Aliens, Smith and Jones

TEMPORARILY OUT OF PRINT
it will hopefully return in 2017
AliensSmithJonesM/M | SF | suspense | aliensRainbow Awards 2012 - Honorable Mention
75,000 words | 200 pages (pdf) | novel
1st edition published by Storm Moon Press (Jul 20 2012)

For a glimpse into how Primrose was founded, read The Sea Serpent in Orkney

Received an Honourable Mention
in the Best Gay Sci-Fi / Fantasy category
of the Rainbow Awards 2012:
I loved this spin on the “Men in Black” theme! I don’t usually go for sci-fi, but Ms. Arden pulled me in to her story very quickly. This is mystery and suspense and romance and danger all wrapped up in a fun and well-written package. –Bobby

Aliens, Smith and Jones

BLURB
Connor Smith works for Primrose, an organization tasked with monitoring and tracking aliens and alien technology. It’s a job that doesn’t know the meaning of “nine-to-five”. It also doesn’t leave much room for a social life, a complication that Connor hasn’t minded, until now. At the prodding of his best friend, Connor reluctantly puts himself back in the dating pool, even though it means lying about his remarkable life.

Elsewhere, Noah Jones has led a remarkable life of his own. Stranded on Earth in 1648, Noah was forced to transform himself permanently into human form to survive. He soon learned that in doing so, he’d become effectively immortal, aging only at a glacial pace. Alone, with no way to contact his people or return home, Noah becomes a silent observer of human civilization — always in the world, but never of the world. Then, hundreds of years later, he sees a face in a crowd and instantly feels a connection that he thought he’d never feel again. But he’s too late: Connor’s already taken.

Destiny is not without a sense of humor, though, and the two men are pulled inexorably closer, snared by the same web of dangers and conspiracies. Worse, Primrose is now aware of Noah, and they aren’t ones to leave an alien unrestrained. So while Connor struggles to understand the strange pull he feels toward Noah, forces without as well as within are working against them to keep them apart.

EXCERPT

The Dross Woods, four-bloody-something in the morning, hunting for six-armed, two-legged white creatures.

Agent Connor Smith, personal assistant of Chief Security Lieutenant Natalie Tallis of Primrose UK, yawned. Glaring at the lingering mist clinging to his ankles, he tightened the straps of his field gear. He took his tranq out of its holster and flicked his torch on. The dense, tall trees hampered visibility, and the smattering of shrubs didn’t help either. The path, at least, was wide enough for two.

“How many were there again?” Agent Simpson, team Alpha’s leader, asked. His dark, bald head gleamed in the early dawn as he moved to stand next to Connor and flicked his own torch on.

“Ten, I think.” Or eleven. Connor hadn’t been awake enough to pick up everything during the interview with the Cleaton brothers, two ageing sheep farmers who had called it in. Connor wondered about the logic of having a sheep farm so close to this vast and dense piece of forest. It was asking for trouble.

“They kept them in the stables, right? So, what happened?”

“Broke out.” Connor said as he trailed into the woods after Simpson. Though Connor outranked the stocky but agile team leader, Simpson had at least a decade of field experience on him. Simpson’s torch lit up the uneven, knobby-rooted ground in front of them, and Connor used his to search the shrubbery next to the path. He wished he’d brought an extra coffee, because he was not awake enough for this. Hopefully, the pale colour of the creatures would make them easier to spot.

“So, broke out?”

“Have you seen the thing they called stables? It’s nothing more than a rickety old shed. Even one-armed creatures would have had no problem breaking out, let alone these… Noren, I think the brothers called them.”

“All I got was that we’re here to catch us some aliens.” Simpson veered left, following the whimsical bend in the path, and looked back. “It was a late night.”

“Right, you were chasing another missing artefact. Lieutenant Tallis filled me in. File’s probably making its way to my desk as we speak.” Connor squinted, aiming his torch at some shrubbery to his left. A mix of red, yellow, and purple flowers brought some colour to the otherwise dreary looking forest. “It’s the eighth time this has happened. It’s becoming a problem.”

“Don’t I know it. So, did they say how big these fellas are?”

