Destiny is a strange thing. Changing our life paths dramatically with every twist and turn.
Nothing held more true for Captain Kari Hanley.
With a mission to complete and people to save, she won’t let destiny stop her. One way or another she will finish what she started.
Returning home poses all new problems, putting lives in danger, and causing secrets to be revealed. When an odd ship appears, seemingly out of nowhere, research reveals Captain Kari may have just found the solution to a burning problem her team is facing.
Will it be enough to handle this newest foe?
Will the relationships so recently forged hold against the strain and pressure, or will they break with the tension?
*Saving the Sautiitions is the second book in the Among the Cosmos series and which must be read in order. This is an alien-human romance that contains explicit sexual scenes, hostage situations, and graphic language suitable for +18 audience. Please read at your own risk.*
Release date: January 20, 2022
Print pages: 127
Reader says this book is...: action-packed (1) realistic characters (1) sex scenes (1) strong heroine (1) terrific writing (1)
Content advisory: contains explicit sexual scenes, hostage situations, and graphic language suitable for +18 audience.
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Saving the Sautiitions
I close my eyes as I feel the wind caress my face, my hair blowing wildly around me. I inhale deeply as we approach the sea, and I have a sudden urge to dive into the water. It’s been a long time since I went swimming, and I miss it. There’s a gasp from behind me, and I grin, knowing why they’re shocked. I was too the first time I saw it.
I open my eyes, squinting, and lift my head from the seat, watching the buildings rise into view as we glide into the town. It looks much different during the day, busier and brighter. The sun glistens off the sea to our right, almost blinding in its brightness, but more beautiful than anything I’ve seen before. You can see the other planet clearly in the bright light of day. The brilliant blues and greens of it remind me of Earth, and I’m hit with a sudden wave of homesickness.
Before the Guardians gave me this new destiny, this new mission for my life if you will, I thought I would return home. I hoped to get some time to myself to enjoy being back on solid ground, to enjoy the smell of the sea at the beach. I’d give almost anything to feel sand between my toes as I sip on an iced tea, watching the dolphins jump in the distance.
It's sad to think that I’ll never return. I’ll always love Earth and miss it dearly, but this is my home now. I’ve found where I belong. These people care for me, they love me, help me, and I’m not alone anymore. I have a purpose much bigger than myself, much bigger than my people here, and that’s important to me. I won’t miss just being another body to those I left behind. I won’t miss being alone and constantly wishing my family would change and call me, worrying about me. All I ever had was Jeff, and he’s here with me now; the only family that truly mattered gets to share this new life with me.
I turn around to glance behind me, giggling as I see Willa’s wide eyes and slack jaw. Jeff doesn’t look much different as their heads swivel around to take it all in, as much as they can. I smile wide at the awe on their faces, remembering the first time I was driven here by Vahru. I must have looked just like them, and now I get to feel the joy he did at seeing such a reaction. Tonya and Melodia watch around us, but they seem unfazed. I’m assuming they’re used to such things, having come from a technologically advanced society.
I turn back around, my eyes stopping to take in Vahru. He grins as he drives us along, and I smile as my heart fills with joy. I can’t help but study him a bit as we drive, my core clenching as I admire his features, the image of my hands wrapped around his horns flashing in my mind. He’s more than I could have ever asked for, and I’m glad that he’s going to be helping me with my missions. As much as I always thought I could handle anything on my own, I have to admit that having him here to back me up, support me, and be my emotional rock is incredibly helpful. It’s soothing to my soul to know that I have someone who understands me and can help me through it all.
He turns and smiles at me, his long hair whipping around him in the wind. He reaches over, putting one big hand on my thigh, and I squeeze it, loving the heat of his hand and the sparks his touch ignites within me. The noise of the city fades as we leave it, heading back out to open land, and I turn to watch for the sight of the ocean, wishing it was night so I could watch the glowing Konokos scuttle along the beach.
“It’s all so overwhelming. How do people handle living there?”
Willa’s sweet voice drifts from the backseat, and I turn my head to give her a smile. “When you’re used to all of that, it’s not a bother at all. For someone who’s never seen it, experienced none of that, it’s a lot to take in. Technology is very helpful in a lot of ways, but it can also be abused, just like anything else. I suppose that could be part of the how and why your people are so separated.”
“Our people. You’re one of us now.” Vahru winks at me, and I can’t help but blush. He’s right. I’ve accepted him and my position within his society, my job of protecting his people, his planet, and the universe when I can. They are my people now and will forever be.
“Right, our people.” I squeeze his hand again and smile wide, winking back at him. His fingers tighten on my thigh, and I squeeze them together as my libido rises despite the situation.
“I don’t understand. What can technology do to really help us?” Willa’s curiosity is adorable, and as I turn to talk to her, I notice Jeff grin, squeezing her hand in his. He must think so too.
“Well, there are machines that can wash clothes for you, so you don’t have to. They can even make clothes in factories, robots doing most of the work to make it go thousands of times faster. Ovens and microwaves to cook food ten times faster than a cauldron over a fire. Radios and televisions transmit news and entertainment so you can stay in the know. Labs are filled with special equipment to help them discover diseases and toxins that they can then make antidotes for, to prevent and cure sicknesses.”
