New Release!

Running to escape a life of servitude may have taken her out of a bad situation but being a Native woman means she can never escape the way people see her. The prejudice Morning Dove faces is a daily reminder that she doesn’t really belong with these people but one man makes her forget she’s an outsider. Looking at him, she longs for things she never thought to have and all she has to do is reach out and grab them … if she could only get over her fear of speaking to him. Ben Atwater has more problems than any one man should and most of them he brought on by himself. The only bright spot in his life is a pretty Native girl who will barely look at him. Morning Dove is an enigma he wants to explore but his past has tainted his future. Will a woman like her want a man as miserable as him? And if so, can he keep her once he has her in his arms?

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Introducing L. R. Graison

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you’ve probably seen some of my books disappearing from retail sites. The reason for this was…I just didn’t think those werewolves and rock stars sit well next to my cowboys. The books were all older and they looked out of place so…I removed them, which I really hated to do because I Love Those books! They might have been written years ago but saying goodbye to them hurt my heart.

When I wrote the new SciFi Romances, I noticed the same thing…they just didn’t look right sitting next to my cowboys but I wasn’t ready to pull the plug on those. They were still ‘new’ enough taking them down seemed foolish so I did the next best thing.

I created a new Pen Name.

L. R. Graison will be the name I use to release any future ‘non cowboy’ books. The Prison Moon sci-fi romance books have been moved (the name change already appears on these books and are available on the L. R. Graison Amazon page) and in 2021, I will be rebranding and re-releasing my Night Breeds paranormal romance series (which I really hope to get back to one day. Sabriel is screaming for his story!) and the Wicked Series, my contemporary rock star romances.

I’ve set up a new Newsletter list for L. R. Graison books. I know I have a few ‘sci-fi’ readers who may not care about the cowboy books and I’m sure there are Willow Creek fans who would rather not hear about my alien warlords and the dragon shifters on Prison Moon One so now, you can chose which Newsletter list to be on.

If you subscribe to my Newsletter and like the ‘Lily’ historicals, then you don’t have to do anything at all. You’ll still receive news when a new histrocial is released. If you want to hear about those ‘other’ books as well (and hear about any future releases I may have in those genres) then the L. R. Graison Newsletter list is where you want to be. Just click the link below to subscribe to that list. I won’t be mentioning those books on the ‘Lily Graison Newsletter‘ anymore.


Get A Soft Kiss In Spring Now!

Rose Campbell is happy being the town spinster, so when her grandfather sends off for not one, but four mail-order grooms, she’s forced to turn to the man she loves to hate in order to get rid of them.

Graham Hart has spent years in a verbal battle with Rose so when she asks for his help, he jumps at the chance to finally get the upper hand. But one soft kiss changes everything and life as they knew it may never be the same again.   

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A Soft Kiss in Winter is Now Availabe At All eBook Retailers!

One of the requirements for putting a book into Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program is it has to stay for  90 days. Once its up, you can pull it out but….you have to remember to ‘un-tick’ the box saying ‘stay in Kindle Unlimited’ or…it rolls over and it stuck for another 90 days. You have no idea how many times I kept forgetting to do that! The book is now wide for those of you who were waiting for it to come out. The buy links are below. 


Running away from home to marry the man she thought was the love of her life should have been the happy ending Victoria Stanford expected it to be, but things rarely work out as one plans. When her husband suddenly dies and leaves her stranded in the middle of nowhere, alone and scared, she thinks she’s saved when she sees three men headed her way. Relief turns to fear when she realizes they weren’t the type of men a single woman should trust. When they chase up the side of a mountain and overtake her, she does the only thing she can. She screams and hopes they kill her quickly.

