by Denna Holm
When Abby Harris takes her faithful German shepherd out for a hike in Oregon’s beautiful mountains, getting abducted by aliens isn’t even a blip on her radar. Her trusty can of bear spray and pocket knife aren’t much help against the seven-foot monsters who swoop in out of nowhere to transport her to a ship in space.
Nicolai Nekbet is Crown Prince for the House of Nekbet on the planet Raiden. Unable to bear healthy children with females of their own species, Raiden warriors must hunt for a bride outside their own world. Nicolai has his heart set on a human even though their planet is protected by an ancient species called Laizahlian. When he sees the tall blonde-haired beauty out in the mountains with only a dog by her side, he knows he must have her.
With Abby safely on his ship, Nicolai injects her with his shaprata, his essence. His shaprata will change her on a cellular level, making them compatible for procreation, but he must still work hard to win her heart. If she rejects their union, it could easily mean his death.
She frowned, taking a moment to study the heavily forested land around them, unable to see far through the thick brush. Giving the dog one last pet, she started to make her way toward the mushroom peeking through the dry dirt and pine needles. A flash of movement drew her eye a little higher on the trunk of the Ponderosa though she didn’t see a chipmunk or pine squirrel. She blinked a few times when a large blurry spot around the center caught and held her attention. Abby studied it, more curious than afraid as the fuzzy area slowly moved to the left. It stopped in front of a large Manzanita bush, its thin red branches winding through the smooth green leaves. Her eyes widened as the faint reddish blur slowly turned green, an enormous shape beginning to take form.
“What the hell?” she muttered, narrowing her eyes. Quin whined, shaking harder than ever against her leg. This was no bear or cougar. As the shape slowly took form, Abby realized it was a person. She began to back up, growing even more alarmed when the kneeling person stood upright. “Oh, my God.” The guy was freaking tall, seven feet or more, and huge, though she still couldn’t see any real features, his face and body blurry, like a part of the landscape.
“I don’t understand,” Abby whispered, tightening her grip on the little paring knife. Was someone playing games? She pointed her knife at him. “Who are you?”
Never mind, she thought, turning to run.
Abby screamed when a powerful arm closed around her middle, pulling her back against a hard chest, her feet lifted from the ground.
Two of them! she thought, trying to kick the knees of the one holding her. She gasped at the slight prick against her neck, her body growing instantly limp. The last thing she remembered before closing her eyes was a strange face coming into focus above her, nothing human, unless he was wearing an elaborate mask. He smiled at her, saying something she couldn’t understand, then her world went black. Abby welcomed the darkness, the man’s face terrifying, but especially his teeth, all of them sharp, reminding her of a shark.