Tag Archives: excerpt

Frustrated with Tech ~ Read an excerpt from FOR WOMEN ONLY by @KayelleAllen #scifirom #romance

In this scene from For Women Only, Khyff has just walked in the door after a month away working. Like many of us, he’s not the best at using tech, so when his idBot electronic security system greets him, humor ensues. I love this scene because he is so frustrated with tech that’s beyond his understanding, and I know just how that feels!


“Welcome home, Mr. Antonello.”

Khyff flinched at the disembodied android voice. He let out a frustrated sigh. “I am never going to get used to that. IdBot?”

The home security system pinged in response.

“Didn’t I ask you to call me Khyff?”

“Yes, Mr. Antonello. Would you like to know the dates of your requests at this time?”

“No, I would not. Just change the greeting. Call me Khyff.”

“Yes, Mr. Antonello. Greetings and welcome protocols are found in the home security system settings in the main system. Would you like to adjust them at this time?”

“No.” His shoulders sagged. “Remind me later. I’ve been away for a month, okay? I’m a little tired.”

“Yes, Mr. Antonello. A reminder has been scheduled.” Locks activated with an audible click and a slight increase in pressure on his ears told Khyff the flat had been sealed. “Premises secure.”

For Women Only

Antonello Brothers 2

Publisher: Romance Lives Forever Books
Author: Kayelle Allen

When Mehfawni Ruh, a Kin ambassador, visits the capitol planet of the empire, she meets security expert Khyff Antonello, a human. A death in her family forces Fawni to return home, but she can’t bear to part with Khyff and takes him along. Her family demands she cast out the human, or abdicate her future rule.

When Fawni searches for an alternative, she stumbles upon Khyff’s secret. The cover-up, if exposed, will betray her world to its enemies and bare her family to open shame. Her duty is clear. Yet how can she leave Khyff to suffer in the darkness that binds his heart?

His secret truth is her people’s darkest lie.

This book is free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.
Amazon https://amzn.to/1f7Ge0P
Amazon (print) https://amzn.to/2eFKee5

In print from Romance Lives Forever Books
https://bit.ly/bro-womenprint-kl

The prequel for this book is At the Mercy of Her Pleasure.

Bro is a free short story set before this book opens.
Download it here. https://kayelleallen.com/bro/

Grab both At the Mercy of Her Pleasure and For Women Only plus a third book all in one boxed set for less than the price of the two books individually.


Giveaway

Download the For Women Only Wordsearch Puzzle https://kayelleallen.com/media/forwomenonlypuzzle.pdf

The wordsearch puzzle prints on two pages, with the answers on page two. You’ll find words from the series hidden at all angles.


About Kayelle Allen

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She’s a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she’s tenured.

Homeworld/Blog https://kayelleallen.com
Twitter https://twitter.com/kayelleallen
Facebook https://facebook.com/kayelleallen.author
Amazon Author page https://amazon.com/author/kayelleallen

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A deadly creature and a beautiful woman. #1stChFriday from GIB AND THE TIBBAR #GalacticDefenders #PetsinSpace

Today is the last First Chapter Friday where I’ve been sharing the first chapter or up to 1,500 words from a different story each week. I hope you have enjoyed reading them over the summer!


The twelfth (and last) book featured in First Chapter Friday is EMBRACE THE ROMANCE: Pets in Space 2. This anthology includes GIB AND THE TIBBAR, a story that is part of my Galactic Defenders series. It is a sci-fi romance adventure that takes place in space and on other planets. Enjoy!

GIB AND THE TIBBAR

by Jessica E. Subject

Chapter One

So, here’s where things are a bit different for this last First Chapter Friday. Instead of posting the first chapter on my blog, I’m giving you a chance to download a copy for yourself. You can find the first chapter for GIB AND THE TIBBAR as well as all the other stories in the second Pets in Space anthology in the EMBRACE THE ROMANCE sampler. Click on the link below for your copy…

 

https://www.instafreebie.com/free/EZz5p

Did you get an Embrace the Romance Coloring Book yet?
Get a FREE PDF coloring book here.
Or, you can get a paperback coloring book here.

Gib meets a deadly creature & a beautiful woman in GIB AND THE TIBBAR #1stChFriday #romance… Click To Tweet

About GIB AND THE TIBBAR:
A Novella in the Galactic Defenders Series

A dedicated Defender to the core, Gib is willing to go to any planet the Galactic Alliance sends him. That is, until he’s sent with his squad to Hemera for their Alorama ceremony, far from any threat of Erebus invasion and with no chance for promotion.

Vilarra has lived on Hemera all her life, working hard in the kitchens of the royal palace until she achieved lead hand. But learning of the universe beyond her world reveals her insignificance and shreds her sense of accomplishment and purpose.

With the help of a furry, little tibbar, Gib is determined to win the affection of Vilarra, prove to her how significant she is to him and the people who depend on her. But will his personal mission be cut short before he has the chance to win her heart?

