Monday, December 7, 2015

KEIR'S FALL by Pippa Jay #scifi #romance #spaceopera

A Science Fiction Romance Novel
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Available from...
Amazon | All Romance eBooks
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The ocean rolled in low, lazy waves, like a rippled sheet of platinum silk laced with diamonds. Keir stood poised above the water on a rocky ridge that curled out to embrace the sea. With a long spear raised in his right hand and his left arm stretched out for balance, he kept his eyes fixed on the glittering water below. 
A gentle sea breeze stirred the odd tendril of black hair, and he blinked each annoyance away when it strayed too close to his eyes. Sunlight warmed his dark-blue skin beneath the runes scrawled over his bare torso. He stilled his breath and held himself steady as telltale flickers in the blue water told him the time was coming. Only his gaze shifted. 
A shadow writhed in the depths, and he struck, thrusting his spear into the sea. After a moment’s pause, he yanked it back to lift his prize from the water. The giant eel twisted itself in hopeless knots as it tried to wriggle free, droplets falling from its scales like rain.
Satisfaction drew a smile to his face. As he headed along the ridge toward the beach, Keir hefted the spear over his shoulder, taking care the eel’s spiky teeth could not reach him while it struggled in its death throes. The thrashing load tested his balance, but fishing first thing had become part of his morning ritual, and the uneven path had grown familiar over time. Pale pink sand clung to his skin as he made his way to the tideline. Then he laid his now-still catch on the ground, removing the spear from it with an effort. 
He slid a knife from the sheath on his thigh and gutted the eel then removed the head with a wet crunch. A pattern of shadows over the sand jerked his gaze skyward. A small flight of delicate moth-dragons whirled above his head, no doubt drawn by the prospect of a free meal. He returned his attention to the eel with a smile. The little scaly scavengers were harmless and generally useful, and he silently wished them joy of it as he left the refuse on the beach. They landed in a squabbling mass of rainbow-gossamer wings as he washed his hands and cleaned the fish at the water’s edge. 
He watched them for a moment, and they returned the favor—the occasional pair of tiny black eyes rising from the crowd to glare at him suspiciously. Their dark metallic green hides glimmered in the dawn light, and their tremulous squeaks were the only sound above the rush of sea against sand. As he rose, they scattered in agitation, squawking protests at being disturbed from their feast. Keir walked a wide circle around them to a path cut through a grove of giant bamboo, running his hand along the thin wooden handrails that had been worn smooth by constant use. 
After several twists and turns had taken him deeper into the dappled shade and whispering trees, he came to a raised hut with a peaked roof of dried leaves. Rough stone steps led up to the veranda. He entered in silence and laid the eel on the kitchen table before opening the inner door and making his way in as quietly as possible.
Fragmented sunbeams fell through the gauzy insect netting at the windows to pattern the smooth timber floor. Keir paused, and his breath caught. Dappled light touched the woman sprawled across the bed, asleep under a woven blanket in shades of blue. Her tousled red hair half-covered her face, one arm was folded across her stomach, and the other laid palm upward on the pillow beside her head. The elfin face was childlike, her skin pale gold with freckles scattered over her small nose, her expression one of contented oblivion.
His chest tightened. Even now, it seemed beyond belief that he should be here, that he should have such a peaceful life and someone as beautiful and loving as Quin to share it with. The idyll of Kasha-Asor would be nothing without her by his side. Each day with her was a blessing. All the more so because he had once believed her dead by his own actions.
On impulse, he lifted the netting aside, but as his shadow passed over her, her gray eyes snapped open. In a flurry of blankets, she leaped from the bed and knocked him to the floor. Pain speared through his body as she straddled him and pinned his hands. 
“Never,” she told him in a low growl, “ever try to sneak up on me in bed!” 

~*~     ~*~     ~*~
2015 Release
Length: 222 pages (full length novel)
Flavor:  SFR Adventure/Space Opera

Keir's Fall is the second full-length novel in the Redemption series.
Watch for the third novel, Keir's Shadow, coming in 20175, and a novella length side story, Reunion at Kasha-Asor, in early 2016.

Author Pippa Jay Website

Author Facebook Fanpage

Author on Twitter: @PippaJayGreen

Sunday, October 18, 2015

UNCHAINED MEMORY by Donna S. Frelick

Award-Winning Science Fiction Suspense Romance

“Part political thriller, part sci-fi, part romance, Unchained Memory, is an exciting read full of unexpected twists and turns highlighted by Donna Frelick’s excellent prose.”

      --Linnea Sinclair, author, The Dock Five Series

Romantic Times Four-Star Review! (May, 2015)

Amazon Four-and-a-Half Star Rating!

2012 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist!

Three hours ripped away her past. 
His love promised her the future. 

