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Mittens Not Included

TriSystems: Smugglers Series

By JC Hay

From Pets in Space 5

Mittens Not Included

Three little kittens have lost their way…

Layth Ali thought he was happy. On board the Sentinel of Gems, he is allowed to run the medical bay as he sees fit, and the crew appreciates his talents. Most importantly, the smugglers don’t ask him questions about his past, or pressure him to leave his self-imposed exile. But when a new passenger and her precious cargo get dumped into his lap, it’s all he can do to deflect her incessant questions and keep her at arm’s length.

Meja Aquarone knew she was courting trouble when she stole a litter of kittens from the lab where she worked, but she refused to allow their perceived flaw to become a death sentence. Now she’s on the run, hoping that the crew of the Sentinel can smuggle her someplace safe without her employers finding her. She wasn’t expecting to find someone on board who understood the tiny creatures, or who shielded his compassion behind a wall of spiky indifference, but ten minutes with the ship’s doctor leaves her curious to know more.

Forced to go to the one place Layth swore never to return, the walls are closing around them. With a corporate bounty on their heads, and three cats becoming increasingly difficult to hide, Layth and Meja have to decide – what are they willing to sacrifice to gain the safety they desire? And is that protection worth being alone?

Originally published in the Pets in Space 5 Anthology.

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