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Matched to the Alien Workaholic by: Danielle Forrest

Happy Wednesday everyone. Today we are featuring a sneak peek into Beyond Starlight. The SciFi Alien Romance Box Set that is scheduled to release in November. Danielle Forrest wanted to share some of her story to get you all excited. Check it out below and see how you can preorder your copy of Beyond Starlight today.

 
Beyond Starlight, Promo Graphic

════ ⋆★⋆ ════ EXCERPT ════ ⋆★⋆ ════

Matched to the Alien Workaholic

Featured in the Beyond Starlight Box Set

By: Danielle Forrest


The trip Brahn had given him was to a vacation planet, all expenses paid, for fourteen ernos. There was another six ernos of travel round trip.  When he returned, he would have another three before he could go back to work.  He shuddered, hating the idea of listlessly roaming his apartment for ernos, but maybe he could binge watch the serials he would get behind on while he was gone. 


And as he collected his luggage, preparing to disembark the ship, he couldn’t deny that his brother had really splurged.  In the rare instances when he’d traveled off planet in the past, he’d been crammed into a bunk with three other people. The food had been awful, and the noise had kept him awake all night.  This time, however, he had his own room, the crew constantly bragged about hiring a chef away from the best rated restaurant on Savala, and they must have had top of the line sound suppressors because he’d never once heard engine noise from his room. 


“Shuttle 1 to Fylani departs in fifteen diceros.  Please have your tickets ready to present to the crew for departure, and we hope you have a wonderful time.”


Zenhan pulled up the ticket he’d downloaded to his phone while he was still at home, confirming his destination.


Yep, Fylani. 


And that was all he really knew about the place, its name.  Brahn had barely given him any information, and the spaceship wasn’t affiliated with the resort planet in any way at all.  This was just one of their many stops.  And no amount of research online had helped.  He honestly had no idea how Brahn had even found the place.


Which meant that Zenhan was going in blind.  He threw ideas around in his head, imagining what it might be like, but each idea was simply that… an idea.


Sun and sandy beaches?


Hiking trails and woodland creatures?


He didn’t know, and it ate at him a little, making the entire process a bit more nerve-racking than it needed to be.


Zenhan sighed and, with phone in hand, he reached down and gripped his rolling suitcase.  It was so old and unused, he was actually embarrassed by the dust that still clung to its seams, dust that no amount of cleaning on his part had managed to remove.


He left his room, the door closing behind him, and followed the signs for the shuttle bay.  There were several other people wandering the halls, but he noticed that no one else had their suitcases with them.


Guess they’re not going to Fylani.


It was a short walk to the shuttle bay, and when he got there, it was fairly quiet.  Six parked shuttles filled the walls of the large space, and he could just barely make out the bay doors behind them.  His brain automatically cataloged the design, wondering if it was something he’d worked on in the past.  A lot of their work was for shipbuilders.


He quickly dismissed the thought, instead focusing in on the one shuttle that looked like it was being prepped.  He approached, seeing the number “1” painted on the floor and ceiling.  There was another “1” that was harder to see above the bay door.  “Is it just me?” he asked as he approached a crew-member holding a tablet, probably doing preflight checks or checking in passengers.


The man looked up from his device.  “Nope, should be two.”


Zenhan nodded.


“Ticket?”


He raised his phone, facing the screen at the man.


The employee nodded. “Okay.  Go on up the ramp and get yourself strapped in.”


“Will do.”  He walked past and stepped into the cramped space.  For a shuttle, it was fairly large, but it still could only fit a dozen passengers.  There was a central aisle and two rows with three seats on each side.  At eye level, there were cubbies to put luggage, and he slipped his suitcase in before finding his seat.  The ticket said 3A, a window seat. 


Nice.


I’ll get a view of the planet.


Though he supposed, he thought as he chuckled to himself, if he was only one of two passengers, he could have sat anywhere.  He settled in, pulling out some headphones and picking an audio show he’d been meaning to listen to, then looked out the window, even though all it showed was the interior of the shuttle bay.


