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ISBN-10: 1-55404-441-3
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 165 Pages
Published: April 2007

Total Readers: 1

From inside the flap

A delightful fantasy fiction romance-adventure story, taking place thousands of light years away and a thousand years into our future.

A lovely young (single) woman travels from Earth to a space colony on the Planet Er-Da, in search of her familyís past. There she suddenly has all kinds of problems with a wealthy, powerful handsome (and single) Er-Dan male. They experience endless culture clashes, and family difficulties, along with language and custom confusion. And there is their unceasing physical attraction to each other!

The odds are enormous. He has to do all that he can to hide everything about himself and his life from her. She must use all of her powers and abilities to find out all she can, and as quickly as possible. Together they must overcome all personal pain, fears, and doubts, as well as prevent any further harm coming to anyone else. That is if either of them are to ever become what they have to ultimately be.

They must learn to cooperate and work together if they are ever to mutually co-exist. He must rescue her, and she him. But they must also, somehow, cope with a dark and terrible secret neither of them ever dared to imagine. An enigma so shocking that neither of them could survive its revealing..... unless their love truly prevails.

Reviews and Awards

Jeffrey Redmond and Cory Anne Stickel
ISBN: 1-55404-441-3
April 2007
Double Dragon Publishing
E-Book and Softcover Print
201 Pages
Science Fiction / Fantasy / Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 Cups
Ellena is getting ready to take the most important trip of her life. She has traveled all over planet earth on business, but this time it is very personal. Her trip to the planet named Erda will be the first step in getting to know her own heritage.
Mitir of Hastell on Erda is the head of the Hastell hotel empire. His familyís legacy is his lifeís work and he is not about to allow it to crumble. His fatherís guilty conscience had put their business in jeopardy and he is ready to put an end to it.
Ellena arrived on Erda with great hopes of finding out about her mother. Her fist impression of the planet was one of awe, but the humanoids there left her feeling very uneasy. Mitir looked like an Erdan god but he scared her as much as he aroused her. His lies confused her and she needed to find out what was behind it before she could tell him her true identity. Mitir tried to get Ellena to leave but to no avail. She was determined to stay and he was determined to have her. She made him crazy with wanting her, but when the truth came out it was devastating. Could they ever have the love they so desperately wanted or would they be forced into a life of tortured looks and unrequited feelings?
This story is set on a planet so lovingly described you can almost smell the flowers. Ellena is determined and spunky, but also a little naÔÔve. Her character is at one moment a femme fatale and the next prim and proper. Mitir comes off as a total alien who overbearing and rude, but with his responsibilities it is understandable. Opposites attract and these two are good examples, however I felt their conversations were not very natural. The scenic imagery is amazing and really carries the other-worldly story.
- Lototy, Reviewer for Coffee Time Books



El-Lena beamed happily at her departing guests. It had been a wonderful farewell party, with everyone acting as though she was going to be away for two years rather than two months. She was lucky to have such affectionate friends.

"Have a lovely time, El-Lena!"

"Donít you dare flaunt your tan at me when you return!"

"Watch out for the natives!"

Her smile faltered a little. Then she was being turned around and hugged by her boss. Only he and her father (who was beginning to wash up by the sound of it) knew why she was really going. "Bye, El-Lena."

Ja-Han looked down on the tiny curvaceous blonde in his arms.

"I look forward to your notes and holographs. Springtime on Er-Da is reputed to be fantastic. I envy you."

"Bye, Ja-Han," she said gratefully.

"Iím sure itíll make a wonderful place for blooming plants walks, You are an old opportunist, arenít you?" she continued in a teasing tone.

"Iím supposed to be on holiday. Still, Iíll come back with lots of ideas, Iím sure." Ja-Han laughed, making his, face even more wrinkled than it was already.

At sixty, having led an outdoor life planning expeditions all over the Galaxy, the planets had taken a toll on his face, but left warmth in his big heart. Heíd become a second father to El-Lena when she joined his specialist holiday agency seven years ago at the age of eighteen. His enthusiastic guidance had turned her into one of his top researchers.

For the last two years she had been creating guided walks in the Martian Colony to follow her highly successful blooming plants walks in the Terran Colony on Vega. When she told him that she had to go to Er-Da as soon as possible, and why, he had immediately given her two months leave.

And just as immediately asked whether she would just "have a little look around" while she was there!

In fact, it was a heaven-sent blessing to El-Lena to be able to tell her friends that she was researching new walks. She couldnít yet bring herself to explain the real reason. It was important that she came to terms with her past before she let the truth be known.

Dad? You leave those dishes!" she called out, hurrying into the kitchen.

"Now didnít I tell you . . ."

The big, blond man in the wheelchair grinned at his daughter in affection.

