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Opis ebooka Hunter’s Claim - S.E. Smith

When Earth received its first visitors from space.... The Trivators came to bring Earth into the Alliance of Star Systems, but now they have to take control of Earth to prevent the humans from destroying it in the panicked chaos. The Trivators aren’t prepared for how humans will affect their own lives, though, starting with a family of three sisters…. Alone in a world gone mad with just her younger sisters, Jesse Sampson has learned to use the darkness and the remains of Seattle to keep what is left of her family alive. She has seen the savage side of human nature and found they are not much different from the aliens who conquered the Earth. Hunter belongs to a unit of Trivators who specialize in quelling violent uprisings. His ability to track and capture is renowned, but he finds the tables turned when he is the one captured by a group of ruthless humans. Hunter is shocked when a strange human female risks her life to help him escape, only to disappear into the ruins of the city. He now has a new mission: finding the female who saved his life. Internationally acclaimed S.E. Smith presents a new action-packed story full of romance and adventure. Brimming with her signature humor, vivid landscapes, and beloved characters, this book is sure to be another fan favorite! Main Content: 158 (6x9) pages, 50,237 words

Opinie o ebooku Hunter’s Claim - S.E. Smith

Fragment ebooka Hunter’s Claim - S.E. Smith

Hunter’s Claim

The Alliance Book 1

S.E. Smith

Contents

Acknowledgments

Synopsis

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

Chapter 26

Sample of Indiana Wild

Additional Books and Information

About the Author

Acknowledgments

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

HUNTER’S CLAIM: THE ALLIANCE BOOK 1

Copyright © 2014 by S. E. Smith

First E-Book Published January 2014

Cover Design by Melody Simmons

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: Jesse’s rescue of an alien warrior on Earth leads to a new life for her and her sisters when they are taken to a distant world to start over.

ISBN: 978-1-942562-48-1 (paperback)

ISBN: 978-1-942562-12-2 (eBook)

Published in the United States by Montana Publishing.

{1. Science Fiction Romance. – Fiction. 2. Science Fiction – Fiction. 3. Urban Fantasy – Fiction. 4. Romance – Fiction.}

www.montanapublishinghouse.com

Synopsis

When Earth received its first visitors from space, the planet was thrown into a panicked chaos. The Trivators came to bring Earth into the Alliance of Star Systems, but they were forced to take control of Earth to prevent the humans from destroying it in their fear - and to protect them from the militant forces of other worlds. The Trivators aren’t prepared for how humans will affect their own lives, though, starting with a family of three sisters….

Alone in a world gone mad with just her younger sisters, Jesse Sampson has learned to use the darkness and the remains of Seattle to keep what is left of her family alive. She has seen the savage side of human nature and found they are not much different from the aliens who conquered the Earth.

Hunter belongs to a unit of Trivators who specialize in quelling violent uprisings. His ability to track and capture is renowned, but he finds the tables turned when he is the one captured by a group of ruthless humans.

Hunter is shocked when a strange human female risks her life to help him escape, only to disappear into the ruins of the city. He now has a new mission: finding the female who saved his life.

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

Main Content: 158 (6x9) pages, 50,237 words

Chapter One

Jesse moved quietly through the deserted streets. The black backpack on her back contained the prize from her outing this night. She had been able to steal enough to keep her and two younger sisters fed for several days as long as they kept the portions small. She needed to get back to the collapsed rubble that hid the underground parking garage which was their temporary home.

She had found that shelter almost two months ago by accident when she had needed a place to hide from the group of men roaming the street. She had crawled under a fallen slab of concrete for protection only to find it was slanted at an angle. Unable to stop her descent, she had slid to the bottom where she discovered herself in the remains of a parking garage. After exploring the area, she thought it would be the perfect place for her and her two younger sisters to hide from the roaming gangs who looked for unsuspecting victims to rob or rape.

