We’ve all felt betrayed at one time or another. Sometimes it’s someone we are close to, other times it’s a friend or someone we thought was a friend. The pain is the same. The stabbing of your heart, the hurt that follows, and the long healing process. How you go through this process will determine if you are a victim or a survivor.

Some people stay “victims” and let this feeling linger on and on beyond what is healthy. Others take this hurt and learn from it. Maybe trusting people less and less in the future to guard their hearts from this pain again.

I’ve known people who have a “Whoa is me” mentality and continue feeling that they will always be a victim and that nothing every goes right. Guess what? They get what they ask for.

I prefer to go through the pain, have my cry, and go on with life. Things happen, but I look for the good in everything. I figure there is always something to learn from every experience. I may not know what it is right away, but I’ll eventually see it and learn from it. BUT, I can always use this experience in a story and show someone else going through the pain and how they overcome it.

In my first book, “The Abduction,” my theme was ‘home is where the heart is.’ It took Adam losing the only person he ever loved to see that going home wasn’t home anymore without the person he loved. As long as he was with Genesis, he could make his home anywhere. In “Revenge,” my theme was ‘life is full of second chances.’ With forgiveness, you get a second chance, a do-over. My characters had to get to the point where they could forgive each other completely to get their second chance at love.

In “Betrayed,” as in “Revenge,” forgiveness plays a major part in the story. The theme for “Betrayed” is ‘overcoming trials of life with optimism.’ Optimism turns a ‘victim’ into a survivor.

A moment in time

I was listening to a CD of the Steve Miller Band while driving south (in search of warmer weather). It brought back some pleasant memories.

It was a time in the early 70’s when I was going to the University of West Florida (UWF) and the dorm next to mine was full of divers (Divers Do It Deeper) and some computers guys (now called Geeks or Nerds). I was actually a Nerd then, too, but didn’t know it. We would play touch football in the grassy area near the dorms and the library. One of the guys who played was called “Spaceman” and the song, “Space Cowboy,” played a lot that year.

Songs bring back memories as well as feelings for me. That was my first autumn away from home and the air was crisp and cool. That was a new experience for me coming from Miami. I also learned the farther north I went (from Miami), the more southern it got. I thought I could understand all those “foreign” accents in Miami, but southern was completely different. And slower. People spoke fast in Miami, but not Pensacola. There was a laid back feel to the area. Something I was unaccustomed to.

I guess I’ll have to pick out some music for my books. That way, while I’m writing them, I can have music playing in the background to remind me of the feelings I experience from my characters. Do you experience this while listening to music? Let me hear from you.

Best Laid Plans

You know how it goes when you make plans to finish your book and then something comes up which changes your plans? Well, that happened to me. In fact, it happens too much, so here is an update:

I’m getting ready to have a cover made for the story. While it’s about Adam returning to Earth to share technology, it’s not really his story. It’s Tremol’s story of how he averts an intergalactic war. I’m weaving in the betrayal of Adam by his government, the betrayal of a young woman by her boyfriend, and the betrayal of the American people by the Black Government. But the theme is “take a chance on love.” It is a romance, after all, but the title will be “Betrayed.” Just like in “The Abduction,” where Adam was abducted by an alien, then he and the alien are abducted by the villain, and others are abducted in the book as well, the theme is “home is where the heart is.” It took Adam awhile to figure it out, because all he wanted throughout the story was to go “home.” After all he went through, he finally realized that his home wasn’t the same without the woman he loved. In my second book, “Revenge,” everyone wants revenge against Berto, or so it seems. But the theme is “forgiveness.” He can never have a relationship with Shey unless she can forgive him. It took her awhile to realize that to love him, she must forgive him of his past mistakes and to let go of her revenge against him.

Hopefully, I’ll have something written that I can share with you next time. For now, have a good night.

Log Lines

While NaNoWriMo is winding down, I’m still working on “The Return.” I will continue to work on it until it’s finished, but I finally got a log line I can share. Here it is:

“Returning an abducted man to Earth intending to share technology, diplomatic efforts are thwarted by the Black Government who intends to keep alien contacts silent.”

What do you think? Does it make you want to read more? I hope so. I’ve never seen this type of premise before, so I hope it’s a fresh take on what will have some conspiracy theories thrown in. I’m still in the GMC mode (goals, motivation, conflict) and I think I’ve got most of it nailed down.

Here’s a look at four disasters and an ending:

1.The Concordance (a Vaedran Space Battleship) is shot at from Phobos (a moon of Mars) by a large spaceship with U.S.A. emblazoned on it’s side

2.Adam, two Vaedran Counselors, and a pilot are taken hostage

3.Admiral Esrith (Admiral of the Concordance) threatens to start an intergalactic war if the four men are not returned unharmed

4.General Yermolay proposes to destroy the Concordance, thus eliminating the threat and exposing the Black Government’s hidden agenda

5.Tremol and Keely McGuire propose a solution which will result in a happy ending

Stay tuned for more…

National Novel Writing Month

Yes, it’s November and I started NaNoWriMo again. I’m working on “The Return” even though I may change the name. I’m struggling with a secondary character that needs to be the hero and a former hero that needs to take a back seat.

The problem seems to be not fleshing out the characters before I started writing. I didn’t have a clear understanding of their goals, motivations and conflicts (GMC). Each character has them, even the villains. Without these three elements, you don’t know what the hero wants or why. You don’t know what the antagonist wants either and it’s important to know. In fact, knowing what the antagonist wants helps to set up the conflicts for the hero.

All these elements together helps to create a log line for the story.  That’s why I’ve been stuck in the same place (also because I haven’t had time to write). So writing this blog is forcing me to get back into writing. No matter how late it is, I can always MAKE time to write. I may not get any sleep, but I can MAKE time to write.

This is a start for now. Maybe by the end of the week I’ll have a log line to share with you along with a better title. Catch you later.

