Alone The Girl in the Box - By Robert J. Crane


I’ve heard it said that writing is hard. I disagree; writing novels is easy thanks to the people I have to help me.

Once more, my greatest thanks to my editorial team:

First of all Heather Rodefer, a real trooper, who pores over each page with ruthless precision, purple pen in hand. Her tireless efforts, real-time feedback, and fearlessness in telling me when something is simply not working help keep my work from becoming self-indulgent codswallop.

Second, I must thank Debra Wesley, who in addition to being the speediest to deliver her feedback, is also a constant source of wry humor, insight into the larger world of fantasy and sci-fi, and affirmation for whatever project I’ve just completed.

Third, Shannon Garza read through this particular volume multiple times, trying to figure out what grammatical sin I had committed that caused her Texan sense (it’s like spider-sense, but for Texans) to tingle with displeasure. She ended up figuring out by pure instinct something that I thought I had fixed. Kudos to her for helping me smoothe out that particular problem and also for finding the cover art after a long search on

I shudder to think what any of these books would look like without the countless hours these three put in helping me fix the errors of perspective and thought, grammar and syntax. Keeping a story straight in my head is a lot of work and it’d be impossible if not for outside help like theirs.

Thanks again to Kari Layman for the affirming conversations that led me to go out on a limb and write this book. If she’d said it didn’t sound that interesting, I probably would have worked on something else and Sienna Nealon might never have left her house.

Thanks also to Calvin Sams, who read through and gave some very helpful notes.

A special shout-out and thanks to Nicholas J. Ambrose, author extraordinaire. You can find a sample of his new novel, Samantha’s Promise, in the back of this work – and I recommend reading it, then buying the book.

The cover of this book is a (slightly cropped) photo by Anna Omelchenko, who I believe is in Lebanon.

To the fans, the people who have been buying and reading my work and sharing your feedback, a hearty, hearty thank you. The best letters always seem to come on the days when I need them most.

And finally, thanks to my family – wife, kids and parents – for doing all that you do so that I can do what I do.



























About the Author

Other Books by Robert J. Crane

A sample of Samantha’s Promise, by Nicholas J. Ambrose


When I woke up, there were two men in my house. As alarming as that would be for most girls, for me it’s doubly so; no one but Mom and I are allowed in our house. No one. That’s rule number one.

I sensed them creeping around in the living room as my body shot to instant wakefulness. It probably sounds weird, but I could hear them breathing and an unfamiliar scent filled the air, something brisk and fresh, that brought with it a chill that crept into my room. They did not speak.

I rolled off my bed, making much less noise than either of them. I crouched and crept to the doorway of my room, which was open. It was dark; dark enough for me to tell they were having trouble seeing because one of them brushed the coffee table, causing a glass to clatter. A muffled curse made its way to my ears as I huddled against the wall and slid to my feet. We had an alarm, but based on the fact that a deafening klaxon wasn’t blaring, I could only assume they must have somehow circumvented it.

I didn’t know what they were looking for, but I’m a seventeen-year-old girl (eighteen in a month, and I guess I’d say woman, but I don’t feel like one – is that weird?) and there were two strange men in my home, so I guessed their motives were not pure.

How did they get in? The front door is always locked – see rule number one. I peeked around the doorframe and saw them. The one that hit the coffee table looked to be in his forties, had a few extra pounds, and I could tell, even in the dark, that he had less hair than he wished he did.

The other one was younger, I guessed late twenties, and his back was turned to me. They were both wearing suits with dark