From the night she wakes up in her pickup on the side of the road, three hours gone and everything of value lost to her, Asia Burdette is caught in a clash of invisible forces.  She has only one ally in her struggle to understand why--Ethan Roberts, a man she shouldn't love, a psychiatrist who risks everything to help her.

With black ops kidnappers dogging their trail, the lovers race to navigate a maze of mind control, alien abduction and interstellar slavery.  If they keep following the signs, they'll find a battle that's been raging since the first silver saucer was spotted in the skies above Earth.

Available now from Amazon and BN.


The afternoon had turned gray and cold by the time we pulled up in front of the lake house, and a gusty wind was blowing off the water. I shivered in the kitchen, putting on water for tea while Ethan got a fire going in the fireplace and threw another couple of logs into the woodstove.  Soon enough, though, the fire was snapping bravely against the draft and things were starting to warm up.  Outside, the wind had blown up a rattle of raindrops against the windows.  I was glad to curl up with my mug and microfleece on the bed and watch the flames dance in the fireplace.

Ethan stretched out on the bed beside me, propping himself up on one elbow and balancing his own mug of brew in front of him.  He wasn’t watching the fire, though.  He was watching me.

I turned to look at him and smiled.  “Okay.  I guess I’m ready to talk about it.”

“Only if you want to.”

“I don’t think this bed is big enough for the two of us plus the great big elephant we brought with us back from the doctor’s office, too.”

Ethan smiled. “You have a point.”

“So.  No alien probe.  No proof.”

“Right.  But that’s not the only problem.”

“No.” My stomach was suddenly churning.  “Because if the probe is no longer there, where is it?  I mean, was it removed?  And if so, who removed it?”

“Exactly.”  Ethan took a thoughtful pull on his tea.  “Asia, what if your loss of memory about the time you spent in captivity wasn’t the result of trauma?  What if it was the result of a deliberate effort to make you forget?”

I sat up and stared at him.  “What do you mean?  Brainwashing?”

“Well, yes, in a word. Drugs, electroshock, psychomanipulative techniques.  There are any number of means to the end.  No doubt a more advanced culture would have a few I’m not aware of.”  His jaw tightened as his gaze fixed on the fire.

I started to shake again, though the room was thoroughly warm now.  “My memories of the time I spent on that planet . . . I was empty, blank, unable to feel anything. . . I thought it was drugs.  Are you saying they did something to my mind?”

Ethan sat up, set down his mug and grasped my trembling hands in his.  “Whatever it was had no lasting effect, Asia.  Your mind is whole and strong and fully intact now.”

I searched his eyes.  “How do I know that?  Just this morning something else came back—a memory of being examined when I was first taken.  That’s why I jumped when you touched me.  How do I know there’s not more—worse—still in there?”

“There may be pockets of memory still protected by your healthy mind, Asia. That does happen.” Ethan had slipped into professional mode. I should have been annoyed, but I found myself clinging to that reassurance instead. “Once you feel completely safe, you’ll release them, and I’ll be here to help you through it.  I have a feeling you’ve already acknowledged the worst of it.  The story of what happened to you is complete.  The only gaps are the actual abduction and return and your recovery from the shoulder injury, perhaps because you were unconscious during those times.”

I wanted to believe him, God knows I did.  But the sense of violation that had begun with the knowledge that I had been taken by unknown beings was now complete with the knowledge that they had rearranged my mind.  To make me forget.  As if that was even possible.

The tears pooled in my eyes and began to roll down my face.  “Why would they do that to me?  Who were they that they could do that?”  Even as I spoke I knew:  I hadn’t been the only one.  I’d simply been one of an uncounted number of those taken and somehow returned to Earth.

Ethan gathered me in and wrapped his arms around me.  I pressed my face to his warm chest and gave in to what was left of my grief for the life I had lost, for all the lives lost. 

“They can’t have been human to hurt you like they did.” His hand stroked my hair.  “My Asia, my sweet, beautiful Asia.”  His voice became a magical murmur, a soft, warm salve for my aching heart. 

And I know, if I were taken again today, I would cling to that one moment so strongly they could never take it from my mind—that memory of Ethan holding me in the firelight as afternoon turned to darkest night and whispering my name so it sounded like love.

Friday, September 25, 2015

INHERIT THE STARS by Laurie A. Green

Available in e-book, print,
or serialized in 3 parts (see below)
2011 RWA Golden Heart Finalist!
(under working title P2PC)

"I didn’t just love this, I simply couldn’t stop reading it.  It’s not just that there is always something happening, and usually going spectacularly wrong...It’s that around every corner there is a new revelation, and each time something is revealed, the story twists in a new direction."


One chance. No mistakes.

