Title: Alien and the Beast
Word count: 74,000
Genre: YA sci-fi romance
Dora's had enough of planet Earth. That glorious conquest her elders intended? It didn't go according to plan, not at all.
Now she's lonely, stranded in a spaceship in the snowy backwoods of Maine. Defeated ex-warriors make glum company. Of course, she can talk to her little sisters ripening in the gestational vat, or her future mate, currently a thread of frozen DNA. She can venture outside and frolic--cautiously--with pine trees. There's just one important rule: never ever get caught. Humans are such sore winners.
So it's a bad day when she runs smack into one. He's a beast, with the strength of a neutronium hull and the manners of a vat-baby and--just because he lost a parent in the war--a grudge against aliens as deep as the dent on his chin.
Nabbing an extraterrestrial is the best thing seventeen-year-old Luke Beaumont ever did. The bounty he’ll collect on the brutal killer will help support his fatherless family and pay his college tuition. It doesn’t matter that NECO--the National Extraterrestrial Control Organization--will promptly dissect her. Aliens feel no pain. Besides, it's not like he has a choice. Evading determined NECO agents would be impossible.
But it’s a long drive from the woods where he found her back to civilization where authorities wait with an autopsy table and scalpels. And Luke never knew aliens could be so…human.
First 250 words:
To Dora's surprise, the old ones caught a human and brought him home for dinner. Well, not all of him.
Old Barney descended into the buried lifeship, bringing a swirl of Earth's unfriendly atmosphere and a dusting of snow. And a sack that sloshed, deliciously. His purple eyes gleamed.
The clan sat along the table in the correct order, Dora at the very end. They clapped their spoons against the surface with metallic sparks of applause. “Pour it out!"
Dora's mouth watered, too.
Ancient Mickey dipped his head. “This may have been unwise."
“We are tired of deer," said Old Barney, ladling dinner into silver bowls.
Ancient Mickey frowned. “Have you forgotten human nature? Eat one, you excite the rest. We risk discovery.” He tilted his wrinkled head up, toward the planet's surface, where discoverers might lurk.
Dora really hoped not.
Old Barney puffed. "These were not the connected sort of humans, I could tell. The others won’t care."
Dora stared at her bowl. How did one distinguish connected humans from other kinds? This blood smelled nourishing, and sweet, and something else.
This blood smelled dangerous.
She put down her spoon. "I thought humans never came this deep into the woods.”
Old Barney cleared his throat. Improper, questioning an elder, unless it was your parent. She didn't have any of those, so she had no one to ask except the other Youngs. And since they remained curled and ripening in the vat, they couldn't answer. They just floated, silent as the slick white floors of the stranded ship.