Alien loses mate.
Alien gets mate.
A time-honored formula that just doesn't get old.
When interstellar salvage hunter Rako encounters a crashed ship in a deserted sector, the spoils within had better be worth his trouble. But inside the ancient wreck is a treasure he never intended to find--a cryogenically preserved sleeping beauty that awakens his species' mating call. Protocol requires that Alyce be taken to the nearest government installation to claim refugee status, but the hulky scavenger isn't willing to give her up that easily, especially when the descendants of her kidnappers turn up to reclaim their prize.
Rako's a skin-turner, a shape-changing alien considered an 'undesirable' in commercial circles. Alyce is a humanoid empath, stolen from her people more than a century earlier. They're strangely drawn to each other, and the ways this unlikely pair get acquainted during a long space flight is touching, sexy, and hilarious all at the same time. Alien, schmalien; when it comes to love they are fully compatible in every way that counts!
This story has a bit of a slow start, with a lot of detail about Rako's tools and instruments that this reader could do without. The interesting characters, especially Rako's diminutive and long-suffering servant/sidekick Boz --"Your copulatory vocalizations were quite unusual!"-- quickly liven things up. Rako's blithe description of government, "Elected representatives from all races, excessive data collection, high taxes, corruption, spotty public safety, the usual thing," was a golden moment of witty dialogue (my favorite)! Alyce is a sweet, independent heroine who isn't afraid of anything, making the best of a bad situation and taking things in stride.
Though I would have liked the story to be a bit longer, Rakos Treasure is a quick, classic Beauty and the beast style story that's always a treasure to read, no matter which part of the universe you find it in.