Authors: S. E. Smith
Lords of Kassis:
By S. E. Smith
I would like to thank my husband Steve for believing in me and being proud enough of me to give me the courage to follow my dream. I would also like to give a special thank you to my sister and best friend Linda who not only encouraged me to write but who also read the manuscript. Also to my other friends who believe in me: Julie, Jackie, Lisa, Sally and Narelle. The girls that keep me going!
—S. E. Smith
Science Fiction Romance
RESCUING MATTIE: LORDS OF KASSIS BOOK 3.1
Copyright © 2013 by Susan E. Smith
First E-Book Publication September 2013
Cover Design by Melody Simmons
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission from the author.
All characters, places and events in this book are fictitious or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is strictly coincidental.
Mattie Abrams has always had a knack for training animals. Touring with the Cirque de Magik, she knows that she has finally found the ‘home’ she so desperately craves. She would do anything to keep her small family of circus friends and her pets, including going where they went. When the owner of the circus announces he is taking the circus to the stars, she never expects it to be quite so far – or so dangerous.
Jai t’Dubar never expected to find his mate among the menagerie of humans returning to his world. When a delicate beauty jogs by him, his world changes. His first thought is to chase her down and capture her. His second thought is to keep her forever.
When she is taken as a hostage by a group of space pirates who invade the Kassisan Warship,
, he will do everything he can to save her.
Can he rescue Mattie from the pirates and traitors who threaten her before she is taken from him? And if he can, will he be able to convince her to open her heart to him and let him show her when he says ‘forever’, he means
Mattie Abrams giggled as Bouncer tried to steal Peewee’s squeaky toy. The huge Mastiff-St. Bernard wasn’t about to let the little terrier mix have his
favorite toy. Mattie looked affectionately at her dogs. All six of them were pound puppies and she loved every quirky thing about them.
Runts, misfits and plain old peasant blood that no one really wanted,
she thought with a wry smile. S
imilar to me.
Mattie didn’t mind the fact that her mom and dad were happy not to have to communicate with her anymore. Their responsibility for raising her was done. In fact, they had missed her birthday the last three years in a row now they had someone else to concentrate on.
Her family now was the six dogs, four cats and a mixture of other small furry creatures that she trained. Each animal had a special place in her heart, their own uniqueness that made them shine. But most of all, they loved her unconditionally for just being her.
Mattie had spent her free time visiting the local humane societies in the towns or cities the circus visited. She knew she had a soft heart when it came to those no one else wanted. She had poured her love and loneliness into helping every stray animal she could as she grew up. Her parents didn’t care as long as it kept her busy. She had trained ferrets, mice and an assortment of dogs and cats.
She had gotten so good at it that she had started her own business by the time she was twelve training animals, mostly dogs. Her business had grown by word of mouth.
She became interested in training bomb-sniffing dogs after several deadly attacks around the country. The death and devastation had shocked her and she hoped she could do something to help prevent things like that from happening in the future. She had volunteered with the local police department and found her niche which turned out to be very profitable.
By the time she was eighteen, she had already saved up enough to buy a house in a nice neighborhood. She would have if she hadn’t gone to the circus that lazy summer day. The moment she walked through the gates, she felt like she was home. She spent the next three days going to every show and talking to the people who worked there. One of them had finally pointed her in the direction of Walter. After her meeting with him, his wife Nema and their daughter Ricki, she had gone home and packed her few belongings and Calico, her cat. She bought a truck and a fifth wheel camper instead of a house and was on the road the next day.
That had been six years ago and she hadn’t looked back once. Her small family had grown to include every member of the circus. She had a few close friends but none like her animals. They were able to fill the loneliness she felt.
“What are you so deep in thought about?” Suzy asked as she came to sit on the step next to Mattie.
Mattie smiled at the former rodeo clown who was now one of the lead clowns for the circus. She was also Mattie’s closest human friend. Mattie reached down and petted Chia and Oscar as they came up to lie down next to her. Mattie looked around the huge storage bay where their current home resided.
“Still trying to wrap my head around being in outer space,” Mattie admitted. “It’s hard to believe that there really are aliens out there and we are heading to another planet with them.”
