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My Favorite Earthling [Secure eReader]
eBook by Susan Grant

eBook Category: Romance/Fantasy
eBook Description: Even a goddess can have a bad day... Keira, warrior-queen of the galaxy, is as famous for her beauty as she is for avoiding marriage. But when an upstart little planet called Earth threatens her world with its fleet of spaceships, the fate of her people lies in her hands. She must bind herself to a barbarian from the rogue world--or face the destruction of her own! She's what he never knew he always wanted.... Confirmed bachelor Jared Jasper knows that the trick Earth pulls on the alien invaders isn't a permanent solution. What they need is a peace treaty. It just never occurs to him that he will wind up on the bargaining table. Playing the pushover groom to a mouthy alien babe who knows how to use a plasma sword is not exactly his idea of fun. But with six billion people depending on him, he doesn't have much choice--sleep with the enemy ... or bring on interstellar war. Strange bedfellows? You bet. But this alliance may turn into a romance the likes of which this galaxy's never seen!

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/HQN
Fictionwise Release Date: March 2007


68 Reader Ratings:
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CHAPTER ONE

Meanwhile, on a planet far, far away…

THE NEWLY INSTALLED minister of Coalition intelligence listened in astonishment as an unexpected visitor vented his spleen.

"Far Star must be terminated!"

The minister couldn't quite get over the coldness in his superior's eyes. You look as if you could do the job with your own two hands. He made a fist in his lap behind his desk where no one could spy the symptom of his nervousness—or his grogginess. He'd been summoned straight out of bed and a deep sleep, made necessary after a hastily arranged meeting regarding a shocking encounter with a small, isolated world known only as Earth had kept him up far too late. "Far Star? As in Prime-major Far Star?"

"Yes, that one!"

The minister couldn't remember the officer ever causing any trouble. In fact, quite the opposite. Far Star seemed an affable sort, young and handsome. Intelligent, with a bright future. But his superior had been in the government since before he was born. Who was the minister to question that experience?

You ought to be standing, he realized suddenly, and started to get up. He'd been the minister of Coalition intelligence for all of a week, not long enough to get over being a little starstruck dealing so personally with palace leaders—Supreme Commander Neppal, Supreme-second Fair Cirrus, Prime Minister Rissallen and the eunuch Tibor Frix, captain of the Palace Guard—although he'd not yet met the queen, thank the gods.

At the thought of Queen Keira, the minister winced. Other men might like gorgeous, spoiled, willful, wildly unpredictable women. He did not.

"Be seated," his superior commanded. "Please. I'm here off the record."

Indeed. There was nothing lawful about an in-house assassination.

"The order was put in three Septumdays ago! Receipt was confirmed by one of your REEFs—the very best, I was promised. Yet we've heard nothing, and now Far Star is missing. I had the late minister insert a code in the kill order giving the REEF a time limit to track down and kill Far Star. One week! The time is past. What happened?"

Barbaric, the minister thought. He knew it was possible to rig an assassin to self-destruct but had never heard of it being done. Though with a crime this heinous, one wouldn't want tracks leading back to the source, would they? Better to kill the killer and eliminate any messy evidence. "I'll see if I can contact the REEF." He swiveled his chair to access his computer. His communication would be delivered directly to a computer implanted in the individual assassin's brain, giving a level of security unmatched by other means. After several tries under intense scrutiny, there was no answer. As a last-ditch effort, the minister pinged the REEF's ship. Nothing.

"I am unable to contact him. Since the REEF hasn't reported back within the prescribed time limit, I'm afraid he's likely suffered a total breakdown of his internal computer systems."

"Gods be damned. He's dead?"

"Or a vegetable."

"Hire me another one!" His superior slammed a hand down on the desk, scattering the most recent panicked communiqué from the fleet commander fleeing planet Earth's unexpected wrath. That is the true threat here, this new and powerful world, not Far Star. Yes, the minister needed to devote his attention to galactic matters, but at home trouble was brewing, kill orders were flying, and despite being the supposed overseer of intelligence, he knew nothing.

There was something innately humbling about being kept in the dark. But he summoned patience. "I'll find you a new REEF, though you'd better give him a longer rope, because we don't know where Far Star is." Probably lying dead somewhere with the broken REEF nearby. "Meanwhile, as a safeguard, I will leave the viewer on the original REEF's ship set to automatic two-way. The moment he powers up his ship, his image will be displayed on-screen in my office. Then we will have our answer."

"No. Set it to appear on my personal screen, and only my screen."

"As you wish."

The minister's comm device chimed and he unfurled it and laid it on the desk so that his superior could also see who was calling. The individual wore a hooded cloak covering his or her face. "I understand there is a problem, Minister." It was a man—a young man by the sound of it. The voice was regally modulated with an accent that sounded familiar, but not familiar enough that the minister could place it. "Is it true? Far Star lives?"

"Far Star is missing," the minister said. Again, he thought: I should be concentrating on the humiliating rout on Earth, not this.

"You sound distressed, Minister."

"Besides the fact that you have chosen not to identify yourself, I cannot understand this sudden interest in Far Star. He is missing. Gone. Vanished without a trace. Isn't that satisfactory?"

"Alive, he remains a major security risk," his superior explained. "It is why we must locate him. He disappeared before the news was formally announced, but Prime-major Far Star has been chosen to be consort to the queen. This marriage must not take place."

"Far Star? Royal consort? Good gods. The poor bastard. Years ago, I heard a rumor that the queen killed a man who tried to take her by force by hacking off his male parts with a plasma sword."

"Almost killed."

"So it is true, then."

"After she sliced off his bullocks, she decided that killing him would be an act of mercy. He lives on at the palace as a eunuch—and as a reminder for those suitors who would attempt to take liberties with the queen."

Copyright © 2007 by Susan Grant.


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