New Direction

While I’m trying to catch up on my own schedule for writing (an endless challenge), I’ve decided to edit another manuscript while preparing for NaNoWriMo in November.

I had planned to work on book 3 in The Vaedra Chronicles Series which I had titled “The Return” but I’ve taken a couple characters in a different direction. So while I set up the background for the characters and the catalyst, I will be editing my manuscript, “Between Heaven and Earth.” BH&E was written a few years ago as a paranormal adventure romance. It needs some tweaking and self-editing before I send it off to an editor. It may be book 2 in the Angel Series. Book 1, “The Quest,” also needs tweaking, re-writing, and self-editing (as soon as I can find it). I either imagined writing it, or I still have it in long-hand somewhere in a notebook. I remember the whole story, I just can’t locate it on my computer. However, I plan to release both of these two books next year. Once I get BH&E out to the editor, I plan to use NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to work on book 3. I’ve debated on changing the title to Betrayed because that is the essence of the story. The theme may be something else.

While writing “The Abduction,” the essence of that story was abduction, but the theme was ‘home is where the heart is.’ In “Revenge,” the essence of that story was revenge, but the theme was ‘forgiveness.’ In “Between Heaven and Earth,” an angel must decide between both places. His heart can’t be on Earth while his spirit is in Heaven. The essence of the story is finding out where he belongs. The theme of the story is ‘our choices have consequences.’

Stay tuned and I’ll post the first chapter of “Between Heaven and Earth” next time.

Chapter One – Revenge by Ester Lopez

A couple of months ago, I meant to post Chapter One of Revenge and I got side tracked. So, without further delay…

Denoy, Planet Tarsius

Mariposa frowned at Berto. “Did you get in trouble today at the Academy?”

Berto sat by the fire pit, cooking a wild taffit bird on a makeshift spit. He tore off a leg and handed it to his sister. “Don’t eat the bones, Mariposa, and no, I didn’t get in trouble.” He took a bite of taffit. The juices from the succulent bird dripped down his chin. He wiped it off with the back of his hand. He was hungrier than he thought. The sweet aroma of the roasting bird had his stomach growling but the luscious taste made him forget how he had to live.

“I saw you talking to Headmaster Torres.” She took a bite of the leg, glancing up at him.

“Headmaster Torres found a job for me. I start tomorrow after classes. I’ll learn how to fix wing ships, then maybe cargo ships.”

“What about me? Who is going to watch me while you’re gone?”

He bowed his head. Seven anos was too young to leave alone, but he had been orphaned at that age with an infant sister to take care of.

“Promise me you’ll stay here in the cave when you get finished with classes.”

“Aren’t you going to walk me home?” She bit her lower lip and raised her brows.

“Mari, I would, but the job is on the other side of Denoy. I would be late getting to work.”

Mari pouted, on the verge of tears.

“Look, Mari, it’s only for one day. I’ll ask my new boss if you can come with me. You can study while I work.”

“Can’t I go with you tomorrow?”

“No, Mari. I have to speak to the boss first to make sure it’s okay. Now, eat your taffit.”

Later, he tucked her into the makeshift bed of reeds and palms with a blanket he had stolen years before. He looked forward to the day he could pay for his food. When he couldn’t catch anything to eat, he’d stolen it.

He washed up by the small waterfall that trickled into a shallow pool. The coolness of the cave and the smell of wet rock was constant and kept out the heat of the day. The cave had been their home since he was seven. He curled up on the mat beside Mari’s and went to sleep.

The next morning, he dressed in the only clothes he owned—ragged pants and a stained shirt along with his worn-out sandals. Mari’s dress was short and tattered and her sandals no longer fit. Soon he would be able to buy her some clothes.


After gathering wood for the fire pit, he showed her how to use her energy to make a spark. Several tries later, Mari succeeded.

“Can I make the fire when I get home?” she asked excitedly.

“I’ll help you gather more wood so you’ll have enough.”

Their home was at the base of Dos Santos Mountains, hidden in the forest where there were plenty of dead branches to gather. The main trail through Denoy led to the next village, but the trail to their cave was concealed by trees and thick underbrush. He placed the kindling they gathered against the far wall of the cave.

He walked with Mari to the Academy through the woods as usual. He heard the birds chirping and small animals scurrying under brush. Denoy was set in a clearing, surrounded by the forest on three sides and the mountains on the other. Vaedra, their sun, was bright and warm as always in a cloudless sky. The homes were all dome-shaped brownish-red dwellings clustered on either side of a dirt road in the center. The road led from the forest and ended at the shipyards near the Academy. One of those homes used to be theirs.

He had to beg the Headmaster to let him bring Mari to class with him when she was an infant. He explained to Torres their only aunt lived in Eloy, another village on Tarsius. He hadn’t seen her since before his mother died and didn’t know how to contact her.

It took a while for Mari to adjust but the instructors had given him plenty of latitude when they learned his mother had died and his father disappeared on the same day. Eventually, the instructors got used to having Mari around.

The day dragged on. His studies held no interest for him. All he thought about was the chance for a better life and learning some new skills. Finally, the alarm sounded and the classes dispersed. He spotted Mari, heading down the steps of the brownish-red colored building. He hurried to her.

She turned at the sound of her name.
“Go straight home and stay in the back of the cave, Mari.”
“I will. When will you come home?”
“I’ll be there before dark. You can start the fire just before then.” Their lives would be different after today. Maybe soon they would have a dwelling to call home, instead of a cave.

He squatted down and hugged her. “I’ll be home as soon as I can. I love you, Mari.”

“I love you, too, Berto.”

He raced to the area that once housed a thriving ship-building business. Some time ago, something happened that caused them to stop production. Ignacio’s Repair Shop was just before the gated entrance to the Denoy Ship Yards.

