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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.
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