JO'AQUIN

 

A jaded Starfleet Commander. A lonely human. A fight to free the universe.

When her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Lauren mistakes a light in the sky for rescue. The help she thinks is coming turns out to be a terror far more sinister than she ever could imagine.

Jo’Aquin is honour-bound to fight the war against the Reptiles. He has a personal score to settle with them and he won’t let anything stand in his way. Stationed as protector over the Earth, Jo’Aquin chases a suspicious Reptilian craft as it crashes though a wormhole and into another galaxy in a failed attempt at escape.

 

Lauren wakes to find herself on an alien planet in the arms of the sexiest man she’s ever laid eyes on, only to learn that he’s an alien and she’s stranded on a planet that is definitely not Earth. When they’re taken prisoner by the planet’s natives, an old shaman woman tells Lauren she is the key to free the mind-enslaved from the evil Reptiles.

Jo’Aquin is imposing and aloof, and Lauren knows he hides a soul-destroying secret. But there’s something about the way that he touches her that sets her skin on fire and sparks flying through her veins.

Can Lauren be the saviour everyone thinks she is, despite the desperate battle of life and death she finds herself in? Can Jo’Aquin save the woman who, against all odds, has stolen the heart he was determined never to give?

What people have been saying -

 

- Absolutely brilliant read. Wow I couldn't put this one down. Its a fast paced powerful and heart rendering read with lots of twists and turns in the plot. Superbly written with wonderful description which brings everything to life!! Amazing characters who have such a strong chemistry its so sexy!!! Lauren is such a warm giving person it warms your heart and Jo'Aquin is a strong alpha male with a large honerable heart - they are made for each other!! This one made me laugh and cry - totally a MUST READ!!1

- this was a amazing read. Loved the storyline and the characters are fantastic. If you love a great alien romance with action adventure and romance and a HEA then this story is for you. Grab your copy today. A most read!

- Wow what a great story. Loved the characters and how the story unfolds. Gripping throughout and I hope to read the next one

- This story was well written and engaging. The author did a great job of painting a colourful alien world, with lots of action to keep the pages turning. The characters are memorable and emotionally written. Well done. Looking forward to this being a series.

- This story is fast paced and fun with tons of steam

- Great story

- Charmaine Ross weaved a very vivid plot with 3 different alien species with their own features & unique characteristics. 

- I enjoyed reading about how Lauren & 'Joe' are drawn to each other both of them thirsty for affection as they are stranded in a new world and as they work together to fight the evil reptiles. A great read with many twists & turns.

- The characters and the writing pulled you through the story

- It was lovely book and quite enjoyable

- I like reading this story, it had a well written plot, action packed with steamy scenes and hidden secrets as it unfolds with issues to sort through.

- I enjoyed this book, it is well written and the characters are interesting. If you are looking for a sexy scfi story you should give this one a try.

- An abduction by an alien race who wish to enslave other race, a rescue from another alien gone bad, unlikely love, mortal danger...if all of the above sounds like your cup of tea than this is a book for you. It is an entertaining and enjoyable story with fair bit of steam and romance. Of course there's happy ending and possible foreshadow into the next couple in line.

- Elements of Fern Gully or maybe a female Yoda, Avitar, Startrek TOS and Next Gen all combine with a romance to make us smile in the end. Thanks for the get-away read.

- I like PNR, SFR, and comedys that are funny without the forced "canned laughter" feel. Thanks for the get-away read.

- This is an awesome story that is highly entertaining until the very last page.

- This book is fantastic!

- Charmaine Ross is an excellent story teller and writer. The characters come to life and the story flows seamlessly. I read a lot, and this is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. You won’t be disappointed.

- Awesome Book. I love that Charmaine Ross wrote another great book and hope that she keeps writing books that are great.

CHAPTER ONE

 

Lauren never truly understood what the term ‘pitch black’ meant but standing on the side of the road, next to her quietly hissing, broken-down crap-heap of a car, she knew.

It was empty.

Absolute.

It was so quiet she heard her own breathing, and she suspected if she listened closely enough, she would hear the pounding of her heart as it tried fighting a way out of her chest.

Her friend Casey’s voice floated through her mind. “It’s been five years, Lauren. Take some time for yourself and forget about it all. Even if it’s just for a few weeks.”

She’d certainly found some time away from ‘it all’ now. In fact, she was so far away from ‘it all,’ that all she wanted to do was drive back home and crawl into the safety of her own bed. Even empty and cold, it was preferable to being out here.