“You must be Berto,” a short, round man said. Ignacio’s tan was darker than his own.

“Yes, sir. Headmaster Torres sent me.”

“Come, let me show you my shop.” Ignacio pointed out the sections of the shop where certain work was performed. There were women and boys, slightly older than himself, working in all the areas. The first was the navigation section, then a thruster section. Another section was devoted to cooling and heating, another for life support systems, and the main section was for engine systems.

“Since production was halted at the shipyards, I’ve been busy repairing all the old ships. I’ll start you off with the thruster section. I expect you to be here every day until dark. You get paid once a week. Do you have a place to stay?”

“For tonight, sir.”

“There’s Community housing over there.” He pointed to a tall, dome-shaped light brown building across the way. “They serve two meals a day. Do you have any questions?”

“Uh, yes sir. I have a younger sister that I’m re- sponsible for. I was wondering if I could…well…bring her to work with me? I promise she won’t be any trouble. She’s quiet and she’ll study while I work.”

Ignacio studied him. “What about your parents?”

“It’s just me and Mari.”
“How have you survived?”
“I’d rather not say, sir, but we’ve managed. I really need this job.”
“You hiding something, boy. Doing anything…illegal?”
“No sir. It’s just…I don’t want to leave Mari alone. She’s too young.”

“Torres said you were a hard worker. I’m willing to give you a chance. All right, be here after classes tomorrow—both of you. Maybe I can find something for her to do as well.”

“Yes, sir! You won’t regret this. Thank you, sir.” He shook hands with Ignacio and hurried out the door.

Berto ran as fast as he could through the village to the path in the woods that led to the cave they called home. As he approached the rocky cliffs, he thought he heard muffled sounds. When he got to the mouth of the cave, darkness had settled over the forest.

A piercing scream cut through his heart. Mari!

The dim glow from the fire showed three shadowy figures about his size, leaning over something…Mari!

Oh God! One held her arms down, another held her legs. A third person was on top of her, trying to rape her. The boy’s white-blond hair and blue eyes marked him as Chromian.

“No!” Berto’s shout echoed throughout the cave as his anger and adrenalin surged through his body, his gut tightening. He lunged for the boy on top, but the energy built up inside him shot out through his hands before he reached him, throwing the boy across the cave, slamming his head against the wall.

As his rage built, his adrenalin pumped faster throughout his body. He reached for the boy holding down Mari’s arms, the energy surged again, throwing the boy against another wall. The boy hit the rock hard then slumped over.

He glared at the last boy, who held Mari’s legs, moving toward him. He fisted his hands at his sides to keep from doing more harm, but the boy ran out of the cave. The last boy and the second one, with their brown skin and eyes, were Tarsian, like himself and Mari, but he didn’t recognize either of them.

He scooped up Mari and hugged her tight. She clung to him, weeping. His heart pounded from the ordeal. His mind was dizzy with comprehension of his newly discovered skill. He had only pulled things toward himself or started fires with his power but this was new. He could feel Mari’s body trembling…or was that him?

“Mari, I promise, I will never leave you alone again.”

They were no longer safe here. He helped her dress, gathered the few belongings they had, and left the cave, carrying her in his arms.


Starting a New Series

I returned from the Indie Romance Convention recently, pumped and ready to write. However, reality set in after that and the writing got pushed aside. That happens way too often for me so I’m always trying to balance home life, work life, AVON, and writing.

Most of my writing starts in my head. I hear people having conversations or ‘see’ scenes with my characters involved. Since I released book 1 and 2 in The Vaedra Chronicles (The Abduction and Revenge), my intention was to release book 3 sometime early next year. I’m still working out the character traits and their goals, motivation and conflict (GMC). Once I get all of that done, the story falls into place more or less. If I change a couple of things, the whole story can shift. I want this to be a great story so I’m trying to cover my bases in the set up phase.

In the meantime, I have another series that I started years ago but didn’t submit to publishers. I was so engrossed in getting book 1 out that I didn’t submit anything else at the time. I call it the Angel Series. I looked around at all the paranormal books out there and most of them were about demons, vampires, shape-shifters, and versions combining some of them. I thought, ‘what else is there?’ and realized no one had written about Angels. Yes, there are some fallen angels, but not too many at the time (this was YEARS ago, mind you).

So, my first story is about an angel who manifests in the flesh to save a girl from being the next victim after she witnesses a murder. But in the process, he discovers that he had once been human. While she falls for him, she convinces him to stay ‘in the flesh’ longer so he can discover who he was and how he died.

My research into angels turned up some interesting stuff. For instance, angels are shape-shifters. They can turn into human form or animal form to convey messages for God. After all, they are messengers. Angels are time travelers. They can travel to another place or time in the space of a ‘thought.’ Angels do not feel as we do. They more or less love as God loves us. They also have understanding and knowledge that we don’t. They may see our future or know the outcome of something that we can’t know. And they are spirit beings (same as people) only they aren’t trapped in a body. And they fight spiritual battles.

I try to show some of this in my story, “Between Heaven and Earth.” But before I release it, there’s a lot of self-editing I must do. Then it’s off to the editor, while I have someone design a cover for me. Then with the ‘tweaking’ and rewrites, I’ll send it back to the editor once more. This time, I may send off the pdf to my Launch Team to get their critique on it before the final formatting for both eBook and print book.

I also had a story, “The Quest” which was a re-telling of the story of Tobit, that I wanted to get out first. It’s more or less a setup for the Angel Series world. I thought I had it on my computer, but now I can’t find it. Maybe it was all in my head. In any case, I want to release that story first, so I’ll have to go through all the same procedures for that one as well.

I’ve got a lot of work cut out for me between now and next year. I had planned to go to Illogicon in January, 2018, South Florida in February, 2018, Weekend With  The Authors in March, 2018, the Romantic Times Convention in Reno in May, 2018, and possibly RWA in July. Hopefully, I’ll have more than book 1 and book 2 available.