About the anthology:

The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Available October 10, 2017.
Pre-order from:

Buy from Amazon / Kindle    

AMAZON US | UK | Canada | Germany | Australia

Also available in PRINT:

Amazon US

Getting ready for their 1st mission. #1stChFriday from JAGER #romance #scifirom #GalacticDefenders

It’s time for another First Chapter Friday where I share the first chapter or up to 1,500 words from a different story each week. Sometimes, the selection will have a sale attached to it, and other times a new release, or just because it’s a story I love. Happy reading!


The eleventh book featured in First Chapter Friday is JAGER. This is the second story in my Galactic Defenders series. It is a sci-fi romance adventure that takes place on Earth, in space, and on other planets. Enjoy!

JAGER

by Jessica E. Subject

Chapter One

“Three, two, one, go!” The gate buzzed open, and Jager led his squad into the Malarken forest on Kalara. Katrina, the most recent Defender graduate, took the lead, with Aram to the right, and Dhranash to the left. Silus, his Kalaren second, held center point, ready to down any Erebus the others missed. Bringing up the rear, Jager covered all their asses, prepared to save the members of his squad from every single holographic creature used to test their skills. After two Galactic years of training, fighting side-by-side, he expected them to work as a team. Yet, they didn’t. Princess Katrina was more interested in besting everyone, trying to prove she was just as skilled as her father who had recently retired from service. Only, she forgot about the rest of the squad, leaving them to fend for themselves. If he was honest, she was the least of his worries. The other members of the squad always wound up tangled in an Erebus’s tentacles or with one of the creatures over top of them, close to being killed by its poisonous saliva. And they’d served as Defenders for much longer.

Kimba, the former Galactic Alliance leader, must have hated him to assign him to the misfit group. But, no matter how much he’d argued, she refused to change her mind. The new Alliance leader, Granil, agreed with her predecessor. He was stuck with them and had to mold them into a cohesive squad. An impossible challenge.

As he weaved his way through the massive prickly trees whose canopy blocked out most of Kalara’s orange sun, Jager listened for his team. Not quiet at all. Erebus, with their lumbering bulky bodies, moved through the area with more grace. Dhranash squeaked with every step. If he stayed low enough, he wouldn’t feel the trees poking into him. And Aram sounded like a herd of rehn stampeding through the area. Jager covered his face with his hand. How many times would they have to run this drill before these lightweights learned how to cover the area properly?

A twig snapped behind him. Jager twisted around and raised his plazer, ready to shoot. Instead of their enemy ready to attack, he found Katrina, who had already downed the Erebus with just her blade.

She gave him a weak smile. “Sorry. It snapped the branch when it fell.”

Sorry? He yearned for the rest of his squad to be able to take the creatures down so quietly. And for them all to work together. He rolled his eyes and released a heavy breath. “How many?”

“This one makes five.” She took off before he could respond, the sound of her dark ponytail flapping in the air the only noise she made.

Five. That meant two or three more before the drill was over and he’d have to face Major O’Shaunessy for their score.

Ahead of him, Silus froze. A drop of black goop plopped onto his head, and the Defender screamed. Great, he’d reacted exactly as he was trained—if he wanted the Erebus to rush him. Jager pointed his plazer at the tree, aimed through the scope at the big blob perched in the branches, and fired.

A buzzer went off. They’d killed all the Erebus in this drill. Or, rather, Katrina had downed all but one, and he’d been lucky enough to find the other.

After holstering his plazer on his hip, he headed out of the forest, ready for more bad news. Maybe they’d take his squad from him. Maybe they’d punish him by assigning him to guard duty on the prison colony. He’d go mad within four Galactic years, but that had to be less stressful than trying to train the members of his squad. He’d forget all about them by the time he returned to Kalara.

When he reached the edge of the trees, he found his squad resting on a rock, panting, and looking as if they’d just survived an attack. Well, everyone except Katrina.

“How many?” he asked the group.

Dhranash shook his head.

“Didn’t see any, sir.” Aram shrugged her thick shoulders.

Silus put his head down. “None.”

“Cosmos.” He sighed and glanced around for Katrina. She never stuck with her squad during drills. Why would she now?

He spotted her leaning against the fence surrounding the forest, chatting with Jace, a Mingot, and a seventh-year Defender like him. His competition. They both had new squads and had to prove to the Alliance they were ready to go on missions. The new Zulu squad had already aided Echo on a humanitarian mission in the Tuey system. Probably because Katrina shared information about the drills with Jace so his team would perform better. Each drill was supposed to be different, but Jager couldn’t be sure. Katrina would do anything for the Defender who had helped saved her father when the Alliance had turned their back on him. How he wished he’d been sent instead.

No. He didn’t like Katrina. He didn’t like her fraternizing with Jace, the only Mingot he knew with hair. Perfect hair some Defenders swooned over. And he definitely didn’t like what the guy did with Katrina behind closed doors. Naf and Oflan could shove it up their asses if they believed him to be jealous of the other Defender. Because he wasn’t. Jace belonged to a different squad, and Jager wanted to keep his own squad focused without having to deal with the drama of relationships. Maybe if Katrina hung around with her own squad, they could work well together for a change. Some of her skill could rub off on the rest. Who was he kidding? The other three were hopeless.

