Blaine D. Arden has a new MM sci fi book out. Please join me in welcoming Blaine to my blog. She has generously lent us her character, Noah Jones, to answer a few pressing questions.
Aliens, Smith and Jones by Blaine D. Arden
p style=”text-align: center;”>Series: Primrose Files
Publisher: Cayendi Press
Release Date: Monday, October 1, 2018
Length: Novel / 73,900 words
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Pairings/Genres/Tropes/Keywords/Categories: M/M, Sci Fi, Romance, Suspense, Contemporary, Age Gap, Fated Mates, Soul Mates, Gay, Pansexual, Ex-alien, Aliens
Warnings: torture, death (secondary character)
QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads
“It’s not all about serving coffee and typing reports.”
Working for a secret organisation specialising in alien cover-ups, Connor Smith is no stranger to the abnormal or dangerous. His love life on the other hand… not so exciting. Until he reluctantly agrees to a blind date and meets the perfect bloke, Jason.
Things are finally falling into place for Connor, so of course that’s when he attracts an alien stalker.
Noah Jones, ex-alien, has been stranded on Earth and forced to live as a human since 1648. Alone and detached from the world around him, Noah has spent centuries observing and recording humankind. In all that time, he’s only experienced a connection with a human once… until he finds Connor.
Even knowing Connor is in a relationship, Noah can’t ignore their potential bond, or stay away.
While dealing with missing alien artefacts, a dangerous and shadowy group of collectors, and the ever-present Noah, Connor finds his orderly life crumbling around him. At least he still has the perfect boyfriend…
When Noah goes missing, Connor is forced to face the feelings growing between them and the mounting evidence that Jason isn’t who he says he is…
The Dross Woods, four-bloody-something in the morning, hunting for six-armed, two-legged white creatures.
Agent Connor Smith, personal assistant of Chief Security Lieutenant Natalie Tallis of Primrose UK, yawned. The lingering mist clung to his ankles as he tightened the straps of his field gear. He took his tranq out of its holster and flicked his torch on. The dense, tall trees hampered visibility, and the smattering of shrubs didn’t help, either. The path, at least, was wide enough for two. “How many were there again?” Agent Simpson, team Alpha’s leader, asked. His dark, bald head gleamed in the early dawn as he moved to stand next to Connor.
“Ten, I think.” Or eleven. Connor hadn’t been awake enough to pick up everything during the interview with the Cleaton brothers, two aging sheep farmers, who had called it in. Why have a sheep farm so close to this vast and dense piece of forest? It was asking for trouble.
“They kept them in the stables, right? So, what happened?”
“Broke out,” Connor said as he trailed into the woods after Simpson. Though Connor outranked the stocky but agile team leader, Simpson had at least a decade of field experience on him. Simpson’s torch lit up the uneven, knobby-rooted ground, and Connor used his to search the shrubbery next to the path. He wished he’d brought an extra coffee, because he was not awake enough for this. Hopefully, the pale colour of the creatures made them easier to spot.
“So, broke out?”
“Have you seen the thing they called stables? It’s nothing more than a rickety old shed. Even one-armed creatures would have had no problem breaking out, let alone these… Noren, I think the brothers called them.”
“All I understood was that we’re here to catch us some aliens.” Simpson veered left, following the whimsical bend in the path, and looked back. “It was a late night.”
“Right, you were chasing another missing artefact. Lieutenant Tallis filled me in. File’s probably making its way to my desk as we speak.” Connor squinted, aiming his torch at the shrubbery to his left. A mix of red, yellow, and purple flowers brought some colour to the otherwise dreary looking forest. “It’s the eighth time this has happened. It’s becoming a problem.”
“Don’t I know it. So, did they say how big these fellas are?”
“Chest height or about. Why? Spot something?” Connor pointed his torch along Simpson’s.
The shrubs shuddered and shook until Simpson stepped forward. A twig snapped, followed by meowing. A cat. Just a cat.
Connor shrugged at Simpson and they moved forward again.
Somewhere a shout rang out: a high-pitched screech that caused goose bumps.
