Blaine D. Arden

Aliens, Smith and Jones

Cover for 'ALIENS, SMITH AND JONES' by Blaine D. Arden. Features a cosmic star-filled sky backdrop with two men in the foreground. The man on the left is dressed in a business suit, adjusting his cufflinks, and the man on the right is in casual attire, both standing against a blurred city nightscape. Below, the text 'A Primrose Files Novel'.

In a world of secrets and aliens, who can you trust with your heart?

Working for a secret organisation specialising in alien cover-ups, Connor Smith has seen it all. His love life is as boring as his work life is thrilling… until a blind date introduces him to a man who seems to tick all the right boxes. Connor’s happiness is short-lived, however, when he becomes the target of an alien stalker.

Noah Jones has been stuck on Earth since 1648, leading an unremarkable, solitary existence as a bookshop owner. He has only experienced a profound connection with a human once… until he encounters Connor. Driven by an irresistible pull, he finds himself drawn into Connor’s orbit, despite his employer and that he’s involved with someone else.

Among vanishing alien artefacts and lurking shadowy collectors, Noah’s constant presence stirs a swirl of emotions Connor struggles to decipher. But when Noah goes missing, and doubts arise around his perfect boyfriend, Connor’s orderly world shatters.

As the lines between the personal and the extra-terrestrial blur, Connor and Noah must navigate a maze of betrayal and hidden identities in this thrilling sci-fi romance.



A Primrose Files Novel
Science Fiction | Mystery/Suspense | Romance
M/M | aliens | pansexual alien
73,900 words | 290 pages (pdf) | novel
ISBN (ebook): 978-94-92678-06-5
ISBN (print): 978-94-92678-05-8
2nd edition, 1 October 2018 by Cayendi Press
Cover design by Lou Harper

The Dross Woods, four-bloody-something in the morning, hunting for six-armed, two-legged white creatures.

Agent Connor Smith, personal assistant of Chief Security Lieutenant Natalie Tallis of Primrose UK, yawned. The lingering mist clung to his ankles as he tightened the straps of his field gear. He took his tranq out of its holster and flicked his torch on. The dense, tall trees hampered visibility, and the smattering of shrubs didn’t help, either. The path, at least, was wide enough for two.

“How many were there again?” Agent Simpson, team Alpha’s leader, asked. His dark, bald head gleamed in the early dawn as he moved to stand next to Connor.

“Ten, I think.” Or eleven. Connor hadn’t been awake enough to pick up everything during the interview with the Cleaton brothers, two aging sheep farmers, who had called it in. Why have a sheep farm so close to this vast and dense piece of forest? It was asking for trouble.

“They kept them in the stables, right? So, what happened?”

“Broke out,” Connor said as he trailed into the woods after Simpson. Though Connor outranked the stocky but agile team leader, Simpson had at least a decade of field experience on him. Simpson’s torch lit up the uneven, knobby-rooted ground, and Connor used his to search the shrubbery next to the path. He wished he’d brought an extra coffee, because he was not awake enough for this. Hopefully, the pale colour of the creatures made them easier to spot.

“So, broke out?”

“Have you seen the thing they called stables? It’s nothing more than a rickety old shed. Even one-armed creatures would have had no problem breaking out, let alone these... Noren, I think the brothers called them.”

“All I understood was that we’re here to catch us some aliens.” Simpson veered left, following the whimsical bend in the path, and looked back. “It was a late night.”

“Right, you were chasing another missing artefact. Lieutenant Tallis filled me in. File’s probably making its way to my desk as we speak.” Connor squinted, aiming his torch at the shrubbery to his left. A mix of red, yellow, and purple flowers brought some colour to the otherwise dreary looking forest. “It’s the eighth time this has happened. It’s becoming a problem.”

“Don’t I know it. So, did they say how big these fellas are?”

“Chest height or about. Why? Spot something?” Connor pointed his torch along Simpson’s.

The shrubs shuddered and shook until Simpson stepped forward. A twig snapped, followed by meowing. A cat. Just a cat.

Connor shrugged at Simpson and they moved forward again.

Somewhere a shout rang out: a high-pitched screech that caused goose bumps.

“One down!” someone called through the commlink—team Bravo’s Forente or Briers, Connor guessed. “There are at least two others here.”

“That way,” Simpson said, pointing to their right, onto a narrow path overgrown with creepers.

Connor nodded, but Simpson had already turned away.

Step by step, they followed the narrow path, the darkness only broken by the light of their torches. They were hampered by the creepers as they moved along—listening, stopping, and listening again—as well as having to push low branches out of their way every other step.

One by one, more teams called in their catches.

“They seem to like sheep,” Forente commented after his first catch. “I heard one bleat, and the next thing we know, one of those Noren is coming right at us.”