Gideon Hart has spent the last six years roaming the mountain after tragedy changed his life forever. Since then, he’s never encountered another living soul other than his brother—until now. The scream he hears echoing through the trees brings back memories he’s been trying to forget. When he finds a woman being attacked, he does what he has to in order to ensure her safety. Getting her to town should be his only concern but the trek across the mountain with Victoria causes his world to shift and for feelings, he’s denied himself for too long to surface. He doesn’t deserve to be loved. With a past like his, no one would love him once they found out what he’d done. Getting Victoria to Silver Falls is the only way to save them both but as the nights grow longer and winter settles in over the mountain, one soft kiss may change both their lives.

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Willow Creek Make-Over


Some of you may have seen the new covers I’m having made for the Willow Creek series and for those who haven’t, surprise! The series is getting a facelift and I’m still excited every time I see a new cover.

The Lawman came out way back in November 2011. Hard to beleive its been seven years since I took a notion to write a book in a genre I loved to read. I had no clue if I would be sucessful writing them and at the time, I didn’t really care. I just enjoyed the genre and took a leap. And here we are, eight novels later. 

The rebrand started with Nightingale. I hired a cover artist to make the cover for me as they were time consuming for me to do and–I’m a writer, not a cover artist. When I received the cover, I loved it so much I decided to have them all rebranded to match. Below are those last four novels, all with new covers.



This month, I’m starting on the first four books – the Avery brothers. The Lawman was first and I received the cover today.

One thing I wanted to do with these, was keep them as close to the orignals as I could so no one would mistake them for differnt (new) books. I’ve grown fond of the couples on the front of the books which made it hard to repleace them on His Brother’s Wife and A Willow Creek Christmas. The photos I had used just didn’t work with this new design so they had to be changed but — I’m in no way disappointed. They are super sexy now!

The Outlaw will get its make-over in January, with the last two coming in February and March and I can’t wait to have them all done and sitting on my shelf. Clarise, over at CT Cover Creations is doing such an amazing job with these. If you’re in need of a cover artist, head over and check out her stuff.

So — tell me what you think. Are you liking the new covers? Or did you prefer the old ones better?

The 129th (Old) Soldiers Reunion

1889 Civil War Veterans in Catawba County, NC

The 1889 Civil War veterans gathering to collect their pensions.


In the town I grew up in, there is a yearly event that everyone looks forward to and this week marks the 129th Soldiers Reunion Week. The Soldiers Reunion is (credited as) the longest-running patriotic celebration in the United States not based on an official holiday. The tradition began in the county seat town (Newton, NC in Catawba County) on July 4, 1889, when Civil War veterans answered a statewide call for recognition of their wartime service and to register for pensions. The gathering, then on Court Square, led to annual veterans’ reunions, starting the popular patriotic event then called Old Soldiers Reunion.

The Catawba County Museum of History – which is located in the downtown 1924 courthouse – displays a patriotic exhibit of historic military displays all week and is free to the public. Events around town include a Classic Car Show on Courthouse Square on Sunday, outdoor concerts with street dances on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, a ‘patriotic’ baby parade, and a “Pet Mania” dog show. Then on Thursday, Reunion Day, downtown surrounding the 1924 circa courthouse, craft vendors, artists, craftsmen and food trucks line up around the square. A memorial service is held at 10 a.m. honoring veterans & members of patriotic organizations in the county who have died during the past year is followed by a Jazz concert and a fish fry at the American Legion for the counties veterans….then the fun begins!

4:00 p.m. marks the start of the mile-long parade around town, which gets bigger every year (last time I went it was over an hour and a half long). 8,000 – 10,000 people show up for the parade and if that wasn’t enough, afterward, there’s a seniors dance and more music. The week is finished with the (29th annual) Southern Biscuit Soldiers Reunion 5K Run/Walk and on Sunday, the Soldiers Reunion Centry Bike Race will take place. 

It’s a full week of fun and as a teen, I never missed a day of it. Now, as I’m older, I skip out on a lot of it, even the parade. Sitting in the 90+ degree heat isn’t my idea of a good time anymore but for thousands today, it’ll be the place to be!


