When a fraud investigator meets an extraterrestrial, it’s kismet! An excerpt from KRASH #lovedinspace

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” I stalled out at the Stellar Dust Bin, unsure whether to laugh or leave.

“Is it costume night?” I asked a guy with a protruding forehead and glowing yellow eyes.

Jeh git lee?” he babbled in some fake alien language.

“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes.

He lumbered away, dragging a ridged tail out the back end of his silver jumpsuit, and joined three other dudes in similar costumes at a far table.

You know the practical joke where everyone in the office tells one person they’re all dressing up for Halloween, and then nobody does except the patsy? This was the reverse. I hadn’t gotten the memo costumes were de rigueur. In my black knit dress and sandals, I stood out as the oddball.

Since this wasn’t a real date, there was no need to get fancy, but I didn’t want to tip off the guy I’d caught onto the scam by underdressing. So, I went with simple date attire. I left my shoulder-length hair loose, brushed on a little mascara and lip gloss, and called it good.

“Sit anywhere you’d like, hon. I’ll be with you in a sec.” A waitress wearing a T-shirt and jeans breezed by with a tray of drinks. At least somebody here is normal.

I found a table where I could keep an eye on the door and watch the nutjobs. I had nothing against cosplay, but this crowd had my warning sensors buzzing. Pretend if you must—as long as everyone knows it’s pretense. But when the line between fantasy and reality blurred—or worse, you tried to smear the line for somebody—you needed to get real.

I’d say one thing for the Intergalactic Dating Agency—they didn’t deviate from their marketing pitch one iota. Consistency was vital to any good scam. I’d checked my contract—nothing in it prohibited clients from talking about the service or their satisfaction, and membership information materials referred clients to certain “references” if they had any uncertainties.

When I contacted those references, they rated the agency highly and raved about their dates—seemingly believing with absolute certainty the men were aliens. I suspected they were part of the front, and they’d been paid to say all the right things.

In questioning the women on the reference list, I worried I might have revealed my hand because three months had passed since I’d met with the coordinator, and no date had been found for me.

If the agency had been a legitimate service, the thundering silence would have stirred my insecurities that nobody wanted to date me. However, I figured the IDA had to come up with somebody just to continue the hoax. But when weeks of waiting melted into months, I’d begun to worry I might have blown my cover.

Then, last Tuesday, an email notified me my alien date had arrived. His name was Krash. For his sake, I hoped his alias didn’t describe his spacecraft landing. Har. Har. Krash came from “Dakon.” Big air quotes. After verifying my availability, the IDA set up a meet and greet over cocktails at the Stellar Dust Bin.

I couldn’t wait to see what the agency had come up with—and hear what the dude had to say. I’d bet he had a real creative story. I planned to grill him until he was well done. I rubbed my thumb over the back of my pendant, verifying the micro spy cam was turned on.

I’d never heard of the Stellar Dust Bin, but then I didn’t hang out in a lot of dive bars in downtown New Los Angeles. I arrived early to scope out the place before my date “krash landed.”

Airports had nothing on this joint for people watching. I spotted green Martian men, women with Tinkerbell wings, and people wearing fur suits. Oversized heads on little bodies. Large bodies, small heads. Porcupine quills, masks with snouts and fangs. Several “aliens” required special breathing apparatuses. One guy’s bodysuit made it appear he had transparent skin allowing you to see his internal organs.

I’d been proud of myself when I put together a Lt. Uhuru costume for Halloween. Compared to these folks, I was a rank amateur.

Gawking at the costumes, I almost missed seeing my cocktail waitress arrive. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied a puff of smoke, and then poof! There she was, a regular David Copperfield.

“Cool illusion,” I said, regretting I hadn’t been paying attention. When I went to magic shows, I sat front and center to better figure out the tricks.

“I like to make an entrance.” She winked. “My name is Yvffnkn, but you can call me Betty. I’ll be your server.”

As she’d spoken, I’d gotten a glimpse of her tongue. I’d almost swear it was forked and blue, but the bar was dim so it was probably my imagination. On the other hand, some people got into extreme body modification. If they surgically transformed themselves to resemble cats, elves, lizards, and Barbie dolls, why not aliens?

Betty pulled a cocktail napkin from her apron pocket and slapped it on my table. “What can I get ya?”

I stared at her mouth. “Got any happy hour specials?” I asked to get her talking.

“The Star Flight. It’s out of this world.” She chuckled. “Actually, it contains Jamaican rum and Hawaiian fruit juices, but our intergalactic visitors consider it exotic.”

Yeppers. Her tongue was forked and blue. So much for normal.

“I’ll have one of those.”

“You alone, or are you with somebody?”

“I’m waiting for a gentleman from the Intergalactic Dating Agency.”

“We get a quite a few IDA meet-ups here.” She nodded. “You know anything about him?”

Besides him being a con artist? “Only that he’s Dakonian.” What a coincidence my date and the match coordinator’s “husband” originated from the same “planet” of tall, dark, and handsome men. No doubt the agency’s client base of desperate women would think they’d hit the jackpot when their hunky alien arrived. Wouldn’t work on me though. Good looks couldn’t make me forget I knew what he really was.

“Hubba, hubba,” Betty said. “Never met a Dakonian who wasn’t a hottie.” She nodded toward the bar. “Aton, the bartender, is Dakonian.” She sighed. “Unfortunately, he’s been claimed. You want to order a drink for your Dakonian?”

I wouldn’t exactly call him my Dakonian. “I wouldn’t have a clue what he would like, and it’s still early yet, so no.”

“Fair enough. I’ll be back in a flash with your Star Flight.” She vanished in a cloud of smoke and rematerialized at the bar. She said a few words to the bartender then performed her disappearing act and popped up at another table across the room.