It wasn’t long before he was joined by the second passenger.  Zenhan suspected he was an omega, though of what species he wasn’t sure.  He’d never been good with any of that stuff. Xenobiology just wasn’t his thing, and the way other species handled sex and gender definitely fell into xenobiology territory.  Thank the Ancestors that Hexians didn’t really have any genders and essentially no sexual dimorphism.  There were some differences, but they were mostly irrelevant.  What did he care if his coworkers were alphas or betas?  The only time dynamics even affected his life at all was when a coworker was an omega. And even then, it was only if he got pregnant, and Zenhan had to plan around it.  It wasn’t a huge ordeal, but it did happen from time to time.


But on other worlds?  Other species?  It seemed like all they cared about were those differences.  They based everything around them.  Zenhan vaguely remembered all sorts of words related to gender: roles, expressions, identities.  He knew the Usan language had a couple different genders in it, but he only ever used the one, like any Hexian.  He couldn’t remember which one it was, which characteristics it was supposed to refer to, though he was pretty sure it was the one without the squishy mounds on their chests.


It didn’t really matter, though.  Whoever the other passenger was, there was no guarantee Zenhan would ever see him again.  If this resort was of any decent size, bumping into the person who’d flown down to the planet with him might be an impossible feat.  It was an entire vacation planet, after all.  They could end up staying on entirely separate sides of the planet.


He was halfway through the first episode of his show when the shuttle finally took off, and he sat up in his seat, eager for the changing view.  In mere moments, they’d passed through the doors, entering the vacuum of space, where the lack of light pollution left the stars twinkling breathtakingly.  This was always his favorite part of traveling through space. His nose was practically glued to the window as they moved forward, and diceros later, he was staring down at the planet, the new view equally breathtaking.  Clouds marred much of the surface, but he didn’t care.  It was perfect. 


As they grew closer, he could make out even more detail.  In the places where clouds didn’t mask the surface of the planet, he spotted little hints of bodies of water, green patches that might have been forests, and even a few mountains.  But what was truly spectacular was the fact that he could actually see the divide between day and night!  Half of his view was in darkness, and he could see a stark line bisecting the world where light no longer reached from the solar system’s only star.


But that wonder also sparked anxiety, because the side set in darkness?  He couldn’t see any lights.  Usually, a civilized planet would have little speckles of light dazzling the landscape from the various settlements it carried.  Even less advanced cultures would have some lights illuminating the darkness, but here? There were none. 


The implications were alarming.


Where did Brahn send me?


But before he could really contemplate the possibility of having no electric lights (or anything else electric for that matter), the scene grew red as they entered the atmosphere.  He pulled back for a moment, a little uneasy at the flames licking so close to his face.  In his head, he started reciting all the engineering standards for shuttles, hoping the reminder of their safety would relax him enough to continue enjoying the view.


And it was well worth the effort.  As they passed the thickest cloud layer, he couldn’t help thinking that maybe he should make more time for travel, because this felt special.  The planet was sprawled out before him uninterrupted, with oceans, mountains, and greenery covering its surface.  From here, he could make out even more detail, though still, not a single speck of intelligent life marred it from this height.


He again wondered what his brother had gotten him into. 


Maybe he thought I needed a technology break as well.


As he looked down at the view, he couldn’t help wondering if maybe Brahn was right.  He spent so much of his time glued to electronics.  Computers.  Phones.  Screens.  They had taken over his life, and while he really liked his life, maybe a little contrast would only make him appreciate it all the more.


Then the ride grew rougher, and he gripped his armrests, his gaze still glued to the window next to him.  The ground was approaching fast, and he spotted a little patch of dry earth surrounded by trees, which he suspected was their destination.  From this height, he could make out roads and buildings breaking up the canopy nearby, and he let out a sigh of relief.


That’s something, at least.


Maybe he’d been wrong.  Maybe only a small portion of the planet was developed, and he’d just seen the part that wasn’t.


That makes sense.


After all, if the planet had been developed exclusively for vacations, it wouldn’t be practical to build up the entire planet unless there was a demand for it.


Then the shuttle jerked slightly, and the view become obscured by a cloud of dust.


We’ve landed.


“All right,” a crew-member said as they left the cockpit. “There’ll be a short walk to the land vehicle, then we’ll bring you to your cabin.”