As a side note, my great-great-grandfather, Reuben Travis, fought in the civil war and lost his right arm. I found the following information about him on where his military record lists his name as “Reuben D Traffensteadt.” (Not sure what year it was changed to Travis.)


Reuben and Polly “Traddensteadt” Travis

Born in Catawba County, NC where he resided as a farmer prior to enlisting in Catawba County on July 4, 1862, for the (civil) war. Wounded in the right arm at Fredericksburg, Virginia, December 13, 1862. Right arm amputated. Hospitalized at Richmond, Virginia, where he was discharged on February 13, 1863, by reason of disability. Discharge certificate gives his age as 31.

Reuben was my paternal grandmother’s, grandfather. He was born April 15, 1829, Coincidentally, “my” birthday is April 15th as well–139 years apart. How neat is that?!



New Release and Giveaway



I noticed today while doing website maintenance that–I never hit the ‘publish’ button on this post! So…without further ado….


Back in September 2017, my writing friend, Alexandra Marell started talking about a Sci-Fi Romance ‘world’ she had been thinking about and the books she’d like to write for it. I helped her brainstorm ideas for her new series and by the next day, I had a plot bunny–one I sat down and banged out 1,000 words of in record time. The plot bunny turned into a story, then a full-length novel and now, seven months later, Dragon Fire, my first ever Sci-Fi Romance has been published.

I love writing westerns. I love the simplicity of the time period, the struggles the people back then faced and the fact men were men. They worked hard, loved their families, and were fiercely protective. One of the things I try to do when writing them is to stay as period correct and factual as I can. Researching is time-consuming an sometimes more difficult than others and for this reason alone, I think that Sci-Fi plot bunny ran so fast and furious through my head.

Science Fiction doesn’t hold the same restraints as historicals do. It pretty much –  if you can dream it, you can make it happen, so I did. Writing Dragon Fire was very liberating. It gave me a creative outlet to just let my imagination run wild without having to stop and “look things up” and I don’t remember the last time writing a book had been so much fun.

For those of you who read my westerns–don’t fret. I WILL NOT stop writing them. They are where my heart is. Willow Creek book 8 is nearly done so look for it very soon but for now, take a look at PRISON MOON: DRAGON FIRE and be sure to heck the end of the post for a special giveaway!


Prison Moon: Dragon Fire (Prison Moon Series)
Science Fiction Romance


Abducted by aliens and housed in an airtight room with twenty other girls wasn’t Sara’s idea of a good time. Neither was being dropped into the jungle of a Prison Moon, but for the rest of the galaxy, it was. She was the entertainment. The game? Survive the lawless alien criminals who ran wild or die trying, but there was no outrunning a dragon, and he didn’t seem to be in any hurry to let her go.

T’oren has spent the last several centuries sleeping beneath the rubble of an abandoned temple. The wars decimated his world and now was used as a dumping ground for the vilest creatures in the galaxy. A Prison Moon where it was kill or be killed. He slumbers to escape but awakes when a female, the first he’s seen in centuries, stumbles into his lair. And now that he’s seen her, he’s not letting her go.

But the corporation that runs the Prison Moon One has other plans. Broadcasting a televised event across the galaxy of an Arena fight between a live dragon and any willing to fight him will bring in more viewers, and money, than they could imagine. All they had to do was catch him and to do that, they had to take the girl.

Buy the eBook:





To enter for a chance to win an eBook copy of Prison Moon: Dragon Fire, read the rules below and fill out the entry form. You get one free entry. To gain more entries, do any or all of the additional options.

  • There is No Purchase Necessary to win.
  • All entries are verified so no cheating! Additional entry options are not required to enter, but the more items on the list that you complete, the more entries you gain.
  • The contest will run through the end of the month and a winner announced June 1st. The winner will have 72 hours to claim their prize.
  • You must be 18 years of age to enter.
  • You must provide a current and valid email address as this is the only contact information I have to inform you of a win. If emails are not answered within 72 hours, prize will be forfeited and another winner selected. Void where prohibited by law.