I switched on my phone’s flashlight app and swept the floor where she’d been standing. I didn’t see any trap doors. I scooted my chair over and stomped on the hardwood. Solid, not hollow. Neat trick! I wondered why she’d waste her talent waiting tables at a dive bar when she could get a gig as an illusionist.

While the bartender was shaking up a drink—hopefully mine—I logged onto Spacebook, a social media site for IDA clients. I’d only been granted access today. My profile should have gone active upon approval of my membership, but a “glitch” had occurred. Had it really been an oversight, or did the agency suspect I wasn’t who I claimed to be? If I’d been able to log on to Spacebook sooner, it could have been very helpful in my investigation. People unwittingly revealed too much of themselves on public sites. Hence, you could discover very useful info—such as your marriage being invalid.

I rechecked Krash’s profile for an update. Previously, his page had shown only his picture. Handsome guy if his photo was real. His status still read “pending.” Pending what? The date with me?

Unlike the other aliens, he didn’t look happy. The others smiled; his sexy, full mouth drooped like somebody had stolen his spaceship.

I’d never been attracted to the self-involved brooding type, but I had to admit he was hot, despite the fake horns. He had bronzy milk-chocolate skin, shoulder-length near-black hair, and soulful, if morose, eyes. However, if I’d gone so far as to plant a set of antlers on my skull, I would have chosen bigger ones, like maybe bighorn sheep or longhorn steer. I mean, why bother with leathery nubs? Hell, dude, go for broke!

Out of curiosity, I tapped over to the bartender’s page. Aton. Dakonian. Status: Matched.

I scrolled through his profile, noting his likes and dislikes then widened my eyes as I read who he was paired with—Toni Sutterman. Attorney-at-law Antoinette Gates Sutterman, one of the fiercest lawyers in the city and the younger daughter of Caroline Gates, the doyenne of New Los Angeles society. Old money. Country club. Caroline Gates and her two daughters were charter members of the who’s who of respectability.

It seemed unlikely someone as savvy as Toni Sutterman could be conned. Sharp as a laser, she’d do her due diligence. A shadow of doubt crept in. What if the IDA wasn’t scamming innocent women? What if the organization was legit?

Then Toni Sutterman had married an extraterrestrial, and the IDA had flown in aliens. I surveyed the bar patrons. And ergo, some of these weirdos might be real. I eyed the dude drinking rosé who resembled a life-sized Visible Man toy. Except for him. His body suit didn’t pass the believability test.

I snorted. None of these people passed the believability test.

If the Stellar Dust Bin patrons had arrived from outer space, then government and the military would have been involved. The populace wouldn’t calmly go about their business; the country would be in a state of panic and chaos. People would have loaded up their SUVs with canned goods and bottled water and fled to their mountain cabins. Freeways would have been reduced to gridlock. Doomsday preppers would be Tweeting #IToldYouSo from their bunkers. CNN and Fox News would be duking it out, each reporting their distorted version of the “invasion.”

My flash of doubt illustrated how people could fall prey to hoaxes. Con artists identified an entry point of vulnerability and exploited it. Well, it wouldn’t happen to me. Not again. I pressed my lips together, shored up my bullshit deflector, and closed out of Spacebook.

There was a puff of smoke, and then Betty materialized with two drinks in hand. The one in the hurricane glass with a swizzle stick topped by a tiny flying saucer billowed with vapor. “Your Star Flight.” She placed it in front of me. “And a Dakonian ale for your date.” She set a frosty mug of beer on the table opposite me.

“I didn’t order that.”

“Nope, but all the Dakonian boys ask for it, and, if I’m not mistaken, your date has arrived.”

I twisted in my chair. Krash wended his way toward me. I recognized him from his Spacebook photo. Except he was way more attractive in person. I gulped. Take me, you alien devil. Talk about a photo not doing someone justice.

“Good luck, hon.” Betty vanished in a puff of smoke.

“Cyan Blue?” His baritone was oddly accented, not a language I could place.

I stood up. Tall for a woman, I’m eye level with most men, but I had to crane my neck to meet his gaze. Yowsa. I gaped at the chiseled masculine perfection wrapped in buckskins and tied with a leather cord. My gift from the IDA. Definitely worth the wait. Get a grip, girl. Remember your assignment. “You’re Krash?”

“Yes, I am.” He reached up and rubbed one of his horns.

Were they pulsating? Getting bigger? I squinted. The nubs seemed to be swelling. I riveted on those horns, unable to look away. I didn’t see any wires or tubing, but his glossy hair was thick enough to hide electrical leads, a small pump, and possibly a gerbil. My stomach fluttered in an annoying way, and a rush of heat flooded my face.

“Would you like a cocktail? The waitress brought you a Dakonian ale, but you can order something else.”

“Dakonian ale is perfect.” He pulled his chair out and sat down.

“It’s, uh, nice to finally meet you.”

“Were you waiting long? I didn’t think I was late.”

“Oh. No. You’re not. I arrived early. I meant I’ve waited three months for the IDA to pull your name.” I cringed. Why had I admitted that? It was tantamount to saying I was such a loser even a fraudulent escort agency couldn’t find a man willing to date me. This guy’s opinion didn’t matter. Sure, he was freaking gorgeous, but he was abetting a hoax. I gulped my Star Flight before anything else stupid spilled out of my mouth. Fruity and smooth, the drink went down easy. I eyed him over the rim of my glass. His horns were bigger than they had been a moment ago. And they were throbbing.

“Your horns are twitching,” I said.

“That’s never happened to me before.” Ruddy color swept up his cheeks as if he was embarrassed.

