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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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Also available in PRINT:

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Leaving for Thanh Academy. #1stChFriday from COSMIC SUTRA #romance #lesfic #scifirom

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 ninth book featured in First Chapter Friday is COSMIC SUTRA. This story is a sensual New Adult Lesbian Sci-Fi Romance that is set on another planet and a futuristic Earth. Enjoy!

COSMIC SUTRA

by Jessica E. Subject

Chapter One

Victoria never had a problem getting to sleep. Not until now, the day before she left for portal training, to be isolated from everyone she knew. Each time she closed her eyes, they popped back open on their own and forced her to check the time. Again. Sleeping in was not an option. Yet, she wouldn’t even have the chance if she didn’t doze off. Instead, she’d likely crash when she was supposed to be listening to her instructor on how to make a successful trip through the space portal, and miss some key piece of information vital to her arriving at Thanh Academy intact.

Her com unit chimed, another distraction to keep her awake.

“Yes?” Who could want to talk with her in the middle of the night? It’s not as if she had many friends. Had the start time for training been pushed ahead?

“Hi, Vic, it’s Nash. You still up?”

She groaned. Not even her best friend was welcome at such an hour. “Unfortunately, yes. What do you want?”

“Just to talk. Before you leave, I mean. I wanted to say good-bye.”

If his voice hadn’t hitched at the end, she would have reminded him that they’d already said good-bye only a few hours before. She rolled over. “Doors open.”

Nash rushed inside, dressed in nothing but loose-fitting shorts, and paced at the foot of her bed. It wasn’t as if he’d had far to go. They both had small and sparsely furnished quarters, with nothing but a bed, closet, dresser, mirror, and com unit. Everything else—a lounge area, dining hall, study room, bathrooms, gym—they shared with the other students on the floor. Yet, even though they’d been the best of friends for the two years they’d attended Sangreal University, he’d never come into her room, never seen her in bed.

“I’m sorry to disturb you so late, but there’s something I had to say before you left.”

“C’mon, Nash, we’re still going to be able to chat through the hologram program. And it’s not as if you’ll never see me again.”

“It’s something I have to say directly to you.” He stopped pacing and sat on the side of her bed. “Something I’ve been wanting to say for the entire time I’ve known you.”

“What is it?” Did she have a funny smell? Or was he tired of her clumsiness, done with bandaging her up after she walked into a wall or placing a cold compress on her broken toes?

His cheeks flushed. “I—I love you.”

She sat up and hugged him, afraid they’d both be crying in a few minutes. “Aww, I love you, too. You’re my best friend. We’ve been through a lot together, and I’m going to miss you so much.”

“No.” Nash shook his head. “Not like that. I mean, I love you. As in, I want you to be my girlfriend, and hopefully, one day we’ll get married?”

All contents of Victoria’s stomach stirred. Maybe she had fallen asleep, became trapped in a crazy stress dream. “Why are you telling me this now?”

“Because you’re leaving, and I want to make sure I still have a chance with you when you return.” He stroked the side of her face, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “You’re beautiful in every way, and I want you to be mine. I want to make love to you before you leave, have that to hold onto until you come back to me.”

Cupping the back of her neck, he leaned in as if about to kiss her.

She grabbed his wrist and shook her head. “Nash, wait.”

His eyes widened, and his face lost all color. “Shit. You don’t feel the same way. I should have known.” He stood and dug his toe into the floor. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.” Reaching for his hand, she ran the tips of her fingers along his. “I’m flattered. It’s just…. There’s something about me I’ve never told you.”

He turned to face her, his brows furrowed. “What? You’ve been having a secret fling?”

“No.” Victoria chuckled. Like that would ever happen. “You know I’ve been concentrating hard on my school work and haven’t had time for that type of relationship.”

He grimaced. “That’s why I’ve never said anything about it before.”

“Well….” Even after the worldwide acceptance of people like her, she still found it hard to tell anyone. “I’m a lesbian. I’m attracted to women, not men.”

