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CECK was originally published in September 2005 and was my second appearance in a “Caveman” anthology. Oh, and excuse my alien heroine’s accent. I promise it’s only a temporary thing until she gets her translator adjusted! Enjoy!
Etienne Lambert, a Cajun ex-soldier fresh from the horrors of the war in Iraq, discovers that he’s an alien when an alien woman arrives at his door to take him home. When he resists, she kidnaps him. He soon learns he is the last potent male of the ruling line of their planets and it’s his duty to return to assume the mantle of rule and sire the next generation of the ruling caste.
Mariska is a fightership commander who has succeeded where all the mages, seers, and trackers have failed. She has found her race’s last hope for salvation! When the future king demands that he start work immediately on the primary mandate of his rule — to sire children — she can’t refuse His Majesty’s command.
Etienne leaned forward, cuddling his beer between his hands, letting the silence wrap around his jangled nerves. Here in the swamp, in a hunting cabin filled with happy childhood memories, he hoped to finally shrug off his soul-deep sadness. He loved his brother and family, but he didn’t want to invite them into the dark place he’d been forced inside ever since Tekrit.
Arnaud had left half an hour before, frustrated and hurt—Etienne knew it, but couldn’t reach out to him, not yet. Maybe a few more days of staring out at the green, wet world around him would drown the memories of the sun-baked dirt that drank his buddies’ blood like a thirsty sponge.
He needed time to fit back into his old life. He snorted at that thought—like he’d ever really fit in to begin with. Taller by a foot than his brothers and swarthy-skinned to their olive, he’d often wondered if he hadn’t been traded in the bassinet at birth. And he’d never been satisfied with what life offered him in the bayou—it’s why he’d enlisted in the first place.
A twig snapped nearby, and Etienne froze. As if he’d never left Iraq, time slowed, and in one long moment he realized the crickets had stopped their raucous chirping, the owls no longer called to one another—he had a visitor.
Etienne eased from his chair, ignoring the cane, and slid into his cabin. The gun, already loaded with shot to pepper any reporter’s ass, stood next to the door and he reached for it.
Footsteps crunched closer, then climbed the wooden steps just as he swung back around with the shotgun cradled in his arms. But the woman who strode toward him wasn’t like any reporter he’d ever seen.
Her smile was tentative as she stopped in front of him. Her gaze was wide and curious as she stared up into his face for one long moment. Then she drew in a deep breath, lowered her gaze and knelt at his feet, pressing her forehead against his thigh.
Etienne felt a frown furrow his forehead, wondering what the hell was going on. He tried to nudge her away, but she grasped his calf and clung, speaking softly, the words guttural and lilting at the same time. Definitely not English, not like anything he’d ever heard in his travels.
When she rose, her eyes glittered with moisture, which she quickly blinked away. This time the smile she flashed was joyous.
Etienne’s suspicions roused and he glanced out into the darkness, wondering whether he was the butt of a joke and not liking it one damn bit.
The woman in front of him was too fresh-faced, too innocent-looking to be real. His glance raked over her body. She was clothed from her neck to the tops of her shiny brown boots in a skin-hugging material that looked soft as sueded leather, as soft and golden-brown as the large eyes she raised to stare up at him.
Color crept over his cheeks as he realized he’d stood frozen in place, transfixed by the woman’s beauty. Beautiful or not, innocent or not, she didn’t belong here. “Cher, you can turn right around and go back where you came from,” he said, the words coming out less harsh than he’d intended.
She smiled and started to speak again, and then rolled her almond-shaped eyes. Her hand lifted to her ear, and she tugged at the shiny stud stuck in her left lobe. “Sorry ‘bout dat. I forgot to turn on my translator,” she said in a Cajun accent.
Not a reporter, not with that accent. A Creole girl by the look of her. Etienne sighed and propped the shotgun beside the door. “All right, who put you up to this? Arnaud?”
She shook her head, which shivered her long, dark hair around her shoulders. “Didn’t Jacques tell you?” she asked, her expression falling. “He was s’posed to give you a message.”
His eyes narrowed. “I haven’t seen him since I returned. But you can tell him, thank you very much, but I’m not interested—however attractive you are, cher.” He turned to reenter his cabin.
A small, slim hand clamped on his forearm. “But you don’ understand how important dis is—”
Etienne shrugged her off, ignoring the plea in her large doe-like eyes. “Look, I’m sure you’re very good at…whatever it is you do—”
“I’m da best!” she said, eagerness shining in her face. “Dat’s why I’m here.”
“I can’t believe he thought I needed a whore,” Etienne muttered under his breath.
“A whore?” The woman’s face screwed up with a look of confusion. “Wait, I think I’m not translatin’ dat word correctly.”
“This is a joke, right?” Etienne blew out the breath he’d been holding since she appeared. “He sends you in that space costume, and you’re supposed to do what? Give me a ride?” His eyes widened, and he jerked back a little. “You’re not expecting to probe my ass, are you?”
“Only if you won’ surrender your sperm, Sire,”