Mass Market (Previously published as COSMIC SEX)
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The truth is way out there…
Kia can’t imagine why her cousin Mala left planet Nerak to go in search of Earth men. At least, not until she meets a virile, muscular human intent on rescuing her from a bar brawl. At first, Kia just wants undercover cop Nick Scericino to help locate her cousin…well, it would be a shame to come all this way without finding out whether everything really is bigger in Texas…
Nick knows trouble when he sees it. And right now, trouble is sitting at the bar—black-clad, sexy as hell, and about to mess up his sting operation to take down some Russian mobsters. Kia’s certainly not like any woman he’s known—flat out demanding sex, and following through with a sensational romp. Either she’s crazy or she’s not kidding about being an alien. Now the only thing worse than falling wildly in lust with someone who’s not playing with a full holodeck is the thought that she’ll soon be leaving for a galaxy far, far away…
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Kia hoped one day her cousin stumbled across
her charred remains and felt remorse!
The craft tilted.
She scrambled to flip the lever that would switch her to manual control, then gripped the guidance bar with both hands. This wasn’t good! Her teeth rattled and her body shook from the violent vibrations that overtook the craft. She was going to crash into Earth and her life cycle would extinguish!
It was all Mala’s fault. If her cousin hadn’t decided she just had to go to Earth in search of something more than their perfect world, then Kia wouldn’t be in this predicament.
Her concentration switched back to the orb she raced toward. It grew bigger and bigger. Her anxiety level mounted higher and higher.
The craft began to spin as it entered Earth’s atmospheric pull. Clouds rushed past, then mountains, blurs of colors.
Oh Great One in all your infinite wisdom—Help!
The craft suddenly began to slow. Okay, this was better. Some measure of control returned.
Until she crashed into an immobile object and came to an abrupt stop. It was all she could do to keep from slamming her head into the control panel.
She swallowed past the sick feeling in her stomach. Not even one millisecond on Earth and already she felt ill. The planet was probably rife with disease and pestilence.
Okay, she could do this. She drew in a deep breath, raising her chin. After all, she was a warrior—brave and true of spirit.
Oh Great One, creator of every living, breathing Nerakian, the contents of her stomach were about to depart her body. Not good. She’d never been sick a day in her life.
Deep breath. Slow inhale, now exhale.
When the world stopped spinning, she stood, waving her hand in front of the door.
She raised her foot and executed a perfect kick, connecting with the metal. It groaned and creaked, then trembled open.
Her craft would not be safe to travel in again. Not that she wanted to return the same way. No, she would face the Elders’ wrath and ask them to transport her and Mala back to Nerak in a tube transporter—a much smoother way to travel. There was a lot to be said about newer models.
Freezing air swirled inside the craft. She shivered. Earth was a cold planet. Why would Mala want to stay here? She’d said it was because she’d wanted imperfection. That no one could survive in their perfect world.
Mala had gotten her wish, it would seem. Earth did not look at all perfect. And what was wrong with perfect? It certainly hadn’t done her any harm.
No, she had a feeling it was more than that. Her cousin had been stuck on the idea of being with a real man rather than a machine since finding their grandmother’s secret diaries and her video of interplanetary space travels to Earth.
Kia had never seen the attraction of having a man, Nerakian or otherwise. Not that there were any men left on her planet.
Now that she thought about it, Mala had been particularly interested in the documentary Grandmother had stashed away: Debbie Does the Sheriff. Her cousin had been extremely excited with her found treasure. Kia hadn’t cared to view it. She’d been quite content with her life.
She grabbed her satchel and jumped down. Her feet landed with a thump.
Good. She would’ve hated to be sucked down into nothingness.
No, it didn’t matter what Mala found so intriguing about Earth, Kia was here to take her back to Nerak by whatever means necessary.
Kia had been given the DNA of a warrior, not that she’d ever had the chance to actually use her skills since they were at peace. But if she had to use force, she would.
She removed her locator from her front pocket and flipped it open. After putting in the necessary data, she pushed a button.
She jiggled the instrument. The small screen remained black.