Sair took a deep breath and peered out the open airlock of the merchant ship. This was it. Make a wrong move now and end up the main course at an Ithian feast. He studied his escape route. The pilot wasn’t in sight; he had a clear path to the street outside the hang. He gripped the edge of the hatch, palms slick, legs twitching.


No shouts of alarm mingled with the roar of the busy spaceport when he ducked off the ship. Once out of the hang, he tried to blend with the crowd on the busy street. He sucked in his breath when a sharp-featured man in a dusty sun cloak strode straight for him.

Ithian? No, Carduwan. Thank the Fire Lords. A neutral.

Sair caught the man’s arm. “Where am I?”

The Carduwan registered his size and build; his expression melted from annoyance to fear. “Eliptis hangtown.” He edged backward. “Sir.”

“What planet?”

The man’s eyes widened and his Adam’s apple bobbed. “Dartis.”

Just my luck. Word was the Ithians ran as thick as rats in grain on this hell-baked ball.

Sair released the Carduwan, leaning closer to stare into the man’s sunshield. “Where can I get one of those?”

“Yours.” The man fumbled the dark wraparound frame from his beakish nose, offering it.

Sair grabbed the sunshield and slid it home, glad to hide his eyes. Don’t thank him. You’re Rathskian. He grunted, glancing toward the hang entry where a chubby man shuffled onto the street. Damn! The merchant.

Sair froze, but the salesman never glanced his way. It seemed he had no clue Sair had hitched a ride. So far, escape had been easier than expected. At least he hadn’t been served up on a platter yet.

And those I left behind?

The Carduwan strode away, dodging the merchant in his haste.

Sair went the opposite direction, breathing easier when he reached a side street that put him out of sight of the hang. Four strides later he heard a commotion—shouting voices, thumping sounds. He moved back to the corner and peeked around a slag brick column. His heart jumped.

A squad of uniformed men had the merchant pinned against the hang wall, screaming questions in his ears. Their arm bands sported dual bars. Ithian Alliance operatives.

Gigadamn. They know I'm on Dartis!

The Ithians must have noted his absence and tracked the merchant vessel after it left Ithis with Sair stowed away in a freight compartment. Now the poor merchant would have hell to pay. But it would be nothing compared to Sair’s punishment if they caught him.

~*~     ~*~     ~*~

Inherit the Stars was also released as a 
three-part serial with special prices 
of $.99, $1.99 and $1.99. 
(Click links below the cover images.)

2015 Release
Length: 401 pages (full length novel)
Flavor:  SFR Adventure/Space Opera

Inherit the Stars is the first full-length novel in The Inherited Stars series.
Watch for the second novel, The Outer Planets, coming in late 2015.
*     *     *

Thursday, May 7, 2015

KEIR by Pippa Jay #timetravel #scifi #romance

A Science Fiction Romance Novel
Goodreads | Available from...
Kobo | iTunes | B&N 
Print available from... 

Praise for Keir - 

A Rating
"Now this is what a Sci-Fi Romance should really be like."

"KEIR's hero is one type that can challenge readers' expectations about the hero/heroine dynamic in an interesting way." 

5 Stars and Award Finalist
"Author Pippa Jay offers readers a tale filled with love, romance, intrigue, danger, fantasy, science fiction and action."
Anne B. for Readers Favorite


Amidst the noise and flashes, the sound of movement drew his gaze aside. Quin had stepped out onto the adjoining balcony to lean nonchalantly on the ledge and admire the show. The light display forgotten, Keir immersed himself deeper in the shadows and watched her instead. Like his first sight of her in the Adalucien prison cell, it struck him how small she was, and how different to anyone he had ever known. Quin had unbound her hair, which now formed a wild red halo around her face. Her formal robes had been exchanged for a short, black slip that ended mid-thigh, and a long-sleeved robe of black lace. The gentle curves of her slim figure showed through the fabric. His eyes strayed to the white skin of her legs, like fine marble shaped and smoothed. What would it feel like to touch? Cool like stone? Or warm like velvet, soft as silk?

Unease tightened his muscles, and he tried to drag his gaze away. A Salusian woman would never expose herself like that. Never show so much skin and be so uncaring about it.

But then, Quin is not Salusian. And she does not know I am here. I should not be looking.

Even as he thought it, even as he berated himself for it, his gaze drifted back. A smile arched her lips as she watched the skies, as enchanted as a child. A stronger gust of wind brushed the hair back from her face and folded the satin cloth of her outfit around her figure.

So beautiful…

Sudden elation overwhelmed him, combined with the heat T’rill had inspired. Desire wrapped tight arms around his body. The heady mix stole his breath. No. Shame burned his skin. Quin was his friend, the first he had ever had, and the only person to show him kindness in more years than he could count. Yet at that moment he wanted more. For the first time in remembrance, he wanted to touch and be touched in return. To hold her and have her return his embrace freely, with more than a friend’s affection. To feel her white skin under his fingertips. To brush the hair from her face as the breeze did now, and run his fingers through it.

