USA Today Bestselling Author
Unicorns are just as real as aliens.
Despite achieving fame and fortune as a renowned unicorn tamer, Bruin has never found the one thing he craves: love. When a horrific accident puts him deep in debt, Bruin’s only chance of returning to his old life is aiding his scientist father. Sent to find out why the people on a primitive planet called Earth don’t believe in unicorns, all Bruin has to do is abduct a human. But he never expected that human to be his fated mate…
All Tara’s ever wanted is to leave her small Scottish town and explore the world. Being kidnapped by a crazy guy with a fake unicorn wasn’t what she had in mind. Especially when the unicorn turns out to be real, and the crazily hot guy turns out to be an alien.
Her abductor is offering a chance to explore the galaxy with his charming unicorn in tow. But to see the stars, she’d have to give up everything, including the walls around her heart.
This story opens with the worst day of Bruin’s life. The day that An’tia the stabhorn (unicorn) he was trying to calm charged him and her horn pierces his chest almost fatally. The organ transplant that saves his life bankrupts him and his only hope of paying is to agree to his sire’s terms of working for the Intergalactic University. He’s not interested at all, until he sees what his assignment will be. Studying the reason why Peritans (Humans) no longer believe in Stabhorns (Unicorns).
Tara is a tour guide at one of the many castles in Scotland. Since she had done a wonderful job with the social media post for the Mary Queen of Scots exhibition, she’s been chosen to do the same with Unicorns. Apparently someone at the Home Office had the brilliant idea to put horns on horses at Edinburgh Castle and the kids loved it.
When Tara’s putting out signs for the tourists, she sees the unicorn and a man with it. Their encounter is so much more than Tara expected.
This is a favorite scene.
Heaving the heavy wooden signs to the front gates, I noticed a lone man standing next to a horse at the other end of the parking lot. Hadn’t Sharon mentioned two unicorns? Maybe one had lost its horn.
With the sun behind him, their silhouettes were dark against the morning light, looking almost magical. I pulled out my phone and took a quick picture, then quickly set up the signs before I forgot.
The guy stayed in place, waiting for me to approach. His horse was huge, towering above him. I knew nothing about horses, but this one seemed exceedingly tall. Maybe they’d chosen it especially for the unicorn gig, since that would make it even more imposing when surrounded by small children.
Up close, the horse was even larger. I’d underestimated how tall the man next to it was. I wasn’t small, but next to him, I felt tiny. His shoulders were broad, his black t-shirt too tight for his muscular arms. He either had a job other than chaperoning fake unicorns or worked out every day. I blinked against the sun, trying to make out his features. He was bald; not a look I usually liked, but it only made him seem more attractive.
I chastised myself for letting my thoughts stray that way. I was here in a professional capacity. Maybe I was about to get my period. That always messed with my hormones and turned me into a cat in heat.
“Are you here for the photoshoot?” I asked. “Wait, don’t answer that. I don’t think we’re going to get any other unicorns visiting us today.”
My mouth was running away from me. Think before you speak, Tara. But he was making me nervous. He was intimidating and attractive and looking at me way too intensely. His gaze swept over me from top to bottom, as if he was ingraining every detail into memory. I felt strangely naked under his gaze.
I forced myself to focus on the horse. It was safer than to risk meeting his eyes and get drawn into their depths.
“That horn looks really realistic,” I blurted. “I assumed it would be a cardboard roll or something silly like that, but this is beautiful. How do you make it shimmer that way?”
The horse snorted, hot steam rising from its nostrils. Its fur was a silvery white all over, reflecting the morning sun. Its large eyes were a stunning turquoise framed with silver lashes. The mane looked freshly brushed and a few golden ribbons had been tied into it. I wondered if the guy had done that or someone else. He didn’t look the type to care much about ribbons.
The horn was a curved spire of silver and gold. I couldn’t quite determine what material it was made from. Definitely not plastic. It reminded me of mother-of-pearl, but that couldn’t be right. How was it even attached? I couldn’t see any cords. Surely they hadn’t glued it on? That would be cruel.
I wanted to reach out and touch the horn, but the huge horse was intimidating. It stared at me just like I’d stared at the fake unicorn. Its eyes sparked with intelligence. I’d never been around horses much, but I was starting to feel like this horse was special.
“You can touch her,” the man answered my unspoken question. He had a slight accent, but it was barely noticeable.
“Sure she won’t bite?”
“She won’t bite you.”
I faked a smile, not sure if he was making a joke.
“Does she bite other people?”
“Sometimes. She stabbed me once. I almost died.”
Alright, he had to be joking. That horn was fake and couldn’t be hard enough to stab someone.
