aHunter4Fire by Cynthia Clement
He’s bound to his code, but she’s the one he wants. Will love bring them together, or will duty tear them apart?
Firbin is part of the attack on an Albireon stronghold when he rescues Marissa. His expertise in weapons and explosives is needed for the continued skirmish, but he can’t abandon the woman he is starting to bond with.
The last thing Marissa remembers is speaking with her boss, the CEO of a multi-national oil company. When a new lethal weapon is used against the Hunters, it is imperative that they track down the location of the devices before they are unleashed on the human race. Will Marissa be able to help them locate the deadly armaments?
As the pair work to stay alive, tensions flare and sparks fly. Can Firbin and his team find the weapon before it is too late? Dare Marissa believe that the bond between them is real?
aHunter4Fire is the seventh book in a series of standalone sci-fi romance novels. If you like space travel, gorgeous aliens, and sweet romance, then you’ll love the seventh installment of Cynthia Clement’s aHunter4Hire series.
Buy aHunter4Fire to take a chance on alien love today!
Targeted Age Group:: Adult Audiences
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 3 – PG-13
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
An interest in strange occurrences, the unexplained, and romance, led me to writing Science Fiction Romance. This is the seventh book in the aHunter4Hire series. Firbin is one of the alien Hunters and my readers have asked that he have his own story. Firbin's special expertise with explosives and weapons makes him instrumental in any battle. His youth and easy going character means that the woman he bonds with would have to be special. I believe that Marissa is the perfect mate for Firbin. She is smart, well-educated, and on track to becoming a senior executive in a major corporation. All of this changes when she finds herself being rescued by Firbin.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I asked myself what I would do if I saw a spaceship crash? Then I wondered what would happen if there were survivors. Out of those questions came the aHunter4Hire series, where a unit of elite alien warriors crash land on earth. They live by a strict code of honor, defend women and children, and fight for justice. As they assimilate into human society, they also find their one true mate. Firbin's story stems from his expertise with explosives and the unusual circumstances that lead to him finding his mate.
Marissa wanted out of this nightmare.
The world had gone crazy and she was caught in the middle.
The day had started out normal enough. She’d gone to the office and worked on the reports her boss had requested. He had asked her to bring them to his residence, so after work, she’d driven to the hotel where he lived and given him the briefs. Everything had seemed normal until she’d handed him an invitation he’d received in the mail that day.
The rest was a blur.
Now she was being held by some strange creature and two military-looking men were brandishing guns at her. She’d just about had enough of this. She moved to push away from the pale hairless creature and the world started to spin. The little guy looked fragile, but that was an illusion. He was stronger than he looked.
“Let me go.” She used her most authoritative voice. “You’re hurting me.”
The creature answered with a garbled noise. It wasn’t quite a laugh, but it wasn’t a language she understood either. She inhaled a deep breath and focused all her energy on getting herself released. She had four brothers who’d taught her how to defend herself. She’d also taken a woman’s self-defense course in university.
This was the first time she’d had a chance to use her training.
She twisted backwards at the same time as she grabbed the creature’s long fingers and pulled them away from her body. Marissa then swung her free elbow back into the creature’s face. He squealed in a loud voice. As soon as she hit him, his grip released and she stumbled out of his grasp.
Everything else happened in slow motion.
She fell to her knees just as the loud retort of a gun echoed in the room.
The air sizzled with a vibrational energy that she could feel to the tips of her toes and then the creature shook and sank to the ground. His body was scorched and burned. She had to blink a couple of times to be certain it had actually happened. She gulped and looked at the men near the door. They still had their weapons in their hands. She was next.
Loud and piercing.
That was the only thing that would wake her from this nightmare. She didn’t know when she’d fallen asleep, but she’d had enough. Dreams were supposed to be messages about your state of being and she really didn’t want to examine what this one said about her.
One of the men crouched down in front of her.
It was the big hunky one.
He was cute in a boyish kind of way. He reached out and touched her arm. A jolt of electricity passed through her. She shivered and looked into his dark eyes. He was frowning.
