BROKEN (Planet Alpha) by Erin M. Leaf
When Sky finds a critically injured Xyran warrior, she can’t just let him die. She drags the unconscious alien home and dresses his wounds. He’s difficult and arrogant, but she’s more than enough woman to deal with him until he’s gone. So what if he intrigues her? The last thing she can afford to do is fall for an alien.
Jaxt knows the betrayers who left him for dead on Earth will not live long: his bond-kin, Zoen, will paint the warship’s walls with their blood. All he must do now is wait for Zoen to come. Unfortunately, the human woman who found him rouses his deepest instincts… Instincts he’d forgotten he had.
When Zoen finds Jaxt on Earth, he’s not sure he approves of the female who cared for his kin. However, when Sky kills a Xyran about to attack, he understands Jaxt’s insistence that she is their mate. Any female who shows such courage is worthy of his blood, and maybe even his heart.
A half hour later she lay flat on the ground at the cave’s entrance, wishing there was more of a breeze because she was dying from the heat. Setting the Xyran’s thigh bone had been unpleasant. Exhausting. Gory. She’d had to set the damn thing twice before it stuck in place correctly, then she’d had to sew muscles back together before finally wrapping the whole thing up tightly.
“And I used the last of my poultice on you, too, asshole,” she said, turning her head to where he lay, motionless. All she could see were his big feet. “You’ll probably get an infection anyway, and die. Ugh.” She wiped her face with her arm, smearing the sweat around. She was hot, tired, and hungry.
She’d had to strip off his weird-ass armor before she could get his clothes off. It lay in a giant, ugly pile near his head, like a tombstone. Happily, he hadn’t smelled too bad when she’d unclothed him, not even after lying in the sun for who knows how long. Actually, he kind of smells like cinnamon, she thought, grinning suddenly. I wonder if he tastes like a sticky bun? She giggled out loud. That was when she knew she had to get some food and water in her body.
“Okay, no time to go loco. First things first: water.” Sky forced herself to her feet and padded to the back of the cave. Her water bottle was full, as were her two backups Thank you paranoia. She drank half the first bottle, then grabbed a couple pieces of dried rattlesnake and made herself eat them. With that done, she carefully sliced open a pad of prickly pear cactus. She’d already peeled them this morning, discarding the spines, but that didn’t mean she was looking forward to dining on them. She had no seasonings left, so all she got was charred vegetable for dinner. “Yummy,” she muttered, carrying it to the front of the cave. She quickly started a small fire and staked the cactus on a stick over the flame. It would cook while she straightened up her living space.
“Hope you like vulture stew, because that’s what I’m feeding you tomorrow,” she said to the Xyran, picking up bloody pieces of his pants and throwing them into her garbage pile. She’d have to discard them before she went to sleep. She sighed, wondering if maybe she’d finally jumped the shark. Only crazy people talk to comatose aliens. And he probably can’t understand a word I say, anyway.
The Xyran didn’t move while she cleaned up. He didn’t move while she ate her veggies. He didn’t move while she stole back her bedroll and reclined next to him, staring at the sun setting over the horizon.
He finally moved in the middle of the night.