Uh-huh. Yeah, right. But the contrast between his uber masculinity and his discomfiture was oddly charming. I took another drink of my Star Flight to counteract the tug. I did not want to like this guy, to be attracted to him. This is a job. Not a date. A job.

I will not have sex with a suspected conspirator.

Sex? Where the hell had that idea come from? I pressed my thighs together. Focus, Cyan. Focus.

Trouble was, I was focusing. On his linebacker shoulders, his muscular chest and bulging biceps, those full, soft lips, the glossy hair tied back with a strip of animal hide, those sexy, leathery pulsating horns, eyes like two deep, dark pools of—stop it! Remember what he is.

“So…how was your flight to Earth?” I asked with a straight face.

“Long, but interesting. I’d never been on a spaceship before.”

“Few people have.” It was all I could do to not roll my eyes. Did he really think I’d believe this crap?

“I’ve never been away from my planet.”

“Dakon, right?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me about your planet.” I leaned forward like I was dying to hear his answer. In truth, I was curious to hear what kind of story he would concoct.

“It’s beautiful, pristine, and so very quiet because of the blanket of snow. During winter, everything is covered with a coat of white so bright it’s almost blinding. Ice glistens like crystals on the trees and the eaves of our huts. The air smells fresh and clean. Then comes the Thaw. Snow and ice melt, and the ground softens to mud that will suck the boots right off your feet, but it is a joyous season of celebration because the Thaw brings life. We plant our crops. Baby kel, harebits, and phea are born. Sometimes even kits.” He winked, and his whole face lit up with a panty-dampening smile. My stomach fluttered, and I swear my toes curled.

Does it matter if he pretends to be an alien?

Yes! Yes, it mattered, dammit. Authenticity formed the cornerstone of every relationship. Authenticity was the relationship. Without a foundation grounded in truth, a marriage license wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. I grabbed at painful memories and wrapped them around me like a shield. I would not be fooled again.

I hardened my heart and sharpened my tone. “So, how long have you been on planet Earth?”

“I arrived last week.”

“And what do you think of my little planet?” I sipped my Star Flight.

“It is not so little. It is larger than Dakon. Much hotter. Noisier. Crowded. Your cities are enormous. I have gotten lost several times, but they gave me one of your phone devices, and when I can’t find my way, I call an Uber.” He massaged his temples. “Figuring out your technology gives me a headache.”

What freaking nerve! The glowing, almost idyllic way he described his planet contrasted with the way he described Earth. His planet was beautiful, serene, clean. Earth was dirty, overpopulated, and noisy. If he liked Dakon so much, why didn’t he stay there?

Maybe because it didn’t exist?

“Why did you join the Intergalactic Dating Agency?”

“A change in circumstances,” he said. “What I believed to be solid and sure was not.”

That was an evasive answer if I ever heard one. He got tired of running a Nigerian scheme and decided to try a different gig? “What kind of circumstances?”

He took a drink. “I have heard marriages differ from matings. One can have many marriage partners, correct?”

His question hit like a dart, striking a bullseye in a tender area. “One at a time. That’s the law,” I replied.

“Sequentially, you can have many.”

“Yes.”

“Have you been married?” he asked.

“Not for real.”

He frowned. “How else is it if not for real?”

Well, it would be like if anyone asked me if I’d ever dated an alien. I would answer, not for real. My marriage had been as pretend as these aliens.

“How ’bout you?” I countered. “Have you been married, mated, whatever you call it?” His left hand was as even-toned as the rest of him, bearing no tattletale white ring around the fourth finger signifying he’d removed a wedding band. But then, aliens don’t wear wedding rings. Har. Har.

“We mate.” He paused. “The female I thought was mine chose someone else instead.”

Was that why he’d joined the IDA? To exact revenge? To make all women pay for the crime of one? Or had he decided love wasn’t worth the pain, and he preferred to play the field? “I wish I’d been jilted,” I said.

“It is not something I would recommend,” he said stiffly.

Without context, honesty sounded flippant, but there were worse things than being dumped, such as finding yourself married to someone who didn’t deserve you. An I-don’t-love-you-I’m-leaving-you breakup would have hurt, but clean wounds healed fast, not like the jagged, messy one that tore up my heart and my life. I would have fared better if Jon had broken up with me.

On the other hand, humiliation had been great for my career. It had given me drive, ambition, and a purpose. No woman should suffer the way I had. I couldn’t help Clarissa. Eyes wide shut, she refused to be helped. However, I could prevent others from being hurt by alerting them to scammers and assholes in all their permutations. I would get to the bottom of this scheme if it was the last thing I did.

An attraction to a suspect complicated, but would not compromise, the investigation. I controlled my hormones; they didn’t control me. I would never act on the urge to ride him like a stripper pole.

But, I could flirt him up a little. If he thought I’d fallen for his cockamamie story, he’d be more apt to spill the deets on the scam. I’d get his confession on vid, pass the evidence to the authorities, and shut down the IDA.

Winding a strand of hair around my index finger, I leaned forward. “How did we get on this topic anyway? Let’s talk about something fun.” I flashed my most beguiling smile.


Get KRASH in the anthology LOVED IN SPACE.

Available from your favorite online bookseller

Six BRAND new stories of love and romance among the stars by NYT & USA Today Bestsellers Mina Carter, Eve Langlais, Cara Bristol, Donna McDonald, Susan Hayes and J Thompson.

Woken by a kiss, she didn’t expect her prince to be a handsome alien warrior. Kissed by the Alien Mercenary: Warriors of the Lathar by Mina Carter.

Clarabelle isn’t about to take orders from anyone. Not even the alien hottie who has a disturbing tendency of shifting into a giant lizardman. Mate Abduction by Eve Langlais.