She and her sisters’ lives had changed a lot over the last four years since the death of their father. Hell, Earth had changed a lot over the past four years. Gone was living in a nice house in the suburbs. Gone was making sure her sisters did their homework and got to school on time. She had taken over the job of being ‘mom’ to her two younger sisters when their mother died shortly after Taylor’s third birthday. Everything she knew was gone since that November day four years ago when the skies had filled with spaceships from another world.

The President had issued a state of emergency, but it hadn’t done any good. People had poured out of their homes in fear. The war, if you could call it that, lasted only a few days.

The aliens had weapons that neutralized the nuclear weapons some countries tried to use. Communications systems around the world had been taken over as well. Messages for calm had been transmitted over and over, but it was useless. Even messages from world leaders that the aliens were not there to harm the population did nothing to calm the riots.

Zealots and anti-government groups rose up and overpowered the local law enforcement. Jesse, Jordan, and Taylor’s dad had been one of the Seattle police officers killed on the first day of rioting. Soon, bombs exploded and neighborhoods were overrun.

Jesse was just arriving home from picking her sisters up at school when the news broke of the alien ‘invasion’ as it was being called. They had watched the news in terror. Their father had called to tell them to barricade the house and to gather as many supplies as they could in case they had to leave in a hurry.

They were supposed to go to the cabin up near Wenatchee if it got too bad. That was the last time any of them heard from him. By that night, roaming groups had overturned cars and set fire to homes and businesses throughout the area. Jesse, Jordan, and Taylor had gathered as much as they could and hidden in the old cellar behind the woodpile when rocks and bricks had been thrown through the windows of their home. They had barely made it to safety, climbing from the second story balcony into the tree that was next to it, as their house was overrun. They had been running and hiding ever since.

Jesse stopped to adjust the black scarf she had tied around her nose and mouth. She didn’t want there to be any sign of her, including the slight fog of her breath in the freezing air. There was too much riding on her not getting caught, namely Jordan and Taylor, her seventeen and fifteen-year-old sisters. At twenty-two, she was their mom, dad, and protector.

Tonight, she had been fortunate to come across a small convoy of Trivators. They had set up a ration station almost ten blocks away. She had grabbed a box that had been dropped as they unloaded supplies into one of the distribution centers they had set up for the humans like her who refused to trust them. She had found other packages before and while the food was bland, it was edible. She had disappeared into the dark alley before anyone saw her.

Hiding behind an overturned trash bin, she had emptied the small box into her backpack and disappeared. She had been terrified at first she was about to be caught. She had never been so happy about the stench of decaying garbage as she had a short while ago.

She knew the Trivators had an excellent sense of smell. Well, some of them did. She had watched from a distance as a small group of the massive males discovered several human men hiding in ambush a little over a year ago. One of the Trivators had held up his hand and sniffed the air like the dog they used to own.

Shortly after, the men were taken out with a clean shot to the chest. She hadn’t stayed after that. She just knew she needed to avoid all contact with both species of male, Trivator and human, if she and her sisters were to remain safe.

Jesse froze when she heard the sound of trucks moving slowly down the street with no headlights on. A worried frown pulled at her brow as she glanced frantically around for a place to hide. The only ones out this late at night were those who were like her, searching the shadows for food or those who she didn’t want to find her.

Other humans and the Trivators, the alien species that had come to Earth four years before supposedly in the name of peace,were to be avoided at all cost, she thought bitterly as she thought about her younger sister, Jordan.

The Trivators may have wanted peace with the humans of Earth, but what they had found was war and hatred. They would have their work cut out for them if they thought the humans would welcome them with open arms, she thought as she squeezed between two pieces of ripped corrugated steel panels. She hissed when a jagged piece cut her forearm, leaving a long but shallow line. She scooted between several large sections where the ceiling had collapsed and slid the backpack off her shoulder.