“But you’ve never been with anyone. You told me that. How do you know?” He joined her on the bed again, brushing his palm across her shoulder. “Maybe I can change your mind. I can show you how good it can be.”

She smiled and shook her head. Didn’t work like that. “You can’t change my mind, Nash. It’s the way I am, not a decision I suddenly made.”

Slapping his hands on his lap, he sighed. “So, I have no chance at all. I’m going to have to give you up to a woman?”

“You don’t have to give me up.” She kneeled behind him and hugged him from the back. “You’ll always be my friend. You can’t get rid of me that easily.”

He leaned against her. “I guess I should have known. That’s probably why we’ve been friends for so long without any weird sexual tension between us.”

Shoving him forward, she laughed. “Not until now. You just ruined it.”

In a heartbeat, he pulled her down onto the bed and lay behind her, his arm wrapped around her. “Can I at least spend these last few moments with you?”

She spun to face him and kissed his forehead. If only she could take him with her, have someone familiar to talk to on the other side of the universe. “I’m going to miss you, too.” A year, maybe longer, in space would be lonely without any friends. But Nash would be a communicator beep away, her refuge when homesickness threatened to swallow her up.

Surrounded by his warmth, she finally fell asleep.

***

The multi-colored mass swirled in front of Victoria, churning and spinning, ready to suck her in and spit her out in another galaxy. She’d already stepped through one portal to meet up with the other new students from the Milky Way, a greater variety of non-humanoid creatures than she’d ever imagined. And those were the few types of extraterrestrials allowed to attend Thanh Academy. Many others would eat all the undergraduates if permitted to visit the school.

While in the space station, she had to take one last march into another gateway before landing on campus, ready to complete her fourth year of university studies with creatures from all over the galaxy. Since Earth—along with many other planets—couldn’t afford to build a portal all the way to the space academy, they used the station as a stopover. One-by-one, the individuals in front of her disappeared, on the platform one second, and gone the next. Their bodies seemed to stretch and bend before they vanished, like some sort of cartoon from Earth’s ancient past. The being in front of her jumped into the circular bulk, fading away much faster than those ahead of him.

Victoria treaded forward. She’d have loved to explore the space station before leaving again, chat with the astronauts who’d committed to live six years of their life there. But she had no time, the place not equipped to support more than five crew members for more than a couple hours.

With a final step, she entered the portal, the technology ripping her body into millions of particles. She cried out from the pressure, the pain more intense than with the first unit, stretching her body past its limits, her screams lost in the vastness of space. No one could hear her.

A vacuum pulled at her, dragging her across the galaxy a great deal faster than the speed of light, toward the technology that would piece her back together. The journey seemed to take forever, nothing to see beyond the blinding lights, no sound other than the suction from her destination.

Victoria slammed into a solid wall that vanished as fast as it had materialized. She fell to her knees, gasping for air. She’d arrived, hopefully at the right destination. There had been a few instances where nearby portals had grabbed a traveler, sucking them into an unintended target, but those instances were uncommon and the victims rarely heard from again.

Finally able to catch her breath, she glanced around, just to be sure she had arrived at the academy and not on a planet where the beings considered her lunch. By the time anyone had realized the mistake, she would be in the stomach of an alien creature, rolling around in its stomach acid.

Beings rushed to and fro around her, bustling to unknown destinations. Many appeared humanoid, with skin varying in color like a jumbo box of crayons. Others had tentacles and tails  or antennae, with their bodies sectioned into three parts like an insect. Some bundled up in clothing thick enough to wear to the arctic, and even more wore nothing, exposing their sexual parts to those around them. Victoria blushed and glanced up.

Above her, a clear ceiling revealed a breathtaking view of the multitude of stars in the planet’s portion of the galaxy. Giant silver columns linked the ceiling to the floor. She stood, attempting to peer over everyone’s head to locate some sort of sign to tell her where she had to go.

