Loving the Vargi
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Published by: Claire Davon
Release Date: 1/24/23
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After years slaving away at a dead-end job, Laurel gets the chance to join a party welcoming the Vargi—a peaceful extra-terrestrial race—to her city. Even better, it puts her in close proximity to a Vargi whose sun-colored skin and rich golden hair have filled her fantasies since the moment he first appeared on her TV screen.
Just as she’s daydreaming about what’s under his uniform, bullets fly from the direction of a band of “Aliens go home” protesters. Acting on sheer instinct, Laurel throws herself between her Vargi and danger.
Ting’arak never felt the impulse to bind himself to anyone. Until now—with the Terran sprawled across his body. But it’s impossible. He shouldn’t be wondering if her eyes are really as blue as the rare flowers on his home planet, or if her yellow hair feels as soft as it looks.
Thrown together to track down the would-be assassins, Ting and Laurel share a kiss that flares into passion. But when his secret plan to trap the culprits backfires, her courage could be the very thing that separates them forever…
Note: Loving the Vargi was previously published under the title Aliens Among Us as part of the My Alien Lover anthology. Other than a few minor tweaks, it is essentially unchanged from its original edition.
The blip of sirens signaled the arrival of more police. Soon, they would be scouring the area and questioning attendees. Whoever had tried to take potshots at the Vargi would not stay free long. If the gunmen had not already left, they were idiots. To her surprise, some folks from the Terran Alliance protest remained, holding placards and waving their fists. They had to be aware they would be at the top of the suspect list.
“I’m not sure,” she whispered back. “It has to be the Terran Alliance. It doesn’t make sense, though. Why here? If they were trying to make a statement, Washington D.C. is a better target.”
“Maybe the asshole is local. This could have been a crime of opportunity. The Terran Alliance is small here, but it exists.” He nodded to the barricade. “As is clear.”
Laurel bit her lip, mulling that over.
“They had to understand what would happen if they killed a Vargi. They would not have rested until they caught him or her. It’s going to be bad enough as it is.”
Raji made a gesture with his shoulders. “Zealots don’t always think about the consequences.”
“True. Good point.” Her attention went to the tiny crowd remaining. Though they were quieter, she still made out their chants of “Humans first, humans first,” along with, “Go home, aliens,” and “You’re not wanted here.” Laurel narrowed her eyes at the crowd. “If it was one of them, they’re not acting very afraid.”
“That may be a smoke screen. Something isn’t adding up. You threw yourself right into the line of fire. You could have been killed. Why did you do it?”
She shook her head, unwilling to articulate the truth to her friend. “Instinct, I guess. I just reacted.”
The dark red-tinted Vargi someone had called Zabena was checking her and Raji out with a speculative gleam. Raji followed the direction of the man’s attention and made a choked noise.
“Whatever you say. I think Ran...someone…needs me.” He stepped away from her, casting Zabena a terrified glance as he backed to the safety of their coworkers. Laurel couldn’t blame him for his fright.
She was surprised she wasn’t already being held. She’d be a suspect for sure. If the situation were reversed, she’d have a million questions for the Terran who had protected a stranger for no reason.
Zabena’s focused glare told her she was not out of the woods. She’d risked her future for a man—an ET—she’d never met. If she read the story on the news, she wouldn’t believe it.
As she watched, Zabena went to the microphone. “One more question.” He picked a hand from the furious babble around him. When he selected his last interviewer, his attention once again went to her. Laurel shivered under his cool dark scrutiny. He was not someone she believed would be a good idea to cross.
Laurel shook her head, using the opportunity to slide her gaze behind the Vargi called Zabena. When she did so, the one she’d saved was watching her. A delightful shiver skittered across Laurel’s nerve endings. His eyes were dark brown, but not a shade found in humans. His body had been taut and firm under hers, and her skin tingled at the remembered warmth of him.
Zabena signaled an end to the proceedings and the reporters began filing out. Laurel started to join her boss and the others, but a hand stopped her before she took a step. She glanced up into the broad, red-skinned face of the Vargi who had helped them after the danger was over. His hand circled her limb, his fingers touching around her forearm. She didn’t try and jerk away. She had no hope of breaking his implacable grip.
“You are coming with us.”