Hearts of Indesh by S. J. Sanders
If you want love, why not steal some hearts? Hearts of Indesh is a Mate Index Valentine’s Day short story.
Nazzek Evatuuvar is Indivi, a dying species native to Indesh. After the planet’s few remaining females had long since been stolen away by slavers two decades ago he never thought he would have a mate. He is an aquisitioner, not a pirate, who has gotten bored of his life saving females in distress and the general daily grind. He is not “lonely” exactly, but when he sees an article boasting that a prince was marrying twenty humans, a new species with wide mating compatibility, he decides that the prince really has one too many. After all, wouldn’t a female do far better being rescued and mated to him. Ignoring all objections from his crew, he makes a simple plan: board the Lorgor starship, steal a mate, and haul ass home to Indesh. Things don’t go quite as planned, but a scenic route with a romantic stay-over on a planet of cannibals isn’t too bad. Surely his female would be swayed by a healthy dose of romance!
Nikki Perdit is the daughter of an up in coming regional diplomat who allowed her father to talk her into registering for the Mate Index. He wants to make a good impression on the community by registering his only daughter, she is swayed by thought of a mate of her own. She is surprised, and displeased, to find out she was selected to be one of twenty women to be mated to a Calysii prince. She is less than thrilled, tried to escape actually. Imagine her surprise to be “rescued” by a cocky pirate whose idea of romance is gratuitous oral sex–from her. Despite being convinced her new mate is a bit nut-job, she is charmed by his sweet side. Nikki find herself in short order on the run from a jilted mate, overdosing on aphrodisiac plants, and saving three hundred captive women from a cannibalistic race in order to spirit them away to bring hope and love to the hearts of the people of Indesh. And maybe in the process find her own great romance story…all in time for Valentine’s Day.