Your Planet or Mine?by Susan Grant
With outrageously false accusations piling up against her famous political family and an ex-fiancé in hot water determined to take her down with him, the last thing Jana Jasper needs is more trouble — especially man trouble. But when she heads to the grocery store for an ice cream fix, not only does the muscled hunk in the frozen foods
With outrageously false accusations piling up against her famous political family and an ex-fiancé in hot water determined to take her down with him, the last thing Jana Jasper needs is more trouble — especially man trouble. But when she heads to the grocery store for an ice cream fix, not only does the muscled hunk in the frozen foods section ranting about spaceships and invasions look crazy, he looks familiar.
Cavin of Far Star has never forgotten the girl he met during his weeks spent on that quaint little world, planet Earth, the girl who didn't believe he was real. And now he'll risk his future to save her. All she has to do is take him to her leader. Simple enough plan — although Jana isn't so easily convinced. Hell-bent on charming his way past her defenses, he's determined to stay one step ahead of the galaxy's most feared assassin — and may just capture his favorite Earthling's heart in the process.
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FROM THAT DAY FORWARD, Jana talked. And talked. With
eloquent abandon. She talked her way through the rest of her school years, through four years at Stanford and a Rhodes scholarship to Cambridge University in England. By the time she was twenty-nine, she'd talked her way through a landslide election that ended with her taking office as the youngest state senator in California history.
As the first female Jasper to hold public office, much was said about her gift of gab and how it helped forge a real connection with her constituents. To her dismay, even more was said about her social life.
"You go through men like I go through chocolate," Evie told Jana after the breakup of her most recent relationship. This time, it had been an actual engagement. It was the third time Jana had gone that far with any of the men she'd dated and she'd hoped the third time would be a charm, but as soon as the marriage plans began in earnest, she'd gotten cold feet. Now at thirty-two Jana was back to being California's Most Eligible Bachelorette, a title she wore as comfortably and as enthusiastically as a purple tutu. Lately, even her family had gotten in on the matchmaking pressure.
Everyone except for Grandpa, wheelchair-bound in his nineties but with a mind as sharp as ever.
Clutching a mug of coffee, Jana sat across the dining table from him as she did every Tuesday morning. Foggy daylight filtered through the French doors in the breakfast room. Bagels and cream cheese were set out on antique china that had been in the family since the 1800s.
"Jana, your personal life and your political future are intertwined." Grandpa crossed two thick fingers and shook them at her. She supposed he thought she needed a visual. "You're going to have to commit to someone soon, or risk being seen as a person who can't commit to anything at all."
Sixty years between them, but to this day, they remained the closest of friends. He'd certainly been the best political mentor around, but nothing beat getting a second opinion on men from one who'd been around for almost a century. "I don't sleep around," she said. "I date around."
"To the public, to your rivals, it's the same thing."
"My social life is nowhere near as exciting as everyone thinks."
"And there you have it, girl. It's what people think that counts, not what you actually do or not do. What you have to work on now is changing the perception that you're a playgirl who won't, or can't, settle down. Marriage will do that for you. Use your stubbornness, punkin. That relentless drive. Focus on the kind of life partner you want and go for it. Don't consider anyone who doesn't fit your specifications, and you won't be left with doubts. Choose wisely."
She drained her coffee and gazed at the grinds left on the bottom of the cup. They formed a little heart. Oh, for goodness sake. She shook the cup, scattering the grinds. There, now they more closely resembled her love life: no direction, no substance. "I want magic, Grandpa. That's what I'm looking for and can't find. A man with the kind of magic you can taste in the very first kiss."
Surprised, her grandfather sat back in his wheelchair. "I want to feel like I did when I kissed my imaginary friend Peter when I was a little girl," she blurted out, feeling her face warm.
"You kissed him?" Gripping the armrests of his wheelchair, he leaned forward. "You never told me that."
"He was imaginary, remember?"
"Yes, but..." he blustered.
"Besides, I was nine. Kissing any male who wasn't a family member would have been too mortifying to admit. But I tell you, Grandpa, imaginary or not, he spoiled me for anyone else."
"Good thing you didn't tell me this then. I'd have gone after that boy with my shotgun."
