In the Perseus arm of the Milky Way lies the Cejuru solar system; its major planet, Cejuru Prime. The isolationist Prime, the oldest known hominid species in the galaxy, has fought off the Antarean forays into the outer arms of the Milky Way for millennia. The Antareans are a militaristic, pseudo-reptilian species from the Andromeda Galaxy.
While the Prime have managed to hold the Antarean invasion of the Milky Way at bay, it has been at a great cost to their planet. The Prime female population targeted by the Antareans has been decimated; the few women left have low fertility and mostly deliver male children. The result is a Prime population growth of less than zero.
The Prime Council facing the reality of extinction of their species within the next two generations votes, by a narrow majority, to join the Galactic Alliance. Their reasons for coming out of isolation are two-fold: one, to join forces with the powerful Galactic Alliance Military to battle the threat of the Antareans who even now are venturing further into the more heavily populated arms of the Milky Way and, two, to find compatible females with whom their males can mate.
BUY NOW Links
Amazon US Amazon UK Apple iBooks Barnes and Noble All Romance eBooks
Kobo Australia Kobo Canada Kobo UK
EXCERPT -- Chapter One
A resort on Tooh 2, Mu Arae Solar System
“Captain! Captain! Mel! Dammit, wake up!”
Galactic Alliance Captain Melina Grace Dmitros roused from her light nap in the sun. The tenseness in her second-in-command’s voice was vastly different than the relaxed, jovial mood from their earlier lunch with fellow officers. If she hadn’t known better, she would’ve thought they were back on the command deck of their battle cruiser Leonidas and not lying by a pool in a seaside resort on the garden planet of Tooh 2.
Turning her head slightly to the right, she growled, “What is it, Nowicki?”
“We’ve got a problem!”
Commander Royce Nowicki angled his head toward the poolside café where only ninety minutes earlier they’d officially kicked off Gold Squadron’s three-day leave. Prior to this well-deserved vacation, they, and Captain Garth Warten’s Blue Squadron, had spent three standard months chasing pirates all over the Mu Arae Solar System.
Mel did not want to hear about a problem. Not one. But Nowicki’s body language told her she needed to deal with whatever was bothering him. He did not raise false alarms.
Following Nowicki’s gaze, she not only saw, but heard the problem.
Ensign Steve Parker of Blue Squadron was in the process of taunting and threatening three large men. From the look of their clothing, they were part of some diplomatic team. Great, just what she needed, a political powder keg.
Removing her dark sunshades, she squinted more closely at the objects of Parker’s drunken rage. Depending on the race, the problem could be more or less serious.
It was more.
“Well, hell. Count on Parker to pick on the new Cejuru Prime ambassador to the Alliance. Is he suicidal or what?” She turned her head and glared at Nowicki. “And, dammit, how in the blazes did Parker get off Tooh 10? I thought he’d been confined to quarters for that last bout of insubordination.”
“Insubordination?” sputtered Nowicki, his eyes fiery with remembered rage. “The cretin almost got you killed!”
Mel rubbed her side where the healing wound was now merely a faint scar. The regen bed had done wonders for the superficial healing, but the underlying muscles and nerves were still knitting back together. Nature could only be helped along so much.
“Warten convinced me that he’d handle the matter. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. But, at the very least, Parker was to be confined to quarters while the Admiral and Warten decided what to do with him.”
She scanned the pool area for Parker’s commanding officer as she reached for her cover-up. Settling potential galactic incidents in a bikini was not protocol.
“Warten’s not here,” Nowicki stated what she had already determined for herself. “He left the café after lunch, said something about a date with a pillow.”
“Sure. Fine,” she muttered as she struggled into the sheer silken chemise that had looked just right for a day by the pool, but now seemed all wrong for the coming confrontation. And that there would be a confrontation she had no doubt. Parker was a hothead; he wouldn’t back down. Dammit. “Garth is off tangling in the sheets with some tanned, voluptuous Tooh 2 cutie, and I get to clean up his mess.”
Spying two other of her senior officers, she turned to Nowicki. “Get J’ar and A’tem. Call for military security. Then clear the area around Parker. I don’t want any innocents hurt if the Prime decide to teach Parker a well-deserved lesson.”
“Captain, what are you gonna do? Maybe we should just let the Prime pound him.” Nowicki’s pale blue eyes glinted at the possibility.
