Warrior’s Mate

Yadeshi Brides #3

A Dark Alien Prince + his unquenchable desire x his insatiable thirst = a warrior willing to defy a galaxy to claim his mate.

Born with a platinum spoon in her mouth, warrior bride-in-training Gayle throws it away in order to sneak aboard a Yadeshi military vessel to escape imprisonment by her family. Ithann, the alpha alien warrior she’s been taunting with flirts and sloe-eyed glances for several weeks, is enraged by her sudden disappearance and abandons his teaching post to follow. When he catches her, Gayle must accept a highly indecent proposal to avoid being thrown in the ship’s brig- and by accepting, embroils herself in Ithann’s decades long feud with a rival nobleman.

Roped into an arranged marriage, she is determined to avoid the shackles of a mate bond, but Ithann is determined that not only will they bond, but that she will have his baby. Their battle of wills may cost Gayle her life.

A scorching hot, borderline dark sci-fi/fantasy romance for readers who enjoy taunting, alpha, bloodthirsty- and blood-drinking- alien warriors who will sever heads to claim their chosen mates. A 40K word novel, HEA, 3rd in the Yadeshi Brides series. It may be read as a standalone, however characters from the prior two books make brief appearances.

Download a book boyfriend with fangs and a big, blue… attitude… he isn’t afraid to use.

Reading order for the Yadeshi Brides series

WARRIOR’S BOND: Curvy single mom in trouble + elite alien warrior = a chance at the forever kind of love. This is a steamy hot, science fiction romance for readers who love BBW and alpha male alien warriors. Perfect for your lunch break read.

WARRIOR’S VOW: Terminally ill bride candidate + an alien wolf in doctor’s clothing = healing that lasts longer than a lifetime. This is a steamy hot, science fiction romance for readers who love strong willed heroines and alpha male alien warriors. Perfect for your lunch break read. Standalone, #2 in the Yadeshi Brides series.

CHAPTER ONE

Ithann’s almond shaped eyes, deceptively pretty with their long lashes, stared at Gayle with chilly malice.  She honed in on those lashes, well suited to the unearthly lines of his face, because the tiniest flick of  a lash was his absolute only tell. But no luck this time- he watched her as she watched him, his stern lips quirking in a mocking smile at her meager attempt to best him. He beckoned, an insolent flick of his fingers, inviting her to try his defenses.

She wasn’t stupid. As good as she was among the students, and even among civilian humans, she was no match for a fully trained and blooded warrior. This fight was child’s play to him- not so much for her, since she was the one getting her ass kicked.

It was his job, after all, to give her exactly what she’d signed up for when enrolling at the Academy for training as a human warrior-bride candidate in the Yadeshi military. Innocuously referred to as YETI, the Yadeshi-Earth Training Institute merrily recruited unsuspecting women to provide alien warriors with fresh… mates.  But they were all students first, and the best of the alien warriors, the Adekhan, were their instructors.  Adekhan Ithann took his duty in training the future mothers of his race seriously. He didn’t have to enjoy it so much, though.

“Yield,” Ithann said. “It ’s time for my tea.”

The alien bastard didn’t drink tea- he must have been studying colloquialisms again. Gayle shifted into Third Form, ignoring his taunt and the snickers from some of the watching students. She’d finally learned not to respond to his verbal insults or the noise in the tiny weiner gallery, the former delivered with masterful timing and designed to elicit the optimal level of ire. She didn’t fight well when angry- the Adekhan knew her weakness and exploited it shamelessly.

Besides, she didn’t have the breath left over for speech. It was all she could do just to remain upright. Her teacher, and would be lover, offered her no more quarter than he would any other aja’eko. In fact, the tattooed blue fiend offered her even less. But if he fucked like he fought, when she finally gave in to the inevitable, Gayle fully expected a wild ride.

Ithann’s nostrils flared, the pale blue of his irises brightening to white. He moved, cutting through her guard and disabling her defenses. In seconds she was flat on her stomach, arms twisted behind her in a hold as the heavily muscled warrior leaned over her, mouth close to her ear. His long hair bushed the sides of her cheek.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he murmured in her ear. “Your lust betrays you.”

“Why don’t you do something about it then?” She didn’t bother lowering her voice.

A quick, hidden nip on her ear, the bite painful enough that Gayle yelped.

“I have plans, aja’eko. I’ll repay you for the past several weeks of taunting soon. I promise you.”

She was too smart not to be nervous.

* * *

“He said that?” Mila asked, wiping the sweat from her face with a towel.

Ithann had dismissed the training group after their match, and strode away without another look or word for Gayle.

Gayle grinned. “Yeah, I think I’ve worn him down.”

Mila snorted. “You just think you’re the one doing the wearing. We’re talking about a Yadeshi warrior, girl. Their plans have plans. That have plans. And little baby plans.”