When a dating agency claims to match Earth women with extraterrestrials, fraud investigator Cyan Blue goes undercover as a client to expose the scam. She’s not interested in finding love and certainly not with a pretend alien! KRASH: Dakonian Alien Mail Order Brides by Cara Bristol.

No risk. No reward. When time runs out, she’ll have to make a choice that will change her life forever… Chance of a Lifetime by Susan Hayes.

Bethany Walker lost everything the day she watched her husband die. Trapped in a bitter cycle of loneliness and grief, the arrival of a gorgeous cyborg with a familiar face changes everything. Betraying Ko’ran by J Thompson.

She was searching for her cyborg husband and found an alien instead. Ashland 297 by Donna McDonald.

BUY LINK

 

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Release Day! LOVED IN SPACE is live! Only 99¢

Loved in Space has been released!

This science fiction romance anthology will only be available for one month before it will be removed from publication.

BUY LINK

Six BRAND new stories of love and romance among the stars by NYT & USA Today Bestsellers Mina Carter, Eve Langlais, Cara Bristol, Donna McDonald, Susan Hayes and J Thompson.

Woken by a kiss, she didn’t expect her prince to be a handsome alien warrior. Kissed by the Alien Mercenary: Warriors of the Lathar by Mina Carter.

Clarabelle isn’t about to take orders from anyone. Not even the alien hottie who has a disturbing tendency of shifting into a giant lizardman. Mate Abduction by Eve Langlais.

When a dating agency claims to match Earth women with extraterrestrials, fraud investigator Cyan Blue goes undercover as a client to expose the scam. She’s not interested in finding love and certainly not with a pretend alien! KRASH: Dakonian Alien Mail Order Brides by Cara Bristol.

No risk. No reward. When time runs out, she’ll have to make a choice that will change her life forever… Chance of a Lifetime by Susan Hayes.

Bethany Walker lost everything the day she watched her husband die. Trapped in a bitter cycle of loneliness and grief, the arrival of a gorgeous cyborg with a familiar face changes everything. Betraying Ko’ran by J Thompson.

She was searching for her cyborg husband and found an alien instead. Ashland 297 by Donna McDonald.

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Passion, danger, romance (and even humor)…UNDER FYRE

Amazon reader reviews for Under Fyre (Alien Dragon Shifters 1):

“Passion, danger, romance, and even humor.”

“I could not put this down!” 

“Fabulous”

“Amazing read”

“I love the twist that you never expect to see coming but it was GREAT!!” 

“Loved the book!!!”

Fabulous, sizzling read… I was held captive, not wanting to stop reading” 

“Oh Hell yassss!”

“Holy smokes…This whole story was fascinating, I loved the romance”

“I love ALL of Cara Bristol’s wonderful books but this may be the best book she’s ever written! Until her next one”

And here’s the next one: Line of Fyre (Alien Dragon Shifters 2)

You know things are bad on Earth when you’re the president’s daughter and becoming a concubine to an alien dragon shifter seems like your best option…

Helena Marshfield made a big mistake. But making it right puts her life in danger. She’s forced to flee and become the concubine of the Draconian prince. She never expects to be attracted to the “dragon man,” and has no intention of making the relationship real.

Prince T’mar has no wish to consort with a human. Unfortunately, his father, the king, decrees he must accept her, his dragon mistakes her for their mate, and worse, the flame-haired female stirs his desires. Still, he intends to deposit her at the palace and fly away.

But when powers on Earth draw them into the line of fire, will their unexpected, unwanted burning attraction be the one thing that can save them?

Universal buy links:

Under Fyre | Line of Fyre

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Free & 99-cent Sci-Fi Romance Book Fair (March 1 last day!) #freebooks #99cents

If you love science fiction romance, you won’t want to miss this free & 99-cent book fair on BookFunnel. No signups! Just download from your favorite bookseller. But hurry! March 1, 2020 is the last day of the sale! Check out the SFR Book Fair here.

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Can a “serious” romance be funny, too?

I’ve written books that were dramatic and dealt with serious themes (the Breeder series and Cy-Ops Cyborg Romance) and light and funny (Alien Mate and the Dakonian Alien Mail Order Brides). The story concept sets the tone for me. Earth women becoming mail order brides to aliens? To me, it’s a comedic scenario. 

The Alien Dragon Shifter series deals with a serious theme—two civilizations/cultures that clash. One is technologically advanced, the other is much less advanced, but has something the other one wants. Government corruption is involved, and the story also deals with personal issues of friendship and betrayal.

Against this backdrop, the hero and heroine meet and fall in love. Of course, he comes from one civilization, she comes from the other. Kind of like a space-aged Romeo and Juliet, although, (*spoiler alert*), it does end happily for the couple.

It’s surprised ME, when the second book of the series (to be released March 23), Line of Fyre, took a funny turn.The hero’s dragon is quite the cut-up. To be clear, Line of Fyre is not a romantic comedy, but it has many light, humorous moments due to the dragon’s unique perspective.

In the Alien Dragon Shifter series, the Draconians have the ability to shift between “man” and dragon. But the dragons are distinct, separate characters with their own personalities. Two consciousnesses/minds sharing one fyre (soul) and one body that can adopt difference forms.

So hero T’mar’s dragon has his own ideas about how things should go, and he tricks the hero to get him to get closer to the heroine.

If you’re ever thought that a dragon shifter story is too fanciful or that a serious book couldn’t be fun to read, I hope that Line of Fyre will change your mind.

Preorder available for  March 23 release. 

Line of Fyre (Alien Dragon Shifters 2) blurb

You know things are bad on Earth when you’re the president’s daughter and becoming a concubine to an alien dragon shifter seems like your best option…

Helena Marshfield made a big mistake. But making it right puts her life in danger. She’s forced to flee and become the concubine of the Draconian prince. She never expects to be attracted to the “dragon man,” and has no intention of making the relationship real.

