A night of debauchery has made Kes realize how much he’s wasted his life. Fate delivers him a chance to turn things around. All he has to do is retrieve a stolen Planet Skipper and deliver the culprits responsible for its theft. Once the task is accomplished, his entry into the Interplanetary Commission is guaranteed. But the Universe has another plan—Anne Sherwood.
Anne has always believed that everything happens for a reason. She prides herself on being open-minded. A world of possibility and wonder lay open to those who were willing to accept. But even she has her doubts when she learns the hot-as-heck man she’s spent the night with reveals he’s from another planet.
Through Kes, Anne discovers a power of her own she’d never imagined—the ability to control energy. It’s a power that’s growing by the minute. A power that could get out of control if she allowed it to do so. Now someone from Kes’s past is aware of it, too. And he wants it for himself.
Author Note: This story is a compilation of three short stories previously sold separately: Stargazer, Star Traveler, and Star Chaser. I always felt it was better told as one story, and so it has been revised and placed into one novel.
Sherwood sorted her tips by denomination. Two hundred dollars! A great
night! But then, paydays for the military community normally were. She stuffed
the wad of money deep into her big black leather tote and smiled up at her
call it a night, Peggy?”
She tucked a strand of her platinum blonde hair back into place in its braid.
“My feet are killing me.”
“They did keep
us running tonight. But it was a good night.”
Mary Sunshine as always.” Peggy laughed lightly. “I swear, if a customer left
you a quarter, you’d still think it was a good night. You even dealt with that
problem table wearing a smile.”
couldn’t help it. It was so much easier being happy than sad. If a person
looked hard enough, they could always find something good in a situation.
Peggy toward the door. “You need to get home to that man of yours. That’ll put
a smile on your face.”
with anticipation. “Your plans?”
“I’m off for
groceries, then home to my menagerie.” She swung open the glass door and
stepped into the late summer night.
“Damn it to
hell,” Peggy muttered. “The streetlight’s out again. Find some good in that.”
across the sky caught Anne’s eye. “Look.” She jerked her hand toward the
disintegrating meteorite. “A shooting star.”
shrugged. “Is there a night when you don’t see one?”
Anne scanned the heavens for more. “Hardly. I love watching them, wondering
where they came from, how old they are. There’s going to be one heck of a
shower tonight. Are you going to stay up to watch?”
“At one in
the morning? Are you crazy?”
at her friend. Peggy’s eyebrows had shot up to her hairline, or close to it.
short to spend it sleeping. This is an event.”
“Yes, and it
happens every year. So what’s the big deal?”
The awe with
which she’d said the word earned Peggy’s laughter. “Yes, and magic, too. Like
the comets.” Peggy tossed a hug around her shoulders. “See you Tuesday. Enjoy
your weekend. We’re spending ours in Vegas.” She walked on to the parking lot.
Anne lifted her hand in a wave the other woman didn’t see, while she scanned
the sky again. Two more meteorites shot across a star-kissed field of black. It
was going to be a spectacular show later on. She couldn’t wait.
well. Look what we got here.”
voice drifted to Anne from the shadows of the building. Three men stepped from
the inky depths. Fear crawled through her body. She shot her gaze to the
parking lot. Peggy was already gone. If Anne hurried, she might be able to make
the safety of the restaurant. Two deputy sheriffs were finishing up dinner
As if anticipating
her move, the men surrounded her, chortling with glee. They were the problem
table she’d dealt with earlier. They’d been drunk then and were worse now. She
ticked off identifying characteristics—white males, slender, early twenties,
baggy jeans and sports jerseys, black knit caps.
cheery little waitress,” one said.
friendly she really is,” said another.
sweet thang.” The man in front of her gestured toward her tote. “We could use a
little sumpin, sumpin. Gonna give it up without a fight?”
in a breath, ready to scream her lungs out. A big hand clamped over her mouth
from behind. The man reeked of french fries, stale beer, and cigarettes. He
clamped his arm around her waist, while his friend tried to peel her fingers
away from the purse straps.
fight, baby. That’s the way I likes it. Fight it hard.”
