot at trespassers. It meant she didn’t have to worry about notifying him that she’d had to make an unexpected entry onto his land.

  The person she tracked had gone into the river. A visual scan of the other side of the bank revealed where he’d gotten out. Some of the bushes had broken branches. It meant she would have to cross to follow.

  There was less than an hour of light left. He might die overnight if he didn’t get medical attention. She dug out a large plastic evidence bag from her utility belt, and shoved her shoes, socks and belt inside.

  Lynn stripped down to her bra and panties, rolled her clothes into a tight ball, pressed them into the bag, and sealed it. She didn’t want to suffer the discomfort of soaking-wet clothing after dark. A string of curses hissed past her lips when the icy water hit her bare flesh. The person she trailed had better be really hurt and be DEA. Otherwise she would be angry for going to all that trouble. She walked deeper into the swift current and held her tranquilizer gun over her head in one hand, her bag with the other.

  The current tore at her body, knocking her off her feet. She swam and managed to keep a death grip on the gun and sealed floating bag. She made it across the river, but was out of breath as she forced her tired limbs to crawl up the embankment onto the thick moss between two big bushes. She collapsed on her butt and panted, attempting to catch her breath as she unwound the strap from her wrist. She tossed her useless tranquilizer gun a few feet away to drain the barrel on the slant of the embankment.

  Lynn shivered hard, hugged her body, and ignored the way her teeth chattered. She finally recovered enough to stand and bend over to retrieve her clothes from inside the evidence bag. They appeared dry. The seal had held.

  A low growl sounded from behind her as she faced the river. Fear jolted through her. A vicious dog had just snarled, if her ears weren’t deceiving her. It was really close. She guessed it was a big dog too. Her utility belt and weapons were buried at the bottom of the bag her hand rested on. No way could she grab her Taser or even the mace in time if it attacked. The clothes were in the way. It’s just not my day.

  Jimmy obviously had more than four dogs and one had escaped his property to chase whomever it had attacked earlier. Her gaze lifted to the moving water. She could dive into the water and pray the mean mutt wouldn’t come in after her but she doubted that plan would work. It had already swum across once.

  “So fucked,” she mouthed quietly, holding very still.

  Another growl came from behind her. It was closer. She just knew it would lunge and bite into her butt at any second. Her only option was to attempt to startle the thing. It might be confused long enough for her grab a weapon. She scanned the ground to her right and left, spotting the tranquilizer gun. She could use it as a bat if she could get to it in time.

  She spun and straightened to her full height. The shout burst from her throat louder than she imagined it would. It came out more of a shriek. She pitched the bag at the first thing her gaze focused on. Shock tore through her as the bag struck a big man in the groin area. He grunted loudly as he doubled over and just collapsed to the ground on his hands and knees.

  Lynn stood there staring, frozen, her gaze locked on the downed man. She noticed a lot of naked, golden skin. He had broad shoulders and really muscular arms bracing his upper body. Long, silvery-blond hair spilled all the way to his hands. Blood smeared one arm and she noticed more injuries when she was able to take a hesitant step forward to get a better view of him.

  He’d been attacked by dogs. It was easy to identify the bites by sight and he had more than a few of them. One arm was torn up under his elbow, another bite on his other arm by his wrist. That hand was covered in blood. She saw more injuries on his legs. It was a miracle he’d made it that far without passing out.

  “Oh my god,” she gasped, rushing at him without giving it a thought. “You’re seriously hurt.”

  He raised his head slowly, his chin lifted, but most of his features were covered by his long hair. One eye peeked at her through it. Her knees felt weak when she halted, staring at him. It was the most striking, prettiest eye she’d ever seen. The blue of it was almost neon and swirls of silver ran through the iris like tiny streaks of lightning.

  He growled softly. The strange sound startled her but then she realized how much pain he had to be in. The fact that she’d nailed him hard with her bag must have hurt too since she’d knocked him to his knees. She inched closer.

  “It’s okay.” She softened her tone as if he were a skittish kitten, something with which she had a lot of experience, in her line of work. “I’m with animal control and I’m going to help you.” The amount of blood on the ground alarmed her.

