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How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days
His internal computers are offline, his former employers want him dead and the Men in Black are after him. Without his cyberpowers, Reef is as weak as a lowly Earthling. He's tried to kill every human he's met--so why on Earth would they help him?
Evie Holloway needs a bodyguard! Her fledgling chocolate business is mistaken as a money-laundering scheme for the mob and the bullets have started flying. But does the suburban soccer mom really want to shelter the alien hit man who almost offed her future brother-in-law?
She is desperate, and Reef is incredibly sexy. "Ten days," she tells him--but it turns out that ten days just might be long enough to spark a love that's truly out of this world.
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August 01, 2007
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Excerpt from How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days by Susan Grant
Planet SandreemTwenty-five years ago
SILENT AND DETERMINED adversaries, the boy andhis father were locked in battle. Their foreheadsnearly touched as they sat hunched over a Sechboard, scrutinizing several dozen game piecescarved to resemble soldiers. The bustle and laughterof the rest of the family filled the cottage, whilefilets of fresh-caught river eel sizzled on the grill.A few raindrops splashed against the windows ofthe cottage, the last of an early evening squall.
Eriff tried to predict the result of his father's confident moves across the game board. Some endingshad him invading his father's Holy Keep, but othershad Eriff's goddess falling to his father's onslaught.Which would be the best move? The right move.
His father's quiet voice broke his concentration."Life or death...so it always is for you, boy."
Eriff glanced up into amused blue eyes thatlooked just like his, according to his mother. "Asvivid as the noon sky on High-Sun Day," she'd say."With hair as black as soot and eyes like those, myfair Eriff, you'll snare your lady's heart with aglance, just as your father won mine."
His father's chair creaked as he leaned back. Hepretended to work stiffness out of his limbs. "I fearI'll grow old waiting for you to make a decision."
His father's teasing left him puzzled. Time spedby when he was stalking his prey--outside in thewoods hunting, or here in a game of Sech. "Have Itaken too long?"
"Let me say this. It seems the gods gifted youwith infinite patience. With life so slow on thisbackwater planet, it'll serve you well, I think."Under his breath, he added, "Move your archer...there."
"But that will open my quadrex to your warriors!"
"Take a chance." His father's eyes sparkled.
"But, Papa, my archer, it's not logical."
"Not everything in life can be logically thoughtout, Eriff. Often, taking a risk brings the sweetestreward of all."
Often, but not always. And that was the part Eriffdidn't like about his father's advice. As soon as aplayer's goddess piece was taken, the game wasover. But in Sech, even the lowliest soldier couldtopple an empire. Eriff moved his scout, planningto inch it forward and breach his father's Holy Keep.
His father gave a shrug and captured one ofEriff's commanders, dropping the piece into a wornleather pouch. Eriff lowered his head.
Chuckling, his father reached across the table toruffle his hair. "So serious...an old soul your grandmother says. I wish for you the chance to leave thisworld and find your fortune, but alas, the chancesof that are next to none."
Eriff perked up. "You had that chance, Papa."Maybe this time his father would tell him of theyears he'd spent fighting the Drakken Horde. Therewere stories, oh so many stories; Eriff could seethem in his eyes. But no matter how much hepleaded, the man never shared them. All Eriff knewwas that his father joined the Coalition Army as ateenager and went off to see the galaxy.
At least he came back. A great-uncle on hismother's side didn't. Mangus Slipstream left tobecome a scientist long before Eriff was born andno one ever heard from him again.
Well, Eriff was staying put. Even if he wanted toleave, how would he? It was rare for ships to passthis way. Commerce required wormholes for theships to speed through vast distances that wouldnormally take months and likely years. There wereno wormholes near Sandreem.
It was quiet here, and that's the way Eriff likedit. No one wasted much thought about the rest of thegalaxy or the war. Why should they when nothinghappened on Sandreem to remind them of it?
Eriff might have doubted there was a "somewhere else" if he hadn't seen the evidence with hisown eyes: a deep-space cargo transport. But he'dbeen little more than a babe and rememberednothing of the crew except for the stink of their craft.
His father did, however, bring home one treasurefrom the far-off lands: the Sech board. It was arevered family possession. As soon as Eriff couldhold a game piece in his hand, his father taught himhow to play.
Boom-boom. Sudden thunder echoed down fromthe mountains. The table vibrated, rattling the gamepieces out of position. Eriff gasped in dismay, tryingto put the pieces back in order. His father's handcovered his much smaller one, stopping him. "Thegame's over."
Thunder rumbled on and on. Eriff joined hissisters at the windows. "I never heard a storm likethis before," Kayree said.
"Me, either!" Karah sang out.
Eriff threw open the window and peeked outside.Clouds raced across a clearing sky. Thunderboomed again, roaring. Screeching.
The small house shook on its very foundation. Itsounded as if the sky was tearing open. Eriff's heartbounced with the thrill of it. Then a shadow passedover the house.
"Look!" he shouted, coming up on his toes as anenormous, gleaming starship descended toward thehorizon.