Major O’Shaunessay motioned him over. “Your squad eliminated the enemy in record time.”

Jager did a double take. How had that happened? “Yes, sir.”

“I think you are ready for your first mission.” He handed Jager a com tab. “You’re going to Terra.”

Jager returned the screen. He couldn’t accept the mission, regardless of how much he looked forward to leaving the training facilities. “Based on what happened today, I don’t think that’s advisable. You know Katrina took down most of those Erebus. The rest of the squad is nowhere close to being ready.”

“I do not care what you think, young Kalaren.” The major crossed both sets of arms. “You will lead your squad on this mission.”

“Yes, sir.” And three of them likely wouldn’t survive. Even if it was an easy mission. Maybe he could leave them all there.

“Oh, and you will be missing one of your team members for the mission,” O’Shaunessy added. “Katrina will travel to Hemera before the carrier makes the jump to get to Terra.”

Great, his best squad member wouldn’t be a part of their first mission. He’d be lucky if he survived. “Yes, sir. When do we leave?”

“The shuttles will leave for the carrier in the morning. Until then, read the doc on your com tab and prepare your squad. The Terrans are still not aware of life beyond their own planet. No plazers. We have to be very careful.”

“Yes, sir.” Jager saluted the major, two fingers to the forehead then brought down in front of his face.

He headed back to the rock where his squad still looked as though they’d taken on an entire colony of Erebus. “Attention! I have some news.”

“Did you hear?” Katrina raced up and slapped him on the back. “We’ve got our first mission. We’re getting sent to Earth with Zulu and Echo squad.”

Jager clenched his fists. “Yes, we are.” He turned and glared at her. “But, you’re not. Your Royal Highness is required to attend a ball on Hemera.”

Her nostrils flared. “You lie. There is no way in Gaspra I’m going to miss out on our first mission.”

“Not my orders.” Jager raised his hands, hoping she took the challenge elsewhere. “That came straight from the top.”

“Well, get them changed. You can’t handle a mission without me. You know that.” She shifted her head to the rest of the squad. “These three are useless.”

“Hey!” Aram stood, fist raised. But Katrina had the Gersonian’s arm behind her before she had the chance to swing.

Katrina released her. “Admit it. You sound like an elephant barreling through the bush.”

Aram stared at the ground. “I don’t know what an elephant is.”

“Exactly. Which is why I need to be going to Earth. I mean, Terra.” Katrina grasped Jager’s lapels in her fists, yanking him forward. “I grew up there. I know the planet far better than any of you. I need to go on this mission.”

Jager clenched her wrists and tore her grip from him. “Don’t you ever do that again. I am your commanding officer, and you need to show respect.” A vein pulsed in his forehead. “And I will not change the orders. You need to reevaluate what you want away from the Defenders. You work on your own, without your team. And that’s not how a squad works.”

“Maybe if we had a better—”

“Enough, Princess. You will do as you’re told.” He’d had enough of her for one day. She could go cry to her boyfriend, but Jager wasn’t going to be the one to question Granil’s orders or Bryce’s demands. He would never deny that man anything, not after he’d saved his life.

***

Katrina marched off the shuttle, through the docking bay, and straight to Granil’s office. She refused to be taken away from her squad. She was a Defender, not a princess. And if they kept making her return to Hemera for stupid ceremonies, no one would ever show her any respect. Every single day, she had to prove herself, prove she could take down the Erebus just as well as the best Defenders. Yet, behind her back, she only heard the sneers at her royal lineage. No one was ever impressed by how many Erebus she eliminated, or how fast. And regardless what Jager said, she did work well with her squad. She took out their enemy while their leader kept the rest of the squad alive.

Why wasn’t he on her side? Did he really want to be stuck babysitting the other three? Couldn’t he see the danger he’d be in without her? If Katrina couldn’t change someone’s mind, she’d end up assigned to a new squad when she returned from Hemera, her current one having died on Earth. While the idea held some appeal, she actually preferred to be grouped with the misfits.

“Excuse me? Granil?” No matter how outraged she was, she didn’t dare speak to the leader of the Galactic Alliance the way she did Jager. Not if she wanted to remain a Defender. With all the special provisions her mother had demanded, the Alliance would just as soon be rid of her. She knew they only put up with her at Bryce’s request. He had served the Alliance longer than any other Defender, and they were still trying to make up for Kimba’s mistake in leaving his squad and others on Niesgoo to die.

“Come in.” The leader’s short tentacles waved before changing color from mauve to blue. She was calm, a promising start.

Katrina saluted as she entered the room. “I would like to talk to you regarding my absence from my squad’s mission to Terra.”

Granil pursed her lips. Her tentacles switched to orange and stood straight up, not a good time to confront a Yarwin. But, Katrina had no choice. “Proceed.” Though the woman’s lips kept moving. Had Katrina’s translation chip malfunctioned, or were there no English words for what she’d said?

