Paranormal meets Sci-Fi and Steamy Romance
She’s been abducted by the evil Reptiles, rescued and now she’s being sent on a dangerous mission to save the known universe.
Marie Sinclair, renown psychic, is at the end of her limit. Although she sees and senses things that would freak normal people out, she’s not ready to come face to face with an unknown, evil entity the likes she’s never come across before – in this dimension or the next. Nor is she fully prepared to deal with golden-skinned Captain Alastor Siris with imposing personality and icy attitude.
They finally have a chance to end the tyrannical Reptile reign. It is of utmost importance that Alastor unearth any information he can to turn the tables in their favour. The fate of the war rests on his shoulders. He’s trained in combat and reconnaissance. What he’s never had to deal with, is bringing a delicate, platinum haired human female with him.
Not only will Marie be in danger, she makes him feel things he’d determined never to feel again. When things turn in a direction he could never have anticipated, Alastor finds himself thrust in a situation where long-held beliefs about himself are not only challenged, but destroyed.
Together, Marie and Alastor must not only fight for their destinies, but those lost souls of the universe and beyond. Can they stop an unknown force from total annihilation and save the souls of billions of enslaved people before everything is lost?
This was crazy. She was crazy. Totally out-of-her-mind, gone-to-the-very-core, bat-shit crazy. This whole thing was crazy, mainly because of three main things.
One – being on a space ship, or starship as she’d been corrected many, many times, by the aliens - Hexonians - was insane.
Two - her ruthless abduction by the Reptiles, who were an evil race intent on enslaving the universe for their own nefarious purposes was terrifying.
Three - waking to find herself strapped to a table to be used for her body’s energy field to allow a great evil entity into this universe from another dimension was horrifying.
She might be in the middle of a serious mental delusion, while in reality her body was strapped tight in a straightjacket in some padded room deep in the bowels of a long-forgotten insane asylum.
In a locked room.
With the key thrown away and lost forever.
Either that or she was quite sane and living a waking nightmare. Right at the moment, she couldn’t be sure which was worse. The fact that she might be so mentally unbalanced that she was caught in a figment of her imagination, or that the massive, highly restrained Hexonian who stood too close and too tall next to her in an effort to coerce her from her equally deluded offer might be as real as his prickly demeanour.
“Reconsider.” Hexonian males were also very direct. Or maybe it was just this particular Hexonian male.
Marie resisted the urge to massage her temples and rub her blinding headache away. It wasn’t as if she wanted to go to a planet only known as Annexor. It wasn’t as if she wanted to be here at all.
It was at the request of her guide and master, Black Feather that had prompted her to volunteer. She hadn’t had contact with him since. It was highly unusual, he was always close at hand.
She stopped the urge to twist her hands. If she were the man beside her, she wouldn’t want to take her either. It was quite easy to see how she would be a liability. This was a covert mission that had the capacity to become violent, and she didn’t have it in her to swat a mosquito.
However a request from Black Feather couldn’t be denied. She had complete faith in him. Maybe too much. Maybe he was trying to get her to rely on herself more. Maybe she’d used him as a crutch too much of late, although given recent events was easy to understand. Too many ‘maybe’s that didn’t make her feel a heck of a lot better.
She wished Black Feather hadn’t asked this of her. She wished she was anywhere else but here in this room beneath the frigid stare of the Hexonian who was in charge of her safety. She wished she’d never heard of Hexonians, or Reptiles, or been abducted for that matter. It was hard to have compete faith in the universe when it ended up being so much different than she thought it was.
At least Black Feather had been her constant.
She cleared her throat, “I completely understand. But if there are women, err females there as the Callistean said, I agree with the commander that they will need a friendly face.”
Although this was a reconnaissance mission to work out a battle strategy, they might come face to face with the women and who knew what they might have to do to save them. Waking in a room helplessly strapped to a cot was terrifying. Add to the fact that she’d woken to vine people fighting with Reptiles and uniformed Hexonians was distressing. If they found women, at least she might be able to offer a friendly face and some sort of explanation so they might not be so terrified.
She was also going given her unique abilities to sense dimensional changes. Abilities she’d called into question in recent horrifying events, which she’d neglected to tell anyone about.
The Reptiles need to bridge dimensions and used the energy field of human women as conduits to enable an entity from another dimension to come into this universe. The entity had brainwashed the Reptiles into helping it, telling them they would be kings of this universe. The Reptiles were misguided, albeit it violent and vicious fools. The entity was far stronger than anything Marie could ever imagine. And far more evil that she could possibly fathom.