See you next week with chapter 1 of “Between Heaven and Earth.”


Today, I intended to post my first chapter of “Revenge,” my second book in the Vaedra Chronicles Series. First, I wanted to reflect on the hurricanes we just experienced in Texas and Florida.

Very recently, a gentleman from Kentucky, I believe, was asked why he went to Texas with his boat to help in the recovery/rescue efforts. He said he had come from a small town where people were loved and things were used. He said the world has gotten to a point where people are used and things are loved. I thought his statement was profound.

I believe that Satan sends storms and destruction upon the Earth because that’s what he’s all about, besides being the father of lies. I think that God allows these things to happen so that people can be humbled and remember God is love and His love is more important than things.

I’ve seen where strangers help strangers in these situations, no matter the color of the skin or what religion they cling to. I saw that first hand, years ago, during a snow storm (the Blizzard of 1993). All my neighbors stayed at our house because we had a fireplace. We pooled all our food from freezers and shared it among the three families. Although it was a disaster (we were without electricity for 10 days), we got along fine (no fighting or arguments). There were six adults, seven children, three dogs, and one cat. But those memories will stay with me forever.

I think God is trying to tell us something here. Love is caring about people and their welfare, not thinking only of ourselves but others. These disasters are bringing out the best in people. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could always be this way?

Chapter One of The Abduction by Ester Lopez


Adrenalin pumped through his veins. His fisted hands were ready to fight. He stared into eyes the same pale blue as his and faced a man identical to himself, his brows narrowed in anger. He wrestled him to the ground. The other man’s strength was a match for his own. When he shoved him down, the man reached for a strange-looking gun and took aim. He awoke the moment the man pulled the trigger.


Adam Davis bolted upright in his bed. His heart pounded from labored breathing. His body, moist with sweat, was still pumped and ready to fight but he was alone. He glanced around his dark cabin.

The sheet and thin bedspread fell away exposing his bare arms and chest. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes didn’t eliminate the lingering dream. It was more like a premonition, like the one he’d had years ago that foretold the death of his parents.

Thunder growled outside. His pulse raced as other images came to mind. The first was a light bright as the sun. The second was a beautiful, dark-skinned young woman with high cheekbones and dressed in a white glowing jumpsuit. She spoke to him, but he didn’t understand the words.

Lightning flashed and a rumbling boom shook the tiny log cabin nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.

Thunderstorms were rare here but on a stormy night like this, his parents had died sixteen long years ago, when he was ten. The memory still tugged at his heart. Storms made him restless.

Another flash drew his attention to the picture window centered in the room which overlooked the pond.

Crack! The dwelling shook again. Two lights shone over the water, then moved toward the wooded area surrounding his home.

A plane? He threw off his bedding and approached the glass.

The soft glowing orbs sat low in the sky. Aircraft didn’t fly below tree level did they? He ran a hand through his hair as he watched the flight path.

Suddenly, lightning struck one of the objects, brightening the entire sky. The explosion startled him. The cabin shook so hard the bed moved a few inches across the wood floor and the glass panes rattled.

“Oh my God!” Remembering the vision, he watched in horror as the fireball fell from the sky.

He yanked his clothes off the chair and pulled on his jeans. Hopefully someone would survive the crash. He slipped a sweatshirt on then struggled with his wading boots.

His raincoat hung by the door. Grabbing the yellow garment from the hook, he knocked his fishing poles on the floor.

“Damn!” Pulling the slicker on, he fastened the top two snaps. He considered the coiled rope on the chair for stabilizing broken bones then slipped it across his chest. Wood for splints was plentiful outside.

He hesitated at the door and lifted the bow and quiver of arrows off another peg. The black bear he had seen the other day might return for the berries beside the pond. His old Boy Scout motto, “be prepared” crossed his mind so he grabbed a flashlight.

The covered porch protected him from the rain but he left the warmth of his dry cabin to search for survivors.


The approaching daylight accompanied a heavy, cold rain, usual for August in the mountains. His boots stuck in the east Tennessee clay-like mud as he rushed through the woods. Each step got heavier as his waders gathered more muck. Icy droplets stung his face like sharp pellets. Breathing the moldy air, he quickly followed the worn path around the reedy pond. A glimmer of light shone in the distance.

God, he hoped no one had died. Memories of his parents’ death came to mind—’Burned beyond recognition’—a shiver ran down his spine. He quickened his pace, an uneasiness pulling at his gut. He hoped he wasn’t too late. If someone had been there to help his parents, maybe they would be alive today.

Early daylight coupled with lightning, enabled him to find his way through the thickly wooded area. The secluded location of his home allowed him his privacy. He often thought of it as a blessing, since the place had once belonged to his grandparents. Injuries, though, would be a curse. Cell phones didn’t work here in the mountains and the downpour would have washed most of the gravel away again. There was no way to get emergency help out here.

He arrived at the wreckage. The rain had almost put out the fire. The burned-out, smoldering shell that remained vaguely resembled a mangled football. Did anyone survive? Anxiety flowed over him as eerie shadows played around the object in the predawn light.

His gut told him to get out of there. He glanced up. No parachute. Maybe the pilot had bailed before the aircraft hit the ground. He blinked, wiping the drizzle from his face.

There were no signs of life. He walked toward the small plane. Another flash of lightning lit up the mangled mass.

Silently, he counted…one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thou— Boom! The storm moved farther away and the rain let up.
“Hey, is anybody here?” he shouted above the rumbling. No response. Closing the distance, he tried again. “Can you hear me?” Apprehension crept up the back of his neck, like someone watched him.

He pulled the bow off his shoulder, nocked an arrow to the bowstring and swung around to check the woods behind him. His bow, fully drawn was ready to release but aimed at nothing.

