The consulates on Earth have been established, but life is far from smooth and easy. Some days it seems that anything that CAN go wrong, does. Between legal problems with the Earth governments, chance encounters with unexpected results, and the tensions inherent in a male-heavy race fleeing extinction, there's rarely a dull moment in the consulate.
Meredith has been advocating for foster children for her entire career, so when the courts and child services conspire to remove an Earth-born Sakk child's wings, she'll risk jail to keep that from happening. She goes to the Sakk consulate seeking asylum for Alice and finds herself partaking of the same.
Hayley and Holly are as different as night and day, but the sisters have never been apart. When Hayley decides to indulge one of her younger sister's flights of fancy, little does she know they are going to become the belles of the Sakk ball.
When Beldon and Jannie return to Sakk, Sakkra (the younger Sakk prince) becomes emissary to the humans. Little does he know how difficult the job will be. Between armed attacks and political nightmares, it seems the prince can't even eat a meal without interruption. Enter Amy. She doesn't want to test as a match; she's happily engaged and happily human. She's only at the consulate to offer support to a friend who is testing, but when her friend turns out to be very human and Amy turns out not to be, her life falls apart.
When Amy's other cousins tested as too human to be matches, Jolene didn't bother. A one-night stand with Rietin (a wingless Sakk tracker and Amy's personal guard) ends with an unexpected pregnancy, but can Jo overcome her belief that Sakk men see all women as alike and find happiness with him?
Sandy has had a lousy year. Her POS boyfriend dumped her when she got pregnant. Her step-father kicked her out of the house, leaving her homeless. The shelter has only let her stay as long as she has, because she's pregnant. And now...the final straw. Her sonogram shows the baby she's carrying has wings. Her last chance for safety and stability is finding a home with the Sakk.
CONTENT ADVISORY: This is a re-release title.
Sakkra, second son of His Majesty Sakkrel, strode down the corridor between the inner consulate and the outer. Beside him, Colonel Ezu gave his report.
The prince did his best to ignore the too-tight Earth-style pants and bare chest Ezu chose to entice the human females. Those who'd won their places on Earth had gone to embarrassing extremes to attract matches from this planet.
The clothing was the least of it, in Sakkra's opinion. Some had posed for native magazines that featured nude males or those engaged in all manner of sex acts. A few had acted in live sex vids with human women for the 'exposure'.
Sakkra winced at the unintended pun. He'd never fully understood how the warriors expected this form of baiting to work, especially considering the fact that more men than women indulged in watching the vids, he'd been told. Not to mention that women looking for a mate were unlikely to look for one in a sex vid. On some level, it would seem in direct opposition to what they hoped to accomplish.
Still, those engaged in the unconventional activities were having sex. Quite a lot of it, based on the rumors. Sakkra half-expected to be greeted one sunrise with the news that one of the males had inadvertently impregnated an unknowing match, thinking she was human.
We have a one in seven hundred chance, he thought bitterly.
And now this again. "We may have to alert the local authorities," Sakkra mused.
The colonel would know that. If it turned to violence, he would do so automatically.
"Yes, Sakkra. We may. This one is particularly...intent."
It could be worse. The religious zealots who had attacked the shields with rocket launchers had been worse, but Master Beldon had still been on Earth to handle that situation. He'd deftly countered the attack, turned the combatants and their weapons over to the American military, and had kept everyone within the shields protected.
In some ways, Sakkra would rather handle armed opponents than one distraught and unbalanced human female. Sakkan tests the worth of every man in His own way.
A prayer uttered under his breath, Sakkra returned to the situation at hand. "She is not at all close to what we need to find?" It wouldn't matter if she was. Ms. Ferguson was mentally unsuitable to carry young for them, it seemed. He cursed the fact that the earlier testing had missed it. Perhaps they needed to make the psychological portion longer and more involved.
"No, Sakkra. Not at all."
He nodded grimly. If she was close and not unbalanced, she might have found a male willing to accept implanted spliced young from her for the joy of a female in his bed. Or they might have been able to establish a new breeding colony with willing human females that were close stock but not close enough for true mating. Sakkra had considered both possibilities more than once. It wasn't ideal, but what was with well over a hundred males to each female?
Sounds of a struggle stopped Sakkra in his tracks. Had the female attacked his men? Had she made threats?
Not one but two shouting women prodded him to a run. Sakkan only knew what the problem was, but it was worse than he'd expected. His heart thundering, he launched into the testing room.
