Lachlin MacTavish never had any trouble with the ladies, at least not until he caught the wandering eye of a pirate princess from the neighboring galaxy of Iwoehon. When she makes him an unwilling member of her intergalactic harem, female troubles take on a whole new meaning for Lachlin.
As blessings go, Emily Fairchild had more than her share of them back on Earth. Life was good for the blond-haired, blue-eyed beauty, but that all changed when she and her crewmates crashed on Tarilax. Surrounded by gorgeous masculine alien warriors, it sounded like heaven at first. But she can’t even find one decent date. Regardless, she certainly didn’t travel across the galaxy just to fall for a sexy, tattooed bad boy from Earth.
Twelve years ago, when an energetic, well-polished recruiter from NASA stood in front of the entire sixth grade class at Carber Elementary and told us we could be whatever we wanted to be when we grew up, I believed him, dammit. And for the longest, it had seemed as though he’d been right.
Every educational award, academic achievement, and cum laude designation brought me one step closer to achieving my dreams. There had never been any question marks where my future was concerned. I was the golden child, the girl on fire, the woman with a plan. Life was simple and predictable, and best of all, easy. The good grades, the cushy jobs, the perfect boyfriends—all of it expected and taken for granted.
So when Commander Cora Carter told me that she and a few of her colleagues were going to save the Earth, rescue the ozone, and pioneer the next era of space exploration? Of course I freaking believed her. Why the hell wouldn’t I?
The mission had sounded like a dream come true for someone like me, a Texas native with a double major in physics and aerospace engineering. According to Cora, it would be just like a road trip on Spring Break. Our five female crew would zip over to the edge of the galaxy, maybe shake a few alien hands, and bring back enough Marsonium to solve the world’s energy and pollution problems for eons to come. Easy peasy, right? Eh, turns out, not so much.
So far, we’ve been attacked by Goridian pirates, sucked into a black hole, and spit out on a planet where sabertooth butterflies and giant man-eating squirrels roam around in the wild preying on innocent humans. What sounded like an ideal mission, turned out to be a good dose of harsh old reality. My long-held belief system that hard work and honesty produced equitable results deserted me pretty quickly and was replaced with an irrevocable new truth, savage and cruel as it was. I would never have another triple, venti, half-sweet, non-fat, caramel macchiato again.
* * * *
Okay, so maybe I’ve never been the perfect son, the perfect brother, or the perfect anything for that matter, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t crazy about the women in my life. My grandmother was a vision of statuesque beauty, my mother a living saint, and I swore there’d never been a more perfect girl created than my little sister, Aine. And what did these three women share in common that made them each special beyond compare? Me, that’s what.
Growing up, I could seriously do no wrong. I was pampered and fussed over, spoiled and catered to, slathered with affection. To Nana and Mum, I was the sweetest, handsomest boy who had ever walked the Elm-lined streets of Arkansas. To my sister, Aine, I was the bravest, smartest protector any girl had ever had in the history of big brothers. In return, like my father, Bruce, I treasured and adored all three of the women in my life. Anywhere my dad left off, I stepped up, never failing to show them how much I loved them and I devoted I truly was.
When my nana and mum departed this world right on the heels of each other, the only person who took it harder than me was my dad. And the only thing that held us together was Aine. Soft as silk, yet tough as nails when she had to be, my sister picked up mum’s halo, adjusted it to her beautiful head, and carried on where they left off. That halo had fit her perfectly. Even though Dad and I often made things more difficult than they needed to be, she never once complained. And make no mistake, Dad and I were difficult. Where he’d fallen into a bottle of Irish whiskey for solace, I tumbled head-first into a new life of debauchery and loose women.
It was so easy. I’d always been a bit of a ladies’ man, anyway. With my mum’s pale Nordic beauty and my dad’s strong Scottish features, I hit the genetics lottery. Too many women seemed prone to swooning and throwing themselves at my feet for it not to be true. Hell, I didn’t even have to try. I knew I looked good. And if my Dad was anything to go by, I’d probably just look better with age. My first sexual encounter was with a babysitter, and I learned soon enough that most women were eager, nay anxious, to fall beneath my particular sword of seduction. But, even so, I adored each and every one of them.
In fact, I was on my way home one night after having adored one of these women for several hours when I learned that even alien females weren’t immune to my special kind of charm. Aliyah Azandar, daughter of Kwanlo Azandar, Emperor of the Iwoehan system snatched me from a field behind my favorite pub and added me to her harem as a royal concubine. After our first mating, Aliyah named me chief consort and declared me property of the crown. Until I wasn’t.