“It’s about time you got to your feet.” A tinsa glared down at her with beady eyes, its heart-shaped head cocked to the side. Standing on two legs, the creature crossed both sets of arms across its chest. “I was beginning to think you Terrans had headed back down the evolutionary ladder.”

Victoria rolled her eyes. She’d just arrived and already been insulted by an alien who resembled a giant ant. Too bad she couldn’t squish it. “And you are?”

“Your guide.” The being made a clicking sound, its antennae bobbing in front of her face. “Your luggage has already been transported to your quarters. I am to show you around before taking you there.”

“Okay, then, let’s go.” While she’d expected a variety of different life forms at the academy, she’d hoped to connect with more humanoids, those she could relate to.

She rushed to keep up with her guide’s long stride, trying to take in the places he pointed out and facts he shared. At least, she assumed him to be male, with certain parts dangling between his legs. When she’d studied for the space exchange program, she’d focused on the humanoid creatures rather than the insectoids and reptilians. What had she gotten herself into?

“And this is the dining hall. The Terran food is limited, so you’re going to have to get used to eating more sophisticated cuisine.”

He didn’t slow down, so she spun around, walking backward to take in the mounds of food on the tables. Her stomach turned. Sophisticated? Hardly. Not when some of it still moved in its dish. In terms of nourishment, she’d had no idea what to expect. Her training hadn’t involved eating foreign foods, at least nothing from another planet. If only they’d let her bring snacks from Earth, something familiar.

She twisted back around to locate her guide, smacking right into another being. Victoria tried to steady herself, but couldn’t, falling right on top of the life form. What sounded like glass shattered on impact. Oh no, a leabu. Victoria rolled off as quickly as possible, stood up, and reached a hand out to help the woman back to her feet. Definitely female with perky, round breasts, only the nipples hidden behind her mostly see-through outer shell. The delicate external layer didn’t help much in terms of protection. But the sparkling silver adornments swirling across the covering sure made her stand out in the crowd. And in Victoria’s mind. Maybe even her fantasies.

The woman pursed her full, pink lips and swatted Victoria’s hand away with six-inch claws protruding from her fingers. “Stupid Terran. I don’t need help from you. Just watch where you’re going next time.” She sprang to her feet, her pointed ears fluttering as if in frustration.

“I’m really sorry. I’m new here and just trying to take everything in.” She wasn’t making a good first impression at all.

“New?” The leabu pulled at the glass tubes protruding from her back and curved them up above her head. “Good. That means I won’t have to see you again.”

Too stunned to move, Victoria stared at the leabu. Her personality sure didn’t match her sexy body.

As the woman marched off, Victoria spotted her guide and hurried after him. After the two encounters she’d had with the other life forms at the academy, she wasn’t sure she wanted to stay. But there was no chance of her returning to Earth. Not for a full year.

Her first day at Thanh Academy. Read the 1st chapter of COSMIC SUTRA #1stChFriday #lesfic #scifirom Click To Tweet

About COSMIC SUTRA:

When Victoria is offered a scholarship to attend Thanh Academy for her last year of university, she jumps at the opportunity. Nothing could be more practical in her psychology studies than to travel to the other side of the universe and live amongst the life forms she strives to learn from.

Upon her arrival, she is met with hostility. Convincing the other students she is not like those from Earth who came before her takes time, but eventually she is embraced by a small group of friends, including a sexy female alien she fantasizes about on a daily basis.

Based on past experience, will Victoria keep her lust hidden deep inside to prevent losing a friend? Or will she confess her feelings to Kaye and possibly find her one true love?

Available from:

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AMAZON US | UK | Canada | Germany | Australia | Japan

Trading Places. #1stChFriday from THE STAR PRINCESS #romance #scifi #scifirom @DecadentPub

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 eighth book featured in First Chapter Friday is THE STAR PRINCESS. This story is a New Adult Sci-Fi Romance that is set on another planet and a futuristic Earth. Enjoy!

THE STAR PRINCESS

by Jessica E. Subject

Chapter One

“Trade places with me.” Sweat poured down Prince Deion’s face. He’d never been more nervous in his life. Or maybe he’d caught a virus before flying to Minjet.