The sound of the truck’s engine echoed loudly as they drew to a stop outside the building. Jesse leaned her head back and groaned when the large loading door was unlocked and pushed open. She slid further into the shadows, drawing her knees up to her chest to make herself as small as possible. A moment later, a moving van backed through the doors followed by a pickup truck. The area grew dark again when they pulled the door closed and she heard the sound of the chains being run through the bars again. This time from the inside of the doors.

“Make sure those damn doors are secured well,” a raspy voice muttered. “Those fucking aliens are all over the place. I hate this shit. We should have been out of here yesterday.”

“It took longer than we expected to capture one of the bastards alive,” a woman’s voice said coldly.

“Why do you need one alive? Aren’t you just going to kill him anyway?” another voice asked, puzzled.

“I told you, I need to study one of them closely to see just how powerful they are,” the woman bit out. “If we are going to take control of this area and eventually the western half of the United States we need to know how to kill the bastards. If we can kill them, we can rule the world ourselves,” she laughed.

“They are mean bastards. Did you see how protective he was of you?” the first man chuckled. “If you hadn’t acted all girly on his ass we never would have caught him.”

“Yeah,” another man said as he walked over. “But that isn’t going to save his ass. Mitch is dead. That son-of-a-bitch ripped his stomach wide open when he thought he was trying to rape you. I want his balls hanging from the back of my truck.”

“Shit! That is the fourth man we’ve lost in the past month,” the first man said. “It’s getting harder to find anyone anymore. Since those bastards started providing food, shelter, and medication to the people in this area, more and more people are turning to them.”

“It won’t matter if I can find a way to kill them all,” the woman said. “Keep him inside the van for now. We can’t take a chance of any of his friends hearing or smelling him. We can move out tomorrow morning after curfew is lifted. I want to begin dissecting that bastard by tomorrow night at the lab we’ve set up.”

Jesse wrapped her arms around her knees and buried her face in them. Dread washed through her as she waited for the small group to walk away. Their laughter was filled with cold hatred. These were the types of people who gave humans a bad name. If she was an alien, she would have washed her hands of humanity within hours after meeting them.

She sat back and rested her head against the metal that made up the wall of the old warehouse. She would need to make sure they were gone before she could safely move. She closed her eyes and felt fatigue pull at her, encouraging her to give into the darkness. She brushed the cut on her arm, letting the salt from her fingers get into the wound so it would throb. She needed the pain to help keep her awake.

Her thoughts drifted to her two sisters. She was worried about Jordan. Three nights before, she and Jordan had gone out together. Jordan had startled two men in one of the back alleys they were cutting through on their way back to the parking garage. She had gone ahead of Jesse in her excitement to share what they had found with Jordan.

Jesse had stopped briefly to rearrange their stash for the night when she felt it shift. Seconds later, Jordan’s screams had chilled Jesse to the bone. She had to force herself not to rush to her sister’s aid which had been her first instinct. She would not do either of them or Taylor any good if she was captured. Instead, she had pulled the large hunting knife that had belonged to her father out of her boot and quietly snuck up behind the men who were attacking Jordan.

Jesse fought back the nausea as she thought of what she’d had to do to save her sister from being raped and murdered. She had killed the man who was on top of Jordan. Her father had always told them that a wounded man was like a wounded bear or mountain lion, extremely dangerous and unpredictable.

The other man had run as soon as he saw his bigger friend was dead. Jesse had pushed the man off her younger sister and gathered her in her arms. She wish she could have spent more time comforting her, but it was too dangerous. They had left without the food they had stolen. It had been three days since any of them had eaten and now Jordan was sick. She had to make it back with the food she had taken tonight or none of them would make it much longer.

She pulled the scarf up over her nose and mouth to help keep in the warmth as she waited. The coldness of the floor and the metal were sending shivers through her body. In some ways it was a blessing as she knew she wouldn’t fall asleep if she was cold and uncomfortable.

No, now it is just a waiting game until I can escape from the mad humans, she thought as she listened to the woman and three men talk about how they were going to slice up the alien they had captured.