"Youíre tired, sweetheart." Rik-Ard continued to dunk plates at an alarming rate.

"You have a big day ahead of you tomorrow. Go to bed, Iíll clean up."

"You old martyr," El-Lena grumbled.

"You just want to tell your cronies what an unchauvinistic "

"If youíre going to stand there chattering, grab a towel and use up a bit of your energy on those plates," he said calmly.

With a suppressed smile, she did so. He washed the dirty dishes with an efficiency born from years of practice, and she automatically dried them. Theyíd worked as a team for a long time. Her mother El-Lyza would cook the meals. She and her father cleared up afterwards, loving the ritual. There had been more time lately to be together, thought El-Lena wistfully, since her mother had died three months ago. Her hands slowed.

"Youíve been holding that plate for seventy two and a half seconds," said her father.

"Fallen in love with it, have you?"

"Donít be silly." El-Lena didnít respond with her usual disarming grin. She decided to voice her fears.

"I....Iím not sure I want to go, Dad." He groaned.

"You have to! Iíve arranged all night hologram games while youíre away! You canít let my friends down now; theyíve bought the beverages and snacks. And the neighbors have included a crop of beautiful maidens to prop our eyelids open with little sticks."

Her laugh was unsteady. Rik-Ard shot her a look and shook the suds from his hand, seeing that her worries were serious.

"Come and talk, sweetheart," he said gently, setting the electric chair in motion. She followed him into the sitting room and curled up on the floor with her head on his lap. As usual, he said nothing, waiting for her to begin. Rik-Ard was renowned for his ability to listen to everyoneís troubles.

"Itís difficult to explain exactly what I feel. But inside me," El-Lena said slowly, trying to make sense of her confused emotions. "Thereís a kind of restlessness. I feel half empty, unfinished. I know that I wonít be settled until I have been to Er-Da and learned something about the aliens and ..."

Her voice faded away and her father smoothed her golden head in understanding.

"But Iím afraid to go. I donít know the language. It even looks odd with those weird shaped letters. And it will be very strange. I donít want it to be strange. What if I hate it? How will I feel then?"

"Youíll come home to me. Iíll be here waiting for you. And so will all of your friends. Especially those young men who kept trying to whisk you into the kitchen alone when I wasnít looking."

El-Lena gave a wry smile and lifted her head to look at him.

"Theyíre nice, but theyíre not important. You are. So long as I have you fighting on my side, Iíll be OK. Will you write to me? Iíll get a postal address in the Terran Colony there and send you an interplanetary laser e-mail message the minute I arrive."

"Sure. Iíll write and tell you how the poker game is going. Send me a pack of those old fashioned matches from the posh hotels you dine in every night." She laughed.

"Oh, sure. On my savings?"

Her family had found it hard to scrape a living. Rik-Ard had suffered an accident on a building site very early on in his marriage which had paralyzed him, and since then his wife El-Lyza had shouldered the burden as breadwinner. El-Lena had ploughed her money into the family fund when sheíd started work, and only by limiting her spending to essentials had she managed to save a little.

Iíve got something put by," said her father awkwardly, pressing some notes into her hand.

"I know itíll be hard for you, trying to fit in, and if you get depressed, or if you want to celebrate, Iíd like you to take yourself to a grand hotel and a have a gourmet meal. Will you do that for me?"

"Dad, I..."

Now she knew why he had stopped making his Saturday night visits to the local club. Heíd given up the highlight of his week to offer her his idea of a good time.

"Iíd love that," she said, sniffing a little.

"Itís a wonderful idea, thanks."

He pretended to endure her hug with heavy sighs.

"Iíll want to hear a about it," he said.

"What you wore, and tales about the other diners..... Make some up if theyíre all boring!"

"Iíll do that," she promised, pushing away her dislike of eating alone in public. He ruffled her abundant hair, and they continued clearing away the debris of the party. But Rik-Ard couldnít help glancing frequently and lovingly at his beautiful daughter.

He wanted to remember every bit of her: the loose, flowing, red gold hair, with the little quiff in the front like his; the soft, flawless bloom of her skin; face with its sensual lips, so like her motherís. Rik-Ard almost dropped a heavy ash tray as the bolt of memory shot through him. Apart from her fair hair, El-Lena was like her mother in every way. She had the same blue green eyes that could melt a young male with a look, the neat little nose that crinkled when she laughed, the sudden, joyous smile infecting everyone around.

And, he had to admit, El-Lena might be tiny, but she had some spectacular curves that drew the young males from miles around. In a way, he hoped she didnít like Er-Da. It was selfish, he knew, but then he wanted her to come home to him. Both of them had never said what lay in their minds: that there was the possibility she might never return.

