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Pet Trade

An injured veterinarian and a cyborg with unusual pets must join forces to save their town.

The vast Central Galactic Concordance strictly prohibits genetic experimentation and alteration of humans on any of its 500 member planets. Animals aren’t so lucky.

On a frontier planet, veterinarian Bethnee Bakonin made a home for herself 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. She works around her limitations as best she can, and rescues pet trade castoffs.

“Volunteered” for a black-box research project, elite forces Jumper Axur Tragon now has dangerous experimental tech in his cybernetic limbs. He escaped and crash-landed a stolen freighter in the northern mountains of a frontier planet, only to discover a secret shipment of designer pets was part of the cargo. 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.

When greedy mercenaries come raiding, can Axur and Bethnee work together to overcome their limitations, with help from their unusual pets, and save the day?

Series Note: Pet Trade originally appeared in the USA TODAY bestselling Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 science fiction romance anthology. It is a standalone story in Carol Van Natta’s award-winning Central Galactic Concordance space opera series.

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