It was imperative they stop the Reptiles, and the entity from coming into this universe for thus far unknown reasons. Finding the women was vital. They might be victims of the Reptiles, but they were also the answer to defeating them. It had started with Lauren and Vivien and a whole host of women saved from the clutches of the Reptiles on Florn and Callisto and now onboard the Starlight. The discovery that human females had the power to save the universe and free the mind-enslaved was astronomical. They just had to work out how.
There was still the little problem of getting the information back to the Interspecies Council. The wormhole they’d shot through to rescue Jo-Aquin had collapsed when the entity had tried breaching the dimension when it had possessed Vivian. The Starlight and everyone on board were stuck in this galaxy, and as far as she knew, there was no way home, let alone contact with the people who could help.
It was an impossible situation with impossible odds. How she was ever going to get through it was anyone’s guess, least of all her own.
Alastor peered down at her. His skin flashed a deep golden hue, too golden to be a tan. Subdued sparkles, like tiny diamond facets all over his body alerted to the fact that his skin wasn’t really tan at all. Just like the fact that despite his near-human features, he wasn’t really a human at all.
The glare in his near black eyes and the way his mouth spread flat and thin was a gesture all too human though. “The human females will have a friendly face when they are back safe on the Starlight after a team has been formed to rescue them. What we need more urgently is to understand what’s happening down on that surface. You don’t understand how important this mission is.”
She understood only too well. It could mean that the tables might finally be turned. The difference meant saving millions of lives across the universe.
His gaze was far too intense. It matched his countenance. Disciplined. Severe. Unrelenting. It seemed military types were the same the universe over.
The universe. She didn’t conceive of a universe filled with aliens until a few weeks ago. She clamped down the urge to giggle.
She wanted to say she understood again, but she breathed in deep instead. “If we find women and they are the way I was when you found us…”
She stopped speaking when a shadow crossed his face so fast she might have imaged it before he schooled his features back into severity. A pain so deep touched her emotional field that she might have assumed was hers made the words collect in her throat.
“Are you… are you alright?” She wouldn’t have known he felt anything at all just by looking at him if she couldn’t detect what others brushed off as fleeting fancy, or worse - imagination.
A slight frown appeared between his brows before he schooled it away. “I deeply regret that you were abducted.” His voice was even lower than before. Truth mingled with the hurt and desolation.
He had a deep voice. Masculine, with an edge of sexiness to it she normally didn’t notice. She had no right to notice it now. Wondered why she even did. It seemed her sixth sense was in worse condition than she believed. She could only hope she was doing the right thing. That she had heard Black Feather correctly. If she could only confirm with Black Feather, she’d happily stop wasting everyone’s time and let ‘Head of Combat Alastor Siris’ get on with his mission.
“Well…I am deeply thankful you rescued us.” She didn’t want to think about what might have happened to her if no-one had come at all. To any of the hundred women who had been abducted by the Reptiles and held prisoner on Callisto.
He included his head. “Then you will understand it is of vital importance I go on this mission without hindrance.”
Alastor didn’t understand that Black Feather would not have insisted the way he had when he asked her to go with him. “I’ll stay out of your way. I promise.”
“And yet you will be in the way by your very presence.” Alastor faced her and his huge chest filled her vision. He wasn’t as heavily muscled as some of the Hexonian men she’d seen on the space ship; they were as big as line-backers on steroids. He was lean. Fit. As though he’d built up the minimum requirement of muscle and honed that to perfection. She saw it in the way his uniform stretched over his straight shoulders, and the way it flattened over his flat stomach and hard thighs. He had legs that could take on Olympic athletes. The tallest sprinters. A golden Usain Bolt cross Viking. The combination was spectacular as well as completely intimidating.
She forced her attention back to his face that wore severity like an art form. “I’ll make sure I won’t be.” She could fade into the background. She’d perfected the art over the past few months.
A muscle worked at his temple. Not the first show of anger. She almost cringed, knowing she was so out of her depth. Almost. But there was a reason Black Feather wanted her to go with him and she couldn’t let her master down. “I don’t know what to expect down there. It is an uncharted planet, under heavy Reptile occupation. You have no idea what those creatures are capable of.”
This time she didn’t stop the shudder that worked through her. “I have every idea what they are capable of.” They’d appeared from no-where when they’d abducted her on Earth. The Reptiles had grabbed her, run a sharp claw over her palm, licked her blood and that was the last thing she knew. It happened so quickly, she hadn’t had a chance to even scream.
