Brielle and the Alien Geek
Intergalactic Brides, Book 1
Ebook ISBN: 07359-02373
[ SciFi Romance, MF ]
The moment Syl sees Brielle, he realizes the sassy Earth woman is exactly what he needs in his life.
The coffee scorched her throat as she gulped the hot brew. Her hand clutched the cup tightly as she watched the men and women exit the space shuttle. She rubbed the back of her neck and then clutched her purse strap as she waited. It had been nearly a year since she’d seen her fiancé, and over six months since she’d had contact with him. As a medical doctor, he’d volunteered to travel to the space station on Terran to serve on their medical staff for one year. Why he was coming home two months early, she didn’t know, but she wouldn’t question it. She’d been lonely without Aaron by her side.
A familiar head of sandy hair appeared. She bit her lip, adjusted her clothes and then blew out a breath as she watched him, her heart thrumming against her breast. As he drew nearer, she saw there was a woman clutching his arm. A tall, busty blonde who was grinning from ear to ear. Had they met on the shuttle? Her brow furrowed as her heart slowed its pace. She frowned and looked around, but there was no one else waiting in this section except her.
Aaron looked up and spotted her. The smile on his face froze for a moment, and she thought she saw a hint of panic in his eyes. He came closer, stopping a few feet away, the blonde still clutching his arm. Brielle looked at the blonde, then her fiancé, wondering who the woman was.
Aaron cleared his throat. “Brie. Good to see you again.”
“We agreed I would meet your shuttle when you returned. I was a little surprised when I received the call from the station that you were coming home sooner than expected.”
“I didn’t think you’d be here.” He rubbed the back of his neck and shifted from foot to foot. “This is rather awkward.”
“Why is it awkward? I know we haven’t seen each other in nearly a year, but–”
“It isn’t that,” he interrupted. “Brielle, this is Melissa.”
Brielle mustered a smile for the blonde. “How do you do? Did the two of you meet on the shuttle?”
“Um, no.” Aaron fidgeted. “I’ve been seeing Melissa for the last four months. Brielle, I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to spit it out. Melissa and I are engaged.”
Brie’s gaze bounced from her fiancé to the blonde and back again. “I don’t understand. You’re engaged to me. We’ve been engaged nearly two years.”
“I didn’t plan for this to happen; it just did. I met Melissa during a routine exam and things just clicked between us. Hurting you is the last thing I’d ever want to do, but I can’t deny what my heart wants. And it wants Melissa. I tried to contact you, to let you know, but communications have been down since February.”
“We live together!”
He fidgeted again. “About that… I need you to move out. Melissa’s lease is up on her place next week and she needs a place to stay. Since we’re getting married, it only makes sense for her to move in with me. It was my place first, after all. Until you have your things packed, I’ll stay at her place.”
Brie clenched her hands at her sides, her nails biting into her palms. Heat worked its way up her body and she felt color bloom in her cheeks. She bared her teeth at her now ex-fiancé, and before she thought better of it, took a swing at the puppy-dog expression staring at her. Her fist connected with his left eye, the edge of his cheekbone bruising her knuckles.
“Ow! Ow! Ow!” Brielle shook her hand, but felt deep satisfaction at the color now budding around the bastard’s eye.
Two security guards hurried her way, their hands on their weapons, as if they were going to draw on her at any moment. It figured. She was the one getting her heart ripped out, but they would surely take Aaron’s side. Assholes always stuck together.
“Is there a problem?” the first security guard asked.
“This crazy bitch just hit me.” Aaron gave her a furious one-eyed glare. “I want her arrested.”
Brie folded her arms over her chest. “If I’m in jail, I can’t pack my things. If I can’t pack my things, you can’t move your slut into the apartment.”
“There’s such a thing as Goodwill.”
She gasped. “You wouldn’t dare donate my belongings!”
“Arrest her!” Aaron demanded. “I want the bitch locked up.”
