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Pets in Space 8
Contains 'The Alien's Falconer' co-written with Arizona Tape

Blast off into adventure with the eighth installment of PETS IN SPACE, a dynamic anthology of 11 never-before-seen science fiction romance stories! Rocket through the multi-verses brimming with heart-pounding escapades, swoon-worthy romances, and the best pet sidekicks ever!

Each story will pull you into the far-flung corners of the cosmos with intrepid heroes and heroines you’ll want to cheer for as they fight to save their world and find their happily ever afters. You’ll adore the furry, feathered, and scaly friends who have come to help their brave human companions on their quests.

This limited-edition anthology includes novellas by some of the biggest names in science fiction romance including USA TODAY bestselling authors R.J. Blain, Susan Hayes, Honey Phillips, Skye MacKinnon, Arizona Tape, Carol Van Natta, Tana Stone, S.J. Pajonas, Carysa Locke, JC Hay, plus award-winning authors Gail Koger and Elva Birch.

The Pets in Space 8 authors continue their vital support of, the non-profit charity that provides trained service dogs for disabled U.S. veterans and first-responders.

So, grab your space helmet to discover adventure and love — buy Pets in Space 8 today!

Releases 3 October 2023

I carefully manoeuvred through the thick jungle part of the planet, the rough orange leaves threatening to cut the underside of my arms. Luckily, I was wearing my makeshift guards. That was the advantage of camping somewhere familiar.

And Planet Bevba was definitely familiar. To most, it was just one of the many deserted island planets around the Tarran sun, but it was my playground.

A shrill cry alerted me to the menace from above, and I held up my hand to receive the visitor. A medium-sized bird with blue wings attempted to land on my forearm, his sharp talons scratching into the material of my brace as he missed his landing. He crashed into the sharp plants in front of me, and it wasn’t the first time I was glad he was covered in scales to protect him.

“You’re no falcon, are you?” I said, sighing as I plucked him from the mess.

Aba let out a soft thrilling noise. “No falcon,” he mimicked.

A pang of longing shot through me as it always did whenever he repeated something I said. As human as it sounded, it was nothing compared to the real thing. A real conversation with someone who cared.

This was as close as it got.

I plucked some of the thorns from his scaly chest and he looked at me with adoration in his four eyes.

“Four eyes and still no depth of vision, huh?” I teased while stroking the top of his head where his feathers were the softest. As much as I liked ribbing on him, he was my dearest companion and I wouldn’t trade him for anything. Not for all the money in the world or the fattest cargo ship in the galaxy. Maybe for a Mister Whippy from the seaside, maybe, but only if he was particularly annoying that day.

My mouth salivated just from thinking about ice cream and I quickly pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind. There was no use longing for something I couldn’t get.

Aba whistled to himself as I let him ride on my arm and I enjoyed the familiar weight. It reminded me of when I trained birds of prey with my grandfather and it was moments like this that made me feel like myself.

I trekked through the wilderness until I arrived at the landing site of my space shuttle and Aba flew up, cawing happily at the sight of home. The loading bay door slid open when it sensed the unlocking technology embedded in my shoulder, a crude piece of technology compared to what was out there, but it did the job.

I instantly felt a sense of relief as I got out of the sun. Even though these planets circled around a yellow star, it was much harsher than what I was used to, certainly compared to the poor excuse of summer in England.

“I need some more sunblock,” I told Aba.

“Sunblock. I need more sunblock,” he replied, flying up from my arm. “Sunblock! That damned sun is going to kill me one day!”

There was something uncanny about hearing my own words echoed back to me, especially things I said a while ago. It made me hopeful that one day, he could master the language and say things of his own though. One day, maybe.

I unlocked the second door to the main part of the ship by pressing my hand on the modified scanner.

“Welcome back, Captain Georgia,” an automated voice said.

“Good to be back,” I replied gruffly.

The doors slid open while simultaneously locking the loading bay behind me. If there was anything I’d learned from my time in space, it was to never leave anything unlocked. That was a cardinal rule.

