Alliances: Book One
Spunky commander Berit Turner is known for two things: his huge libido and his lack of a filter—he says what he thinks. Berit sets his mind on being part of a mission to Ligador to make sure the planet is habitable for humans. He’s ecstatic when his team is assigned to the task force. A delegation of Nadisc, a humanoid alien race, accompanies them, and passion ignites between Berit and their commanding officer, Tom. But Berit is determined that Tom is just another notch on his bedpost, as he doesn’t do relationships.
The excursion to Ligador goes wrong from the beginning, when they discover Ligador has been established as a breeding station by their worst enemy: the Tash’Ba. Dinosaur-like creatures become the team’s worst nightmare, and staying alive is going to take everything they’ve got… and then some.
THE MEETING went on forever, and I mean literally forever. Baker, the admiral, droned on about Ligador, the planet we were soon supposed to make first contact with. From orbit, it looked like the greenest planet I’d ever seen, and that meant something because I’d been one of the first men to be involved in the initial physical contact with planets during the last ten years or so. I’d never stayed for the exploration phase, just made sure the planets were habitable.
Someone nudged me in the ribs. I answered with a scowl to my right and received an answering glare from one of the other team leaders. “Turner, pay attention.”
“I am paying attention,” I hissed back.
“No, you’re not. Your eyes are glazing over. I’d rather not have to save your ass just because you couldn’t be bothered to listen.”
I refrained from rolling my eyes, but only because I didn’t give a fuck about the guy. I gave him a shrug, which he could interpret any way he wanted, and smiled. It took him one blink to smile back and pat my arm. Sucker.
Not that I was complaining. Looking cute instead of tough had saved me more times than I dared to admit, and I played it to the fullest. One had to work with what nature provided.
Baker closed the inner shutters, concealing the darkness surrounding us. He was a handsome man with silver hair that looked striking in combination with his silver uniform. Too bad he’d never shown any interest in me.
Or maybe not. From what I’d heard through the grapevine, he was pretty tough with his lovers, not something I was particularly fond of. Not to mention he was friends with my grandparents, and I’d known him since… since I could remember anything.
“The probes found no evidence of the Tash’Ba on Ligador,” Baker said as a holographic image of the planet appeared in the middle of the room.
It was not only one of the greenest planets I’d ever laid eyes on, but the hologram also showed that Ligador was covered with two ice caps at opposite poles. Large expanses of oceans divided the green parts from each other. It looked a lot like Earth, minus any signs of advanced civilization. No cities, no technology. At least nothing I could see right away. It seemed like a paradise, if you’re fond of nature and nature and… even more nature. I didn’t mind being outdoors, far from it, but a bit of civilization went a long way to feel content. Especially other people who might fill some of my needs.
A collective sigh of relief rumbled through the conference room. No one liked the Tash’Ba, an alien species that was something between reptilian and insect, though they were considered highly intelligent. Too bad they didn’t get the meaning of “no.” Since their first contact with Earth in 2098, about 149 years ago, Earth kept a wary eye out for them. The Tash’Ba had tried to trade some of their technology in exchange for huge parts of the planet. It was no surprise the Alliance refused to take them up on their offer. In the wake of Earth’s refusal, there had been fights throughout the galaxy, and millions of people had lost their lives.
A few decades ago, the Tash’Ba had pulled away, leaving Earth free of their never-ending demands to share our planet or else. Most people—and I certainly belonged to that group—believed they were just biding their time and plotting a war against us.
I turned my attention back to Baker, not really interested in thinking of those aliens.
“Several probes came back with conflicting readings, and some didn’t return at all. All probes brought the information back that the planet’s habitable for humans. Atmospheric composition is similar to Earth’s; same goes for pressure and gravity. Temperature is higher than on Earth, about 5 to 10 degrees on the location you’re set to land, which means it’s about 86 to 95 Fahrenheit. You won’t need additional breathing units or insulated suits.”
“That’s something, at least,” I muttered. The conflicting readings didn’t bother me much. No matter how advanced our technology was nowadays, sending probes into an unknown territory usually caused readings we didn’t understand. Lost probes were a given—about 25 percent of the probes never transmitted. So much for our technology.
“We’ll send out freighters with fifteen crew members in each, accompanied by two fighters. The fighters will fly back to base once you’re on the planet, as the vegetation’s too thick for them to be of any help to you. You’ve got the coordinates on your instruction pad. Take the requested samples, explore the assigned areas, and make sure it’s safe to settle a new colony.” Baker surveyed us, then nodded and added, “We’re fortunate to have a Nadisc delegation joining us.”
A round of whispers echoed through the room while everyone craned their heads to watch out for said delegation. A jolt of excitement ran through me. Nadisc men trumped any human in regard to sex. I’d just have to pick my partner carefully, because some became a tad too forceful and interested in… things I didn’t want to grant them. In the past, I’d had to stun some of them to save my hide.