“What do you mean trade places?” Cyrus, his personal aide and friend, grabbed the nylon across his chest. “We’re strapped in because we’re landing soon. I can’t exactly get out of my seat right now.”

“No.” Deion released a heavy breath, wiping his forehead. “That’s not what I mean. I want you to take my place during the ceremony this evening. I don’t think I’m in any condition to meet the princess.”

“You’re kidding. What, are you afraid she’s beastly looking?”

“No!” He cringed. The women he’d met from Minjet had all been stunning diamonds sparkling is a solar system of rust and decay. “I have the stomach flu. Or the worst case of nerves ever. I just need you to sit in my place at dinner tonight.”

“And what do you want me to tell the royal family? That you think you’re sick?”

“Make something up.” Deion swallowed the bile burning his throat. “I feel like shit.”

“It’s fucked up that you’re so sick the day you’re to meet your future wife.”

“Yeah, fucked up is exactly how I’m feeling right now.” If his kingdom wasn’t depending on him to unite their planets and garner help, he would turn around and head home, but the last war on Earth had destroyed almost everything. Those who’d survived had turned to the stars for help, sure other life existed, and they’d found it. A whole lot more than anyone had ever expected. One hundred years later, the year of his birth, Earth was invited to join the Galactic Confederacy. To show Earth’s commitment, Deion’s parents had agreed to a prearranged marriage for him, to a female they’d never met from another star system. Deion and Princess Ro’sa had now reached their twenty-first year, and he’d been sent to meet her and her parents before bringing her home to marry. A lifetime commitment. His dedication to the unknown girl had begun long ago when his father told him of his betrothal, but that didn’t mean he would instantly love the princess. Maybe he never would. What a horrible life that would be.

“Okay then, but I want to wear the crown and robe today. It may be my only chance,” Cyrus said.

“Whatever.” Closing his eyes, Deion concentrated on breathing. In through the nose and out through the mouth. Whatever it took to keep the contents of his stomach from greeting the royal family.

***

At the whoosh of the space shuttle flying overhead, the feline on Ro’sa’s knee hissed before jumping to the floor. Ro’sa hurried to the front of the house, pressing her palms and nose against the window. Somewhere in that ship was her betrothed, the prince from Earth she would marry.

Ka’lyn, her best friend, squeezed in beside her, claiming the rest of the available window space. “What do you think he looks like? I’ve never seen anyone from Earth before. Maybe he has two heads, or one eye….” She nudged Ro’sa’s side. “Two cocks?”

“Ka, really?” Flaring heat rushed to Ro’sa’s cheeks and temporarily paused the fluttering of firetubes in her stomach. In seven rotations, she would say good-bye to her home, her family, and all of her friends to be with a complete stranger. She’d grown up knowing this time would come, but it had always seemed so far away. Until he’d arrived. Ro’sa swallowed her nerves. “His people just recently joined the Confederacy. I think the only reason they were invited was to prevent an intergalactic war when they learned of the existence of life beyond their own solar system.” They’d already destroyed most of their planet. Who knows what they would have done had the Confederacy not intervened?

Ka’lyn grabbed her shoulders and turned Ro’sa to face her. “I know all this, but what do they look like?”

“Humanoid, like us.” She searched her memory for the few Terran dignitaries she’d met. “But their skin is different shades of brown, from nearly white to almost black.” Though she had no idea where her betrothed fit into the spectrum, never having been allowed to travel to Earth. How she wished she had. If her parents had allowed them to meet earlier, she’d have far fewer worries and much more experience with how to interact with those from Earth, and with her betrothed. She’d retained her virginity for him, the only female her age on the planet who hadn’t experienced sex, though she hoped to know what it was like before she left for Earth.

“Weird. So, when do you get to meet him?”

“Tonight.” Ro’sa returned her gaze out the window, watching the shuttle descend onto the runway. Had the prince saved himself for her? “There’s an official introduction ceremony where we will shake hands and eat our first meal together.”