Jana laughed. "I can picture you raging all around the ranch, firing at nothing, trying to catch something that wasn't there."
"Is it any different from what you're doing right now with your love life? Trying to catch something that's not there?"
Was that what she was doing? Was that why it never worked out? Deflated, Jana sagged back in her chair. Sometimes, her grandfather's insight sliced right to the heart.
His blue eyes softened with love. "Don't settle, punkin, but don't pine for what never existed in the first place, either."
"I won't settle. I promise you." How can you say that when every man you've ever dated has been a compromise?
She'd never stopped searching for the magic she felt with Peter, looking for it in every male she'd kissed since, comparing each and every one of them to an imaginary figure from her childhood. How sad was that? Jana pouted at the coffee grounds strewn across the bottom of her cup.
"You're all heart, my girl, but now it's time to leave your heart out of it and give this manhunt some serious thought. Picking the right man will increase your odds of winning the White House."
"That's years away." Nothing could convince him she wouldn't be the president someday.
"No time like the present to prepare for the future." Jana checked the time. "Speaking of which, I've got to go. I'm supposed to be at the fish farm by nine."
Vaguely unsettled by the conversation, she picked up her attaché bag and hooked the strap over her shoulder, smoothing a hand over the skirt of her butter-yellow suit. "Well, keep your eyes open for me," she said with forced cheer, "because I trust your taste more than Mom's."
Mom liked Alex Neiman, a cute restaurateur who co-owned the trendy new vodka and caviar bar Ice with cousin Viktor. Alex was making a concerted play to win Jana over, wooing her, wooing the family, but she still had to be convinced Alex wasn't interested because of her family and their celebrity.
Or maybe she was just tired of men. The search for The One had certainly been futile. She wasn't ready to give up, but then she wasn't motivated to keep searching, either. Maybe a little vacation from the dating game would do her some good.
She came around the table and bent down to kiss her grandfather's cheek before leaving him to his newspaper and coffee in the sprawling old ranch house that had framed their childhoods, generations apart.
AN HOUR LATER, Jana felt more like prey than a politician as she stood on a narrow footbridge over seething tanks of already-huge, teenage sturgeon waiting to speak. A fish burst out of the water. Its white mouth wide-open in anticipation, it aimed for her feet. Jana sidestepped away and it dropped back into the pool. Ice-cold water sliced across her shins.
She'd been on the bridge with her communications director, Steve, and the owners of the fish farm for all of five minutes, and she was the only one who was wet. Rivulets of water ran down her calves and into her shoes. Obviously canvas open-toed heels with raffia bows were the wrong fashion choice. Who knew coral-colored toenails would be a siren's call for five thousand hormone-driven fish?
"I was told they can't see very well," she said out of the corner of her mouth to her communications director as they watched the circling shadows. "They find their food by sense of smell. Yet, look at them. They want us."
"They want you," Steve whispered back. "You're the only one getting wet."
Jana wiggled her toes. "Think it's the nail polish?" A sturgeon leaped out of the water. The impact of its ugly whiskery head bouncing off the bottom of the bridge made a rubbery thunk. Water sliced across Jana's skirt and hose. I'm on your side, little fishies. Your side. Protecting California's wildlife had been a priority since she'd taken office. A thankless job, if the sturgeon had anything to say about it.
The report she'd read before coming here had informed her that this particular species could reach fifteen hundred pounds and live a hundred years or more. Jana thanked her lucky stars that at three feet or so, these fish weren't much more than hatchlings female hatch-lings. Still, she didn't like the way they clustered at the edge of their tank, blowing rubber-lipped kisses at her. She whispered in Steve's ear. "I'm afraid if I refuse their advances, they'll settle for eating me alive."
"Sort of like Brace Bowie," he murmured back. Jana swore under her breath. No, exactly like Brace Bowie, developer, businessman and ex-fiancé number three. The breakup was complicated by the fact Brace had sunk a lot of money into cousin Viktor's caviar bar. She had a feeling he wanted to pull out of the investment, but felt awkward leaving Alex and Viktor hanging. Coincidentally, a week later, Brace was called in for questioning regarding the bust-up of a black market sturgeon fishing ring. A suspect arraigned on poaching charges had pointed a finger at him. He'd come out clean, but the negative publicity had hurt his business.
