When handsome alien Cohl Travers plucks her off Earth and says he needs her for a simple little cosmic mission, Tess MacKenzie soon finds herself surrounded by smelly bad guys, an ancient Amulet that could end her singing career permanently, and a man who burns her from the inside out.
“The freshest new voice to hit SF romance in decades! Irresistible! A debut novel sure to launch a stellar career.” —Maggie Shayne, NY Times Best-selling Author
Out of this World…
Tess MacKenzie has always dreamed of taking her place among the stars, but racing through the galaxy is not quite what she had in mind. An aspiring singer, she’s finally on the verge of her big break when she’s abducted by the hottest alien she could have ever imagined. An alien who claims the fate of millions depends on her.
…and Into His!
Cohl Travers needs Tess. The warring Trakas are holding his father captive, threatening to kill him unless Cohl retrieves a legendary Amulet for them. In the entire universe, only one voice has the power to unlock the Amulet from its hidden chamber: Tess’s. Cohl may have snatched her from Earth by force, but she must help him willingly if they are to survive the mission.
Convincing Tess to put her life on hold to help his people is the easy part. Resisting the desire to ask her to stay with him will be much harder.
Earth, present day
Staring down the wrong end of the gun, Tess MacKenzie realized something she hadn’t thought was possible: This lousy day could get worse.
“You heard me, lady. Hand over the cash. I know you just got paid.”
Tess tore her eyes away from the gun to the face of the man pointing it at her. The back alley of Sonny’s Bar and Grill was a stupid place to be alone at 3:00 a.m. on a Saturday night. Stupid, dark, and smelly.
You never knew what kind of vermin you’d find crawling around. The two-legged variety she stared at now was proof-positive. She squinted at her assailant in the faint moonlight. All she could imagine was a beer keg on legs—and even that was a compliment. She wondered how he’d got so round eating with just those half-dozen teeth.
She forced a casual smile. “Sorry. Sonny said it was a slow night. He couldn’t pay me and the band until tomorrow.”
Keg-on-legs snorted. “Nice try. I saw Sonny hand ya the money, honey. Now it’s mine.” His few teeth glinted as he smiled.
Tess glared at him. Damn it, she needed that three hundred bucks. The rent was due, the recording studio was holding her CD hostage for payment, and her car was on its last legs.
But hey, it could be worse. She could be getting mugged by a filthy little varmint in the back alley of the tackiest gin joint in upstate New York.
“Are you gonna hand it over nice-like, or am I gonna hafta come get it from you?”
Tess shuddered at the thought. There was just enough light to see the filthy hand holding the gun, and she didn’t need that hand any closer.
Grumbling, she reached into her purse to get the cash from the night’s gig and vowed that this was the last time her manager was going to book something in the middle of God’s country. She didn’t care how desperate they were for money; from now on, she was sticking to radio appearances and recording studios.
Her hand struck something hard and cold. Hair spray. She paused. It could work. All she needed were a few seconds to duck around the side of the building and head for the all-night diner across the street.
Slowly, she wrapped her fingers around the cold metal and found its top. She swallowed hard and yanked the canister out of her bag, pushing the nozzle and aiming for the mugger’s head.
Keg-on-legs jumped back, grabbing at his face where the spray stung his eyes. Tess spun and ran wildly, with Keg-on-legs swearing and stumbling behind her. He recovered quickly and moved faster then she could have imagined on those stubby legs.
Damn. She’d thought she would have more time. Oh God, don’t shoot me.
By now he was cursing behind her, calling out in precise, disgusting terms just how much trouble she was going to be in when he got his hands on her.
Tess rounded the corner of the building and ran right into a big man who caught her in his arms.
Yes! Help had arrived.
“He’s got a gun!” she gasped as she glanced up into the stranger’s face. If she hadn’t been so pumped up with adrenaline, she would have fallen over. Wow. What good-looking cavalry. The man was tall and gorgeous with a killer smile.
Keg-on-legs rounded the corner right behind her and skidded to a halt, aiming his gun with both hands at first Tess, then the stranger. Breathing heavily, he shouted, “Don’t move, I don’t wanna kill nobody. I just want the money.”
The stranger eyed him thoughtfully. Tess couldn’t pull her gaze away from his shadowed face, so calm and relaxed. Didn’t he realize there was a gun pointed at him? Her eyes widened. She’d almost forgotten—there was a gun pointed at her, too.
“Would you like me to neutralize him, sir?”
Tess jumped at the strange new voice emanating from the darkness. It sounded somehow both mechanical and human. It also sounded… well, bored. Bored ?
“Please,” the stranger drawled.
A beam of light flashed from somewhere behind him. It hit Keg-on-legs square in the chest, and the mugger crumpled quietly to a pile on the ground.
Tess gaped—first at the incapacitated man in the dirt and then up at her savior. The stranger’s eyes narrowed, watching her every move. She backed away with feet of lead. That was when she saw the bizarre silver apparition behind him, hovering in midair. She didn’t know what it was, but she knew what it wasn’t. It wasn’t like anything she’d ever seen on Earth.
In detached horror, she watched as the thing turned its sights on her. Was it a robot? Her heart pounded painfully in her chest.
“I’d like you to come with me,” the stranger said.
Tess’s mouth went dry. Good Lord. Wasn’t a mugging enough tonight? “If you don’t mind, I think I’ll pass.”
The robot slipped closer, and with growing panic she added, “Just so you know, I can scream really well.”
The stranger’s smile faded. “I’m afraid that won’t do.” He turned and nodded to his metal monster.
The last thing Tess saw in the burst of light was the stranger’s golden eyes.
“Brimming with adventure, danger and love, Unearthed by C.J. Barry is a heart-pounding ride that starts off with a bang and doesn’t slow down until the very last page.” —Romance Reviews Today
4 1/2 Stars & a Top Pick —Romantic Times magazine
“Author C. J. Barry shows she knows just what it takes to write a futuristic romance with characters and worlds so real, that the reader is right there walking under strange moons and smelling the scents of unknown, exotic plants. ” —Brenda Gill, The Word on Romance
This is a fantastic story! It’s almost like Science Fictions meets Indiana Jones. This is a great book that I can’t recommend enough! —Chere Gruver, Road to Romance
“This book by Ms. Barry is sure to capture the imagination of its readers. She has created a world where almost anything can happen. Adventure is a key factor in this story, keeping a good pace to hold on to one’s interest. The developed world is beautifully rendered, with enough detail to give a vivid image in the mind’s eye.” —Kelley A. Hartsell, The Best Reviews
“Ms. Barry weaves worlds with a light and deft hand. Tess and Cohl must come to terms with loving someone whose ties are to their home planet. The tale of the fall of the Demisian people serves as a haunting backdrop to their story.” —Lady Luck, Romance Junkies