“That’s crap.” Her friend tugged on her fingers. “Let’s go meet him as he’s coming off the ship.”

Ro’sa shook her head, yanking her hand away. “I can’t. I have to follow protocol.”

“Then we’ll hide in the shrubs. Don’t you want to check him out before you’re introduced to him in front of everyone?”

Biting her bottom lip, Ro’sa watched the spacecraft disappear below the treetops. “I guess.” Then she wouldn’t look like a fool in her first reaction to him. She could hold her emotions in check, having already caught sight of the prince.

“Let’s go then.” Ka’lyn stood at the door before she had the chance to move.

They left her friend’s home behind. Darting through the woods on the packed dirt path, Ro’sa hoped they’d make it to the runway in time. If the castle guards hastened him away, they’d never make it in time. Why hadn’t her parents let her meet him years ago? Was he that horrendous looking? At least they could have shown her a picture.

Out of nowhere, something grabbed her foot. As she plummeted to the ground, Ro’sa stuck out her arms. The impact jostled her wrists and her elbows gave out, her chin smacking the hard dirt. She bit her tongue, immediately tasting blood. With a groan, she rolled on her side. “Starsnatchers!”

“Ro’sa, what happened?” Ka’lyn stood several steps ahead, hands on her hips.

“Something grabbed me.” She sat up, examining the surrounding woods. As she spotted the culprit, her cheeks warmed. “Or…I tripped over a root.”

“Well, let’s go! If you don’t get your butt moving, we’re going to miss him.”

Not even an are you okay? Geez!Why did her friend want to see him so bad? The prince was her future husband, the one who would take her away from Ka’lyn.

Ro’sa got up and brushed off her skin suit made from a thick and pliable material, not likely to have torn during her fall.

“I’m coming.” She ran to catch up, watching where she stepped at the same time. No need to delay seeing her betrothed again.

They neared the runway and ducked behind the orange shrubs at the edge of the woods. They found gaps in the branches covered in sharp spikes to peek through.

Ka’lyn released an excited squeal. “We made it. They’re opening the hatch.”

“Shh, one of the guards will hear you, and I don’t need any of them to tell my father I hid in the bushes to see the prince.” Though it was easier to think about her father’s possible scorn than the waves rolling through her stomach at seeing the prince for the first time.

Scooting forward, she focused on the cavity in the shuttle. Any moment her betrothed would step through and she’d catch a glimpse, maybe more, of him, before the guards ushered him away to the private guest quarters in the castle. She lived on level two, but he would stay on four, located several stories underground.

As a figure stepped from the shuttle, Ro’sa gasped at the same time as her friend. The prince. He had to be her betrothed, with the crown of gold on his head reflecting the sunlight. His hair cascaded to his shoulders in dark-brown waves, skin the same rich color of chocolate, her favorite treat from Earth. He wore a finely pressed black suit with a white shirt underneath. His plush cape reached the floor behind him. Pausing on the platform, he smiled, dimples forming in his cheeks.

Thank you, Earth! Excitement bubbled from deep inside her, and something more. She squeezed her thighs together and swallowed her own squeal to keep from giving away their location.

“He’s gorgeous,” Ka’lyn whispered. “Even the color of his skin is sexy. I wonder what he tastes like.”

Ro’sa shoved her friend. “None of your business. He’s mine.”

“And I’m so jealous.” Ka’lyn returned the punch. “I want to lick him from head to toe.”

So did she. “Don’t even think about it. You already have your own man.”

“Yes, but I can dream, can’t I? I mean, I love my sweaty woodsman, but, some days, I wish he was a prince.”

Before Ro’sa had a chance to respond, another man stepped out of the shuttle and slapped the prince’s on the back.

Ka’lyn shifted beside her. “Who’s that?”

“His personal servant?” She’d been told the prince would arrive with his own entourage. “Maybe a friend?” Would a servant be allowed to touch royalty? On Minjet, yes, but she’d been told the line between royalty and commoners was much more defined on Earth. At least before the last war.