“Don’t kill me.”
“A Hunter never harms a woman.”
“Why should I believe you?”
“I am an elite warrior.” His voice had a soothing effect on her nerves. “The best in the universe.”
“We only have your word for it.” The other man holding the gun stood beside them. “The Albireons are dead in here. We need to move on.”
“Can you walk?” the man who called himself Hunter asked. His voice was soft, almost as if he was afraid to speak too loud.
Marissa struggled to stand. Hunter gave her his hand and despite the shock that rushed up her arm, she accepted his help. Her legs were wobbly, the heels on one of her shoes was broken, and her head ached. Her vision wasn’t so good either. It was blurry and when she turned to look at what was left of the dead creature, the room spun.
“What was it?”
“An Albireon.” Hunter took her elbow and led her to the door. “We must leave this place. There may be more here.”
“I think they drugged her.” The other guy leaned close and looked into her eyes. “We should leave her here. She’s not going to be able to keep up with the team.”
“I will carry her.” Hunter’s voice was definite.
A surge of gratitude rushed through Marissa. It might only be a dream but it felt good to know that she wouldn’t be abandoned in this place.
“It is not your decision,” Hunter said.
“Thank God.” Marissa mumbled. She turned to the man who wanted to desert her. “What’s your name?”
“Gus.” He frowned at her. “Look lady, we’re in the middle of a battle and we don’t have time to cater to you.”
“I’m in the middle of a nightmare and I don’t like your attitude.” Marissa snapped her fingers. “Why don’t you disappear?”
Instead of vanishing, the brute started to laugh. “They must have given you some damn good drugs.”
“Can you walk?” Hunter asked.
Marissa pushed away from Hunter and straightened her shoulders. They were in a long hall that had doors on both sides. Everywhere there was evidence of fire. Scorch marks climbed up the walls and there were holes in the floor. An awful smell of chlorine and sulfur hung in the air. Someone was going to have to answer for all these safety violations.
“What happened here?”
“I told you. You’re in the middle of a war.” Gus shook his head and walked away.
“Why is he so hostile?”
Hunter grinned. “He’s human. You’ll have to excuse him.”
Marissa started to giggle. She couldn’t help herself. It was so ridiculous, but true. Sometimes, she wondered about the people that surrounded her at work. They were self-absorbed with themselves and making money. She looked over at Hunter. He was the exception. He was all man; tall with firm muscles, and a gorgeous smile. There was nothing not to like about him.
He was unlike any of the other men in her life.
“I’m glad you’re in this dream with me.”
“So am I.” Hunter eased his hand around her back. “We need to move swiftly. If you can’t keep up, I will carry you.”
“I’ll do my best.”
They jogged after Gus. He was several yards ahead of them, and just as he came to a corner, a man in a dark suit jumped out and pointed a staff at him. Gus vanished right before her eyes. Marissa swallowed back the nausea that rose in her throat.
She might have said she wanted him to disappear, but she’d hardly expected it to happen. Before she could move, Hunter had pushed her behind him and he was firing his weapon. The world seemed to crackle with energy and then the man was lying on the floor.
Hunter kept her behind him as they walked toward the body.
Marissa clung to the pack he carried on his back.
Somewhere in the recesses of her mind, a voice kept saying that this wasn’t a dream. Marissa forced the voice to be silent. This had to be a dream. If it were real, then Gus was dead. Hunter stopped. Marissa peered around him to look on the ground. Blood was everywhere and the man who’d made Gus disappear was lying in the center of it.
“Where is Gus?” Her voice was barely a whisper.
“He is gone.” Hunter used his foot to move the metallic staff away from the dead man’s body. “There is honor dying in battle.”
“It’s my fault.” Marissa choked back her horror. “If I hadn’t snapped my fingers he’d still be in my dream.”
Hunter picked up the weapon. “Gus forgot one of the important rules of battle. He did not anticipate his enemy’s next move.”
“This has to be a dream.” Marissa’s breath caught in her throat as the full implication of what had happened hit her. “Otherwise he really is dead.”