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Prison Moon – Dragon Fire – 1st Chapter Preview

It’s #TeaserTuesday so I thought I’d share a bit more about my upcoming book in the Prison Moon Series is set to release on April 24th! I’m beyond excited to share this new world I’ve created with Alexandra Marell. Take a peek below at the first chapter of my contribution to the series, DRAGON FIRE.




Prison Moon: Dragon Fire – Sci-Fi Romance
by Lily Graison

Abducted by aliens and housed in an airtight room with twenty other girls wasn’t Sara’s idea of a good time. Neither was being dropped into the jungle of a Prison Moon, but for the rest of the galaxy, it was. She was the entertainment. The game? Survive the lawless alien criminals who ran wild or die trying, but there was no outrunning a dragon, and he didn’t seem to be in any hurry to let her go. 
Toren has spent the last several centuries sleeping beneath the rubble of an abandoned temple. The wars decimated his world and now was used as a dumping ground for the most vile creatures in the galaxy. A Prison Moon where it was kill or be killed. He slumbers to escape but awakes when a female, the first he’s seen in centuries, stumbles into his lair. And now that he’s seen her, he’s not letting her go. 
But the corporation that runs Prison Moon One has other plans. Broadcasting a televised event across the galaxy of an Arena fight between a live dragon and any willing to fight him will bring in more viewers, and money, than they could imagine. All they had to do was catch him and to do that, they had to take the girl.







The screaming finally stopped. Sara closed her eyes and sighed in relief. The wild beating pulse in her head from the artificial light caused the headache she couldn’t get rid of to pound harder with each beat of her heart and the screaming only made it worse. Not that she blamed the girl. If it had been her on the receiving end of that last attack, she’d still be screaming too.

Everyone shifted nervously, some in small clusters talking in hushed whispers. Every face she looked at wore the same shell-shocked expression. Hers probably did too. Foul odors filled the room, the stink of unwashed bodies and human waste lingering in the air, and it took every ounce of willpower she possessed to not throw up. She tried to block it out, to imagine she was somewhere other than the cargo hold of a spaceship headed for who knew where. She snorted a laugh. Aliens. It was still too fantastical to believe but she did. She’d seen them. 

She’d been a skeptic until she stepped out of the shower and her entire dorm room was flooded with light so bright she’d been momentarily blinded. The darkness that followed was a blessing she fought to get back after opening her eyes to this. A small metal, doorless room filled with frightened women who either spent their time crying, complaining or screaming to be let out. Hence the headache.

A section of the wall to her left opened to reveal a door that hadn’t been there before. The chirping noise she’d come to recognize as some sort of language filled the room moments later. One of the aliens she liked to call Big Heads walked in and the screamer started up again. Sara’s head throbbed more intensely at the shrill noise. She would have thrown a shoe at the girl if she’d had one on.

Three aliens stopped just inside the doorway. As many times as she’d seen these guys, she still stared. The alien’s neck was as long as her arm, its head three sizes too large for his body. She wasn’t sure how he even held it up but somehow managed. His bug-like eyes were large bulbs sticking off the side of his head and as horrid as they looked, they smelled even worse. Like ammonia mixed with wild onions. Every time one got near, her sinuses burned. Maybe it was the slimy substance that clung to their skin or some pheromone only other ugly aliens would find attractive. They were brown for the most part but dark green strips slashed across their flesh in neat rows. She would have nicknamed them something closer resembling a lion but Big Head had popped into her mind first. They all wore dark gray, one-piece suits of some kind, each with a wide belt around their waists where gadgets of varying size hung in small pockets along the belt.

