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1950711323 (ISBN13: 9781950711321)
“A thrilling ride that will leave you on the edge of your seat! I need MORE of Phi and his… shall we say… unique physiology. Ten thousand stars!!!” -USA Today Bestselling Author, Myra Danvers
I have been chosen.
One moment I was leaving work, the next I was entertaining a silvery-green alien intent on knowing me fully.
Their invasion of our world nonviolent, seamless.
They dress as human men, eat in human restaurants, vote, pay taxes, and are controlling every last one of us.
I don’t understand how no one else can see what I see? That their beauty is a trap.
They have come here for the women, intent on creating life partners—through seduction, mental manipulation, employing muscular bodies capable of fulfilling any female desire. Shaping themselves to our wants.
Until we’ve each been claimed, marked, and changed. Assimilated.
We don’t have a choice. They can make us like it. They can make us desire them. They can make us do anything they want.
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Cliché as it was, I set a cigarette to my lips and struck a match. The quick scent of sulfur, that beautiful moment of burnt wood… then first inhale singed the back of my throat. Nicotine laced smoke swirling through my lungs. Dark air. Dark thoughts. Out of practice, aware that my actions were foolish, the taste of tobacco was no longer one of pleasure as it had been while clubbing in my twenties.
The cheap menthol tasted flat, dirty even.
It tasted exactly how I felt.
The crumpled pack had been going stale in my nightstand drawer for over a year. Couldn’t tell you why I’d never chucked it. Maybe I liked the accessibility to a frivolous, expensive pleasure. Maybe I was just lazy in the small spaces where I could afford to be.
I suppose it was providence—there I was, sitting at the end of my sex-mussed bed, sucking on a cancer stick… because.
“Explain to me why your back is to me and a cigarette is in your mouth.” Such a soft voice: velvet on the ears—almost a physical sensation to hear.
I exhaled, monotone, and watched the sorry puff of smoke add to the already unpleasant smells lingering in the dingy square of my room. “It’s a human post-coitus ritual.”
“No, it is not.” I heard him shift behind me, as if he contemplated edging closer before changing his mind. “It is a formula used in your media to visually style the end of good sex. Should I interpret this act as a sign you were pleased with how I fucked you? I would prefer to be told in other ways that do not cause harm to your body.”
Sucking smoke into my mouth, swirling it with a tired tongue, I puffed my cheeks and let it free. A fake inhale. A mutiny.
Which, in its small and stupid way, felt necessary.
But he meant well. He must have.
Sometimes it was difficult to tell if the ‘new species’ were using earthling cues properly. Was he sincere? Did that dusting of hurt in his vocalizations mean anything? Or was he using the manipulations earth men so loved to pepper through their words to garner praise?
How did one even describe sex with these… men? “I enjoyed it.”
“You don’t smoke.” The softest rabbit fur, the most lovely of spine tingles. “This is not a habit that is healthy, nor is your current action offering you a sense of joy in this moment.”
How the fuck would he know if I smoked or not? Not that it was any of his business…
One last drag. A real, proper inhale. I let burnt air roll around inside me, all the while holding back a building cough. Dropping the cigarette into a cloudy glass of water that had been left for days on my dresser, I exhaled the plume. Watching it shift from strong gray mass into tendrils that twisted into nothing.
The darkened air dissipated almost as quickly as my comfort with this situation.
Cutting a shy glance over my shoulder, I forced a pleasant smile. The same one pasted on my face day after grinding day at work. It failed almost as soon as it was born.
One look at him…
Sprawled, utterly naked, propped on an abundance of cheap, mismatched pillows, he waited.
Sure, I was naked too, and he had a great view of the seated top of my plump ass and tapered back, but I was ordinary. Regular.
This man… lounged, utterly unreserved, blatant in his sexuality. Brazen.
Where some kook had come up with the term ‘little green men’ to describe his race I’d never understand.
There was nothing little about any of them—not height, not build, not, um, their parts—that warranted the diminutive term. The specimen taking up the entirety of my bed was pure muscle, yet lacked the bulk one might imagine came with such strength. There was leanness, definition, in shoulders that were too broad for a human and waist too narrow. Over all that strength was silvery skin, though it did favor green. And just like us humans with our freckles and personal features, there were random defining marks that set him apart from the others of his kind.
Phi had stripes.
Those markings had caught my eye from the first moment I saw him reading a menu at one of my tables. Few and far between, angled to highlight his bone structure, those stripes reminded me more of sexy 1970’s David Bowie than any of Earth’s exotic animals. The most striking, my favorite mark, was a line bisecting his face straight down the center. Down his throat, and now that I’d seen him au natural, led to the treasure between his thighs.
“Emily.” God, the way he spoke my name was a caress.
He was chiding me for my reticence, for my failure to meet his gaze… and I’d always been a sucker for guilt trips. Up went brown eyes, my attention all his. “Yeah?”