I turned to look at him and realised his intense gaze was still fixed on me. “Are you making fun of me?”
He said it with such conviction that I didn’t doubt him in the slightest. Everything about him was intense. His huge body, his dark eyes that seemed almost black, every word that came from his perfectly shaped lips. Lips that looked very kissable indeed.
I took a step back to get some distance between us. This situation was becoming ever stranger. I should take them into the castle and start taking some pictures. For some reason, I didn’t want to stay alone with him any longer. Not because he was making me uncomfortable. Because he was making me feel too comfortable.
“Follow me,” I said and turned around before I could change my mind. “There’s a great spot in the Queen Anne Garden where you can see the castle looming up above. And after that, we can go into the inner courtyard for some pictures in front of the Royal Palace.”
The horse’s hooves click-clacked over the cobblestone, but the man’s steps were silent. I was tempted to look over my shoulder to make sure he was following me.
The security guard by the gate stared at us, his eyes wide. “That unicorn looks very real,” he muttered to me. “I didn’t know horses could be that big.”
I shrugged and waited until he lifted the barrier that prevented cars from driving into the castle complex. Something warm touched my shoulder, followed by a burst of hot air against the side of my face.
“Turn very slowly,” the stranger said, his voice calm. “No sudden movements.”
I did as instructed, coming face to face with the unicorn. She kept her muzzle on my shoulder. Something akin to humour twinkled in her turquoise eyes, but I had to imagine that.
“Reach up and stroke her cheek. She likes that.”
I gingerly rubbed the soft fur beneath the horse’s eye. She snorted and pushed against my hand as if to ask for more.
“I’ll take a picture,” the guard announced. “You two look adorable together.”
I frowned. I didn’t want to be called that. The horse was adorable, yes, despite her intimidating size, but not me.
Without warning, her tongue shot out and licked my ear. Yuck.
“Can I step away from her now?” I asked the horse’s owner, realising at the same time that I didn’t even know his name. I’d forgotten all about polite introductions. That wasn’t professional at all. I was representing not just the castle team, but all of Historic Scotland, the charity looking after many of Scotland’s ancient sites. I had to get my act together and stop being so affected by the stranger’s presence.
“Slowly, don’t startle her. She likes you.”
Great. I stroked her warm cheek one last time, then stepped back. She inclined her head a little, then snorted happily. At least that’s how I interpreted it.
“I’ll send you the pictures later,” the guard promised.
I probably wouldn’t take him up on that. I hated seeing pictures of myself. I preferred to be behind the camera where I could indulge my insecurities.
Now that the barrier was up, I led the stranger and the horse through the gate and up the uneven cobblestone path until we got to the gardens. The roses were in their final days of bloom and their sweet fragrance filled the air. It was one of my favourite parts of the castle complex.
Ignoring the ‘don’t step on the grass’ signs, I headed to the wall looming high above us. When I stopped to make sure they’d followed me onto the grass, I wasn’t surprised to have the stranger stare at me intensely once again.
“That beech tree over there is over two hundred years old,” I said, falling into my tour guide routine. “And did you know that Queen Anne, after whom this garden is named, never actually visited the castle?”
“I did not know that,” the man said, an amused smirk twisting his lips. “And there’s something else I don’t know. Your name.”
“Tara. Tara Crawford.”
He touched two fingers to his forehead and gave me a short bow. “Bruin, son of Tholin.”
Again, I felt like he was making fun of me, yet his expression was sincere. I couldn’t make head nor toe of this man.
He stroked the horse’s mane, getting a soft whinny in response. “And this is An’tia. She is as pleased to meet you as I am.”
The unicorn stared at me. Her turquoise eyes seemed to turn into swirling whirlpools, pulling me in. Unseen ropes wrapped around my chest, restricting my breathing. My knees buckled, yet I couldn’t look away from those gorgeous eyes. I was trapped, held in place by a force I had no words to describe. My body was frozen, yet my mind was free as I floated towards the unicorn, pulled into the depths of her soul.
Skye MacKinnon. Alien Abduction for Unicorns (Kindle Locations 205-270). Peryton Press.
The unicorn rendered her unconscious and Bruin places her in his medpod once they were back on the ship. He does something that is going to anger Tara once she wakens. Well, angers her more than being abducted by a Unicorn. On second thought she’s pretty angry about that too. Then there’s the fact that she and Bruin are mates. That doesn’t go over well either.
An’tia, the unicorn, is far more than a pet and has more than a few surprises for this couple.
This is book is a lot of fun with plenty of laughter and sizzling heat.
5 Contented Purrs for Skye!
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Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.
She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.
When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.