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Athen: Warlord Brides (Warriors of Etlon Book 1)
 

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Athen: Warlord Brides (Warriors of Etlon Book 1)


  Athen: Warlord Brides

  Warriors of Etlon Book 1

  Starr Huntress

  Abigail Myst

  Table of Contents

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Additional Titles

  About the Author

  Copyright

  The Story So Far

  When aliens arrived on Earth, it happened with an invasion—just like the sci-fi movies taught us to expect.

  The vicious Suhlik meant to enslave Earth and rob her of her resources. Only the Mahdfel warriors were able to stand against them.

  Once the slaves of the Suhlik, the Mahdfel won their freedom. But as a lingering reminder of their oppression at the hands of the Suhlik they are unable to have female children.

  Now, in exchange for the protection of Earth, the hunky alien warriors demand

  only one price: Every childless, single and otherwise healthy woman on Earth is tested for genetic compatibility for marriage with a Mahdfel warrior. If the match is 98.5% or better, the bride is instantly teleported away to her new mate.

  No exceptions.

  Chapter One

  Noven 90 – Etlonian Mahdfel Outpost on the Edge of Nowhere

  Kave

  “Come now, it’s my turn,” Goru actually whined.

  “Then you shouldn’t have lost the bet,” Leif stated with a bit more of a pompous air than necessary. If he wasn’t careful, he’d get a punch in the face and then both of them would miss the opportunity.

  “Brale, you settle this,” Goru demanded.

  Brale looked from one warrior to the next. Then he sighed and looked over at his superior. “Give me the one after next. Those two can go together.”

  “Wait, what?” Goru shook his head. “I don’t want to go with Leif. Leif is a thief.”

  “Say that again,” Leif said in a deadpan, dead serious tone.

  Realizing he had crossed a line, Goru relented. “But you stay on your side of the ship.”

  All three of them walked away without their superior having to say a word.

  This situation was intolerable and Kavendish had been in a lot of intolerable situations. He’d been knee deep in shit and covered in lizard brains. Kave had once been stuck up a tree for three sols, waiting for the Suhlik bastards to give up trying to find him. They were stubborn, but not nearly as appealing on the inside as they were on the outside.

  That had always been an advantage for the Etlonians - the Suhlik with their shiny golden scales and shiny golden armor could be spotted from a mile away. The Etlonians had been bred for sneaking. They blended in, masked by the forest, but while their skin made them perfect jungle fighters, it was practically useless on a spaceship. They relied on stealth, not brute strength like many other clans of the Mahdfel.

  But stealth was no use in this situation. Oh, sure, they were on the edge of a jungle, but it was not infested with Suhlik. It was a military outpost, far from the front lines. The pristine beach ran for miles in either direction and the monitoring stations were fairly automated. Sure, every once in awhile, one of them went on the fritz and there were sometimes visits by interesting critters from the jungle, but nothing skilled warriors couldn’t handle with a few swift moves. No, this problem was personal. Or personnel, more accurately.

  Athen Etlon, son of Etlon, Warlord and warrior that had saved Kave’s ass on more than one occasion, was out of control. Or in control, too much.

  There was no shame in being sent to a tropical paradise far from the front line for a group of warriors that had distinguished themselves in the fight against the Suhlik. For many, this was a reward for a job well done. It was time to settle down, apply for a mate, and pop out a few sons in the relative safety of a far distant planet.

  Athen didn’t see it that way. He kept his men busy drilling to remain in top shape. The three hour fight sessions were one thing. They at least helped the warriors, many in their prime, blow off steam. But when he noticed that warriors were skipping their standard field rations in favor of plumsa, the local sweet fruit, he put the whole local supply under lock and key and ordered meals be eaten together in one mess. What he would do if he knew the men had used their ingenuity to create a still and were making some very potent vigorn, a drink that was quick to knock any Mahdfel off his feet... He posted guards within the camp, as if they were expecting a Suhlik invasion at any moment, even though the force fence went up at night. In addition, they ran a sensor grid that would give them nearly an hour’s warning before the Suhlik could even hit the atmosphere.

  The warriors actually looked forward to patrolling the monitoring stations on the other side of the planet. It at least afforded them a few days away from the tyrannical rule of their by-the-book commander. Like Goru and Leif, they fought over that duty.

  Kave knew there was only one way to solve this particular problem. Athen needed to get laid. And on a regular basis. Then, he would understand that having a little female company around the place would actually make life more bearable for everyone. Until their warlord Athen took a mate, none of his warriors could either. There was only one way Kave knew that could get the desired results. It required a bit of ingenuity but Kave knew how to get around the rules and request a female without Athen technically giving his permission. After all, a good whiff of his mate and he’d be like butter in her hands.

  Chapter Two

  Odette

  It took Odette a full minute to process the scene in front of her. That it was Cleveland, good, dutiful, caring Cleveland, with someone else’s legs wrapped around his naked ass, was nearly beyond comprehension.