The second security guard pulled out a set of cuffs and Brie turned her glare his way.
“Of course you’re going to take his side! Never mind that he’s been engaged to me while shacking up with this bimbo for the past four months! Men! You’re all alike.”
“Not all of us,” a deep voice rumbled behind her.
Brie spun to face the interloper, a sharp retort on her tongue. As her gaze fastened on the light lilac skin stretched across a broad chest, the words died on her lips. She looked up, captured by dark purple eyes. She’d of course heard of Terrans before, but she’d never actually met one. They tended to shy away from cameras so this was her first chance to see one.
“Captain, this doesn’t concern you,” one of the security guards said. “The woman is human and so is the man she attacked. Your laws don’t apply here.”
“From what I heard, the man deserved what he got. If he were still on Terran, his punishment would be far worse. We value women on my world. To throw one away is a severe crime.”
She heard Aaron gulp behind her.
“But we aren’t on Terran,” Aaron said. “We’re back on Earth, so the rules of your planet don’t apply.”
“That isn’t technically true,” the Terran said, pointing to a sign over their heads. “You haven’t crossed the threshold yet. When you broke up with your fiancée, you were very much still under Terran rule.”
Brie didn’t know why the alien was helping her, but if he wanted to punish Aaron, she wasn’t going to argue with him. Hell, she’d applaud his efforts and help him snap the cuffs into place. Arrogant bastard deserved whatever hand fate was about to deal him. She turned to face Aaron, wanting to see the fear in his eyes.
Her ex-fiancé was pale, deathly pale. The spineless coward’s lips trembled when faced with the massive alien at her back. She felt the captain’s heat envelop her as he leaned forward, his lips brushing her ear.
“What do you think his punishment should be? Locked in the dungeons for the next ten years? Forced to work the mining camps?”
“Is there a punishment where his balls are removed?” she asked, staring Aaron down. He reached for his crotch, and if possible, he paled even further. The man was shaking and she loved every minute of it.
The alien brandished a blade, the silver edge gleaming in the sunlight. “He hasn’t broken a law that would yield that punishment, but I will be happy to take on the task. Any man who cheats on his woman shouldn’t be able to procreate.”
The guards began to swear. “Captain, you don’t want to do this. Even your people would frown on such drastic measures. Incarcerate him if you must, but leave him intact.”
He lowered the weapon. “Unfortunately, they’re right. As much as I would love to do this for you, it’s against our laws.”
“Just let the spineless wimp go.” She turned to face the alien once more, looking up to meet his amethyst gaze. “He obviously never loved me, and honestly, I’m not as hurt as I should be. It’s painful to know he’s chosen someone else over me, and my pride has suffered, but my heart isn’t breaking like it should. What does that say about me?”
The alien smiled at her, a dimple flashing in his left cheek. “It means your heart was not engaged because he wasn’t your… what’s that Earth term? Soul mate?”
When she thought of Aaron’s thin frame and pasty skin, compared to the hunky alien in front of her, she couldn’t remember what she ever saw in the guy. Sure, Aaron was usually soft-spoken and cultured, but he was a sissy. Brielle was tired of sissies. She wanted a real man, a man who could make her feel cared for and safe. She wanted strong arms to wrap around her at night, not spindly arms that couldn’t lift a window without assistance.
“No,” she agreed. “We weren’t soul mates.”
“On my planet, you would be a prize for any warrior. Why have you not taken part in the bride exchange? Your family would be paid handsomely if you should decide to take part. I can promise that you would have your choice of warriors.”
“Terran warriors,” she clarified.
He nodded. “And if you’re into sharing, there are those on my planet who would be happy to oblige you, as long as you were accepting two or more males into your bed.”
Brielle’s breath caught in her throat. She could barely imagine holding on to one of these large males, much less two. She’d heard they were rather well-endowed and worried they would split her in two. She opened her mouth to respond, but snapped it shut. A bride exchange? As of this moment, she had no home. Her family wasn’t about to take her in; they lived in a small cabin in the Kentucky hollows. Growing up, she’d shared a room with her three sisters, two of whom were still living at home.
