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Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2

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“Embrace the Romance is no longer available for sale. Take a look at my other books for a new read.”

I am thrilled to again be part of the Pets in Space Anthology and team up with eleven other amazing science fiction romance authors. My story is about……Grandma Pearl and Asim and I can’t wait to share.

One of the reasons I love being part of this anthology is that we donate 10% of the first month’s profits to, an organization dedicated to assisting our veterans. Last’s year Pet in Space anthology raised over $2,000 for and I would love to see us raise even more this year for such a worthy cause.

Down below, you will find details of all the stories and our beautiful cover so please keep reading. I hope you will also join us in our special Facebook group and we have a special something for you if you sign up to the Pets in Space newsletter –

Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 Anthology

The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors, brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard Award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr, to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share action-packed SFR stories and help out, a charity that supports our veterans!


A Novella in the Dragon Lords of Valdier Series
By S.E. Smith (New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling Author)

Asim Kemark has lived a long, lonely life. It is only his pledge to his former king and to Mandra Reykill that keeps him, his dragon, and his symbiot from going crazy. He has given up on ever finding his true mate and devotes himself to caring for the wide assortment of creatures on Mandra and Ariel’s mountain retreat. The last thing he expects when he visits the palace is to lose control of his dragon and his symbiot when they sense their true mate. Before he knows it, he has kidnapped her!

Pearl St. Claire is enjoying a new adventure – learning to live on an alien planet. As a mature woman in her sixties, she thought she had experienced just about everything life could throw at her – only to discover she really hasn’t experienced anything yet! She is both amused and exasperated when one of the dragon-shifting aliens kidnaps her, believing she is his true mate.

Life is no longer boring or lonely as Asim courts the spirited human woman who has enchanted him, but he isn’t the only one who has noticed Pearl or the unusual animals under his care. When poachers attack, determined to steal the exotic creatures under his protection – including Pearl and a new clutch of alien eggs from Earth – he will do everything he can to protect them. Can one dragon keep the most precious creatures under his care safe, or will he lose the biggest battle of his life?


A Novella in the Tornian Series
By M.K. Eidem (USA TODAY Bestselling Author)

The Great Raptor is a fearsome and deadly creature; and while the raptor is no one’s pet, he is fiercely protective and loving of his family…

Carly and Miki have never forgotten the story that Grim told them of the Great Raptor, the symbol of their new home world Luda. Yet, it is the comparison their mother once told them of the Great Raptor to Grim that gives them the courage to help the injured bird they find in the garden.

Find out what happens when their single act of love, faith, and kindness creates far-reaching consequences that no one, including their mother and Grim, could ever have predicted.


A Novella in the Star Series
By Susan Grant (New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling, and RITA Award Winning Author)

Trysh joined the Space Forces with the secret hope that her absentee father might notice her accomplishments and acknowledge her. At the top of her game as a starfighter pilot, the last thing she needs is a way too charming prince to get in her way. Trysh had learned at a young age what happened when a person lost their heart to someone above their social class – it led to heartache.

Prince Rornn feels fortunate he can pursue his passion both in the air and on the ground. He decides being third in line for the throne definitely has its advantages – it allowed him to join the Space Forces as a top-gun starfighter pilot. What he doesn’t expect is to find a woman there who not only competes with him – she completes him!

Everything Rornn tries appears to push Trysh further away – that is until they rescue a tiny, starving yipwag pup on the surface of an alien world. It turns out that “Puppy” is as good at sniffing out terrorists as she is at helping her two clueless humans figure out that they need each other as much as they do her.

Can Rornn convince Trysh that he is nothing like her father and that she is just the right woman for him before the terrorists discover their furry little companion?


By Michelle Howard

Hunter Gils has put his past in the military behind him. Now his focus is on his bar and the less than savory clientele. Life is perfect – except for a gray-eyed beauty who refuses his advances.

Narelle Bindu wasn’t immune to the tall, dark stranger working at The Zone. He wanted her – and she wanted him. The only drawback was she didn’t have room in her life for a man, not even one as tempting as Hunter.

When a deadly attack creates the perfect opening for an old enemy, the two lovers must work together to survive. What they never expect is to find an ally willing to help them – even if that help has four legs. Can their four-legged friend keep Hunter and Narelle alive long enough to find out that one night would never be enough?


