In 2015, something nasty found our world. They called themselves the Tai-Kok. I still remember my first psychic contact with them. Their hunger slapped me in the face. It was sharp, visceral, and constant. The Tai-Kok are malevolent, depraved ghouls who literally live to eat. Their image is forever burned into my mind. The skeletal freaks are tall, hairless, and have mouths full of sharp metal teeth. To complete this total gross-out, three bloodred eyes glare out of skin so transparent you can see their bones and innards.
No one knows how they found our world or why they consider us good eating. It’s my job to stop them. My name is Kaylee Jones. I’m a cop and a Siren. I’m part of the psychic early-warning system that keeps Earth from becoming an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The bad thing is, I’m also what you’d call a trouble magnet. Just ask my brothers or my mate, Talree. Chaos and disaster dog me wherever I go. Sometimes it sucks being me. My psychic abilities are the only reason I’m still breathing.
How did I meet my Coletti Warlord? Part of my job description as a Siren was mentally scanning our solar system for any signs of the Tai-Kok or the ratlike Rodan. The monsters had joined forces and turned Earth into their version of a fast-food joint.
I was searching the asteroid belt for their ships when I sensed an alien presence. It was male and definitely not human. His utter aloneness, his grief for those taken from him, and his burning need for vengeance resonated so deeply within me that I instinctively reached out.
Big mistake. He latched on and dug in tighter than a tick on a hunting dog. No matter how hard I tried to dislodge the little shit from my mind, he wouldn’t leave. Just my luck, his hold on me kept getting stronger.
For a while, my uninvited guest seemed to be content to quietly observe. Until I went on a date. Not only did my brothers show up at the bar to interrogate Joe, but my alien visitor went into attack mode, growling like a rabid pit bull. A second later, my date leaped to his feet, screaming hysterically about monsters, and ran from the bar. My wonderful brothers thought it was the funniest thing they had seen all year.
The pit bull finally decided to talk to me. He said his name was Talree and proudly announced he was Coletti. Like I was supposed to be impressed? Then he delivered his little bombshell. He needed me. He said I kept the beast at bay. Beast? Like Jekyll and Hyde? Oh God, no.
But I had nothing to worry about. Talree was trapped on a Rodan battle cruiser. What was the worst he could do? Growl? Hoo-boy, did I underestimate the Warlord’s determination. Using his psychic powers, Talree tricked the Rodan into capturing me and tossing my reluctant ass in his cell. It seemed he had left out one tiny fact. He needed my blood to survive. Fuck. I had attracted an alien vampire. What were the odds?
That was when he informed me I was his mate. Big honor, he said. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t willing and this mate thing meant he owned me mind, body, and soul.
Ever tried telling a Coletti Warlord no? Doesn’t go over very well. Unless you’re armed to the teeth, and even then, it’s pretty iffy. They’re damned good at mind control. Add in their ability to teleport, and you’re toast.
Okay, I’ll admit that the sex is hot. Melt-your-panties hot. The first time I saw his man parts, I was a teensy bit freaked out. Tentacles? C’mon, pretty damn weird, right? But I’ve got to say they get the job done. If you’re into the multiple orgasm thing.
The bossy jerk did agree to stop the Tai-Kok and Rodan from raiding our world. But the bad news was, Warlords aren’t benevolent do-gooder types, and there was a price for them helping us. Our women.
What the hell had happened to all of their women? Big shocker, the Colettis’ tendency to take things that didn’t belong to them had consequences.
Six hundred years ago, the Coletti race had almost been wiped out in the Great Galactic War. Unfortunately for the females of the universe, chemicals used in the war created a genetic anomaly, and only one female baby was born for every one thousand males. The Coletti women were going the way of the dodo.
Facing extinction, the Coletti Warlords started raiding other planets and species for their prized psychic women. Once Zarek, the Overlord of the Coletti clans, discovered the Jones family’s unique psychic powers and our blood’s ability to heal cellular damage, he promptly seized control of Earth. Any woman who displayed psychic capability was immediately taken to the Colettis’ home world to be converted.
There is an upside to being converted. I will live a very long time, heal quickly, and can do neat stuff like teleporting and mind control. The downside is I grew a pair of fangs.
Don’t get me started on my father-in-law, Zarek. He’s one scary dude who makes Darth Vader look like Little Orphan Annie. Did I ever mention that I’ve got a big mouth and don’t take orders well? Yeah, that kind of attitude is suicidal when dealing with Warlords. The mate bond with Talree and my abilities as a Siren were the only things keeping Zarek from mind-wiping me.
Flash forward a year. I was nine months pregnant, insanely hormonal, and cranky as hell. If the pregnancy weren’t enough to drive me crazy, Talree’s enemies were tap dancing on my last nerve. The Shani Queen Mother, a psycho alien with a bone to grind against Talree, decided she wanted the planet Tartum. This barren piece of shit is loaded with Ditrum crystals and is part of the Coletti Empire. The Queen Mother’s master plan? Kidnap me and hold me for ransom. If the Overlord refused to give her Tartum, the Queen Mother would feed me and my son to the Tai-Kok.