A green glow
lit them like fireworks on the Fourth of July. Anne clicked her gaze skyward. A
meteorite zoomed low overhead, shooting green flames as it traveled from east
to west. It was a truly phenomenal event.
over her mouth loosened. Anne saw her chance. Pulling power from deep within
her gut, she prepared to unleash a blood-curdling scream.
you’d better let the lady go.” Another man stepped into their circle. His voice
was low, firm, and music to her ears. Help was here. Judging from his stance,
he wasn’t going to put up with any shit.
the green ball slowly disappear over the horizon. Its remnants highlighted the
gold and red in the man’s tousled brown hair. He wore light-colored khakis and
a pullover shirt she swore matched the fading meteorite.
who’s gonna make us?”
Anne saw the
flash of metal.
“He’s got a
him as one. The man crouched low and snapped out his palms. With a muttered oof,
two were hurled against the brick wall. Gasps for breath followed. Her savior
whipped a fist around to their partner.
Anne had to
blink twice. She swore she saw light pulse as he made contact. The mugger
tumbled backward, hitting the ground hard. Eyes wide, he scrambled to his feet
and took off. His friends wasted no time following. Anne listened to their
footsteps beating a path to safety.
“Are you all
curled around her upper arm. What she could only describe as energy coursed
through her, lifting every baby-fine hair she possessed. Deep brown eyes
studied her. His eyebrows tugged together as he waited for her response.
mesmerized by his sharp, angled features—the long, straight nose, the squared
jaw, the hint of shadow carved just under his cheekbones, his full lips. What
was his smile like? Were his teeth white and perfect? She wanted to stretch to
her toes and kiss him, to wrap her arms around his waist and nestle her head against
his broad chest. His touch, his nearness made her feel safe, protected. Desire
overwhelmed her. Nothing was a more powerful aphrodisiac than heroics. But this
felt like so much more than about sex. Yes, his nearness made her thrum, but
there was safety and calmness that said things she’d never imagined. Things
she’d believed existed only in stories. Trust, love, forever. Words like the
one, love at first sight, and happily ever after danced on
the edges of her mind.
thanks to you,” she finally managed to say.
I just happened to be in the area.”
his thumb over her arm in slow circles. Anne’s blood thrummed with each round.
She imagined the calloused digit on her nipple, flicking it back and forth
until it was hard. Then he’d wrap his full lips around it. His breath would be
hot, his tongue wet, his touch…
probably call the police.” He dropped his arm, breaking the sensual spell, but
not the connection she felt.
herself against the sensations and tried to focus on the attack. Nothing was
stolen, she wasn’t hurt, and they were long gone by now, so why bother? Her
conscience intruded. If they did this once, they’d do it again. She had to
notify the deputy sheriffs.
at her watch. What about her groceries? It was getting late. Her animals needed
“Do you have
a cell phone?”
cut through her thoughts. “Yes, but there are two deputies eating inside. I
could report the incident to them. But…”
slightly, he waited for her to continue, then prompted her with a, “Yes?”
up at him again. His eyebrows were still inched close. “I have to get to the
store before it closes. My animals need me and food. Reports take forever to
with his bright smile. Anne’s legs wobbled. The man was gorgeous!
creeps need to be reported. I’ll go to the store for you, Anne. Just give me a
her eyes. “How did you know my name?”
laughter swirled around her, caressing her skin into goose bumps. “Your name
tag.” He tapped the plastic badge.
foolish, she laughed. “Of course. Anne Sherwood.” She extended her hand to his.
Dermot. It’s a family name. Friends call me Kes.” His hand wrapped around hers.
Warmth spread up her arm, through her body. Her breathing quickened. “I’ll be
glad to go to the store for you while you file your report. A list and some
cash is all I need.”
Was it an
underhanded trick to take her money and run, or a genuine desire to help her?
Her instincts and heart screamed trust. Logic be damned.
A spate of
shooting stars burst over his head. An omen to back up those instincts. The
stars had yet to fail her when she searched them.
I do want these men stopped before they hurt someone.” She dug through her tote
for the list, then handed it and her hard-earned tips to him. “It’s probably
more than you need—”
get a receipt and change back. Mind if I borrow your car? Mine’s down. I was
headed to a pay phone when I saw you. My cell phone’s dead.”
Anne slipped him her keys, her trust, and her heart.