Katrina leaned forward, her hands behind her. She didn’t dare sit in one of the seven empty seats around the leader unless offered. Those were reserved for planetary leaders. Not lowly Defenders. “I ask that you allow me to join them on the mission. I have proven myself time-and-time again. Plus, Terra was my home for many years. I can be an asset to the entire platoon.”

“While I don’t disagree with you, Katrina…” She stretched her jaw. “I am standing firm on your absence for this mission. Your presence has been requested on Hemera, and I must grant that request.”

“But shouldn’t it be up to me?” She wanted to pound something as she’d done when Kimba had been leader. Though, that time, she’d been fighting for her father’s life, rather than upset they were making her visit her parents.

“If people did what they wanted, the universe would be chaos. Sometimes we must do things we don’t agree with. That’s part of life.” Granil picked up a com tab from her desk. “You will go to Hemera, enjoy your graduation ceremony and whatever other celebrations they have planned for you. And then you will return to the carrier, train, and go on the next mission with your squad.”

When the leader’s attention turned to the tablet, Katrina knew she’d been dismissed. Fornax! Didn’t anyone understand the danger they were putting Delta squad in? They were already cursed by the squad’s name, Jager having been the only survivor after a mission to Hoggins where Bryce had saved his ass. And she was just starting to like that ass, too. Even though the person attached could be a pigheaded asshole sometimes.

Shuffling down the hall, she pounded the wall a few times. Nope, it did nothing to squash her anger. She wanted to beat on someone. Maybe her squad leader would be in the sparring room.

“No luck?”

She spun around to find her best friend, only friend, Jace, holding her hand wraps out to her. “No. You’ve got to promise me you’ll protect them. Or just him, that’s okay.”

Jace grinned, the smile lighting up the sparkle in his eyes. “When are you going to scratch that itch? You’ve been craving a piece of him since you first arrived for training.”

“Never.” She grabbed the wraps from him. “Though if he calls me princess one more time, I’m going to shove one of these down his throat.”

“I’m sure you’d like to shove your tongue down his throat if given the option.”

She smacked her arm against Jace’s chest, knocking him back a step. “Keep it up and you’ll be first.”

He raised his hands in front of his face. “Okay, okay. Take it out on the simulation. I’ve programmed one for you. It’s all set.”

“Nah.” She frowned. “If I’m really heading to Hemera, I have to leave in an hour. I should call my sister and find out what’s happened since I was last there.”

“Not your parents?” He strolled alongside her toward the lift to Defender quarters.

“Are you kidding? They still haven’t accepted I actually want to be here. Or at least my mom hasn’t.” Katrina sighed, remembering her last conversation with the queen of Hemera. “I’ll get enough of her loving concern when I get there.”

“Well, come here.” Jace held his arms open, and she went into them, his hugs always able to relieve some of her tension. He kissed the top of her head. “I’ll see you when we all return. And I’ll guard that ass you like so much.”

She smiled and shook her head. “Thank you.”

In her room, Katrina dialed up her sister’s private line at the royal palace on Hemera. After the screen flickered, a young woman appeared, sitting on the bed that had once belonged to a precious little girl who’d lost both her parents in separate Erebus attacks. Queen Lalia had adopted her after ensuring the planet was safe from further attack, and Katrina had the sister she’d always dreamed of when growing up on Earth. But, the little girl was gone, a young woman with some obvious teenage angst in her place. “Gwenie, what’s wrong?”

“It’s Gwen.” She huffed and tilted her head to the side. “And I’ll give you one guess as to why.”

“Mom’s making you dress up again?” Something she hated, too; part of the reason she dreaded returning home.

Her sister picked up a bunch of material and threw it toward the screen. “It’s hideous. And all because you’re coming home. Because you’re officially a Defender now.”

“I hate to see what she has for me, then.” Probably something that covered every inch of her body, unlike the dress she’d worn at the coronation when her mother hadn’t had the time or opportunity to plan for anything.

“Take me with you, please!” Gwenodyn stuck out her bottom lip. “Scrym has less than a year before he’s eligible to enlist for Defender training. After that, I don’t know how I’m going to keep my sanity. They’ll smother me.”

“I’ll see what I can do.” Katrina knew the feeling, had experienced her mother’s overbearing love when they’d still lived on Earth, and it had only been the two of them. Before she knew of the Defenders, her real father, and life on a multitude of other planets.

“Sneak me onto a ship. I don’t care. I’ll be quiet, stay squished in a cupboard somewhere.”

That’s it! Katrina could sneak off the ship to Hemera and sneak onto one going to Earth. Though not the one with her own squad. That would be too obvious. “We’ll see. I’ve gotta go.”

She switched off the screen. Her sister would have to wait. Katrina had to visit her real home first.

Delta squad is getting ready for their 1st mission. Read 1st chapter of JAGER #1stChFriday #romance… Click To Tweet

About JAGER (Galactic Defenders book two):

Jager’s new squad of Defenders has completed training, but the spoiled princess who has grated on his nerves since her first day of training is called back to Hemera for a yearly celebration. When Princess Katrina doesn’t show up, Jager must drag her home, where he wishes she would stay.