“One down!” someone called through the commlink—team Bravo’s Forente or Briers, Connor guessed. “There are at least two others here.”
“That way,” Simpson said, pointing to their right, onto a narrow path overgrown with creepers.
Connor nodded, but Simpson had already turned away.
Step by step, they followed the narrow path, the darkness only broken by the light of their torches. They were hampered by the creepers as they moved along—listening, stopping, and listening again—as well as having to push low branches out of their way every other step.
One by one, more teams called in their catches.
“They seem to like sheep,” Forente commented after his first catch. “I heard one bleat, and the next thing we know, one of those Noren is coming right at us.”
“Good to know,” Simpson said. “Keep up the good work.”
“How many is that now?” Connor eyed the shrubbery in front of him, squinting as he pointed the torch at it. Eerie how dark a forest could be at daybreak. He preferred the smell of fresh moss to the damp, woodsy smell that now hung around him.
“Seven. I think.”
So, three to go, and he and Simpson had yet to run into any.
Something rustled behind them, and Connor turned, aiming his tranq. He hoped it wasn’t another cat. More rustling, but no movement in the shrubs. The foliage was denser here—they must have reached the middle of the woods by now.
Satisfied a Noren wasn’t stalking them, Connor went to catch up with Simpson. when a sudden crunching of leaves to his right stopped him again. Something whitish moved behind a tree, too large to be a rabbit. He wished he’d paid more attention when Tallis had told them what to look for. Not that she’d been any more awake than he was. Simpson wasn’t the only one who’d been working late. The—
Another crunch, nowhere near, though. If there were two Noren around, he’d need Simpson. He tapped the commlink. “Simpson?”
“That was me. The path circles back onto itself.”
That was a relief. “There’s one behind a tree in front of me.”
“Right. Want me to move around it?”
“Good idea.” Then he remembered the comment about the sheep. “Wait. You don’t have to. Draw it out, bleat if you have to. All I need is a clear shot. I can’t take a shot as long as it’s hiding behind that tree,” Connor said, keeping an eye on the tree the Noren hid behind. He hoped it was just the one, even though they didn’t seem violent towards humans.
Simpson’s imitation of a sheep sounded nothing like the real thing, yet the Noren thought it genuine enough, since it came out from behind the tree, straight into the dense shrubbery next to it.
“Bugger.” Connor tracked the movement, but the shrubbery blocked his view. “I don’t have a shot. It fled right into the bushes.”
Simpson didn’t reply. Instead, he made his way around Connor, judging from the flashes of torchlight jumping around, and repeated his sheep imitation.
The leaves shuddered, and Connor narrowed his eyes, hoping to get a clear shot.
Simpson bleated again, and this time the Noren came running out of the shrubbery. Connor aimed and pulled the trigger. The Noren went down hard. Hit in one. He knelt next to the creature, taking the cuffs out.
“Nice shot, Smith,” Simpson said when he reached them.
“Thanks.” Connor cuffed all three sets of arms. It seemed like overkill, but he knew better than to take any risks. He was about to activate his earpiece to ask how many were still on the loose when a shrill whistle sounded, calling them back.
“Well,” Simpson said as he helped Connor pick the Noren up, “I guess that’s that.”
“All in a day’s work, Simpson, all in a day’s work.” At least, for a personal assistant at Primrose.
☆ Character Interview with Noah Jones ☆
What is your name? Do you have a nickname? If so, who calls you by it, and how did you get it?
My name is Noah Jones. I don’t have a nickname, but I did name myself…
You did say Primrose cleared you for this interview, right?
Yes, they did. Please go on.
Just making certain. Humans can be a bit strange about knowing aliens are about. Where was I? Right, naming myself. Yes. Good thing I did. I shudder to think what name Primrose would have come up with, considering their practice of naming alien species—or tech—is rather simplistic.
How old are you?
According to my latest ID, I’m 42, but I’m not quite sure what my exact age is. I landed on Earth in 1648, so about 364 in human years. Age is not something my species keep track of, so I don’t know how long I’ve been around. I’ve been a recorder for at least a hundred years converted in human time, that much I do know. Though, that is an estimate based on my records, converted from an array of different timekeeping systems.
