Abducting Abby - S.E. Smith - darmowy ebook

The beginning of an epic saga! Discover new worlds, clashes of cultures, schemes of power, revenge, rescues, and above all, hope…. Abby Tanner was content to live on her mountain creating works of art and enjoying the peace and quiet until a golden space ship crash lands with the King of the Valdier inside, desperately hurt. Zoran Reykill knew he had to find a safe place to heal after he escapes from a Curizan military post. When his symbiosis Mothership takes him to an unknown planet, he finds more than he expects – he finds his true mate. The only problems are Abby doesn’t understand a thing he says and the local sheriff wants her, too…. Internationally acclaimed S.E. Smith presents a new action-packed story full of adventure and romance. Brimming with her signature humor, vivid landscapes, and beloved characters, this book is sure to be another fan favorite! Main Content: 175 (6x9) pages, 60,919 words

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Abducting Abby

Dragon Lords of Valdier Book 1

S.E. Smith





Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Sample of Command Decision

Sample of Hunter’s Claim

Sample of Dust: Before and After

Sample of River’s Run

Additional Books and Information

About the Author


I would like to thank my husband Steve for believing in me and being proud enough of me to give me the courage to follow my dream. I would also like to give a special thank you to my sister and best friend Linda, who not only encouraged me to write but who also read the manuscript. Also to my other friends who believe in me: Julie, Jackie, Lisa, Sally, Elizabeth (Beth), Laurelle, and Narelle. The girls that keep me going!

And a special thanks to Paul Heitsch, David Brenin, Samantha Cook, Suzanne Elise Freeman, and PJ Ochlan—the awesome voices behind my audiobooks!

—S.E. Smith

Montana Publishing

Science Fiction Romance


Copyright © 2011 by Susan E. Smith

First E-Book Publication September 2011

Cover Design by: Createspace

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission from the author.

All characters and events in this book are fictitious or have been used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events, or organizations are strictly coincidental and not intended by the author.

Summary: Abby discovers an alien spacecraft has crashed on her mountain and soon finds herself on an adventure to another world with a dragon-shifting alien.

ISBN: 978-1-942562-36-8 (paperback)

ISBN: 978-1-942562-00-9 (eBook)

Published in the United States by Montana Publishing.

{1. Science Fiction Romance. – Fiction. 2. Science Fiction – Fiction. 3. Paranormal – Fiction. 4. Romance – Fiction.}



The beginning of an epic saga! Discover new worlds, clashes of cultures, schemes of power, revenge, rescues, and above all, hope….

Abby Tanner was content to live on her mountain creating works of art and enjoying the peace and quiet until a golden space ship crash lands with the King of the Valdier inside, desperately hurt.

Zoran Reykill knew he had to find a safe place to heal after he escapes from a Curizan military post. When his symbiosis Mothership takes him to an unknown planet he finds more than he expects – he finds his true mate. The only problems are Abby doesn’t understand a thing he says and the local sheriff wants her, too.

Main Content: 175 (6x9) pages, 60,919 words

Internationally acclaimed S.E. Smith presents a new action-packed story full of adventure and romance. Brimming with her signature humor, vivid landscapes, and beloved characters, this book is sure to be another fan favorite!

Chapter One

Zoran Reykill pushed the body of the dead guard off him. He paused to draw in a sharp breath as pain sliced through his battered body. He had been in captivity for the past month, and there wasn’t a place on his body that didn’t hurt from the numerous cuts and bruises from the beatings and torture he had lived through.

He forced himself to roll the guard over and pulled the guard’s clothes off his body. His own clothes had been taken not long after he was brought down to the hell they called a cell. This was the first opportunity he had to escape. He had been watching and waiting for his captors to make a mistake, and they finally had, thinking he was too beaten down to fight.

The guard Zoran had killed had come in to play, thinking he would relieve the boredom of standing guard over a chained prisoner by beating him some more. Instead, the guard found him hanging lifeless from the wall by his wrists and ankles.

When the guard unlocked his wrists, Zoran had grabbed him, breaking his neck immediately, so he couldn’t fight or call out. Zoran knew he would not have survived long in a fight. He was too weak. It took everything in him to push the guard off and find the release on the locking mechanism to release his ankles.

Struggling into the guard’s clothes, he pulled the laser pistol and blade from the guard, checking to make sure both were fully charged. He reached down and yanked the security badge from the guard’s neck. He knew it was late, and there wouldn’t be many guards about at this time of the night. Closing the solid door behind him, he moved down the darkened corridor. The dark did not bother him as he shifted to allow his night vision to take over.

His people were renowned for their ability to adapt to the dark. As a dragon shifter, he felt the beast inside him straining to get out. He hadn’t dared shift while in captivity. Without his symbiot to help shield him, he would have been too vulnerable.

