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ABOUT Retrieval:

A woman isolated in the Mojave desert…an alien invasion…and a primal obsession.

For Gillian Hall running her diner in the desert is the good life, until a man calling himself Gabriel arrives as her enigmatic and unpredictable new short-order cook. On the same day fiery explosions streak across the sky. Everyone in town assumes their presence must be part of a military operation from the nearby base.

What do the blasts really signal? Gillian’s quiet world shifts into an unknown reality when seven starbreakers—alien ships—enter Earth’s atmosphere. One of them is destroyed, scattering valuable and dangerous technology into the desert in its wake. Five ships depart.

The last starbreaker, the Menocai, stays to retrieve the lost debris before the military can find it, but its self-absorbed commander, Malakai, has an additional need. He wants Gillian as well. He has sent his brother Inac, in the guise of Gabriel, to retrieve her.


Then the noise came again, this time with a vibration so strong it moved his table an inch toward me and sent the fork flying. The stove in the kitchen was bolted to the floor but glasses and plates came smashing down off shelves. I swore under my breath.

“What the hell is that?” someone called out.

The sky had darkened. We all went close to the window, something we knew better about doing if it was an earthquake, or even if it was just some special testing the military was performing. They never sent us a schedule but I’d hear the blasts in the early dawn hours. We all did and nothing we could do about it except try to go back to sleep. This sound had been different. Now we gathered near the glass like novice travelers, staring up.

Seven horizontal streaks like thin lines of fire stretched across the sky above the horizon. As we watched, six of them disappeared and only one stayed there, an orange and yellow band that pulsed and wavered like a mirage, but it was real. We knew that much. Then that one vanished, too, and the sky cleared and the sun came out again.

I heard the chatter around me.

“So what’s that about?” “Some new weapon.” “They don’t let us see those.” “You make a suggestion, then, smart-ass.” “Maybe it’s alien invaders. They like deserts, don’t they?”

I looked out the window again. I wanted to go and get to the place where those streaks of fire had been, somewhere between us and the mountain range. But there’d be no point. The best explanation lay with the army base twenty miles away and that meant no explanation at all would come our way.