Author: Diane Burton
Genre: science fiction romance
Kidnapped by aliens? By mistake?
Wise-cracking mechanic Jessie Wyndom gets the surprise of her life when she's accidentally transported aboard an Alliance of Planets starship. Then, she learns an identical twin who was raised on an alien planet has taken her place on Earth. They are victims of a scientific experiment that separated Terran twins before birth. Jessie doesn't believe it. This is all a gag perpetrated by her brother and his nerdy friends.
Years of discipline enables Captain Marcus Viator to maintain the austere, emotionless persona prized on his planet, Serenia. Until he meets the bold, impertinent Jessie. She must go back to Earth before she disrupts his well-organized life. When he tries to return his unwilling visitor, he discovers the ship has left Earth's orbit--supposedly at his command. When more sabotage crops up, Marcus and Jessie must work together to protect the crew and themselves. As their attraction grows, treachery and violence force them into decisions that could separate them forever.
A portion of the wall to Jessie’s right parted to reveal a doorway. A tall man in a burgundy jumpsuit with a silver collar strode into the room.
Oo-whee. What a hunk. Raven black hair and brows, a blade-straight nose, and a strong jaw. No five o’clock shadow for this guy. He had soot-black lashes to die for and silver eyes. Hold on. Silver eyes? She shivered at their intensity. Not in fear but in a purely feminine reaction. Yowza. Get me a fan.
“My name is Captain Marcus Aurelius Viator of the Alliance starship Freedom. This is Ensign Drakus, a member of our Security team.” The tall man indicated his considerably shorter companion.
Intent on the hunk, Jessie hadn’t even noticed the little guy who climbed on a step and peered into the pedestal monitor. She stretched out her hand. “Hi, I’m—”
“Captain. I checked the coordinates in the booth.” Drakus nodded to the upper right wall. “I just verified them here. This fem was transported from a residence outside Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, on the North American continent, Earth. If she is the owner, her name is Jessica Marie Wyndom. Age: twenty-nine. Occupation: repairman.”
“Transported?” She snorted. “Ri-ight. Okay, I’ll play along. But, c’mon, guys, let’s be PC. I’m a repairperson. So, is there a secret salute I should know?” She dropped her hand and glanced at the little guy. “A troll. Nice costume, kid. Aren’t you a little young to be one of my nerdy brother’s friends?”
The man who called himself Captain Viator raised a finely sculpted black eyebrow. “Ensign Drakus is not a child. He is a Trucanian.”
She snorted again. “From the planet Trucania, I suppose.”
“The planet Trucan,” the troll corrected with glee.
“Right. And I’ve been kidnapped by aliens.” She rolled her eyes. “Give me a break. I’m not going to fall for that gag. I recognize Tim’s handiwork here.”
“Captain, she does not believe—”
The tall man held up his hand. “It is better that she not.”
An uneasy feeling settled in the pit of her stomach. She shook it off. “I like your outfit, big guy. Pretty authentic looking.” Hobbling on one shoe, she circled the Captain, examining him. “You’re quite an improvement over the geeks Tim usually hangs with.” She stopped behind him. “Great buns.”
A spot of red appeared on the man’s neck above the silver Mandarin collar of his one-piece suit. He had a small black mole just behind his right ear.
The troll, whose uniform was forest green, looked up. “She doesn’t understand, Captain. I’ve heard Terrans have minimal intelligence and—”
“Minimal intelligence? You techno-weenies think nobody is as smart as you? This is one of your conventions, isn’t it?” She hobbled around the room, checking out the large picture first. “Wow. This looks like the window on the Death Star—the one Luke crashes through right before Darth Vader says—” She deepened her voice. “—Luke, I am your father.” She grinned over her shoulder.
The two didn’t smile.
She started to move on when you realized the ‘lights’ in the picture were moving. “Holy cow! Just like in Harry Potter, where the people in photos move. Is this a hologram?” She reached out.
“Do not—” Captain Viator warned.
Something sizzled beneath her fingers. An electric shock.
“—touch,” he finished.
“Ow.” She shook her hand. “That’s some security system you have. I wasn’t going to steal your picture.”
“That is not a picture. It is a force field.”
“A force field? Like in science fiction movies? Right.” She winked before wandering over to the bank of computer monitors. Lights blinked, foreign symbols raced across the screen. “I have to hand it to you guys. This stuff looks pretty authentic. Tim told me about your games.”
“Cap-tain,” the little guy muttered. “She thinks this is a simulation of space adventures that Terrans like to play. They even have gatherings for fans.”
“Terrans? Wait a minute. Aren’t you guys supposed to say ‘Earthlings’?”
“Terra means Earth in one of your ancient languages,” the Captain explained as if speaking to a child.
Drakus peered at her. “Sir? Doesn’t she look like Lieutenant Qilana?”
The Captain gave her an odd look. “Where is the officer who was in this room when you arrived?”
“No one was here.” She glanced from the Captain to the troll. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
If you enjoy the humor and adventure of Star Wars and Star Trek, then you’ll enjoy Switched. This was my first published book, so it maintains a special place in my heart. Switched was supposed to be a single book, but it turned into a trilogy because the characters wouldn’t leave me alone. 😊
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Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, and Numbers Never Lie, romantic suspense, and The Alex O’Hara PI Mystery series. She is a regular contributor to the Paranormal Romantics blogsite. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan, close to their two children, five grandchildren, and Lake Michigan.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
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