“It is pretty crazy, isn’t it?” Suzy said before leaning forward and touching Mattie’s arm. “Are you worried? I mean,” her voice faded for a moment before she continued. “It’s a lot to give up, an entire world, everything you’ve ever known. I have Curly, he’s my rock. Are you worried about whether you will ever find anyone out there to be your rock?”
Mattie shook her head shyly. “No, I don’t even think of things like that anymore. I don’t want anyone,” she replied quietly. “I didn’t have the best role models growing up and after… well, let’s just say I get along better with animals
than I do people.”
“Mattie, you’ve seen the guys on this spaceship,” Suzy began hesitantly. “I mean, they are hot. I’m sure there is a chance of you meeting someone. Not all men are like George, you know. Having Curly in my life … I can’t even begin to describe it.”
Mattie smiled at Suzy. Her friend didn’t have to say anything about Curly’s effect. She saw it every time those two were around each other. Deep down there was a tiny hope she would one day find someone as special as Curly but a part of her was afraid to open her heart again to the pain of being in love with the wrong person.
She had done it once before when she was twenty-one. George had hired on as part of the setup crew. She had believed his lies when he said he loved her. She had thought she was being cautious. She had dated him almost three months before she let him move in with her. It was another six months before she caught him with another woman at a seedy bar in one of the towns they were performing in. Suzy and Curly had been with her. Curly had punched George and told him he was a dead man if he ever came near her again.
Mattie looked down at the dogs who were now wrestling with each other. She didn’t like thinking about that time in her life, she wasn’t sure she could have made it without her furry friends. They were what made her get up every morning and push on. Frustrated at the way her thoughts were going, she stood up and motioned for the dogs to come to her.
“Not everyone is lucky enough to find that special person like you and Curly have,” Mattie said, not looking at Suzy. “The dogs need some exercise. I think I’ll take them for a short run around this level. I haven’t seen much of the spaceship and it would be neat to see what it’s like.”
Suzy stood up as well. She knew it was Mattie’s way of avoiding discussing her feelings. She hid from the pain. Suzy wished she could have punched Mattie’s parents in the nose as well. They never appreciated what a beautiful, sensitive daughter they had. Instead, she gave Mattie a big hug.
“Just know that you are loved very much by all of us,” Suzy murmured.
“I know,” Mattie smiled, as she stepped back. “That is the only reason I agreed to come. I couldn’t imagine losing any of you.”
“Go run,” Suzy replied gruffly. “I’m cooking dinner tonight. Make sure you aren’t late.”
“I won’t be,” Mattie said as she started to walk toward the entrance to the storage bay. “Love you, Suzy,” she called out over her shoulder before she took off running.
“I love you too, Mattie,” Suzy whispered. “I love you too.”
Mattie laughed as she watched the dogs play as they ran. The little ones had a lot more energy than Peewee, her huge Mastiff mix. Of course, for every one of his steps the smaller dogs had to take three.
She kept it to a slow jog as she didn’t want to run anyone over. There were quite a few ‘warriors’ as they were called walking the long curving corridors. Kelsey, another trainer who worked with the more exotic animals like her pet zebras and spider monkeys, had passed her a few minutes before as Peewee had dropped the huge pink chewy ball and had to chase it down from Oscar who had grabbed it as it rolled.
She couldn’t help but remember how she had thought Walter had been pulling all their legs when he had called a meeting just a few weeks ago. The entire crew of the circus had attended the mandatory meeting. They had been discussing everything from Walter possibly having sold the circus to just closing it down. No one had guessed he would drop the announcement that he was taking the circus to a new level, one that included aliens, warships and moving the whole kit and kaboodle to another planet.
She slowed as she passed by a warrior who was getting off one of the lifts. Her eyes flashed to his before she blushed and looked away at the sudden heat that filled his eyes. Ignoring her own sudden warmth, she picked up speed in an effort to get away from the gaze that she could feel following her. She shook her head and forced herself to remember the announcement that had changed everything she ever thought she knew about the universe.
Walter’s announcement had shaken the lot of them, well except for Marvin, Martin and Sebring, their wife who seemed to have already known about it. That was one of the things she loved about the circus, no one condemned anyone else for who they were or what they believed. Mattie didn’t know anywhere else where two men could be married to one woman and it not be frowned upon.