The Big Head who walked into the room made a motion with his hands that looked as if he wanted them to stand. Those able to do so wasted no time obeying him, herself included. The last girl who didn’t was still lying in a heap over along the wall. Sara glanced the girls way. As she’d been most of the day, the blonde stared straight ahead at nothing, her eyes unblinking. Her torn clothing hung off her slim frame, scratches and blood staining her thighs. Tears filled Sara’s vision. She blinked them away and turned back to the same aliens who’d done such vile things to the poor girl. The memories still made her my stomach churn. If she lived to be a thousand, she’d never get the images out of her head. Had it been her, she’d be lying over there staring at nothing, too.

She gritted her teeth and turned her attention to the Big Heads, leaving the girl to her fate. She wiped tears she wasn’t even aware she’d been shedding away with one shoulder. They did no one any good to shed now, anyway. Life as they knew it was over.

The chirping language they spoke spilled from one of the Big Head’s fish-like mouth before he pointed at the door. He grabbed the blonde closet to him and shoved her out, then grabbed another. They were being moved. As much as she feared what these aliens were going to do with them, sitting in this stinking hole of a room was getting to be too much. She’d take a walk and breathe fresher smelling air if they wanted her to. 

The corridor was dark with small green lights lining the floor of the walkway. It was colder here with a faint odor she couldn’t place but it wasn’t human waste so she inhaled deeply to clear her head. The metal under her feet felt like she was walking on ice and she’d have given anything for shoes—or clothes. She crossed her arms over her bare chest when she neared the Big Head on her way down the hall, not that it mattered. It wasn’t like he couldn’t see she was a fan of the Hollywood wax with just a glance. Thankfully it was growing back in but not nearly fast enough. 

Being the only girl abducted in her birthday suit drew more attention than she liked, even from them. The blonde they’d taken turns amusing themselves with early came to mind and she shuddered before lowering one arm in an attempt to cover her bare lady parts. 

A doorway at the end of the corridor came into view. The line of girls in front of her slowed and she watched as each girl was ushered inside. No one screamed after going in so it was too soon to panic. As she was ushered forward, her headache grew along with her racing pulse. The doorway loomed ahead, the light coming from inside almost blinding. When she stepped inside, the room was bare. The walls were white, the light overhead, bright. A noise on the other side of the wall drew her attention and she peeked around the corner—and wished she hadn’t. Her racing pulse stuttered, then raced when the girl in front of her was grabbed, the Big Head just on the other side of the wall taking her arm and sticking it with something that resembled a needle. The girl fell as if dead, another alien there to catch her before she hit the ground.

Sara screamed as the Big Head waiting behind her pushed her forward, the needle-like thing in the other ones hand biting into her skin moments before the world went dark.



Voices pulled her from sleep. Sara opened her eyes and groaned. Her headache was worse and a spot behind her right ear pounded so hard it stung. Raising her hand, she brushed her fingers over the spot and winced. It was tender and wet. Pulling her hand away, she saw her fingers smeared with blood. 

“It’s an implant.”

A girl with long red hair was staring at her. She looked ragged, her curly hair in tangles around her face. Dark circles lay like bruises underneath her green eyes and even though she was thin, her pixie-like features didn’t look as gaunt as some of the others. This girl had been taken recently. Sara sat up and wiped the spot behind her ear again. “What kind of implant?”

The girl tilted her head a fraction to the right, motioning to the front of the room. Three Big Heads were there, talking. Sara’s eyes widened. It wasn’t the chirping she’d been hearing since waking up on an alien spacecraft, but actual words. They were speaking English. Or rather, she was hearing English. She rubbed the spot behind her ear again. “It’s a translator?”

“I think so.” The girl slid closer. “I didn’t understand them before today so I’m assuming that’s what the wound behind my ear is from. They did knock us all out. I’m thinking it was to insert something into our heads.”


The girl looked at me and the corner of her lips turn up into a tiny smile. “I’m Marcy, by the way.”

“Sara.” A glance around the room told her it wasn’t in the same one they’d been in before. This one was clean and feces-free. “Do you know what’s happening? Why we’re here?”