Lowering his draw, he blinked the rain from his eyes. He couldn’t shake the feeling someone was out there. Facing the small plane, he walked toward it as another bolt lit up the area, brighter than before.

He gasped and his heart thudded. The flattened football-shaped object had no wings or tail. It was unlike anything he had ever seen. His first thought was to run like hell! But somebody might be alive in there. He shoved his arrow back in the quiver, and glanced over the area. He slung his bow on his shoulder and cracked his knuckles as he circled the heap of metal. The search for a way to get into the craft was futile. He needed help. Adam darted down the path, and back to the cabin.


A stand of trees separated an overgrown field from a pond. Genesis sat at the control panel of her ship, The Guardian. She’d landed here after she’d watched lightning strike Dram’s cruiser. His craft had burst into flames. She held her head in her hands and trembled.

“That was close. I could’ve been killed.” The sight unnerved her. She forced herself out of her seat and switched off the controls. She had to find Dram and bring him back to headquarters, alive if possible.

She pulled the scanner from its holder. Her hands shook as she slipped the strap across her chest. Slow, deep breaths helped calm her.

This was the worst storm she had ever seen where bolts of electricity shot out of the sky. That rarely happened in the mountains on her planet, Atria. This field surrounded by woods reminded her of her home, a place she had not seen in ten anos, and she missed it.

She strapped a holster to her thigh and slipped the laser weapon inside. She knew what kind of animals lurked in the woods of Atria, but not here.

Beasts, larger and fiercer than those the men of her tribe hunted, showed in the database. The ancient ones had reported their findings after visiting this place thousands of years ago.

She clipped Interplanetary Space Patrol issued hand restraints on the holster and opened The Guardian’s hatch, stepping onto the ramp. A heavy rain fell. Thick yetik protected the scanner box from the elements, but not her. Within minutes, her unicrin was drenched.

Thank goodness her ship’s earlier analysis of the atmosphere had showed the oxygen quality and content would sustain her, although the air held more contaminates than Atria’s atmosphere. The difference was palpable.

She tapped the screen of the scanner’s database and compared ancient reports with current information and displayed significant changes since the first visit. Blinking rain from her eyes, she aimed the scanner toward the crash site.

The heavier gravity slowed her movement, and the surrounding moisture smelled musty, reminding her of Persus.

She looked forward to the moment she would face Dram. He deserved to die for his crimes. But if he was killed in the accident, the location of her parents and the women of her village died with him. Under strict orders from the Interplanetary Space Patrol, she must bring Dram back alive to face his charges.

Failure of her mission meant the end of her tribe. Only men remained at White Mountain, unless they joined another tribe, or took mates from other villages to procreate. If Dram and his men hadn’t captured the women and children while the men of her village had been hunting, she would be on Atria with her mate, raising a family of her own.

She touched the jeweled translator across her forehead and sighed. It was all she had left of her mother, Herda, besides her medallion. The heartbreaking memories brought a lump to her throat and her eyes watered. She should have run faster.

Herda had communicated with her telepathically until the distance between them had made it impossible.

She wiped the rain and sadness from her face, and rested her hand on the weapon. She wanted to kill Dram for what he had done.

Sharp-thorn vines grew throughout the woods with clusters of dark berries. Her hunger increased at the thought of eating the fruit. Her memory of the last real food she had eaten escaped her. The plants here seemed like those on Atria. She plucked one and inhaled the aroma. A purple stain formed on her fingers. She scanned the berry and read the results: ‘Similar in structure to nelu, containing essential nutrients to sustain higher life forms.’

She popped several into her mouth. Mmmm. Not bad, and much sweeter than those from home.

Something crackled to her right, startling her. Her pulse quickened. The scanner indicated a large object running in her direction. Was it a beast or Dram?

Crouched behind a wide bush, her wet unicrin stuck to her skin, Genesis felt chilled as she peered above the foliage. A wooden dwelling stood in the distance to the left, beyond the pond.

She let the scanner fall to her side. Grasping the weapon, she slowed her breathing as she eased the laser from the holster. Then she nudged the lever to stun with her forefinger. The rustling grew closer and her heart beat harder.


Adam ran through the woods. His pulse raced and his body filled with nervous energy. He had to get help. He could take the Jeep to the highway and make the call. Hopefully, the pilot was still alive.

Stories of aliens formed in his mind. He had read UFO sightings happened in fields in other states or along the coast of Florida, but not here in the Smokies. Knoxville had the closest military base.

Depictions in the newspapers had shown them resembling small, child-like creatures with large eyes. One story said they sucked the blood from cows in a field. UFOs fascinated him, but he’d never dreamed he would actually encounter one, let alone have it crash in his backyard.

The briars and vines scraped at his slicker and rubber boots, but tore through his jeans at the knees, causing sharp pain. He couldn’t stop. Someone’s life may depend on him.

Breathless, he considered calling the Sheriff’s Department for help. But would they believe his story? Without them seeing the spaceship, he’d be put in a straitjacket. A report of a plane crash made more sense. Yeah, that’s what he’d do. Then he’d call his boss, Jeremy. He could always count on Jeremy to come.

The sound of a branch breaking halted him in his tracks. His racing heart thudded twice before beating normally. He pulled the bow off his shoulder and fixed an arrow to the string. This was where he had seen the bear.

He glanced around and slowly stepped from the woods and onto the path by the pond. The rain had stopped now. The thick cloud cover obscured dawn’s light. A heavy mist saturated the air, while fog rose over the water. In the soft mud, footprints, much smaller than his size eleven, headed toward his home. They came from the old cornfield he and his father had planted years ago. He had no neighbors, so no one else should be here. He turned toward the cabin. Maybe someone—

Another twig snapped behind him and he swung around, his bow fully drawn. He froze, aiming at the woman from his dream.

Did she come from the crash site? She didn’t look like an alien, so who was she?

