The writers of Ozarks Romance Authors have launched their own Round Robin. New installments will be posted monthly. Be sure to check back to see how the story is progressing!
The next installment of our story, HOLY FUDGE NUGGETS, is authored by Kayla Griffith. If you like what you read, be sure to check out her work.
Need to catch up?
Holy Fudge Nuggets
"No. No, no, no…" loud cracks drown Lauren's words as the sky rent itself into a violent show of colors again. Her hands fumbled for her camera as a long, shiny—
"You've got to be kidding me." Her finger convulsed on the shutter as the not-so-mesmerized part of her brain almost laughed at the absurdity. "What is it with you people and penises?" Did aliens have Freudian issues, too?
Roan let out what had to be a curse by its tone and intensity. "We have to get out of here. Stop that and drive."
The camera jerked out of her hands. "Hey!"
She whirled on him with every intention of fighting to get her precious camera back, but the fear etched into his features brought her up short.
His body rippled with tension as he looked feverishly around her Jeep. "Do you have any weapons?"
"Weapons?" Her voice rose an octave. "To fight a freaking spaceship?"
"How fast can this vehicle move?"
"Wait. Isn't that one of yours?" Lauren shoved her thumb at the bulbous cylinder hovering over the crater created by Roan's now invisible ship.
The hard set of his lips answered her before his words. "No. That is my enemy."
Goosebumps rippled over her skin as panic raced through her body, but she wrenched the key and shoved the Jeep into gear as she slammed her foot onto the accelerator. Without thinking, she whipped the Jeep around and headed back up the dark, barely there set of tire tracks that passed for a road.
"We… can't… outrun them," she yelled over the noise and constant pummeling of the backroad. Without headlights she dared not take her eyes from the trail, and the Jeep's jerking rendered the rear-view mirror useless.
She had no idea if the interstellar man-part was still following them.
Roan twisted in his seat, his eyes rivetted on the scene behind them. "We must find a populated place where we can hide."
"Populated? This is New Mexico." She yanked the wheel to the left and the Jeep climbed up onto a forestry road. The logical reporter within her came out of hiding, shoved her panicked self aside, and began to piece together a plan. "Wait. How much of a population?"
"They won't dare show themselves in the open to large groups of people. That would be a temporal act of war."
"So, we can be safe if we find a place where a naked space or time traveler, whichever you are, with glowy hands won't attract any attention?"
She grinned despite the danger they were still in. "I've got an idea."
After a few more turns, a forestry sign appeared marking where the dirt road intersected a two-lane paved highway.
The arrow pointing to the right read "Roswell 38 Miles." An old truck rumbled past going much faster than the posted speed limit. Lauren pulled out onto the pavement behind it, turned on her headlights and followed it down toward the dim light of the city.
Wind whipped at Roan's hair and exposed skin as they followed the rusting vehicle in front of them. Occasionally, a piece of debris or bug hit him with a loud pop. His empty stomach rumbled its displeasure at regular intervals, darkening his already black mood. The constant barrage of sensation blocked his abilities to sense where his enemy might be. For all he knew, the ship could be hovering over them undetectable in its cloaked mode.
Next to him, Lauren sat with her hands locked on the steering wheel and her eyebrows knit together, creating a small line between them while her mesmerizing eyes remained focused on the road. Though she said no words, her lips kept moving in some internal conversation. A conversation that wasn't going well, if he read her expression right.
That shouldn't have distracted him from the very real danger of his situation, but it did. Or at least she did.
He blew out a breath and looked across the horizon to the streak of pink showing clearly where the desert met the sky. They'd followed him. The crash wasn't an accident but sabotage shoving him through a rift into the wrong space and time. What about this mission was so important that the Zantherians would attempt that?
The vehicle slowed and Roan looked up to see several lights on poles and a hanging green circle that turned yellow and then red. Lauren pulled the Jeep to a stop and whirled on him like a cornered animal.
"I hate you. Really, really hate you." She punctuated each word with a poke to his chest and then turned before he could respond to reach behind her and pull up a black cloth bag. She dropped it on his lap with far more force than was necessary. "You need to hide that thing."
He felt a ridiculous urge to smile at her. "Why do you hate me, exactly?"
The red changed to green and she looked back at the road as the vehicle began moving again. "Because Mr. super-cute, touchy-feely alien guy, this is the story of the century and no one will ever believe me. Not even with the pictures."
"They can't believe you. If you tell anyone, you will be targeted for removal."
"And that's why I hate you. I have proof that space travel is real and I can't tell anyone."
"Technically, they are the same thing."
"Right. Einstein's theory of relativity. If you accidentally rip through one, the other one gets screwed up, too."
He raised an eyebrow in surprise. She was more intelligent than he'd given her credit for. "I shouldn't be here, Lauren. I need to get back to my mission and lead the Zantherians off this planet before they hurt anyone or damage the timeline."
He pointed to the sky. "The other ship. They are a race of beings resembling your species of arachnids with impenetrable armor, eight opposable thumbs, and nasty prehensile stingers."
"Spiders?" Her voice grew oddly shrill. "You're being chased by super spiders?"
"Humans are a rarity in the galaxy and are often at a physical disadvantage. The universe does not favor the soft skinned." To their right, he spotted a sign he'd been seeking. His tense muscles relaxed just a bit.
"Turn at that yellow sign," he said, pointing to the well-lit building, one of the only ones containing other humans. "They can't follow us in there. We can eat in safety while I make further plans."
Lauren looked incredulously between him and the bright, yellow arches, but she turned into the wide expanse around the building before screeching to a stop.
"Seriously?" She was almost screaming at him. "It's not enough that you're a naked guy from outer space and fly a shiny, disappearing penis, your enemy is a spider from hell, and the universe hates me because I'm squishy." She pointed up at the yellow light above them. "Now you're telling me burgers will save us?"
Roan smiled at her. "Technically, it's the French fries that can save us. The galaxy is a strange place."
About the Author
Kayla Griffith has served on the ORA Board since 2017.