“Yeah? Well, the result will be the same. Hot rabid sex in the locker room shower and then-“

“Bonding marks? Hello, Yadeshi warrior?”

“Details.” Gayle winced. She wanted the alien, liked the alien, even thought he’d make a decent enough long term partner. By the terms of her admission to the Academy, she had to choose- or allow herself to be chosen by- a Yadeshi warrior to mate. But bonding tattoos? She wasn’t nearly ready to go there yet. “I think I prefer to just stick with the hot rabid sex in the shower for now.”

Mila snorted, rifling through her gym bag for a fresh change of clothes. “Okay. We’ll see how this turns out, anyway. Have you told your parents?”

Gayle sighed. “I will. Eventually. Maybe even tonight.”

“Family dinner?”

“Don’t sound so sympathetic.”

Mila patted Gayle’s shoulder as she passed to go to the showers. “Gourmet meal made from real food and not synthetics, plush High Tier surroundings? I don’t feel all that sorry for you.”

* * *

Gayle wouldn’t have felt sorry for herself, either. Her parents had had the dining room remodeled while she’d bunked in the Academy dorms over the last week. She couldn’t stop staring at the blue-and-white-glass tiles, the intricate pattern hand laid by an artisan. All the old, overblown furniture gone, replaced by pieces made of warm honey wood—real wood, not fabricated. The painting on the wall she recognized because her parents had also overpaid for a useless private school education.

The paintings weren’t replications.

Gayle’s fingers clenched the delicate flute of her water glass. “So, do the taxpayers know that you just spent close to a mil in credits on your dining room when there are talks the government won’t be able to fund food vouchers this quarter?”

“Really, Abigail,” her mother said, setting her fork down with an abrupt clink. “We don’t discuss politics at the table.”

That was a lie. They simply didn’t discuss politics that were an implicit criticism to the High Tier lifestyle at the table. Her elegant, expertly coiffed mother lifted a finger to have the salad course cleared away.

“We used our private funds, of course,” her father said, sipping his wine. “We’d never utilize tax dollars for personal projects.”

“Why not take a salary cut? Your salary is paid for by the people, which means the people indirectly funded a dining room remodel. The old one was fine.” Gayle glared as her mother opened her mouth to protest. “It’s fine, Mother. Why don’t you find something useful to do with your time rather than trying to replicate the latest Modern Housekeeping spread?”

Miranda’s dark eyes iced over. “I’ll thank you to alter your tone of voice. You’re fortunate that the taxpayers provide so generously for your father, who works hard on their behalf, and affords you the opportunity to pursue your leisure activities.”

“I’m a student at the Academy, it’s not a leisure sport.”

“Really. And all the other women who are enrolled aren’t Low and Middle Tier women with no education and little means, forced to engage in war-play on the off chance they might catch the eye of a non-human.”

Gayle stood. She wasn’t going to sit and bandy words with her parents. She had work to do.

“Abigail, sit down,” her father said, his voice steely.

She glanced at him. The tone was a rare one that he only trotted out in important circumstances. She wasn’t a teenager anymore—was several years past her majority, but she sat, eyes narrowing.

“We’ll have to do something about her hair, of course,” Miranda declared. “The color is… modern, I suppose, but the braids aren’t really in the current fashion. Really, Gayle, why do you insist on—”

“What’s going on?” Gayle speared her father with her own steely look.

The family remained silent as servers brought in the next course. Gayle ate her soup, more because her body needed the fuel than because she was hungry. And though the meals at the Academy were top notch, they were still prepared in a cafeteria. Her parents’ private chef would have been appalled to see how Gayle had been eating lately. Everything very hearty, seasoned nicely, but very plain. The kind of food soldiers would eat.

Gayle realized her internal dialogue sounded like her mother talking, and stared down at her soup bowl with displeasure. Soup crafted purely for the sake of culinary art, and not to provide the maximum amount of nutrition available while stretching a meager food voucher.

She wanted to push it aside in protest, but that would defeat the purpose. A hungry person would never waste food just for principle. She attacked the soup with gusto.

Her mother noticed. “If you’re that hungry, dear, I can have a snack sent up to your room before you retire.”

“What’s the deal, Dad?” Gayle asked the man sipping his soup while he swiped reports on his tablet.

He darkened the screen and turned his attention back to his only daughter. “Abigail, we aren’t pleased by the media coverage given your participation in the events at the research facility. Several offers we received for a marriage alliance were withdrawn.”

What wonderful news. “Good.”

“I, of course, admire your sense of civic duty—though misplaced—as our family has its root in community organizing, but your mother and I feel we’ve allowed you to pursue this hobby far too long.”

Hobby?”

“You don’t need the Academy,” Miranda said. “You’re neither poor, nor lacking options. In fact, your presence takes away a slot from some unfortunate woman who really needs it. You’re slumming, dear, and it’s time to come home and take up your responsibilities to your family.”

