Authors: Elle Thorne
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Fantasy, #Military, #Multicultural
Her Alien Savior
An alien soldier without emotions.
Finn is one quarter human that makes him key to a mission on Earth that includes Marissa Sanchez, Target 41, a determined, smart-mouthed spitfire.
A human woman with a target on her.
Marissa’s dream is to keep her restaurant from being seized by ruthless developers. She’s broke, out of options, has a deadline, and a cheating ex who offers to marry her and solve her financial problems. Everything changes when a guy named Finn enters the picture.
Her Alien Savior
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Published by Barbed Borders Press
Copyright © 2014 by Elle Thorne
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
Cover Design by Melody Simmons of eBookindiecovers
Her Alien Savior
Barbed Borders Press
“Abort mission, abort mission.” His commander’s voice was clear through Finn’s headset.
Curses. What is this about?
“What is it, sir?” He kept his voice low.
“Your presence is required at the center.”
Finn glanced around the dense leafy foliage, down the path, and between the trees, but couldn’t see any of his squadron. He adjusted his headset, pushed his helmet back off his forehead. This was unusual, interrupting a mission, even if it wasn’t the real thing. It had to be something important. Maybe they’d been attacked. Maybe it was time for a real mission. Finn had been doing these practice missions for three weeks, he was ready for some action—real action—again. Maybe there was an invasion. Maybe the Kormics had penetrated an Asazi entry. He ran the back of his hand over his forehead. It came back streaked with camouflage paint, confirming his suspicion that he was a mess. And probably not a pleasant-smelling one. “Should I shower and clean up first, sir?”
“Negative. As is, soldier. As is. Report to the conference room at once.”
Slinging his weapon over his shoulder, Finn double-timed back to the center, boots crunching the undergrowth. The entrance appearing suddenly in front of him, almost imperceptible unless one knew where to look. He shoved his ID into the recognition slot, and the door opened with a whoosh. Three heavily reinforced hallways down, and two ninety-degree right turns at deadends, he was standing in front of the conference room, almost out of breath. Not from exertion, but from anticipation. Hopefully this was good. A good assignment. A chance to infiltrate the enemy, take down some of them, sabotage one of their strongholds, or maybe more than one.
He took a deep breath and knocked.
He must be a sight, if the camo streaks on his hand were any indication. He didn’t even want to know what he smelled like. He was a mess in front of his superiors, probably not a good thing. But surely they’d take into account that he was fresh from a mission. No, not fresh from a mission, interrupted and abruptly yanked from a mission. Worry about what they wanted coursed through him. A bead of perspiration made its way down his spine, between his wings.
“Enter.” The voice was muffled behind the steel door that opened with a quiet whoosh.
Several men stood around the gleaming metal conference table, hands behind them, backs soldier-straight, chins tucked, but Finn’s eye caught on one. His cousin, Kal.
He fought and defeated the urge to acknowledge his cousin in an unprofessional way. “Sirs.” Finn addressed the room at large.
His commanding officer had a look on his face that made Finn nervous, but he couldn’t figure out why.
No one said a word for more than a moment. All eyes on him.
“Finneas Ramont, reporting as ordered, sir.” Would that jar them from their silence?
“Soldier. Bad news. And an assignment. Which do you want first?”
What kind of choice was that? And what kind of bad news could he possibly deliver?
Finn unclenched his jaw. “News first.”
Kal sported the same uniform as Finn did. Except his was pristine, not grimy, sweaty, or camo-streaked. Also not exactly identical because Kal’s rank was higher than Finn’s. Naturally so, since Kal was two years older than Finn. Kal stepped forward. “Your grandmother. She passed.”
Finn’s breath was gone. His lungs felt empty. The last time he felt like this was when he was shot in the chest. Though he had body armor on, the impact was the same. Breathlessness coupled with the most intense pain. He bit back the word
, his name for her. He wouldn’t let them see the weakness, the emotions he held for her, the one who raised him. “My grandmother? How? When?”
“Age. She was not young. And we do not have the same medicines as humans. She is the only one of that kind here. Was the only one.” His commanding officer corrected himself. “Last night. It was sudden. Unexpected.”
Of course it was unexpected. Finn was at her house ten days ago, before he left for the mission. She’d been all right. Smiling, laughing with him—her only grandchild. He swallowed a bitter knot of self-blame. He’d left her alone. He’d not been there. No, he wouldn’t have been there much anyway. Not when he spent so much time avoiding her when he was younger—denying his human side, even if he was only a quarter human.
He fought the sinking bereavement. He would deal with these emotions in private. Swallowing the knot of self-disgust and pain, coupled with self-blame, he asked, “The assignment, sir?”
“We are preparing for the Third Wave. We want you to go. Your experience, your instincts, your bloodline. It could be valuable when we access Earth again, during the Third Wave. This Wave must succeed.”
Finn grabbed the table’s edge. His mind tried to absorb this assignment. The table’s cool surface was smooth but not reassuring under his fingertips. “You want me to go to Earth.” All this time he’d spent denying the human in him, all this time, repelling it.
And now this.
Marissa stared at the envelope. Certified mail. Addressed to Marissa Sanchez. Owner of
Two West Two.
