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Penny’s Protector

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Ruby Dixon

Language:
English
ISBN/ ASIN:
B082FQ4ZZ8
Book Information:

S’bren doesn’t realize what a mess he’s stepping in when he steals me away. He just wants to resonate. Sweet, right? But his methods are all wrong and resonance doesn’t look as if it’s happening anytime soon for either of us.

So I’m going to use this time away from the camp as an opportunity. We’re going to go exploring and not return to the beach camp until I’m good and ready. It’s one part punishment for him – being my guide – and one part adventure for me. We’ll have fun, swing from some vines in the fruit cave, and then return to Icehome when we’re good and ready.

What’s not part of the plan? Falling in love. Matters of the heart are tricky when the khui gets the final say…and mine is totally silent.

Books by Author:

Ruby Dixon Books

1

PENNY

I bite my lip, watching as the big, awkward alien approaches me on the beach. I can tell—I can just TELL—that this is going to get weird. It’s pretty much gotten weird every time S’bren’s approached me, and ever since the team games? S’bren’s been approaching a lot.

Poor thing has a crush, I think.

It’s to be expected. Not because I think I’m such hot shit, but because the aliens from the island thought they’d never get the chance to have mates or families. There were no females alive when Lauren and Mari discovered the tribes, and so they came to the mainland just before the island sank (or exploded, or whatever it is islands do when a volcano erupts and takes everything down with it). Ever since the island clans arrived, they’ve been googly-eyed over the single girls. It’s been fun to flirt and get so much male attention, but I never take it too far. I always remind myself that these guys need to be treated gently. That I can’t let anyone assume too much. That I just need to be friendly to everyone and let the chips fall where they may.

After all, it seems like I’m not the one that gets to decide, anyhow. It’s the cootie. I’m my own woman until that happens, and once it does…well, I’ll think about that later. Suffice to say, it’s not a big deal if you take a “pleasure” mate beforehand, but I think pretty much all of us have vetoed that idea. It’s not that we don’t want to hook up. I’m sure there’s a few of us that have itches that need some serious scratching. It’s that after what happened with Bridget? All of us are a little terrified of letting one of the guys think it’s more than just sex.

Bridget hooked up with A’tam and A’tam practically thought it was wedding vows. Then, Bridget ran scared and it’s been chaos ever since. These guys don’t know the meaning of “friends with benefits,” or “casual sex,” or “one-night stand.” They know “mine” and “mate” and “forever.”

So yeah, even Tia, bless her flirty little heart, knows not to go too far.

But S’bren might end up being my own personal problem. I sit on the sand, my arms resting on my knees, and pretend to stare out into the icy waters. I’m supposed to be watching O’jek spear-fishing because I did say I wanted to learn. But the moment I saw S’bren’s big body heading down the beach in my direction, I got distracted. Every time S’bren comes to talk to me, it gets…awkward. He’s like that weird, nerdy guy in the back of the class that never talked to anyone. Well, no, that’s not exactly right. He’s not nerdy. He’s just…odd. I keep my gaze focused on the waters, even as I watch him approach in my peripheral vision. Maybe he’ll keep going. Maybe he’ll keep going. Maybe he’s not coming over to talk to me. It might just be coincidence.

S’bren pauses a short distance away, maybe fifty feet. Just far enough for me to be acutely aware, but not so far that I can ignore him. He stays there…and waits.

Eventually, I can’t take the pretending any longer. I turn and look over at him, giving the alien a friendly smile. “Morning, S’bren.”

He freezes. His color shifts in a flurry, matching the sand, then the ocean, then drifting back to the normal ice blue of the island clans. His forehead seems dark, as if flushed, and he says nothing. Just mutely holds out a fish.

See? Weird.

“Um, no thank you?” I point at the spear at my side, next to my folded net. “I’m good.”

His big, broad face turns down in a frown. He gestures at the fish, holding it out to me again. “You are about to fish. Now you do not have to.”

I keep smiling, because it’s sweet of him to try and feed me, but he’s missing the point. “I’m here to learn, though. I want to be self-sufficient.”

“If you had a mate, he would feed you.” He lowers the fish, studying it for a moment. “You would not need to learn.”

Annnnnd it just got awkward. Poor thing. I feel nothing but pity for S’bren, who’s just darn weird. I’m used to the guys not knowing how to flirt. It’s fun to tease but I never take it further than a tease. I don’t want to lead anyone on, but apparently I’ve somehow snared S’bren with my wiles…I guess? I rack my brain, trying to think of what I did that would have made him latch onto me. Did I smile too long? Laugh too hard at someone’s joke? What? “I want to learn,” I say again, gently. “It’s important to me.”

His forehead flushes even darker at the base of his horns. “I can feed you. I would take care of you, P’nee. Even without resonance.”


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