The alien’s smile broadened. “You’re thinking about it, aren’t you?”
“It seems I’m being evicted from my home,” she said. “And I hadn’t had a chance to tell Aaron yet, but I lost my job last week. So with no money to speak of, there’s absolutely no possibility of me landing on my feet right now.”
“There’s an application you need to complete. It’s rather lengthy, but we don’t care about your finances. On Terran, women are precious, whether they are wealthy or poor.” His hand lifted and he stroked her hair. “Your hair is like the sunset. I can promise that you would have your choice of warriors.”
She glanced over her shoulder at Aaron, who was watching the exchange with an open mouth. She wasn’t sure if she should be offended that he thought her of such little worth that no one would want her, or if she should smile and rub it in his face that she was going to be with someone far superior to him. She’d take a Terran warrior over a human doctor any day.
Brielle looked back up at the captain. “Where do I sign?”
His smile broadened even further, showing even white teeth. “Excellent. Please allow me to escort you to the processing station. The application is computerized and they will be able to answer any of your questions.”
The alien placed a hand at her lower back and began guiding her through the building and toward processing. She could feel Aaron’s eyes boring into her back, but she refused to look his way again. She was finished with him. It might be completely insane to agree to be an alien’s wife, especially since she’d never put any thought into the matter, but desperate times called for desperate measures.
“Whitney,” the alien called to the human woman behind the desk. “I have another candidate for you.”
Brielle looked up at him in surprise. “Do you just wander the station looking for women to bring down here?”
He chuckled. “No. But you are not the first candidate I’ve brought to processing during my travels to Earth. Sometimes the women boarding the ships to Terran decide they want to participate. Others never want to step foot on my planet again.”
“Why would they not want to return? You do have indoor plumbing, don’t you?”
“Yes.” He smiled. “There’s indoor plumbing. Electricity too.”
“Now if you could just find a way for me to email my sisters…”
He shook his head. “No written transmissions. We do, however, have Vid-Comms set up in all of the suites and homes on Terran. They were working again as of last night. As long as your family has access to one, you’ll be able to speak to them.”
Brielle shook her head. “They can’t afford something like that. And the nearest Terran station is a few hundred miles away.”
“If you’re accepted into the program and select a Terran mate, I assure you that he will do everything in his power to make sure you can contact your family. He would never separate you from your kin. Families are important to Terrans.” He smiled and stroked her arm. “Even soft pink ones.”
“Just tell me what to do to get the ball rolling.”
He motioned to Whitney. “She’s going to walk you through the process.”
“And will I see you again?”
“Possibly, but I will not be among the unmated males seeking a female. My mate would not approve.”
Figures the sexy captain would already be taken. It seemed her luck hadn’t entirely improved. But if the other Terrans were half as handsome as him, she would be thankful. It would definitely be an improvement over Aaron. Just thinking about the weasel made her lips curl in disgust.
“I hope that look isn’t for me?” the captain asked with some humor.
“Sorry. I was thinking about my ex.”
“Put him firmly in your past. Your future is on Terran. I have no doubt that you will be accepted into the program. And maybe your family could use the money gifted to them to set up a Vid-Comm in their home.”
More than likely the money would go toward the mortgage, which always seemed to be behind, and in keeping the utilities turned on. Her family was so poor they were lucky to have that indoor plumbing she’d joked about a moment ago. Toast for breakfast, PB&J for lunch, and whatever Papa could catch for dinner. That had been her life growing up.
“Thank you,” she told the captain as he turned to leave. “I wouldn’t have thought to do this if you hadn’t suggested it.”
“You’re most welcome. I hope things work out for you.”
She nodded and turned back toward Whitney, who was watching them with a bored look on her face.
“Are you ready?” Whitney asked. “The application takes about an hour to complete.”