A Novella in the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance Series
By Cara Bristol (USA TODAY Bestselling Author)

A cyborg’s haunted past and a Faria’s clouded future entwine…

Hostage and sole survivor Solia waits for death at the hands of vicious predatory aliens when Cy-Ops agent Guy Roarke disobeys orders and charges in. A former medic, he initiates emergency medical procedures before rushing her to Cybermed.

Guy is taken with Solia, but the guilt of a past mistake won’t allow him to plan for a future with the delicate, brave beauty. Life is so uncertain, he can’t even keep Mittzi, the kitten his niece gave him. What he can do is see to it Solia gets the help she needs for a full recovery. But when best intentions place her in greater danger, it’s up to a little kitten to make everything all right again.


A Novella in the The Sectors SF Romance Series
By Veronica Scott

Grant Barton, a Security Officer on the Nebula Zephyr, is less than thrilled with his current assignment to guard an Interstellar singing sensation while she’s on board the ship. It doesn’t help that he is also dealing with a recent inheritance – of the feathered kind! The alien bird that his great-grandfather so kindly left him was now sharing his quarters and making his life miserable. It wasn’t helping that his assignment wasn’t making his job any easier either – at least until he had to save her life.

Karissa is on her way up the charts and seemingly has it all – talent, fame, fortune and devoted fans, but behind her brave smile and upbeat lyrics she hides an aching heart. When a publicity stunt goes wrong, Karissa finds herself in the arms of the security officer assigned to protect her – and discovers a mutual attraction she can’t ignore.

Trouble continues to plague the pair, driving a wedge between them and leaving Grant certain that Karissa is in more danger than she realizes. When a deranged fan issues a death threat, Grant is determined to protect Karissa whether she wants his help or not. Can he discover the truth behind what is going on before he loses Karissa, or is there someone else plotting to keep them apart – permanently?


A Novella in the Project Enterprise Series
By Pauline Baird Jones

Hiding in time is not as easy as you’d think…

Madison lives by the rules of a time travel rebel – never tell anyone your real name, not if you want to remain alive. On the track of a traitor, Madison and her parrot partner, Sir Rupert, time travel into a trap. Their only way out sends them back in time and into the arms of a man that ignites a fire inside her.

USAF Master Sergeant Briggs is in trouble – not the kind he’d like to be, but still in trouble. He is bored out of his mind! Ordered to recuperate on a quiet bay away from the Garradian outpost, he’s ready to mutiny and go back to his beloved engines. When his friends send him a gift from Area 51, he figures it will relieve his boredom for an hour or so – until he turns it on and he gets his second present of the day.

Madison would love to get to know Briggs better, but it is just too dangerous. Unfortunately, she might not have much choice. With a Time Service Interdiction Force on their heels, can the three craft a plan that will save a base full of geniuses and technology and discover a happy-ever-after forged through time?


A Novella in the Inherited Stars Universe Series
By Laurie A. Green

From monk to married…

Captain Navene Jagger’s certainty he will be promoted to command a new battleship is doused when the admiral instead assigns him on what appears to be a suicide mission. If that wasn’t bad enough, he finds his self-imposed decision to be a military monk is thrown to the far reaches of the galaxy when he is ordered to escort Ketsia Tayah and her StarDog through the treacherous, rogue-infested Bradley’s Rift in a battered derelict of a vessel – a task that also makes him have to confront his painful past.

Ketsia’s past had taught her a lot. The universe was not only a very dangerous place, it turns out that it is also a lot smaller than she would have liked! Ketsia is rattled when she discovers that she and her StarDog are to be escorted by the man she formerly had a crush on. She swears life couldn’t get any more complicated until they are thrown into jeopardy and have to pretend they are married!

Jag soon realizes there is more at stake than his pride when dangerous rogues threaten their spaceship. After he learns the ship, the mission, and the StarDog are all much more than they seem will he be able to save Ketsia, his career, and the day? Or will self-sacrifice be the only way to save those under his protection?


A Novella in the Alien Attachments Series
By Sabine Priestley

Marco Dar’s position as an Earth Protector means he spends an incredible amount of time alone in space. His only company is with the talkative com unit. It isn’t until he stops at the Galaxy Spinner restaurant that he discovers his com has become sentient – and it wants a physical form!

Dr. Zara Mancini hasn’t seen Marco Dar in over eleven years. As far as she is concerned, that still isn’t long enough. When Marco approaches her with an unusual request, she is torn between her fascination with the project, and wanting to leave him eating her space dust.

