Ten ways to know you’re an alien Queen:
10. You can stop a runaway plane, crack glass and manipulate objects with the sheer strength of your will.
9. Under a black light, your skin phosphors with a webwork of scales.
8. Thirteen hunky shapeshifting male aliens can’t wait to meet you, and in order to save their dying race, they all want to sleep with you.
7. A pack of supernatural hounds and their master, the Hunter, are trying to kill you. And they will not cease until you’re dead.
6. A muscular, perfectly proportioned, male alien shapeshifts into a dragon before your eyes and speaks to you via mind speech. He thinks you’re destined to be his mate.
5. Your alter ego is a dragon. And yes, you can fly.
4. The FBI thinks you’re a terrorist and assigns a special paranormal task force to deal with you.
3. When you become pregnant, you find yourself carrying not one but twenty-four babies.
2. Did I mention your babies hatch from eggs?
1. Your name is Adrianne Harris and you’re the last queen of an alien race, the Dragoon. Their fate is in your claws.
Format: E-Book and Print
Company: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
The pilot’s voice came over the speaker, loud and too cheerful. “We’ll be descending shortly. The flight attendants will be going through some procedures to ensure a safe landing. These are just precautions due to the weather. The runways are a bit icy.”
“And we don’t have enough fuel to fly to another airport?” Adrianne grumbled. How long would they circle? She just wanted to be home. To have a warm bath in her own bathtub and sleep undisturbed for ten to twelve hours. Was that so much to ask?
“O’Hare could be closed down too.” Karen flipped out her cell phone. “My husband will know what’s going on down there.”
“Sorry, ma’am. No cell phones or laptops may be on at this time,” the stewardess instructed.
“Yes, of course.” Karen cradled the phone between her chest and the baby, but did not put it away.
“You will be assuming a crash position with your feet flat on the ground, head in your lap, hands laced over the back of your neck. You may continue to hold your baby but we’d prefer if she was secured in a car seat. There is an open seat behind you.” The stewardess held out her arms.
“No, you certainly may not take my baby.” She cupped the child closer to her, cradling its head with her hand. “What is wrong with the plane?” Karen demanded.
“Ma’am, please keep your voice down. You’ll distress the other passengers.” The flight attendant gave her a stern look. A bead of sweat ran down the edge of her face, tracing a track through her makeup.
“I’m a damn passenger too.”
Adrianne’s head began to throb. Oh, it was going to be one heck of a headache. She fumbled for the bottle of ibuprofen in her purse and swallowed two pills down dry before a stewardess could remind her to secure her purse.
Beside her, Karen argued with the stewardess. Adrianne glanced over her shoulder. The fat man was having trouble following instructions. A stewardess gave him a pillow instead, something to cover his face with.
Adrianne’s ears popped. The stewardess left them to buckle herself up. Karen pulled free her cell phone and dialed a number. The baby continued to fuss.
“Eric. I’m so glad you picked up. What?” Panic laced the last word. “They can’t be for our plane. Yes. Yes. Oh God. Yes, I love you.” Her voice elevated, high-pitched, frightened. “I love you,” she repeated, then abruptly calmed, the lawyer’s mask settling over her features. “I have to go now. I’ll see you on the ground.” The phone clicked off.
Karen turned to Adrianne. “We’re going to die,” she said calmly.
Adrianne swallowed back the bile at the base of her throat. It was just the coating on the pills, nothing more. “What do you mean?” Her head rested in her lap, as instructed, but she turned it enough to see the quiet angst on Karen’s face.
“There are fire trucks and ambulances on the runway. Airport personnel cleared out one of the terminals.”
Adrianne sat up so quickly her head spun and she almost vomited. Taking a deep breath to steady herself, she glanced out the window. The ground loomed up before them. Red and blue lights gleamed as far as she dared to look. She hastily put her head in her lap.
“What did you see?”
The plane lurched, bounced, hit the runway. She had flown enough times to know it was all wrong. The shrill scream of metal meeting pavement filled her ears. Oh lord, no tires, she thought, the plane has no running gear. The plane belly-flopped down the runway, the shriek of metal cutting through her like a knife. Passengers screamed. In front of her, someone quietly recited prayers. It was this voice she heard, over the high-pitched whine of the engines, the hiss of shredding metal. An oasis of peace in the midst of chaos.
“Remember, oh most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, that sought your intercession was left unaided.”
Please, God. Please, God. Adrianne couldn’t help herself. She looked up. They were sliding sideways down the runway, heading straight for the terminal. All she could think about was how bad her head ached.
Karen was quietly sobbing, face pressed to her baby’s neck.
“I fly unto you, oh Virgin of Virgins, my mother, to thee I come, before thee, I stand…oh God.” The voice choked on a sob.
Stop it. Stop it! Adrianne’s vision blurred. The pressure was unbearable. Stop it!
They stopped. Abruptly, as if hitting a wall. Her seat belt cut into her, her body thrusting against it until she thought she’d be cut in two. She raised her head and looked out the window. The terminal loomed before them. They had stopped before striking it.
“Despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me, I pray.” A rhythmic mantra, not unlike what she recited when doing yoga. Adrianne held on to that, forcing herself to breathe calmly despite the screams echoing around her. She would not vomit. She would not!
For the briefest of moments, silence reigned. Her head throbbed. She tasted metal.
Karen raised her head. “Are we dead?”
“I hurt too bad to be dead.”
The smell of smoke assaulted her nostrils. So much for deep calming breaths. She coughed, covering her nose with the sleeve of her coat. The flight attendants were mobile again, instructing people to move. Side doors kicked open with popping noises. She couldn’t see straight. The smoke clogged her vision and her lungs. She pressed her forehead to the cool glass of the window. Rescue vehicles, lights blaring, sped down the runway. Somehow she knew they’d be too late.
Beside her, Karen fought with her seat buckle. The baby was finally silent. Adrianne reached over and freed her.
Flames licked the seats. People collapsed on top of each other in their haste to escape. Flight attendants shouted unheeded instructions.
I’m going to die. Adrianne tugged on her seat buckle. It was stuck tight, button depressed. She jerked on the strap again. The webbing was twisted not once, but twice, the kink jammed in the seatbelt adjuster.
If she was truly going to die, she didn’t want to be found sitting calmly in her seat, like she was waiting for the bus to Purgatory. If Nikki had been with her, she’d have a knife or at the very least, a scissors, something she could use to hack away at her strap.
Behind her, the fat man shrilled. A roll of his own body engulfed the seat buckle, his sausage fingers fumbled, uselessly seeking the strap. Flames crept up his pants legs. Polyester, she noted with a sick sense of detachment, as the pants ignited immediately. Great gobs of flesh blackened and dripped off his thighs. She turned her head away and vomited.
“Come on!” Karen called to her.
The acrid taste burned her throat. “My seat belt’s stuck. Go on. Get out of here!”
To her credit, Karen looked torn.
“Hurry!” Adrianne gave her a shove into the aisle.
“I’ll tell the stewardess,” Karen promised, but both knew the uselessness of those words.