Alien super soldier Grady Prime's missions routinely lead him in unexpected directions, but his latest assignment--to kill a rogue warrior--is far beyond routine. This time he meets a woman who embroils him in an adventure of the highest order. Love.
Gina has lived among aliens so long, she's lost her fear of them. She is undeniably attracted to Grady, even though their respective duties force them apart. Then, on a mission to a far-flung outpost, an encounter with a man from her past leaves her torn between her flaming desire for Grady, and her still-simmering love for an old flame.
Jim and his group of human dissidents live in secret, away from alien patrols. He has responsibilities, and covert operations to manage. But when Gina re-enters his life, only one thing matters--being with her.
Brought together by chance, the three form an alliance that pushes the boundaries of desire and make unexpected connections that could save the human race from alien conquerors...
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May 31, 2010
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Excerpt from Grady's Awakening by Bianca D'Arc
Everything was set when Grady Prime walked back to the mess hall. He had left early, intending to intercept Gina before she had a chance to go inside. He arrived in the nick of time, calling out to her as she was about to open the door. She spun, a smile lighting her face when she saw him. She moved toward him and he stopped dead, entranced for a moment by the feminine loveliness of her.
Her smile turned questioning as she neared, her head tilting to one side. "What?"
"You are beautiful, Gina."
A becoming blush stained her cheeks, and he could tell she was pleased with his unguarded words. He breathed a sigh of relief. This small woman could easily send him off course. She shook him up almost as much as he wanted to upset her composure--in the best possible way. So far, so good, judging by her expression.
"I have a surprise for you. Will you come with me so we can dine alone?"
Her expression softened with pleasure. She agreed, preceding him down the path. When she hesitated where the path forked, he placed his palm on the small of her back, guiding her. He kept his hand on her until they reached their destination, liking the feeling of her supple body under his fingers.
He guided her to a small clearing he'd found under the shelter of one of the largest of the redwood trees in the grove. So massive was the tree's girth and the spread of its leaves that the ground around its base was relatively bare except for a soft layer of compacted leafy debris. With the moon just rising overhead in a twilight sky, the setting was perfect for romance.
Grady had thought ahead and had a small lantern ready for when darkness fell completely, but since the moon was nearly full and shining through an opening in the leafy canopy, he didn't think they'd have to use it except perhaps when they made their way back to the encampment...eventually.
He'd taken a thick blanket from his quarters and spread it in the open area, then topped it with a snowy white tablecloth. The glasses, dishes and utensils he'd borrowed from the cooks were set out on top and the meal was waiting. It had been kept warm in self-heating containers the cooking staff had packed for him, ready to serve.
Grady had even gathered a few blossoms from the surrounding forest and placed them in a glass of water at the center of the tablecloth. He knew females appreciated flowers, and he also liked the scent.
Gina turned to him as they reached the clearing, and she saw what he'd arranged. There were tears in her eyes he found hard to interpret, and his heart stilled.
"You don't like it?"
"No, I love it." She bit her lip to still whatever emotion she was feeling while Grady's emotions rode a wave of high and low. He didn't understand. Was she happy or sad?
"Something is wrong?"
"No." She turned to him, placing a hand on his forearm, squeezing once as she looked up at him. "This is the nicest thing anyone's done for me in a very long time. I could almost believe I'm back in the old world, on a picnic. You thought of everything. Flowers, dinner and is that wine?"
"It is." He began to feel better about her reaction, though the tears in her eyes worried him. "Do you like wine?"
"I do. Even living with the Zxerah, I don't get to have it often. Only on very special occasions."
"This is a special occasion, Gina."
"Our first and last date." She looked so sad. He had to kiss her. Just once. Just a light brushing of lips to take her mind off whatever he'd done to make her sad.
Grady leaned forward, taking her in his arms at the same moment he claimed her mouth with his. She was as sweet as he remembered, as warm, as delicious in every way. The salt of her tears brought a pang of regret to his heart. He didn't want to think of how little time they had together before they had to part. He pushed that thought aside in the glory of holding her, the feel of her feminine curves that were made to fit so perfectly against his body.
She gasped when he pulled her closer and he took advantage, licking inside her mouth like he wanted to lick her lower down. Soon that wasn't enough. He ran his hands over her lithe body, wishing the fabric that separated them away. Eventually the distraction of her clothing brought him to his senses.
He lifted away from the kiss by gradual degrees, his head spinning in the most amazing way.
"Dinner first," Grady said when he could speak. The smile she gave him tempted him to forget dinner altogether, but good sense won out. For the time being.
He led her to the edge of the blanket, charmed when she kicked off her shoes. He followed suit and assisted her to sit, though in truth she needed no help at all. He didn't want to completely let go of her and the lovely tone they produced when they touched. It vibrated through him, making him feel alive as nothing else. Even the new emotions coursing through him and making his life so very precious these last few months was nothing compared to the sound of their Hum.
"You shouldn't have gone to so much trouble." Her quiet words brought back his wandering attention. "This is really lovely. I haven't been on a picnic in years, and never in such a romantic setting."
"I'm glad you like it." He reached for the wine as he sank to his knees opposite her, across the center of the improvised table setting. Removing the already loosened cork, he poured two glasses of the light-colored vintage.
Dinner progressed from there. They ate slowly, savoring the excellent food, the exceptional company and the beautiful night. Gina enchanted him with her conversation. At first they talked of simple things, recent events and their thoughts about the Zxerah. Eventually, they strayed to more emotional topics. Gina told him about her family and her sorrow at losing them. Then she asked him about the experiment and what prompted him to take part. She went further, asking him what he thought would come next and Grady felt a sense of ease, sharing his hopes and fears with this warm, intelligent woman. Her compassion was genuine and easily seen on her beautiful face. She also had some good insights into things that had plagued him.
"It was difficult to accommodate the aggression at first. Warriors are trained to control it, of course. Even that training failed when I felt real anger for the first time," Grady admitted. He'd never discussed this with anyone--not even the techs who had witnessed his near meltdown.
"What did you do?"
"When I started fantasizing about smearing one of the scientist's faces against a wall, I took myself to the gym for some unscheduled training. I pummeled a training droid, all the while imagining it was that scientist." He had to laugh at the memory now. "I actually broke the droid." Gina gasped, then laughed along with him. "I knocked its head clean off. The gym tech said they'd never seen anything like it before."
"We have a few of those things at our home base. They're built solid. I can't believe you did that!"
"Neither could I. The gym tech explained it away, saying the droid must've had a flaw in manufacture, but the lab techs walked wide around me for the next few days. They'd heard the story and had of course been monitoring my levels. I wore sensors at all times in the early days of the experiment. It was actually an adrenaline surge that gave me that momentary strength. The techs were dumbfounded by it at first. Apparently the level was off their charts."
"Oh, I've heard about that kind of thing in humans. In moments of utter rage or dire need, an adrenaline surge can give someone a moment of super strength. It's not common, but in the old world, it did happen."
"Well, it hasn't happened in Alvians--at least not at that level--in generations. They tried to get me to repeat it, but I never could. Frankly, I didn't want to feel that kind of raging anger ever again. I was close to murdering that man. It's not something I'm proud of or want to repeat."
"That says a lot for you, Grady." She raised her glass and drank, watching him over the rim of the stemmed wine glass. "And the fact that you controlled your anger and channeled it into something that wouldn't hurt anyone. Well," her eyes sparkled with merriment, "except for the droid."