Marco is quickly falling all over again for Zara’s beautiful smile and gorgeous lips. Young and foolish, he sabotaged their relationship years ago. Now he has a second chance. Can he convince Zara to help his AI, and prove to her that he is a different man?


A Novella in the Galactic Defenders Series
By Jessica E. Subject

A dedicated Defender to the core, Gib is willing to go to any planet the Galactic Alliance sends him. That is, until he’s sent with his squad to Hemera for their Alorama ceremony, far from any threat of Erebus invasion and with no chance for promotion.

Vilarra has lived on Hemera all her life, working hard in the kitchens of the royal palace until she achieved lead hand. But learning of the universe beyond her world reveals her insignificance and shreds her sense of accomplishment and purpose.

With the help of a furry, little tibbar, Gib is determined to win the affection of Vilarra, prove to her how significant she is to him and the people who depend on her. But will his personal mission be cut short before he has the chance to win her heart?


A Novella in the Central Galactic Concordance Series
By Carol Van Natta

The vast Central Galactic Concordance strictly prohibits genetic experimentation and alteration of humans on any of its 500 member planets. Unfortunately, animals are not included in those regulations…

Veterinarian Bethnee Bakonin has made a home for herself on a frontier planet in the frozen north. Her minder talent for healing all kinds of animals would ordinarily assure her success, but her unwilling stint in the shady pet trade industry left her damaged and scared.

“Volunteered” for a black-box research project, elite forces Jumper Axur Tragon now has dangerous experimental tech in his cybernetic limbs. He escapes the project and steals a freighter, but ship damage forces him to crash-land in the northern mountains of a frontier planet. He’s surprised to discover the freighter’s cargo contains a secret shipment of designer pets. Determined to do right by them, he enlists reluctant Bethnee’s aid in caring for them—a definite challenge, considering Bethnee is terrified of him.

They will need all the help they can get from their unusual pets to save the day when ruthless mercenaries pose a threat. Can Axur and Bethnee work together to overcome their limitations, or will they lose everything they have vowed to protect – including each other?


A Novella in the Aeon’s Legacy series
By Alexis Glynn Latner

Daya Tattujayan is the manager of a remote and nearly derelict space mining station. She has plenty of problems to deal with even before the interstellar syndicate that owns the station sends an auditor to check up on her work.

Rik Gole is a nomadic interstellar auditor with no roots to tie him down. He is ruthless when he has to be and very good at what he does, but Rik would be the first to admit that a woman like Daya and a place like this station are way outside of his previous experience.

Before Daya and Rik can decide whether they are antagonists, allies, or something more, an unexpected enemy attacks the station. To save their lives, they must dare to trust each other. And they need help from a very unconventional defender—Daya’s mysterious alien pet, the mascot of Star Corner Station.


Watch our book trailer for Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2

S.E. Smith Bio and Awards

S. E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY and #1 Amazon International Bestselling Author. Susan enjoys sharing her amazing worlds filled with action, adventure, love, laughter and tears with her readers. Her stories focus on strong characters and the dynamics of their relationships as they deal with diverse situations. She is known for her world building that takes readers away. She is a true dreamer who believes in HEA.


  • New York Times Bestselling Author
  • USA TODAY Bestselling Author
  • Amazon International Bestselling Author
  • 2016 Library Journal Best Book – Top 5 Pick
  • 2014 & 2015 RomCon Reader Crown Award Winner
  • Indie Reader Top 10 Author


New York Times Best Seller List:

  • Dagger’s Hope
  • Twin Dragons

USA Today Best Seller List:

  • A Dragonlings’ Magical Christmas: Dragonlings of Valdier Book 1.3
  • Viper’s Defiant Mate: Sarafin Warriors Book 2
  • Dagger’s Hope: The Alliance Book 3
  • Risteard’s Unwilling Empress: Lords of Kassis Book 4
  • Merrick’s Maiden: Cosmos Gateway Book 5
  • Twin Dragons: Dragon Lords of Valdier Book 7
  • Hunter’s Claim: The Alliance Book 1

Indie Reader Top 10 Author:

  • Viper’s Defiant Mate: Sarafin Warriors Book 2
  • Risteard’s Unwilling Empress: Lords of Kassis Book 4
  • Twin Dragons: Dragon Lords of Valdier Book 7