  She slowly lowered to her knees in front of him. His injures looked bad and they actively bled. “My name is Lynn. I don’t have a first-aid kit but I can tear up my shirt to make bandages. We need to stop the bleeding immediately.”

  He watched her with that one beautiful eye. His hair was wet near the ground where he’d been in the water but he had thick, beautiful tresses. Her assumption that he was DEA strengthened. She’d heard some of them grew out their hair to fit in better with the criminals they had to deal with. This guy must have been going for the heavy-metal look and it meshed with Jimmy’s taste in friends.

  She twisted a little to grab her bag. “I’m going to patch you up and go for help. There’s no cell signal this far out. I’m sure you’re aware of that by now.” It would only make sense that he’d try to call 911. “There’s a cabin a few miles from here. Avery has a landline. I’ll go there and lead the paramedics back to you. You look too hurt to make it on your own steam and no vehicles can drive this close to the river. There’s too many trees and the terrain is rough. We’ll have to carry you out on a stretcher.”

  She dumped out the contents of her bag. Her hands trembled as she opened her utility knife and began the process of slicing her shirt into strips. He didn’t talk at all and it worried her. She’d dealt with plenty of injured animals but it was different looking at mangled human flesh. The sight made her feel a little queasy. She wrapped his wrist first, tying the ends of the cloth strip tightly to apply a little pressure to the bleeding wound. He allowed it, not flinching away or trying to stop her.

  “It’s going to be okay,” she reassured him. “I need access to all the bites. Can you lean back a little and maybe pull your hair out of the way?”

  He hesitated but then shifted from his crouched position to fall onto his ass, turning his face away as he stretched out flat on his back. Lynn bit back a gasp. He wore very small underwear, unlike anything she’d ever seen. Leather covered his groin. There wasn’t a fly or buttons down the front, just an almost invisible strap at the side. She shifted her gaze away to take in his upper body. He was in such good shape that she could see every impressive muscle displayed over his stomach. He lifted one arm and placed his hand over his face. It was probably to stifle groans of pain.

  Okay, so the guy wears leather Speedos. No big deal. She focused on his thighs. He had two more bite marks, one on the outside of his left leg, just above the
knee and the other on the inside of his right thigh, high up. She grimaced, acknowledging that it was lucky the guy didn’t wear boxers. That bite was so close to his kinky shorts that the dog might have nailed his nuts if they’d been dangling a little in looser material.

  “What’s your name?” She used most of the remaining shirt to wrap around his thigh by his knee. He shifted the leg, lifting it for her to slide her hands under him to tie off the material. “Do you feel all right?” His skin was hot to the touch. “I think you’re running a fever.”

  He said nothing. Her gaze lifted to that massive, bulky chest to watch it rise and fall slowly as he breathed. Her gaze lingered there before she forced herself to look away, feeling a little perverted at the inappropriate thoughts that flashed through her mind. The guy was total beefcake. She was doing the math and was pretty sure he wasn’t a druggie. He had to be in the best shape she’d ever seen. A guy would have to practically live in a gym to get the muscle mass he’d obtained. Definitely DEA.

  “Did you catch the part about me being with animal control? Someone should have warned you guys about Jimmy’s guard dogs if you were going to scope out his place. I’m really glad you’re trying to clean that mess up but I’m so sorry you were hurt.” She paused, noticing that he was not moving. Had he passed out? “Mister?”

  She stared up at his face but couldn’t make out much of it. His hair still covered most of his features and what his long hair didn’t hide, his bandaged wrist did. She studied the last of his wounds, the bloody one on the inside of his upper thigh. She hesitated and inched closer, leaning over to get a better look. She winced.

  He’d need stitches on that one for sure. She turned, staring at her bag. There was nothing in there to use for that wound. He had muscular thighs and they were big around. One glance down and she knew what would work. She quickly removed her wet bra and put on her lightweight jacket to cover her breasts. The guy seemed oblivious that she’d just flashed him. She snapped two buttons to keep the jacket closed.

 
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