Picture a world where humans and aliens live side by side.  They haven’t always lived side by side in peace though.  When aliens first came to our planet there was a long and difficult battle.  Damages done to the earth were so devastating that natural resources had to be replaced by synthetic materials.  Eventually a peace treaty was signed and a “new world” was formed.  A part of that new world was the AIR, Alien Investigation and Removal, a highly trained organization that policed the aliens in order to ensure the safety of the humans.  This is the world Phoenix knows.

 

Phoenix lives in New Chicago and is a recovering addict.  She wasted many of her days “flying” on Onadyn, a drug introduced to the world after aliens started inhabiting it with us.  The aliens need Onadyn to help them with the oxygen found in our atmosphere.  Without it, some of the alien races will die.  For humans, it produces a sense of soaring and invincibility.  Phoenix has been to rehab twice and now is determined to stay clean and earn back her mother’s trust.

 

Her resolve is tested when she attends a party with her friends, all of whom are still “flying” whenever they can.  When a group of predatory aliens surrounds the party and begin to attack her friends, Phoenix feels the need to stay and protect them since they are incapacitated because of their Onadyn high.  She notices two other partygoers that are helping with the fight and fighting expertly at that.  One is Allison, a girl from school that is a member of the popular crowd and doesn’t give Phoenix the time of day, and the other is Ryan, Allison’s handsome brother.  She soon realizes they are both members of the AIR.

 

The aliens that attacked were the type that sucked the oxygen out of a person’s body until it shriveled up and died.  Phoenix was held down by one of the aliens, but because of her experience with Onadyn, it didn’t hurt her as fast as it would someone else.  She was able to keep a clear head and get loose.  However, the after effects were still the same.  By the time AIR took her home she was lethargic, her skin was dry, and her lips had a blue tint to them so of course her mother assumed she had been “flying.”

 

The next day, Phoenix’s mother informed her that she was sending her to another rehab facility.  The man who took Phoenix home the previous night gave her mother the number to this boot camp type clinic.  Phoenix begged her mother not to send her away again, but the pleas fell on deaf ears.  Phoenix was called out of class and taken directly to the facility.  She didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye to her mother.  What she finds when she arrives is nothing like a rehab facility though and she soon learns that she is being interviewed for AIR training, due to the fighting skills she exhibited during the attack at the party.

 

Once she is accepted, she meets new friends, learns amazing skills, and totally falls for the handsome Ryan who turns out to be one of her teachers.  Phoenix knows she can’t afford to blow this opportunity.  Three strikes and you’re out is the rule during AIR training and dating one of the teachers is definitely considered a strike.

 

Red Handed is the first in Gena Showalter’s Alien Huntress Series.  It is action packed and even though it is set in a sci-fi setting, the emotions and attitudes of the characters are ones that people here on our plain ol’ earth can relate to.  If you like this one, be sure to read Blacklisted, the second book in this series.

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