Other Awards:

  • 2015 RomCon Readers Crown Winner – WESTERN ROMANCE – Spirit Warrior: Spirit Pass Book 2
  • 2014 RomCon Readers Crown Winner – SciFi Time Travel romance – Ha’ven’s Song: Curizan Warriors Book 1
  • 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading (2013/14) #12 – Choosing Riley: Sarafin Warriors Book 1
  • 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading (2013/14) #4 – Dagger’s Hope: The Alliance Book 3
  • 2014 International TKH Award Best Science Fiction Writer
  • 2014 SFR Galaxy Award Winner Best New SFR Series featuring the Alien Warrior Meets Human Woman Trope – The Alliance series
  • IRC Nominated Best Author of 2014

Readers can connect with Susan here: 

Fan Clubs Run By Readers:
  • by admin
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  • February 16, 2017

Cyborgs: from the Six Million Dollar Man to Cyberoperative

By Cara Bristol

If you’ve noticed similarities between cyborgs in today’s science fiction/sci-fi romance and the Six Million Dollar Man, a TV show from the 1970s, you’re on the mark. The “bionic man” was a cyborg. Col. Steven Austin, played by actor Lee Majors, was an astronaut who was critically injured when his ship crashed. Two legs, one arm and an eye were replaced with bionic parts making him faster and stronger. You can see the opening credit/sequence from the show here.

The Six Million Dollar Man was based on the Martin Caidin novel, Cyborg. The show had a successful run from 1974-1978 and led to a spinoff, The Bionic Woman (1976-1978), with Jaime Sommers played by Lindsay Wagner. Like Austin, Sommers had two legs and one arm replaced, but she had bionic ear instead of an eye.

What is different about Austin and Sommers from the cyborgs in the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series and other authors’ cyborg romances, is that the bionic man/woman didn’t have any computer interfaces. In its infancy, computer technology was practically nonexistent in the 1970s. Computers were huge mainframe things (although the first PCs came out in the mid 1970s). The era was pre-internet, pre-wireless. So Austin and Sommers had mechanical limbs, but no computer chips or processors, no nanocytes.

Fictional cyborgs today aren’t just physically stronger, they have greater mental capabilities. The cyborgs in my series can communicate with each other telepathically via wireless, can hack into most computer systems, and have a database of information in their heads they can access. Their nanos, tiny robotic cells in their bloodstream, enhance bodily functions and repair injuries.

The computer age has changed cyborgs.

The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman were action-adventure stories. The Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series books are romances, focusing on the developing love relationship between the heroine and the cyborg hero who works for a secret military organization called Cyber Operations (Cy-Ops).

So, how much would a six million dollar man cost today? Factoring in inflation alone, a six million dollar man would cost $29 million in today’s dollars. However, due to technological and computer advancements, they would probably cost a lot more.

Claimed by the Cyborg Description

March Fellows assumed he had all the time in the galaxy to pursue a relationship with Jules, an alien exchange student from Xenia, until she vanished without a trace. After years of searching, he finds his lost love on the eve of her arranged marriage.

The daughter of the Xenian emperor, Julietta never meant to fall in love with a Terran man while visiting Earth. Leaving to fulfill her responsibilities on her home planet opened up a hole in her heart that could never be filled. When March, now a cyborg, unexpectedly shows up just before she is to be bonded, she struggles to find the courage to turn him away a second time and follow through with her duty. Before she can act, the lovers are thrust into a political conspiracy that threatens the Xenian empire and their lives.

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An excerpt from Claimed by the Cyborg

(In this scene, hero March arrives on Xenia to look for Jules. He’s escorted by two guards to the emperor’s palace).

“Is there a festival going on?” he asked.

“No, we are preparing for the imperial bonding ceremony—the day after tomorrow.”

“I didn’t realize the wedding, uh, bonding ceremony, was so soon.”

The guard nodded. “It follows the Sha’A’la.”

“The bride fight.” March nodded. A woman’s mate proved his worthiness by battling a challenger. The Sha’A’la harkened to the days when warring tribes stole brides from rival clans, although it was purely ceremonial now, part spectator sport, part theater.

The guard arched her eyebrows. “You’re familiar with the custom?”

“I’ve heard a bit about it.” Jules had mentioned it in passing, and the database in the microprocessor embedded between the two hemispheres of his brain filled in the details she’d omitted. “My understanding is marriages are arranged, so it’s predetermined who’s going to win?”