Katrina is a Defender, not a Princess. And there is no way she wants to return to a planet she hates for some stupid ceremony. Not when she could be out killing Erebus with her squad.

But when a new enemy threatens both their lives, they must work together to survive.

Available from:

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AMAZON US | UK | Canada Germany | Australia | Japan

Also available in PRINT:

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Reunited with her first love. #1stChFriday from BRYCE #romance #scifirom #GalacticDefenders

It’s time for another First Chapter Friday where I share the first chapter or up to 1,500 words from a different story each week. Sometimes, the selection will have a sale attached to it, and other times a new release, or just because it’s a story I love. Happy reading!


The tenth book featured in First Chapter Friday is BRYCE. This is the first story in my Galactic Defenders series. It is a reunion sci-fi romance adventure that takes place on Earth, in space, and on other planets. Enjoy!

BRYCE

by Jessica E. Subject

Chapter One

Bryce raised his crossbow, lining his sights on the creature standing amongst the bushes, its branch-like tentacles undulating in the gentle breeze. Focusing the crosshairs on the alien’s torso, he drew in a deep breath. He had one shot. If he missed, the Erebus would cry out and alert the natives of Terra to its existence, resulting in more casualties. At first glance, no one on the planet, also called Earth, would believe an Erebus anything more than an overgrown bush, but Bryce knew the truth. He’d trained to hunt the creatures from childhood.

Each step carefully placed, he advanced until he stood twenty feet from the Erebus, no chance to miss the shot. With a slight movement of his finger, he squeezed the trigger, sending a zuranium-tipped arrow racing toward the alien.

“Quinn, would you grab me another garbage bag?”

Fornax. The creature lunged toward the female voice, Bryce’s arrow stuck in one of its tentacles. A kill, but not instant.

He loaded another arrow. At the risk of being seen, he charged through the hedges. He had to cut the Erebus off before it had a chance to kill the Terran. He leaped over metal furniture and large urns, keeping his focus on the creature.

“What the hell? Get out of my yard!”

The woman rushed him, but Bryce darted around her. When the Erebus lumbered in front of him, he raised his weapon and fired. A clean shot to the middle. The creature dropped like a fallen log, crushing the furniture it landed on.

Bryce loaded the crossbow again. No time to celebrate the kill. He had to worry about the possibility of other Erebus in the area, along with the Terran woman who had seen him. Instead of running away screaming, as he’d expected her to do, she stared, wide-eyed in horror. Not at him, but the Erebus. Her body trembled as she shuffled backward, mumbling incomprehensible words.

An unexpected sense of familiarity washed over him. He couldn’t draw his attention away from her slim figure, the way her long brown hair flowed over her shoulders. Far more attractive than he’d pictured the Terrans when others talked about them. He took a closer glance. Lalia? How had she traveled so far from home without anyone knowing? She was no stranger, and definitely not Terran. Or, perhaps she was simply a doppelganger of the woman he’d once loved. He had the sudden urge to comfort her, relieve her worry. Hold her in his arms the way he had many years ago. But what if the missing princess had somehow made her way to a planet unaware life existed beyond their own? After she’d left Hemera and him behind without so much as a goodbye, he’d searched everywhere. Though not once had he thought to look on Terra.

A ground-shattering bellow pierced the night. Bryce spun around, finding himself face-to-face with another Erebus. It stared at him with beady red eyes. Thick black goop dripped from its mouth.

Bryce raised his bow, but the creature slammed him with one of its tentacles, flinging him back. The Erebus lunged at Lalia.

Rolling to his knees, Bryce aimed and fired. He hit the alien from behind, launching it forward. Onto his former lover. Slinging the bow over his shoulder, he raced toward her. The creature’s tentacles still pulsed, even though dead. Careful not to trip himself up, he shoved his hands under the creature’s torso and heaved it off her.

Lalia stood immediately and wiped the black goop from her clothes, as if she hadn’t been flattened by an alien. “They weren’t supposed to follow me. I was supposed to be safe here.”

“Lindsay?” A Terran man appeared in the doorway of the house. He surveyed the property before his eyes focused on Bryce. “What the hell is going on? Who is that guy?”

Lindsay? Maybe she wasn’t the woman he remembered, but his tired mind played tricks on his lonely heart.

“Go back inside, Quinn.” She held her hand in front of her, slowly heading toward the other man. “It’s not safe out here.”

“I’m not going anywhere until—”

An Erebus leaped over the hedges, landing mere feet from the man. Erebus generally traveled in packs, but specimens this large had never been hunted so far from the systems in the Galactic Alliance. With one swipe of a tentacle, the Erebus knocked Bryce onto his back. He grabbed his bow and loaded an arrow. He shot. Too late. The alien pounced upon Quinn, its poisonous saliva filling the Terran’s mouth.

Bryce lurched forward and heaved the alien off the man. He scooped the tar-like substance from his mouth. “Spit it out. Don’t swallow.” No one had ever survived an attack, but he had to try. Though with the black foam pouring from the man’s mouth, Bryce feared the worst.