Marcy shook her head. “Not really, but I don’t think its good, whatever it is.” She took a shuddering breath. “From what I’ve been able to hear, we’re to be used for some sort of entertainment.”

Sara raised an eyebrow. “Entertainment for who? And how?”

“Don’t know.” She motioned behind us. Sara turned and when she saw what Marcy pointed at, she gasped. 

A large section of the wall was glass, or something similar, and beyond it sat thousands of stars in a vast ocean of darkness. Since the moment she woke after the abduction, she’d prayed this was all a bad dream, that someone spiked her drink and she was having a really bad drug-induced trip, but what sat beyond that window wasn’t anything her imagination could come up with. 

There were two planets in the distance and sitting between them and the ship was a ring of scattered rock that spanned the entire length of the window from left to right. The rocks varied in size. Some were as large as a bus, others as small as a basketball. It looked like an asteroid belt of some kind. 

Further in the distance, behind the two planets, a massive cloud of stars glimmered like diamonds. The entire thing shined in shades of gold, blue, red and purple. A nebula, if she wasn’t mistaken. One large enough to see its brilliance with the naked eye. As much as she wanted this to be a bad dream, she could no longer deny it. She really was in an alien ship—in deep space. 

A series of hissing noises filled the air, and a few screams followed as gravity seems to disappear to leave them floating in mid-air. Sara reached out to grab anything she could and found Marcy’s arm. Long minutes later, the artificial gravity returned and they fell back to the floor. Grunts and groans followed, Sara’s elbow aching and she laid there a few moments, then sat up. 

She looked at the window again. They were landing. The planet wasn’t blue like earth. The colors below were varied with wide oceans of red, green and teal. As they drew closer, the window turned white, her view of the planet below gone.

Chortling laughter filled the room. Four Big Heads leaned against the wall looking at them. One said, “Welcome to your new home,” before they all started to laugh harder

“Get up,” another said. They stood and for the first time since waking, Sara realized she was clothed—sort of. The thin gown she wore was loose fitting and sleeveless. The cut was low in the front with a deep “v” which bared more breast than it should. Not that is mattered. It was barely long enough to cover her ass and nearly see-through but she wasn’t about to complain. It was better than being naked. Plus, everyone else was just as scantily dressed as she was. Soft sandal-like shoes were on her feet and held on with a series of straps that crisscrossed over the top of her foot and tied in the back. They weren’t much, the soles not very sturdy, but it was better than being barefoot.

She glanced at Marcy who still stood by her side. She’d said they were to be entertainment. In this getup, it wasn’t hard to figure out what kind.

They were ushered out of the room and back into the corridor, the same green lights as before glowed dimly along the edge of the floor. They were led into a massive room with a door on one end that was nearly as tall as the entire ship. The floor beneath her feet vibrated and shimmied, the hissing sound from before rumbling past her ears. A solid thunk and bounce later and she assumed they were on the ground.

The other girls murmured and huddled together. She tried to count heads but everyone was standing so close together she gave up. There were at least twenty. Maybe more.

She flicked a gaze to Marcy and noticed the worried look on her face. Her own probably held the same. She had no idea what lay beyond those doors and she didn’t want to find out. Marcy stared at that massive door probably wondering the same thing she was—what would they find on the other side?

“We’re going to die.”

The whispered words are spoken to her left. Sara turned her head to see who’d said it. The girl was tall, her skin tanned a warm tawny brown, her hair so inky black it looked blue under the harsh lights. When she looked over at them, Sara could read every thought going through her mind with one look into her eyes. She really did think they were going to die. 

As the door jolted and hissed, then started to lower, Sara’s first look outside at this alien planet came into view and she was inclined to believe the girl. They probably were going to die.



The barren landscape on the other side of the door didn’t look inviting. If anything, it was terrifying. 