Still, I’d get it on with one. I always did, thanks to my looks. Nadisc dug blonds with light eyes. Because they were all black-haired and dark-eyed, they considered blonds like me something exotic and desirable. I smirked to myself. Anyone I wanted, I’d get.
Carson, one of my team and my best friend, bent forward to whisper into my ear, “Attaboy. You’re looking a tad too eager.”
I flashed him a grin before I gazed back to Baker and the small delegation of Nadisc that had entered the room. Like so many species humans had encountered off world, the Nadisc were humanoid as well. They stood on two sturdy legs, and all of them, even the women, stood at least a head taller than even the largest human men. All Nadisc had their naked tails draped over their right shoulders and wore their long black hair tied in the back. Dreadlocks, really, but with a much softer feeling to them. My hands itched at the memory of clasping those locks.
Carson next to me chuckled. “Whoa, Berit, easy there. Are you in heat or something?”
“We haven’t worked with any Nadisc for the last two months,” I replied.
He raised an eyebrow at me. “What would you call Neric?”
I wrinkled my nose. Neric and I… that hadn’t gone over well. I shrugged and averted my eyes. “Let me ogle them in peace.”
My heart fluttered in my chest as I surveyed the lot of them. They weren’t only tall but heavily muscled, and their eyes showed alertness but no fear. They wore their usual black leather pants, vests, heavy boots, and weapons. Never forget the weapons.
Carson clapped my shoulder none too gently and urged me to stand. Bewildered, I cast him a glance, and he mouthed, “Go on.”
Go on? When I lifted my gaze from his face, everyone stared at me. Some with amusement, some with annoyance. Good thing I didn’t blush easily anymore. Bad enough everyone assumed my mind had been in the gutter, but they didn’t need to know their knowledge would embarrass me. That would ruin my reputation.
I caught sight of Solomon and Beldron standing next to Baker. Oh. So some of the squadron leaders were called and supposed to walk over to him. I weaved my way through the others and stepped onto the platform where Baker, Solomon, Beldron, and the Nadisc waited.
“Commander, how awfully nice of you to grace us with your presence,” Baker drawled. “Did you have a nice daydream?”
“An excellent one, sir,” I murmured.
I smiled at him, glad as always he didn’t put me in my place in front of other people. He might lay into me later, but he was probably the most indulgent commanding officer I’d ever had. At least I didn’t flush anymore when he directed his scrutinizing glare at me. It had been a nasty habit in my younger years, and with my fair skin, every blush became horribly obvious.
“I’ll accompany Commander Turner,” one of the Nadisc said.
He clicked his fingers at two other Nadisc, one male and one female. They stepped forward at once and advanced on me. For a moment, my breath stuttered in my chest. Having three Nadisc approach could put the fear in anyone, but I stood my ground. Well, mostly I remained frozen to the spot, but that’s just semantics.
“Commander?” Baker addressed me with a small smirk on his face. “Are you okay?”
I nodded. Fucking bastard. I didn’t have to say what I thought of him in that moment; he knew me well enough. He jerked his head to the side and I marched toward him, scowling.
When I reached him, he whispered, “Don’t cause havoc.”
“Me?” I batted my eyelashes.
“Berit.” He said my name in a tone full of exasperation, though it also held a certain fondness. Before Baker called up three more squadron leaders, he growled at me, “Keep your dick in your pants while you’re on the mission.”
I wasn’t about to point out to him I could get fucked without pulling my dick out of my pants. Instead, I glanced sideways, observing the three Nadisc that had lined up next to me.
While the rest of the Nadisc decided on a commander, the crew scattered to ready the freighters and fighters. The Nadisc next to me extended his hand. I took it and bit down hard on my inner cheek when my hand vanished in his. One of the really big ones, the ones I liked so much. A tremor surged through me, and I had no time to squash it.
The Nadisc’s eyes lit up and his tail twitched. I withdrew my hand in a hurry, nodded toward the other two, and stepped off the pedestal, expecting them to follow me.
Their boots clanked heavily on the floor as I guided them down to the ship’s freighter section. There we met up with my team, and I briskly introduced them to our new members.
After the introductions, everyone stood and waited. Nadisc never told their names except when they wanted to, and asking them usually got you growled at—or worse, slapped around—so no one dared to open their mouths. Similar silences surrounded the other teams, interrupted only by the occasional hiss of machinery.
After a five-minute standoff with our Nadiscs, I rolled my eyes and squared off in front of them. “Look, I know you have a rule about not giving your name out to anyone, so why don’t we cut it short. You”—I pointed at the woman—“will be R1.”
She narrowed her eyes at me, which I ignored, even though my hands began to perspire. I pointed at the man standing on her left and said, “That’ll make you R2.” I leveled my finger at the remaining one and added, “So you’ll be R3. We should all be able to remember R1, and if we get it wrong when there’s an emergency, we’ll only have to shout for R2 and R3 together and one of you will help us out.”
R2’s eyebrows knitted together very closely, and in the background feet shuffled. Someone cleared his throat. R3 came forward, one step at a time. I could’ve sworn the floor vibrated with every move. All my instincts screamed at me to leg it, but if I’d learned one lesson well, it was not to show fear. Not too much, anyway.