  But there he was, in flagrante delicto with a brunette who was having quite an enjoyable time underneath him. The only thing Odette could think of to do was back quietly out of the room and sit on his couch. That was until she saw the lacy red bra and panties on the floor next to it. The same pair he’d bought her. He probably got a discount buying in bulk.

  Then she got angry. Strangely enough, it was a cold anger, bitter and calculated. She had maybe five minutes before they finished their screaming and grunting. Odette began to gather every bit of evidence of the three years she spent with Cleveland.. She picked up the throw from the back of the couch that she’d bought and spread it out on the floor. Then she took the coffee maker, the set of bowls, the fancy corkscrew and the potato peeler. She’d bought that for him too. Odette definitely didn’t want to forget the expensive scotch he was so fond of and then with a quick swipe on his laptop, she began to erase every bit of media she’d downloaded onto his account.

  It would be a quick and painless breakup of the engagement. No awkward moments of exchanging stuff, no screaming and yelling, at least not on her part. Cleveland wasn’t the type to yell anyway. He was common sense incarnate. Despite being engaged for four years, he still insisted on keeping his own apartment, waiting for the moment when the market upturned and he could get the best value for it. Her own apartment was within walking distance of the university, and, well, her mom owned the building. Why move in with Cleveland and give up such a convenience?

  She had clothes in his closet, but none of
her favorites that she couldn’t live without. Let it go. She didn’t want anything infested with Cleveland.

  “What the hell are you doing?” Brunette, still buttoning the front of her dress, asked from the doorway.

  “Making a pile. I’d think that was obvious.”

  “Whatever,” Brunette said, shrugging. Then she hollered back into the bedroom, “There’s a woman out there and she’s making a pile.” Brunette rolled her eyes, stepped around the pile and disappeared out the front door.

  “Making a what?” Cleveland stuffed his shirt tail into his pants. “I didn’t-” He stopped dead when he saw Odette. His glance went from the pile to her face and then back to the pile. “Sweetheart.” It was the voice of a man talking a child out of throwing a tantrum. “What’s my coffee maker doing on the floor?” He sounded amused, but his fist clenched by his side suggested he was anything but.

  Odette was still too angry to do more than point at the door from which Brunette had exited.

  “That? That was a business transaction. Simply a donation for the cause.”

  “Wait, who was doing the donating? And who was the one screwing and getting their oh, yeah, babies?” she asked.

  “It’s perfectly legitimate. She wants to avoid the lottery, and have you seen the price of sperm banks lately? It’s a crime. I think those alien bastards are raising the prices just so they can take more of our women.”

  “Those alien bastards saved our asses.”

  “So they say,” he muttered.

  She’d heard it before— those theories that the Suhlik and the Mahdfel were in it together as a way to take women away from the hardworking human men. Taken their pride, more like. She’d never heard this kind of conservative claptrap coming from Cleveland. Come to think of it, he’d never voiced any kind of political opposition.

  “So you were doing it for your planet,” Odette stated flatly.

  “Why not, when for a modest fee I can provide a service that helps single unattached women who can’t afford other solutions?”

  “Children! It results in children! Have you even thought of that?”

  “Of course I have. Seven times, in fact.” He seemed proud of the results of his virility. “All of them have signed waivers.”

  “Seven.” Screw the coffee maker, and the couch throw. She was getting the hell out of there. She bent down and picked up the cork screw and the potato peeler and shoved them in her purse. Then she grabbed the bottle of scotch and headed toward the door.

  “Now sweetheart, you’re overreacting.”

  “No, that would be throwing your coffee maker through the window.”

  He stepped defensively between her and the coffee maker in question.

  “I’m simply leaving your lying ass,” she said.

  “You can’t do that.” It wasn’t a plea. It was a statement, so self-assured that Odette knew that he thought he had an ace up his sleeve.

  “Watch me.”

  “Your birthday is tomorrow.”

  Chapter Three

  Athen

  Athen rumbled his disapproval and punched off the vid. There was probably only one Mahdfel in the entire universe that would have the balls to ignore a missive from their home council, and he was it. Athen Etlon, son of Etlon, had once been a rather unimportant son. Being number six of seven sons tends to push one into obscurity, no matter if your father was the head of the Council or not. He had worked his way through the ranks and on his own merit, earned the title of warlord and the respect of his men.

  Each sol, a list of warriors begged to join his ranks and distinguished they were. Too bad his own worthless men were too busy griping to see the joy of their current station. Athen sighed. Worthless was too unkind. They had more than proved themselves to be soldiers down to the last man, willing to spill blood and allow their own to be spilt to rescue a brother warrior.

  No, it was not their bravery that was in question, nor had it caused them to be removed from the battle and placed on a worthless planet. That was completely due to his father and his brothers’ lack of ability to stay alive. Five had gone before him and the one left was yet too young to leave the nest. Bendon was close, though, to finishing his schooling and being put to his final test and his first battle.

