Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from Her Alien Savior by Elle Thorne #MFRWauthor

Her Alien Savior
An alien soldier without emotions.
Finn is three quarters Asazi and one quarter human. He’s a lieutenant in the Asazi army and his desire is to be the best soldier he can. He’s spent a lifetime denying his human side, only to find out that now it makes him key to a mission on Earth. A mission that includes Marissa Sanchez, Target 41, a determined, smart-mouthed spitfire that brings out emotions his Asazi nature rejects.
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 saves her life and provides a completely different kind of option.
Excerpt from Her Alien Savior by Elle Thorne
And just like that—no notice, no clues, nothing—she was gone. The phone rang, she answered it, the call couldn’t have been more than a minute, maybe two. Then she looked like a balloon that had the air drained out of it. She laid her head on the table, then got up, grabbed her purse, didn’t even respond to his question, didn’t even act like she’d heard it, or that he even existed. And then she was gone.
He wondered if he should let her go. He wondered if he should abort the mission altogether, maybe move on to the next target, because this one seemed so . . . so . . . unpredictable.
Then the inexplicable happened, as if someone else was controlling his body, his mind, his actions, he found himself telling Belle he had to run an errand. And he followed her, this dark-haired, green-eyed woman with a warrior’s spirit. He knew why he did it. He’d seen that look she had on her face. He’d seen it on shell-shocked soldiers who’d seen too much, lived through too much and were numb. And numb soldiers did stupid things. Dangerous things.
Did female humans—women, Kal’s word reverberated in his mind—did women do stupid things when they were numb or shell-shocked? He wished he’d paid better attention to some of the lessons. Right now, knowing more about humans would serve him better than knowing all the different techniques of killing, survival, espionage, evasion, reconnaissance, and escape. He slipped into the foot-traffic, keeping enough of a distance behind her, and hoping she wouldn’t notice him. Of course she wouldn’t, he chastised himself. He was trained well. Sure, he counter-argued himself, but not to evade discovery in a densely-populated area.
As soon as he was home, as soon as this mission was complete, he would suggest to the Elite Measures Academy that they implement evasion in populated areas to their curriculum, but for now, he needed to pay better attention. To stay on his guard so she wouldn’t notice him. Who knew how she’d react to his following her. If she were mildly hostile earlier, now she may be outright antagonistic.
She stopped in front of her car, keys in hand. Then shook her head, as if arguing with herself. Her hair caught the sun’s rays, a deep auburn tint in the dark waves. She turned around, a full revolution, and Finn stepped behind a light post, while maintaining an appreciative eye on the way she filled her jeans. She made a sharp 180 and headed down the street.
What was that about? What had that phone call meant? Belle seemed concerned when Marissa told her to get help and run the dinner shift without her, as if this was not a commonplace event. As if Marissa never missed a day’s work. Was she going somewhere to a business meeting? What kind of meeting would have her looking so defeated, so emotionless?
He walked behind her, keeping his distance varied, on occasion crossing the street as she trudged on, almost in a stupor. An hour later she stopped and surveyed her surroundings. He guessed they’d gone a good couple of miles from Two West Two. This was a far shabbier part of town, mostly dotted with bars, car repair shops, and homes with occasional bars across their windows, the ones that weren’t in disarray. The ones that were in disarray, well—he supposed there was no reason to bar anyone from entering those.
She hurried across the street into a—
Finn looked for a sign. Anything that would identify the building. It wasn’t a place of business, as far as he could tell.
A couple followed her in. Then another couple, holding hands. Odd. Maybe it was a business? But one that was unmarked? What sort of business would that be? The green door had no identifying marks, not even a street number. In her state of mind, she’d be easy prey, probably not even paying attention. He couldn’t just let her be in there alone. Or maybe he was overreacting. Maybe he should go away.
And go where? There was nothing else, nowhere else to go. He had one mission. Marissa. Leaving her would mean he wouldn’t be accomplishing his mission. Well, that and the fact he didn’t want to admit to himself he wanted to be where she was. That in itself was too confusing to deal with. So what else was there to do but go in?
No, he’d wait and see if she came out. But first he had to make sure that there were no other exits. The building was two-story, white-washed brick, a metal staircase led to the second floor on the outside. Metal staircase with concrete steps and a metal, ornate handrail.