The Big Heads ushered everyone out and Sara lingered in the back as long as she could. Marcy looking her way was the only thing that got her moving. She knew next to nothing about Marcy but she was the only person who’d spoken to her and like it or not, she was closest thing to a friend she had at the moment.

Sara’s first look at the strange planet was deceiving. The dry, cracked ground they walked out on was a wide sea of nothing. It stretched all the way to the horizon. A shrill scream filled the air and she turned her head to the right, then sucked in a harsh breath.

On the other side of the ship was a jungle of trees, vines, and thickets of bushes so dense the entire area looked as dark as night. The scream she heard was followed by another, then a snort of breath, moments before the ground shook. “What the hell was that?”

Marcy took a step closer to her side. “I don’t know and I don’t want to find out.”

The tall black haired girl from the ship still lingered close by. She turned to look at them and shook her head. “I told you, we’re going to die.”

Marcy scoffed. “Well, aren’t you just a bucket of sunshine.”

“I’m not being a smartass, I’m just not foolish enough to think everything is going to turn out all right.” She pointed to the barren landscape we stood on, then to the jungle. “We either die out here in the nothing or die in there where I’m pretty sure there are things willing to eat us. We are on an alien planet, you know. I’d hate to even think what waits for us in there.”

Well, when she put it that way. Sara shook her head. “Safety in numbers, then?”

The girl looked at her, then to Marcy. “Safety in numbers.” She reluctantly nodded. “I guess its better than dying alone.”

Marcy crossed her arms over her chest and whispered under her breathe, “Bucket. Of. Sunshine.”

Despite their predicament, Sara smiled. It was the first time since waking up on the ship that she’d felt the desire to do so. Looking at the black haired girl she said, “I’m Sara, by the way,” then jerked her thumb to the right. “And this is Marcy.”

“I’m Emma.” She looked to the jungle. “Not that exchanging names will help us much.” 

“Well, if things go as bad as you say they will,” Marcy mumbled, “Then it’ll give you someone to scream for when you’re dying.”

Sara bit her lip and turned her head so Emma didn’t see her trying not to laugh. She understood Emma’s fear. Her own was climbing pretty high but fear kills and she wasn’t about to die. Not yet, anyway. She’d fight until she wasn’t able to fight anymore.

One of the Big Heads banged something on the metal floor of the ship and they turned in unison to look at him. He stood at the top of the landing staring down at them. 

“Humans,” he said, the words slightly accented. “Welcome to Prison Moon One.”

Prison Moon? That didn’t sound inviting.

Marcy leaned her way. “I hope his use of the word prison doesn’t mean the same thing it means back home.”

“Me either.”

“To prove we’re not heartless, we’re giving you two choices.” The Big Heads voice boomed in the stillness. He pointed to the barren landscape to our left. “You can take your chances in the Wastes or,” he paused and pointed back to the jungle, “try to survive in there.”

The other Big Heads standing nearby made that weird chortling sound Sara came to recognize as laughter. Whatever the joke was, it was apparently on them.

“The Wastes are uninhabited but there’s very little food and even less to water.” He shifted and pointed to the jungle. “In there, you’ll find fresh water, fresh meat if you’re lucky enough to catch and kill it, and an abundance of wild berries and fruits. It will be up to you to figure out which are poisonous and which are not.”

Someone in the front of the group snorted and said, “I’ll pick door number two.”

Sara couldn’t agree more. The jungle held shelter and food. Only an idiot would stay in the Wastes.

The Big Heads fishy mouth split and it looked as if he was trying to smile. He glanced at the other aliens and they seemed to share in his amusement. “Here’s where the other shoe drops,” Sara whispered.

Marcy raised her hand and chewed her thumbnail. “I’m sure you’re right.”

“The jungle holds a few dangers. There are animals who will find you a tempting treat and will most likely kill you so I suggest if you see one, you don’t linger to see if it’s friendly or not.” A few gasps from the girls cause the Big Heads to laugh again. “There are also high cliffs and sheer drop-offs that you’ll need to be careful of and—“

“Here it comes.”

