Down to Earth, Galaxy Games Book #4, Launches 8-7-2022
When I sat down to write the fourth book in this series, I wanted the hero to be ugly–terrifying, actually. (I guess you figured that out by looking at the cover).
Maya is thrown into The Game, which is horrifying in its own right, and then winds up locked in a room with A’Dar–the big, the bad, and the ugly all rolled into one.
Then I made him into the sweetest, most protective marshmallow on the planet.
The backdrop of this book is the galaxy-wide spectacle that is The Game, a combination of The Running Man, The Hunger Games, and Spartacus. Under the guise of entertainment, people of many different species from all over the galaxy are thrown into The Game with the mandate that only one can make it out alive.
The Alanaverse isn’t often filled with rainbows and unicorns. It’s harsh out there in the wilds of space. But my Galaxy Games series is harsher than any others. If action, adventure, and dystopian hellscapes are something you enjoy in your sci-fi romance, join me for the ride of your life.
This book was so fun to write! It has all the feels, all the excitement, and smokin’ hot sex.
I hope you enjoy it.
P.S.–There’s a lot of sex and violence in this one. Skip it if it’s not your cup of tea.
Here’s the First Episode
Episode One: Welcome to The Game
“The Game will start in one standard hour. If you wish to select out, you can assemble at the roped area at the rear and be terminated before this process begins.”
What crappy movie was I watching when I fell asleep?
I feel like shit. My head is killing me like the world’s worst hangover except I haven’t had a drink for months and that was a glass of wine. Why do I feel a sharp pain below my left ear?
Forcing my eyes open, I blink hard, then try to figure out how I managed to lucid dream. In my early twenties, I read about the technique of being aware while dreaming and tried to lucid dream every night for several months with no success. Now I’m awake in my own dream. Cool.
“The Game will start in fifty-five standard minutes. If you wish to select out, you can assemble at the roped area at the rear and be terminated before this process begins.” The words are intoned by a female AI voice, just like in the movies.
Speaking of movies, I’m in a very cool sci-fi flick. There must be forty different kinds of aliens milling around in a large white dome. It’s probably thirty feet high, two-hundred feet across, and looks like it’s made from thick white plastic.
Rubbing behind my left ear, I feel a small scab covering a tiny lump.
Wait a minute. This is too real. In the past, I’ve never felt pain in a dream, noticed cold seep through the plastic flooring, or had something inserted into my body. The overhead words aren’t in English. The thing behind my ear must be a translator. Terror races through me, causing my hands to tremble.
I turn onto my knees, stand, then wobble a moment. My fear spikes when several alien females catch my movement and look at me like I’m their next meal.
“You’re awake? Come with me,” says a human. Her no-nonsense face is somehow softened by dozens of freckles, but there’s nothing soft about her grip as she pulls me to the edge of the all-white tent-like structure. Her grasp is so firm it’s painful.
“Am I dreaming?” I ask, not even giving her eye contact. I’m too busy panicking as my gaze flicks from one scary alien species to the next.
“Not unless it’s a shared dream,” the female with shoulder-length brown hair and a furrowed brow says. “My name is Emily. I’ve only been awake a few minutes. I noticed you and hoped you’d wake up soon.”
“I’m Maya. What’s going on?”
“I think we’ve all been abducted. Even the aliens seem to be prisoners. Look!”
A couple are still comatose on the floor and a few are shaking their heads as if they’re as surprised to be here as I am.
Two other human women have spied us and are jogging over, their eyes huge in their faces, looking as terrified as I feel.
“The Game will start in fifty standard minutes. If you wish to select out, you can assemble at the roped area at the rear and be terminated before this process begins.”
A male voice that doesn’t sound computer-generated booms through hidden speakers. “We have transported you to planet Earth to participate in the fourth season of The Game.”
A picture of one of the polar ice caps appears on one of the four enormous TV screens being held up by drones.
“We have injected each of you with a translator chip. This production will be filmed and broadcast throughout the galaxy. We’ll follow your progress as you make your way to the flagpole we’ve planted on the bridge of the ancient Xenon vessel located just outside this holding facility.”
Although I’m listening intently, my scrambling brain is having trouble following his words. It’s too much to absorb.
“When all but one of the two hundred original contestants are confirmed dead, the winner must touch the flagpole and will leave one million credits richer.”
All but one of us confirmed dead? Dear Lord, how do I wrap my mind around that?
“We will issue each of you a backpack supplied with bottled water, nutrition bars, shoes our computers measured you for if you do not have them, and a computer pad loaded with a map of the ship.”
I’ve never felt terror like what’s racing through me at this moment. My arms have reflexively surrounded my stomach as I hold myself tight. My eyes squeeze shut as my breath rasps through almost-closed lips.
Forcing my eyes open, I scan the room more closely. Several of the aliens are shark-colored gray with mouths equipped with several sharp rows of teeth almost slashing from ear to ear. Many of the females are over six feet tall.
A contingent of them looks like walking cockroaches. There are sleek red ones, shaggy blue ones, and some are so shockingly ugly they’re terrifying.
Each one of the aliens is female, and every one seems to be more adapted to surviving than any human could ever be.
One of the humans I haven’t been introduced to groans. She’s a cute brunette in just a t-shirt and panties. “I’m Lila.” She simply points to a light gray female with long spikes on her browridge, wrists, and ankles. One kick or backhand would maim or even kill.
Just as I glance down at myself in my shorts and t-shirt, the male announces, “There is a pallet of coveralls in the center of the structure. Equip yourself if you do not have proper clothing.”
We’re at the polar ice cap. None of us Earth girls are adequately dressed, but it will be a feeding frenzy—or a clothing frenzy—just to grab a pair of coveralls.
“We can do it if we stick together,” Emily says.
“I vote we wait till everyone has grabbed what they want,” a tiny blonde with a short crew cut says. “Let them fight over the triple X clothes. We’ll want the small ones anyway. I’m Anna.”
“I’m Maya, this is Emily. So it’s agreed. We run as a group and grab four coveralls after the mob leaves,” I say.
As we wait, watching as everyone else picks through what they want, I ask Anna, “Are you military?”
“No. Are you asking because of my hair? I just got so tired of fighting my curls, one day I cut all my hair off. I did such a bad job I had to use a razor after that.”
Well, shit. I thought she might bring some experience to our ill-equipped team.
What I’m watching isn’t pretty. There are several skirmishes, one of which leaves a yellow, feathered avian humanoid dead, sprawled on a pile of blue clothes.
“I’m not cut out for this,” Lila moans.
“We can do this together,” I urge. “Let’s just grab the stack under that poor unfortunate bird-girl and carry them back here. We can help each other roll up our cuffs while we watch each other’s backs.”
We all hold hands, as if that will save us, then run straight for the stack of blue clothes.
It seems every eye in the place is on the four of us weak Earth girls with our lack of fangs, claws, spikes, or any other visible sign of defense.
I’m at the head of the line as I snag the entire pile and dart back to where we started. My hands are so full I’m no longer able to hold anyone’s hand.
When an agonized scream pierces the frigid air, a shock of fear bolts up my spine. I don’t have to turn around to know that was one of my human companions.