“Hey, there’s another Erebus.”

The fact Lindsay knew the name of the creature gave him pause, but only for a second. Bryce pivoted and shot the creature the moment he had the arrow loaded. And missed. The Erebus bounded toward Lindsay, and she blocked his direct shot at the creature. With no other option, Bryce dashed to her, hoping to thrust her out of the way before the Erebus could pin her down. Closing in, he realized they would reach the Terran woman at the same time. As the creature launched into the air to attack, Bryce dove for her midsection. He skidded across the ground with her before the alien flew over them. It skidded to a halt, spinning around for another attack.

At the same moment Bryce readied his weapon, a younger woman raced out of the house, holding a knife above her head. She launched off the deck, flying through the air toward the moving alien. Before he could get a shot off, she plunged the knife into the back of the Erebus, dropping the creature to the ground.

What in Gaspra? Bryce stared, stunned by what he’d witnessed. She could only have killed the creature with a zuranium blade, metal not believed to exist on Earth.

Yet, Bryce had no time to confirm. He needed to secure the yard then get the two women to a safe house. They had already seen him and the Erebus. Pollux and his squad couldn’t erase what the Terrans had witnessed, but he could protect them from another attack.

After grabbing the canister from the side pocket of his pack, he thrust it at Lindsay. “Spread this around the edge of your property.” The zuranium powder would keep the Erebus back, give him a chance to get them to safety before he tackled the front of the house, allowing the cleanup squad the opportunity to do their job without coming under attack.

“But, Quinn…. He’s gone?” She glanced behind her at the foaming lump, once a man, her body quivering. “This is all my fault.”

Bryce gripped her biceps to hold her still. “No, it’s not. None of this is your fault.” Only his. He’d been too careless, easily distracted. “But, I need you to take the powder and spread it along the edge of your yard. There are likely more Erebus on the way. Okay?”

Lindsay nodded, and while she sprinkled the metal powder along the bushes surrounding the yard, Bryce surveyed the area. He didn’t want to be caught unawares by another creature. The younger woman sat next to the remains of Quinn, holding her knees and rocking back and forth. She never should have had to kill an Erebus. He’d failed at his job. Failed her, Lindsay, and the dead Terran.

Far too many beings had died across the universe at the hands of the Erebus, an experiment gone wrong by a now-extinct race. They’d thrown the creatures into the sun to burn, trying to put an end to their mistake. But the move produced the opposite effect, multiplying the Erebus’s numbers and giving them transport to many systems and worlds through solar winds.

The Defenders of the Galactic Alliance fought to bring the Erebus population to extinction and end the casualties of the innocent. Yet, so many still perished. Including the man in front of them. Bryce’s fault for becoming mesmerized by the appearance of the woman called Lindsay. As a Defender, he had one responsibility, and it wasn’t to reminisce on his sexual escapades. He’d locked away all memories and feelings for Princess Lalia after she’d fled Hemera. But one Terran woman brought the heartache rushing back, leading to an innocent man’s death.

***

Lindsay shivered as the Kalaren Galactic Defender eyed her, his brow ridge prominent in his look of disdain. Glancing away from his stare, she pressed her temples. She never should have escaped to this planet. Her fate was to die like everyone else back home, not to pretend to be a Terran, to have a life when none of her kind survived the Erebus attacks on Hemera. They had to have followed her to Earth somehow, and now they would destroy those she knew, and eventually all of Earth.

The Kalaren slammed Katrina’s knife on the table. “Where did you get a zuranium blade?”

“It is an heirloom belonging to my family for generations.” Turning her back to him, she pulled her hair aside, exposing the back of her neck. “I’m the only Hemera to survive the Erebus attack.”

Her daughter gasped beside her. “What the hell does that mean? Mom, you said those spots were just a bunch of birthmarks we shared. What’s going on?”

“Give me a minute, and I’ll explain everything.” The truth wouldn’t be easy for her daughter to hear. Not after growing up believing she belonged on the planet.

“Impossible.” The Defender moved behind Lindsay and ran his fingers along the back of her neck, over her people’s markings, a bold move for a stranger, especially one not from Earth. His touch sent a thrill through her body, one she hadn’t experienced for a long time. Not since Quinn had last made love to her, a year before he’d presented her with divorce papers. Though her ex-husband—visiting to celebrate Katrina’s eighteenth birthday and now dead on the deck outside the patio window—had never been able to penetrate the part of her heart belonging to a man from her past, and from the same planet as the Kalaren touching her.

“You are a Comosova. You’re royalty.” The Kalaren moved in front of her and bent down on one knee with a quick bow of his head. “Lalia, I am very sorry I failed to save your partner. I should have been there to defend him, and I failed.”

Comosova? Lalia? How did he know her former identity? Lindsay hooked a finger under the Kalaren’s chin and lifted until his gaze met hers. She stared into his eyes, looking for something familiar. A long time ago, she’d fallen in love with a Kalaren Defender, but her parents had convinced her she provided a diversion for him, believed Kalarens stole the innocence of women all over the universe before moving on to the next pretty face. Had the man she’d given her virginity to, the one who’d stolen her heart, found her again on this planet?