Prince T’mar has no wish to consort with a human. Unfortunately, his father, the king, decrees he must accept her, his dragon mistakes her for their mate, and worse, the flame-haired female stirs his desires. Still, he intends to deposit her at the palace and fly away.

But when powers on Earth draw them into the line of fire, will their unexpected, unwanted burning attraction be the one thing that can save them?

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Preorder LINE OF FYRE (Alien Dragon Shifters 2) available now

Line of Fyre will be released March 23.

Reserve your copy today on Amazon, Apple, or Barnes & Noble.

Universal Buy Link

You know things are bad on Earth when you’re the president’s daughter and becoming a concubine to an alien dragon shifter seems like your best option…

Helena Marshfield made a big mistake. But making it right puts her life in danger. She’s forced to flee and become the concubine of the Draconian prince. She never expects to be attracted to the “dragon man,” and has no intention of making the relationship real.

Prince T’mar has no wish to consort with a human. Unfortunately, his father, the king, decrees he must accept her, his dragon mistakes her for their mate, and worse, the flame-haired female stirs his desires. Still, he intends to deposit her at the palace and fly away.

But when powers on Earth draw them into the line of fire, will their unexpected, unwanted burning attraction be the one thing that can save them?

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His dragon won’t shift and the king wants him to take a human concubine…

An excerpt from Line of Fyre (Alien Dragon Shifters), coming in March 2020!

The king’s cape flared as he paced the Great Hall. Flanking the vacant throne, two guards stood at the ready. As T’mar entered, puffs of smoke steamed from his father’s nostrils. Even in demiforma, the king appeared more dragon than man.  “You’re late. Did you mistake my summons for a suggestion?”

He dropped to his knees and bowed his head. “No, Your Majesty. My apologies.”

“It should not have taken you so long to fly here.”

Letting his father assume he’d dallied could be hazardous. Admitting the truth could be worse. But the king could sniff out a lie a mile off, so T’mar chose truth.

“I walked.”

“Why?”

He’d had told no one of his inability to shift, and no way could he share the shameful secret with his father of all people.

“Never mind!” the king snapped. “Stand up so I can talk to you.”

His father stood a head shorter than him, but he was muscular, powerfully built—and had a killer instinct. Had he not inherited the kingdom, he would have been a formidable warrior. K’rah circled him, giving him the once-over. “I command you to shift.”

To confess he’d lost control of his dragon would render him weak in the eyes of the king, and there would be no redemption. “Your Majesty, I, uh—there isn’t enough room in the hall…”

“Into a man.”

“Excuse me?”

“Show me your man form.”

Before he could formulate a response, his bones cracked and reshaped. His horns and frill receded, his snout shortened into a flat face, and his tail retracted. Scales sloughed off leaving smooth, vulnerable epidermis. His gray intelligent jumpsuit retrofitted around his new body shape. T’mar flexed fingers now tipped by short nails rather than claws.

He hated this form.

Still, he was grateful he hadn’t had to confess his secret, but why had the dragon so readily complied? Because everyone obeys the king, he realizedeven his stubborn dragon.

I am not stubborn!

Sourness oozed off the king as he conducted an inspection. The hairs on T’mar’s now vulnerable nape stood up as his father strode out of sight behind him. One had to see a fireball to dodge it.

Finally, the king stood in front of him. His nostrils flared, emitting smoke and flame. “Sacred fyre, you’re ugly.”

We are not ugly!

Quiet. He might hear you. It was rare to hear another’s dragon, with the exception of one’s mate. But who knew what powers the king commanded?

“I’m betting the human won’t think so,” the king said.

“The…human?” Dread pervaded his bones.

“Your new concubine.”

“Father, no—”

The king’s eyes flashed a dangerous red, but T’mar couldn’t let this go. “Your Majesty, with all due respect, I cannot take a human consort.” The idea horrified him. “Prince K’ev—”

“Has made it work—unfortunately well, as it turns out.” The entire hall reeked with the sour odor emanating from the monarch.

“Then isn’t that enough?” he argued. Why would his father order this? It was obvious he didn’t want another son to take a human concubine.

“You would dare to question your king? I rule Draco, no one else. A ship leaves at star rise for Elementa. Be on it.” He spun around and stalked from the Great Hall. His guards followed. The heavy door to the inner sanctum slammed shut.

T’mar couldn’t have been more stunned. It wasn’t until he squeezed his hands into fists that he realized he’d shifted back to demiforma.

Well, have you nothing to say about this? he asked.

But the dragon had retreated into silence again.

Line of Fyre blurb

You know things are bad on Earth when you’re the president’s daughter and becoming a concubine to an alien dragon shifter seems like your best option…

Helena Marshfield made a big mistake. But making it right puts her life in danger. She’s forced to flee and become the concubine of the Draconian prince. She never expects to be attracted to the “dragon man,” and has no intention of making the relationship real.


Prince T’mar has no wish to consort with a human. Unfortunately, his father, the king, decrees he must accept her, his dragon mistakes her for their mate, and worse, the flame-haired female stirs his desires. Still, he intends to deposit her at the palace and fly away.

But when powers on Earth draw them back into the line of fire, will their unexpected, unwanted burning attraction be the one thing that can save them?

Don’t miss the release! Subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll get notified when the book is available and you’ll receive a free copy of Married to the Cyborg to read now.

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A sneak peek excerpt from Line of Fyre (Alien Dragon Shifters)

Biggs knows. Run. Run.