Her long, blue-black hair draped forward over one shoulder in a braid that came down to her waist. Her dark, tanned face stood out against the white jumpsuit she wore. White so bright it glowed. Her body gave the suit curves in all the right places, but her flawless skin accentuated furrowed brows and an expression that could kill.

On her forehead, a jeweled band made of a coppery-silver metal shimmered, and the jewels sparkled different colors. Straps across her shoulder attached to a box at her hip. She had a gun in one hand, pointed at his chest. His pulse quickened at the thought of being shot.

“Tannae se ut!” she shouted.
“What?” Adam cocked his head, his draw on the bow straining to release.
She tapped the band across her forehead with two fingers.
“Tannae se ut!” “Hold there, Dram!” she said.
Dram? “Hey, wait a minute,” he lowered his bow slightly. “I’m Adam.”
She shot a red beam of light from the weapon and hit the dead branch he stood on. The wood caught fire. He jumped and released his arrow between her feet.

“What the hell?” She meant to hurt him. Confusion and anxiety grabbed him as he nocked another arrow to the bowstring. She’s got the wrong guy.

“Next one won’t miss,” she said, her eyebrows narrowed.

“Neither will I.” His mouth went dry and he swallowed hard before responding again. “I’m not Dram. There’s been an accident.” He glanced in the direction of the crash. “I’ve got to get help.”

“Drop the weapon,” she ordered.
“Drop yours first!” With bears and aliens in the woods, he’d keep his bow and arrows. She stepped closer and raised her pistol toward his face. He aimed his arrow for her heart, his own heart racing at the thought of killing someone. The branch she hit with the laser beam still burned and he didn’t want the same thing happening to him.

“I said, drop the weapon.” Her voice grew deeper and louder.

“Hell, no! Who are you and what are you doing on my property?” His anger gave rise to courage as he held his draw.

“So this is your base of operations?” She glanced around.
“Who are you and why are you here?”
She lowered her weapon toward his chest and pulled the trigger.
He released his draw as a biting electrical shock flowed through him, paralyzing his extremities.
The woman dove away from the errant arrow as he fell to his knees, then onto his face.

“Ugh.” He had heard about tasers but had never seen one. The cold, wet ground smelled moldy. He spat out dead, bitter leaves. She didn’t appear to be a cop.

“Why…did you shoot me?” he moaned. He couldn’t see her, but she tugged at his arms. He managed to turn his face a little.

“Are you there?” he called out. What’s she doing?
“Get up,” she ordered.
“Yeah, that’s easy for you to say. How about giving me the taser and I’ll use it on you.” His arms and legs refused to obey him.
She pulled at his waist, drawing him back, as his face dragged across the wet, rocky ground.

A tingling sensation began at his deltoids and moved down. She squeezed his shoulders, pulling him back, until all his weight rested on his knees. She kicked his boots.

“Get up!”

He brought one leg forward and pushed himself up, then the other leg. He wobbled on his feet. Her grip tightened on his arms. Queasiness hit him in the gut. Behind him, his hands still tingled. Helplessness didn’t suit him.

“What did you do to me?” He tried moving his upper body, and found his wrists were bound. Panic seized him.

“Go!” She pushed him forward.

“I’m not going anywhere until I get answers.” He turned to face her, anger welling up. No one ordered him around, least of all someone he didn’t know.

“You get questions answered when we arrive at headquarters.”
She pushed him again.
“Are you an undercover cop or something?” He stumbled forward. Maybe he’d take her down in a wrestling hold he’d learned back in high school. That is, if his limbs returned to normal.

His rope coil hung across her chest. On one shoulder, she had his bow and quiver of arrows. She carried the taser she’d used on him. He clenched his jaw.

She pushed him in the direction of the cornfield.
“Go!” She gave him another shove. The tingling in his legs and arms faded.
“Wait just a minute! I’m not leaving unless you tell me what’s going on.”
She grabbed his wrists from behind and yanked up sharply.
He doubled over in pain. “Ouch! Damn that hurts.”
She stuck the cold metal of the gun against his forehead as he straightened. His breath caught in his throat as he stared at the weapon. His heart beat so loudly, he heard the pulsing in his ears.

“I would love to finish you off now, but the I.S.P. wants to speak to you personally.”

I.S.P.? He swallowed hard, his throat and mouth parched from the effort. He’d never heard of that agency. He took his gaze off the barrel momentarily and glanced into her dark, brown eyes framed in long lashes. Her brows furrowed in anger and her lips frowned.

“Look, I don’t know what you’re talking about, Scout’s honor but I need to get help. There’s been an accident and we’re wasting time.” He turned away, but she caught his restraints, twisted his wrists and immobilized him.

“Ouch. This has gone on long enough. Show me your I.D.”
“What are you talking about? Go!” She waved her weapon at him.
He refused to move.
“Not until you tell me what’s going on. And who are you, anyway?”
“You will go.” She shoved him so hard he lost his balance, stumbling backward. He tripped over a dead tree in the path, falling on his backside.
“Oooof!” He glared up at her. He turned on his side to get up then froze when he saw it.

Another space ship, only this one was whole. He recalled what he had seen earlier. There were two lights in the sky. Two space ships!


Genesis watched as Dram tried to get up from the wet ground. Her patience with him had ended. Now what? He stared at something through the underbrush. Exasperated, she bent down to locate the object of his attention. The Guardian? Before she could straighten, he wrapped his legs around her ankles and yanked her to the ground. She hit the dirt hard and the laser flew from her hand.

“Ugh!” She groped for the weapon. He threw himself on top of her, his body pressed against her breasts. She should kill him for his transgression.

“Look! There’s the other spaceship. They’re probably searching for the one that crashed. We’ve got to get help before the aliens show up. So quit this game you’re playing and untie me.”