“Good to know,” Simpson said. “Keep up the good work.”

“How many is that now?” Connor eyed the shrubbery in front of him, squinting as he pointed the torch at it. Eerie how dark a forest could be at daybreak. He preferred the smell of fresh moss to the damp, woodsy smell that now hung around him.

“Seven. I think.”

So, three to go, and he and Simpson had yet to run into any.

Something rustled behind them, and Connor turned, aiming his tranq. He hoped it wasn’t another cat. More rustling, but no movement in the shrubs. The foliage was denser here—they must have reached the middle of the woods by now.

Satisfied a Noren wasn’t stalking them, Connor went to catch up with Simpson. when a sudden crunching of leaves to his right stopped him again. Something whitish moved behind a tree, too large to be a rabbit. He wished he’d paid more attention when Tallis had told them what to look for. Not that she’d been any more awake than he was. Simpson wasn’t the only one who’d been working late. The—

Another crunch, nowhere near, though. If there were two Noren around, he’d need Simpson. He tapped the commlink. “Simpson?”

“That was me. The path circles back onto itself.”

That was a relief. “There’s one behind a tree in front of me.”

“Right. Want me to move around it?”

“Good idea.” Then he remembered the comment about the sheep. “Wait. You don’t have to. Draw it out, bleat if you have to. All I need is a clear shot. I can’t take a shot as long as it’s hiding behind that tree,” Connor said, keeping an eye on the tree the Noren hid behind. He hoped it was just the one, even though they didn’t seem violent towards humans.

Simpson’s imitation of a sheep sounded nothing like the real thing, yet the Noren thought it genuine enough, since it came out from behind the tree, straight into the dense shrubbery next to it.

“Bugger.” Connor tracked the movement, but the shrubbery blocked his view. “I don’t have a shot. It fled right into the bushes.”

Simpson didn’t reply. Instead, he made his way around Connor, judging from the flashes of torchlight jumping around, and repeated his sheep imitation.

The leaves shuddered, and Connor narrowed his eyes, hoping to get a clear shot.

Simpson bleated again, and this time the Noren came running out of the shrubbery. Connor aimed and pulled the trigger. The Noren went down hard. Hit in one. He knelt next to the creature, taking the cuffs out.

“Nice shot, Smith,” Simpson said when he reached them.

“Thanks.” Connor cuffed all three sets of arms. It seemed like overkill, but he knew better than to take any risks. He was about to activate his earpiece to ask how many were still on the loose when a shrill whistle sounded, calling them back.

“Well,” Simpson said as he helped Connor pick the Noren up, “I guess that’s that.”

“All in a day’s work, Simpson, all in a day’s work.” At least, for a personal assistant at Primrose.

Pixie at M/M Good Book Reviews: "This is a great alien story that has a wealth of detail, great characters and an intriguing plot ... Aliens, Smith and Jones is far from the typical alien story ... The sex in this book is really hot and it is intense when Noah and Conner finally get it together ... I am going to recommend this one to those who like clandestine agencies, aliens, secret agendas, alien loving, a great storyline and a happy ending."

Leslie at Reviews by Jessewave: "If you like the idea behind the Men in Black films and the TV series Torchwood, you'll have fun with this book ... The author did a great job with making the Rei intriguing and different yet also compassionate and sympathetic. I particularly liked the way Noah became human and what he did with all his recordings. The nature and use of memories was a strong theme in the book and Noah worked well as a symbol as well as a character ... So, overall a fun read that didn't quite push all my buttons, but was engaging and solid nonetheless. If you enjoy thinky action sci fi, Aliens, Smith and Jones will be for you."

Jenre at Well Read: "Overall, there were good and bad points to this book for me, but I felt the good parts triumphed over the parts that didn't work so well ... Those readers who are looking for a well written and exciting science fiction story with a romantic twist may well find this one to your taste."

Amy at Joyfully Jay: "I enjoyed this novel a lot. I didn't know what to expect based upon the title, and what I got was an action-packed, romantic journey set in a compelling world where humans and aliens live, for the most part, in harmony ... When it comes right down to it, this story is about soul mates, whose connection surpasses all other obstacles (and there are many), and whose love literally makes life worth living. I found the world that lives within Arden's brain to be fascinating. So even if you don't like aliens, there's a little something here for everyone."

Michael Joseph: "The plot is very solid, with a strong element of mystery. The mystery isn't all that difficult. I had it figured out about halfway through, but there are enough twists and turns in the story that I wasn't sure until the end. Even then, there were a few surprises in store. The romance aspect, and this is, at its heart, a romance, is a nice change from the usual "meant for each other" love stories. The complication of having Connor torn between two men is unusual, and provides a nice tension that many romances lack."