The vid-conference with Rhianna and Prince K’ev ended, and Helena beat a fast exit from the war room and ducked into the elevator. High in the corner, a tiny prying red eye glowed. Riding to the residential level of Bunker One, she wiped all expression from her face for fear of drawing attention to herself. If the sensor could analyze her emotion, Biggs might suspect what she planned.

It wasn’t the surveillance cameras she could see—and there were plenty of those—but the ones she couldn’t spot that could trip her up. Biggs had had her apartment bugged. After she’d destroyed them, others had replaced them by the next afternoon. So she’d left the bugs in place, but guarded every word she said. Not that there was anyone to speak to. Other than the maid who cleaned, Rhianna had been the only one to visit her, and she’d left on the Draconian ship three weeks ago.

The elevator opened, and she exited, nodding at a maintenance worker pushing a cart down the hall. Outside her door, a retinal scanner verified her identify before admitting her.

Inside, she slumped, expelling her breath in a silent whoosh. She couldn’t stay here; her apartment wasn’t safe, but she allowed herself a moment to celebrate the good news.

Rhianna was alive! Until the vid-con, she, along with everyone else, had believed her dead. Against the odds, she’d survived—had discovered the bomb in her communication device. Although happy with Prince K’ev with whom she’d bonded, she was fiercely, justifiably angry.

We betrayed her. I betrayed her. The fact she had managed to slip her a secret message warning her of the bomb did little to mitigate her culpability, even though sending Rhianna to Draco had offered the sole chance to save her life. If she hadn’t gone, Biggs would have had her killed. Helena didn’t doubt he would have followed through on his threat. She had racked her brain for a way to save Rhianna’s life, but could only come up with a long shot. Slip her message and pray she found it in time. She had, but now Biggs suspected Helena had warned Rhianna.

He’ll be coming for me. Telling her father wouldn’t do any good because even if he believed her, he couldn’t arrest Biggs on her say-so—there had to be evidence. It was her word against his. If the president took him into custody, the chief special advisor still could have her eliminated. His enforcers were everywhere.

There was no place on Earth he couldn’t reach. But Rhianna had provided Helena with an escape plan.

Ring. Ring.

Her gaze snapped to the phone. Nobody used that line. In the past, she’d been summoned to emergency briefings in the middle of the night, but since being shut out of high-level discussions, that didn’t happen anymore.

Ring. Ring.

Please, don’t let it be Biggs. She pressed a hand to her churning stomach and picked up the phone. “This is Helena.”

“This is Patsy.”

She sank into a chair. “Hi, Patsy. What’s going on?” She affected a cordial, but impersonal tone in case others were listening in.

“I called to say goodbye.”

“Goodbye?”

“I’ve been terminated.”

“Terminated? What are you talking about?” Damnit! Damnit! She’d feared this might happen. Patsy had been slipping her tidbits of information and had been the one to alert her to the hail from Rhianna. If not for Patsy, she wouldn’t have attended the vid-con, might never have learned her friend had survived.

“I’ve been told my services are no longer required.”

“I’m so sorry.” She felt sick.

“They’re coming to escort Henry and me topside in few moments.”

“Your brother?” Henry Winslow worked for the Secret Service.

“Yes. He was fired, also.”

 “Where will you go?” With the threat of immolation still a possibility, no place above ground could be considered safe. On the other hand, with Biggs in control, Bunker One was the most dangerous place on the planet.

“Henry owns a cabin in Montana. When relations with Draco started to unravel, he made plans.”

 “I’m so sorry.”  She and Patsy had become close, and the woman had been enormously helpful. I’m the kiss of death. Everybody who helps me gets drawn into the line of fire.

“It’s not your fault. It was my mistake. You’re the president’s daughter and a member of his strategic council; I assumed you should be notified of Rhianna’s call.”

To anyone listening in, the falsehood would sound plausible; however, Patsy had been aware of Helena’s marginalization. Back when they were free to talk, they had discussed the disturbing trend they’d seen forming.

“You believed you were following the rules,” Helena continued with the lie.

 “Is Rhianna okay?”

“She’s healthy and safe,” she replied. There was so much more she wanted to say, but would never get the opportunity because communications were monitored, and tomorrow, she would leave Earth. Now an ex-staffer, Patsy had lost her security clearance.  Revealing classified information would violate national security and incur the wrath of Jackson Biggs. However after the debacle with Rhianna, Helena wished to avoid repeating mistakes. The worst thing she’d ever done was not tell Rhianna the truth. She hated to allow Patsy, who’d be thrown topside, to live in fear of an imminent attack. Of course, anything could happen with Biggs at the helm—but, at least for the time being, a planet of nations had stepped back from the brink of annihilation.

Screw Biggs. I’ll be gone tomorrow. Rhianna had beaten the odds by going to Draco. Helena would roll the dice and hope she could get away before his enforcers picked her up.

“According to Rhianna, King K’rah has withdrawn the declaration of war, and instead, is demanding other concessions to demonstrate our commitment to peace.”

“That’s great news—uh, what kind of concessions?”

“He has given us the opportunity to send another woman to become the consort/concubine of another of his sons—Prince T’mar. A Draconian ship will arrive on Elementa in a week. The woman is supposed to rendezvous with the ship.”

“Is the president going to do it?”

“No. We’re continuing with colonization of Elementa. A ship leaves tomorrow with more settler and supplies.” She crossed her fingers Patsy would pick up on the slight emphasis—but their listeners would not—and would realize she planned to be on that spacecraft. She didn’t want Patsy to worry about her when she vanished.

“Did the president turn them down outright?”

“Rhianna and Prince K’ev disconnected the transmission before he could.”

“So when they find out we didn’t accede to their request, we could be back where we started—expecting an attack.”

Unless somebody arrives on Elementa, I fear that will be the case.”

“I’m going to miss you,” Patsy said. “Will you be okay…here alone?”