The two women were struggling with a warrior each on opposite sides of the room. Sakkra looked back and forth between them, at a loss to explain it. How had this started?
Their vocalizations provided the answer for him. One was shouting obscenities and threats.
The one that hoped to be a match. We have to make the early testing more intensive. He focused on the other.
"You can't keep me here. I didn't volunteer. I didn't ask to be tested." Her voice was high in panic. Her eyes were wide and wild.
And her lip is bleeding. Sakkan, no! Please, don't let my men have done that.
Sakkra shot at glance at the test pad, confirming that it was blue. His mind worked at the problem with all due haste. The program would have started automatically, but someone would have had to order it to complete the cycle.
Or to abort, but aborting sometimes causes a fault requiring a reset of the equipment. He would have ordered it to complete the cycle to avoid that.
She hadn't asked to be tested. She'd touched the pad accidentally, no doubt. The warriors hadn't considered the possibility that she would test positive as a match.
And with an unbalanced human woman who wants to be a match in the room. He prayed she hadn't injured the other female.
And now the match is being detained by my men against her will. It was a nightmare in the making. The human governments could wage war over this. They could refuse to allow more testing. If the young female had even a single bruise caused by his men, they could--
"I'll kill you."
Sakkra snapped a look at the other female, just in time to see the warrior restraining her wrap a hand around her throat.
I have to move! "Stop! Remove her from the outer ring immediately. Colonel Ezu, help him."
The colonel's nod said he understood his actual job was to keep the warriors from killing her for threatening a match. Two more heartbeats, and the warrior would have managed that.
As if in confirmation, the warrior's hand wavered before it withdrew. He maneuvered the struggling female between himself and Ezu.
"Turn her over to the human authorities," Sakkra ordered. "And have her coded into the database as a threat." With that accomplished, Ms. Ferguson would be unable to approach the shields at any consulate without the human authorities being summoned.
Ezu nodded stiffly. "Immediately. You have my vow." He led the way out of the room, the surly female screaming curses and kicking at her guards.
That handled, Sakkra turned to the young match. She pummeled the major's chest with her small fists, pleading to be set free. Sakkra felt a pang of regret. The match reminded him of the first caged birds he'd seen on Earth.
She would be released. Of course she would. But first, her wound would have to be tended to. Sakkra scooped her up, the major grasped her wrists, and her screams reached an earsplitting high.
"Calm, young one," he soothed her.
She struggled against the major's grip, trying to escape Sakkra's arms. "Let me go. Let me go. Let. Me. Go!" She was screeching now.
She pulled a foot back to kick the warrior holding her wrists, and he switched both wrists into a single hand to grasp the foot in his other.
"When your wound has been tended to," Sakkra offered calmly. He moved before she could protest, into the corridor and toward the main medical bay.
She kicked with the other foot, and the major released the first to block the blow. He turned his body, walking backward to take himself out of the most effective kicking range.
"People know I'm here," she warned them. "If I don't come back, they'll make sure the authorities know you have me."
If your former friend is the 'people' you are hoping will save you, I would rethink that hope. But saying that would only alienate and frighten her. Sakkra kept his mouth shut, quickening his step.
A crowd was starting to gather in doorways along the way. As if that was too much for her peace of mind, the young match started kicking frantically and screaming. Her face went an unhealthy shade of red that made Sakkra worry her heart would give out before they managed to tend to her medically.
At the first sight of the bio bed, she shrieked and bucked against their hold.
Healers ran from every direction. "Sakkra, what is this?" the master healer asked.
"She has a wound that needs tended. Do so." The sooner, the better.
The healer shot an incredulous look back. "In this state? Perhaps I should--"
"Don't you dare!" she shouted. "I am walking out of here, and you're opening that damned shield to let me."
"You have my vow," Sakkra assured her. Hadn't he already promised she'd be free to leave when her wound was tended to? How many times would he have to say it?
Her struggling ceased, and she stared at him. "You're giving me your word?"
Sakkra bit back a growl of frustration with her. "Yes. I am. Now will you allow the healers to see to your wound?"
She looked from face to face, trembling in his arms. Her throat bobbed, and she took ragged breaths. At last, she nodded. "Yes. Okay. As long as I can leave."
The major met Sakkra's gaze, waited for his nod, and eased away, releasing her wrists. She twisted, and Sakkra released her onto the bio bed, giving her the freedom she desired.