Darien at Pants Off Reviews: "I am in love with the writing, Ms Arden is one of the few authors able to grip me and have me reading at 3 in the morning cursing and throwing a tantrum like a 2 year old ... It’s a fast-paced novel, with a plot, I did not necessarily enjoy but it came together brilliantly. This would make a fantastic series filled with awesomeness, and I would love to read about Connor and Noah again ... Overall, I liked the book, the world building is quite good, and there are some fascinating characters."

Elisa at Elisa Rolle Reviews: "I really, really like the almost "familiar" feeling of the story; true, it deals with aliens and co. but it was not really a paranormal story ... I have already stated in the past, one of my favorite sci-fi movie was Starman, since there was the supernatural element without being too over the top... and this novel reminded me a lot of that movie. Plus there is a drama element to shake the story up a bit, but it's not really so big to be the real center of the story; the growing bond between Connor and Noah manages to remain the focus of the story and of the reader's interest."

Whit at Live Your Life, Buy The Book: "This was a pretty good book. I thought the bad guy was fairly obvious which I think in this instance did take away from the book. Noah was pretty fascinating but his story was sad. The story had some ups and downs as far as pacing went. I wasn’t overly invested in the relationships. Maybe because it all got started so late in the books? I don’t know. It’s just not one of those books I feel the need to rave about but worth the read."

Alison at Top 2 Bottom Reviews: "I found Noah to be well written in that his experiences were believable, even down to why he chose “Noah” for a name. The start was intriguing, and the way Connor and Noah first meet is very interesting... Overall, it was enjoyable..."

Victoria Zagar at Infinite Love: "The bond between Connor and Noah is deep, intense and quite beautiful. Watching them become closer as they discover the nature of their connection is quite satisfying. The supporting cast is pretty strong and I especially loved Connor’s assistant, Isa, who is always trying to set Connor up with dates. I also liked reading about the work of the Primrose agency as they tracked down aliens."

Tj at Review Roses: "This is a bit of a different spin on the same idea of aliens and government agencys. Primrose is such a unique idea from most other books dealing with like materials. I was honestly surprised by the idea of an agency like them. The story line takes a while to develop the relationship between Smith and Jones so don’t be surprised by this. As matter of fact Smith has a boyfriend though most of the book. Jones and Smith are very refined in how they handle this situation as well."

Though, I try to keep these as generic as possible, they may contain spoilers.

On-page or notable reference:

  • Stalking (suspected stalking) / sense of someone following MC
  • unintended assault by mindlink
  • blood (bloody nose)
  • set up on blind date
  • gaining access to MC's mind/thoughts through (involuntary) mind-link.
  • nervous breakdown (result of stalking)
  • forced bond through (involuntary/accidental) mind-link
  • Assault / abduction / imprisonment / torture /sold as property of MC and aliens
  • death of a beloved friend (secondary character)
  • home invasion / assault
  • life-threatening injury / hospitalisation
  • sympathy pains / phantom pains
  • calling a woman pudgy
  • May/December relationship
  • Graphic depiction of sex / making out.

Off-page or minor reference:

  • Grieving loss of partner
  • death by torture of unknown aliens

If you feel I missed some information in this list, feel free to email me. My contact details can be found on my contact page.

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Cover for 'ALIENS, SMITH AND JONES' by Blaine D. Arden. Features a cosmic star-filled sky backdrop with two men in the foreground. The man on the left is dressed in a business suit, adjusting his cufflinks, and the man on the right is in casual attire, both standing against a blurred city nightscape. Below, the text 'A Primrose Files Novel'. Mockup cover with textured, crumpled paper background. At the top in purple text 'Coming... Some day'. Below, a torn paper effect reveals a dark cosmic background with the title 'ROBOTS, JACKSON AND MACALLISTAIR' in golden font with a slight reflection.  Mockup cover with textured, crumpled paper background. At the top, in purple text 'Coming... Some day'. Below, a torn paper effect reveals a cosmic scene with the title 'CYBORGS, KONRAD AND COPPERFIELD' in orange.
The Sea Serpent in Orkney The Start of a Friendship How Isa Met Jason Noah Makes Contact A Day in the Life of... Character Interview with Connor Smith Character Interview with Noah Jones Character Interview with Isa Griffin From the Desk of Connor Smith

Rainbow Awards 2012 - Honorable Mention

Aliens, Smith and Jones received an Honourable Mention
in the Best Gay Sci-Fi / Fantasy category of the Rainbow Awards 2012
"I loved this spin on the "Men in Black" theme! I don't usually go for sci-fi, but Ms. Arden pulled me in to her story very quickly. This is mystery and suspense and romance and danger all wrapped up in a fun and well-written package." –Bobby

Aliens, Smith and Jones © 2012 Blaine D. Arden. All rights reserved