She remembered Walter’s booming voice as if it was yesterday. “I’ve got something to say to the lot of you. As always, what is said here, stays here. Every single one of you have signed a confidentiality contract. This is especially important with what I’m about to tell you,” he had warned.
“Knock off the royal decree and just tell us what you want, Walter,” Jerry, the Tattooed Man, had yelled out. “You know none of us would screw you over.”
“Yeah, besides if someone tried you know the rest of this sorry lot would kill them before you even got a chance to,” Bombing Bill laughed out.
“Plus, you know worse things about us than anything we could ever say about you,” Marcus the Magnificent added with a grin.
“Just wanted to remind you,” Walter responded amid the added comments and laughter. “I’m packing the circus up and moving it.”
“Hell, Walter,” Shakira the Strong called down from where she was sitting near the top of the bleachers. “What’s the big surprise about that?”
Walter stood before the hundred or so crew members who had been with him for years and looked at them with a serious expression that calmed everyone in seconds. They knew when Walter had that look on his face that something serious was coming down. They grew even more uneasy when Nema came up to stand next to Walter with tears in her eyes.
“The surprise is I’m taking the circus off this planet,” Walter said quietly. “Jo has returned. Some of you know that. I’ve talked to Nema and Ricki about this. Jo, Star and River were kidnapped by aliens. Jo has returned to get her parents. Nema, Ricki and I, along with a few others, have met this alien. After some serious thought, I’ve decided that the circus needs a new start. I want to take it somewhere it has never been seen before. I want to take it to a planet called Kassis, maybe even to other worlds if we can.”
“Wait a minute,” Bill called out. “You want us to go with aliens that kidnap humans? To another world? How do you know they aren’t going to do some… you know… weird stuff to us?” He asked.
Mattie remembered all the murmurs of concern. Walter patiently answered each one. Eventually, Tony, Kid, Suzy, and Curly had stood up and talked about their meeting with the alien male called Manota. Mattie had remained quiet.
The discussion had gone on for hours before a vote was taken. It was one of the few times that Walter did a silent one. He had been determined that no one would be pressured into making such a life altering decision.
The votes had come back one hundred and six for, zero against. Mattie had been one of the last ones to hand her vote in. She knew no one would blame her if she voted against it but the thought of losing the only family she had, besides her animals, was a huge influence on her decision to go. As far as she had been concerned there was nothing on Earth to keep her there but the circus. Where it went, she went too.
She had to admit, so far it had been surprisingly easy to fit in
on-board the spaceship.
she silently reminded herself as she murmured an apology as she ran by the leader of the aliens and Jo’s husband, Manota.
“Excuse us,” Mattie called out as she passed him. “They needed exercise,” she added breathlessly, sweeping a hand over the dogs trotting around her.
She averted her eyes when he just glared at her. A shiver ran down her spine when she thought about how huge he was. She didn’t know how Jo wasn’t terrified of the man. Just the look in the warrior’s eyes that was getting off the lift was enough to send her blood pressure soaring! She breathed a sigh of relief as she turned down another corridor and slowed to a walk before stopping and placing her hand over her heart briefly to calm it.
Why was she thinking
about the huge warrior’s eyes? Well, and the rest of him. She silently scowled down at the floor. She was done with guys. George had taught her what happens when you trust them. He had taught her how much it hurts to give your heart to them only to have them crush it then make you feel like it was your fault. Her parents had done the same thing.
Maybe… well, maybe I’m just not a very lovable person. Obviously my parents and George didn’t think so,
Mattie thought dejectedly as she thought of what she had left back on Earth.
Not that I had much to leave behind,
she thought distractedly as she checked Bouncer’s paw.
Nothing but heartache and loneliness.
She smiled sadly down at Bouncer who was nibbling
on one of his paws. She knelt down to make sure he was alright. She chuckled softly when Polly, the light haired golden retriever, came up and licked her across her cheek.
“Well, maybe I’m not lovable to people,” Mattie teased as Chia and Oscar tried to get their licks in as well. “But I sure am lovable to you guys. That’s all I need.”
Mattie was so focused on Bouncer that she didn’t hear the footsteps coming up the corridor. She gasped in surprise when she heard the deep voice speaking to her. Turning, she looked up into the intense, burning gaze of the warrior who had been getting off the lift just a few minutes before.
“Hello, female,” the tall warrior said as he stepped closer to her.