First Page – A Kiss For A Cure by Sidney Bristol
Christmas presents were not supposed to move.
Jordan froze, staring at the seven-foot-long box wrapped in silvery paper. The one sent by her parents. Her heart pounded so hard she could hear it. No, that pounding came from the box. From inside the box.
Blood drained from her extremities. Her chest constricted until she panted for breath.
What had her parents done this time? She clenched her hands and gritted her teeth. In the history of bad, over-the-top and gaudy presents, she feared this might be the worst.
She turned her back on it and put a hand to her stomach. She needed to sit down, preferably on something soft and forgiving, but her furniture had yet to be delivered. The only furniture in her new quarters was her bed. Everything else was packed up in the utilitarian beige plastos she’d purchased secondhand from a shipper to get her things to university. They showed their age with scrapes and dented sides, but they were so sturdy nothing had ever been broken in moving them from place to place. Plastos were stacked against the walls, in groupings in the middle of the floor, and in her bedroom. Everywhere. Her new quarters looked like a cargo hold.
Again, the pounding came from the box, but louder. She jumped and spun to face the box. Whatever was in there wanted out. She leaned against the wall and stared at the silvery paper. Light from the floor-to-ceiling windows made glimmering patterns against the surface of the package. She could escape the room, since her upgraded quarters had a real bedroom and a kitchenette, but whatever was in the box would still be there.
Sucking in a deep breath, she crept toward it until she could touch the top with her fingertips. It was cool against her skin, even through the paper. Bending, she put her ear against it and gently rapped. The box rang hollow.
Maybe she’d heard something in the Center clanging. There was always the chance there was construction going on over the holidays since most people were away for several weeks. Or maybe one of her plastos had fallen.
Something knocked from inside the box.
“Oh crap,” she muttered. A sense of dread settled in her stomach. What was she going to do? What had her parents saddled her with this time?
She jumped as more pounding reverberated through her new quarters. Her fingers and toes froze over from all the blood rushing straight to her head. As much as she wanted to ignore this new problem, it wasn’t going away on its own.
Dropping to her knees, she reached for the nearest end of the package. She ran her fingers along the folds, breaking the adhesive. The paper came off in long strips, revealing an almost seamless steel box. The gleaming surface revealed nothing about the contents. Rising to her feet, she pressed a hand to her stomach. She had a bad feeling about this. This was not a shipping plasto. It was a stasis chamber. She’d never seen one this close before. They were an outdated form of long distance space travel. You laid down for a nap, a polite attendant stowed you on the ship and you woke up at your destination. People used these. Or at least humanoid races. She circled the chamber on wobbly legs. On the other side, she found a keypad with two buttons. One was red, the other green.
“Please be something small and fuzzy,” she whispered, squeezing her eyes shut. If she’d ever believed in old St. Nick, now would be the time for him to listen to her wishes.
What’s a girl to do when her parents gift her with a man for Christmas?
Caught between two kingdoms, Jordan has given up the privileged world of intergalactic court life to become an interstellar biologist researching space sharks. Unexpectedly saddled with a husband from a race who are rumored to be sex fiends, her life is yanked in a direction she doesn’t want.
But Cai isn’t human and he must have the emotional feedback of a mate in order to survive. Charged with protecting Jordan, can he win her heart and keep her safe from harm?
Will they survive the challenges that arise…sexual, emotional and political? Time is ticking away and it’s not on their side.
A Lyrical Press Science Fiction Romance