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So Many Complications #scifiromance #adventure #dragon

Three years since the first Pets in Space®!!!

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I can’t believe it has been three years since the first Pets in Space® released! So much has happened in that time, including two more anthologies and the fourth releasing in just 15 days! Getting ready for the next release has had me looking back with some fondness at my past Pets in Space® stories. 

Today, that is the very first story: The Real Dragon. 

The story started, like so many of my stories do, with a flicker of an idea prompted by some random thing. For this story, the random thing was picking a bearded dragon as my pet. It seemed like a good marketing tool. Lol But it turned out to be both a challenge and a delight. 

I’ll bet you are thinking the real dragon of the title is my bearded dragon. At the time I started the story, I had the same ideas. And as always, my story surprised me. First, the story started out in first person, which I know is not a popular choice with some readers and authors, and second, well, you should probably read it to find out what surprised me about the bearded dragon in my story. 

But the real dragon in this story is the villain. It’s an “other woman” story, but not in the way you’d think. And it’s an amnesia story and a dragon story and an extra-terrestrial story—well she has a lot to deal with in what is only a 14,000-word story.

I reread it to write this blog and it surprised me how much I liked it. I know, it’s my story and I should like it, but I do have my favorites. This one is up there. Here’s a snippet to give you a sense of the story:

“You are conversant with faster than light travel.” 

Ice trickled down the center of my back. “How could you know that?” No one knew about her dad’s super-secret, faster-than-light project. 

“For one thing, you have geek plastered all over your Facebook and Instagram profiles.” 

I opened my mouth to ask how he knew that, then noticed the tabs on my browser. My dragon had checked out my social media.   

“And it has long been your dream to travel in space.”

This was true, but how—oh right. I’d told him everything before he disappeared. “I…didn’t know you understood me.” 

He might have looked aggrieved. “You told me I was the only one who did.” 

“Yes. And I meant it.” For a teenager, “you understand me” is the same as saying “you let me talk all I want and never tell me I’m wrong,” but this didn’t seem like the time to tell him that. That I knew this gave me hope I’d matured, even if I did live at home. Then I wondered why I was talking out loud when my dragon wasn’t. Can you hear me? 

No response from my dragon. 

“How come I can hear you inside my head but you can’t hear me?”

I felt a d’oh from him.  

“You lack the implant that gives me a telepathic voice.” 

Implant. My dragon had an implant that made him telepathic. Okay. And where—it was starting to sink in that my dragon had been…I couldn’t think it. Not yet. I was a geek. I should be excited, not—

“So you took,” I sort of managed another dry swallow, “a…a…space trip?” 

I had a sudden flash of memory. Like a movie still frame. The bright light stabbing out of the dark that put us at the center of a spotlight—but that was just a weird dream. A weird, reoccurring dream. It had to be, because if it wasn’t then…then…

“You observed my departure.” 

I looked away. “I don’t remember much about that night.” I rubbed my face with both hands, leaving them over my eyes. Now I saw the flash of headlights. This time not in still frame. They moved erratically, the glow bouncing off the dense trees that lined the road. The squeal of tires—and then nothing. Just this vast blank ocean inside my head that was awash with guilt.  

My dad had been devastated about losing mom, but it had been eight years. In the Old Testament, even Jacob had only served seven for Rachel, unless you counted the seven extra years he got tricked into serving, but I didn’t want to count those. Eight was bad enough. And I hadn’t even got a date out of my eight years, let alone a spouse or two.

You don’t have to leave, my dad had told me today after dropping his bombshell, Iris and I want you to stay, to keep working with us. 

Yeah, sure, I’d love to play third wheel to my dad and his wife. I didn’t tell him I’d rather poke out my own eye. I didn’t have to. He was clueless but not that clueless. He’d almost seemed startled by his words, then he’d smiled at me, tempered with a bit of wry and something almost…puzzled. I’d hugged and congratulated him and came upstairs to…a typing, talking dragon. I lowered my hands. 

I had to know. “Were you…abducted by…aliens?”

“I wasn’t abducted.” His beard flared black again. “It was an accident.”

My next thought was totally inappropriate, but one can’t always help that.

Why didn’t they accidentally take me, too? 

* * * * *

If you haven’t read it yet, you can get it as a standalone short story (.99), or collected with others of my science fiction shorter stories. The last is a great deal. You get The Real Dragon, Nebula Nine, Specters in the Storm, my Christmas story from Open with Care (Up on the Housetop), Steam Time, Men in Jeans and Time Trap. Short fiction that adds up to 145,000+ words and all for just $9.99. 

And don’t forget to preorder Pets in Space® 4! It will land on your eReader in 15 days, bringing you adventure, romance, and some great pets!

Here’s all the details: 

For a limited time only! Pets in Space® 4 is proud to present 13 amazing, original new stories! Join the adventures as today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors take you on a journey to another world. Pets in Space® proudly supports Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that provides service animals to veterans and first responders in need. Join New York Times, USA TODAY and Award-winning Bestselling authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Tiffany Roberts, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Donna McDonald, Regine Abel, Alexis Glynn Latner, JC Hay, E.D. Walker, Kyndra Hatch, and Cassandra Chandler for another exciting Pets in Space® anthology. Get the stories before they are gone!

Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space® authors have donated over $7,100 in the past three years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans and first responders. 10% of all pre-orders and the first month’s royalties of Pets in Space® 4 will again go to Hero-Dogs.org. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Pets in Space® 4 today so together we can continue to assist this worthy charity! 

And while you’re waiting, make sure you don’t miss Pets in Space® Sampler! It’s going away forever on Oct 7, 2019! 

A must have collection! Only available here!

Pets in Space® 4 Sampler: Stories & Art from some of today’s best known and award-winning Science Fiction Romance authors!

NEW & EXCLUSIVE short stories from

* S.E. Smith, Lords of Kassis series

* Anna Hackett, Galactic Gladiators: House of Rone

* Tiffany Roberts, The Kraken series

* Veronica Scott, Star Cruise series

* Pauline Baird Jones, Project Enterprise series

* Donna McDonald, My Crazy Alien Romance series

* Alexis Glynn Latner

* Cassandra Chandler, The Department of Homeworld Security series

Not enough? Check out the preview chapters of their upcoming Pets in Space 4 stories from:

Laurie A. Green, Regine Abel, JC Hay, E. D. Walker, and Kyndra Hatch! 

Finish off this fabulous Sampler with gorgeous alien artwork from Tiffany Roberts.

Download your FREE Sampler now!

And don’t forget to preorder Pets in Space® 4 and support a great charity!

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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