R3’s arm shot out before I had a chance to see it coming. His large hand clasped around my neck and all my hairs stood on end. I kept completely still, waiting for the blow to come.
He gazed at me from dark brown eyes, then lifted his other hand. The atmosphere around us thickened, and my poor confused cock perked up with interest. The Nadisc laid a hand against my cheek, left it there for a while, before he eventually pulled it away.
He pointed at his comrades. “Niyara.”
The Nadisc woman inclined her head.
“This is Xevon. And to make it easier for you and your people, you may call me Tom.”
“Tom?” I blurted. “Don’t you have a fancy name like the others?” The grasp around my neck tightened, and I hastened to add, “Short is cool, though. Really cool.”
Tom released my neck, but didn’t step away. Slightly wary, I glanced up at him. He grinned at me, showing a full line of well-tended white humanoid teeth, then beckoned to Niyara and Xevon. They bridged the distances in two long strides and formed a circle around me.
“Um, guys, what’s going on?” I asked, mulling whether I could slip past them or not.
They intertwined their hands and closed the circle around me. Someone—I think it was Carson—muttered something fierce, and a moment later three large bodies crowded me. I opened my mouth to tell them off, or maybe to ask them very politely to back off a little—same difference, really—when an eerie shout resounded through the hangar.
My eyes had to be circular by the time they finished. You could’ve heard a pin drop, it was that silent around us.
Niyara, Xevon, and Tom took one step backward, and I breathed more freely. Niyara smashed her fist against her chest, declaring, “We accept you as our leader on this mission.”
I gaped at her. The Nadisc helped and supported humans, but accepting leadership from a human? They very rarely did. Niyara smiled at me, a genuine smile that showed a prettiness I hadn’t seen before, and then she engulfed me in a rib-creaking embrace. I was stumbling to find my footing once she’d set me down when Xevon lifted me off my feet and hugged me too.
He and Niyara turned around and advanced on my crew members, eliciting a few terrified squeaks. I peered at Tom, who showed no inclination of moving.
“What? No hug from you?” I asked.
He held out his broad muscled arms for me, grinning. My mouth went dry and my damn cock pressed heavily against the fabric of my pants. It had to be visible to everyone. For the first time in many years, heat rose into my cheeks. Tom’s grin expanded before he laughed. I stepped into his arms, bracing myself for another painful embrace. Instead, I found myself leaning against a hard chest with equally hard arms around me, fencing me in but without hurting me.
I mumbled into his leather vest, “Do you by chance happen to like blond humans?”
I would’ve screamed hallelujah if Baker’s voice over the loudspeaker hadn’t demanded we get going.
Commander Berit Turner is a free-spirited kind of guy who makes no bones about enjoying sex, moving from partner to partner at will, never settling down with any one man. He’s also known for speaking his mind, mostly because he lacks any sort of filter between his brain and his mouth. Sometimes that gets him into trouble.
He and his best friend Carson are being sent on a mission to the planet of Ligador, to see how suitable the planet is for colonization. The concern is the possible presence of the Tash’Ba, a vicious alien species who don’t know how to play nice. Along with Carson and the other members of his crew, Berrit is to be assigned three aliens called Nadisc. Berit knows just how much fun the Nadisc men are sexually, so this idea is to his liking. Although he is surprised when one Nadisc male in particular, Tom, takes a liking to him, and asserts that he and his group will go with Berrit’s team, rather than waiting to be assigned. Tom has this mistaken notion that Berit is his mate. Silly Nadisc. And another Nadisc named Niyara seems to have set her sights on Carson.
When the Nadisc are introduced to Berit’s crew, they accept Berit as their leader, an unexpected event, and hugs are exchanged, except for Berit and Tom.
Things don’t go well on Ligador, and a simple mission of exploration goes horribly wrong. The Tash’Ba have turned the planet into one of their breeding stations, playing genetic roulette with some vicious creatures, a blend between Tash’Ba war beasts and dinosaurs. Now survival is the name of the game, and making it out alive is seriously in question.
This is one fascinating sci fi book. It’s very creative, and well-told, and I enjoyed getting to know Berit and Tom, watching their courtship as it unfolded. I like that Berit isn’t perfect, and he doesn’t pretend to be. He can act silly, and sometimes he makes some bone-headed moves. But the heat between him and Tom is palpable, and the sex scenes are great.
I also enjoy the relationship between Berit and Carson. They’re as close as two men can be without being lovers, and they make no apologies for that, and expect their mates to live with it. The Tash’Ba war beasts are indeed terrifying, and certainly nothing I’d care to go up against.
Ms. Kat did a great job of world-building, and making her aliens believable, and not cartoonish in any way. As an added bonus, Tom has a tail. ‘Nuff said lol
The action is fast-paced and intense, the sex is hot. This is a book you won’t want to put down until you reach the end. Luckily, there is a second book in this series, continuing the story of Berit and Tom. I can’t wait for it to come out!
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