Their chemistry’s explosive. Too bad someone wants to blow them up.
Cat-girl space racer Sarr’ma Settazz’s plan: Enter the reality show The Great Space Race. Hide she’s also an engineer. Steal super-secret technology. Win. Easy-peasy bloxfruit squeezy!
Falling for her grumpy, overprotective, smoking-hot human race teammate? Not in the plan.
Miner Tripp Gallifer’s plan: Enter The Great Space Race. Protect his playful cat-girl teammate while she handles the actual flying. Win. Pray the psycho who kidnapped his sister will honor their bargain: Tripp keeps silent about the crime and hands over the prize money, and his sister goes free.
Falling for the brilliant female he glimpses behind Sarr’ma’s bouncy façade? Not in the plan.
Then the kidnapper ups the game to attempted murder and all secrets must be revealed—including their feelings. Sarr’ma and Tripp concoct a scheme worthy of the wildest reality show to save Tripp’s sister and themselves. But they’ll need to trust each other to pull it off. Will their love be enough to let them win the biggest prize of all?
“Sarma Sets,” a announcer said. No, the show’s primary host, a silver-haired human named Suede Harrington. As more and more racers were paired off, they were brining out the big guns.
“Sarr’ma Settazz,” she corrected. It sounded like alien music rolling off her tongue, with the rolled R’s and the glottal stop, and the way the S sounds seemed to go on forever. Her language wouldn’t be easy for a human to learn, he imagined, but it must be something to hear. Beautiful unless the speaker was pissed off, and then it could sound like hisses and snarls.READ MORE
“Sarr’ma Settazz.” Suede Harrington still didn’t pronounce it the way the cat-girl had, but it was closer. “Congratulations! You are partnered with human Tripp Gallifer from Nieves and together you’ll be Team Supernova! Tripp, step forward and meet your racemate! She’s a Merr…Murr…okay, I’m not even going to try. She’s a felinoid, all the way from the Milky Way Galaxy, where they also enjoy The Great Space Race thanks to our recently expanded broadcast range.”
Tripp forced himself to stand and take a few steps toward the girl. Be polite. Be gracious. You have to work together if you’re going to win—and you need to win. Kid or not, she has a lot more racing experience than you do.
People moved back to let him pass. He tended to have that effect in places that weren’t used to a miner’s muscular bulk.
He’d managed only a couple of steps before Sarr’ma leaped from her perch, ending up with arms, legs, and tail wrapped around his startled body. His arms acted without his brain’s conscious command to catch her. She was heavier than he’d expected. With his arms around her, he felt wiry muscle under her hot skin. She was only obviously furred on ears and tail, but seemed to sport a soft coating on the rest of her skin, so she was the texture of velvet. Cream-colored velvet tipped with cinnamon. Heated velvet.
Not the image he needed, not when he could imagine himself wrapped in that hot softness so easily.
“Hi, Mr. Gallifer!” she chirruped in that sweet, lilting voice. “Or do you prefer Tripp?”
“Tripp’s fine…” He tried to ease her down, but she clung.
“We’re going to have so much fun, Tripp! This race is going to be cosmic,” she announced to him, and to the universe at large. “And we’re going to win this thing.”
While he was still processing that, trying to come up with a snappy answer to placate the audience, she kissed his cheek, then slid down his body in what was either the most deliberately provocative dance move he’d ever experienced or another example of her species’ casual approach to modesty and physicality.