Certified mail was never good news. What could it be now? She didn’t want to open it. She shoved it on the dash. Screw this. It could wait until tomorrow. She turned the key in the ignition. She had work to do. Lots and lots of work, since she worked with a skeleton staff at the restaurant now. Odd, how there was this point in the restaurant business, in terms of volume and money-making. The point right before the restaurant was busy enough to hire the amount of help it would take to keep her from killing herself at work.
Two West Two
was not at that stage now. At one point, it had been, but that was sometime back.
When she took a turn, the envelope slid across the dash, reminding her that it was there. A reminder she didn’t really need. It’s not like she was going to forget what had to be the harbinger of bad news. Oh shoot, she should have looked at the return address. That would have given her a clue. But now the envelope was all the way across the dash, unreachable. At least, not reachable in a safe way, not while she was in traffic.
It probably said IRS on it. That’s what the last two certified letters said.
No. she needed to know what it was. She pulled into a convenience store parking lot, parked the Honda, and reached across.
Turning the envelope over—
The return address was her landlord.
The man who owned the property that
Two West Two
sat on. She’d been leasing the land and building from him for years. And before Marissa, her father leased it, when he owned
Two West Two.
Why would Dan send her a certified letter? He had her number.
Fear raced its icy fingertips up her spine. This did not bode well. She took her cell phone out, hit speed dial for Dan.
Shouldn’t she open the letter first? She pressed
and ripped the letter open.
She scanned it. Was lost in the legalese. Then took a few to read it more thoroughly.
“Son of a bitch.” Her voice wasn’t much more than a low whisper. She’d been on a month-to-month lease for a while now. She never worried about renewing and Dan had never given her cause to think he was worried about it. She figured they had an understanding. He knew how much
Two West Two
meant to her. He wouldn’t do anything to change that.
That voice in her head asked.
He just did
, the voice reminded her.
Yeah, he sure did. He was selling the land her restaurant was on. Not all of it, but enough of it to mandate getting rid of the restaurant. Getting rid of her father’s dream—her dream now.
She leaned back against the headrest. She wanted to call Dan and explode on him. Like that would do any good. She could call her brother—no, no she couldn’t.
She couldn’t call the brother she hadn’t spoken to in two years. The brother who refused to come to their father’s side while he was on his deathbed. Her brother was
too busy, couldn’t handle it, had already said goodbye as far as he was concerned.
All of her brother’s excuses amounted to one thing. Marissa had to be the only one there when their father died. She swallowed back the lump that always erupted in her throat when she thought of the night Dad passed.
The hell with it. She dialed her brother’s number. A quick hello, how are you was the only formality she and her brother indulged in before he said, “What’s up?”
“Dan’s going to sell the land that
is on. I can’t get the money to buy it out by myself. Thought you could help—”
“Marissa. I never cared about that stupid restaurant.”
“But it was Dad’s dream.”
Her brother’s words sliced through the final affections she harbored for him. “Yeah, I know. Sorry I asked. I’ll figure it out.”
And with a quick, “No problem.” He hung up.
Just like that. What the hell was she thinking, calling him?
Time to call the landlord. She pressed his speed dial number. He answered on the first ring.
“Dan. I got the letter.” Shit, she should have said hi, how are you, something, anything. She surely wasn’t acting like someone who wanted to ask him to let her have some time to come up with the money.
“I’m sorry, Marissa. I had an offer I couldn’t turn down. Lizzy’s sick, you know, this would allow us—” His voice broke.
With his wife Lizzy sick, she shouldn’t be surprised that the local developers were closing in like buzzards.
“—her medical bills, you know.” Dan continued.
Marissa felt worse about calling this poor man up.
“I’m sorry Dan. I understand.” She didn’t want to understand but she did and he didn’t need to be any more upset than he was. “I’ll see if I can make something work out with the bank to compete for the land purchase.” She didn’t have that kind of money in her account. She had no money in her account. Yeah, she’d have to look into a loan.
“My lawyer, Joe Perry, he’s handling it. He’s a good guy. If you can make it work, somehow he will be there to deal with. But I have to say, if you can do it, I’ll be happy for you. He’s the reason for the certified mail, you know.”
Marissa could almost picture Dan’s characteristic shoulder shrug.
“I think she would have liked her service.” Kal followed Finn from the mess hall. They walked the narrow path, reinforced against the enemies on the outside. They’d just left Nana’s service. A simple funeral attended by few. Too few. Just two. And then a cremation. There was no luxury of burials in the ground, not on this planet. Not when space was limited by what area of land in Kormia they could protect from invasion.
Kal’s father and Finn’s father were brothers. They shared a grandfather who’d been married twice, first to Kal’s grandmother, and then when she died, to Finn’s grandmother. Even though Nana wasn’t Kal’s grandmother, Kal was at her house more than any of their other cousins, so it would follow that Kal would have attended the service.
It saddened Finn that there were only two of them in attendance. He and Kal, like always, closer than ever, than brothers.
“Yes, she would have liked her service very much.” Finn felt the tension bunching the muscles in his shoulders. He didn’t want to have the conversation that he was going to have with Kal, but he had to. “The mission . . .” He couldn’t finish, didn’t know what the consequences were.