Aliens, Smith and Jones by Blaine D. Arden
Connor Smith works for Primrose, a super-secret organization tasked with controlling the alien presence and their artifacts in the UK. As the personal assistant to one of the team leaders, he’s right in the thick of things, from hunting down six-armed monkeys run amok to cataloging artifacts for the archives. It’s a job that can sometimes be 24/7, which doesn’t leave much time for a private life. So, when Connor’s best friend and coworker Isa introduces him to Jason, a man who doesn’t give up easily, it seems like a match made in heaven.
Noah Jones is an alien, a Rei, stranded on earth more than 300 years ago. Forced to take human form so he could fit in, a slight misunderstanding about human lifespans means he has outlived all the people he ever cared about. The Rei live for, even need, to bond with another and it has been 200 years since Noah has found any human that he has any connection with.
Then, one day, the two men are by chance in the same train station at the same time. Although they’re on opposite platforms, a connection is still made. Both are unprepared for the encounter. Connor has no idea what is happening, and it frightens him beyond just the pain it causes at first, especially in light of his job. Noah knows what it is but is surprised to not only find another human with which he can connect, but one who seems to have more control over the connection than any human ever has.
The two men have a lot more to overcome than just the initial surprise of their first encounter. Connor is on the trail of some mysterious group that seems after alien technology, and then there’s Jason. Connor’s new boyfriend seems to be everything he could want in a lover, and yet he is drawn to Noah through the deep connection they share. Noah is very aware that there’s another person in Connor’s life, so as much as he wants the comfort and energy the connection will give him, he doesn’t want to come between the two lovers.
Okay, the inspirations behind this story are quite evident, from the title which takes off from a 1970s television series to the story elements reminiscent of “Men in Black”, “Warehouse 13” and perhaps even “Torchwood”. However, it would be a mistake to dismiss “Aliens, Smith and Jones” as fan fiction. Instead, the influences provide a comfortable, familiar backdrop for this rather fresh story. 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.
The writing style was quite readable, although the editing and proofing left a little to be desired. That’s not unusual for ebooks, but as this is from small but well-known publisher, the number of wrong or missing words was surprising. That said, only once was the error so big it disrupted reading while I tried to figure out how to make sense of a sentence.
You can find out more about Blaine D. Arden at her web site.