She thought I would beg for mercy. Boy, was the alien bitch in for a surprise. She's about to meet a woman suffering from hormone overload and a serious lack of chocolate. The only one begging for mercy will be her.
* * * *
So help me, God, the next person who rubbed my stomach was going to get my boot up their ass. I also didn’t appreciate all the warriors ogling my boobs. Sure, they were bigger. Everything on me had grown, except my bladder. Which was now the size of a pea. The seams on my black dress tunic were stretched to the limit, and I waddled like a duck. A fucking duck.
Detja’s cool mental voice broke into my rant. “The room is properly prepared?”
“I’m checking on it now.”
“Do not disappoint the Overlord,”
my mother-in-law warned.
“Wouldn’t dream of it, ma’am.”
Detja vanished from my mind.
Sucking in a deep breath, I carefully surveyed the large candlelit room. If everything wasn’t perfect for Bree’s bonding ceremony, there would be hell to pay. No one in their right mind pissed off the Overlord. I tapped the display on my communications bracelet and studied the screen. The low tables were properly decorated with bloodred Tar
flowers. The symbol of unity.
There were gold-tasseled pillows scattered about for the Askole guests. They were too big to sit at the tables, and when drunk they had a tendency to let their Medusa-like tentacles grope the nearest female. Detja wanted the pillows far enough away to keep the bloodshed to a minimum.
I turned and winced at the god-awful tapestries hanging on the walls. The Warlords considered them romantic. To me, the bloody battle scenes and the graphic pictures of women being fucked by warriors belonged in a brothel.
Zarek, the Overlord of the Coletti clans and my wonderful father-in-law, thought the graphic sex scenes would show the nervous “brides” what masterful lovers the Coletti Warlords were. Yeah, right. The captured alien women usually took one look at the tentacles on the Warlords’ enormous dicks and started screaming.
Earth girls, not so much. After the hell the Tai-Kok had put us through, we’d be doing our best to cut off the Warlords’ squiggly bits. Unfortunately, the Colettis liked feisty women.
The doors swished opened, and a horde of big, golden tarantulas swarmed across the ceiling. My very own SWAT team of Tabors. Their web balls and venom were equally deadly. My eight-legged warriors had taken a Tai-Kok battle cruiser in less than five minutes. Not an easy feat. The Tabors were also experts at handling drunken Askole warriors.
Tears welled in my eyes. I missed Tae, my Tabor BFF, so much. We had gotten pregnant about the same time, and we were going to have our babies together. Until Datlow, her jerk of a mate, put his foot down. She wasn’t allowed to travel until she delivered. The bastard.
Two little feet kicked the crap out of my kidneys. I gasped and grabbed my enormous belly. “Jeezus, Thor, I know you want out, but, honey, that hurts.”
My little Warlord settled on my bladder, and a small hand patted my innards. “Haki?”
Pride filled me. Thor could communicate psychically already. How cool was that?
Haki was a two-year-old baby Tabor. I had woken up from a nap two weeks ago and found him sitting on my stomach. Somehow he and my son had become fast friends. “He’s with his daddy.”
I felt his disappointment. “Find?”
“Not now. Bree’s bonding ceremony is about to start.”
Talree, the love of my life, slid into my mind and stated firmly, “No, and you will not kick your mother again.”
“If you behave,”
I added, rubbing my aching back.
He moved off my bladder.
I let out a sigh of relief.
Talree teleported into the room. He took my arm, escorted me over to the tables, and eased me down on a low chair. “You are not to move from here. My mother and Zoey are quite capable of handling the ceremony.”
“They are, but—”
“Kaylee, in this, I will be obeyed.”
“As you command, my lord,” I snapped. My temper had been a bit iffy lately, and even seasoned warriors ran when they saw me coming. It wasn’t like I had killed anyone. Okay, it had been close a couple of times. I didn’t have red hair for nothing.
A piece of chocolate appeared like magic.
“Eat,” Talree ordered.
“I love you.” I stuffed the candy in my mouth and groaned as the chocolaty goodness hit my taste buds. My mate was a very smart man and one of the fiercest warriors in the galaxy. He had never been defeated in battle. A trait he shared with his father. He was also a stud muffin. His massive frame was loaded with luscious muscles and one tight ass.
My Warlord raised an amused brow. “Stud muffin?”
I patted Talree’s butt. “Yep, and all mine.”
He placed a possessive hand on my stomach. “As you are mine.”
Zarek popped in on the raised platform at the front of the room. He wore an etched gold headband that denoted his rank of Overlord. Golden strands were woven into his gray warrior’s braids. His black dress tunic displayed the bulging muscles of a much younger man. His gaze scanned the room before settling on me. “Your time grows near.”
“Can’t be soon enough.”
“Me want out,”
Thor said. A tiny fist distended my belly.
Talree’s mental voice was a low rumble of warning.
My son’s fist quickly disappeared.
Hank Benson, Bree’s stepfather, escorted Detja into the room. Hank was a big, good-looking man who bore a startling resemblance to the actor Kevin Costner.