“He’s cute, too. A stronger jaw, and look at those full lips. Imagine what they’d be like to kiss, how they’d feel on your breasts and between your legs.”

“Would you stop!” Ro’sa covered her mouth. Her words had come out much louder than she’d intended as she focused on the images her friend had planted in her head.

Ka’lyn poked her arm. “He’s looking this way.” Ro’sa glanced at the shuttle platform and found the man’s gaze fixed on her. He leaned over the railing before racing down the stairs.

Busted. “He saw us. Run!” Ro’sa bolted in a zigzag around the trees, staying off the path. If the prince’s friend had seen her, had her betrothed? Would he still want to marry her if he’d caught her spying? She didn’t want to disappoint her parents, after all they’d done to arrange the union, or delay her meeting with the prince.

But, star clusters, it had been so worth it. At their introduction ceremony, she would stand more confident in front of him, and, at night, when she retired, she’d imagine him in bed with her, taking her virginity. Or maybe he’d be there with her instead, and she wouldn’t have to fantasize about anything.

She slowed as she neared Ka’lyn’s hut. Though the same as every home built into the hill, Ka’lyn’s stood out with the bright pink flowers in the garden, the ones her husband hated but put up with because he loved her.

Ka’lyn caught up to her, huffing and puffing. “So…what did you think…of the prince?”

“Very nice. My parents chose well.” Yet, his friend’s stare came to the front of her thoughts. Hauntingly blue eyes, the color of the oceans comprising most of Minjet. And his lips…. Oh, stars, she melted imagining what they’d be like pressed to hers, his hands touching every part of her body. Ro’sa shook her head, clearing away the image. She had no reason to think of anyone but her betrothed.

“They did, indeed. Want to trade places tonight? Just for the ceremony. After I meet him, you can have him back.”

With a chuckle, Ro’sa rolled her eyes. “You know that could never happen. My parents wouldn’t allow it.”

 

“Yeah, and you’d never lie to anyone. I know how you are.” Her friend sighed, stretching her calf muscles. “I hope you’ll introduce me to him, though. I don’t want my best friend living across the universe with a guy I’ve never met.”

“Of course I will.” She hugged Ka’lyn, a shower of sadness washing over her. They had only a few days left together. After she departed, she had no idea how long until she would return for a visit. If ever. No one had told her the full extent of her marriage contract.

“Perfect.” Ka’lyn squeezed her in a hug before stepping back. “Now, get your butt back to the castle and get ready for the ceremony. Show him the sexy woman he came for. I suggest you show off a lot of leg and cleavage.”

No, that would not make a good first impression. Though it might work to get him into her bed quicker, her parents would send her back to her room to change into something less revealing. With reluctance, Ro’sa waved good-bye and headed back home. She had a full day ahead of her and a handsome prince waiting to seduce her, whether in her dreams or after the ceremony.

Trading places. Read the 1st chapter of THE STAR PRINCESS #1stChFriday #romance #scifirom Click To Tweet

About THE STAR PRINCESS:

In one week, Princess Ro’sa will board a spaceship, leaving her home on Minjet to be with her betrothed on Earth. The only problem is, she detests the prince’s selfish and arrogant ways, preferring to spend time with his personal aide, a man who stirs her desires in ways she never imagined possible with his radiant blue eyes and smouldering lips. And oh, the way he touches her.

Earth’s post-apocalyptic landscape offers little but the alliance offers much and a princess must do her duty, no matter the danger to her person and to her heart.

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Will Claire ask out the Sexy Santa? #1stChFriday from HEY SANTA #romance #alien #scifirom

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 seventh book featured in First Chapter Friday is HEY, SANTA. This story is available now on its own, but is also be available in my LOVE IN A NEW WORLD New Adult Romance box set which released Monday. Enjoy!

HEY, SANTA

by Jessica E. Subject

Chapter One

“You can’t be serious.” Claire mustered the dirtiest look possible for her best friend.

