Sugar and Splice: Book 1 in the Hybrid Hearts Series

Can Jenna tame Noble, the half-man/half-lion with an insatiable appetite for more than pastries, or is their sizzling chemistry a recipe for disaster?


As Noble’s mentor in the bakery, I never expected to be whisked away by a lion-man who craves more than just my yummy treats. His fierce loyalty and tantalizing presence are ingredients for passion. Can I resist his beastly charm, or will my primal hunger make me risk it all for a taste of his forbidden love?


Recently released from the cage where I was genetically engineered, I can’t deny the hunger roaring within me when Jenna is near. Her delicious creations and sweet smile leave me lusting for more than just dessert. Can I master my animal urges, or will I risk everything to devour the delectable heat simmering between us?

Join Jenna and Noble as cupcakes and claws collide in this book about a purr-fect match.

USA TODAY Bestselling author Alana Khan combines romance and spice in these fun romps with hybrid splicers. This forbidden workplace romance has no cheating or cliffhangers. Just lots of fun and steam.

For readers 18+

Sugar and Splice

Sugar and Splice

Chapter Two


It’s late afternoon when we arrive at our destination. We left what would qualify as “sparsely populated” hours ago and are securely in “middle of nowhere” territory now. We haven’t seen any sign of humans for miles.

We pull through one of those huge, rustic gates with telephone-size poles as uprights. It’s barren up ahead. No structures of any kind.

Finally, we see a rustic, old-fashioned town.

“I know this place.”

I think this woman with long, light-brown hair introduced herself as Olivia. Did she say she worked in retail? This makes me even more curious. What would the military want with a sales clerk? Do they consider us all… expendable?

“I saw a segment about it on one of the news shows. This looks like the set for a TV show in the 60s. See that?” She points to what looks like an old Western town. “That was Main Street in the fictional town called Rattlesnake Flats.”

My gaze snaps out the window as I search the brush-studded dirt for reptiles. Olivia unknowingly just added one more item to my things-to-be-frightened-of list—snakes.

Did she say Main Street? That’s an interesting word to use. I guess it fits the definition, but barely. More than four lanes wide, it’s simply made of dirt. It’s bordered on both sides by what looks like 1800s Old West buildings. What the hell are we doing here?

My growing fear that something isn’t quite right has my thoughts colliding in a drumbeat of fear. Suddenly, I don’t want to go through with this.

Everyone’s tired, and I imagine they’re all as desperate to pee as I am. Olivia’s explanation that we’re on some antique TV set is met with little more than an eruption of quiet murmurs. I guess we’ll all find out what we’re in for soon enough.

My seatmate Amber, who scrolled on her phone every time we had cell service, says, “I was double-checking the documents they sent. We’re allowed one more chance to opt-out before we sign our contracts.”

This gives me a modicum of comfort. I won’t enjoy a long trip back to the San Antonio Airport, but no amount of money is going to be worth this.

Amber glances out the window and says, “Unless things start to look up, I might ask them to take me back as soon as I pee.”

We’re herded off the bus into a structure that might be forty years old or might have been built yesterday in a wooden, rustic style. It’s labeled “Town Hall” on a wide wooden plank over the double front doors.

The bus driver breaks his silence for the first time since we embarked. “I’ll bring your luggage to your rooms as soon as we’ve inspected it for contraband.”

Contraband. That was clearly spelled out in our initial paperwork. “No electronics or communication devices of any kind. Your cell phones will be confiscated upon arrival and returned when your contractual commitment ends. No firearms, weapons, alcohol, or drugs.”

Once we’re through the wooden double doors, I half expect to see a modern military facility with banks of computers. I’d wondered if our destination would be underground, like Stargate, or Area 51, especially after my parents joked about it.

Instead, it looks like an old-fashioned wooden town hall, only instead of benches, there are comfy couches scattered around, all facing a raised dais at one end.

Military men wearing camo greet us with plastic-wrapped sandwiches, chips, bottles of water, and directions to the nearby women’s room.

Twenty minutes later, we’ve pottied and eaten and are sitting in the main area waiting for our turn to sign our contracts. There are five desks set up at the periphery of the large, high-ceilinged room, each laden with stacks of paperwork.

When I’m called to approach one of the desks, a young military man greets me, introduces himself as Corporal Barton, places his hand on a stack of paperwork at least ten inches high and begins what must be a memorized speech.

“This contract enumerates in legal language what has already been explained to you via electronic correspondence. You’ll be given a furnished single room equipped with appropriate clothing. Any internet usage will be performed on computers provided to you. They are heavily monitored.”

He opens the stack to a page marked by a red post-it arrow and has me initial what I guess is the clause he just explained.

“You are allowed zero communication with outside parties. Violation of this rule will result in you spending the rest of your stay in our brig.”

He opens the stack to a different page and has me initial, then continues to enumerate the highlights of what I’ve already read or been told.

I’m half listening to him, half contemplating if I want to bail. Thus far, I’ve only initialed things. I haven’t given my signature yet. I think there’s still time to use my get-out-of-jail-free card and ask to go back to the airport.

His humorless speech is winding down. Any minute now, I’m going to need to make up my mind.

“I’m to show you this,” he says as he opens a laptop he’s been carrying over his shoulder on a webbed strap.

The computer is already teed up to my online banking. All I have to do is enter my username and password to see my pathetic balance.

“To ensure you stay, the program has decided to sweeten the deal. The moment you sign the contract, I’m authorized to transfer an additional $25,000 into your account.”

He’s a soldier, not a salesman. He makes no effort to convince me. There is no sales pitch.

The deal was good before this extra twenty-five grand. If it hadn’t been enticing, I wouldn’t be here. Am I willing to sign the next year and a half of my life away? It’s time to make my choice.

The other women at the four other desks have already signed their contracts and are sitting on couches, looking more relaxed than when we arrived.

With a shrug and a wince, I say, “I guess I’m going to do this.” The pit of my stomach squeezes, evidently voting nay to my logical mind’s yay. Two years from now, this whole affair will be in my rearview mirror, and I’ll be searching for a location to open my bakery.

A moment later, I’ve signed, watched $25,000 appear in my account, and am back on the couch, sitting between Amber and Riley.

“We’ll get to know each other,” Amber drawls. “We can make this fun… whatever it is.”

“The money is for my family,” Riley says. “My mom has cancer and no insurance. The program made an exception and will be dropping three percent of my money into my parents’ bank account each month.” She nods, more to herself than us. “It’s the right thing to do.”

A door on the far side of the room bangs open. I may not know a bar from a stripe, much less what they mean on a military uniform, but by this guy’s bearing, I have no doubt he’s in charge. The male is in his fifties with short-cropped steel-gray hair. With two soldiers flanking him on each side, he marches onto the dais.

“Well, ladies. It’s about time we tell you what you just signed on for.”

Did you miss Chapter 1? Go Here!

Want to read Chapter 3? Go Here!

Want to read Chapter 4? Go Here!

Want to read Chapter 5? Go Here!



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