Willa’s eyes grow as I list some of the first things that come to mind. “All that can be done with technology? How is any of that bad?”
Jeff glances at me, his eyebrows knitting together as he waits for me to continue explaining.
“Um, well, some people abuse technology. They use it to their advantage to hurt others or spread false information to the masses. Being able to talk to strangers across the planet on the internet is great, and can be helpful, but some people will lie to get information. They can hack into things and steal money or information to hurt others.”
I pause, looking at Vahru as memories of my attack in the lab come to the surface. I swallow down the lump in my throat at the memory and decide that it’s something worth explaining so she sees the depth of corruption that can come from the excess of information.
“Some people will misunderstand or misinterpret certain things, and then use that to hurt others as well. I was almost raped in the lab where Vahru works my first night here because human porn has been made available across the galaxies, and some now think we’re nothing more than dirty play things. He saved me, just in time, but because his coworker had watched human porn on the internet, he assumed I would be willing and easy. People like that can use technology to search for, track, and find people easily to hunt them and hurt them. I can see why the people are so divided. Life is much simpler without technology. But it’s easier and more convenient with it. My question is, what are we willing to compromise for each situation? Is there a compromise for both that could make all happy?”
Everyone is silent as they ponder that, and when the car comes to a stop, I whirl back around in my seat. I watch Vahru as he parks, sitting back and looking at me. He smiles and reaches for me, cupping my cheek.
“You will figure it out and fix this mess, I know it. And I’ll be here to help you every step of the way.” He leans in to kiss me, a soft kiss full of love and promise, and I hum in approval.
“We’ll be here for you too, Cap. Every step.” Jeff reaches through the seats to put a hand on my shoulder. I smile at him as Willa puts her hand on his arm for solidarity. The girls raise their tentacles in the back, and I have to fight the tears that threaten to gather and spill.
“One thing at a time, though, right? Let’s get this ship loaded and into space, shall we?” Vahru grins and hops out of the vehicle, jogging around to open my door, his hand extended. I grip it and slide out of the seat, right into his arms.
“You have a ship waiting for us?” I stare up into his swirling blue eyes, and he gives me an awkward grin.
“Sort of. I know of a ship that we can take. I just need to procure it. Trust me, I’ll get us on a ship and out to space by tonight.”
I stretch up on my toes, my hands on his chest as I kiss him roughly, pouring my soul into it. When I pull back to speak, my voice is a bit breathy as I fight my libido for control. “I trust you, with all my heart.”
He grabs my hand and pulls me toward a large building in the middle of nowhere. I can see a launch dock off in the distance, and my heart rate spikes. I love venturing into space, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that traveling to a new world, even a dying one to rescue survivors, is basically a dream come true. Getting to see the entire journey, too, not just sleeping through it in cryo, is a cherry on top of the biggest sundae ever made! Flying to the moon is great, but there’s no atmosphere, and you don’t get to truly enjoy it. A new world that I can physically explore unhindered, that’s something humans may not achieve for millennia to come, and I am beyond lucky to be the first to do it.
I keep my shoulders back, my head high as I walk beside Vahru into the building, our little band of helpers at our backs. Taking a deep breath, I set my intentions as I prepare for the mission at hand. I’m a captain, one who will not fail to complete her mission. I will come back with Tonya’s people, one way or another.
“Avalah, nice to see you. We need to procure a ship, a large one. My team and I are headed out to collect samples for research.” Vahru’s tone is smooth and polite, but to the point. I respect that of him. He’s professional and doesn’t beat around the bush.
The woman behind the counter smiles at him before typing away on the computer. “Vahru, it’s been a long time. How are you doing with your research?” She glances up at him from under her lashes as she waits for his response.
“I’m coming along just fine. We’d like to launch today, if at all possible. We don’t want to delay in case we miss the blooming of a particular flower.”
“I see. Let me see what I can do for you.” She continues to type away, her eyes bouncing around the screen. I glance up at Vahru, his gaze wandering around the facility.
“Is Garvon here?” He looks at Avalah, one eyebrow raised in curiosity.
“I believe so. He’d be back in his cave.” She looks up at him, waiting to see if he’ll explain himself.
He simply tugs my hand, turning away from the counter and walking away. “Thanks, Avalah, but I’m going to see if Garvon can help me. He owes me a favor, anyway.”
Vahru pulls me along, the others following closely as we hurry through the enormous building. There’s an entire wall of windows, a showcase room of ships and vehicles for single person or family use. He turns down a hallway that only grows darker as we go along. The floor slants, taking us deeper into the building, and I cling to his arm, unsure of where we’re going.
“Don’t worry, Garvon will have just the ship we need, and he’ll hand it over too. He owes me big time for taking a job off his hands a year ago.”
He turns a corner, pushing through a massive plastic curtain into an even bigger cavern. One wall is covered in screens, schematics, poster boards, and everything else an inventor might need. Another wall has a workbench with an insane amount of tools piled on and under it. We slowly walk across the large space, a massive ship taking up much of the middle of the room.