Zenhan nodded, and both he and the other passenger stood.  They shuffled a bit when they misjudged their timing, entering the aisle simultaneously, and he was keenly aware of the places where they touched briefly in the process.  It was an odd sensation, again bringing to mind how strange alien biology could be.  What was even the point of all that jiggly flesh?  It just got in the way.


“Sorry,” Zenhan muttered before stepping away. 


The other man shrugged, drawing additional attention to his unnecessary body parts, then reached for his bag in the cubby. But while it was eye level for Zenhan, it was well above the other man’s head.  The short alien started grumbling under his breath as he reached up onto his toes, but his fingers barely touched the handle.


With a huff, Zenhan changed directions, reaching out easily to pull out the soft-sided bag and hand it down to its owner.


“Thanks,” he said before clutching it to his chest.  “Being short’s a bitch.”


Zenhan nodded, but couldn’t really relate.  He turned, pulling his own bag down, then moved to leave.  The other passenger was already out of sight.


Damn, he’s fast.


He shrugged, then pulled his luggage behind him and exited the shuttle.  The little alien man had one bag strapped to his back, while the one Zenhan had helped retrieve from the overhead compartment was gripped in his fist.


Vak, it looks larger than he is.


Both were shades of green and tan that blended into the environment.


“Follow me,” the crew-member said, waving a hand at them. 


The moment Zenhan left shuttle’s ramp, he immediately realized he’d made a mistake.  His suitcase was designed to be rolled over smooth surfaces like spaceports, but the ground here was natural, uneven, and rutted.  He turned, closed the handle, and lifted it, but the hard handle dug into his fingers, making him hyperaware of every step he took.  The little alien man, conversely, with his massive backpack and even more massive second bag, didn’t seem at all fazed by the long walk to the land vehicle.  In fact, it looked like he might actually have a bit of a jaunt in his step.


Zenhan smiled.  That was someone who was looking forward to their vacation.


And now he wished he’d struck up a conversation with the man on the flight down.  Zenhan would be here for fourteen ernos, after all, and maybe they would be staying nearby.  Fourteen ernos was plenty of time to strike up a friendship.  Maybe they could be pen pals after the vacation was over.


Or maybe we could even be lovers.


He stopped in his tracks, blinking, surprised by the errant thought.  It had been so long since he’d taken a lover, so long since anything but his own hand had brought him to completion, that the idea was actually jarring.  And as he continued to watch the tiny man plow forward carrying those massive bags, the thought felt ludicrous.


But now that the thought had entered his consciousness, it wouldn’t leave.  And while the pairing seemed impossible, thinking about it also sent a streak of longing slicing through him.  Being with such a tiny creature was nothing short of a bizarre fantasy.  After all, the man was so short, he was practically child-sized.  The top of his head didn’t even come up to Zenhan’s shoulders.  To get a kiss, he would either have to be a contortionist or carry him around like a toddler.  How could that ever work?


Then the small form disappeared around a bend.


Crap!


Zenhan took off, sprinting to catch up.


Stupid, stupid, stupid.


He’d been daydreaming about a relationship that would never happen to the point where he was in danger of losing his ride.  What had he been thinking?


The luggage handle ground even harder against his fingers, the weight amplified by his panicked gait as he tried to get the duo back within sight.  It wasn’t until he made the turn himself that he spotted them, causing a breath of relief to come pouring out of him.


The crew-member was talking to someone in a uniform waiting by an open air vehicle.  The little alien had already loaded his bags into the back and was now tapping his foot.  “You coming?” he said.


Zenhan nodded, then picked back up into a run, regretting every minute of missed exercise in recent alos.  He was winded by the time he reached the vehicle and threw his bag into the back beside the others.


Then they all piled in, he and the other passenger in the second row, the uniformed individual up front behind the wheel.


“Hold on.”


The employee threw his arm forward, manipulating the controls, and the vehicle took off. Dust kicked up, and Zenhan coughed as the rough ride had him scrambling for something to save himself from flying out the side. 