“Chest height or about. Why? Spot something?” Connor let his light join Simpson’s, and they watched the shrubs shudder and shake until Simpson stepped forward and the sound of a twig snapping echoed around them, quickly followed by meowing. A cat. Just a cat. Connor shrugged at Simpson and they moved forward again.

Somewhere far away a shout rang out: a high pitched screech that caused goose bumps.

“One down!” someone called through the comlink—team Bravo’s Forente or Briers, Connor guessed. “And there are at least two others here.”

“That way,” Simpson said, pointing to their right, onto a narrow path overgrown with creepers.

Connor nodded, but Simpson had already turned away.

Step by step, they followed the narrow path, the darkness only broken by the light of their torches. They weren’t just hampered by the creepers as they moved along—listening, stopping, and listening again—but also by having to push low branches out of their way every other step.

One by one, more teams called in their catches.

“They seem to like sheep,” Forente commented after his first catch. “I heard one bleat, and the next thing we know, one of those Noren is coming right at us.”

“Good to know,” Simpson said. “Keep up the good work.”

“How many is that now?” Connor eyed the shrubbery in front of him, squinting as he pointed the torch at it. Eerie how dark a forest could be at daybreak. Connor preferred the smell of fresh moss to the damp, woodsy smell that hung all around him.

“Seven. I think.”

So, three to go, if Connor remembered correctly, and he and Simpson had yet to run into any.

Something rustled behind them, and Connor turned, aiming his tranq. He hoped it wasn’t just another cat. More rustling, but no movement in the shrubs. The foliage seemed far denser here—they must have reached the middle of the woods by now.

Connor was about to go after Simpson, who was still following the path, when a sudden crunching of leaves to his right stopped him. Something whitish moved behind a tree, too large to be a rabbit. He wished he’d paid more attention when Lieutenant Tallis had told them what to look for. Not that she’d been more awake than he was. Simpson wasn’t the only one who’d been working late. The—

Another crunch, nowhere near the tree, though. If there were two Noren around, Connor needed Simpson. He tapped the comlink. “Simpson?”

“That was me. The path circles back onto itself.”

That was a relief. “There’s one behind the tree in front of me.”

“Right. Want me to move around it?”

“Good idea.” Connor could already hear Simpson moving when he remembered the comment about the sheep. “Wait. You don’t have to. Just draw it out, bleat if you have to. All I need is a clear shot. I can’t do anything as long as it’s hiding behind that tree,” Connor said, keeping an eye on the tree that hid the Noren.

He saw Simpson’s torch from the corner of his eye. He hoped it was just the one, even though they didn’t seem particularly violent toward humans.

Simpson’s imitation of a sheep sounded nothing like the real thing, yet the Noren apparently thought it genuine enough, since it came out from behind the tree, straight into the dense shrubbery next to it.

“Bugger.” Connor tracked the movement, but all he could see were shrubs. “I can’t get the shot like this. It fled right into the shrubbery.”

Simpson didn’t reply. Instead, he made his way around Connor and repeated his sheep imitation.

The shrubs shuddered, and Connor narrowed his eyes, hoping to get a clear shot this time.

Simpson bleated again, and this time the Noren came running out of the shrubbery. Connor aimed and pulled the trigger. The Noren went down hard. Hit in one. He knelt next to the creature, taking the cuffs out.

“Nice shot, Smith,” Simpson said when he reached them.

“Thanks.” Connor said as he cuffed all three sets of arms. It seemed like overkill, but he knew better than to take any risks. He was about to activate his earpiece to ask how many were still on the loose when a shrill whistle sounded, calling them back.

“Well,” Simpson said as he helped Connor pick the Noren up, “I guess that’s that.”

“All in a day’s work, Simpson, all in a day’s work.” At least, for a personal assistant at Primrose.

REVIEWS
Pixie at M/M Good Book Reviews
"This is a great alien story that has a wealth of detail, great characters and an intriguing plot … Aliens, Smith and Jones is far from the typical alien story … The sex in this book is really hot and it is intense when Noah and Conner finally get it together … I am going to recommend this one to those who like clandestine agencies, aliens, secret agendas, alien loving, a great storyline and a happy ending."