He fought to control his inner self as he moved through the prison maze. Even though he had only been half conscious when he was brought to the prison, he knew the way out, having played it over and over in his mind during the last month. Even if he hadn’t been conscious, he would have smelled the night air as it called to him.

He was Zoran Reykill, leader of the Valdier. He was the most powerful of his kind, matched only by his brothers.

He had been enjoying time on a remote planet on the outer rim of his own solar system, hunting and enjoying the favors of some of the women brought there for such things. Ordinarily, he would have bypassed pleasure, but he had been gone from his own world for two months on a diplomatic mission.

He spent two days hunting in the thick forests of the planet before heading into the city complex. He did not suspect anything until after the meal, when he started to feel very lethargic. He only had time to send a message to his symbiot that he was in danger.

He woke, chained in a Curizan spaceship. That was a month ago. The Curizans hoped to ransom him back after they obtained information about the symbiotic relationship his people enjoyed with a living metal organism capable of changing shape and harnessing enormous power. The relationship allowed his people to enjoy many attributes, including longevity, the ability to heal at a faster rate, and unbelievable space travel.

Zoran was worried his symbiot would be captured and made sure it remained hidden until he could escape. He knew he would need it when the time came.

The Valdier lived on the outer rim of the Zion cluster of planets. Only in the past three hundred years had they developed a relationship with neighboring star systems. At first, the Valdier were very careful about who was allowed to visit.

They were very protective of the interaction of their species with the symbiot. It was not until other species tried to capture and use the golden metal organism, only to have the symbiot attack and kill whatever species tried to touch it, that the Valdier felt more comfortable interacting with other species.

This presented a problem, since there was not an abundance of females on Valdier, and the symbiot was not very tolerant of females from other species. It forced many males to limit their time with females who were not from their own planet.

Zoran had yet to find a mate, although he had many females who could pleasure him should he desire a companion at the palace. The symbiot could live separate from the host for brief periods. His own symbiot divided so a small part of it could find him in the prison cell, healing his body and giving him enough strength to survive the beatings and torture. The symbiot then returned to the main body to replenish it with his essence. If not for that, both would have perished.

Now, he felt the strength of it calling to him. He rounded a corner near the entrance. Two guards stood talking quietly back and forth in the tongue of the Curizan. Zoran pulled the laser pistol and quickly disposed of both of them. He could only hope there were no other guards outside the entrance.

Holding his ribs against the burning he felt, he swiped the guard’s badge over the scanner and stood back as the door slid open. Peering outside, he moved into the shadows heading for the landing area.

His symbiot was waiting for him there in the form of a space fighter. It took on the reflective surface, making it invisible to all around it. It was only their connection that guided Zoran to it. Within moments, he was climbing into the cockpit of the Valdier fighter. With a wave of his hand, gold bands formed up his arms, sliding under his skin until he was one with the golden creature.

“Get us out of here,” Zoran murmured softly, trying to hold onto consciousness. He was hurt much worse than he originally thought. He could feel the bones in his ribs rubbing against each other.

The symbiot glowed gold as it began rising out of the compound. Shouts and hisses erupted as the symbiot lost its cloak of invisibility. Moving smoothly, the golden fighter rose and moved out of the compound moving with blinding speed.

Zoran knew he needed to stay conscious until he could find a safe place to land and let his body heal. Warnings sounded in his mind as Curizan fighters scrambled to pursue him. Zoran was not concerned, knowing that as soon as they reached the outer orbit of the planet, his symbiot could move faster than the speed of light.

Focusing on using defensive moves to get away from the pursuing fighters, he commanded the symbiot to plot a course to a quadrant of the galaxy unknown to the Curizan. He would never make it back to his own world in the shape he was in.

He sent a message out to his brothers, hoping they would receive it before he lost consciousness. Zoran gave the final command to leap as soon as they cleared the planet’s atmosphere. It was the last thing he remembered.

Chapter Two

Abby Tanner stared at the glass, seeing more in the hot glowing piece than molten liquid. As she began twirling the rod around and around she began forming different layers, bending and shaping them to match the image in her head. She loved how the shapeless glass transformed into a beautiful piece of art. She was also thankful she made a very good living from it. It gave her freedom that not many people could enjoy.

She worked with the piece for the next three hours, blending and blowing until a delicate flower formed. She was almost finished. The piece she was working on had taken her almost six months to finish. She had already sold it for over fifty thousand dollars. For her, though, it was not the money, but the enjoyment of creating something beautiful and enjoyed by others.

Abby looked up when she heard a dog bark. Smiling, she finished cleaning up her workshop. It was a fairly good size wooden barn not far from the cabin she lived in deep in the mountainous region of northern California.