“Garvon? It’s Vahru.” His voice rings out and echoes in the vast chamber. I feel like I’m in that underground bunker from Transformers, and I fully expect to round a corner and find Megatron. My head snaps in each direction as I look around for someone, anyone, to come out and greet us.
There’s a long pause of silence before Melodia jumps, her tentacle wrapping around my other arm. I look at her, following her gaze to see a gargantuan man come walking out of a dark hallway to our right. I tug on Vahru’s hand, and he turns.
“Ah, Garvon, old friend. How are you?”
The giant laughs loudly, and I almost fear the room will shake and shower us in debris. I thought Vahru was big. This man is another two feet taller than him, at least, and has shoulders wider than a truck. His skin is so dark it’s almost a grayish-black color, the swirls brightly colored in contrast, making him comparable to a zebra. Bright eyes that are almost the same shade as his swirling pattern nearly glow in the dim light of the room. His black hair is long, like most others, but is sprinkled with white streaks that match his skin and eyes, making him the most unique Nyan man I’ve met so far.
“Vahru! It’s been too long. To what do I owe the pleasure?” He reaches out, grasping Vahru’s forearm in a sort of handshake, clapping him on the other arm. They both chuckle, and Vahru explains as Garvon’s eyes take in the rest of us.
“We need a ship, a big one that only you can provide. I’m calling in my favor. I’m sorry to spring this on you, but it’s important.”
Garvon’s eyes widen as he takes in Tonya and Melodia, his eyes trailing up her tentacle, up my arm, and to my face. My skin prickles in awareness, like he’s seeing more than he should as he looks at me, and uncharacteristically, I grow nervous. My cheeks heat, and I look away, staring at Vahru.
“Aren’t you going to introduce me before you start asking for favors?” Garvon’s tone is flat, but not rude. He’s clearly curious, and I can’t say I blame him. I would be too if my old friend showed up at my work with a bunch of strange aliens and started asking for favors with no decent explanation. I don’t blame him for finding this entire ordeal a bit sketchy.
“My apologies. This is my mate, Kari. She’s a human space captain, and this is her Lieutenant Jeff. Willa is from my village and is Jeff’s mate. Tonya and Melodia are Sautiitions; aliens that brought Kari and Jeff here to help them. That’s why we need the ship, Gar, to save the rest of the Sautiition’s. They’re dying because of Kurgash.”
“And why is this your mission? They can’t help themselves?” He stares at Vahru, his tone still flat and calm, but I get the sense he isn’t eager to help us. He either knows what’s going on with the Sautiition’s and isn’t interested in sticking his neck out, or he has no clue and doesn’t want to risk his ship for something that may very well destroy it.
I hate being questioned like this for trying to do what’s right. Nothing pisses me off more than someone who’s skeptical of helping desperate people. Unable to contain my rage, I step into his space as I tip my head back, staring up at him. “It became my mission when Tonya and Melodia asked for my help. It became my mission when The Guardians made me the next chief of the village and told me I have a destiny to save people like them across the universe. And when I take on a mission, Garvon, I don’t back down. I made a promise to these people and will do what I can to save what’s left of their dying civilization, whether or not you help me. So what’s it going to be?”
I stare him down, and his gaze almost burns, as if it’s peeling back the layers of my soul to see if I’m lying, but I don’t back down. I stand my ground and wait for a response.
“The Guardians, huh? You have a strong will, I’ll give you that. I’ll help you, let you take the ship, but you bring it back in one piece. I see a single scratch on it, your hide is mine, missy. Understood?”
Tonya scuttles up and sings at him, her tone angry and fierce as her eyes squint, her tentacle pointing at him. Garvon cocks an eyebrow, watching with amusement as Vahru tries to hide a laugh.
“She said you insult her. She’s the best pilot on Sautiious 5, and your insinuation that she would ever pilot a craft so carelessly as to damage it is rude.” I can’t keep the smirk off my face as I stare at Garvon. I cross my arms and cock my hip out as I hear Vahru snicker to my side.
“I thought you were the captain?” He narrows his eyes at me, and I grin even wider.
“That’s right, Captain, not pilot. That’s her job. I just make sure the mission goes according to plan. She’s the one who gets us in and out safely.” I give him a smug look as he looks down at her with skepticism.
“Fine. Let me get the keys, but my threat still stands! She’ll be responsible for making it up to me if my ship is damaged!” he hollers over his shoulder as he disappears down the dark hall to retrieve the keys.
I can’t stop myself from laughing as Tonya mutters under her breath, angry with the brute.
It doesn’t take him long to come back with the keys, offering us plenty of provisions for the journey ahead. He helps us stock up the ship, making sure it has plenty of fuel and everything else we’ll need before getting it to the launch pad. He waves goodbye as we load up. I watch him from the small window by my seat as he disappears in a plume of smoke from the engines as the ship heads into the skies.
I’ll keep my promises to Tonya, and to Garvon. I’ll get her people out safely, and I’ll get his ship back in one piece. Now to just figure out exactly how I’m going to do it.
We hope you are enjoying the book so far. To continue reading...