I did a quick check around as I walked in but everything was how I left it. Perks of being on an uninhabited piece of land. Besides, what could people want from this piece of junk?

Aba flew towards the pile of pillows that was his bed, landing badly in it. He was definitely not made for confined living spaces but it wasn’t like I kept him on a string. He was free to go if he wished.

I pulled my arm guards off and put them back in their compartment by the door. They were starting to get worn out but I didn’t have the material to fix them up.

“Shall we listen to some music?” I proposed, hitting the old radio I acquired not that long ago. It sprung to life and an unfamiliar song came on through the static. It sounded Ralish or maybe even Kyvenish in genre, not that I cared. None of those were planets worth visiting. The aliens there were just like anywhere else, cold, foreign, and without compassion for someone like me. To them, I was just a non-Galactic entity without rights, something that had been made clear to me time and time again.

I involuntarily traced the raised scars on my underarms, memories of a time I’d rather forget.

“Maybe no music,” I decided. I turned the radio off and made it through the living space into the small kitchenette. My stomach rumbled and I searched the cupboards for something easy to eat but came up short. My last haul hadn’t been very successful and it showed in the sad selection of canned food I had left.

I selected a packet of ship crackers and some pink slurry in a jar that didn’t taste unlike mashed potatoes when heated right. It would do for my immediate hunger, but it wasn’t exactly a good home-cooked meal. For that, I’d have to go ‘foraging’ first.

Aba watched me with four greedy eyes when I sat on the threadbare sofa and started munching my food.

“You had an entire snake yesterday, you don’t need any food for at least a week,” I told him sternly. That bird was prone to overeating, which usually resulted in me having to clean the ship. Even at three years old, he still hadn’t learned that he only needed to eat every ten days or so. Or maybe he simply didn’t want to understand.

I reached for my tablet, cringing at the cracks on the screen. I really needed a new one soon, but none of the ships I’d encountered recently had contained tech compatible with my own ancient vessel. One day, I’d have to upgrade, but my entire process depended on having an old ship. The ruse wouldn’t be as believable with a modern starcruiser, as much as I’d prefer to live in one.

Repressing a sigh, I swiped through the maps of the sector, plotting my route. As nice as it had been to feel solid ground beneath my feet, I never stayed in any place for long. Even though I hated to admit it, the B3RR-Y had become my home. Not that I’d ever admit that to anyone, not even Aba. The alien parrot was still eyeing me jealously. At least he didn’t beg for food. Despite his intelligence, it wasn’t easy to train him, mostly because he was a moody male who refused to do my bidding ninety per cent of the time. The fact that he was behaving now probably meant that he had plans to make my life difficult later on. As much as I loved the silly bird, he was also a pain in the arse.

I was so lost in thought that I hadn’t realised I’d eaten the last spoonful of pink slurry. I was still hungry. Ugh. I didn’t feel like foraging. It was time to leave this planet and go back to work.

“Ready for takeoff,” I announced, waiting for my avian echo. Aba promptly repeated my words. If he’d been human, I would have interpreted his chirpy voice as joy, but it was hard to tell for sure. I sometimes suspected that I read too much into Aba’s behaviour, seeing emotions and intention where there was only mimicry. I knew nothing about his species. Stars, I didn’t even know if he really was a male. If I had friends, I’d ask them what he was exactly. No, first I’d tell them the story of how I’d almost eaten him as an egg. That would make them laugh. We’d laugh together, slap each others’ backs, then someone else would tell an equally funny story.

“Ready for takeoff,” Aba cawed for a second time as if to remind me that I had work to do.

“Thanks, buddy. You’re right, dwelling on the impossible isn’t good for me. Let’s get off this planet. Time to fly.”

Aba shook his wings in agreement and flew over to the main console, landing in his favourite spot where he had the perfect view of both me in my chair and the large, if slightly blurry, viewscreen.

I entered our course and crossed my fingers. With a bit of luck, I’d eat a proper meal soon.

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Books in Series

eat your heart out xmas (Large)
Hungry for more cover
Daggers & Destiny
Pets in Space 8 cover
Stars & Seduction