Tiffany held out her hands and air-squeezed the man’s firm rear end from a distance. “C’mon. Look at that ass.”

“Yes, but a Santa Claus? How do I know what he looks like under that suit and beard?” Imagining removing the white hair to find a wrinkled old man, she shuddered.

“Only one way to find out.” Smacking Claire’s butt, Tiffany urged her forward. “Go ask him.”

She planted her feet. Thank goodness she hadn’t worn heels for their marathon shopping trip two days before Christmas. “If you’re so interested, why don’t you?”

Tiffany rolled her eyes, sighing. “Because I’m engaged to be married to the love of my life. You’re the Grinch who needs to get laid.”

“I’m not a Grinch,” she snapped. Breathing deeply, she counted backwards from ten. “I’m sorry. This is a very stressful time of year for me.”

“I know.” Tiffany cupped her elbow. “I just want to see you happy at Christmas again. It doesn’t have to be a miserable holiday anymore. That’s part of the reason I dragged you with me today.”

She swallowed the lump in her throat, tears welling already. Please don’t let me turn into a blubbering mess in the middle of the mall. While she appreciated her friend’s concern, she coped better on her own. “I…I should go home. I can’t pretend it didn’t happen.”

“No, but you can’t stop living, either.” Wiping the tears with one of the many tissues she kept stuffed in her purse, Tiffany gave her a brief smile. “You don’t need to be alone anymore. Give someone a chance for goodness’ sake. Your parents and brother would want you to be happy. I want you to be happy.”

But happiness no longer existed in her world. Hadn’t since she’d arrived home for the Christmas holidays four years ago. No one came to pick her up at the airport. Instead, she’d taken a cab and been dropped off at a smoldering pile of rubble that used to be her family home. Her parents and younger brother had been asleep when an arsonist set fire to the attached garage. All dead. Her family never made it out. The young punk had been caught and sentenced to serve the rest of his life in prison, but she’d lost everything.

She bit her bottom lip to avoid crying again. Without them, she had very little support. The only person remaining in her life who gave two shits about her was Tiffany, and she’d be married in a few months. Moving on with her life.

Maybe that is what I need to do. But who wanted a damaged woman who’d dropped out of university? Surely, no one worth spending her life with.

“Please, Claire.” Tiffany rubbed her arm. “Will you ask him already? I saw him before he changed into the suit. He’s hot. And he has to be patient since he works with kids. If this doesn’t work, I’ll never get on your case again.”

“Fine,” she grumbled. A bad date has to be better than sitting at home by myself. “This is the last time. No more double dates or trying to set me up with a guy in any way.”

Tiffany held out her baby finger. “Pinky swear.”

After sealing the promise, Claire patted the puffy skin under her eyes. “Is my makeup running?”

“No, you look beautiful, as always.” Grabbing her shoulders, her friend spun her around. “Now, go get him before he’s swarmed by a bunch of kids. And hopefully, soon he’ll fill your stocking with all kinds of Christmas cheer.”

Her cheeks warmed. She wanted more than a night of fucking, though that wouldn’t hurt, either. But Santa? Really? What was she supposed to say? Hey, Santa, I saw you bending over, and I think you have a nice ass. Want to go out sometime?

Andreas blinked, trying to wrap his head around what the sexy woman in front of him had just asked. He’d stared at her miles of long legs showed off by black tights, and her full, glossy lips, but he never expected her to leave her friend and come over, let alone ask him on a date. The only women who ever approached him were already married and concerned about the results of their child’s picture with Santa Claus. Or, the single moms who thought he’d make a great baby daddy. Um, no.

“You want to go out on a date? With me?” he asked.

She nodded, her eyes glassy, as if about to cry if he said no. He would hate himself if that happened. But, her expression changed in an instant, her stare hard. “Forget I said anything.” She stepped back. “You’re looking a little green anyway.”

Green? Shit. He thought he’d perfected his appearance. Guess not. Yet, he refused to let the woman leave before he agreed to see her again.

