After discovering the truth behind his abduction, Marco must face his alien masterminds as he attempts to find and rescue Kalexis.
Gladiators is the second book of The Dragoness From Space trilogy—where Marco and Kalexis’ interracial romance becomes the pivotal element of an intergalactic show. Epic action and adventure, mature themes, explicit humor, and unprecedented alien civilizations await you.
Marco awoke and gazed through the window above him at a light gray sky. It wasn’t snowing—yet. Gianluca was still sleeping in the bunk bed of one of the smaller rooms.
He hoped the smell of cooking alone would be enough to bring his friend downstairs. He had pajama pants and a flannel shirt on as he busied himself in the kitchen, toasting bread and frying up a pile of bacon.
Gianluca came downstairs just before the meal was ready, right when Marco brought the orange juice to the table. He already had his winter gear on. His face looked refreshed after sleeping, bathing, shaving, and styling his goatee. The two friends had breakfast together but didn’t say much other than pass me the juice or this is really good!
Once done with their meal, they cleaned all pans and dishes so they wouldn’t stink up the place in case they were forced back to it. Marco turned off all the lights and closed the shutters, leaving on just the electric chandeliers of the saloon. It was late morning by the time they were both packed, dressed and ready to go. Gianluca handed Marco ski goggles and a balaclava, then they stepped outside, armed to the teeth and looking like bank robbers gone on a winter excursion. Their backpacks had food to last a week, Gianluca carrying more of it compared to Marco.
Gianluca’s weapon of choice was a light automatic assault rifle, while Marco provided destructive power at close range with his shotgun. Aware of the dangerous fauna, the two friends stuck close together, Gianluca agreeing to cover the rear.
They made it down a narrow path that flanked the deadly steep mountainside—their boots sank in the deep snow with each step, slowing their progress and burning up all the calories they had ingested. They hugged the face of the cliff to avoid slipping down. It was snowing and there was a moderate wind—at least the air wasn’t terribly cold, around fifteen degrees Fahrenheit.
It was so demanding, Marco and Gianluca didn’t waste breath talking. They could see fluffy clouds running below, concealing the valley, but visibility ahead was fine. They reached a ridge, with a white-capped forest far beneath it. Some boulders broke through the snow, with red dots painted on them at regular intervals. Marco detected large prints marking the snow, and rushed ahead to investigate. Thanks to his knowledge of animal biology, he established they belonged to a bipedal dinosaur.
“Do you see it anywhere?” Marco saw how the prints had come from the forest and went all the way up the ridge where the creature had turned around. They checked down the steep sides flanking the ridge and up the mountain.
“I don’t see anything!” cried Gianluca, shifting his rifle left and right.
“Let’s just hope it doesn’t see us.” Marco tracked the reptile prints down the trail. The dinosaur had to be very agile, as it went right off the ridge and down the slope on the left. They sure weren’t going to follow it into the rocky chasm. They kept to the marked path, reaching the limit of the pine-like forest. The thick branches made it hard to see and impossible to cut through, but the path was clear. The two friends made the best use of their ears, listening for any sounds.
Walking on the snowy, stony, and irregular path through the undergrowth, Marco feared someone could be walking up the other way. He knew what kind of a jam he’d be in if he saw an alien after turning one of the blind corners.
The men were weary after trekking a good three hours. At one point, they traversed a half-rotten bridge missing more than a few planks and rails broken off and been taken to sea by the fast moving waters below. The bridge, wet and treacherous, had a drop sure to break one’s back, but they had no other choice but to cross it. The sky cleared, displaying stars, but visibility didn’t improve much. The vegetation consisted of mostly coniferous trees, half dead with only the tallest thriving—there were no green plants on the needle-covered ground, and all the bushes seemed dead.
Once out, the view was breathtaking. Far to Marco’s side mountains scraped the sky with drop down cliffs and sharp peaks. Straight ahead, the land slowly changed into wide, bumpy hills covered in a layer of snow—the stream they crossed ran below and to the right, going through the secluded valley. The shadows of clouds rolled over the landscape, with more forest where the stream, fueled by tributaries, became a river. Gianluca proposed they stop for a minute to snack, maybe some crackers with strawberry jam and a sip of water, but Marco strongly suggested they keep going until they reached a safer place.