Her grandparents had lived in the cabin before she was born. When her mother took off when she was a baby it became her home. Her mother died of a drug overdose when Abby was two, and she never knew her father. Her grandmother and grandfather had raised her. Her grandmother had passed away five years ago and her grandfather six months ago.

Abby still fought with the depression that overwhelmed her at times. Her grandparents were perfectly happy living in the remote mountain cabin. Abby grew up running through a wooded playground built just for her. She loved the freedom of the mountains and peace it gave her. At twenty-two, she had no desire to live in the nearby town of Shelby or the larger cities. It was bad enough when she left to attend a gallery opening of her work.

Brushing her dark brown hair that had fallen loose from her ponytail back behind her ears, Abby took another quick look around before closing the double doors to her workshop.

Laughing as the big golden retriever came running up to her, Abby bent down and gave Bo a big hug, trying to keep her mouth shut so she didn’t get Bo’s overeager tongue in it.

“He misses you,” Edna Grey said as she walked down the little path following Bo.

Edna had her long, dark gray hair in a braid down her back today instead of up in a bun. She was dressed in a pair of well-worn jeans with a plaid button up shirt tucked in at the waist. Even though she was in her late sixties, she moved like a woman half her age. Abby couldn’t help but smile as she saw the twinkle in Edna’s light green eyes as she followed Bo.

Abby glanced up at Edna and smiled. She could only hope she looked as good as her friend did when she got older.

Abby knew she looked young even for her age. She gave credit for her appearance to her grandmother’s side of the family. She had her grandmother’s dark brown hair, dark blue eyes, and heart-shaped face. Her nose was a little on the short side while her lips were a little on the full. Abby often thought the combination made her look like a pouty little girl but her grandfather used to say it made her even more beautiful because he could always see her grandmother in her.

“I missed him too. Yes, you are just a big ole softy, aren’t you? Yes, you are,” Abby said as she stood up.

Bo jumped back and forth waiting for Abby to pick up the tennis ball he was carrying in his mouth. His long tail swept back and forth as he pranced around in circles barking. Abby picked up the wet tennis ball and threw it toward the cabin. Like a bullet, Bo raced after the slime green prize.

“So, how are you doing?” Edna asked softly, walking back toward the cabin with Abby.

Abby was quiet for a moment before she let out a deep breath. “I’m doing better. It was really hard at first losing Granddad, but each day I seem to be handling it a little better. It helps being busy. That big piece I was working on for the couple from New York is almost done.”

Edna put her arm around Abby’s waist, hugging her close. “I can’t wait to see it. You’ve never been as secretive about any of your pieces as you have this one.”

Abby laughed huskily. “It’s one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever done. I can’t wait for you to see it. When I was contracted to do the work I was a little hesitant. Normally, I just create based on what I feel is in the glass. This time my client wanted to meet me and asked me to create something based on their home décor. I spent two days as a guest in their house. It was unbelievable. It helped. I was contracted to do it right after Granddad died. Being focused on it has helped me cope with his passing.”

“Is there any chance of you meeting a nice young man while you are going back and forth in all your travels?” Edna teased.

“No, absolutely not!” Abby said, horrified. “I like being alone. I’ve seen enough of men and their behaviors on my trips to make me leery of getting involved with anyone.”

“What about Clay? You know he’s interested,” Edna asked.

Abby wrinkled up her nose in distaste. Clay was the local sheriff for the town of Shelby and had been trying to get Abby to go out with him since she was eighteen. He was a nice guy, but Abby just didn’t feel the same way about him as he seemed to feel about her.

Abby made the weekly trip to town to mail the blown glass she sold to her distributors and pick up any items she needed, like groceries or supplies. And every week without fail, Clay would show up at the post office to ask her to go out with him. She would politely turn him down, and he would follow her around town bugging her to have a meal with him.

“Clay’s a nice guy and all, but I just don’t feel that way about him,” Abby said, petting Bo and throwing the ball again.

“One day you’ll meet the right man. Thank you again for keeping an eye on Gloria and Bo for me,” Edna said as they walked up to the horse trailer attached to the back of her pickup truck.

“No problem. You know I enjoy their company when you take your little trips,” Abby said with a laugh, watching as Gloria, Edna’s old mule, tried to nudge her head out of the little window. Gloria loved the apples Abby always gave her.

“Well, you are the only one Gloria doesn’t try to bite and push around.” Edna opened the trailer and backed Gloria out. Bo danced around the old mule’s feet trying to play.

“How long are you going to be gone?” Abby asked, pulling an apple out of the smock she wore over her shirt and jeans. “I hear there’s a storm coming in tomorrow night that’s supposed to be pretty bad.” She held out the apple for Gloria, who swept it out of her hand crunching on it as Edna led her over to the small corral near the cabin.