“Mom, what’s going on?” Katrina slapped her hands on the table. “What were those ugly things in the backyard? What did they do to Dad?”

Lindsay tucked memories of her first love away. She turned in her chair and gazed across the table to her daughter who had been adopted by Quinn the day of her birth. After the divorce, her ex-husband only showed up on Katrina’s birthdays. And, over all those years, Lindsay had tried to keep her heritage from Katrina. What child wanted to know her mother came from another planet? Or could keep the fact a secret? She refused to have her daughter taken by children’s services because they believed her an unfit mother. But, after today, her daughter needed to know the truth. “The Erebus invaded my home planet of Hemera. I saw my parents murdered, and then, before I could comprehend the loss, the attack on the planet, my handler whisked me away to Earth. She didn’t survive the flight, so I am the last of my kind.”

“Not so.” The Kalaren rested his hands on her shoulders and began to lightly massage. Another bold move. Could he possibly be the Defender she remembered?

Holding in a soft moan, she squeezed her thighs. The man’s touch reminded her of what she’d once shared with her first love, Bryce, memories she’d held onto for many years. She shook away the ill-timed desire. The Erebus had found her and killed her ex-husband in front of her daughter. And now the Defender claimed others survived? “What do you mean?”

“You are not the last of your kind, Lalia.” He stroked the soft spot behind her ear, a sure sign of affection.

“Bryce?” She jumped to her feet and turned to face the Defender. He had to be the man she remembered, though older and more battle weary. No one else would dare caress her in such a manner, especially one who knew her true identity.

He nodded, and she fought to contain the urge to jump  into his arms. She’d never expected to see him again or, if she did, thought he wouldn’t remember her or even care to as her mother had tried to convince her.

“Your brother now rules the planet, and I can take you there. But we must leave now.” He reached out his hand. “Before the Erebus return.”

“But Quinn…he was my husband.” Past tense, but better to worry about him than to focus on the teenage lust threatening to explode from within her. “I can’t just leave.”

“From the bottom of my heart, I’m truly sorry for your loss.” Bryce bowed, regret etched into the creases around his eyes. “But, if we don’t go now, more Erebus will arrive to hunt us down. You know the amount of destruction and death they can cause.”

She did, having lost her parents and the life she knew because of them. Steeling her nerves, she followed Bryce away from the window.

The sudden howl of an Erebus made her jump. The hedge around the yard bent over as if assaulted by hurricane-strength winds. A crash came from the front of the house; something hard and heavy slammed against the door. They had no time left.

Bryce yanked her across the kitchen then grabbed Katrina. “I am Bryce of the Kalaren, and I am going to get you and your mother out of here right now.” He fished around in his pocket then pulled out an oval blue object and pressed the sole orange button on it.

A large hole appeared in the middle of the kitchen, a swirling mass of red and purple. Lindsay shrank back, worried the hole would cause more damage than an Erebus, but Bryce halted her retreat and urged her forward. “It will take you to a safe house. Stay there until I come for you.”

Safe? With the Erebus after her? As her stomach churned, the circle inched closer. It pulled at her like a vacuum, sucking her and Katrina into it mass. Katrina screamed. The mass pushed in on them before shooting them out the other side like a slingshot.

Katrina fell to the ground with a whimper. Slumping beside her, Lindsay willed her head to stop spinning. She’d heard the alien hunters used wormholes, but had never seen or traveled through one, and hoped to never again. Holding her daughter’s head to her chest, she stroked her hair. She’d vowed to keep Katrina from knowing of this life. Running and hiding. Earth was supposed to keep her from all that.

“Mom, what’s going on?” Katrina sat up and pulled away. “Please tell me this is all a bad dream.”

“I wish.” She reached for her daughter’s hands and held them tight. “There is so much I have withheld from you for your own safety. But, to understand what’s going on, you need to know the truth.”

Katrina glanced up at her, her bottom lip quivering. “What about Dad? Will he survive? Will I ever see him again? I know he only visits on my birthdays, but still….”

She cupped her daughter’s cheek. “I’m so sorry, sweetie, but the Erebus killed him. And….” Lindsay swallowed the lump in her throat. Time to reveal the lie. “Quinn is not your biological father.”

Katrina scooted away from her. “No. How could you, Mom?” She didn’t cry or scream, simply shook her head. “How could you keep so much from me? About my life? It’s my eighteenth birthday, and I’m supposed to be considered an adult. But all I want to do is hide, crawl into some dark corner and pretend everything I’ve seen in the last hour never happened. I mean, my dad is dead, and not even my dad. The backyard looks like a roofing company had an accident back there, but I’m not even at home. I’m stuck God knows where with you, an alien. If you’d have told me about any of this beforehand, I could have been prepared for today.”