If it was possible, Alastor’s features became even more severe. His rage barely contained. “Then you know they are vile creatures, not capable of the slightest of feelings. They are driven by cruelty and an inherent need to destroy. They don’t care if they kill innocent children. Women. To take a life is nothing to them. They are built for war. But you might not know that they have sharp claws, sharper teeth, and poison sacs on the spikes on their tails that can kill a male in minutes.
“They have invaded entire planets and systematically destroyed every living thing on that planet. We are fighting a losing war, and this is the only thing that anyone has ever discovered that can tip anything in our favour.
“If we are caught by then, we only have certain death to look forward to. So are you going to tell me that you know what you’re doing, or are you going to do the logical thing and stay right here where it’s safe and I can go and do my job without a dead weight around my neck?”
Her mouth opened and closed a few times. She was in a place where stunned thought slid off the Teflon coating of the inside of her head.
“I thought so.” He pulled his shoulders back and cricked his neck. “It is for the best.”
Finally she found her voice and it took everything in her to speak. “But I still have to come.”
His eyes blazed even though his voice was low and even. “Why do you have to come? What possible reason could there be?”
She wanted to tell him that Black Feather requested her to do it. That there was a deeper reason that neither of them could possibly know about. That she was here for a reason, because everything in life was defined by reason of higher-knowledge. But she said none of those things. He wasn’t ready to listen, or to understand. “I just have to.”
A series of bells sounded before a face appeared in the wall. It wasn’t a real face, just the projection of one that was so realistic she might think it was real. The fact there was nothing but clear wall beneath the shoulders was a giveaway. Marie didn’t think she’d ever get used to the technology on this ship. Spaceship, she reminded herself.
“Captain.” Commander Striker’s lips twitched as though he was always ready to smile. She liked him. Tough as nails, but his soul shone. Especially when he was with Vivien – or Captain Demalzi of Earth.
“Commander Striker.” Alastor snapped to attention. Looking at him she might think he was more robot than man, but she’d caught hint of emotion that blasted through his eyes. If she hadn’t been so aware of him, she wouldn’t have seen it flash there at all. But she was disturbingly aware of him. All six and a half feet of imposing, lean muscle of him.
“A disturbance on the surface of the planet has just been detected, Captain.”
“What type of disturbance?”
“A spike in energy similar to the energy fields we came up against on Callisto. It emanates from one of the structures on the planet’s surface. I suggest you go there and see if you can find out more. I’ve had the coordinates logged into your shuttle,” Striker said.
“Is there any more information, other than that?’ Alastor asked.
“Just that you take every precaution to make it back safely. You’ll be in total blackout once you’re there. They mustn’t suspect a thing. Surprise is imperative. Once you’re down there, you’re on your own,” Striker said.
Alastor nodded, but Marie didn’t miss the sideways glance that flicked her way. “Understood.”
Marie stifled the shiver that ran through her. She also ignored the fact she was way out of her depth. This was a stealth mission. Find any more information that might free the mind-enslaved and save the universe from the tyrannical reign of the Reptiles trying to bring an entity from another dimension into this universe for nefarious purposes. In the meantime, free abducted human women, it needs be required, who may or may not be seriously injured. Or worse. No pressure.
She was totally out of her mind.
Her heart fluttered in her chest. She wasn’t ready for this. Ready for any of it, but there was no way she was going to back out now. Not when there was so much at stake.
“Good luck, Captain,” Striker said.
Strikers’ face blinked off the wall, leaving the clear, smooth, silver surface.
“Sir. Your shuttle is ready.” A young cadet hesitated at the open door, his gaze sliding from Alastor to her, and back again.
Alastor offered the cadet a short nod of acceptance before bringing himself to his impressive, full height. “Since you’re foolish enough not to change your mind, we leave immediately.”
Thank goodness Vivien had helped her ‘kit out’. That was army speak for ‘dress properly’. She wouldn’t have the faintest idea what she needed and had relied on Vivien’s army experience. She was dressed in fatigues of the colour of the sands on Annexor, wore thick combat boots and had a pack that contained gear for her survival. A far cry from her normal coloured dresses and strappy sandals.
He waited until the cadet had left before he spoke to her. “There is a chance that you will die. If you are in danger which impacts the success of this mission, I will choose the mission over you. It must come first. There are too many lives at stake for me to take any changes.”
“I’m not afraid to die.” Of that, she was sure.
He studied her for long moments, his expression unreadable. She became almost lost in his deep, dark, unfathomable gaze. “I am not afraid either. I have seen too much of death to be afraid. However, it is the way to death and the pain one might suffer that I am most worried about.”