“Yeah, I heard about it. We’re supposed to get a couple of inches of rain and possible severe thunderstorms. I plan on heading out as soon as I leave here so I can miss it. I’ll be back by the end of the week. Jack and Shelly are having Crystal’s birthday party on Thursday. I’ll drive back on Friday,” Edna said as she let Gloria go with a swat to her flanks.

“Do you have time for a cup of tea or coffee?” Abby asked, watching as Gloria walked into the small barn attached to the corral. Abby had already put down a thick bed of hay for Gloria in one of the stalls and had fresh food and water.

“A cup of coffee would be great,” Edna said, following Abby up the steps and into the small cabin.

Abby loved her small home. It had two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, a small living room, and a combination dining room/kitchen. A huge fireplace dominated the living room, and small pellet stoves occupied each bedroom for the chilly winter months. Luckily, it was getting to be early summer, so except for an occasional cool night she wouldn’t need to light either the stoves or the fireplace. The cabin had large windows in the kitchen and living room, which let in an abundance of natural light.

Abby’s grandfather owned his own music business in Los Angeles, and her grandmother had been a songwriter. Both had been extremely talented. When Abby’s mom fell in with the wrong crowd, they thought moving to the mountains would get her away from it.

Unfortunately, her mother ran away, instead, and at seventeen, she became pregnant with Abby. Abby had only been a month old when her mom dropped her off and disappeared. Two years later, she was found dead from a drug overdose along with her current boyfriend. Abby’s grandparents were devastated by the death of their only daughter and did everything they could to make sure Abby was kept out of that type of life.

Abby had her grandmother’s gentle personality and love for the arts. Her grandmother used the time in the mountains to write songs and taught herself the art of glass blowing. Soon, her grandfather had taken up the hobby, and it became another business with the help of the Internet. In the past six years, Abby had made a name for herself internationally with her beautiful creations.

Edna and Abby spent the next half hour catching up on Edna’s family who lived in Sacramento and Abby’s new contracts from several different museums asking to display her work. Bo was content to lie on the rug in front of the hearth watching his tennis ball.

Before long, Abby was watching the tail lights of Edna’s pickup truck disappear down the steep driveway of her home. Abby called Bo to come back as he tried to follow Edna’s truck, laughing as he looked back and forth, trying to decide who he wanted to stay with. A promise of a treat soon had him running back up the steps of the cabin and into the warm interior.

Chapter Three

Another bolt of lightning flashed, and then thunder rolled across the sky, shaking the cabin walls. The electricity had gone out over an hour ago, and Abby had lit a couple of candles to light the interior, although the way the lightning was flashing, she probably didn’t need to.

Bo had taken refuge under the bed in her bedroom. Every once in a while she would hear him whine, and she would call out soft reassurances to him. Gloria was tucked up in the barn nice and safe. Abby hoped there wouldn’t be too much damage, but wasn’t too optimistic from the sounds raging outside.

She did what she could to prepare. Rain fell in sheets limiting the view outside to just a few feet. It was going to be a long night. Abby sat at the small table, staring out the kitchen window when another bolt of lightning flashed. It was strange; but, she could have sworn there was something else in the thunder that followed. She caught a glimpse of something in the sky with that last flash.

Bo whined again, this time coming out from under the bed to put his head on Abby’s knee. He still had his tennis ball in his mouth. Abby reached down and absently petted Bo’s head, scratching behind his ears.

Sighing, Abby leaned over and dropped a soft kiss on the top of Bo’s head, “Come on. Let’s go to bed. Watching the storm isn’t going to make it pass any faster, and I have a feeling there is going to be plenty of cleanup work to do tomorrow. Maybe we can find you a couple of sticks to carry back.”

Abby stood up and blew out the candle on the table, then picked up the one in the living room to carry with her into the bedroom. She brushed out her hair and changed into a pair of pajama pants and matching tank top that had little pictures of dogs on it. She climbed into the full-size bed and scooted over, patting next to her for Bo to jump up.

“You can help keep me warm tonight, big guy,” Abby whispered as she wrapped an arm around the soft fur snuggled up against her.

The next morning was bright, and she saw that the storm had cleared away everything in its path. Abby sipped a cup of coffee as she walked down the front steps of the cabin. There were bits of limbs everywhere. A tree had fallen behind the barn, but it hadn’t done any damage. Bo ran down the steps and raced around the yard smelling all the branches to see if the storm had brought anything fun to play with. Abby opened the door to the barn and moved to the stall holding Gloria. Gloria leaned her head over the door of the stall looking droopy-eyed at Abby.

“Did the storm keep you up last night, girl?” Abby asked as she ran her hand behind one of Gloria’s ears, then down along her jaw. “Come on, let’s get you outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.”

Abby moved into the stall and opened the sliding door at the back of the stall, which led into the corral. After making sure everything was still secure, she picked up a brush and brushed Gloria before closing the gate.