Jana'd had nothing to do with the investigation, but neither she nor anyone else could convince Brace, and he'd come back slinging mud at a flashy press conference accusing her of pouring millions of taxpayer dollars into building her own empire, with an army of Department of Fish and Game "enforcer-commandos" to "strong-arm" her policies. He was going make sure she lost her senate seat in the November election. For ten nightmarish weeks until the city made him take them down, he'd displayed huge signs on several of his project sites downtown calling her legislative motives into question with slogans like: Spend-Happy Jasper Wastes YOUR Tax Dollars! Vote Her Out This Fall!
"Whatever happened to taking it like a man?" she muttered to Steve. "Then again, maybe if he'd been more of a man, I might still be with him." Add Brace to her long list of bad choices. That man-vacation was sounding better by the minute.
The owner of the fish farm walked up to the microphone to begin the festivities. "Ladies and Gentlemen, let's give a warm welcome to Senator Jana Jasper, who will lead us in our ceremonies today."
To the sound of polite applause, Jana stepped up to the podium. "It's opening day at Good Egg Sea Farm and that's truly a reason to celebrate. Caspian Sea beluga sturgeon hover on the brink of extinction, wiped out by habitat degradation, commercial fishing and a black market run by the Russian Mafia. But with a little freshwater and aquaculture expertise, we've turned this small section of our state's Central Valley into the caviar-farming capital of the world!"
She waited for the cheers to quiet down before continuing. "Welcome to California's new gold rush! Black gold. And we're not talking crude. We're talking gourmet!" To more applause, she waved her hand in a sweeping motion at the huge circular tanks around her. "As Chair of your Natural Resources committee, I promise to champion legal enterprises like this one ceaselessly. Together we can stop the drain that illegal activities like poaching take on our wildlife budget " A flip of a tail from an oversexed teenage sturgeon shot a spray of water that caught her across the jaw.
She continued, despite her cold-blooded hecklers. Using a tissue that Steve handed her to wipe off the drips. "Aqua-farms like Good Egg discourage poaching, smuggling and illegal importation. This keeps hard-won budget money where it belongs funding crucial programs that help to protect California's environment. Congratulations, Good Egg. Not only are you good for California's taste buds, you are good for California's future!"
As the crowd applauded heartily, one of the aqua-farm owners handed her a pair of scissors. To cheers and whistles, Jana cut through a bright purple ribbon draped across the footbridge.
Meet the Author
RITA winner and NYT best-seller Susan Grant loves writing about what she knows: flying, adventure and the often unpredictable interaction between the sexes! A former USAF jet pilot, Susan flies 747s to China, Australia, Europe, and many other exotic destinations where she finds plenty of material for her novels. Her innovative, award-winning books for HQN blends science fiction with hot romance! Visit Susan at www.susangrant.com
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I finally picked this one up on the recommendation of a friend. I'm glad I did. The basic gist is that an Earth girl meets an alien boy while his father is studying Earth for possible future invasion. He returns all grown up as a space warrior to warn her that his army is on the way. Together they must save the world - but getting the world to believe them proves to be a challenge. I enjoy Susan Grant's ability to combine sci fi and romance. I have since ordered the rest of her books. She is a new favorite author.
If you like fast, funny and well written fantasy, this is a book for you. Susan Grant an experienced US force pilot and writer brings you the story of a little girl who discover a boy stuck in a tree beside her bedroom. While she tries to tell the family about him nobody believes her. The girl help the boy to get free of the situation and a nice friendship start to develop between them. The girl ask three wishes before the is gone. A long time later a man comes to save her and planet earth from a big danger. They must go through funny situations and lots of adventures while a an assassin half human half robot try to kill them both. This is story full of romance and enjoyable situations that will make you wish to start the next book just before you finish this one. Enjoy it, you will have fun.
I gave it two stars because I did want to see how it came out, but I did keep expecting it to get better and it kind of never did. Other reviews said not to be fooled by the cheesy cover -- but I would say that's exactly what you should be guided by. Unless this is ths first time you've every read anything science-fiction related and you needed it in watered-down doses... I'd say not to start this.