“Correct.” The guard grinned. “But, we like to pretend it could go otherwise.”

“I see,” he lied. There was no such thing as a mock fight in Cyber Operations. When he had fought, his opponents had died. No pretense. His cyborg brain had recorded every death. The enemies he’d disposed of didn’t bother him, but the innocents he’d been unable to save did. When the atrocities he’d witnessed had gotten too much to take, he’d resigned from Cy-Ops and gone to work for Moonbeam before he burned out. A university professor, he’d never planned to become a cyberoperative. No one did. They all came to Cy-Ops the hard way—a tragedy, a visit from Carter then reconstructive cybernetic surgery.

“Is this your first visit?” the guard asked.

“Yes. But I met someone from here.” He paused. “Her name was Jules. Do you know her?”

“My sister’s name is Jules,” she said.

March swept his gaze over the woman’s face. Other than her piercing eyes, the irises solid black, there was no resemblance, but his heart hammered anyway, and he had to ask. “Did your sister study off planet—on Terra?”

Cara Bristol Bio

USA Today bestselling author Cara Bristol has been the no. 1 best seller in science fiction romance, bdsm erotica, and holiday fiction on Amazon. She’s the author of two science fiction romance series featuring tough alpha heroes: the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance cyborg series and the Breeder science fiction romance series, which emphasize character-driven stories written with a touch of humor and sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara lives in Missouri with her own alpha hero, her husband.




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Pauline Baird Jones: Houston, I Need a Pet, and Pets in Space

Pets In Space 600x900I am thrilled to be one of nine authors in the anthology, Pets in Space, combining two of my big loves, space and pets. A portion of proceeds are being donated to who raise and train service dogs for US veterans.

I am delighted that each author in Pets in Space has agreed to share with us an insight into their story in the anthology and a little bit about why they decided to write for the anthology. Today’s guest is Pauline Baird Jones:

I am a little embarrassed to admit that I, who have a story in an anthology called Pets in Space, am not currently “owned” by a pet (unless you count our wild bunnies and the deer that pause long enough to leave brown deposits on our lawn while on their way to eat my sister’s flowers.)

We used to be owned by two cats. Felix (named after a hurricane) came to our family via some friends and The Look from Our Son. You know that Look, the one that says, “My life will be over and possibly the world will end if you don’t give me what I want right now.”

Houston Need Pet

I might have still resisted, but the Look packs more than a message about saving the world. It has the power to alter your brain chemistry, so that when your brain starts working again, you are owned by said cat and scooping stinky clumps out of a box (I have a vague memory of the Son swearing he’d scoop forever and ever and I’d never have to do a thing…)

Our second cat was the brother of Felix and you know we had to call him Oscar. I wouldn’t recommend ever doing that again. Because they turned out just like Felix and Oscar of The Odd Couple. Seriously. When Oscar did his business in the box, Felix would go in and clean up after him.

Sadly, Oscar had some birth defects and wasn’t with us long. I thought that having shared ownership of us would make Felix more flexible when Allie came to stay with us for a few years (we were cat sitting for Our Daughter) but, no, they fought like, well, cats.

Felix passed away a few years ago and Allie followed him into the afterlife last year. I have this image in my head of Felix giving her that same look he gave her when she showed up at our house the first time. And I expect they are now chasing each other all over in the afterlife.

Because we are currently in “travel to and fro upon the land” mode, we have not allowed ourselves to be adopted by a pet. (We manage this by not making eye contact with any cat, particularly any cute kittens—who will live longer than I will at this point.)

But, the pet need simmers on. When I see cute pet pics on Facebook, yeah, I feel the tug (can pets guilt you from the afterlife?).

While waiting for someone to invent the virtual pet (all the companionship with none of the scooping), I’m settling for fictional pets.

Though I have to say, during the writing of “The Real Dragon,” Peddrenth the bearded dragon became so real to me that I miss having him hanging around now that the story is finished. (However, I’m not sorry I’m not buying bugs for him…)

Have you ever bonded with a fictional pet? Do you love stories featuring animals?

If you like stories of romance, action, adventure and PETS, I hope you’ll check out Pets in Space. Not only will you get EIGHT original, never-before-published stories, and ONE expanded story, 10% of the first month’s proceeds will be donated to, an organization dedicated to training dogs to help Veterans suffering from PTSD and other battle injuries.