She knew where this was going. Had expected it for a while. “You want me to marry.”

“We think it’s best. There are several choices that would bring the family invaluable political and business connections.”

“And what am I supposed to do after I get married?”

Her mother stared, unblinking. “Whatever you want. There will be a household to maintain, social events to plan. Children to raise. If you marry a politician, you’ll be expected to engage in some form of public service, of course.”

Gayle sighed. “I’m not going to marry. You guys can just get that thought right out of your heads.”

“I’m afraid I’m going to insist, Abigail,” her father said. “You’re embarrassing us with this Academy nonsense. I’ve indulged you far too long.”

“Has everyone forgotten that I’m an adult? This whole conversation reads like you’re talking to a rebellious teenager.”

“Either you exit the Academy, and find a suitable spouse, or we will cut off your bank accounts.”

Gayle stared. The final line was delivered with no small amount of poorly hidden triumph. As if they thought they had one over on her.

She laughed, setting down the soup spoon and rising from the table. “Oh, poorly played, Father,” she said, chuckling. “So, if you cut off the bank accounts, then I really will have an incentive to stay in the Academy—I’ll be broke. I guess I’ll tell them to start sending me the stipend.” Gayle picked up her wine glass, now thoroughly in the mood for a drink. “Thanks, guys. I was having a bad week and this was just the bit of entertainment I needed to lift my spirits.”

Her father rose as well, face drawn tight. “You’re a High Tier woman. You’ve never lived on your own, with nothing. You think you’d survive, but you wouldn’t. People inured to luxury never adjust well to the lack of it.”

“I have friends.”

Father sneered, before he caught himself and smoothed the ill-bred expression from his face. “I’m aware of your friends. And the male.”

Gayle’s eyes narrowed. “Ithann? Well, I can’t marry anyway. There’s a clause in the contract that I have to remain available for a Yadeshi warrior to choose until I’ve completed training and been assigned or released.”

Miranda waved a hand. “That contract won’t be a problem to get you out of.” Her mother smiled, placidly. “Shall we start interviewing designers for your gown? I think a wedding next spring is a reasonable amount of time to prepare. And it gives you time to pick your pet charity project as a married woman.”

Gayle expected that kind of frothiness from her mother, who made playing dumb an art—the perfect politician’s wife who hid her intelligence and individuality under a layer of makeup and a pound of permanently inserted weave. At least Gayle’s braids were all her own hair.

“I just don’t understand how we can live in the twenty-second century and a woman’s only value to her family is still directly correlated to the wealth of the man she snags to marry.”

“Just a High Tier woman,” her father said, stony. “Low and Middle Tier women have made advances in science and business. Unfortunately, the cost of being raised a spoiled rich brat is that you are expected to conform to outdated gender norms—to protect the wealth that sheltered you from food and educational deprivation.”

They stared at each other. “I’m not getting married, Father.”

“Two weeks, Abigail. That’s how long you have to resign yourself to your real life.”

* * *

Gayle spent the rest of the evening in her room. She began to catalogue her belongings to see which items she owned outright and could sell, and which were family heirlooms she could smuggle out when she left. She raided the wine cellar for a bottle of the good stuff, of course, before beginning her inventory. It took some effort to quietly move around her available funds without tripping off any alerts her father might have had on her accounts, but the more wine she drank, the more fun the virtual shenanigans became. Browsing the internet for inexpensive studio apartments, a new thought occurred to her and she set the thought of an efficiency aside, instead spending some time pouring over the paperwork she’d signed when admitted to YETI. After filing a few more documents, she leaned back in her chair with a smirk. Her father planned, and she planned. And she was the best of planners.

But if that plan fell through, then technically she could qualify for a housing voucher. Children of rich families weren’t automatically assigned the same Tier of their parents unless they had money in their own name. Gayle had the stipend she’d been refusing from the Academy every month. And a small mutual fund every month that was her inheritance from a grandparent. Father couldn’t touch that. Along with whatever loose credits she could stash, Gayle had just enough to get a few months’ down payment on a place until her housing application was processed, and she was placed on a work waiting list.

Gayle grinned, wondering what in the hell the case workers could do with her file. Her education was appropriately eclectic for her social status—in other words, useless for most normal positions. She was high enough ranked in her training group that she could request a room in the Academy—but Mother was right. Gayle would feel bad about taking accommodations away from a person who had no other options. She could manage on her own, it would just be an adjustment. Gayle had known this was coming for a while, so she had already prepared herself mentally.

Her communication console chimed. “Accept, hologram,” she said.

A hologram-sized Mila appeared at the end of Gayle’s bed.

“Hey, girl. I need your help with something.”

“Will it be boring?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Will it piss my father off?”

Mila grinned. “Hell, yeah, it will.”

Gayle swung off her bed, setting aside her glass. “I’m in.”