“Come on Bo. Let’s take a walk and see what else needs to be done,” Abby called as she moved down the path to her workshop.

She would check it out before heading toward the meadow farther up the mountain, where she had seen the weird light last night. She had dreamed about it. She couldn’t really remember much of her dream, just a nagging feeling that she needed to check it out.

Her workshop had survived the storm just fine. She was glad, since she had several thousand dollars’ worth of materials inside, not to mention the piece she was almost finished with. Bo pranced around, wagging his tail and marking just about everything. Abby laughed at the male need to mark. It reminded her a little of Clay when he followed her around town glaring at anyone who looked her way.

Bo ran ahead down the path. Abby was a bit slower as she stopped to move some of the bigger branches out of her way. She liked to hike up to the meadow during the summers and just enjoy the scenery. She was lifting a really large branch to the side when she heard Bo barking excitedly.

“Hold on, boy. I’m coming,” Abby yelled. She pushed the limb out of the way and jogged up the path.

Abby stopped suddenly, her mouth hanging open, as she stared at the huge golden ship in the middle of the meadow. Bo was walking around it. As he moved closer, the ship seemed to shudder and move away from him. It was almost like it was alive. Abby moved slowly toward the golden ship.

“Bo, come here, boy. I think you’re scaring it,” Abby said softly.

Bo took one more sniff of the golden ship before taking off on another adventure. Abby walked around the ship, watching as it shivered when she stepped closer to it. It wasn’t very big, maybe about the size of a large SUV, but it was absolutely beautiful. She looked at the sleek design. Different colors swirled through the outer coating, making the golden ship almost invisible as it took on the colors around it.

Abby slowly reached out to touch the ship’s surface. It shimmered a bright gold, almost as if in warning. It reminded Abby of some of the wildlife she had seen up in the mountains. She and her grandparents sometimes came across frightened or wounded animals over the years and they nursed many back to health before releasing them back to the wild.

“It’s okay, baby. I’m not going to hurt you,” Abby whispered softly. “It’s going to be all right.”

The golden ship shuddered again as she brushed her hand gently against its smooth surface. She laughed softly as she felt the smooth, soft metal. She didn’t understand what it was or where it had come from, but she didn’t get any bad vibes from it.

She let her other hand glide over the surface, as well. She rubbed it lightly while whispering nonsense words. She felt her hands slowly sink into the soft metal, and long strips of the gold reached out, winding themselves around her arms and wrists.

Abby’s breath caught in her throat as she watched the gold bands slowly slide up her arms. When she pulled back, two thin, intricately designed gold bands were attached to her wrists like gold wrist cuffs. Abby stared at them, marveling at their beauty, as she ran her fingers over first one, then the other.

Bo’s sudden barking turned to a scared yelp as he charged back toward Abby. Abby moved away from the ship looking up startled as Bo raced past her toward the path leading back to her cabin. Turning toward where Bo had come from, Abby wondered what other wonders the storm had brought.

“Well, what got your tennis balls stirred up?” Abby asked bemused. She was still in a daze at finding something so beautiful on her mountain. A groan from the direction Bo had just run from caused Abby to take a step back.

Zoran groaned as he tried to lift his head. He didn’t remember much about the landing. He knew he needed to get out; his body was on fire, but he didn’t remember much but the fierce weather from the planet. He collapsed, unable to move, as the pain in his body overwhelmed him. He knew he needed to get back to his symbiot but didn’t have the energy. He could only hope the message he sent out to his brothers would be received as darkness once again took him.

Abby bit her lip as she moved slowly toward the sound of the groan she had just heard. She really hoped this unexpected visit didn’t turn out to be one of those horror-film/alien-possession things. She knew the golden ship was not from Earth. It didn’t take a NASA scientist to figure that out. She just hoped curiosity didn’t end up getting her killed.

Abby saw the figure lying face down on the damp grass. Well, if it was an alien, he sure had the figure of a human—a very big human. Abby wasn’t a shrimp at five-foot-eight, but this guy had to be well over six and a half feet if he was an inch.

Moving hesitantly until she stood next to him, she saw he had long black hair and was wearing some type of uniform with black epaulets on the shoulders. She couldn’t see what his face looked like because his hair was covering it. She stooped down and gently brushed back his hair, letting her fingers rest for a moment on his neck. She found a weak pulse. What worried her the most, however, was how hot his skin felt.

The gold on one of her wrists moved when she touched the man, turning to a liquid and pouring down her fingers until it wrapped around the man’s throat. Abby was afraid at first that it meant to harm him, but then warmth flowed through her and she knew it wouldn’t.

“I don’t know what you are, but I don’t get the feeling you want to hurt him either,” Abby murmured under her breath. “Let’s see what our man looks like and what we can do to help him out.”