“After I’m finished, how long before I’ll know if I’ve been approved? I’m sort of on a deadline to exit my current home.”
“I can put a rush on it and you’ll have your answer in a day or two. Normally, it takes a week because they perform a background check to make sure you aren’t a criminal trying to escape prosecution. That sort of thing. But with a rush order, they’ll start proceedings right away. It will still be a thorough check, though.”
Brielle nodded. “I’m not hiding anything. Just an empty bank account and an eviction from my ex, who wasn’t my ex until he returned from Terran with some bimbo on his arm.”
Whitney’s eyes widened. “Um, let’s get you started.”
Brielle followed her over to one of the computers lining the wall. She sat in the swivel chair and watched as Whitney pulled up the application. The woman explained how the program worked, then left her to fill in the blanks on the screen. She was right in estimating it would take an hour to finish and included answering questions about her health, her family, and why she wanted to join the program. Brielle was tired when she clicked submit.
Now to sit back and wait. She hoped she would hear something in the morning, but she wouldn’t hold her breath. She thanked Whitney on her way out. When she reached the parking lot, she cursed under her breath. Brielle had driven Aaron’s car, thinking they would go home together, and the asshole had taken it and left her to fend for herself.
Trudging back the way she’d come, she checked her purse to see if she had enough cash for a taxi. As she stepped up on the curb outside the Terran transport station, she saw the captain again, standing next to an open limo door. He saw her and motioned her over.
“I heard you finished your application,” he said.
“Yes. Whitney said she would put a rush on it for me.”
He looked around. “Did you not drive here?”
“I did. The asshole took the car and left me here. I thought I’d try to catch a cab, but I don’t have enough funds to cover the ride. I’ll just catch the bus and walk the last few blocks to the apartment.”
The captain looked up at the setting sun. “It will be dark before you get home. That isn’t safe.”
She shrugged. “I do what I must. It won’t be the first time I’ve walked home in the dark, and if I’m not accepted into the program, I’ll also be living in the dark since I won’t be able to pay utilities.”
He motioned toward the waiting limo. “Get in. I’ll take you where you need to go. It’s the least I can do since I detained you and made you lose your ride home.”
“Are you sure it isn’t an imposition?” she asked.
“Not at all.”
Brielle slid into the limo and scooted to the middle to give the alien room. He ducked into the car and took the opposite seat from her, smiling. Once the door was shut, the car lurched forward.
“I need an address to give the driver,” the captain said.
She rattled off Aaron’s address and settled in for the ride, answering the captain’s questions. He was very curious for someone not seeking a mate, but it made the time pass quickly and soon the car was pulling to a stop in front of her apartment. Brielle smiled at the captain and thanked him one last time before exiting the car and walking up the stairs to the apartment.
As she opened the door, the limo pulled away. She raised her hand to wave one last time and then stepped inside the darkened apartment. Brielle flicked on a lamp and set her purse and keys down. Toeing off her shoes, she made her way to the bedroom. There were still boxes in the storage room off the balcony and she would use those to start her packing. Whether she was accepted into the program or not, she had to be out of the apartment within a week or Aaron would no doubt come and toss her out.
The big alien had come along at just the right time, as far as Brielle was concerned. He’d extended her a lifeline and she was going to grab hold with both hands. It was a pity he wasn’t available, but she was certain there was a decent, sexy alien out there just for her. She knew the males outnumbered the females on Terran. It was because of that difference that the bride exchange had been set up. In exchange for a woman offering herself as a Terran bride, her family would be compensated handsomely. If she was alone in the world, she could do what she wanted with the money. Donate it or keep it.
“Just think,” Brielle told herself. “This isn’t only a win for you, but for your parents too. They could use a little boost right now.”
She pulled the boxes out of the storage room and dragged them to the bedroom, where she started filling them with her knickknacks. Next, she’d go through her clothes and decide what she was going to keep and what she would donate. It was going to be a long-ass night.