Confusion engulfed her. He talked nonsense. His face, close to hers, breathed warmth against her cool skin. Blue eyes, wide with fear, captivated her and the heat from his body warmed her. Her pulse quickened, as a tingling rippled through her at light speed when their gazes met. They were motionless for an instant. His lips, inches from hers.

Her fingers found the laser. Good! She pulled it up to the side of his face. Anger infused her as she itched to fire the weapon. “Get off me now, or you will die right here.” She tensed her jaw. Her carelessness had almost cost her. This man who had abducted both her parents and all the women from her village had abducted others as well. He deserved to die.

His legs straddled her as he used strong back muscles to pull himself up. He rolled off her and to the side where he rocked forward onto his hands, jamming his heels into the ground. He jumped to his feet in one motion. His gaze fixed on her as she scrambled to stand. She kept the weapon pointed at his head while he tensed his jaw.

How did he do that? “No more tricks!” She shouted as she waved the laser at him. Cautiously, she kept watch on him and gathered his things then pressed the hatch release button on the scanner.

Dram’s gaze darted toward The Guardian and back to her. His eyes widened.
“Oh, my God, you’re the…alien?” He stumbled backward.
She grabbed his shoulder to keep him upright. She couldn’t let him escape now.
“Go.” She turned him around to face The Guardian then pushed him forward. He acted strange. Maybe he’d suffered brain damage after the crash.
She shoved the laser in his back as he moved toward the ship. He walked differently now and seemed dazed going up the ramp. She held his arm, guiding him inside.
The I.S.P. reported him as cocky and arrogant with no regard for authority. His injury must have changed his behavior. Ten long anos of searching for him was finally over.
She studied his yellow tunic, made of strange material she had never seen. It repelled water.

She glanced at her own unicrin, the wet fabric stuck to her skin. Her body was chilled from the rain seeping through to her extremities.

Dram stopped when he reached the cage.

She pulled the yav from her scanner, zapping the lock mechanism and slid the heavy malloid door sideways. She shoved Dram inside.

Suddenly, a biting sting paralyzed her. Dizziness overtook her and she fell.


Numb with fear, Adam heard a body hit the floor. He swung around to find the woman at his feet. A man, wearing a light blue suit, like the woman’s, hovered over her, taking the black box off her shoulder. He had her weapon in one hand, and another one in a thigh holster as he straightened and turned to face him.

His mouth dropped open in shock and his pulse quickened as the man facing him appeared a mirror image. From the white-blond hair, pale blue eyes and medium tan, to the same build and six foot frame. The stranger stared back as he squinted to examine his face more closely. The older man had the beginnings of crows’ feet where he did not. Did he smile or was that a smirk?

“You must be Dram.”
“How did you know?”
“She mistook me for you.” He glanced down at her still body. Did he hurt her? “Is she dead?” The thought bothered him more than he expected.
“No, but she will be when I get through with her.”
Dram grabbed her arm and dragged her into the cell then turned to leave. He stepped over her, following Dram out, but Dram shoved him back.
“Sorry, boy.” He slammed the door shut.
“Hey, wait! I don’t belong here. The whole thing is a big mistake.”
“Actually, everything is working out perfectly.” Dram raised one blond eyebrow and smirked again. He hesitated before picking up his possessions then stowed them in some kind of compartment.

He watched as anger boiled inside. “Be careful with my stuff.” His father had taught him how to hunt and his bow and arrows were all he had left of his dad.

Dram ignored him and headed toward a door. He turned back and pressed a button on the black box. “You won’t need those anymore.” The ramp to the ship closed as Dram entered the other room. Dazed, he watched as the opening hissed shut behind Dram.

He glanced around the interior of the vessel as his gut tightened in fear. “God, help me.”

Shiny metal, like new stainless steel, covered everything including the floor, the ceiling, and the walls. Inside, the place seemed round. Outside, it had appeared football shaped. Three doors, evenly spaced apart, stood across from the main entrance. The one Dram walked through was on the far right of the cell. On the far left was a pedestal table, encircled by two benches. Compartments of various sizes lined the walls on either side of his prison.

Between the left lockers and his cage was a large circle flush with the floor. It took up space with a man-hole cover of sorts. No hinges or handle adorned it. Above that spot, in the ceiling, another similar shape existed.

He leaned against the bars and closed his eyes. He should have stayed in bed this morning. Two of his visions had come true. The first time he’d had premonitions, his life had changed drastically, making him an orphan. And now this had happened.

He shook his head. Loneliness he could deal with. Only God knew what would happen now. He felt nauseous and wanted to puke.

Lord, don’t let me end up a science experiment for aliens.

His twenty-six-year life flashed before his eyes. Memories of his family, days at the orphanage, right up to his current construction job, working for his friend, Jeremy. He liked his job, too.

Suddenly, a quiet hum started, causing a light vibration under his feet. We’re moving. His life had just changed. He lowered his head.

He noticed the young woman sprawled out across the metal floor. He let his tired, hungry body slide slowly to the ground. He understood how she had mistaken him for Dram. To share the face of a total stranger seemed uncanny, especially an alien. How ironic, though, that the man she thought she’d captured had turned around and abducted her. Now they both suffered the same fate.

Her dirty, drenched white suit clung to her unconscious body, showing off luscious curves and bare skin underneath.

“Hmmm.” How interesting. He leaned closer to get a better view. Why hadn’t he noticed before?

His flesh was chilled because he wore jeans soaked at the knees and a sweatshirt wet around the neck. He turned sideways, pried off his muddy boots, and wriggled his toes. Then, sitting cross-legged, he leaned against the bars and realized he had no other shoes when the air cooled his feet.

Thoughts of things he’d left behind on Earth like his fishing poles, cabin, and Jeep, crossed his mind. He banged his head against the bars. Would he ever return home again? He thought he had problems with a clingy girlfriend and a stray cat. When Jeremy comes over later this morning to go fishing, he won’t be there. Would Jeremy search for him?