People sadly do judge books by covers and often they like to 'brand' authors. I hear that buzz word pushed about in writing circles all the time now, and author must brand themselves to be a hit. Well, being one who likes the off the beaten path, I think of branding as stereotyping. Hey, didn't George Reeve supposedly kill himself because he was stereotyped as Superman? In Hollywood stereotyping kills acting careers. So I fear 'branding' in Romance writing can box readers into expecting `the same¿ from a writer. Everyone gripes when a writer does formula. Yet when a savvy author, such as Grant, changes channels, they run headlong into a wall of 'this isn't like her other books. Well, duh? It's call being fresh, original, daring to go where no man...hum...woman has gone before! I say BRAVA!!! Grant has shown she can think outside of her brand X box, and give you a whole new Grant, and I think this only showcases the range of her talent. BRAVA!! The Coalition Space Force has earth slotted for acquisition. Cavin, a high ranking military officer with CSF comes to warn Jana of the takeover, which causes the lass problems. Jana comes from a prominent California family and is now a State Senator. Such people just don't go around nattering to Aliens! Only, Jana's 'relationship' with this particular `Man Who Fell to Earth¿ goes back to when she was nine and rescued Cavin who had gotten stuck in a tree outside her bedroom window. Jana was mute until Cavin kissed her as a thank you for the rescue. Now over 20 years later, Cavin is returning the favour of rescue by cluing up Jana about Earth's pending fate. As you can imagine this `Mindy¿ isn't too happy `Mork¿ has arrived bearing 'you are doomed' news. She has troubles aplenty without this! Someone has made her and her family a target of a smear campaign aimed at seeing Jana removed from office. I see 'reality check' people putting this down. Hey, this is FUN. This is a lighter side of Grant's talent we have not seen before, proving she is not a one trick pony. I for one applaud her taking a new venue for her prose and thoroughly enjoy the charming read. It's sharp, it's engaging, it's fast paced. Grant delivers on all levels!
Holy smokes, what a man! Can you send him my way for a little while? I think he can keep a secret, so Jana would never have to know. :-) I just loved this book. The characterization is fabulous, and the wit shines through. I wish I had some of his technology. Bravo!
A quarter of the way through this book I was asking myself 'Why haven't I read anything by her before? She's fantastic - funny with imagination!' Half way through I was on her website checking out her other books . . and I DID just read all about Harmony in Mysteria!! Now completed with the book (loved it in case you couldn't tell) I'm on the hunt for earlier ones and looking forward to finding & reading them! And really, really looking forward to Jared's and Evie's stories.
This was an okay read but 5 stars I don't think so. Pleasant but not enough depth - a cute romance only.
Goodness gracious there are no words to accurately describe my feelings on how much this book sucked. The beginning was kinda cute when she met her little alien friend but then after that it goes down the tubes fast. The book basically revolved around a stupid Russian black-market caviar scheme, a terminator wannabe from space, and a totally lame alien invasion counter plan created by the hero. Geesh what a waste of time there was absolutely no real creativity and no romance between the characters because there was too much going on and everything was rushed. I seriously will never read another one of her books again.
Mute nine year old Jana Jasper saved the life of a boy she called Peter (after Peter Pan). Afterward he grants her three wishes the first being able to speak surprisingly occurs the second kissing Peter also happens the third is that one day he will marry her when they grow up. However, just after that Peter vanishes without a trace, she wonders if a lonely girl hallucinated up a friend as her sister, grandfather, and parents insist.-------------------- Several years later she next sees her Peter in a grocery wearing odd grab that would be more suited for a romantic fantasy novel. This time Peter does not disappear. Instead he explains to great orator Senator Jana Jasper that he is Cavin Far Star from a planet far way. He has come to earth to warn the natives that his people are coming to invade with a powerful armada on the way. However, someone else from his planet has arrived with the mission to kill Cavin and any allies he has made especially the earthling he loves.----------------- YOUR PLANET OR MINE? Is a terrific romantic science fiction tale that is filled with action from the moment that Jana sees the odd boy in the tree outside her window and never slows down as they try to save the earth with a dose of self-deprecating humor. The literally star-crossed lovers are a likable pair that enable the audience to believe in Cavin¿s world and the magic so eloquently explain by grandpa in everyday life.----------------- Harriet Klausner