|A warm hand at her lower back made her jolt. She gave an apologetic glance at Sentir.
“I’m going to take the women to their apartments, but I think someone wishes to speak with you,” Sentir said.
“Who?” she asked, scanning the crowd.
A Terran who easily stood over six feet began making his way toward them. His long hair flowed down his back, and the black leather hugging his body showcased an impressive set of muscles. There was a flutter in her stomach and this time it wasn’t from nerves. He was handsome, by far the best-looking Terran she’d seen so far, and none of them were ugly.
The alien stopped in front of her. “Miss Abbie Carson?”
“I’m Councilman Larimar. I wanted to meet with you in person to apologize for what happened. Zlyer is looking into the matter. So far, it seems your letter was the only one that didn’t go out. Whoever is responsible will be punished.”
“Oh, I… I don’t think it’s necessary to punish anyone. I mean, I made it here, right?” she said.
He smiled at her kindly. “You’re not furious?”
“No. I’m just grateful I was able to come now.”
Sentir moved away. “I’ll have your belongings sent to your apartment. Councilman, will you escort her? I need to get the other ladies settled.”
“Of course,” Larimar said.
Abbie looked up at him, feeling dainty and delicate in his presence. “I’m staying in an apartment?”
“A small one, but yes. It’s our hope you won’t be there long. The sooner each bride finds a mate, the sooner we can bring more to our world. We try not to have more than six here at a time. In the early days, we brought more here, and even had some humans working here. But it didn’t work out as planned.”
He reached for her, placing his hand gently at her lower back and guiding her along. She fell into step beside him and tried not to gawk at everyone and everything along the way. There was a large pool area that looked promising, except she didn’t have a swimsuit. She’d always loved to swim but hadn’t had much opportunity for it.
When they approached a large building, easily fifteen stories high, she paused. “I’m staying there?”
“Yes. Is there a problem?”
“No, I just didn’t know what to expect. The building is quite large.”
“The top two floors are suites that are occupied by Terrans. Some of the apartments on the lower floors are also occupied by Terrans, but none will bother you. If anyone approaches you, it will be to ask you to join them for an outing or a meal. There’s no cheating on this world so if anyone asks you out, they’re single and looking for a mate.”
She bit her lip. “How exactly does everything work? The program wasn’t explained to me in detail, except for how to apply and the general idea of what happens afterward.”
“I can see we may have to make some more adjustments to the program. Not only was your letter lost, but no one explained anything to you. It was brave of you to come all this way without knowing what to expect.”
“The implant in your wrist will let you in and out of your apartment and the building. We encourage you to share meals with prospective mates, but should you dine alone, your implant will cover the cost of your meal. If there’s any shopping you’d like to do or need to do, please do not hesitate to use the implant to pay for them. Your mate would want you to be taken care of.”
“What happens if I don’t find one?” she asked softly. “What if no one wants me?”
He stopped and reached out to tip her chin up so that she looked him in the eye. “Someone is going to want you, Abbie. I have a feeling you won’t be single for long…”