(The link is here to find this week’s excerpts from novels or WIP written by otherScienceFiction Romance Brigade group members. A fun way to sample new books!)
From my SFR Galaxy Award winning novel (whch also was voted into DABWAHA by Readers – thank you!), 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.
Continuing on from last week, Andi goes inside the burning house to see if the children have been rescued.
Carefully, she stepped barefoot through the mess to the emergency supply cabinet next to the pantry, where she grabbed a hand lamp. Pointing the cone of light ahead of her, she jogged into the service corridor to the main part of the house. Fear of what she might find made her lightheaded, and she took a few careful breaths to calm her nerves. I’ve got to make sure the kids aren’t trapped upstairs in their cribs. With the nurse gone, there may not be anyone else but me to double-check.
Tripping, Andi fell headlong. The body she’d stumbled over cushioned her fall for the most part, although her right elbow smashed into the floor. Sitting up, she rubbed her elbow, looking for the hand lamp she’d dropped. Instead, she saw the bloody face of the elderly cook, starkly outlined by the beam of light. The elderly woman’s sightless eyes were wide open in death. Stifling a scream, Andi scrabbled away from the corpse of the cook, who’d been stabbed multiple times.
When she felt her back against the wall, Andi reached for the lamp, then used the wall to lever herself to her feet. After sidling past the corpse, she ran down the hall and opened the door to the main entryway. Curling like a living thing, a thin layer of smoke drifted across the foyer, about ten inches off the floor. The flicker of reflected flames in the library tinted the area in orange light.
A piercing shriek echoed from the second 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.