Intergalactic intrigue, sizzling sexual tension, and a giant snake shifter to be vanquished. Things are never dull.
Enjoying much-deserved R&R on the black sand beaches of the ruling Authority’s planet Enitrus, Cliff Blood is not happy when his brother Matt and his lover Rum show up to spoil his vacay with bad news. It seems Brand Lotus, evil snake-villain with a plan to take over Earth by force, has been discovered heading back to Earth and he’s targeting the Bloods’ favorite cops.
Problem is, the Blood boys aren’t going to make it back to Earth before Lotus gets there, so Littlejohn and Petra have to fend for themselves, while negotiating a new development in their relationship that already has them slightly off-balance.
The air smelled like flowers, and the place where she rested was cool and quiet. Her limbs felt unnaturally heavy and her eyes seemed stuck closed. Petra lay there for a long moment, afraid she was dead. On some level she realized the thought should be terrifying, but she appeared unable to work up any fear. A curious calm had settled over her.
After a moment she became aware of a strange whirring sound that accompanied each burst of flower-scented air. Her mind cast around for something familiar to tie the sound to. Nothing surfaced.
Petra jumped slightly, her eyelids quivering at the unfamiliar voice. It was tinny, like it came from a long way away. A cool breeze slipped across her cheeks and something soft touched her skin.
“Come on, beauty. Open those pretty eyes.”
Petra reached up and rubbed her face where the touch had tickled it. She managed to crank her eyes open enough to see that she was in some kind of garden, surrounded by green plants and flowers. The sunlight stung and her lids snapped shut again.
“Lower the light, Blossom.”
Petra frowned. How did one lower the sunlight? Filled with curiosity about the voice, she fought to open her lids again. A large bug buzzed by her nose and she lifted a hand toward it.
“Hey! Watch out, beauty. You almost clipped my wing there.”
Petra’s eyes opened wide and focused on the tiny man hovering before her on the air, dragon-fly-like wings beating wildly. He was dressed all in green, with a mop of red hair that fell into his eyes. His tiny face was handsome despite the glare, and his arms were crossed over his chest in annoyance. “I’m…” Her voice croaked and she coughed. Her throat felt like it was filled with sand. “I’m sorry. I thought you were a bug.”
The glare deepened and a leather-clad toe tapped the air. “And that’s supposed to make me feel better.”
Petra suddenly realized what she was seeing before her eyes. “You’re a fairy.”
Tiny red eyebrows lifted, disappearing beneath the mop of red. “Beauty and brains. I’m impressed.”
Petra licked her dry lips. “I’m smart enough to know sarcasm when I hear it.”
The fairy’s glare finally disappeared, replaced by a wide smile. The smile looked very natural there. “Okay, I’ll forgive you. I’m sure you’re disoriented from your healing.” He surged forward, going horizontal and hovering inches from her face so he could look into her eyes. “Just watch those hands while you’re down here. Not everybody’s thrilled to have giants in our midst.”
Petra frowned. Giants? But the little fairy buzzed away, quick as a blink, and Petra was left with a hundred questions on the tip of her tongue and nobody to ask. First things first, she decided. She needed to figure out where she was. Petra pushed herself into a sitting position and looked around. She’d been lying in the center of a circular patch of dark green grass. Lush and blemish-free, the grassy area was surrounded by bushes of the deepest green, which were densely covered in flowers as big as her hand. The blossoms represented all the colors of the rainbow.
She realized she wasn’t lying under the sun as she’d first assumed. The walls around her were covered in vines with wide, triangular leaves, whose veins were a deep red color, like blood. She tilted her head and looked up, up, up to a circle of glass that was heavily etched with some kind of hieroglyphic symbols.
“A ward to keep evil and humans out. I’m told.”
Petra jumped at the sound of Littlejohn’s voice, right behind her. She slapped a hand over her chest and twisted around to glare at him. “You scared the shit out of me. Where did you come from, anyway?”
Littlejohn’s handsome face was pinched, and dark circles stained the area beneath his eyes. “I went to get these.” He handed her a small, white plate covered in something that looked like pink crackers. “Fairy bread. It doesn’t look like much but it packs quite a punch.” His smile was weary.
She took one of the dishes from him, looking around. “Where are we?”
“The fairy mound.”
“Seriously?” Petra laughed. “I can’t believe you lowered yourself –”
“Shhh! For God’s sake. Don’t piss them off. They appear to be highly sensitive, and when you make them mad those wings buzz so loud it takes an hour for your eardrums to return to normal.”
Petra smiled. “You’re afraid of a bunch of fairies?”
He arched an eyebrow. “You’ve met Rum, right? Think thousands of Rums.”
She blinked and then nodded, lowering her voice. “I see your point.”