I refused to be in the Bride Lottery—so now I’m a runaway bride.
Somehow, I knew my name was going to be drawn in the Bride Lottery—the hellish agreement that Earth’s leaders had made to sell us to the aliens who protected our planet.
I’d grown up with the propaganda. It was our civic duty. Men registered for the draft, women registered for the Bride Lottery.
No way in hell was I going to be handed over to some giant man to be brutalized into bearing his children.
Instead, I cut out my bio-tracker and walked away from everything.
I should have realized they’d send one of those hulking, brightly colored aliens to track me down and bring me back.
Never did I expect that he’d be devastatingly attractive. Or that we’d have to go on the run from the evil Horde trying to destroy both our planets.
Now that we’re together, can I ever run away again?
And could he really hand me over to the Bride Games to be taken by another warrior?
Because I think I might be falling in love…
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My choice to run to Chicago had been impulsive and last-minute, so there shouldn’t be anything to lead them to me. Whoever they might be.
But as soon as I stepped off the bus, I knew exactly who they were.
They was an enormous, surprisingly gorgeous, hot-pink-skinned Khanavai male with dark hair and overly developed chest muscles—which I could tell because he was shirtless. Possibly because no one on Earth made shirts big enough to fit him.
Startled, I glanced down the rest of him. Apparently, we didn’t make pants big enough, either. He wore what we had all come to recognize as a traditional Khanavai warrior’s uniform. A kilt-like skirt with a belt and a cross strap made out of some kind of leather, decorated with various symbols of prowess in war.
That was another reason I hadn’t wanted to get involved with the Khanavai—they were too warlike. I had been to war zones when I traveled briefly with Doctors without Borders, and I’d seen what war did to people.
I was a healer, not a fighter. I did not want to be involved with anyone who wielded weapons. In fact, I wasn’t even willing to date police officers here on Earth.
No. If I were ever to get married—which I wouldn’t—I wanted someone gentle and kind.
I couldn’t have spent more than two seconds taking in his appearance. But I completely froze during those two seconds, and apparently, that was enough to catch his attention.
Even worse for me, it was enough to catch the attention of another set of multicolored aliens scattered around the station as if they were trying to blend in. Like that was possible, given their size and colorations.
All four of them began to converge on me, apparently tipped off by my reaction to them—which seemed odd, since I certainly wasn’t the only Greyhound passenger staring at the aliens in our midst.
For all I knew, the big pink guy—presumably their leader, given all of the pins and medals and other symbols he wore on his leather cross strap—gave them orders to capture me by any means necessary.
“Shit,” I muttered to myself, ducking into a women’s bathroom directly inside the entrance to the bus station building and hoping it would be enough to keep them from following me.
It wasn’t, of course.
Seconds later, I was surrounded by leering aliens in all the colors of the rainbow.