Okay was their code word for safe. Had it been a casual question, she would have asked, will you be all right? After Biggs had isolated Helena, and the president’s assistant had begun sneaking her information, Patsy had suggested they develop a code system.

“Of course.” She faked a titter. “I won’t be alone. I have my father, and there are hundreds of staff and government officials in Bunker One. Don’t worry about me. If you think you’ll be okay at your brother’s place, go with him. Don’t waste time. The large threat posed by the dragons still exists, maybe worse than ever.” They’d both said way too much.

“I understand. And don’t you worry about me. I’ll be okay with my brother. In fact, he just arrived along with the escort,” she said.

Once terminated, ex-staffers weren’t allowed to roam unattended; they were treated as potential saboteurs. She felt relieved Patsy would be with her resourceful now ex-secret service agent brother, but she’d miss her. A lump formed in her throat with the realization they would never see each other again. “Take care,” she choked.

“Stop it. You’ll make me cry.”

“You’re right. We’re both going to get through these difficult times.”

“You bet we are! The sun will come out tomorrow.”

“Thank you, Orphan Annie.”

“Hey, all we need is a Daddy Warbucks.”

She tried to laugh but failed; the situation was far too dire. “I wish you all the best. If we never see each other again, please understand how much I value your friendship, how much it means to me.” She’d had two good friends, and she’d managed to hurt both of them.

Going to Elementa, then to Draco to become Prince T’mar’s concubine would be the best thing for her friends and family because it would remove her from Biggs’ reach. He’d be unable to use her as a pawn, and her father would be free to work toward a peace settlement. 

“You have so much to offer the world. I’ve always respected and admired you for the way you speak your mind and take a stand against injustice. How could I not be your friend?”

The praise pierced like a barbed dart. She’d tried to take a stand, but failed to do enough. Her message had saved Rhianna’s life, but it was almost a little too little, a little too late.

“I don’t deserve your admiration, but thank you.” Helena said. “Be safe.”

“I will. You, too.”

* * * *

A maintenance worker stood on a ladder replacing a lightbulb when Helena emerged from her apartment the next day.

“Good morning, Ms. Marshfield!” he said cheerfully. “You’re up and around early.”

Was it a casual observation or did her behavior seem odd to him? Was he even a maintenance worker?  Was it her imagination or had this hallway been subject to unusually dedicated maintenance? Somebody always seemed to be around—vacuuming, cleaning the carpet, touching up paint.

She often hit the Bunker One gym early, but never by 4 a.m. However, she had to be on the spacecraft before its 0:600 launch and had a stop to make beforehand.

“Got a lot of meetings today. Trying to get a jump on some work.” She tightened her grip on her handbag. “You’re working early.”

Every second she lingered gave Biggs’ men another second to apprehend her. Fear screamed at her to get out fast, but she forced herself to stop and chat. It would raise suspicion if she didn’t.  

Even if she got out of Bunker One, she had no guarantee of safety. She could be waiting in line, and she’d feel a tap on her shoulder. Or, she’d get into a cab, and the windows and doors would seal…

“Normal shift, Ms. Marshfield,” he replied. “We get our work done off hours so we don’t get in the way of important stuff.”

“Everyone is doing important stuff,” she said. “We all contribute, we’re all working to make our planet safe again,” she offered a platitude expected of the first daughter.

“Thank you for that,” he said.

“Well, uh, have a good day,” she said.

“You, too.”

Staying alive would make it a good day.

A few paces down the hall, she halted and peered over her shoulder. “Was that light out? I got in pretty late last night, and I don’t remember it being burned out.”

“We replace them on a regular schedule so they don’t burn out.”

“Ah! Got it. Well, carry on.”

Maybe I’m being paranoid. Maybe this degree of maintenance was normal. She hadn’t given it much notice before, hadn’t checked out other resident areas to compare.  

Cognizant of the worker’s scrutiny, she tried to walk normally, not hurry, but not dawdle. She prayed her clothing didn’t appear as out-of-place as it felt. Would he remark to his fellow workers, “Have you noticed how chunky the first daughter is getting these days?”

She hadn’t dared pack a suitcase because it would draw too much notice, so she’d donned as many articles as she could. Even the most lightweight fabrics bulked up when layered. Beneath her swirling skirt and belted floral blouse she wore a cotton/poly sheath dress, two pairs of moisture-wicking running pants and matching T-shirts, yoga shorts and a tank, five pairs of bikini panties, and two sports bras. She’d omitted all jewelry in case she set off the metal detector, which would result in a pat down. There could be no hiccups; the plan had to go smoothly.

She wished she could have worn athletic shoes, but those would have stood out, so she’d settled on black flats. She hoped to grab a pair of sneakers at the drugstore if they still had merchandise. She hadn’t been topside in months, but according to reports, stores were picked bare.

Her bag would be searched like everyone else’s when she exited Bunker One, so she couldn’t take anything signaling she wouldn’t be back. In her purse she carried a hairbrush, some feminine hygiene products, a little bit of makeup, a bottle of pain reliever, and a canister of tear gas and a pocket knife only allowed because she was the president’s daughter. She felt more secure for having the latter two items, although she was under no illusions they’d offer any protection against a fire-throwing dragon the size of a bus—or against Biggs’ trained, lethal enforcers.

Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, socks and the like, she hoped to acquire at the drugstore.

She’d printed out a hard copy photo of her father and an old one of her mother, which she’d taped into a small notebook. She had a lot of photos in her phone, but since the device could be used to track her, she would toss it as soon as possible.

Carrying a handbag broke with her usual routine, but few people were about.  By the time anyone of import viewed the security feeds, she would be long-gone.

