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Protector:A Scifi Alien Romance

By:Anna Hackett

her woman of Earth, Harper. Her friend Rory was beside her, laughing, her unique, flame-colored hair a riot around her face. Behind Rory, her lover Kace stood tall and alert.

When the women spotted Lore and Madeline, they waved madly, gesturing for them to come inside.

“Your friends are calling you,” he said.

Indecision flitted over Madeline’s face. “They’re not my friends. They weren’t before.”

Lore smiled and offered her his arm. “I think they are now, whether you like it or not.”

She reluctantly put her arm in his and he led her toward the door. Their bodies brushed together and he felt a lick of heat. He wondered why she appealed to him so much, but he decided to just enjoy it. Feeling mischievous, he purposely brushed against her again, slipping the bloom he’d gotten for her into tiny rope belted around her waist.

She instantly put some space between them. “Back off.”

“I seem to have trouble doing that. A minute with you is far more interesting than an hour in that party, especially when I seem to irritate you so easily.”

She scowled. “I don’t like you.”

“Fair enough, but you don’t really know me. And I’m not entirely sure I like you, either.”

“Are you always this reasonable?” she muttered.

“Mostly.”

They took another step and as Lore reached for the door, she hissed and stumbled. She pressed a hand to her stomach.

He frowned. “What is it?”

She straightened. “Nothing. Just something I ate.” She pushed past him to head inside.

She’d barely eaten anything. Lore followed more slowly. He loved women, and more than anything, he was a sucker for a damsel in distress.

He watched the sway of Madeline’s hips under her white dress as she walked away. Yes, a complete pushover for a sexy, beautiful damsel. Not that Madeline would appreciate the title.

Chapter Two

Madeline slipped the books back onto the shelf in a neat order. Most of them had been left in haphazard piles on the nearby desk. All the books were in different alien languages that she couldn’t read. The implant she’d been given by the Thraxians meant she could speak and understand various alien languages, but she couldn’t read them.

She turned, studying the chest of drawers in the corner that was overflowing, and clearly lacking any sort of organization. She grabbed the notepad she’d had Rory find for her, and started scrawling some notes. She had several ideas for a better filing system, and, after that, she was going to start work on improving inventory for the kitchen and cleaning staff. Over the last few weeks, she’d studied everything the workers at the House of Galen did. The imperator ensured things ran smoothly in his house, but she knew they were overstocked in some things, and understocked in others. She could certainly make it more efficient.

Madeline paused for a second, looking around the spacious office, gaze skating over the now-organized bookshelves. She liked making things fit, making things flow more efficiently. It made her feel productive, like she’d accomplished something.

She’d grown up in a rat-infested apartment in the outer suburbs of Los Angeles, always being slapped down and told she’d never amount to anything. Never be smart enough, good enough, or clever enough. Her mother had been a hard, bitter woman who’d loved the bottle more than her daughter. For a very long time, Madeline had believed her.

But when life had forced Madeline to grow up, she’d realized that her life was in her hands. It was the actions she took that made a difference.

She finished making notes, and picked up some papers for filing. She knew they had an electronic system as well, and made a mental note to get access and take a look at it. As she slid the papers into the file drawers, she heard male voices outside the office. She straightened and turned.

The Imperator of the House of Galen stepped inside. Galen was an intimidating man with a big, muscled form and an air of authority. That he was a few years older than his gladiators didn’t diminish his power at all, only enhanced it. His tough face was scarred, and one eye was covered by a black eye-patch. The other eye was a glittering ice-blue.

Right behind him were Raiden and Lore. Lore’s silver-gray eyes came straight to her, and locked there.

“What are you doing in my office?” Galen demanded.

“The door was open. I’m just tidying up and improving some of your…organization.” Or lack of it. She waved at the shelves, then gestured to her notepad. “I also have some ideas for improving the house’s inventory of goods for the kitchens, cleaning, and Medical.”

As Galen kept staring at her, she felt a trickle of unease, and stiffened her spine.

Lore sauntered forward, and for a second she was caught by the liquid way he moved. Powerful and limber, like he knew exactly how to use his body—to fight, to escape, to pleasure a woman. Madeline choked that thought off.

He perched on the corner of Galen’s glossy desk. “It’s not your real reason for being here, though, is it?”

She scowled. Why did this man always make her feel like she was wearing a neon sign on her head broadcasting everything she was thinking? “No.” She moved her gaze to meet Galen’s. “I want to know what’s being done to find Blaine.”

“I told you that the underground fight rings have gone deeper,” Lore said.

“But we all know they’re still operational. They’re still making him fight.” Madeline’s voice hitched, and she felt a flutter of panic. She hated losing control.

Galen circled his desk, lowering his powerful body into his chair. His face was its usual impassive mask. For a second, Madeline wondered what the man really felt beneath the controlled front.

“I’m waiting to hear from my contacts,” Galen said. “I also have meetings planned with the other gladiator houses that are allied with the House of Galen.”

“Meetings?” She frowned. “Why?”

Galen eyed her. “It’s in our interests to shut down the fight rings.

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