(F/F science fiction humor holiday romance) As a security officer on an interspecies ship, Growlan Raskli's experienced in heading off species-specific aberrant behaviors in order to keep the peace. But when her captain asks her to find out what's bothering their sole human crew member, Raskli's out of her depths. She hardly knows anything about humans and she's not a psych doctor. Something's definitely upset Human Jen, something to do with human holidays. The more time Raskli spends studying humans and interacting with the intriguing Human Jen, the more personal the assignment becomes. Determined to lift the dark cloud from Human Jen, Raskli will do whatever it takes—within safe parameters, of course.
Sofia Cancino is tired of her mundane life, her artificial environment and her large, boisterous family descending every holiday season. She's promised herself this year will be different and books a stay on the exclusive—and expensive--holiday-themed resort, Yule Planet. She looks forward to being pampered while reconnecting with Old Earth traditions steeped in the magic and mysticism of nature. Everything will be perfect and she'll leave as a more authentic human, better connected to her roots.
Naturally, things go horribly wrong. Sofia's landing pod goes off course and instead of stepping out on the landing pad at the resort, she finds herself in the snow-swept perpetual winter of the planet's hinterlands. If that wasn't bad enough, she's "rescued" by a band of criminals on work release who run deliveries to the resort from far-flung shuttle delivery sites. They refuse to take her, a paying customer, to the resort and insist on dragging her along on their parcel run. Riding giant monsters. In frigid weather. Not to mention, Marta, who handles the monsters, obviously hates her.
If Sofia survives her vacation, she's definitely yelling at someone's supervisor until she gets a refund.
While driving home during a snowstorm, Serge Kosygin witnesses a meteor plummeting to Earth. When he reaches the strike location, he finds a horrific crash site instead of a meteor crater, with two aliens dead and one survivor barely alive. His deeply ingrained mistrust of the government prompts him to rescue the alien before the authorities arrive.
Een has lost his life mates in a desperate effort to reach safety. With their deaths, he may be the last Aalana in the galaxy. He finds himself in the care of a strange alien being, which both frightens and intrigues him. Though communication issues, biology, and grief impede him, Een is determined to learn all he can about this new world and his rescuer.
Music and the natural world bring them together, creating a bond stronger than culture shock, but government interference and Een’s failing health threaten their budding relationship. Only their combined ingenuity and their determination to stay together will give them any chance of saving the last living Aalana.
In a four-gendered world where correct gender identity is law, Venk struggles with his inability to choose one sexual orientation over another. His body has matured, but he still shows the multi-colored crest of a juvenile, someone who has not yet presented proper orientation.
With his family losing patience and others beginning to whisper, Venk must find a way to change his crest or be labeled an aberration. But the only choice he sees is a dishonest one.