He raised his huge head an inch higher. “There are the prisoners.”

Someone up front said, “Prisoners?”

Sara couldn’t see who said it but it made little difference. Everyone had to be thinking the same thing.

“This is a prison moon,” Big Head continued. “A penal colony for the most dangerous beings in the galaxy. Death sentences are exchanged for banishment and as for the others, when no one else can control them, they are left here. And forgotten.” 

“I guess it does mean the same thing, Marcy.”

“Aren’t we the lucky humans?”

The Big Head drew her attention by doing some weird thing with his mouth again that she assumed was a smile. “Aside from being home to the most vile creatures in the galaxy, Prison Moon One has a duel purpose. You would think life would never get boring in the vast reaches of space, but it does so, everything that happens on this little planet is live streamed to the far reaches of the solar system and for a price, anyone can watch.” He paced to the far side of the doorway and pointed to the sky. “Those are the eyes and ears of this place. They see everything and they’ll be watching you, constantly.”

Someone near the front of the group yelled, “For what?”

The Big Heads laughed again. “For our entertainment, of course.” 

Sara turned to look at the monitors. They were huge triangle shaped prisms and as she watched, one piece broke off from the rest and flew over the jungle, another close behind the first. They were drones of some kind but far more sophisticated than anything she’d seen back on earth. “Reality TV,” she whispered.

“What did you say?” Marcy asked.

“I said, its reality TV.” She shook her head. “It’s like those, lost in the wilderness, shows, where the camera follows people around and watches them try to survive.” She pointed to another set of the prisms shaped drones as it broke off from the rest and headed their way. “Only this time, we’re the stars of the show. Us and those criminals they drop off and forget about.”

The Big Heads voice rose and Sara turned back to face him.

“Four times a year supplies are dropped off for the inmates,” he said. “Food, clothing, medicine. Nothing is rationed. It is every man for themselves here and everyone knows their place but … the inmates get restless after being confined for long periods of time with nothing to do but fight to survive.”

Marcy took a step closer. “I have a very bad feeling.”

She did, too.

“Every six months we drop a special sort of supply.” He mouth pursed. “The species of aliens kept here vary but they all have one similarity—the desire to mate. That would be where you come in. ”

Her heart slammed against her ribcage. “And there it is.”

 “As this moon is home to mostly males, female companionship is a prize worth fighting over—so we let them. Some of them are sexually compatible with your kind, some are not, but they won’t care. They’ll mate with you anyway, regardless of the outcome. Some of you will be selected and extracted for The Arena Games. Those inmates not fast enough, or are unwilling to chase you, are allowed to battle to the death in order to claim you. Those of you not selected for the games, will have to survive on your own, and not get caught.” He nodded to the monitors hovering in the sky. “And the entire galaxy gets to watch as you try. So you only have two choices. Let them catch you—or run.”

The moment the words were out of his mouth, Sara heard it. The rustle of branches, the pounding of feet against the ground, snarls, and growls that filled the air loud enough she barely heard the massive door on the spacecraft close. She glanced at it as the hiss of air stirred the dirt around her. It was leaving.

She turned back to the jungle. The noise was getting closer, blood rushing past her ears so fast she heard nothing but the wild pulse of it. 

The natives were coming.

She grabbed Marcy’s arm and tugged her forward, then grabbed Emma. “Move!”

“But they’re in there?” Emma screamed.

“Then die out here of starvation.”

She didn’t wait to see if either of them was going to follow. Honestly, she didn’t give a shit. She barely knew them and their lives meant nothing to her but hers sure as hell did so—she ran.

She ran straight into the jungle where the snarling and growling grew louder and hoped like hell she didn’t meet what was on the other side.


End of Excerpt



DRAGON FIRE Releases April 24th!