Chapter Two

Hunter strained against the chains holding him to the metal bed. His head fell back against the hard surface in frustration. They had bound him with multiple chains from his shoulders down to his feet. He jerked his head sideways trying to dislodge the rag they had put in his mouth, but it was useless with the tape covering it.

He clenched his fists in rage as he thought of the deceit of the humans. Even their females were not to be trusted. He had heard talk among the other warriors of how primitive and hostile this world was. He cursed at his own instincts to protect the female of any species.

He had been returning from bringing in several humans who had set off bombs close to where they were establishing a support center for the humans living in this area. This was to be his last tour before being deployed back home. Now, he would never see the beautiful valleys, mountains, and oceans of his world again.

The only regret he had was that he had not killed the traitorous woman who had tricked him. It burned against his pride that he had been tricked even if it turned out to be a good thing. These were the humans they had been searching for before he had encountered the ones setting bombs. They had heard of a group of humans who were trying to capture a Trivator warrior and take him to a lab. He had just not expected a female to be involved.

He knew how devious human women could be. He had seen some of the things they were capable of many times over the past three years he had been on this planet. He had reacted on instinct when he saw the males attacking her. Her terrified cries had pulled at the protectiveness of his species.

He lay still as the door to the transport he was in opened and the large human male who had hit him in the back of the head walked forward with a grin. A low rumble of warning exploded from his chest as he stared back into the cold blue eyes of the human. His own dark yellow eyes burned with hatred and a promise of death the first opportunity he got.

“You can growl all you like,” the man said with a nasty grin as he leaned over Hunter. “I’m going to be using your balls if you have any as a decoration on the back of my truck by tomorrow night. Let’s see how much growling you do when Betty cuts off your little jewels for me.”

The man jerked back a step when Hunter strained again. He gave another laugh when he saw there was no way Hunter was going to be able to break the chains. With a salute, he turned and jumped out of the back of the van leaving Hunter alone in the dark again.

Hunter lay back, trying to think of a way, any way, he could possibly escape. The first thing he would do once he was free was hunt down the man who was in here; the second would be the woman. He would show them what happens to anyone who attacks and threatens a Trivator warrior.

Jesse rolled stiffly to her knees before using the side wall to help her stand. She had been frozen in one spot for almost three hours before the lights in the other room had finally gone out. She bit back a groan as her stiff muscles protested. She wasn’t sure if the three men and one woman were ever going to settle down. The one huge guy had come out every thirty minutes to climb into the back of the van before leaving again.

She bent to pick up her backpack before releasing a sigh of resignation. She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t just leave the alien to die. She had listened to the others talk about what they were going to do to him. She would just as soon shove her dad’s hunting knife into his heart if he had one than leave him to those crazy lunatics.

Straightening up once again, she drew in a deep breath behind the black scarf covering most of her face. She would release him. Well, she would release most of him if she could and leave him the means to finish the task while she ran like hell. She ran her hand over the universal key set her dad had shown her how to use. It would be a huge loss, but she wouldn’t have much choice.

Jesse set the black backpack just inside the opening that she had squeezed through before. She might have to run like hell, but she couldn’t leave the food behind this time. Her sisters desperately needed it.

Pulling her father’s hunting knife out, she glanced around the fallen debris before quietly stepping out. She let her eyes sweep the area before she swiftly jogged over to the side of the moving van. Pressing her back up against the cold metal, she waited for several long seconds, listening. Sweat beaded on her brow even though the air was frigid. She could even feel the dampness as it slid down between her shoulder blades, a testament to her fear.

She refused to give in to the terror threatening to choke her though. She couldn’t just leave him to die, even if he was an alien. No one deserved to die the way the men and woman were planning. If she couldn’t release him, the least she could do was end his life in a more humane way.

