(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. They soon decide to go outside since the dance floor is so crowded. While they’re outside the lights flicker, there’s an explosion and screams. Andi and Deverane escape across the lake in a boat.
“Do you think the Tonkiln house has been attacked?” Andi worried about heading into an even worse situation than the one they’d left behind.
Not looking at her, he just shook his head. “Let’s deal with that when we come to it. Don’t steer straight to the dock—we’d be too obvious, sitting ducks. We need to land and work our way to the house without attracting attention.”
Angling the boat off to the east, Andi set a course to avoid the dock as ordered. “I never considered an attack on the family’s home. Lords of Space, what about the kids? Sadu and his two little visiting cousins—their Shenti nurse went home to her village last night—there’s only old Iraku and a few of the housemen there to protect them.” Worry about the younger family members gnawed a pit in Andi’s gut. “Lady Tonkiln must be terrified.”
“I have to extract the Sectors citizens, not risk my men trying to rescue anyone else against overwhelming odds. The Tonkilns aren’t my concern, understand?” His voice was flat, the words dismissive.
Andi jerked her head around to stare at him. “We can’t ignore the danger to them.”
“Lady, I have orders.” Shaking his head, he grabbed the wheel and yanked it, sending the boat veering away from its route to shore. “Cut the engine and get down. Someone’s moving by the dock.”
Cold flooded her body at the thought of enemies watching them. With fumbling fingers, she flipped the switch. Drifting through the dark waters, their craft floated in silence, slowing as the momentum died away. Andi crouched in the bottom of the boat, Deverane’s body warm and reassuring beside her.
“Can you swim?” he asked.
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.