Abby ran her hands down the figure looking for any obvious signs of trauma before gently rolling him over onto his back. She drew in a deep breath. He was the most handsome man she had ever seen in her life. He was also the most beat-up man she had ever seen. How someone could hurt another being like this broke Abby’s heart.

Blood spotted his uniform on both the front and the back, making it obvious that the uniform had been put on over the injuries since it was not cut up. His facial features were definitely human-like. Abby ran her fingers over his face, gently touching the cuts above his left eye and cheek before moving down to his lips. He had strong, proud features. His nose was a little broader than normal, and he had prominent cheekbones, much like the Native American Indians. His color was similar too with the darker tanned skin. She wondered what color his eyes would be—brown, blue, or almost black—but they were closed, and she did not want to force them open.

Abby checked him over to see if he had any broken bones. She worried about his ribs, since even in his unconscious state, he jerked when she probed them. She realized the only way she was going to be able to get him to the cabin was on a skid. She whistled for Bo to come to her. He had taken off toward the cabin earlier, but she had seen him sniffing around the meadow again a few minutes ago.

Bo wagged his tail as he came toward Abby, keeping his head down and his eyes nervously on the still figure next to her. “Come on, boy. I need you to be a guard dog and protect our visitor until I get back with Gloria,” Abby said petting the golden retriever behind the ear.

“Stay,” Abby commanded Bo and watched as he lay down next to the man, resting his head on the man’s chest. “Good boy. Stay.”

Abby took off at a run for her cabin. She would use the old skid she used to haul wood to bring the injured man back to the cabin. She quickly pulled out the harness gear and called Gloria over to her. She hooked up the skid behind Gloria and pulled some thick pads from the storage room of the barn and laid it on top of the skid.

With a click of her tongue, Abby and Gloria moved up the path again to the meadow. Gloria was a pro at this, since Edna would bring her several times a year for Abby to use. It was too cold most of the winter to keep a horse or a mule up this high in the mountains; plus, there was not enough pasture land, so it was a win-win situation for Abby to just borrow Gloria when she needed the extra help.

Abby jumped off the skid once they entered the meadow. The gold ship glimmered as Abby walked by with Gloria. Abby couldn’t help but run her hand along the ship’s surface again to caress it.

“It’s going to be okay. I’m going to help him. Then you can have him back. He just needs some TLC. I won’t hurt him,” Abby said as her fingers glided from the tip of the ship to the very back. She could almost feel the ship’s sigh of relief at her words.

Bo looked up from his place next to the man. After fifteen minutes of grunting and pushing, Abby finally had the man on the padded skid. She was breathing heavily and sweating from the exertion.

“Wow. He’s a lot bigger and heavier than I thought,” Abby said to no one in particular. She didn’t know if the ship, Bo, or Gloria really gave a damn about how big and heavy the man was.

Abby made the short trip back to the cabin at a much slower pace, aware of how the man groaned with every rut she hit. She would have to use the ramp her grandfather had built for her grandmother to get him into the cabin. The skid was narrow enough to fit through the front door of the cabin thanks to the extra wide door her grandfather had installed after her grandmother needed to use a wheelchair to get around. It would be tricky getting him in the room and in the bed, but she felt sure she could do it with a little manipulation.

An hour later, totally exhausted, Abby lay on the bed next to the man. She had pushed, pulled, and tugged until she could barely move, but she had him in the bed. She gave herself a few minutes to regroup before sitting up. First things first, she needed to get his clothes off so she could see the damage. Then she would bathe him and doctor his cuts.

Abby didn’t want to cut the man’s clothes up, but she found it was going to be the only way to get them off. The cloth was stuck to his skin with dried blood in many places and was stretched across him like a second skin in others. She would go to town later and get him some clothes, once she knew it was safe to leave him. As she cut the shirt off him, Abby noticed the gold on the man’s throat had moved down to his chest now. It just lay there curled up as if it was asleep.

Abby couldn’t contain the tears that filled her eyes at the number of cuts and bruises on the poor man. She tried not to blush when she got to his pants. He wasn’t wearing anything under them and was just as impressive there as he was everywhere else. Abby did her best to keep her touch impersonal and hoped the man wouldn’t be offended when he woke up and realized she had taken such liberties.

His legs were covered with bruises as well as small cuts. It was as if he had been tortured. She gasped as she saw the deep cuts around his ankles. Her gaze flew to his wrists and, sure enough, he had deep cuts there as well. Whoever hurt the man had obviously had him shackled so he couldn’t defend himself.

Abby threw the clothes into a pile. She would burn them later in the burn barrel behind the cabin. In the bathroom, she filled a bucket with lukewarm water. She needed to get his temperature down. She was afraid to give him any medication for a human, not knowing if it would hurt him. She hoped cleaning the wounds and bringing his temperature down would help.