Jesse moved slowly, pausing to listen in case anyone came out to check on the van again. Her heart was pounding in her chest as she reached over and carefully slid back the bar locking the back of the van. Her hands shook as she pulled the door open just far enough for her to slip through the opening.

The silence and darkness inside the moving van caused her to start panting. She had never seen one of the aliens up close before. She had always done everything in her power to stay as far away from them as possible so she had no idea of what she was about to see.

She fumbled in the front pocket of her black cargo pants for the small penlight that she always carried. She turned it on and moved it along the floor until she saw the leg of a metal bench. Taking a timid step forward, she ran the light up along the bench until she encountered the huge boots of the alien.

She stepped forward on silent feet until she was even with his feet. She frowned when she saw the thick chains holding him to the metal bench. She moved up his body, staring at the chains that were threaded through every few inches up his body. She flashed the light down to the corners and saw that there was a master lock on each corner. She turned to look at the top of the metal bed to see if there were additional locks there as well.

She froze when her eyes locked on a pair of glowing yellow ones that were watching her with silent rage. Her hand began to shake so badly that she had to use both hands to hold the beam steady.

“I…,” she began in a muffled whisper. She licked her dry lips behind the scarf before impatiently pulling it down below her chin when she felt like she was about to suffocate. “I… oh hell.”

Jesse stared at the beautiful features of the man lying on the table. Even with the gag in his mouth, she could tell he was handsome in an exotic kind of way. He had long, thick black hair that was pulled back. His eyes were the shape of a lion or tiger’s. They were a deep yellow, almost gold color and glowed in the reflection of the flashlight. He had high cheekbones and small ridges along his nose, which was flatter than a human’s. Her eyes moved down over his shoulders and chest. He had very little hair on him, considering he looked like he was part feline. One thing stood out above all others, though. He was huge! He had to be close to seven feet tall and she had never seen any man outside of the movies that muscular.

Her eyes jerked back to his when she felt more than heard the slight rumble of a growl coming from him. That was when she realized that she had dropped her left hand down to rest on his stomach. Blushing, she pulled her hand away quickly and took a step closer to his head. She needed to make him realize she was there to help him.

“Please, be quiet,” she whispered next to his ear. “They will kill me or worse if they catch me and I can’t be… I have to leave. I’m going to remove the gag from your mouth. Nod twice if you understand what I am saying.”

She pulled back just far enough to see if he understood her. Satisfied that he did when he nodded twice, she carefully picked one corner of the tape loose. With a look of apology, she ripped it off his mouth. The moment the tape was gone, he turned his head and spit the rag out of his mouth.

Jesse almost ran when he turned his hostile gaze back on her and bared his teeth. Her eyes widened and she bit her lip in indecision. A sense of panic began to sweep through her at the crazy decision she had made. If the humans outside the van didn’t find and kill her, the alien inside it looked like he would do it without any hesitation.

“Please, listen to me,” she begged desperately, glancing at the door before looking at him again. “They want to kill you in a very horrid and painful way. I… I can’t let them do that, but I can’t let you kill me either. Please, please understand me. I can undo the locks holding you down. I’ll undo all of them but one.”

Her hand trembled as she reached out to touch his face. She needed him to believe her. She needed to know that he wouldn’t snap her neck or, her eyes moved to his sharp teeth, tear her throat out as she leaned close to him. She gently touched his jaw so he could see she meant him no harm.

“I’ll show you how to use the keys I have to undo the lock. When you are free, you will need to go to the left. There is a door on the far side of the building that will lead you outside. Ten blocks to the west are some of your people. They will help you,” she whispered looking into his eyes intently as she gently rubbed his jaw with her thumb. “Do you understand what I’ve told you?”

“Yes.”

Jesse gave him a shaky smile before she moved to one of the locks near his head. Setting the penlight down, she pulled the universal key set out of her pocket and went to work. It took her several minutes to undo the lock. Once it was unlocked, she pulled it free of the loop as quietly as she could and set it down on the floor of the van before moving to the next one. Within minutes, she had his arms free.