“He is dead.” There was no emotion in Hunter’s voice. “We must join the others. Stay behind me.”
Marissa wasn’t going to argue. If this wasn’t a dream, then there could be other creatures roaming these halls and killing people. She wasn’t going to take that chance. She didn’t even know where she was. She’d visited many factories in her position as Executive Assistant to the CEO of a large corporation, but she didn’t remember this one. More importantly, she didn’t know how she had gotten here.
They moved fast. There were other pale-skinned creatures lying dead on the floor of the open rooms that they passed. Hunter paused before each one and shot them with his weapon. They were scorched instantly. A couple of times he shot them with the staff he’d picked up from the man who’d killed Gus. They vaporized just as Gus had done.
Movement was helping clear her brain.
“We must find my boss, Douglas Norcott.”
“Was he with you?”
“The last thing I remember is talking to him at his home in Vegas.” Marissa frowned as she tried to remember what had happened. “He was speaking on the phone.”
“Was that when you were captured?”
“I can’t remember.” Marissa tried to stop the panic that threatened to consume her. “Something happened in the office.”
She didn’t want to examine her memory too closely, but she knew that she had to find Douglas. If she’d been taken to this place, then he must be here also. They’d been planning strategy for their meeting with the Saudi government about their latest oil acquisitions in that country. Douglas had been adamant that she travel with him to Saudi and insisted that she bring him the reports that afternoon. It was late in the day, but she had made the trip to his place. They were supposed to finalize travel arrangements.
They turned a corner and were met by a crowd of men carrying weapons. She grabbed Hunter’s shoulder. He grinned back at her.
“They are with us.”
It sounded safe and comfortable. Marissa held that close because she didn’t know who she could trust. Hunter was the only one she could rely on. He’d saved her. Gus had only wanted to shoot her or leave her to fend for herself.
“Have you completed the search?” A man who looked almost identical to Hunter stopped in front of them.
“The floor below is clear.”
“All the Albireons are dead.” Hunter held out the strange rod-shaped weapon. “A human working with them was using this.”
“We must warn the others.” The man’s eyes narrowed. “It was to be expected that they would share and use their own technology. We hadn’t anticipated that the Albireons would have discovered the Ancients’ Staff.”
Hunter handed it to the other man. “It is very effective.”
“Where is Gus?”
Another man wearing a military uniform interrupted. He’d come from the stairwell and pushed his way over to them. She’d seen plenty of his type since she started working for KT Oil. He was at least six feet tall with short-cropped dark hair. Under different circumstances she would have found him attractive, but right now his dark blue eyes were flashing impatience.
“Dead.” Marissa didn’t hide the horror she felt.
The military man looked at her. “Where did you pick her up?”
“The Albireons had her in an experiment room.” Hunter eased her to his side. “Gus wanted to leave her.”
“I agree.” The military guy put his hands on his hips. “We can’t bring her with us.”
The effects of the drug that was in her system were wearing off. Marissa could see clearly that she had walked into some sort of military operation. This was no dream. Despite the obvious seriousness of the situation, that didn’t excuse bad manners.
“I’m grateful you guys rescued me.” Marissa pointed her finger at the military guy. “I wish you would stop talking like I’m not here. I have perfectly good ears and what I’m hearing is that you don’t give a damn about what happens to me.”
“He is concerned about the battle.” Hunter shifted the pack on his back. “We will not leave you behind. It is important that we get to the upper levels before our presence is detected.”
“I agree. I am Yagar.” The man who looked like Hunter held out his hand.
Marissa hesitated a second before shaking it. She didn’t want another shock like Hunter had given her. These guys looked like secret, black-ops-military. They might all be connected to an experimental monitoring system that stunned anyone who got too close. She didn’t have to worry. There was no shock. Just a warm firm clasp before he freed her hand.
Yagar pointed to Hunter. “You have met Firbin.”
Marissa shook her head. “He is Hunter.”
Firbin grinned. “I am a Hunter. My name is Firbin.”
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