I did a double take. Rami, the Shani that Bree had adopted, was draped around Detja’s neck like a rather expensive necklace. I was kind of surprised the Overlord would allow it. The Shani Queen Mother was a sworn enemy of the Colettis. I’d be a bit leery of having those sharp crocodile teeth anywhere near my neck.
My mother-in-law didn’t seem to be worried as she took the chair at the head of the table. In fact, everything about her was perfect. She had skin to die for and long, beautiful silver hair that emphasized her high, exotic cheekbones. The silky green material of her tunic accented her great figure. I’ll bet she didn’t even have any stretch marks either.
Trailing obediently behind Detja was another new addition to the Overlord’s collection. A Pantos. Tiko was the spitting image of a saber-toothed tiger from Earth’s distant past. With two big differences. She was extremely intelligent and psychic to boot. She sat by Detja, proudly showing off her glittering collar.
Hank took the seat next to me. He inclined his head at Talree. “I will guard your mate with my life.”
“Hey, I can take care of myself,” I protested.
Hank patted my hand. “I have no doubt of that.”
Was he patronizing me? “And who would be stupid enough to attack this ship?”
“The Colettis have many enemies,” Hank answered calmly and handed me a piece of chocolate.
“Peace offering,” Hank countered.
Unwrapping the candy, I took a bite. Yum. “I think I like you.”
“Good. I need to retrieve my battle-ax,” Talree said. He planted a hot one on my mouth and vanished.
Talree already wore enough weapons to start a war, but custom dictated he carry the stupid ax. I looked around. Where the heck were Bree and Jaylan? I turned my attention to Hank. “Your daughter is late.”
Hank shrugged. “Any chance they get, they go at it like rabbits.”
“Detja will put the kibosh on that. Nobody messes with her schedule.”
Hank laughed. “Not unless you have a death wish.” His gaze settled on my right hand. A black snake stretched from below my fingers to the top of my forearm. An intricate green design curled up its tail. “The artwork on your tattoo is quite unique.”
I stroked the cobra-like head. “It’s one of a kind.” Something fell on my head, and furry legs scurried down the side of my face. “Hey!”
Scooping the baby Tabor up, I placed him on my stomach. “You know you’re not supposed to be here.”
His emerald eyes blinked innocently. “Me have permission.”
Hank ran a gentle finger over Haki. “Who is this little fella?”
“This is Haki. My son’s special friend.”
The baby Tabor stared up at him. “You belong to Bree?”
Sariel, the Askole High Commander, strode into the room with his bodyguards hot on his heels. He gave me a regal bow. “Little mother, Tihar sends his regrets.”
Tihar, the commander’s son and the one who had given me my swell tattoo, was busy blowing the hell out of a rebel base. “We are honored by your presence. The war goes well?”
He settled his massive form on one of the pillows.
I let out a sigh of relief when Jaylan and Bree finally made their appearance. Another five minutes and Zarek would have been on the warpath.
“Zarek sure has a lot of muscles for an old guy,”
Bree mused nervously.
Oh my God, did Bree realize she was broadcasting her thoughts?
The Overlord’s amused voice repeated, “Old guy?”
“No insult intended, sir.”
Bree added hurriedly, “I’m sure you can still kick butt with the best of them.”
Jaylan extolled, “The Overlord has never been defeated in battle.”
“Oh, how proud you must be,”
Bree responded politely.
Talree reappeared with a bloody battle-ax clasped in his left hand. He bared his fangs at Bree.
With a yelp of alarm, Bree glued herself to Jaylan’s side.
Talree did have menacing down to an art form.
Immense power rippled around the room. The next instant, Voss teleported in. The Battle Commander gave Zarek a run for his money in the scary department. He handed Bree a piece of chocolate. “Eat it, before I have to lop off your head.”
Bree took one look at his huge, bloodstained battle-ax and quickly popped the candy in her mouth.
Jaylan urged her toward the platform.
“Wait! Something’s wrong!” Bree cried.
The sensation of sudden overwhelming danger screamed through me like an electric shock. I jumped to my feet. “We’re under attack.”
The ship shuddered violently, knocking me against the table.
A mechanical voice declared, “Warning! Hull breach in cargo bay two.”
“Guard our females,” Zarek commanded Talree. And then poof. He was gone.
Her eyes hot with rage, Detja dropped Rami on the table and popped out.
Tiko yowled, bounding out the door to find her son.
A scant second later, a ghostly curtain of roiling yellow energy erupted around my table.
Haki cried and buried himself in my hair.
I studied the energy field in horror. I had never seen anything like it. It almost felt alive.
Bellowing in fury, Talree teleported. Crack!
He instantly reappeared encased in a ball of pulsating energy. Zap!
It flung him across the room.
Sariel grabbed Talree before he could slam into the wall.
Voss hurled his battle-ax at the energy barrier. It bounced off harmlessly.
Shit! We were trapped. A boiling gray vortex suddenly engulfed me. What in the hell?
“It’s the Queen Mother,”
“Daddy help us,”
Thor called urgently.
“That evil bitch is not getting you or the kid.” Hank wrapped his arms around my chest and tried valiantly to pull me free of the churning funnel of energy. With a thunderous cracking boom
, the room disappeared.