“You didn’t wake me up so foreign dignitaries could beat up one of ours. You and I both know the Alliance does not need a galactic cluster fuck,” she stated. “The Prime are joining us after centuries of isolationism. We need their knowledge and skills in fighting the Antarean raiders. I’m still not sure what they need from us, but I do know the Galactic Alliance Counsel is thrilled that they’ve chosen to fight alongside us. But it isn’t a done deal.”
“Great,” snarled Nowicki. “So, you need to place yourself between Parker and danger—again—for the frigging peace of the galaxy. I should have just let you sleep and beat on the scum-sucking bastard myself.”
“You did the right thing. Parker would never have listened to you. Then you would’ve been thrown in the brig for fighting or, worse, injured, and I really would’ve been annoyed.” Raising one brow, she smiled. “Me? I outrank him. He hates my guts. And has always underestimated me. Plus, I owe him,” she touched the healing scar again, “and am hoping to have to use unreasonable force. So, your job is to keep everyone out of harm’s way. Understand?”
“Yeah, just be careful. He cheats.”
“I know. Now go!”
Striding toward the café, she opened up all six of her senses and observed the three Prime males, testing their emotional response to Parker’s insanity. The oldest one, the Ambassador—his name escaped her for the moment—spoke to Parker in what she could tell were low, calming tones. The Ambassador’s emotional aura read as cool and calm, a true diplomat. Not so for his two much younger associates; they were all red-hot anger barely controlled.
Knowing Parker, the diplomatic route would just set him off even more.
Mel approached the four men. Cautiously. Quietly. Her heightened senses became even more so as adrenaline poured into her system. Her heart pounded. She licked suddenly dry lips and took a deep, cleansing breath. Her muscles twitched, readying themselves for whatever might come.
As she’d expected, anger roiled off Parker in waves, probably exacerbated by alcohol consumption. She could smell him; it was as if he’d bathed in potent Tooh 2 whiskey. Alcohol notwithstanding, Parker always ran hot; his temper could boil over in a flash. Definitely not officer material. Coolness in the heat of battle was always best. He’d only made it to the rank of Ensign because of political connections. If he survived this incident, she’d have to insist he be sent away from the Mu Arae system. There was too much tension in this sector of the Milky Way as it was without adding loose cannons.
“Ensign Parker!” She stopped about three feet from his right side, in his peripheral line of sight. He’d have to turn his head to see her. “Stand down.”
“Go away, you fucking bitch!” he spat out. She could always count on Parker to be disrespectful, mentally adding insubordination to the list of charges against him. “This is a private conversation.”
“That’s Captain Fucking Bitch, to you, soldier.”
All three Prime turned their attention away from Parker. They eyed her bikini-suited body inadequately covered by the thin shift. Their pale amber gazes turned molten hot, darkening to the color of aged single malt scotch. She could smell, almost taste, the adrenaline levels shoot up in all three men. Their gazes projected a complex mix of emotions—concern for her, anger at Parker, and lust for her body.
Great. This could get ugly fast. A damn disaster in the making.
Historically, male Prime were described as overprotective of females and needed few reasons to fight. Right now, they had the perfect trifecta of excuses to hand Parker his head on an ancient Prime battle lance. Documented as the oldest humanoid race in the galaxy, the Prime hadn’t survived this long without learning how to fight to win. They sure as heck didn’t need her, a mere Terran female, to fight their battles. Yet, Parker would be dead meat if she left them to it. And a horrible diplomatic mess would then ensue, that most likely was the only thing holding the Prime back—for now.
If she handled the situation, Parker would be bruised, battered, and, hopefully, unconscious, and the new bond between the Prime and the Alliance could go forward. An additional plus, the new allies would see that Alliance female officers didn’t need alpha male warriors to fight their battles.
Taking a deep breath, she said, “Ensign Parker, you are under arrest. I am not even sure what you’re doing on Tooh 2. The last I heard Captain Warten had confined you to quarters.”
Parker turned his attention from the Prime toward her. Exactly what she’d wanted.
Her gaze fixed on Parker as she watched for his move.
In a calm, authoritative tone, her eyes never moving from her opponent, she said, “Ambassador. Gentleman. Please leave. I apologize on behalf of the Alliance if this man has insulted you or caused you any embarrassment. This is a military problem and I will handle it.”
After Monette Michaels obtained her law degree, she worked in a small general practice attempting in her own way to right wrongs and fight the good fight. Little did she realize that all those clients, opposing counsel, and the problems she handled would jumpstart the need to write fiction. First, romantic suspense, then adding paranormal, then adding a sexier side (as Rae Morgan).
Monette is married to her college sweetheart and has one son and a cat. The cat is the boss.