She rolled him onto his side and laid a vinyl tablecloth down with the plastic face down so she wouldn’t soak the mattress. She then laid several towels under him. She bathed his back first, just dampening his hair as best she could. She wouldn’t be able to really wash it, but at least it would feel better than it had.

As she bathed him she was careful to make sure she paid close attention to his cuts. It was strange watching the small gold band moving over his body as she moved the man. It seemed to go to the worse cuts and bruises and stay there for a few moments before moving on. Once, it even came to her and wrapped around her wrist while the other gold wrist cuff dissolved and moved to replace it. Abby just shivered when she felt them move over her. It wasn’t a bad feeling. In fact, it felt warm and fuzzy.

Abby turned even redder as she washed the man’s private area. He was thickly built and long even in his relaxed state. She had never seen or touched a man before, and her hands shook as she gently cleaned him. She was thankful he was unconscious and would never know what she had done.

She tried to think what a nurse would do in such a situation. Hell, she knew even some cosmetologists worked with peoples’ private areas. She tried to focus on the gold band moving up and over the man’s body from one place to another. She watched in fascination as cuts began to heal right before her eyes wherever the gold band touched. Right now, it was working on his right wrist.

Once Abby was done, she removed the damp tablecloth and towels and covered the man with the thick quilt. She put him in her grandparents’ old bedroom. The bed was a king size and seemed to fit him better than her full-size bed. She felt his forehead again, and it felt a little cooler. His complexion looked better as well.

She had enough time to put Gloria in the pen and make some dinner before dark. The electricity was still off, and she didn’t want to run the generator any more than she had to. She could measure the man and order him some clothes from the Internet. Luckily, her laptop was fully charged, and she used satellite for her connection since no service ran this far up into the mountains.

An hour later, Abby closed the laptop, satisfied with her order. She had ordered several shirts and pairs of pants, boxers, socks, and after measuring his feet, which she found were ticklish, a pair of boots and a pair of tennis shoes. It wasn’t easy finding both in a size eighteen wide. She stood up and stretched.

The gold bands had switched again, and she noticed the one on her left wrist seemed to be stroking her. Abby smiled as she gently rubbed the little gold band. She could tell it seemed to enjoy it when she did that.

She figured she would sleep in the big bed next to the man tonight. There was plenty of room for her skinny butt, and this way, if the gold bands needed to change they could. Plus, she just felt better staying close to him. At least until he woke up.

Chapter Four

Zoran stretched, waiting for the pain to slice through his body. He kept his eyes closed as he sent out his senses to determine what dangers might be close at hand. When he didn’t feel the normal wrenching of pain, he froze. He could feel his symbiot moving around his body repairing the damage. Had he found shelter? He frowned; he couldn’t remember. Had his brothers found him? He did not detect their presence.

He did a quick internal review. His ribs were healed, though still tender, and the numerous cuts and bruises were also healed. He felt clean, but he did not remember bathing. He also realized he was completely nude beneath a soft thick covering. He didn’t recognize any of the scents around him as being from his home.

He let his senses expand to cover the room. He was alone in the room, but not in the structure. There were two other species in it with him. While he did not recognize the scents, they were vaguely familiar. He heard a soft, pleasant sound, a type of soft singing coming from the other room before he heard the sound of footsteps as they approached him.

Abby sang softly under her breath as she prepared a vegetable broth for her guest. She had been forcing the broth down his throat for the past two days, fearful of him becoming dehydrated or malnourished. The electricity had come back on late last night. She was thankful, since she needed to finish the piece she was working on, and it was just safer not using candles.

Pouring the broth into a deep bowl, she set it on the tray. She hoped her guest woke up soon. If he didn’t wake up by tomorrow, she was going to have to call for the doctor to come look in on him. She went up to the meadow twice a day as well to pet and talk to the gold ship. She didn’t know why, but she had a feeling it was worried about the man. She was rewarded with another gold bracelet, necklace, and earrings. At the rate she was going, she would be so loaded down, she wouldn’t be able to walk.

Abby walked quietly into the bedroom. The mid-morning sun shone brightly through the large windows.

“Good morning, sleeping beauty. I’ve made you some more of that delicious broth you love so much. How about opening those gorgeous eyes and giving me a peek at who’s sleeping his life away? Bo would love to have someone to play catch with, and your golden ship seems to be missing you as well.” Abby kept up the running monologue she had started yesterday morning, thinking that if he heard someone’s voice he might respond faster. The Internet said people in a coma could hear what people said, so maybe this hunk of a man could hear her.

Zoran frowned as the translator imbedded in his brain took a moment to learn and translate the words the creature spoke. He breathed in deeply to catch the creature’s scent and was immediately hit by the fragrance of sunlight, woods, and wildflowers. His body jerked in response, his cock filling with need as the beast inside him responded to the female. His fingers clenched under the covers as he fought the overpowering reaction to the female’s voice and scent.

