Sorry this is late! Real life interfered! DD
The first two books of the Chronicles of the Malcolm science fiction romance series (Thrill-Kinky and Bad Kitty) are interspecies romances. But even before I started writing Buck, Naked, I knew Buck’s heroine had to be human. Buck says in Bad Kitty: “Xia and me, we understand each other. And because she accepts me, maybe someday I’ll be fit company for a human woman.” Human Buck feels he has more in common with felinoid Xia than he would with a woman of his own species—and Xia’s a natural predator with training as an assassin and childhood trauma that left holes in her memory. But he still holds out hope that someday he can be with a human.
Unfortunately, he’s only mostly human. In the opening scenes of Buck, Naked, we learn Buck was subjected to alien medical experiments as a POW. As a result, he’s stronger and faster than most humans, and his senses are enhanced to the point he can sometimes see through time and space. (The alien experiments are also why he’s learned to live with one leg. Regeneration technology won’t work on him because of the extent of genetic and neurological meddling he endured.) And as a result of his horrible experiences, he has PTSD that sometimes triggers violent flashbacks. He rightly figures he’s too volatile and dangerous to be a safe sexual partner, let alone a romantic one. And the alien senses are getting more powerful—and are pushing him toward insanity.
This made it challenging to create the perfect heroine for him. She had to be tough enough to handle his dangerous side, wise enough to see past his “ignorant hick” demeanour to the smart, though uneducated, man inside, and, for storytelling purposes, quirky enough to fit in with the rest of the crew. Someone sweet and semi-normal was not going to cut it.
Enter Aleema: scientific genius, former military officer—and, due to her own run-in with the same meddling aliens, immortal and practically unbreakable. Oh, and she’s done research that can help Buck learn to live sanely with his altered body and brain. Sounds perfect, right?
Did I forget to mention that some of her alien modifications make her resemble the species that tormented both her and Buck? This guarantees their first meeting is the opposite of lust at first site.
At first glance, Aleema was good-looking, a tall, curvy human woman with black hair brushing her shoulders and skin far darker than Buck’s own fair complexion, though lighter than Mik, who was as close to actual-factual black as a human got without cosmetic mods. Maybe this gig wouldn’t be so bad. Awkward, sure, telling his woes to a complete stranger and a pretty one at that, but at least he’d have something nice to look at while he was getting his head shrunk.
Then he took a second look.
She had human features, human coloring. But her eyes were solid black and when she extended her arms to hug Gan, Buck saw her left hand had webbed fingers like a Seera. She had only five fingers, like a proper human hand, not seven, but it was close enough to a Seera to register as a threat. He reached for his laserpistol before he could stop himself.
The voices in his head screamed no.
Not his conscience, although that was making some noise about the notion of shooting a friend of Gan’s in cold blood, but the voices in his head, the horrors that more often than not prompted him to do stupidly violent things.
This time, the horrors were reminding him of things he’d rather forget about his time as a prisoner of the Seera. The experiments they’d performed on him and other captured soldiers. Stars, the things they did to themselves sometimes, just for fun or curiosity, best as he’d been able to figure out. A Seera scientist never met a natural body that couldn’t be “improved” in some way.
If Aleema was a survivor of a Seera experiment herself, one worse than what he’d undergone or at least leaving more obvious traces, it made sense why Gan wanted them to meet.
Buck was still creepified, but he’d give her a chance.
He could always shoot her later.
To save him, she must strip him bare.
Security expert Buck’s senses are inhumanly keen, to the point he can see through time and space, and that’s just the start of his odd abilities—thank you, alien captors. He also experiences paranoia, flashbacks, and the occasional hallucination—thank you, PTSD. No wonder he fears he could hurt one of the Malcolm crewmates he lives to protect, the closest thing to family he has left after the destruction of his home planet.
Brilliant scientist Aleema can teach him how to use his modifications without triggering PTSD. She’s survived the same meddling aliens and suffered even more dramatic alterations. At least her unwanted immortality means she’s had time to figure out how the modifications work and use the knowledge to aid other survivors. Helping Buck means spending some serious time together.
Time enough to fall in love.
Just as happiness seems within their grasp, Aleema realizes one of Buck’s modifications dooms him to an unthinkable future. To save him, she must place herself in the hands of their common enemy and leave Buck to face his worst fears without her.
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Chronicles of the Malcolm Series blurb:
In the 26th century, humans and numerous alien races share the galaxy. Technology has advanced massively. Old Earth is a vast preserve and museum, and humans have spread to the stars. But some things remain the same. Love, lust, and money motivate both humans and other sentient species. Politics can get ugly. And crime can pay very well indeed.
Meet the wacky crew of the independent freighter Malcolm. They usually succeed in keeping things only a little bit illegal. But then a seemingly legit job goes supernova—and they’re on the run, hiding from assassins, a planetary government, and their own dark pasts.
It’s the perfect time to fall in love!
About the Author
Teresa Noelle Roberts started writing stories in kindergarten and she hasn’t stopped yet. A prolific author of short erotica, she’s also a published poet and fantasy writer—but sexy science fiction romances, BDSM-spiced contemporaries, and hot paranormals have become her favorite things to write.
Teresa is a crunchy granola girl who enjoys belly dance, yoga, cooking, hiking, playing in the ocean, and growing more vegetables than she and her husband can possibly eat. She’d enjoy sleeping too. She thinks. But it takes so much time!
She shares her home in southern Massachusetts with her husband, a Leo in law enforcement, and three cats. She and her husband often plan vacations around food, history, and/or proximity to water.
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