Authors: Christine Peterson
Some of your favorite authors present 8 all-new stories told through the looking glass—including a new The Ghost novella!
*** Praise for THE ALPHA HOWLS***
knows how to pull a reader into the minds of her well-crafted characters."
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"This writer never disappoints."
"The Author creates characters that seem to jump off the page."
"With a captivating style, writes a compelling story..." ~Long and Short Reviews
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A POSEIDON Publishing Book / Published by arrangement with authors
Copyright 2016 by POSEIDON Publishing Random House LLC
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JR mass-market edition/2016
Cover Images: “Landscape” by Petra Rasmussen
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This collection includes over 7 best-seller Romance fiction novels from best seller authors. It’s been a long journey for us as a publisher to bring together the best authors in the industry to create the best collection currently available at Amazon. We have no doubt you will enjoy every single novel as much as we enjoyed the process of bringing this invaluable collection to life.
Table of Contents
Have you ever felt that there’s something not quite right with you? That there’s some missing piece that you can never quite put your finger on. This how I have felt my entire life, as if I’ve been walking through the world in a haze and that the world around me is a false one, nothing but an illusion. Over the years, I’ve tried to fool myself into believing that this is how everyone feels. That each morning when they wake up that they don’t belong, that they have no place in the universe, or at least on Earth.
I won’t say that I don’t feel human. If anything, I would say that I feel almost too human, that I feel everything too deeply and become hurt too easily. But this in itself is what makes me feel alien; what makes me feel like I don’t belong. My Grandpa felt the same way. He was an artist at heart despite the fact that he made his living as a welder. He could paint or draw anything he saw and reproduce it with a photo like an accuracy. My mother always said that this was the reason why he had lost himself in his delusions; that this was why his aliens and flying saucers seemed so real to him because he wanted them to be real so desperately that he basically willed them into reality.
Well, at least, his reality.
For years, we all thought that Grandpa was completely out of his mind. Sure, we all want to think that there’s life on other planets and there are more advanced forms of life other than ourselves out there. But you have to admit, most of us believe aliens are nothing more than the creations of science fiction writers imaginations and that we’re completely alone in the universe. To be honest, I always hoped this wasn’t true. When I looked up at the night sky, I couldn’t help but think it was a huge waste of space if there wasn’t someone or something other than us out in there in all that blackness.
But the way Grandpa made it sound, the aliens he encountered were all nothing but horrors. Creatures that snatched us up in the middle of the night, fly you into space and then essentially do nothing but torture you until they grow bored and send you back to your bed to relive those horrors until you lost your mind. It all seemed so terrible, too terrible to be real, so I convinced myself that it wasn’t.
But just a couple of minute ago, I discovered that Grandpa’s visions were all very real. That is such a thing as a little green men and that we are not alone in the universe.
And that these little green men maybe even more terrible than I can possibly imagine.
May God help me and protect me.
Do you remember that movie that came out in the 90’s about the four guys in Arizona who were kidnaped by aliens? Yeah, I know, it’s kind of a vague question because there were a lot of movies and TV shows about alien abduction in the 90’s. But chances are you’ll remember this one because a really famous director who went on to win a ton of Oscar’s for directing a couple of World War II dramas was the one who made it. But, obviously, the alien abduction flick wasn’t one of his better-known efforts.
Anyway, the reason why I’m bringing this particular movie up is because one of the guys who was kidnaped and portrayed by some faceless actor that nobody remembers now. Well, that guy in real life was my Grandfather. In the movie, he basically denies the abduction ever happened, but with a menacing wink-wink to go along with it. Meaning that he knows it happened, but he doesn’t want to remember it. He just wants to put it all behind him and move on with his life. And really, who could blame, right?
But, of course, that’s the movies, it’s nothing but make believe. However, in real life, my Grandpa never shut about the abduction. Seriously, it’s all he ever talked about, and because of his obsession with it, he lost his business, his wife and kids, and his home. Yeah, he was a serious mess.
I remember the last time I saw him up at his cabin, I was 15-years-old, and my mom forced me and my sister to go and visit him in his creepy little cabin deep in the woods just outside of Flagstaff. Me, my dad, and my baby sister all grumbled about it for weeks leading up to the visit. It wasn’t that we didn’t love my Grandpa, but the alien stuff really creeped us out. Well, it creeped me out. My dad thought it was all nothing more than a bad acid trip—According to my dad, at the time of the abduction my Grandpa was really into hallucinogens in a heavy way—and nothing more. With my sister, well, she just hated going to Grandpa’s cabin because he didn’t have electricity or television or any of the things she prized so much. Personally, I didn’t mind getting away from it all for a couple of days and just being out in the middle of nature with nothing but your thoughts.