Wherever ‘here’ was. Broken down in the middle of nowhere. No soul around for kilometres.  If this was getting ‘away from it all,’ the debilitating depression she’d lived with since Mike’s death was a soft by comparison.

A sharp, rigid wind blew grains of sand onto the road and tinkled against the side of the car. The Nullarbor Plain—so hot, humid, and uncompromising during the day—was frigid, empty, and even more uncompromising at night. She shivered and hugged her jacket firmly around her shoulders.

Wild thoughts circled like vultures, picking away mouthfuls of calm, like meat off a bone. There was that movie, where backpackers found themselves at the mercy of a psycho who picked them off one by one in a similar place.

A trucker might pass, but who was to say he wouldn’t take advantage of her? It was lawless out here. Anything could happen to her and not a soul would know. Her body would never be found.

Lauren bit her thumb nail so hard she jumped with the sting as it pulled away from her skin. There was nowhere to hide out here. There was nothing but a huge slab of gritty desert with a spindly bush here and there. She could run off into the night, but she’d probably never find her way back to the road ever again. At thirty-eight years of age, she felt as helpless as a child. Alone.

So alone.

The sky above dwarfed her. Out here, without the city light to subdue the absolute brilliance of the night, the stars were so bright. So alive. She wondered if there were other souls on any of them and what they might be like. If other species experienced grief the way humans did. The way she did.

A bright streak of light speared through the black. Was it a shooting star? She was about to make a wish when the light abruptly changed direction. A plane perhaps? The direction didn’t look natural. Maybe it was a helicopter but it was extremely fast. She vaguely recalled that the military used the obscurity of the Nullabour Plane to practise top secret military operations.

The light zagged, this time sinking down to the ground. It hovered in the distance for a moment before silently hurtling straight towards her. Lauren gasped. She jerked away from her slouched position against the car, tension radiating through her body.

This was no plane. Or helicopter. And Lauren doubted she would be the target of some top-secret military operation. The light was getting bigger and bigger by the second and would soon be on top of her.

She stumbled around the car, slid off the front bumper and lurched into the darkness. She lost one of the stupid ballet flats. She barely registered the feeling of sharp stones scratching and digging into her feet through the fear-induced adrenaline pulsing through her body. She glanced over her shoulder. The light was nowhere to be seen. Where the hell had it gone? She nearly tripped over a small shrub.

She stumbled. When she found her balance, the light was directly in front of her. Only it wasn’t a light. It was a sleek silver disc that hovered a couple of feet off the ground and glowed an eerie white. She spun in the opposite direction and stumbled on legs she barely felt.

She slammed into something hard. Her upper arms were caged in a steel grip. She struggled, but whatever held her was immovable. A body towered over her. She gazed up. It took her a moment to realise she wa actually staring at a face. Black eyes, dispassionate and as calculating as a snake’s stared down at her. There was no nose to speak of, just two slits positioned over a small horizontal slash for a mouth. The monster’s skin was made up of scales like a snake…or a very large lizard. The beast that held her was a giant Iguana that walked upright and looked at her with cunning intelligence in its beady, inhuman eyes.

Lauren jerked back, her hands clawing against its chest. Ice cold skin met her palms. The scales covered a body that was more concrete than muscle. Her legs gave way, and if it weren’t for the creature’s grip on her arms, she would have fallen to the ground on numb legs. She barely comprehended what was right in front of her. Her panicked mind ordered her to struggle, but she found she couldn’t move a muscle.

It turned her palm upwards and drew a sharp claw over her skin. Blood welled and dripped over the side of her hand. A tongue slid from its mouth, slicing through the welling blood. Sticky with saliva, it rasped over the wound like sandpaper, leaving a painful, hot trail on her skin.

A glistening drop slid over the fine scales at the corner of its mouth as its tongue disappeared. Lauren jerked, but the Iguana’s grip was so strong, she didn’t move an inch.

It cocked its head as it tasted her blood, and an emotion seemed to pass through its endless black eyes. A calculating gleam shimmered in their depths. It opened its mouth and uttered a string of unintelligible clicks and slithery sounds. Some instinctive part of her knew if she didn’t escape now, she never would.

She pushed against its chest, her feet slipping on the gravel, lunging, crying out, screaming. The creature blinked slowly down at her, predator to prey, and she fell into that dark, fathomless gaze that was as thick and as impenetrable as the inky dark night around her. Couldn’t move. Couldn’t speak.

Nothing.

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