Broken. Now what?
Mala was living on a ranch. That was the only information Kia had. A ranch, possibly with herds of animals.
A loud rumbling vibrated the ground beneath her feet. An army of brutish men? She slipped behind a tree and waited to see if warriors would appear, but the rumbling faded.
Her gaze moved upward. A tree. But up close, it felt…different than she’d expected. The description in the archived books described it perfectly: brown, rough-textured bark.
Another loud rumble shook the ground. What could be making that horrible noise?
She was a warrior—she stood taller, one eyebrow quirked; she would investigate.
She touched a button, shrouding her craft in invisibility, then removed a black cape from her satchel and fastened it under her chin. She would look into the rumbling and maybe locate Mala in the process. Soon this nonsense of staying on Earth would be forgotten and they could return to Nerak.
An hour later she came to the realization that she might be going in the wrong direction when she came to a fence and beyond that was a road. It didn’t look like a ranch.
Ranches were supposed to be dwellings with smelly cows and…and cow-men. Although she hoped she never came face-to-face with a half-cow, half-man. That might even test her beyond what she was prepared to encounter.
But the rumbling didn’t come from animals. It came from the wheeled craft traveling on the road.
“Primitive.” She shook her head and tossed her bag over the fence. A few seconds later, she stood on the other side. Now what?
Just when she thought her day couldn’t get any worse, one of the large craft pulled close to her, swirling up a cloud of dust that made her cough.
“Need a lift?” a burly earthman asked as he leaned his head out the window.
“A lift?” Why would she want this overgrown beast of a man to lift her?
“Yeah, need a ride? I’m going to Dallas if you’re headed that way.”
“Do they have a ranch there?”
He nodded. “You must be talking about that one from the TV show—Southfork. Yep, it’s still there and open to tourists.”
Tourists? What was a tourist? No matter. She would soon be with Mala. “Good, then I will ride with you.”
He leaned over, disappering. She wondered if he might have dissolved into a puddle. Adam-1, her companion unit, had gotten too close to an incinerating machine once and melted into a shiny blob of metal. Very messy.
A few seconds later, part of his craft opened and then he straightened.
“If you’re goin’ with me, then you’d better hurry. I gotta get this load on in.”
“I’m… goin’.” She hurried around the side of the conveyance and climbed inside.
She would observe this man while she searched for Mala. The language on this part of the planet was similar to her own, although he talked rather peculiar.
She would learn his manner of speech so she would blend in.
She climbed up and into the front of his machine and tried to make herself comfortable on the lumpy seat. Her hover seat was much better. And her craft cleaner.
Her nose wrinkled. What was that odor? It was quite possibly the worst thing she’d ever smelled. The sooner she found Mala the better. Surely her cousin was ready to leave this awful, imperfect world by now.
She waved her arm, but the door didn’t close. Apparently, the closing mechanism was broken. The man leaned across and pulled it shut. His body odor filled her nostrils. If he didn’t move from her immediate vicinity she really would empty the contents of her stomach.
“You’re a cutie.” He moved back to his side.
She looked at the man. Part of his hair was missing. The top part. Only the side hair remained, and it stuck out at odd angles. His uniform consisted of a wrinkled orange shirt with the logo of his department: “I’m a Mother Trucker and Proud of It!.”
He was disproportionate, too. His abdomen protruded over his pants to an alarming degree.
“Name’s Hank. You got a name?” He wrestled with a stick that came up from the floor, then pulled onto the road.
The motion of his craft jerked her forward. She grabbed the door and held on. “Yes, I got a name. It’s Kia.” Her teeth felt as if they’d be jarred loose any second. “Does it go airborne?”
“That’s what I like, a woman who likes speed.” He grinned and she noticed the bouncing craft had already caused him to lose most of his teeth.
Hank shifted the stick, then pulled a cord above his head that set off a loud horn and left her wondering if the noise had damaged her eardrums.
“Yee-haaaaa! We’re truckin’ now!” he said as the dial jumped to ninety. “Yep, this eighteen-wheeler will dang sure get you where you’re goin’.”