Of course, we all went because Grandpa was, for better or worse, my mother’s dad, and the fact is she would make our lives a living hell if we didn’t make the trip with her. My mom is tiny little woman—she’s only 5’1 and maybe weighs 100 pounds soaking wet—but if you get on her bad side, she’s deadlier than a rabid grizzly bear. So we made the hour-and-a-half-long drive from our house in Phoenix up into the snow covered winter mountains of Flagstaff (This was another reason why it wasn’t too much of a chore for me to visit my uncle Dale. Growing up in Phoenix, we basically have two kinds of weather, really hot and kind of hot. It’s great if you’re a nut for the sun, but not so great if you’re a rainy day girl like me.).
When we first arrived, Grandpa was in a really great mood. He was all smiles and hugs and asked all of us how we were doing and about what we’d been up to. He seemed like a completely normal, mentally healthy human being who just happy to see his family. This, of course, only lasted for about 8 hours. Okay, maybe a little longer than that, it at least lasted until mom and dad were asleep and Grandpa had me alone.
I’ve always been a night owl. Even when I was a little kid, I could never fall asleep before midnight. It drove my folks up the wall, but it was who I was. Grandpa was the same. In fact, I don’t think Grandpa ever really slept except for a few hours a night because his body forced him to shut down. Anyway, as usual when we stayed with Grandpa, I had to sleep in the living room because his tiny spare bedroom only really accommodated a couple of people, and my sister was small enough at the time that my folks would just have her sleep in her little Hello Kitty sleeping bag at the foot of the bed. The sleeping arrangements were fine with because of my own weird sleeping habits.
I was sitting on the living room couch reading by lamplight when Dale came and sat with me.
“So how’ve you been doing, Mandy?” He asked with a nervous tick that made his eyelids flutter like they were butterflies. I knew the look he was giving me, and I knew what was coming. I dog-eared my book and put it on the ground.
“I’ve been doing really good. How about you?”
“Good, good. Hey, do you mind if I show you something?”
“Sure,” I said, my eyes rolling internally. I knew what he want to show me, it was all just part of visiting Grandpa.
“Come on, it’s in my room.”
I followed him down the creaking cedar plank hall and waited patiently as he opened the three heavy locks he used to keep whoever or whatever out of it. He finally finished with his sequence and we scampered inside, slamming the door shut behind us. The last time I had been in Grandpa’s room a couple of years ago, the room had been a complete mess. The walls were covered from floor-to-ceiling with newspaper clippings of other UFO abductions and news stories about technological advances. You see, Grandpa was the type of person who thought things like computers, video games, cell phones (I imagine he would’ve freaked out if he ever got the chance to see a smartphone.) DVD players, etc., was all alien technology given to our corporations in exchange for God knows what? He just couldn’t believe human being were even remotely smart enough to create them on their own without smoking of help.
But this time, his room was completely clear of any clutter. The walls were completely bare except for a few landscape paintings Grandpa had made while he was in high school (Grandpa was an incredibly talented artist. I still have a charcoal sketch he made of me when I was 8-years-old hanging up in my office. It’s such a perfect likeness you would think it was photograph). And there weren’t any piles of books or magazines littering the floor, either. The normally overcrowded room was so tidy and well organized that I couldn’t help but think that maybe he had turned a new leaf? That maybe he finally realized his obsession was nothing more than a complex hallucination? In fact, the only thing that occupied his room was his easel with a massive covered canvass sitting in it.
“You’ve been painting again!” I nearly shouted. “That’s so cool, Grandpa!”
“Yeah, let me show it to you.”
He pulled the cloth from the canvass, and what was underneath nearly took my breath away.
On the right-hand side of the canvas, Grandpa had painted one of his “Gray Men”. You know what those are, right? I guarantee you if you ever saw a TV show about alien abduction you’ve seen a “Gray Man”. They have the enormous heads with the huge black eyes and the long sexless bodies. Well, that’s what Grandpa had painted, but the skin of the thing looked almost metallic. On the left-hand side, he’d painted something I’d never seen before. The figure looked like a man, but its skin was a light blue with almost iridescent yellow hair. The blue man’s body almost looked like how Michelangelo had depicted Adam in the Sistine Chapel. The painting was brilliant. Weird, but brilliant.
“What is this?” I asked.
“It’s the gray men.”
“Okay, I can see that. But who’s the blue man?”
“That’s the gray men! That’s the gray men outside of their armor!”
“What? Yeah, you see, this thing here,” He said motioning to the traditional rendering of the grey man. “That’s just armor. It’s like a spacesuit that our astronauts wear. The blue guy, he’s what’s inside the suit.”
I shook my head, dumbfounded. Grandpa wasn’t getting any better, his delusions had just jumped to a whole other level of crazy, and I was going to go ahead and play along with it.
“How do you know this is what they look like?” I asked, kicking myself a little the minute the words came out of my mouth.
“Because they showed me. The last time they were here! It absolutely blew my mind, kiddo! I mean, for years I thought they were trying to hurt us or clone or something. But the night they came and he stepped out of his armor and put his arm across my shoulder, I just knew they weren’t here to harm us. They’re here to help us.”
“But help us with what?”
“I don’t know?”
It wouldn’t be until five years later that I would find out first hand what they were here to help us with.