El-Lena lay awake for a long time that night. Her rucksack was packed, her alarm was set, the taxi shuttle booked. And she was afraid. It had been only a few days after El-Lyza had died that sheíd been told the most devastating news of her life. When he was on holiday in Er-Da as a young man, her father had become friendly with a young girl called Mar-Ia , who worked in a tavern. In fact, for Rik-Ard, the holiday romance was serious: he loved Mar-Ia. Under the moonlit sky, beside the fresh water sea one night, they had made love.

Yet something held Mar-Ia on Er-Da. She wouldnít follow him to Earth when he returned, and, though they corresponded and he declared his love, she always gently explained that she could never leave her homeland. El-Lena bit her lip as she remembered her fatherís face when heíd told the story. It had held a distant, far away look, softened by love.

One day Mar-Ia had turned up out of the blue, arriving at his tiny terraced house to ask for his help. She was pregnant with his child. Rik-Ard had gripped El-Lenaís shoulders hard at that moment.

"You are that child, pet. You are Mar-Iaís child. My love child."

As El-Lena stared at him, reluctant to comprehend, he gave her a little shake.

"El-Lyza wasnít your mother."

"What .... what happened to Mar-Ia, then?" she asked in an unnaturally high voice.

Her throat was dry as a bone and her hands had begun to shake. El-Lyza had cuddled her, bathed her grazed knees, packed her school sandwiches, taken her to buy her first party dress ...

"She came to live with me. You know my parents and I had gone our separate ways by then. It was in this very house that she died, El-Lena, after you were born. A fever, they said. But I always thought it was pining for her home. She missed the countryside and the wild blooming plants, and she hated the dull greyness of our winters here.

"Were you married?"

"No. I wish we had been. She refused marriage, and I knew that I couldnít imprison her here. You see, she wanted to return home, one day. To help me out after Mar-Ia had died, El-Lyza and her mother next door cared for you while I worked on the building site, and then...well... I became fond of El-Lyza and we married. Not long afterwards, I had the accident with that excavator and wasnít able to walk again. Nor could I father any more children, El-Lena," he said gently.

El-Lena looked at him with sympathy and despair.

"I didnít know! Mother....El-Lyza..."

"Thatís why I didnít tell you, " Rik-Ard said.

"You must forgive me, but she loved us both and couldnít bear the idea of you going off to find your roots. To all intents and purposes you were her child,. We even forgot you werenít sometimes. Iíd destroyed all of her chances of becoming a real mother, El-Lena. I couldnít take you away from her, too. It thrilled her when you called her Mum. She was very proud of you."

"But passport......"

"I filled in your application, remember? You were working so hard for Ja-Han that it wasnít difficult for me to persuade you to let me handle it. You trusted me. You just signed your name."

"Yes, I remember," El-Lena said, a little bewildered that her father could be so devious.

He must have felt strongly about keeping her origins a secret. Rik-Ard had said heíd get her birth certificate from the bank and post her application form for her. When her passport had arrived, heíd slipped the certificate out of her hand and said heíd put it safely away. At the time, sheíd been so thrilled at the thought of her first job abroad for Ja-Hanís company that she hadnít even noticed.

"How long would you have kept me in the dark if El-Lyza hadnít died?" El-Lena asked.

"I donít know," Rik-Ard confessed. "My conscience was nagging me. I think I would have told you soon. Please forgive me," he begged.

But El-Lena would probably never be able to, at least not totally. Because of the shock of finding out that she was the product of an unknown culture, she suddenly felt so completely alien and different. She understood that El-Lyza and her father had done the best they could for her. They had given her an enormously happy life so far, and she would be grateful for the noise and laughter that filled the house, with friends and neighbors always welcome. But perhaps her future would forever be on Er-Da from then on.

El-Lena glanced at the clock. Two thirty in the morning. Would she never sleep? She watched the hands creep round and then tried to clear her mind.

When she arrived on the planet, she wanted to feel alert. If she could sleep soon, and catch a nap on the space transport, sheíd be alright. The events of the last months receded and she began to relax at last. The space flight was, as usual, smoother and faster than expected thanks to the latest in multi-speed of light technology. And her nap was a refreshing one.

The spaceship captain announced about where they were going. It was into the Cygnus system and to the star known on Earth as "RAWR." From Earth it could be seen, on clear nights, just above the star known as Deneb.

"The coordinates are Right Angle 20 hours, 14 minutes, 11 seconds, and Declination 49 degrees, 31 seconds," he officially stated.

The sun known as RAWR to the Terrans came from an ancient Earth woman named Ruth Audrenne Ward Redmond. It had several planets orbiting it, including the one with three moons and, of course, Er-Da.