His thoughts dishonored her gift of friendship to him. 

~*~     ~*~     ~*~
2015 Re-release
Length: 326 pages (full length novel)
Flavor:  SFR Adventure/Time Travel

Keir is the first full-length novel in the Redemption series.
Watch for the second novel, Keir's Fall, coming in late 2015, and a novella length side story, Reunion at Kasha-Asor, in early 2016.

Author Pippa Jay Website

Author Facebook Fanpage

Author on Twitter: @PippaJayGreen

Saturday, February 21, 2015

UNCHAINED MEMORY by Donna S. Frelick


For years I couldn’t remember what had happened to me that night. All I knew was that three hours of my life were gone, unaccounted for in any way that made sense. Such a tiny sliver of time—yet it was enough to rip my life apart. Nothing would ever be the same. Least of all me.

The search for those lost hours changed me. Finding them nearly killed me. Even now, there are times when I lie awake in the dark heart of night and wish to hell I’d left it all alone.

Except for Ethan. I could never regret anything about him.

I remember well enough how that night started off. If I’d stayed home where I belonged I wouldn’t be telling this story now.

The crowd in the Holiday Inn lounge was just getting loose. The band had finally found a tune even the broken-hearted could dance to, and both dancers and dance floor were taking on that glow too much alcohol will give them. But I was out of place in that happy community of the drunk and the unattached, and I knew it.

“I gotta get back to the kids, Sherry. It’s close to midnight.”

“The kids are fine,” my drunk, unattached friend responded. “You’ve hardly been out of that house for weeks. Ronnie don’t never take you nowhere. Every once in a while even the Mom of the Year deserves some down time, don’t you think?”

“Who you calling Mom of the Year?” With three kids below the age of eight, I stayed home full-time. I didn’t have a choice if everyone was going to stay sane, including me.

I frowned at my footloose friend. She’d dragged me out here under pretense of hitting the mall, which was long since closed. I didn’t make a practice of lying to my husband.

“I’m going.”

“Oh, for chrissake, Asia, will you please just relax for five minutes?” Sherry tilted her chin and blew the smoke from her cigarette over her head in disgust. “We have been sitting here all damn night buying our own drinks and now that things are looking up, you want to go home.”

Sherry thought I was crazy for sticking it out with someone whose idea of excitement was a beer so cold it made him shiver. She was a free bird and thought I should be one, too. But, then, Sherry’d been married three times and her only child was an overfed Cocker spaniel.

Sherry’s attention was suddenly snagged by a tall specimen at the bar with the run-to-fat look of a former high school football star. “Well, hello there, handsome. Why don’t you just come on over here and have a sit?”

The words were lost on Mister Right—the bar was a good twenty feet away across a choppy sea of tables and drinkers—but he got the message all right. He smiled cagily in return.

Sherry and I had run together since we were both new to the course, so I recognized the signs. She’d notice Mister Right’s beer belly and receding hairline tomorrow morning; right now all she could see was his broad shoulders and the bulge in his jeans. It was a fair trade-off, though, since he wasn’t noticing her crow’s feet and sagging butt at this moment either.

I shook my head and reached for my jacket. “I’m outta here, girl. If I stay I’m just gonna cramp your style.”

Sherry sighed. “Ronnie don’t know how good he has it with you, you know that? You are just nothing but an angel.”

“Yeah, right. Running home right now to polish the old halo. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

Outside the chill of late October had laid a damp hint of frosts to come on the pickups in the motel lot. I could see my breath in the still air as I shrugged into my jacket. Until that night I’d always liked the change in the weather that meant winter was coming on. But that was before. I‘ve come to dread it since then.

One thing you need to know right up front. I wasn’t drunk when I left the bar that night. My head was clear when I got in my old Ford pickup and turned out onto the highway. I didn’t so much as wobble in my lane all the way home. I paid the babysitter and looked in on the kids (all sleeping as deep as wintering bears). I took the sitter home, and I remember thinking that I’d have trouble getting to sleep that night. I was that wide awake.

That’s why I couldn’t explain what happened next—not to my husband, not to Sherry, not to the police or the counselors or the doctors. I could explain it least of all to myself. Oh, I could blame myself, all right. But I couldn’t find any reason in this world why one minute I could be driving along Deerhorn Road not a mile from my house and three hours later be waking up in my pickup on the side of the road.

I opened my eyes, and for a long baffling minute I couldn’t see anything at all. In the moonless midnight dark, all I could see was the dusty shadow of the truck’s dash hanging just above my face. The view through the windshield revealed only a starlit sky and the ragged outline of a stand of pine framing the narrow road.