* * * *

Line of Fyre blurb

You know things are bad on Earth when you’re the president’s daughter and becoming a concubine to an alien dragon shifter seems like your best option…

Helena Marshfield made a big mistake. But making it right puts her life in danger. She’s forced to flee and become the concubine of the Draconian prince. She never expects to be attracted to the “dragon man,” and has no intention of making the relationship real.


Prince T’mar has no wish to consort with a human. Unfortunately, his father, the king, decrees he must accept her, his dragon mistakes her for their mate, and worse, the flame-haired female stirs his desires. Still, he intends to deposit her at the palace and fly away.

But when powers on Earth draw them back into the line of fire, will their unexpected, unwanted burning attraction be the one thing that can save them?

Line of Fyre (Alien Dragon Shifters 2) will be released in March 2020. To get notified of the release AND get a free book to read now (Married to the Cyborg), subscribe to my newsletter.

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Spotlight on New World (Aliens Among Us) by Liza O’Connor #dinosaurs

With much of Earth burning presently, soon Earth will fall into a very long ice age.

Fortunately, a group of women, men, half-saires, and one full-saire are hidden on a lovely island. The full-saire has a spaceship capable of leaving Earth and traveling to a more reliable planet that never grows too cold or hot.

However, when they arrive, the planet looks much like prehistoric Earth, with giant reptiles everywhere. Fortunately, Keelan and Tiburon are strong and mighty warriors. By noon, they have killed most of the deadly creatures that their life bubble protects. They also saved the life of a twelve-foot chicken-like creature who turns out to be sentient and a great help when locating dangers.

The two warriors were able to remove most of the T-Rexes as well. Only two had to be killed for refusing to leave their valley. Thus, they have survived day one.

But how long will their bullets and luck hold out?

An excerpt from New World

Once outside, but still under the cloak of invisibility, Keelan and Tiburon studied the various creatures walking about. The animals seemed to want to know where their friends had disappeared to and why was the soil scorched.

“Let’s climb up the exterior of the ship. That will give us a better shot at the taller, and possibly deadlier, creatures.”

Upon reaching the flat area at the top, they stared at the mass of animals in the valley. “We’ll run out of ammunition long before we kill a third of these,” Tiburon growled.

“True enough. So, let’s hit them with a shockwave first. And since we don’t want a mass of creatures rotting in our valley, we’ll start with a no-kill level and scare off those who don’t like having their skin heated.”

“Sounds like a great idea,” Tiburon admitted.

Keelan showed him the instrument. “We can use this device in our natural forms.” He then showed him how to place his claws so they would activate the shockwaves. “Watch me first, then I’ll let you have a go at it. But make sure you do not turn it on until you have cut a slit in the invisibility cloak. Otherwise, we’ll be the ones that get fried. I’ll slice the cloak so you can see how it is done.”

A moment later, many of the animals in the valley began running away.

However, the twenty-feet-tall dinosaur creatures all remained.

Keelan sighed. “Let’s up the ante and see if we can move them out as well. Move the shockwave to level ten.”

He watched Tiburon closely to ensure his success. He smiled when the fellow got it right the first time. “Let ’em have it.”

Twelve of the creatures ran off. “That leaves two pissed off T-Rexes,” Tiburon replied.

“Move it up another notch,” Keelan suggested.

Tiburon tried, but it just made the two creatures angrier.

“Move it up to kill level,” Keelan advised.

Tiburon did. Now, only the largest one remained alive and was really angry.

“I’ll take over. This one is going to need some finessing.”

He tightened the range from wide to narrow and shot the angry fellow in the eye. A moment later, the shockwave moved through his skull and out the back. Finally, the big guy fell. Keelan quickly returned the shockwave to its full circular width. “Check for rogue animals that might have slipped in during the narrow settings.”

“Got one. Looks like a giant gator,” Tiburon replied.

“That’s gonna be a problem. He won’t run, and killing him will be a challenge. What else slipped in?”

“We got some giant chickens.”

“Leave those alone. We used to have something similar on Saire. If these are the same, they can be ridden, are edible, and can be taught not to eat saires and humans.”

“The gator has his eye on them,” Tiburon warned.

“Well, he’s now facing us, that’s better. Let’s both try to shoot him in the eyes with high powered rifles.”

Upon reverting back to humans, they tied the arms of the catsuit around their waist. Then they cut a second slit in the invisible screen and shot the gator in the eyes with their high-powered sniper rifles.

Tiburon and Keelan both made their shots. The gator died at once.

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About author Liza O’Connor

Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, skydive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet throughout her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.

Blog and website | Multiverses blog | Facebook | Twitter | Liza’s list of published books

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DARAK: Dakonian Alien Mail Order Brides is FREE until Jan. 31

Revenge is best served sweet with a hot, horned alien

Free-spirited pastry chef Lexi Sutterman has discovered that true love is pie in the sky. The only thing more difficult than finding an Earth man willing to commit is pleasing her wealthy, hypercritical family who view her as a failure. So she’s given up on both, focusing her energy on her new bakery. Now that her uber successful little sister manages to nab a well-heeled fiancé, Lexi fights back by joining the Intergalactic Dating Agency. She plans to bring a huge, purple, tentacled alien as her plus-one to the wedding.

Darak of planet Dakon isn’t purple or tentacled—he’s just seven feet of horned alien hotness. To get a woman on his world, a guy has to literally win the lottery. Tired of waiting for the Fates to send him a female, he joins the dating service to meet a nice Earth girl to call his own. He recognizes Lexi as his true mate, but realizes convincing her they’re meant to be together forever and not just a weekend will be no cake walk.

But when a sweet-tart pastry chef and a horned alien hottie fall in love, everyone might get their just desserts…

Download DARAK free from your favorite bookseller.

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