For the sake of her people, Princess Meriane must mate with an Earth man to bring more diversity into the gene pool. When she's conceived a child, her mate will join the other males in the men's colony. In this way, her culture has perpetuated itself in peace for generations after banning the hated Triani from their midst. Finding a proper bed partner shouldn't be hard at Earth Con, should it?
Zarim has been sent to Earth Con to masquerade as an Earther in order to worm his way into Meriane's bed and her heart. When he finds himself falling in love with the virginal but feisty princess, he has to discover a method to make peace between their peoples. Unfortunately, his very identity makes him an outcast on her planet.
Praise for Mated (Earth Con)
"This was my first time reading this author and this was such a great read! The story I fantastic and the concept is so interesting. The world and these two leads are so entertaining, they are so innocent and yet sweet and hot and perfect together."
-- 5 Stars from MeemsAngel82, Amazon Review
"This is an interesting and intriguing sci-fi romance that is a short and quick read."
-- 4 Stars from Mary S., Kobo Review
"Quirky and sweet, with Zarim bringing faith back in the other sex with his strength of character."
-- See Reviews, Amazon Review
"This was a great book. The whole concept was well thought and executed. My only drawback is I want more! The characters are amazing and it is wonderful to seem them grow and connect and how that connection changes not only them but the world around them."
-- 5 Stars from Emzy Strong, Amazon Review
"...a wonderful story.This was a very interesting story they are perfect together. and I can't wait to read more from this author."
-- 5 Stars from Brenda Hurley, Amazon Review
"Loved reading this story!"
-- 5 Stars from Sameena Rajiwate, Barnes & Noble Review
"I enjoyed this read... I hope we hear more about these two in the future!"
-- 4 Stars from Ashley J., Kobo Review
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Mated (Earth Con)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Alice Gaines
The server -- bartender, she should use the correct words -- stood not far away talking to a customer. When he spotted her, he headed in her direction and wiped the surface in front of her with a cloth.
"What can I get you?" he said.
She stared at all the bottles. With such a selection, how could she make up her mind? She could point, but that would mark her as someone who didn't know her way around Earth or its customs. She pondered the dilemma for long seconds, but no solution came to her.
"How about a glass of white wine?" the bartender said.
She waved a hand. "Far too safe."
The man stared at her. "Okay."
"But I'd better not have any mixed drinks."
"Then, you'll want something straight," he said.
Straight as opposed to crooked? Now she stared at him.
"Neat," he supplied.
"Oh, yes. Something neat." She needn't have anything sloppy, after all.
"I have some very old cognac," he said. "A little on the expensive side."
"Expense is no problem." She reached into the pocket of her uniform and placed the plastic card on the bar.
"Cognac it is, then." He produced an oddly shaped glass from under the bar and set it in front of her. It stood on a base, had a wide bowl at the bottom, and tapered to a smaller opening. Then he grabbed a bottle from behind him and poured a bit of liquor.
When she lifted the glass and swallowed the cognac, it burned down the back of her throat. The bartender didn't say anything as she coughed and sputtered. He didn't have to. Clearly, she'd taken the drink the wrong way.
"People usually sip cognac," he said after a bit.
So when he poured her a bit more, she only took a small amount. That made a lot more sense because now she could appreciate all the different flavors, and the shape of the glass allowed her sense of smell to pick up the perfume of the cognac. Quite complex and elegant. No wonder Earthers paid a great deal for this liquor. It was really quite remarkable.
"I'll leave the bottle," the bartender said as he smiled and walked away to take care of another customer.
Meriane poured herself a bit more and swiveled the stool so she could check out the rest of the bar.
A few more people had arrived, some in costume and others in more subdued clothing. She should interact with a few of them and get her bearings socially. Certainly an intoxicant like liquor should make people friendly.
As she sipped her drink, a sense of rightness settled into her chest. Everything was quite lovely here, wasn't it? Comforting and welcoming. The barstool was comfortable, the bartender genial, and the cognac sublime. She could relax and have some fun here as she searched for a mate. That in itself would provide plenty of stimulation for the senses.
Yes, it would.
Toward the back in a dim corner, a man sat studying her. He had an intriguing look to him with his eyes largely hidden beneath bushy brows. Intricate tattoos over his cheeks and to his temples gave him a dangerous appearance, and his clothing -- all black and tight fitting -- fit the impression. One could easily picture him pulling a lethal knife from his boot and slashing an enemy to ribbons.
What outrageous thoughts. Those things didn't happen in civilized societies. But on a more primitive planet he could best an opponent and physically take the woman as a prize. And then carry her off to his den or ship to...
She couldn't help but giggle, even while a surge of energy went through her. Awareness. Of him. Somehow, he could reach out to her and make her heart beat a little faster even though they hadn't touched or even spoken. Was this the power of attraction the elders had told her about? She shouldn't choose a mate based on his looks but rather on his genes. She was seeking sperm for her whole race, after all.
He beckoned a waitress with the crook of one finger. The woman went to him, of course. Once summoned by this man, a female responded. How could she not?
This time a shiver went down Meriane's spine, and she turned away, lest she show too much interest. She sipped more of her cognac. It steadied her, blurring the edges of her vision. Warmth settled over her like a blanket. She had the situation in hand, and all would be well. In a little while, she'd use the plastic card to get a room, and she'd take a nap.
Just as she was pouring herself more cognac... how much had she had, anyway? The bartender approached and gave her her card. "The gentleman in the back is paying for you."
"He is?" Why should he do that? She had plenty of funds. She glanced over her shoulder to look for him, but he'd left his table.
When she turned back, he was standing beside her, and she jumped, nearly toppling herself from her stool.
He reached out and caught her with his arm around her waist. "Easy there, space commander."
She giggled again and straightened herself on the stool. Then she found herself staring up into eyes so green they could have been jewels. The dark eyebrows she'd noticed before and thick lashes almost obscured them, and the whole seemed to make the tattoos at his temples seem to move. But then, not everything was stable at the moment.
"You paid for my cognac," she said. "Why?"
"It's common courtesy for a man to buy a lady's drink."
He leaned an elbow on the bar. "You're not from here, are you?"