Leslie at Reviews by Jessewave
"If you like the idea behind the Men in Black films and the TV series Torchwood, you’ll have fun with this book … The author did a great job with making the Rei intriguing and different yet also compassionate and sympathetic. I particularly liked the way Noah became human and what he did with all his recordings. The nature and use of memories was a strong theme in the book and Noah worked well as a symbol as well as a character … So, overall a fun read that didn’t quite push all my buttons, but was engaging and solid nonetheless. If you enjoy thinky action sci fi, Aliens, Smith and Jones will be for you."

Jenre at Well Read
"Overall, there were good and bad points to this book for me, but I felt the good parts triumphed over the parts that didn’t work so well … Those readers who are looking for a well written and exciting science fiction story with a romantic twist may well find this one to your taste."

Amy at Joyfully Jay
"I enjoyed this novel a lot. I didn’t know what to expect based upon the title, and what I got was an action-packed, romantic journey set in a compelling world where humans and aliens live, for the most part, in harmony … When it comes right down to it, this story is about soul mates, whose connection surpasses all other obstacles (and there are many), and whose love literally makes life worth living. I found the world that lives within Arden’s brain to be fascinating. So even if you don’t like aliens, there’s a little something here for everyone."

Michael Joseph
"The plot is very solid, with a strong element of mystery. The mystery isn’t all that difficult. I had it figured out about halfway through, but there are enough twists and turns in the story that I wasn’t sure until the end. Even then, there were a few surprises in store. The romance aspect, and this is, at its heart, a romance, is a nice change from the usual “meant for each other” love stories. The complication of having Connor torn between two men is unusual, and provides a nice tension that many romances lack."

Darien at Pants Off Reviews
"I am in love with the writing, Ms Arden is one of the few authors able to grip me and have me reading at 3 in the morning cursing and throwing a tantrum like a 2 year old … It’s a fast-paced novel, with a plot, I did not necessarily enjoy but it came together brilliantly. This would make a fantastic series filled with awesomeness, and I would love to read about Connor and Noah again … Overall, I liked the book, the world building is quite good, and there are some fascinating characters."

Elisa at Elisa Rolle Reviews
"I really, really like the almost “familiar” feeling of the story; true, it deals with aliens and co. but it was not really a paranormal story … I have already stated in the past, one of my favorite sci-fi movie was Starman, since there was the supernatural element without being too over the top… and this novel reminded me a lot of that movie. Plus there is a drama element to shake the story up a bit, but it’s not really so big to be the real center of the story; the growing bond between Connor and Noah manages to remain the focus of the story and of the reader’s interest."

Whit at Live Your Life, Buy The Book
"This was a pretty good book. I thought the bad guy was fairly obvious which I think in this instance did take away from the book. Noah was pretty fascinating but his story was sad. The story had some ups and downs as far as pacing went. I wasn’t overly invested in the relationships. Maybe because it all got started so late in the books? I don’t know. It’s just not one of those books I feel the need to rave about but worth the read."

Alison at Top 2 Bottom Reviews
"I found Noah to be well written in that his experiences were believable, even down to why he chose “Noah” for a name. The start was intriguing, and the way Connor and Noah first meet is very interesting… Overall, it was enjoyable…"

Victoria Zagar at Infinite Love
"The bond between Connor and Noah is deep, intense and quite beautiful. Watching them become closer as they discover the nature of their connection is quite satisfying. The supporting cast is pretty strong and I especially loved Connor’s assistant, Isa, who is always trying to set Connor up with dates. I also liked reading about the work of the Primrose agency as they tracked down aliens."

Tj at Review Roses
"This is a bit of a different spin on the same idea of aliens and government agencys. Primrose is such a unique idea from most other books dealing with like materials. I was honestly surprised by the idea of an agency like them. The story line takes a while to develop the relationship between Smith and Jones so don’t be surprised by this. As matter of fact Smith has a boyfriend though most of the book. Jones and Smith are very refined in how they handle this situation as well."

 

Aliens, Smith and Jones © 2012 Blaine D. Arden. All rights reserved

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