He could tell she was not a Valdier. Her scent was wrong, but it was also right. He had never had such a powerful reaction to any of the females on his planet, or any other, for that matter.

He heard her set something on the table next to him before the bed sank down slightly from her weight. He bit back a groan as he felt her soft fingers slide through his hair and down along his face caressing him.

“Come on, fly boy. Don’t you want to wake up? It’s such a beautiful day outside. I need to go into town today, and I don’t like leaving you alone when you are so defenseless.” Abby enjoyed running her fingers through his long hair and along his jaw.

Suddenly, strong tan fingers wrapped around her fragile wrist and she was jerked over his body until she was lying on her back under a huge chest. Abby let out a squeal as she was flipped over the long, hard body of the male who moments before had been totally still and unresponsive. She lay still, staring up into dark gold eyes. Her breath caught in her throat as she stared into the strong, fierce face of a man who could snap her neck between his fingers if he felt like it.

Zoran stared down into the face of the female lying beneath him. She was stunningly beautiful. Her eyes were a dark blue with little flakes of black in them. She lay perfectly still beneath him as he studied her. Her eyes were open wide, but they did not show any fear. It was like she was waiting for him to make up his mind what needed to be done next.

He held one of her slim wrists in his large hand, while he pressed her other hand against his bare chest. He felt her fingers move, spreading out so they wove in the dark hairs covering his chest. He shivered as he felt her short nails scrape him lightly. His body tightened with need. He wanted her.

It wasn’t until he bent to kiss her wrist that he noticed the gold symbiot wrapped tightly around it. His gaze jerked down to her throat where her pulse beat a fast tempo. A small glimmer of gold showed from her throat, as well as from her ears and her other wrist. How was it possible? She was not of their species, but his symbiot had claimed her.

Jerking up into a sitting position, Zoran gripped the shirt covering the female and jerked it down, ripping the buttons off. Abby cried out, startled, and tried to pull away. Zoran pulled her roughly to his chest, pinning her to him as he moved his hand to her throat and his symbiot.

He buried his nose in her throat, listening to her frantic heart beat as his fingers gently touched his symbiot. He communicated with it, making sure the female had not harmed it. If she had, he would break her neck. The warmth that flooded him, took his breath away. Not only had the female cared for him, but she had also cared for the mother symbiot, which was his ship.

Zoran saw flashes of her stroking and reassuring his symbiot that it was safe and that she was going to take care of him. He saw the way she struggled to take him back to her home, how she bathed him, fed him, and held him at night talking to him softly. He felt a wave of desire so intense, he wanted to take her right then and there, claiming her as his, because, whether she realized it or not, she was his. His symbiot recognized his true mate right away and his body recognized her as soon as he awoke.

Abby waited fearfully to see what the man was going to do. She knew he could snap her neck in a heartbeat if he wanted to. When he tore her shirt open, she feared he would do worse. She would not let him or any other man rape her without a fight. As the minutes passed and he did nothing, she began to relax. She could feel him running his finger over the gold at her neck and figured he must have reacted to seeing it, other than a desire to take her body. She had to admit she was a little disappointed. She had been fighting lustful thoughts ever since she found him.

“If you are going to kill me, then please get it over with; otherwise, can you let me up as your brunch is getting cold?” Abby said calmly.

Zoran looked down into Abby’s eyes again before he seemed to realize he still held her tightly against him. Reluctantly, he released her, helping her into a sitting position.

Abby smiled gently while trying to hold her blouse together. She blushed when she saw his eyes follow her movement, and she felt her nipples swell in response. She turned even redder when she saw the desire come into his eyes, as if he knew her response to him.

Abby scooted to the side of the bed away from him and stood up. “Do you understand me?”

Zoran watched carefully as the female moved hesitantly around the end of the bed. He knew she wanted to escape, but he had no desire to let her leave his sight. “Zi.”

Abby frowned. He seemed to understand her, but she didn’t understand what he was saying. “Zi. Is that yes?”

“Zi.” Zoran said with a frown. Didn’t her translator work?

Abby sighed as she moved toward the door. “I need to put on a new shirt. I’ll be back in a minute.” Abby whirled around to leave, only to find herself caught up against his broad chest, again, a very broad, naked chest and something suspiciously long poking her in the back.

“Oh, dear,” Abby whispered, closing her eyes as she felt the arms tighten around her. “I… I promise, if you let me go, I’m just going into the next room to get another shirt. I… I’ll be right back.”

Zoran bent his head to run his lips along the female’s neck. He could feel her heart fluttering as she tried to hold herself still. He let one of his hands move until it pressed between her breasts over her heart.

“Please don’t hurt me.” Abby whispered hoarsely.