I lifted my head from the sticky vinyl of the seat and sat up. Razor-sharp pain ripped like a saw blade from my forehead to the back of my skull and tore the air out of my lungs. The inside of that Ford was spinning like a carnival ride, and I thought for a good thirty seconds that I would blow the contents of my stomach all over the front seat.

When the steering wheel and the glove compartment had settled back into their usual places, my first thought was that I’d had one Lemon Drop too many. But I hadn’t had enough vodka to justify the pounding inside my head. In fact, I wasn’t sure there was that much vodka available outside Moscow. No, and I hadn’t had nearly enough of it to make me pass out in the middle of the road practically within sight of home.

I listened for a clue as to what might have left me sitting there, the keys dangling from an ignition turned to OFF, but the road was as quiet as it was dark. In the woods, a mockingbird protested being awakened out of a sound sleep. In the weed-choked ditches on either side of the road, a few late-season crickets still trilled. In my chest, my heart thumped at something more than the normal, healthy rate for a 28-year-old woman of slender build and athletic inclination.

It took me quite a while to recognize that unfamiliar emotion welling up into my throat was fear.

“Now, think, girl, think,” I said out loud, hands gripping the steering wheel like it was the last railing on the Titanic. “I went home. I checked on the kids. I took Heather home.”

I remembered leaving the babysitter’s house, turning out of the driveway onto the road, slowing down to take the curve just before the Dry Run Bridge. I’d been listening to the radio—Stevie Ray or somebody—then . . . I’d lost the signal. After that, it was if my mind had switched off with the radio. I couldn’t remember anything else, and thinking about it was making my head want to twist off my neck.

All right. Shit. I sat up straight, clicked the seat belt and turned the ignition key. The truck started right up—no warning lights, gas tank almost full. I shook my head—a mistake that cost me a second of dizzy pain—then I put the truck in gear and got back on the road.

I had almost convinced myself my little nap could be safely shrugged off when I thought to check the clock on the dash. But the numbers made no sense. I was suddenly shaking so hard I had to grab the steering wheel again to keep my arms from flailing around the vehicle.

“That can’t be right!” I whispered.

The clock read 4:32. I didn’t want to believe it. I wanted to believe something had screwed up the Ford’s electrical system; that the clock had stopped yesterday, and I hadn’t noticed it; that the kids had been playing in the truck and changed it on me. Anything was better than believing what I saw. Because if that damn clock was right, I’d been passed out for three hours on Deerhorn Road, and Ronnie had been home for at least ten minutes.

Oh, God, I’m dead. I could hear my breath, short and ragged, whistling in and out of my throat. It’s fucking four-thirty and I’m dead.

I stomped on the gas, pushing the aging vehicle up to a reckless 65 on the unbanked road, but I knew it wouldn’t do much good now. I was going to walk in with no possible explanation for where I’d been, and Ronnie and I would be yelling about it for hours. First it would be about where I’d been, then it would be about my crazy friends, then it would be about the money I’d spent and why I’d left the kids and how much I’d drunk and how many guys I’d slept with and on and on.

I came up on the last bend before the house, and I was dreading the whole scene so much I was within a cat’s hair of turning the truck around to head for the Kentucky line. I even slowed down, but I didn’t stop. Ronnie would be easy to leave. It had been a mistake of my wild and wicked youth to marry him in the first place. The kids, though—my sweet, funny, bright, loving children—they were another story. I would never have left them behind, no matter how big an idiot their father was.

But, you see, I’d already done it without even thinking about it. I’d left my kids behind, sleeping peacefully in their beds, believing I would be back in a minute or two. I’d left Benjamin surrounded by Spiderman in his own room and little Micah cuddled up with Samantha in her room full of pink frou-frou, believing they would be there, safe and sound and wrapped in their sweet dreams, when I got back. I didn’t know it would be more than three hours before I got back to them—how could I have known?

I turned that last bend and, oh, Jesus, even now I want to scream. I can still see the house in flames, black smoke rising through the leaping red and orange, the trees, the road, the cars, the fire trucks reflecting the fire back like the surface of a burning lake. My mind wouldn’t accept what I was seeing, couldn’t hold the concept of my house, my home, my BABIES on fire. I’ve had years to accept it, a thousand nights soaked with sweat and tears to put out those flames. And still part of me believes I can come around that curve and see my house and my life as it had been, as it should have been. Safe and quiet. Unremarkable. Whole.

The truck careened up into the yard by itself somehow; I know I wasn’t driving it anymore. I threw myself out of the driver’s seat and stumbled toward the burning house, though what was left of my rational mind was shrieking at me that it was too late, too damn late. Someone tackled me and trapped me in a bear hug. To this day I don’t know who it was, and I thought I knew all the boys on the volunteer squad.