“Wait,” she whispered when she saw him start to pull the chains from his upper body. “We need to be as quiet as possible until I can get at least one of your feet undone. Can you lift the chain off quietly while I work on the other lock?”

“Yes,” he hissed.

Jesse nodded in relief. She was beginning to feel a glimmer of hope that maybe she would be able to pull this off and both of them could escape and go their own ways. She was more familiar with the locks now and it only took her a few seconds to undo the third lock holding him captive. She was about to explain how to use the keys when the sound of footsteps outside the van drew their attention.

Jesse looked fearfully at the huge male sitting up on the table now. Her eyes flew to the last lock. She had to undo it or he would be an easy target for them. She scooted between the wall of the van and the table and frantically worked at it. They would know something was wrong when they saw the doors unlocked. Her hands shook so badly she almost dropped the key several times.

I should have left him, she thought as the lock finally sprang open. I’ve killed my sisters and myself to rescue those responsible for us being in this position.

Jesse fell back and slid between the bench and the wall of the van as the huge male jerked the last of the chains off of him and wound them around his thick palms. She bit her lip as she watched him lean forward for a moment, as if waiting to attack. That was exactly what he did when they heard the muttered curse outside the door. All she saw was a blur of shadowy movement before the doors to the back of the van exploded outward.

Jesse didn’t wait to see what happened next. She had done what she could to save the huge alien. Now it was up to him to run back to his people. She had her own family to protect. Jumping from the back of the van, she rolled under it before sliding out the opposite side near where she had been hiding. She grabbed the black backpack and squeezed through the ripped sheet metal, ignoring the pain as it cut a deep slice across her stomach.

She ran as fast as she could away from the loud roars and the bloodcurdling screams that filled the night air behind her. She had finally come face to face with one of the aliens and it had left her shaken and confused. In the back of her mind, she hoped he survived and was able to get back to his people. Maybe he could convince the others of his kind that the Earth was better left to its own self-destruction.

Chapter Three

Hunter listened carefully, waiting to see when the human would return. He had worked a small blade out of the hemline of his vest. He was trying to break the metal band around his wrist when he heard the hushed sound of the latch on the door. Relaxing, he hid the blade in the palm of his hand.

It had been several hours since the last man had come out to check on him. He had hoped they felt confident enough in their chains and locks to wait a while, but it would seem they were rightfully paranoid. He would have to work fast once the male left again if he was to save himself.

He frowned when the door barely opened before it closed again. He sniffed the air to see which of the humans had come in this time. He barely controlled his reaction when a delicate, sweet scent washed over him.

He fought the urge to growl in frustration at not being able to taste the air with his tongue. He wanted to know if the air held the same sweet taste as the smell. He did not recognize this scent or understand why he felt such a need to know more about the human who carried it.

A moment later, a small beam of light illuminated the darkness. He could not see the figure of the human because of the way he was strapped down, but he knew from the scent and breathing patterns that it was a female. It didn’t take long before the figure moved far enough to the front of the van for him to see.

Vivid dark brown eyes stared back at him in fear. He couldn’t see much of the female’s face because of the dark cloth that she had over most of her face, but he swore he had never seen so much emotion in one set of eyes before. He wasn’t sure what this human wanted. She had not been with the others. He would have smelled her sweet scent if she had.

A dark thought crossed his mind that she might belong to one of the males. He had not gotten close to the one that had driven the transport that he was in. He had only heard the male’s voice. A low rumble of rage swept through him that any female, much less the one staring back at him, would belong to such a male.

He listened as she spoke in a voice that was barely audible. She paused before ripping the cloth down from her nose and mouth. Her words were soft and it took a moment for the translator embedded in his ears to understand what she was saying.

His whole body tensed when she unwittingly rested her left hand on his stomach. The vibration of the purr that escaped him at her touch shocked him. The purr turned to a growl of anger when she jerked her hand off of him.