Reaver’s Kiss: Chapter Three


When I first went to college, my first roommate was a bit of a wild child.

Okay, more than a bit.

Nice enough, but I only went out with her once.

And right now, I remembered exactly why.

My head pounded, my tongue was swollen, scratchy.

Every bit of me felt like crap and the idea that people would do this to themselves on purpose was still bewildering to me.

But this wasn’t the dorms.

Or my cabin back on the Dream.

The unthinkable had happened, and I was somewhere else.

Somewhere unexpected, unplanned.

I hated not having a plan.

Wherever I was, it was quiet, the ever present hum of the ship gone.

No voices. The rest of the girls weren’t here.

Maybe they were still asleep.

I felt fresh air on my face, a rich loamy scent of plants all around.

Maybe this was a garden. That’d be nice.

Still I kept my eyes closed, just for a moment, trying to clear my mind.

“What are you?” a deep voice rumbled, and I sat up in shock then froze.

I was at the side of a clearing, tall, twisted trees lacing the sky with slender branches far overhead all around, deep shadows at their bases.

A circle of dark sky above was filled with a giant full moon.

I swallowed hard.

To its side, I saw a second smaller orb.

Two moons. That… that was different.

I looked around again. “Who’s there? Who spoke to me?”

A dark form separated from one of the trees and I stayed very still.

From a distance, in the shadows, it looked like a man. Very tall, with broad shoulders.

But one head, two arms, two legs, and–

I blinked.

A tail. Yes, a thick tail swishing in the air behind him.

When he stepped closer into the moonlight, I swallowed hard.

My rescuer was unclothed, other than a short loincloth and a broad strap running diagonally across his chest.

The light was enough to give me a clear view of the rich stripped green of his skin, the strong planes of his face, not softened in the least by the frame of dark brown hair.

This was no gentle gardener.

“Are you here to help me?” I whispered.

Sure, it was more than a little terrifying to be by myself in the dark with a naked alien.

Naked, giant alien.

But at least we could communicate.

He tilted his head to the side.

“I don’t know your words. What are you? Where did you come from?”

Or not.

I ran my hand over the comm bangle, my stomach knotting as with glowing certainty I understood.

I had a translator, I understood him easily enough.

Therefore the bangle had found a match, found his language in its colossal database of tongues, working its magic and feeding me the translation to the disc implanted behind my ear.

But my new friend had no such device.

Which was odd.

My understanding was all members of the galactic alliance had the option for a translator implant when their languages were added to the databases.

Maybe this guy had just opted out?

Maybe not enough people came to this world for it to be worth the trouble?

Welp, I’d have to do it the old-fashioned way.

“Hi, I’m Allison,” I said slowly, touching my chest. “Allison.” First holding up my hands to show they were empty, I pushed myself up.

And that was a lousy idea.

My knees buckled as the worst headrush of my life washed over me, nearly landing me flat on my ass, back in the pod.

Instead, I clutched at the sides, hanging my head down and breathing deeply.

“Are you injured?” 

I risked a glance up. 

Mister tall, green and naked had come closer to the escape pod, dark eyes studying me carefully.

“Not exactly. It’s just been a day.”

His eyes narrowed and I shook my head. “Sorry, explanations about space travel will have to wait until after I get the basic nouns down.”

With more care than I’d ever used on the dance floor, I slid one leg out, then the other, keeping a grip on the lip of the cover to keep myself upright.

The ground all around the escape pod was covered in branches.

I looked more closely.

Not just branches, it looked like entire trees that’d been knocked down.

“What happened here?” I wondered.

I rubbed at my temple.

The pounding in my head was better now, but still there, right behind my right eyeball, beating a constant tattoo.

I needed answers. Even if he couldn’t understand me, he could at least give me information.

I tapped my chest again. “Allison.”

I tapped the pod I leaned against. “Escape pod.”

Stooping down, I ran my fingers over the rough bark of the branch beside me.


His eyes flicked between me and every item I touched, and I repeated the process, this time finishing with pointing towards him and waiting.

“Tirac,” came the immediate reply.

And since the translator didn’t try to do anything with the strange word, it seemed a safe bet that was his name.

“Tirac, Allison.” I spread my arms wide, gesturing around the clearing, then made a show of looking all around me.

A sudden snap of comprehension widened his eyes

“Tirac, Allison,” he repeated, then shook his head, pushed his palms down toward the ground.

The hand gesture was unfamiliar to me, but the meaning was clear enough.

We were the only ones here.

All right, I could work with that. If the pods had brought me to this planet, wherever it was, surely they’d brought the other women here. I could proceed on that assumption.

And if they weren’t here, I simply had to find out where they were. That was a reasonable plan.

Straightening my shoulders, I took a deep breath, looking around for any sort of a break in the trees, a path, anything.


No lights of some distant city, no pleasantly marked trail, nothing.

“But he came from somewhere,” I reminded myself. “So there’s something out there.”

I picked a direction and started walking.

And my green giant charged.

“What the hell?!” 

I crouched, arms above my head as he dashed forward, leaping high in the air, moonlight glinting on the knife I hadn’t even realized was in his hand.

I couldn’t move, couldn’t take my eyes off of where he seemed to hang in the air above me.

With a snarl, he landed, coming to a crouch at my side, the blade of the knife buried deep into the ground by my foot.

No. Not into the ground.

In the head of a yellow and orange spotted snake, invisible among the leaves.

My hands clutched my throat and I staggered back.

“All right, traipsing through the jungle by myself at night isn’t a good idea. Time for a new plan.”

Except I had no idea where to start.

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