(The link is here to find this week’s excerpts from novels or WIP written by other ScienceFiction 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.
I’ve skipped ahead to right after they get across the lake:
A reverberating explosion shook the hillside as flames shot from the roof of the mansion, followed by a smaller eruption where the garage stood. Lords of Space, are rebels attacking here as well? Flinching at the sudden high-pitched whine of Sectors blasters somewhere in the darkness, Andi hugged the ground.
From her prone position she stared at the mansion, trying to figure out exactly where the fire was blazing. Flames were licking at the walls in a number of rooms, including the far end of the third floor. Adrenaline coursed through her. “The fire’s on the top floor where the nursery is. I can’t leave until I’ve made sure the children are safe, Captain.” She held up a hand as he drew a breath. “I know, you’ve mentioned your orders enough times, but we’re talking children. I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t at least check the nursery.” Before he had a chance to stop her, Andi was on her feet and running. He’ll have to follow me since his precious orders are to protect me, so if I can just get to the house, I’ll have him—and his blaster—for backup.
Sure enough, she heard Deverane give chase, but she had the advantage of a head start and familiarity with the grounds. She sprinted to the side door, entering the house through the kitchen. One dim light glowed from an emergency panel in the ceiling. A half-eaten meal sat on the table. The chairs were toppled, one broken as if it had been used as a weapon in a violent struggle. A bloody knife lay on the floor.
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.