“You can’t go in there, Asia,” his voice kept repeating. “There’s nothing you can do.”

I fought him. I struggled like I would kill him if he didn’t let me go. “My kids are in there!” I screamed, my heart shattering, my soul shredding. “They’re in there!”

“They’re gone, Asia. There’s nothing we can do. They’re gone.” He held on until I finally slumped to the ground in shock, no fight left in me, no hope left in me, nothing left in me but horror and guilt and wrenching pain. I guess we stayed like that on the cold ground, the heat from the flames washing over our heads, until Ronnie came over and pulled me to my feet.

His face was marked with soot and tears and a kind of furious misery I never want to see on a human face again in my life. “Where were you, Asia?” His hands twisted and tightened on my arms. “They’re dead! Our babies are DEAD! Where the hell were you?”

I know Ronnie would have hit me, if the sheriff hadn’t pulled him off me. He might even have killed me in that moment. And who could blame him? I know I didn’t. For once, he had a right to be out of control. He had gone to work, leaving me to care for the only thing that meant anything to either of us. Now they were gone, and I had no explanation. I had no excuse. What happened was my fault; even I believed it.

It was three years before I stopped wishing Ronnie had done what he wanted so badly to do that night. It was a long time after that before I found any reason beyond sheer apathy to keep from putting a .45 to my head and leaving this world behind.

Lucky for me, apathy is a bigger survival mechanism than most people think.

~*~     ~*~     ~*~

Target Word Count:  115,000
Flavor:  Science Fiction Suspence Romance 
Status:   Market Draft
Author:  Donna S. Frelick's bio can be found on the Author page.

*     *     *

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lucy in the Sky by Barbara Elsborg

Chapter One

Chlorella: single-celled green algae, one of the simplest and earliest plants on Earth, that can only grow when soaked by rain.

Lucy had always thought that if she was ever lucky enough to see a spaceship, it would be as a fleeting bright light in the sky. There one second and gone the next. If she was really lucky, maybe a multicolored disk would hover long enough for her to grab her camera and snap the photograph of a lifetime. If she was extraordinarily out-of-this-world lucky, she’d spot an alien waving or maybe mooning her through a porthole. What Lucy had never expected to see was a spaceship sitting in her garden.

Only six in the morning, so she hadn’t been drinking, not even a cup of tea. Lucy had been reaching for the kettle when her gaze slid to the window and got stuck. She stared openmouthed at the massive sweep of dark silver—something—in the center of the lawn. No windows or doors. No mooning from a porthole, Lucy thought in disappointment.

She came to her senses in a snap and filled the kettle. Of course it wasn’t a spaceship. It wasn’t even there. She’d wanted something different to happen in her life, and when it didn’t her imagination had obliged with a real humdinger. She grabbed a mug from the cupboard and dropped in a teabag.

“Don’t look out the window,” she said and laughed. “Ah, talking to myself, the second sign of madness.” The first—thinking there was a spaceship in her yard.

She couldn’t resist taking another quick glance.

Um, still mad then.

Lucy tried to look away but the shining object tempted like a naked man and she couldn’t help staring. So what is it? It couldn’t be a spaceship, but it didn’t look like a plane or part of plane. If it had fallen from an aircraft or dropped from space—some wayward disintegrating satellite—she would have heard it crash. Plus it would have made a big hole, probably a crater deep enough to bury it. Instead it just sat there on the grass. Looking perfect. Watching.

Watching? Where had that thought come from? On its back came fear. Lucy’s pulse spiked, her mouth lost all moisture and her knees refused to lock. She leaned against the countertop, her heart hammering to get out of her chest so it could run upstairs and hide under the bed. She took a deep, calming breath. Well, took a deep breath. Nothing exciting ever happened to her, and now that it had she was not going to hide under the bed.

There wasn’t enough room. Too many shoes and paperback novels.

Living up to her mother’s perpetual claim that one of Lucy’s middle names should have been Stupid, she padded barefoot across the kitchen and left the house through the side door. A glance around the corner sent Lucy reeling and she scraped her elbow on the wall. The yard was empty. What the…? Her heart bounced between her throat and her stomach. How could something that massive disappear without her hearing?

She ran down the stone steps and skidded to a halt on the wet grass. A groan of despair burst from her lips. The spaceship wasn’t the only thing that had gone. So had her beautiful garden. A deep trough had been cut right through the middle of the flower bed destroying the roses and uprooting every shrub and bush. The herb patch had been plowed into the soil, all her little sculptures had been smashed to smithereens and there was no sign of Eros. Torn between tears and fury, Lucy howled. All those hours her father had spent planting the garden, all the work she’d done so he had something to look at through the window when he was sick, the one thing she had to remind her of him and now it was gone—ruined.