  Athen remembered his father’s pride when he had come back, blooded for the first time. His oldest brother, Jarron, had been freshly sliced by the Suhlik, and the remaining brothers had been hot for revenge against the golden skinned devils. They had all wanted to travel to the newly protected planet Terran Prime, or Earth, as the locals called it, to purge the surface of the Suhlik.

  Athen stepped out of HQ and surveyed his camp. Since all of the buildings were modular and had basically been dropped into place, they were a bit sterile, but they still had most of the comforts of home. They had completed twelve buildings and had the material to program another twenty more if necessary, but Athen foresaw nothing short of an invasion making that necessary. Best to live frugally and spare the materials for where they were most needed - in battlefield areas.

  His men were lounging, some playing cards at an outdoor table, their skin rippling with emotion. It was one reason that most Etlonians didn't play cards with other species. Sure, they had the same tattoos as the other Mahdfels, and they glowed with a fierceness during certain night time activities, but their skin, chameleon in nature, made them perfect for hiding in the trees.

  It was a game they liked to play, trying to surprise Athen, to get him to camouflage, to change even the slightest hint without meaning to. They had not succeeded. He had very little time for games like that. With five older brothers, he had learned to keep his cool long before his men had ever met him.

  He kept cool now, as he spotted Kavendish, his first officer, staring at him in a rather odd fashion. It was like he was being sized up or measured for one of those useless armored uniforms that the other Mahdfel species were often trying to impress upon them.

  It was quite difficult to climb a tree in a space suit. His men, when left to their own devices, wore no more than a pair of short pants and an armband to identify their rank and clan. It was only during formal activities that they put on a uniform or any kind of armor. If they could be seen, it was their own bloody fault and they deserved to get shot.

  Athen stepped toward his second in command. Kave's skin turned a pale whitish green then developed dark green spots. His face, however, was stone cold.

  "What did you do?" Athen asked.

  "Nothing."

  "You're a bad liar."

  "I did nothing." Kave got blotchier the longer he stood there.

  "Your hide tells me otherwise."

  "It's nothing important." Kave took a deep breath, trying to focus and clear his skin. Athen invaded his space.

  "Again, a lie," Athen whispered ominously.

  "Okay, so it's important but I'm not going to tell you, because it's a surprise and that's that." With this statement, Kave actually gave a little bow and then turned on his heel and walked away as if that was the end of the matter. Knowing his first officer well, Athen decided not to push the matter. He was patient, and though Kave knew he hated surprises, he had the confidence that he would figure out what was going on before it actually surprised him.

  Athen turned and walked toward the force fence. His men knew he was fond of circling the camp, walking in thought. It wasn't uncommon for him to disappear for an hour or two at a time. The walks served him well, especially when he was going to check on his own surprise for his men.

  They thought they were clever, hiding the still on the outskirts of the camp. The sneaks had no idea that he had known about their venture from the beginning.

  None of them were great chemists and the rotgut they produced was some of the worst swill he had sampled in a long time. It was only topped by the pure evil that his brother had once fed him that made him go blind for nearly an hour, though he had been so drunk that he hadn't cared one bit. As he aged, his tastes had refined.


  There was a hole in the force fence. He'd put it there on purpose, and unless you were looking for it and had the skill to jump through the double layer at just the right moment, it would give you a pretty good frying for your trouble. It was located just behind his quarters and he used it, on occasion, when he didn't want his men to know what he was up to. It had been on one of these little secret walks that he had discovered their still and had devised an idea for his own.

  While his men concentrated on rotgut, he would make the finest that credits could buy. His operation was just as small but much more ambitious. It required not just the plumsa, but a mix of other local berries and fruits that he had painstakingly chosen and then analyzed for flavor and sugar content. His first batch had been a horrific mess that when fermented, turned a hideous brown mud and smelled like something that came out of the wrong end of a Suhlik. His second attempt proved more palatable, but his men were raiding the supply of local plumsa and he'd had to crack down on it. He just didn't have the time to make a wider circle to find a supply further afield.

  Today, he simply checked his latest batch, rotated the wooden barrels he'd set into the ground and covered them with cold tarp. That way, it was near impossible to see and kept cold in the wet, warm jungle that on most days more resembled a swamp than Etlon.

  Not that Etlon was the real Etlon. The Suhlik had destroyed the homeworlds of all the Mahdfel. There were rumors abound about the true origins, but the Suhlik were notorious for not talking, and Mahdfel were equally stubborn about killing every one of the shiny bastards they could find. It was a mutual hatred that bound them all together, despite the fact that no one was quite sure if all the Mahdfel had come from one planet or many.

  Once he'd finished his check of the current batch and had rotated all his casks, Athen headed back to camp. When he found the perfect mix, Athen planned to brand it, before sharing a bottle with his clan. Then, when the Suhlik were wiped from the face of the universe, they would all settle down, either here or on Etlon, and drink themselves silly on the finest liquor on this side of the universe.

 
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