Title: The Vessel
Author: Nancy Fraser
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
A career soldier, Major Liam McGregor has been following strict military orders for over a decade. Considered one of the best by his superiors, it’s not surprising he’s the operative chosen for an assignment that, if successful, could save mankind.
Years earlier, chemical warfare left the women of earth sterile and the population is dwindling fast. The only hope for survival lies in the government scientists’ ability to successfully breed alien females with healthy human males. So far, their attempts have been mediocre at best.
Alora, second daughter of the House of Delawon, is their last hope. A government protectee since her family’s transport crash landed on earth years earlier, she is the last surviving fempod from Tethys, one of Saturn’s habitable moons.
Together Liam and Alora must travel from the government’s safe house in what used to be the state of Colorado to Traverse City, the new capitol of the United Republic. Their route takes through both safe and hostile territory.
What poses more of a threat? The lawless marauders who’ll stop at nothing to vanquish their prey? Or, the forbidden desires tempting the soldier and the alien princess?
Liam took a seat behind the desk and sank into the soft leather of the non-military-issue chair. Closing his eyes, he leaned back against the cushioned headrest and waited for the arrival of his charge.
“This is the man who’s supposed to protect me?”
Liam’s eyes snapped open, his gaze coming to rest on the tall, curvy fempod in front of him. Were it not for the unusual blue tint to her skin, and her multicolored hair, she looked almost human.
Dr. Williams snickered. “Cut the boy some slack, Alora. Major McGregor’s been traveling for days just to get here.”
“He looks rather lazy to me,” Alora said, her sarcastic jab lost amid the smoky, honey-and-whiskey quality of her voice.
Liam shook his head, dislodging both her unusual appearance and sexy voice from his thoughts. “Sorry to disappoint you, Alora of Dela...uh..Dela-ˮ
“Delawon,” she bit out. “Alora, second daughter of the first house of Delawon.”
Oh great! She has a title, too. His jaw clenched. He’d been assigned escort duty for a sarcastic alien princess. A fact both Barrow and his boss had failed to mention.
“If you two will excuse me,” Dr. Williams said, motioning toward the lab, “I’ve got work to do.” Exiting the cramped, six-by-six office, Williams shut the door behind him.
Alora seated herself in the chair opposite his, raised her head, and met his gaze. Her eyes, a darker shade of blue than her skin, sparked with amusement. “So, how does this work?” she asked. “You stuff me in the back of your assault wagon, and I cower in fear until we reach the government’s precious medical lab?”
The thought of stuffing her in the cargo hold of the Humvee was not without merit.
“No. I was planning on letting you sit up front with me. However, if you’d prefer something more contained, I can arrange it.”
“What I’d prefer,” she said, a long sigh accentuating her words, “is transport back to Tethys. The sooner the better.”
He shrugged, taking care to emphasize the lift and fall of his shoulders in order to convey his disinterest. “Sorry. I left Betsy in the garage back in Traverse City and drove here instead.”
“My intersystem shuttle. I thought landing it near this rather obscure location might draw unwanted attention. Not that the steel fences and guardhouse haven’t already given the location away.”
She raised and lowered her gaze, measuring him from head to mid-chest before being interrupted by the top of the cluttered desk. “Are you capable of protecting me, Major McGregor? Your government’s record in that regard is shaky at best.”
He gave her the same up-and-down perusal then wished he hadn’t. Despite her alien origin, she was one fine-looking woman. Her clothing accentuated her unusual look, the short-skirted dress comprised of spun threads and metallic fibers.
“I assure you, Alora of Delawon, you’re safe with me. Assuming, of course, you follow the rules.”
“First rule. Whatever I say goes. I’m the expert here, and should we run into trouble, I may have to think fast and improvise.”
“Improvise? I thought there was a plan.”
He pressed his thumb and forefinger to the bridge of his nose and squeezed, his intent to ward off an impending headache. “There is a plan. However, marauders who venture onto District lands don’t adhere to a set schedule.”
“Are you armed?”
Her question caught him by surprise. He stood and brushed his hand across the automatic weapon at his hip. “Two sidearms, a sheathed knife large enough and strong enough to penetrate most metals, and these.” He held up his hands and twisted them back and forth at the wrist, providing the princess with his version of a royal wave.
“They’re quite capable of killing a man in less than five seconds.”
Once he’d returned to his seat, she asked, “What is rule number two, Major?”
“When we stop for food and rest, we will need to appear to be...ah...together, as a couple. We want to remove any and all indications this is a military operation. For my part, I’ve traded my uniform for something a bit more pedestrian. If you have other clothing, more suited with our surroundings, it would be good to wear those items.”
“I suppose you should call me Liam, rather than Major. The familiarity will support our cover story.”
“That we’re a couple...an alien and human couple,” she said, pinpointing his biggest concern.
“Yes. It’s not as unrealistic as it might seem. Quite a few of my fellow officers are married to men and women from other planets. The practice is far more prevalent now than it was even five years ago.”
Alora closed her eyes, released a long sigh, and rolled her shoulders, the slow, deliberate motion drawing his attention to the change in her demeanor. The bluish tint of her skin faded to a flesh-colored hue. The rainbow shades of her shoulder-length hair settled into a silky chestnut brown.
She held her hand up for his inspection. “Is this pedestrian enough for you, Liam?”
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
The witching season shouldn’t be limited to an “earthly” holiday. There are always an abundance of aliens running around begging for candy. Who’s to say some of them aren’t real? The Vessel is all about a by-the-book military hero and a wise-cracking alien princess who has a penchant for asking inappropriate, albeit hilarious, questions. A great fantasy romance with a big dose of humor make it perfect for the spooky season.
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 32 books featured in the Scary Reads for Halloween Event:
Runs October 27 – 31, 2020.
Winner will be drawn on November 3, 2020.
NANCY FRASER—Jumping Across Romance Genres with Gleeful Abandon—is an Amazon Top 100 and Award-Winning author who can’t seem to decide which romance genre suits her best. So, she writes them all.
Like most authors, Nancy began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.
Published in multiple genres, Nancy actively writes for two publishers, and recently threw her hat into the self-publishing ring. She has published over thirty-five books in full-length, novella, and short format.
When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.
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