Tall trees surrounded her yard. The thing she’d seen was too big to have slipped away between the pines. The gouged earth suggested it had ground to a halt just where she’d seen it. So where had it gone? Lucy tilted her head back and looked up into empty sky, relieved to find no monstrosity looming over her and the whole of West Yorkshire.

She took a few tentative steps, the early morning dew cold underfoot. The stretch of lawn between her and the devastated garden looked wrong. No pearls of moisture beaded the flattened blades of grass. Lucy gulped. Not her imagination. Something had been there. It had managed to miss the trees, but skidded through the wilderness area at the far end of her property, then scored through her flower bed and come to a halt not far from where she stood.

Lucy walked in an oval loop, mapping out the area, chewing her lip over the remains of her devastated plants. Could she save any of them? Probably not. Back at the point she’d started, Lucy stood with her hands on her hips. The area the lump had covered measured twenty feet across and maybe fifteen in length but narrower at the back. Was the grass really dry where it had lain or was she imagining it? Lucy stepped forward to check.


She looked at the sky from her prone position, then pushed up on her elbows and stared directly ahead. Lucy couldn’t see anything in front of her but something was there. She’d walked into it. Adrenaline raced around her bloodstream, exciting her synapses and driving her brain into a frenzy. She scrambled to her feet and brushed her wet hands on her thighs.



But…one tentative stretch forward and her fingers made contact with something she couldn’t see. She snatched her hand back as though she’d touched a snake, swallowed her whimper and tried again. Warm. Smooth. Hard. It had looked like metal and that’s what it felt like. Lucy ran the flat of her hand over the surface, tracing the shape of the craft she’d seen from the kitchen window. She hadn’t imagined it. Aliens had landed in her backyard.


No. Not yippee.

Help. Police. Fire. Ambulance.

Well, maybe not an ambulance, though the way her heart skipped and jumped Lucy suspected she might soon need one. Only what the hell could she say if she called the police?

A spaceship’s destroyed my garden, and I was wondering if you’d be good enough to come and remove it? Did I mention it’s invisible?

She pictured the response—an ambulance, a tight white jacket, and two burly nurses. She wouldn’t even get a chance to persuade them to go down on the lawn and have a feel. Lucy thought about that. She’d better not word it in quite those terms.

Lucy walked all the way around again, this time trailing her fingers over the metal. She wondered if there was a door at the rear she couldn’t see from the kitchen. Judging from the state of the garden up to the point it had stopped, the thing must have crash-landed. What if someone was injured and needed help? They could be inside dying while she stood outside gawking.

An idea shot into her head. She turned and raced back to the house.

*   *   *

As the woman ran her long slender fingers over his O-class shuttle, Three flinched. He’d seen her coming across the grass and suspected he’d not cloaked the vessel soon enough. Her collision with the ship confirmed it. Fortunately she was unhurt. Tall and slim with untidy, short blonde hair, she looked more excited than afraid. He estimated thirty Earth years.

She circled the shuttle and he pondered the best way to handle this. If he stepped out of thin air, even though he looked like an Earthman, she’d probably scream. If he uncloaked the ship, she’d probably scream. If he took off, the down-thrust would kill her, but she’d scream for a moment first. Not that it would be a sound he’d hear, but that was beside the point.

Three didn’t like screaming women. Admittedly, the screaming that annoyed him was a sound of pleasure rather than fear or pain, but a scream was a scream and this Earth woman would scream. Apart from the fact that it might draw unwanted attention, he found the screeching sound irritating. Her nearest neighbor was the other side of the bank of trees at the far end of her yard—Moorfield Garden Center. The owners might have arrived by now and he had no idea if she could shriek loud enough to alert them. Three sighed. Of course he could simply take off now she’d run back to her house and that would be an end of it.

He should take off. He had what he came for and he’d been on his way back when there had been a shuttle malfunction or—reluctant as Three was to admit it—perhaps a moment’s inattention on his part and he’d skidded back to Earth. He hoped no one would ever find out. He’d done no damage to the shuttle’s systems. He’d already checked the exterior. Nothing more than smudges of soil and scratches and they would be removed by the friction of the planet’s atmosphere on the journey back to the mother ship.

The woman was still out of sight. She might be calling the authorities. He had to leave. Why did he hesitate? Three felt uncomfortable. His indecision disturbed him. Usually he knew what was required and executed his mission without question. Immediately.

He’d just wait a moment.

When Three saw her coming from the house carrying a paper container, he furrowed his brow. What was she doing now?

What was he doing? He’d take off.

One more moment.

