A lengthy and increasingly unnerving interview lands Ursula a job as the event planner at a foreign embassy. Not until the government hustles her off to a different planet does she realize just how foreign that embassy is. When the U.S. ambassador hands over one of her coworkers during her first event as collateral to seal a trade agreement, Ursula breaks out of the embassy, determined to find a way back home before she, too, can be used as a bargaining chip in this world desperate for females.
What she doesn’t know as she navigates the unfamiliar streets of a totally alien culture and climate, is that she already caught the attention of a native warrior triad in a land where women are coddled and kept, yet prized above all else. They take her, elated to have obtained their collective heart's desire.
What they don’t know is how fiercely independent a woman from Earth can be. Disoriented, confused, and not a little angry at the way these three overbearing, dominant, sexy warriors take over her life, she wants to go home, but soon discovers this job was a one-way ticket courtesy of the United States government. If she can’t go back, she must go forward. Can she retain her identify and adapt to life on this new world with the three warriors who’ve claimed her as their mate? Is compromise possible between a woman used to controlling her own life and three warriors steeped in a culture that forbids it?
“Well, go on, Miss Cartwright. Up the ramp. The wormhole is open.”
“Miss Cartwright, you’re stalling.”
“You’ve been dishonest with me, Mr. Argosie. I never agreed to somewhere in outer space.”
The fat man frowned. “Miss Cartwright, you have two choices.”
The two soldiers drew pistols from the holsters at their hips and aimed them at her. Her eyes went wide with fright. Her sphincter clenched.
“You go through that portal or we kill you, because what you know cannot be divulged beyond this facility.”
“No one would believe me,” she muttered. “No matter. Make your choice now.”
Ursula swallowed the lump of fear clogging her throat and stepped forward, eyes locked on the black hole in the center of the room. Formed like an arched doorway, the gleaming metallic rim flashed with sparkles of sudden color like black opal. Her heels echoed in the nearly empty chamber as she trudged up the steel ramp toward an open doorway large enough for a Clydesdale to trot through. No sound penetrated the opening. She looked back over her shoulder. The grim expressions and leveled pistols convinced her to go forward. At least she had a chance of surviving by doing so.
She did not want to think there were worse things than death, but the thought occurred to her anyway.
She paused in front of the black void beyond the arched door frame and listened. No sound. She saw nothing. The world oubilette came to mind and she shuddered again. Ursula’s heart pounded as she crossed herself and whispered a quick prayer.
“Miss Cartwright, don’t make me push you through,” Mr. Argosie snapped with obvious impatience.
Ursula’s hand trembled with fear as she raised it with the intention of testing the portal with a finger, like dipping a toe into a pool to test the water. The empty blackness clamped down on her finger and sucked the rest of her through, her frightened yelp of surprise abruptly cut off before it could echo within the large, nearly empty room.
Flashes of color burst before her eyes and vanished as something squeezed her in its crushing grip and then spat her out. Frost rimed her exposed skin and she crumpled at the base of the portal, shivering uncontrollably.
“Quickly! Get her to the recovery room,” an authoritative, masculine voice ordered.
Hands grabbed her shoulders and legs and shifted her onto a stretcher. Ursula blinked, but could not focus her blurry vision. She whimpered when straps anchored her to the stretcher.
“Damn it,” the voice muttered as the loaded stretcher was hefted into the air and carried away. “I wish Argosie would better prepare new hires for the journey.”
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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