Brendan has always dreamed of making alien contact. He’s about to get lucky.
When Brendan Sloan sends transmissions into deep space, he never believes he’ll actually reach aliens. The sultry voice that responds is too good to be true. He’s convinced Kira was sent by his government to keep an eye on him while he’s on vacation from his top secret communications project—until she shows up on his doorstep in a silver spaceship.
Kira has been assigned to the listening station orbiting Earth for two years—years she’s spent alone. Responding to Brendan’s broadcasts could land her in jail or worse, on a Coalition scientist’s examination table. She couldn’t ignore the connection she felt, and now, he’s the only person she can turn to for help.
Because a vicious species of aliens have set their eyes on her—and Earth—and she can’t hide her secrets forever. Can Brendan convince Kira to risk everything to help protect his planet?
Main Content: Approximately 23,914 words, 115 (5.5 x 8.5) pages
(THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMEWORLD SECURITY, Book Two)
Copyright © 2016 Cassandra Chandler
All rights reserved
Brendan sat at his table in front of a plate of cold bean burritos. He only vaguely remembered preparing them. Going through the motions of making lunch calmed him down enough to know that he wasn’t going to have an appetite for a while.
His first thought had been to call Eric, but he wasn’t sure that was the best idea. If this was a ruse to get Brendan back on the project, that would be playing right into their hands. If it wasn’t…
Two ideas presented themselves. Either Kira really wasn’t supposed to talk to him, and letting Eric know about it would possibly get her into serious trouble, or she was in such serious trouble that Brendan might already be too late to help her.
He pushed away from the table and started to pace. The cabin was too small. Stifling him. He couldn’t think.
He walked outside and slammed the door behind him. A walk along the lake’s shore would help clear his head.
Two courses of action. Call Eric or don’t call Eric. Maybe he could make the call, but sort of hedge around the issue. Maybe he could ask Eric to talk off the record. Of all the people Brendan had worked with, Eric was the only one Brendan trusted. It was still a lot to ask.
His chest ached. He rubbed it absently, staring out over the water. He wanted to hear Kira’s voice again.
Summer had settled over the mountains, but the air kept a hint of the crisp snap of snow nearby. Sunlight glinted off the lake, reflecting the peaks in the distance and the pines that lined the shore. A cool breeze made the trees sway and reminded him that he probably should be wearing a jacket over his long-sleeved shirt.
It was peaceful—until something rocketed past him so fast that its slipstream nearly pulled him off his feet.
He stumbled forward, arms flailing as he regained his balance. The projectile was about the size of a car, only shaped like a bullet. It was hard to make out details, since the whole thing was chrome, gleaming in the sun.
His mind tried to make sense of what he was seeing. Some kind of low-flying plane? A missile?
That last possibility made his stomach clench. Maybe Kira wasn’t the only one in line to be shut down.
If it was a missile aimed for him, though, they had missed. The thing was speeding away.
Halfway across the lake, it slowed to a stop and…hovered above the water.
Brendan rubbed his eyes and looked again. It was far away, but he could swear it was at least four feet above the surface, ripples spreading beneath it. It turned back in his direction and approached slowly.
“What the hell?”
His instinct told him to run and his curiosity told him to move forward. He settled on staying put.
The object stopped when it was only a few feet away, definitely hovering above the water. Its exterior looked like chrome, but it was shaped more like a quartz crystal than a bullet.
Six planes made up its body, the sides about ten feet in length with four-foot wide and three-foot tall pyramids formed on both ends. It swiveled around him, keeping the apex of one pyramid pointed at his chest. Then it drifted down to rest on the water.
After a few moments, the top panel of the object popped up, revealing a compartment within. The panel slid to the side, folding seamlessly into what he could now tell was some sort of aircraft.
Brendan shook his head. No way. It couldn’t be. He took a step closer and stood on his tiptoes, trying to peer inside.
Something moved and he jumped back. A figure rose from the opening, clad in shining silver fabric that clung to her form like a second skin.
At least, he thought it was a her. He couldn’t be sure, because she was wearing a helmet that looked like it was made from the same opaque gleaming metal as the capsule.
Whoever—or whatever—was inside the suit had a gorgeous figure. Long legs, curvy hips, narrow waist, and a chest graced with two—and only two—breasts.
Brendan held up his left hand in the Vulcan salute and said, “Klaatu barada nikto.”
The figure stood motionless for a few more moments, then lifted a hand to her helmet. She tapped the side and parallel lines appeared in the smooth chrome as it broke into one-inch segments. The segments folded back on each other until the woman’s head was uncovered.
Well, uncovered by metal.
The breeze lifted her long strands of chestnut hair, obscuring his view at first. She shook her head to get her hair out of her face, and time seemed to slow like in a swimsuit commercial.
Dark eyebrows curved gracefully over her large brown eyes. Even as far away as he was, Brendan could see how thick and long her lashes were. Her nose was straight and narrow, her cheekbones defined, her chin strong, and her lips full and sensual.
“Brendan Sloan.” Her voice was steel and brandy. The same voice he’d heard every day for months.
His stomach was in his throat, his chest tight enough he could barely breathe. He was so lightheaded he thought he might pass out.
What a first impression that would make. He managed to get hold of himself, forcing air into his lungs so he could breathe her name.
She brushed the last unruly strands of hair behind one ear and smiled. The way her cheeks pulled up, the crinkles around her eyes, the dimples…
Kira was here. She was safe.
And standing in a spaceship.
He had made so many jokes about her being an alien. He thought she was playing along when she danced around the issue rather than calling him out on it. But now—
That sexy as hell voice of hers pulled him back to the moment as she said, “I come in peace.”