In the Navigation room, Dram straightened in his chair. Thank goodness the storm had dissipated. Flying in bad weather had been difficult. He lifted a lever then tapped ‘location’ on the keypad of the Nav-U-Com.

The monitor flashed astronomical charts across the screen until stopping on one with ten planets. He punched in ‘system?’ The display showed: ‘SSO, or star system one. Two questionable, might be moons.’

“Great,” he mumbled, as he typed in ‘location within system?’ Twenty-seven years had passed since his last visit. He smiled and his heart lightened at the memories while the monitor displayed: ‘third planet from un-named star.’

“Now you’re talking,” he said. He identified ‘Earth’ for the database. His fingers flew across the keys, spelling ‘escape trajectory?’ The display showed Earth and changing graphics of a window outside the planet. It aimed at the star with coordinates listed above the drawings.

He typed ‘enhancement’ to get a closer view.

Hmmm, what had Emma called it? He entered ‘sun’ for the database then hit the keys and spelled ‘Plexus?’ His mind briefly reflected on the only woman he had ever loved.

The coordinates appeared along with the wormholes and trajectory through hyperspace from the sun.

He punched in ‘window’ and the graphics displayed once more, aiming at the sun. He set the destination for its gravity well, entering the parameters, and then pulled back on the controls. The ship lifted off the ground 300 centikiks. He pointed the ovoidal shape toward the giant star.

Relieved, he settled in his seat, his clothes sodden from his recent ordeal. He would have to find something to change into once he left the Earth’s gravity. He glanced around the Nav-room. State of the art technology, compliments of the Interplanetary Space Patrol. How nice. Their seal was stamped on the center of the console. No doubts as to ownership. How did the woman get a ship like this? Unless she worked for them. She seemed a little young to recruit into service.

He clasped his hands behind his head and remembered sadly the times he and his partner, Timna, had close calls with the I.S.P. But Timna no longer had to worry about them. One minute he’d controlled the ship, the next, Timna was dead. Luckily, he’d survived.

He gazed out the view port at the sun. Until he got within this system, he hadn’t realized someone pursued him. Emma called this the solar system.

He and Timna had tried to shake off their pursuer, but nothing had worked. Why would a lone, young woman chase them, anyway?

How ironic that she’d found the very person he had come to find, thinking the man from Earth was him. Perfect. She seemed convinced of the boy’s identity. Perhaps others could be, too. The boy resembled him more than he had anticipated. Now hopeful, he had to create a flawless plan.

Already behind schedule, he had to return to his base on Meta to get the last shipment out to Z. If Z didn’t approve the merchandise, his business was kunnarled. Hmmm. An idea formed in his brain. He just might succeed with the boy’s help.


Back in the cell, Adam yanked and wriggled his wrists in frustration. Whatever the woman had used to bind them, held fast. He couldn’t reach his Swiss Army knife in his jeans pocket. If she woke, maybe she’d help him.

He thought of Dram again and how disturbing it was to share features with a man not related. He was an only child, something he and his parents had in common. No chance Dram could be related. He shook his head. He had to get those thoughts out of his mind. Both of them were aliens, yet they appeared human. When he was on top of her, though, she’d had all the right equipment.

Did they have red blood? Maybe a star out there had a twin to everyone on Earth? Was it possible two planets shared the same history or God?

He was taught that God had created the universe and everything in it. Perhaps God didn’t stop with Earth. What if He made men on other planets as well? It would be a waste to set people in just one place when He initially had so many stars and galaxies.

God meant for him to meet this woman. Otherwise, why have that premonition?

Stories of aliens looking less than human must be true, too. Somebody had witnessed them, hadn’t they?

Confused, he leaned his head against the bars of the cell. He had too much to think about now.

He heard the woman stir. Her lids fluttered open, and her lips moved. “Malek?” Her eyes widened at the sight of him.
“What?” He leaned closer to hear her.
She lunged for his throat.

“Whoa!” He fell back as her hands squeezed tight around his neck, his airway closing off. He twisted and turned, trying to shake her loose, but she held firm. Her weight, pressing against him, knocked him off balance and he rolled to his side. He flipped to his back. He didn’t want to die. Not now. Not this way. He had to survive.

Something struck him in the face while she pressed harder on his throat. A couple of medallions dangled in front of him. Both identical and shaped like trees encircled in metal. They hung around her neck with long leather straps.

He remembered a wrestling maneuver and drew his knees tight to his chest. He wedged his feet between him and her soft body, beneath her breasts. Then he forced his legs out straight, shooting her across the small cell. She slammed into the bars opposite him.

She sat there, dazed. Her eyes were wide in surprise. Two large footprints were imprinted on her outfit, just under each breast.

He rolled onto his side, coughing and gagging. He coughed so hard, he heaved, almost puking. He managed to roll into a kneeling position, his head against the floor.

“I am not Dram!” His voice was hoarse.

He pulled himself up and sat back on his heels, wiping his mouth on the shoulder of his rain slicker.

“Dram is flying this space ship.” The awful taste would not go away. “Dram…” He coughed again, anger infused him. “Dram put you in here!”

“You tricked me,” she said, glaring at him.

“Yeah, well if I was Dram, how did I knock you out? My hands are tied behind my back.” He twisted his body around to show her his bound wrists, aching from the restraints.

“And,” he continued. “I certainly wouldn’t be in this cage with you!” he snapped. “I had a life on Earth before you came along. You’ve changed everything!”

Her eyes narrowed as she glared at him. She pulled her knees up to her chest and lowered her head.

“Your fate could be worse, Earth man,” she replied, tensing her jaw. Her brows deeply furrowed.

“Oh, yeah? What could be worse than being abducted from my home?” He tightened his fists, irritating the raw areas under the restraints.

“I could have killed you,” she whispered harshly.


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