Three groaned. Why couldn’t he stop watching her? She picked up one end of a long, flexible green pipe and dragged it over the grass to his shuttle. Water sprayed over the craft. He knew the droplets would bounce off the surface, but she still wouldn’t be able to see anything. Then her hand dipped into the bag and a cloud of white powder flew into the air. Three tightened his mouth and felt it twitch at the side. Clever girl. Now she would be able to see the ship. A scream was no doubt imminent.

“Floor down,” he ordered. The ship was programmed to accept all languages he was chipped for, including English. He might as well practice. Three found it slipped off his tongue more easily than some.

The square under his feet lowered him to the entry level. Three pressed the door release, the hatch slid open and the ramp unfolded. Speed was of the essence. Render her unconscious. Put her inside her dwelling and leave. When she came round no one would believe her. Yet another deluded UFO spotter.

He coughed as a deluge of white particles hit his face. Three’s tongue slid out and he licked his lips. Plant origin. Nontoxic. Flour. Whoa, how do I know that? He shook his head, brushed the powder from his eyes and blinked. The woman had neither screamed nor run. She stood glaring at him. He took another step toward her, ready to slam his hand over her mouth.

Too slow.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing in my yard? Why on earth would you think this was a good place to land? Thousands of empty fields out there, miles of deserted moorland and you pick my garden. If you were out of control, couldn’t you have at least aimed for some uninhabited spot? You’ve wrecked my flowerbed and destroyed my herbs.”

Three stared at her. Barely aware his jaw had dropped, he clenched his teeth together.

“Those roses were grown from cuttings. They’ve been in my family for years. They were special to me and now they’re buried under a pile of dirt. Worst of all, you’ve decapitated Eros.”

Three was aghast. “I hit someone?”

She stomped up and poked him in the chest. “Not just hit him. I spent months working on that guy, knocking out every imperfection, getting him just as I wanted and you’ve sliced his head clean off.”

“The scanner indicated one female living alone.” Three had noted no sensor readings suggesting another life form, or the elimination of one. He’d schedule a maintenance overhaul for the shuttle when he returned. Maybe the crash landing hadn’t been his fault. He brightened at the thought and then remembered Eros. “I’m sorry,” he said. Sorry wasn’t enough but what could he do? His medical manual didn’t deal with putting heads back on bodies.

He expected tears yet none appeared. Three watched the expression on her face move through indignation and confusion before it settled on apprehension. That lasted a brief moment before she switched back to belligerence. She hid nothing.

He liked her.

“I’m going to go and get my husband,” she said and took a step back.

“Eros isn’t your partner?”

“No, I keep him in the yard.” She frowned. “Kept him in the yard.” Another step back.

That’s why she wasn’t more upset. Was Eros an animal? A dog? He’d had a pet when…what? Of course he hadn’t.

Three knew she intended to run, saw the moment fear swamped every other emotion. He timed it perfectly, slipped ahead of her and she ran straight into his chest. As she fell back, he caught her and pulled her into his arms.

“Mphmph. How did you do that?” she gasped.

“I’m very fast.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Well, try and avoid this, fast boy.” She jammed her knee up between his legs. His lightning reflexes enabled him to trap her knee between his thighs before it connected with his groin. She struggled and Three tightened his grip.

His hand touched a strip of warm bare flesh at her waist and his pulse jumped. What she wore concealed little. Loose leg wear and a short top with thin straps. Her breasts were squashed against his chest. She scowled and her eyes—ah, her eyes were unusual. Dark blue, flecked with light green. Little brown dots speckled her nose and cheeks. She smelled sweet, of flowers and sunshine and a warm bed. For a moment, Three yearned—but the moment passed.

“Let me go,” she snapped, trying to squirm out of his grasp.

He slung her over his shoulder.

“Put me down, you big jerk. What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

I have no idea. He held onto her legs and walked toward the shuttle. She beat at his back with her fists, thumping him hard in his kidneys and Three let her drop until he held her by her knees. Something he regretted a second later.

“Hey,” he yelped. “Stop that.”

The little hellcat had sunk her teeth into his backside. Three wrenched her off. She wriggled like a Legolian snake and he dropped her. She needed her behind paddled.

On her feet in an instant, she dashed off. He was impressed by her speed. Three watched her bend over and he exhaled. Such a curvy butt. He saw the head coming his way, registered this must be Eros and in the split second he wasted putting two and two together, the chunk of stone hit him.

~*~     ~*~     ~*~

Word count:  Plus Novel (70,000 - 99,000)
Flavor:  Science Fiction Romance/Erotica
Author:  Barbara Elsborg is a published author with Ellora's Cave and Loose-Id.  (Author page bio.)
Other:  Lucy in the Sky received a 4.5 stars from The Romance Junkies and 9s from Seriously Reviewed.

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