I suppose humans would say it’s complicated.
Do you ever lie? If so, when?
I try to avoid it, but considering I landed on this planet in 1648, and haven’t always been human, it is unwise for me to always tell the truth. So, yes. I lie. About my age, about taking over my shop from my father, about where my family comes from, originally, and whether I have any, family, that is.
What is your greatest achievement?
Keeping my small shop afloat for as long as I have. Granted, I don’t rely solely on its income, but with ebooks on the rise, I’m pleasantly surprised at how eager people still are to own first editions.
What is your most treasured possession?
A leather-bound seventeenth-century King James Bible. I wanted to own my own copy ever since I read it in a library. It was my first purchase as a human. It is also the book that gave me my name.
Though, after so many years, I don’t need to read the story, Noah’s tale has guided me through many desperate moments. Simply having the book within reach helps, too.
What is your greatest regret?
Not being able to contact or go back to my kin. I’ve been separated from them for so long, now.
Of course, I’ll never be able to return to my planet. I can’t transform again, and I wouldn’t be able to survive in this form. But, a small part of me is still Rei, and I would so love to be able to connect to my kin again.
Long years went by where I didn’t think it would ever be possible, but humans seem determined to travel into space, so I hold onto my hope.
Do you put on both socks then both shoes, or one sock, one shoe, other sock, other shoe?
I didn’t wear socks, at first. For a long time, actually. Or underwear. Those are not items you tend to see when you look at humans. It took me a long time before I dared say good day, let alone ask about clothing habits.
But that was then. I’ve learned to appreciate socks, especially during the chillier months. Human appendages cool quickly. I tend to put both socks on first, to keep my feet from getting chilly, and both shoes after that.
Do you grind your teeth?
Not anymore. Or not often. It seems humans are not always able to control their body.
I did it a lot when I was still learning how my body worked and everything was still so new. I felt the need to test all its functions out best I could.
Do you hold the door open for the person behind you or do you let it go?
One of the first shopkeepers I worked for always held the door open for his customers, especially ladies he admired. I found that people appreciated it, so I started doing it as well. It pleased the people as well as my boss.
Though these days many people seem too busy to appreciate a door held open for them, I still continue to do so.
What do you like to wear?
Paisley button-down shirts with contrasting collars. They make me smile.
What are your hobbies?
Books are both my work and my hobby. I very much enjoy reading when I’m not in my shop. I can spend many happy hours diving into beautiful fictional worlds, or learning new facts or languages. I also enjoy book discussions with a select group of peers.
What are your long-term goals?
I’m afraid I’ve long giving up on setting long term goals. When you live as long as I do, long is such a relative term. Though, I do keep an eye on my finances. They need to last me quite a while.
What are your short-term goals?
Making Connor happy, is high on my to-do list these days. Though he’s made it clear he is already happy.
Making more of an effort to get to know my shop assistant is a close second. She at least deserves to know the truth about me after this whole Primrose mess. Though I’m not all that thrilled with her dating a Primrose Agent.
Last, but not least, providing comfort for some of the lost aliens Primrose harbours.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
Unquestionably an optimist. I would not have lasted as long as I have on this planet had I been a pessimist.
Available in Kindle Unlimited!
Meet the Author
Blaine D. Arden is a purple-haired, forty-something author of queer romance mixed with fantasy, magic, and suspense who sings her way through life in platform boots. She is an EPIC Award winning author, and her scifi romance “Aliens, Smith and Jones” received an Honourable Mention in the Best Gay Sci-Fi/Fantasy category of the Rainbow Awards 2012.
Born and raised in Zutphen, the Netherlands, Blaine spent many hours of her sheltered youth reading, day dreaming, making up stories and acting them out with her Barbies. After seeing the film “An Early Frost” as a teen in the mid-eighties, an idealistic Blaine wanted to do away with the negativity surrounding homosexuality and strove to show the world how beautiful love between men could be. Our difference is our strength, is Blaine’s motto, and her stories are often set in worlds where gender fluidity and sexual diversity are accepted as is.
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