(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!)
In the last two weeks I gave you the opening of the book and then as Andi has returned from the wedding of the Planetary High Lord’s daughter to her host’s summer home, she found a squad of Sectors Special Forces soldiers waiting. The officer in charge claimed they’d come to rescue her and needed to leave at once. Unconvinced, she argued. Their conversation continued and Andi is finally convinced. She’s speaking as the excerpt begins. (Some editing from the published version has occurred, to fit the word limit):
“I’ll go back to the capital with you in the morning.”
“In the—” He glared at her, eyebrows drawing together in an impressive frown, forehead wrinkles deepening even more. “Have you been listening, Miss Markriss? This planet is in a precarious state. We can’t wait for your convenience. We need to leave tonight. The sooner the better.”
“I don’t think we can leave tonight, Captain, no matter what you want.”
The door handle moved under her hand. Startled, she released it, falling back a pace or two. When the door opened, Iraku stood there, condescending as ever, face contorted in a sneer, lips pursed in disapproval. Hands on their curved belt knives, two of the armed household guards stood a few steps away. Startled by their hostile expressions, Andi retreated a step.
Addressing her but staring at Deverane, Iraku asked, “Is there a problem, miss? Lady Tonkiln wishes to speak with you regarding the presentation at tonight’s ceremony.”
Andi shook her head. “No problem, I’ll be right there.” She turned to Deverane, holding out one hand, palm up. “Better ask your sergeant what’s wrong with the APC’s engine.”
“What are you talking about?” Deverane strode to her side.
“He told me there was an engine problem. The corporal said it was going to take all night to fix. Listen, assuming your men can’t repair the APC tonight, I’ll go to the reception, do my duty for Loxton, and leave with you in the morning. No problem.”
What Deverane would have said next, Andi didn’t wait to hear. After all, the Tonkilns had a small army of Naranti servants and household guards. Every Obati household in the summer colony did. The well-trained security force ought to be enough protection from any hotheaded Shenti warriors bent on making mischief.
Rolling her shoulders as she walked down the hall, she took a deep, calming breath. We can’t leave now anyway, so I might as well stick with protocol. Nothing’s likely to happen tonight, not here in the middle of the Obati stronghold.
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.