I swallowed to wet my dry throat and asked, “Is he, you know, humanoid?”

“Mazan? Of course.”

What was “of course” about it? This alien had accidentally collected the dragon, not the human.

“Does he look like…I mean, is he purple or something?” I had a feeling if Peddrenth could have rolled his eyes, he would have.

“You…” he stopped, as if reconsidering what he’d meant to say.

“You all look similar to me.” From “The Real Dragon,” Pets in Space

About Pauline Baird Jones
Pauline never liked reality, so she writes books. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance. You can find out more about her books (and get a free story for subscribing to her newsletter) at: http:///

Pauline Baird Jones








Click here for your copy of Pets in Space

What Does Cara Bristol, Woman’s Best Friend is a Robot Dog, and Pets in Space, Have in Common?

Pets In Space 600x900I am thrilled to be one of nine authors in the anthology, Pets in Space, combining two of my big loves, space and pets. A portion of proceeds are being donated to who raise and train service dogs for US veterans.

I am delighted that each author in Pets in Space has agreed to share with us an insight into their story in the anthology and a little bit about why they decided to write for the anthology. Today’s guest is Cara Bristol:

Maltese puppy, 6 months old, sitting in front of white backgroun

My pet in Spark of Attraction is a robotic dog named Sparky. I’d call him an android, except “andro” specifically refers to a man, so by definition an android is a robot with a human appearance. So maybe Sparky the canine is a “candroid.” Lol.

In any case, he looks and acts like a real dog. So real, that when hero Dante first encounters him, he mistakes him for a real animal, which is not allowed on a military spaceship, and so immediate friction results between him and the heroine. Then Sparky bites the captain with his electrically charged teeth, and that doesn’t go over well either.

Sparky is a K9-500 model, a prototype invented by the heroine’s deceased father, and is all Miranda has left to remember him by. The K9-500 is programmed to protect her no matter what. The protection sequence cannot be halted, not even by Miranda herself.
If you were going to create a robotic dog, what traits would you want it to have?

Spark of Attraction blurb

Memory: intact. Cognitive function: enhanced. Emotion: erased.

After becoming a cyborg, Captain Dante Stone didn’t think he’d ever feel again, until a traumatized young woman and a ball of synthetic fur named Sparky helped him to love.

An excerpt from Spark of Attraction, Pets in Space

“Sparky, no!” Miranda grabbed her robotic dog and tried to pull him off the captain. This was awful. Stone would airlock him for sure. “Release, Sparky, release!” she cried, but the companion-model robot hung on. “Let go!”

The captain bent, and gripping the dog’s upper and lower jaws, began to pry its mouth open with his bare hands.

“Don’t hurt Sparky!” He was all she had left, and the captain could break him, dislocate his jaw.

“Hurt him?” He peered up at her. “Might I remind you its teeth are imbedded in my leg?”

She reached under the collar for the power switch on the dog’s nape. He jerked, released the captain’s ankle, and fell over. Still. Silent. “I’m so sorry,” she apologized, wringing her hands. “He’s programmed to protect me, and he perceived you as a threat.” Maybe if she’d explained at the start her dog was a canine artificial intelligence model, all of this could have been avoided—but at the captain’s edict, she had panicked.

She scooped him up and clutched him protectively to her chest, stroking his soft synthetic fur. He looked and acted so lifelike, sometimes she forgot he was a robot. They’d have to eject her from the ship before she’d allow them to remove him. If they put him on a pod, how could she be sure she’d get him back?
He hadn’t been bothering anything.

Well, not until he bit the captain.

If Stone’s eyes had been cold before, they were positively flinty now. She’d never seen such a dark scowl.

Blood stained his pants leg, and he pulled it up to reveal a lacerated ankle. For all its small size, the K9-500 had a jaw like a vise and sharp metal teeth. If the bot had attacked a human, the damage could have been severe. Rumor had it Dante Stone was a cyborg, a computer-enhanced human with biomimetic parts. She’d heard cyborgs were immune to pain and practically indestructible.

“I’m sorry,” she repeated. “It doesn’t hurt much, though, right?”
“Of course, it hurts!” he snapped. “Why would you think it doesn’t?”

“Don’t you have those nano thingees?”

Her fellow colonists were staring, watching the interchange, waiting to see what would happen. Would the captain toss her into the brig? Airlock poor Sparky?

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