Sorry I didn’t have any Valentine-themed excerpts to give, from my science fiction romance! I didn’t want to jump ahead to the pages where the romance begins to develop and then backtrack.
(The link is here to find this week’s excerpts from novels or WIP written by other Science Fiction Romance Brigade group members. A fun way to sample new books!)
Last week I gave you the opening of the book. This excerpt is a bit later, as Andi has returned from the wedding of the Planetary High Lord’s daughter to her host’s summer home, only to find a squad of Sectors Special Forces soldiers waiting. The officer in charge claims they’ve come to rescue her and need to leave at once. Unconvinced, she argues with Captain Tom Deverane and is speaking as the snippet starts:
“You’re insinuating my hosts have deceived me and deliberately put me in harm’s way? I find that insulting.”
Eyes closed, he pinched the bridge of his nose. “You’re a pawn to them.” Now he reopened his eyes and flung his arms out, hands wide open. “You mean nothing to them. If you’re going to refuse my offer of evacuation, then you’d better be ready to take care of yourself because I guarantee you the Obati won’t.”
“Give me some specifics to back up your claims, captain,” Andi said. “So far I only have your word there’s a problem. No insult intended.”
He nodded. “All right,” he said, his voice crisp. “Fair enough. One of your own Loxton agents was murdered in the southern region, along with all his Shenti guides and workers. The cargo wasn’t even stolen, just left to rot in the haulers. I’m told that was the incident which spooked your boss to close the office and leave the planet.”
“One of the Loxton crew? Who?” As Deputy Agent she knew and worked with all of the Loxton crews. Mentally reviewing who might have been in transit, seeing the faces of men and women who were her friends as well as coworkers, Andi felt a wave of nausea.
“Someone named Kane. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you all this.”
Andi nodded, her mind racing. She swallowed the bile in her throat and said, “When did this happen?”
“Two weeks ago.”
“And no one thought I needed to know? No one saw fit to tell me?” Her voice rose as she got angrier.
Andi Markriss hasn’t exactly enjoyed being the houseguest of the planetary high-lord, but her company sent her to represent them at a political wedding. When hotshot Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane barges in on the night of the biggest social event of the summer, Andi isn’t about to offend her high-ranking host on Deverane’s say-so—no matter how sexy he is, or how much he believes they need to leave now.
Deverane was thinking about how to spend his retirement bonus when HQ assigned him one last mission: rescue a civilian woman stranded on a planet on the verge of civil war. Someone has pulled some serious strings to get her plucked out of the hot zone. Deverane’s never met anyone so hard-headed—or so appealing. Suddenly his mission to protect this one woman has become more than just mere orders.
That mission proves more dangerous than he expected when rebel fighters attack the village and raze it to the ground. Deverane escapes with Andi, and on their hazardous journey through the wilderness, Andi finds herself fighting her uncomfortable attraction to the gallant and courageous captain. But Deverane’s not the type to settle down, and running for one’s life doesn’t leave much time to explore a romance.
Then Andi is captured by the rebel fighters, but Deverane has discovered that Zulaire’s so-called civil war is part of a terrifying alien race’s attempt to subjugate the entire Sector. If he pushes on to the capitol Andi will die. Deverane must decide whether to save the woman he loves, or sacrifice her to save Zulaire.
ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE is a 2014 SFR Galaxy Award Winner…