(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!)
From my SFR Galaxy Award winning novel, loosely inspired by the Sepoy incident in 1857 but set on another planet in the far future….
In the last few 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. And as it turned out, they couldn’t leave right away. Andi goes on with her social duties, attending the reception in the evening, where Captain Deverane catches up to her and asks her to dance. Andi is speaking as the excerpt opens:
“Not that I’m ungrateful for the dance, but I never expected to see you here.”
“I never expected you to leave the house and be here.” He sounded annoyed. “The situation is unsafe, you’re unprotected, vulnerable—”
“You don’t think the Tonkiln’s protection will be enough?” She was surprised.
“No.” Breaking off the dance, he stared into her eyes, still holding her close. Annoyed couples bumped into them on both sides. Andi staggered, and the captain steadied her, but another somewhat inebriated couple jostled him. Shielding her from the impact, Deverane fended off the other dancers with his hip and elbow. “Look, we can’t stand here to discuss it. And we sure as hell can’t dance and have a debate. Agreed?”
She nodded, but with a sigh. He was the best partner she’d ever danced with. It had been effortless to follow his lead, like flying. Why couldn’t this have lasted longer before reality broke in on us? “We don’t have to go back to the Tonkilns’ yet, do we? Is the APC repaired?”
“No, my men are working on it. Let me get you something to drink, and we’ll step outside where we won’t draw so much attention.” Deverane led her by the hand through the throng of onlookers, back to the intimate groupings of small tables along the wall.
VS sez: This is about the last peaceful moment in the book so if you return next week, be prepared!
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.