“Wait! You haven’t gotten your candy cane yet. And to get one, you have to sit on my knee and tell me what you want for Christmas.” Anything to get her closer.

She grinned, his cock twitching from her wicked stare. And when she sat on his lap, her soft hair brushing against his cheek, he groaned. No other female specimen compared to her in sex appeal. He stared at her lusty curves, wanting to touch and lick, imagining her pouty lips around his cock. So much time had passed since his last sexual encounter. He yearned to taste her, fuck her until she screamed his name. But so many reasons left him treading carefully around women, least of all to get caught groping someone while on the job.

He feared the authorities looking into his background. One he didn’t have. At least not until five years ago.

“So, you really want to go out with me, not knowing what I look like? This isn’t some dare, is it?” He’d been through that, too, from a bunch of giggling young women. Thankfully, he hadn’t fallen into their trap. He wanted the woman in front of him to be serious.

“Well, you’re the most muscular Santa I’ve ever seen. And your suit is tight in all the right places.” She shifted on his knee. “As long as you’re not old enough to be my father, then yes, I really would like to go on a date with you.”

“Not even close, I hope. I’m twenty-eight.” He tried to ignore his desire to find a quiet corner for a quickie. Frickin’ libido rejected the idea of letting the woman out of his sight.

“Works for me.” Her hip rubbed against his cock. “So, how about dinner?”

“Yes,” he hissed, changing his focus to imagine something fugly as a distraction, like the governor in drag maybe. In his bed. He had to get rid of his hard-on before some mother brought her kid over. With a shudder, he returned his attention to the woman on his lap. “When were you thinking?”

She faced the sign listing Santa’s hours. “You’re done at seven? How about nine? I’ll make reservations at Barnaby’s and meet you there.”

Barnaby’s? Not too chic, yet not a restaurant where he would run into more of the kids who sat on his knee all day. A much better place to get to know the woman in front of him. And maybe he’d have her for dessert.

A family lined up to see him, two screaming kids among them.

The woman on his knee rose. “I should go.”

“Wait.” He grabbed her wrist, but let go at the collective gasp from his elves.

Everyone in line stared. He cringed, waiting for her to slap him.

Shit. He had to save himself. “I don’t even know your name, how to get ahold of you if I’m going to be late.”

Sitting back down, she reached into her purse. Mace? He squeezed his eyes shut. Instead of spraying him, she rolled up his sleeve, pressing something against his skin. He dared to look, opening one eye at a time.

Claire Otton followed by her phone number. “If you get caught up, give me a call.” She stood again, facing him, her cheeks glowing. “Otherwise, I’ll see you at nine. And don’t make any plans for the rest of the evening, either.”

He swallowed the urge to follow her, take her into the closest storage closet or washroom. “Claire, you didn’t tell me what you want for Christmas.”

Leaning in close, she gave him a breathtaking view of her cleavage. “Stick around,” she whispered. “And you’ll find out.”

Shivers ran down his spine. Fuck, she knows how to send my dick into overdrive. But in an instant, she disappeared and one of his helpers placed a wailing kid on his lap.

Is it nine o’clock yet? Sneaking a look at the kiddie-pool-sized clock on the wall, he groaned. Fuck, only four.

Will Claire ask out the Sexy Santa? Read 1st chapter of HEY SANTA #1stChFriday #romance #scifirom Click To Tweet

About HEY, SANTA:

She doesn’t want a lot for Christmas…

Claire Otton dreads spending another holiday alone. When her best friend convinces her to approach the sexy mall Santa, she takes the chance and asks him out, hoping for so much more.

He’s waiting under the mistletoe…

Although Andreas Castellanos blends in on Earth, he knows he will never belong. But when the gorgeous woman he’d been staring at invites him to dinner, he has a hard time saying no.

All they’re asking for…

Can these two lonely souls find magic together or will their secrets steal their chance of a happy Christmas?

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Also available as part of LOVE IN A NEW WORLD…

Buy from Amazon / Kindle    

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