Coletti Warlords 04:Reality Bites

By: Gail Koger


Dedication

This book is dedicated to my parents.


Acknowledgments

Dawne, Darcie, Cyn and my wonderful street team, I couldn’t do it without you.





Prologue

My mother was a ditzy actress whose one claim to fame was a low-budget movie about Viking berserkers called Runestone. Mom fell in love with the Viking culture and changed her name from Kirsten Jones to Freya Odin.

It’s also why I got stuck with the swell name Brunhilda. Mom said I was born to become a great warrior like my father. I was a Valkyrie. You know, one of those mythical female warriors.

Dad, a great warrior? Only in Mom’s mind. It seems my father had been a stuntman, and evidently not a very good one. He was killed in a battle scene when he fell off his horse and was trampled.

Every time I tried to get more information about my klutz of a father, Mom would burst into tears and drink herself into oblivion. In her drunken ramblings, she called him Thor. I seriously doubted he was the god of thunder.

Mom said I was the spitting image of my dad. Yay me. I always wanted to look like a guy. The only picture she had of him was grainy and out of focus. Dad was a big, muscular dude with long black hair and what looked like fangs. Which was kinda weird because there weren’t any vampires in Runestone.

To my mother’s horror, at the age of six I healed a cat’s broken leg. By eight I could move things with my mind. Which totally freaked out Mom. She said if I ever let anyone know about my Siren abilities, the military hunters would come and take me away. I would never see her again. Needless to say, that scared the piss out of me, but it didn’t stop me from using my powers

After a quick Internet search at the school’s library, I discovered Mom belonged to the legendary Jones family that called Phoenix, Arizona home. They were famous psychics, and most of them served in the military. They had Mom listed as missing and offered a sizable reward for any information on her location. As far as I could tell, Mom didn’t have a lick of psychic ability. Which was probably why she had run away. Or did it have something to do with my dad?

My attempt to get more information on Mom triggered some kind of alarm, and within hours, soldiers swarmed my grade school. I managed to sneak out and hurried home. I told Mom what had happened, and boy was she mad. She packed our suitcases, and we left Las Vegas.

I was ten years old when Mom got a gig to play a saloon girl in a western. The movie was filmed at an Old West theme park outside Bisbee, Arizona called Dead Man’s Gulch. The owner and local stuntman, Hank Benson, a Kevin Costner lookalike, fell madly in love with my very beautiful mother and talked her into marrying him. Had she said yes because the Jones’s soldiers were hot on our trail? Maybe.

Three months later, Mom swerved to miss a coyote, ran off the road, and hit several saguaro cacti. I wasn’t injured, but she died a slow, painful death, and my budding powers weren’t strong enough to save her. Hank found me covered in my mother’s blood and promised I would never be alone again. He adopted me and became Pops, the father I'd never had.

Hank had been an Army Ranger, and still did the occasional wet work for the government. He had the perfect cover as a highly sought after stuntman and explosives expert. To keep me safe, Pops taught me everything he knew. Which saved my life when the monsters came.

I was eighteen when the aliens invaded our world. They called themselves the Tai-Kok. They were malevolent, depraved ghouls who live to eat. The image of these tall, hairless, skeletal humanoids with a mouth full of sharp metal teeth is forever burned into the mind of every man, woman, and child left on Earth. Completing the nightmare are their three bloodred eyes that glare out of skin so transparent you can watch as your loved ones are being digested.

No one knows how the Tai-Kok found our world or why they consider us good eating. The few peace delegates that tried to communicate with them got butchered. After that, everyone was too busy running for their lives to find out why.

The one good thing that resulted from the monsters’ attacks was they unified humanity. For the first time in recorded history, every country on Earth joined forces to fight the alien invaders, and Central Command was born.

The Tai-Kok ate their way across Europe and the Middle East until they had the bad luck to capture a suicide bomber and take him aboard their ship for snack time. He blew himself up over the Pacific. Luckily, the ship crashed outside Tucson, Arizona. We salvaged their technology and have been using it against them ever since.

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