“No! Nothing can prepare you for an Erebus attack.” Folding her hands in her lap, Lindsay glanced away. She thought she’d done the right thing, protected her daughter from harm and a life on Hemera controlled by backward politics. “When you were young, I thought it was for the best. And as you got older, I wanted to tell you, but there never seemed to be a good time.”

“So, you wait until the mutant tentacle creatures attack our house, when they kill the man I believed to be my father?” Katrina stood and paced in front of a small semi-circular table. “What the hell are we, anyway? What did that guy mean calling you a princess? I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.”

“I’m sorry. I never expected today to happen. I thought I’d left it all behind. Traveled far enough away the Erebus would never come here, that the life I once knew would never catch up with me.” Lindsay let her daughter digest the little bit she’d told her. Besides, nothing she had to say would make the situation better. Instead, she glanced at their surroundings for the first time since arriving. Bryce had sent them to a tiny A-frame house with a loveseat in front of the fireplace, a desk covered in various extraterrestrial electronics—most of which she didn’t understand—and a bathroom and petite bedroom holding nothing but a bed, at the back. A mini fridge sat against the wall in between the two rooms with cupboards above it. A small bit of counter rested on the outside wall near the bathroom, with a sink and built-in oven. In the middle of the minimalist space, a ladder touched the ground, leading up to another modest room. With every surface covered in a thick layer of dust, the owners must not have visited the place in a while. Lindsay had expected to be sent off planet, but, from the logs used as walls and supports for the house, and the 1970s furnishings, she doubted they’d left Earth. How long did she have before Bryce arrived? With the zuranium blade in his possession, she and Katrina would be dead by the time he showed up if an Erebus somehow found them. Yet, she had so much to tell her daughter, and painful memories to dig up.

Katrina stopped pacing and crossed her arms. “So, who is my father? Likely some extraterrestrial based on everything else I’ve learned today.”

Lindsay sucked in a deep breath. Only Lindsay and her parents knew the identity of Katrina’s biological father. They’d sent her away to keep it that way. The Defenders received respect across the galaxy, but she wasn’t supposed to fall in love with one. “Your father is Bryce.”

“The guy who sent us here?” Katrina touched the skin at the bridge of her nose.

“Yes. I met him at your age. He was assigned to guard the palace leading up to and during the Allorama, the spring celebration.”

“Palace?” Katrina wrinkled her nose. “You mean you really are royalty?”

“I was a princess on Hemera, the oldest child of my parents. I would have been coroneted as queen when my father became ill or passed onto the afterlife. But the Erebus attacked the day before the Allorama was set to happen. My parents were killed, and I was rushed off to Earth.” Pregnant, and completely alone after her handler died on the way to the new planet.

Katrina pulled out a wooden chair and sat down, perhaps finally ready to listen. “So, how did you hook up with my real dad?”

“I made a habit of sneaking out of the palace to get away from the suitors my parents wanted me to meet.” A pattern she’d started as a child, leaving the grounds to play with the common children or disappearing into the woods to be completely alone.

“They were arranging your marriage?” Her daughter’s nose flared. “Don’t think you can try that kind of thing with me. I won’t marry someone because you tell me to.”

“And I felt the same way.” Lindsay took a seat beside her daughter. “That’s why I went out for some air. They arranged several banquets in the months leading up to the Allorama, where I was supposed to get to know my suitors to decide which I would marry. I couldn’t take any of them, with their desire for money, and unwanted groping.” She shivered at the memory of a particular instance. “Bryce stopped me at the door one night. He wouldn’t let me leave but said I could spend the rest of the evening talking with him. I learned about his training and some of his missions. And I kept going back. I spent time with him every evening, went back to his quarters when he finished his shift. I fell in love.”

“And got pregnant.” Katrina winced. “I don’t need the details.”

“Yes.” The image of the digital readout of her pregnancy test flashed through her mind. She’d cried for joy, excited to tell Bryce the next time she saw him. But her parents learned the news first, catching her with the readout in her hand. Her mother convinced Lindsay the Defender had used her for sex, likely had bragged to the rest of his squad how he had tainted the princess. Once he left for his next mission, he would forget all about her. “My parents demanded I never see him again and arranged for me to travel to Earth after the Allorama to have you, and leave you at the hospital. But the Erebus attacked first.” She’d never wanted to believe her mother’s words but couldn’t avoid the doubts they implanted in her mind. Especially when Bryce didn’t come to look for her during the attack or search for her after.

Will the Princess and the Defender get a 2nd chance at love? Read 1st chapter of BRYCE #1stChFriday… Click To Tweet

 

About BRYCE (Galactic Defenders book one):

A dedicated Defender…

Bryce fell in love once, but after Lalia was ripped away from him, he locked his heart from feeling anything for anyone else. Instead, he devotes his life to the Galactic Alliance, killing every bloodthirsty Erebus he comes across.

A shunned princess…

Lalia Comosova fell in love with the wrong man. When her parents learned of her transgressions, they sent her to Earth to hide her error in judgment from the rest of the kingdom.

A second chance?

When these lovers are reunited after many years apart, they have a chance to find happiness together. But fate steps in and threatens to rip them apart as it did years ago.

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