A quick trip around the building assured there were no windows. Odd, a building without windows. It used to have windows but they’d been sealed with bricks.
Finn took a spot across the street at a café and kept an eye on the green door. For more than an hour. No one came out, four more laughing couples went in. And a couple of unaccompanied women. And one man.
Finn stretched in the chair, the human epidermis uncomfortable over his own skin in this heat. The sun was lowering. Thankfully. But not going down, not yet.
Maybe he should make an entrance. Just to verify she was okay. For the mission, he told himself. Knowing he wouldn’t believe his own lie.
He crossed over and approached the door. Not even a peephole for security reasons. He tugged on the handle. The door yielded without hesitation. Dimness greeted his eyes. And took some adjusting to.
A bar.
This place was a bar. Jazz music drifted throughout the sofa and love seat dotted place. Candles and overstuffed large chairs added to the ambience.
But no Marissa.
He made his way upstairs. More sofas. No bar. Couples were in the sofas, but no one who was unaccompanied. Did he miss those, where were they?
He skimmed down the steps, two at a time. Around the corner. There she was. Her back was to him, but she was in front of the bar’s mirror. A drink in her hand.
He stepped back—quick—but NOT quick enough. She frowned at his image in the mirror, as if to be sure she wasn’t seeing things, and turned around.
She scratched her head, almost childlike in her action. He knew what that meant. Or hoped it didn’t mean what he thought it did.
Her slurred word confirmed it. She was drunk.
“You’re following. You. Are. Following.” She took a drink. “Me.”
He didn’t know what to say. If he confirmed it would she accuse him of being a stalker? Would the bartender call the cops? That would be ugly. If he denied it—no point in that—she’d know the truth.
“I was concerned.” Might as well go with the truth.
“About me? Little ol’ me?” She set the drink down, and it splashed up, clearly a hard landing. “You’re a scout. For one of those developers.” A sneer marred her features.
He was confused. What developers? Did he want to let her know he didn’t know what she was talking about? May as well, since her thinking that he was a scout for a developer wasn’t working out too well for him. “I don’t know what you mean. What developers?”
She drew back, exaggeratedly so, almost theatrical. The stunned expression that replaced the sneer would have been funny, if the circumstances weren’t the same, if she didn’t hate him without a reason. “What do you mean, what developers? You don’t know? You didn’t—Belle didn’t—you—”
Evidently she wasn’t going to assemble a sentence that made sense, so he would have to take the lead. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I left right after you did. You didn’t seem to be okay.”
“And you were worried about me.”
“We’ve already established that.” He pushed her drink away. She’d had enough and was too difficult to communicate with.
She brought it closer, took the straw between her teeth. The fluid rose through the opaque straw. She closed her eyes as she drank. If she weren’t getting on his nerves with her incomprehension, he’d have been—
—cancel that thought. Too late—
—he was aroused. Very much so.
Cursed woman. Her cheeks hollowed as she sucked on the straw and damn if his body didn’t have a surge of electricity that flowed through it. Thoughts ran rampant through his mind. Thoughts and a visual. And just like that—wham!—his wings pushed up against the human skin. He hoped they wouldn’t pop through. That’s all he needed. Functional or not, his wings would not go unnoticed, even in a dark bar.
He shifted away, hoping that everything would subside. Not much time in this body and it was already controlling him and in return it threatened results that were uncontrollable.
“Oh, now you’re mad?” Her head was cocked, one eyebrow raised, green eyes gleaming in the dancing candlelight.
“No, but I am wondering what this developer business is all about.”
“Don’t worry about it. So if you’re a scout, but you don’t work for a developer, then . . .” She swirled the straw around and around in the glass, the ice tinkling a soft jingle. Her eyes followed the tiny whirlpool created by the straw. In a flash, her head popped up, her eyes wide, like she’d seen something. Or knew something. “I get it. You’re a talent scout. A headhunter for restaurants? Looking for managers?”
He took a second to evaluate an answer. She didn’t seem to be appalled by that idea, seemed pleased by it. As if that wasn’t a bad thing. As if it might actually be a good thing.
“Yes.” He tried to keep his tone confident, as if this was the truth. He raised himself taller in the stool. “That’s exactly right.”
She sank into a more relaxed pose.
He didn’t exhale in relief, not wanting her to know, but he felt his pulse going back to normal. And his passion, and with it his wings retracting.

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