A whoop filled the air, and he jerked his head to the side.  The little alien man had a huge grin on his face.  He was holding onto a bar in front of him as he let out another excited noise, throwing his head back in glee.  His short, wavy, brown hair flew back behind him, free to fly about in the breeze flowing through the vehicle.


If only I could enjoy this that much.


But the moment he had that thought, the vehicle lurched, kicking up even more dust, which hit him in the face, causing his eyes to sting and water ruthlessly.  Another coughing fit hit him, and misery washed over him.


Please let this be over soon.


I can’t take much more of this.


Another alarming lurch.


And neither can this vehicle.


But the thought was short-lived as a moment later, they turned a corner, stopping in front of a small cabin.  It was cute, if a little rustic, and probably consisted of only a single room.


“Alright, here it is,” the employee said, waving at the cabin.


Zenhan frowned.  “For who?”


The employee looked over his shoulder.  “Both of you.  Who else?”


Zenhan jerked his gaze toward the man next to him, and he looked almost as surprised as Zenhan felt. 


Maybe they don’t rent out entire cabins.


That seemed… unlikely.  And if they did rent entire cabins, it seemed even more odd that his brother wouldn’t have rented one.  After all, why spring for the private room on the ship for a few ernos, but not a private cabin?


He shrugged it off, though.  Maybe the cabin was larger than it looked.  Maybe it had separate suites in it.  Maybe it was actually a well-disguised hotel.  With no other options, he decided to press forward.  His fingers now sore from the luggage handle, he reached back with the other hand to pick up his suitcase and started walking toward the cabin.  The vehicle took off before he was even halfway there.


“Well, that’s rude,” he said, frowning at the dust cloud.


The little man didn’t say anything in response, and Zenhan continued onward.  When he reached the door, it was unlocked, so he pushed it open.


Vak.


Definitely not a hotel.


He could see what he assumed was most of the cabin from his stance in the doorway.  There was a small, but not tiny, living space with seating to the left and a kitchen against the back wall.  A dining table sat in the kitchen area, but he noted that everything in sight was designed for only two people.


Odd.


He turned, focusing in on the only door.  He crossed the space, opened the door, and stopped dead.


There’s only one bed.


He dropped his luggage at the bedroom door in shock, but then noticed another door to his right and rushed forward.


Vak.


Bathroom.


Zenhan spun around, returning to the living area.  He scanned the space more closely, but there was no magical second bedroom waiting. 


There’s only one bed.


“What in the Ancestors’ fatal fury!”


Beyond Starlight, Promo Graphic

Hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into the "Matched to the Alien Workaholic." You can find this story inside the "Beyond Starlight" box set.


 

═══ ⋆★⋆ ═══ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ═══ ⋆★⋆ ═══

Danielle Forrest

Danielle Forrest Author Pic

I am a scientist, a dog parent, and part-time author of SciFi Romance. I love happy endings and using my biology degree in ways it was absolutely not intended. That means a lot of "interesting" alien biology as well as thoughtful world building.


But that's not the only reason to enjoy my writing. I also like writing diverse characters (LGBTQIA+, neurodivergent, and more) and (because I'm an author and what more can you expect from me?) throwing them into mortal peril every time it makes sense for the plot (which is sadly nowhere NEAR as often as I would like).


If that sounds like something that's up your alley, click the link below. You'll find free books (through my mailing list), early access and free short stories/bonus scenes (through my Ream page), my book list, and all my social medias. I hope to hear from you soon.

 

Danielle Forrest Author Logo
 

═══ ⋆★⋆ ═══ ABOUT THE BOOK ═══ ⋆★⋆ ═══

Matched to the Alien Workaholic

Featured in the Beyond Starlight Box Set

By: Danielle Forrest


Beyond Starling, Ebook Cover

Zenhan wanted nothing more than to do his job. It was his passion. He lived for it. But his brother, and now his boss, had other ideas. They thought he needed a break.


Except, a vacation wasn't the only plans his brother had made for him. He'd signed Zenhan up with a matchmaking agency, and his new mate was going to meet him there.


Their meeting goes badly enough, but the icing on the cake? 


Finding a weapons cache in the quaint little cabin they're expected to stay in...


Pre-Order your Copy Today for 99 Pennies!

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