There are about a million ways to end up in the Alien Bride Lottery. But all it takes is one.
Every unmarried female human over the age of 21 gets entered once a year. You can also accept extra entries for legal infractions—instead of paying a parking fine, for example, you can request an extra entry. Lots of women do that. I mean, why not? The chances are astronomical that your name will get chosen to be one of the hundred or so women who get shipped off to space every year.
And even if your name is drawn, the odds are slim that you’ll match up with an alien who’s looking for a mate.
Most of the lottery-drawn women come back to Earth every year and resume their lives as if nothing changed.
But some don’t.
And no matter what, getting drawn in the Lottery means you have to compete in the Bride Games.
Guess that’s where I’m heading now.
I only hope I can avoid catching the eye of one of the giant, rainbow-hued brutes whose mission is to protect Earth—and who can claim me as a mate.
All because I was Entered in the Alien Bride Lottery…
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For an instant, I flashed on David’s expression as I was transported away from him, his green eyes sad, his face stricken.
No. I can’t go there.
I simply had to get through these games, convince everyone there that I was particularly unsuited to be a Khanavai warrior’s bride, and go home. Back to my life. Back to my studies. Back to David. My life would be normal again.
And I will never again have to worry about being drawn in the Alien Bride Lottery.
I brightened up at that thought. Once chosen, forever safe. My name would never again go into the drawing.
The Poltien led me around a corner, and I was so lost in thought that I nearly crashed into the giant man coming from the other direction. The Poltien had scampered around him, but I stumbled to a stop barely an inch away from slamming my face into his chest.
Well. Okay. Into his upper abdomen.
He grabbed my shoulders to steady me as I tilted my head back and looked up, up, up into his bright purple eyes.
Holy crap, he’s huge, was my first thought. And so blue! came next.
All that came out of my mouth was a squeak worthy of a Poltien.
“Are you all right?” the giant turquoise man asked me in a deep, rumbling voice. I had to fight the urge to place a hand on his broad chest to feel it vibrate as he spoke. I glanced over to the enormous hand holding my shoulder, then followed his arm all the way up to his bulging blue biceps, where my gaze snagged. This time, my own hand was halfway toward the muscle before I realized it and forced my wayward fingers back down to my side.
“Um. Yeah, I’m okay.” My voice came out all breathless and girlish, and I gave myself an internal smack. Quit acting like a besotted fool, I reprimanded myself.
“She is late.” The Poltien, having realized I was no longer following it, had turned around to retrieve me. “And you are not supposed to be in this area. All warriors are to be in the Grooms’ Quarters. Not wandering around the Bridal Suites.”
The Khanavai warrior flashed her an unrepentant grin, and I nearly swooned. Good lord, but he was gorgeous.
“I must have gotten turned around.” But he ruined his explanation by tossing a wink at me.
My heartbeat sped up and I swallowed hard. Don’t get too excited, Nat, I warned myself. The goal is to get kicked out of the Games, not flirt with the first alien you see.
“My apologies.” The warrior abruptly released me and took a step back. Cold air rushed into the space his warm hands had just covered, and for an instant, I felt bereft at losing his touch.
As the warrior executed a sharp bow, though, I gathered my wits—at least enough to mutter, “No problem,” and step around him.
I followed the Poltien once more, but I couldn’t help glancing back one last time, only to find the beautiful alien man staring thoughtfully after me. When he caught me looking, he smiled, this time revealing a deep dimple in his turquoise cheek. I whipped my head back around and focused on my surroundings.
I would not let one alien hottie distract me from my plan.