(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. So of course the conflict breaks out at the worst possible moment…
I’m skipping quite a bit of the action because SPOILERS. Continuing on with the middle of the night conversation I started sharing last week, between Tom and Andi, as the small group camps by a lake after several days of fleeing the enemy. She can’t sleep and he’s on guard duty.
Deverane set his pulse rifle on the rocky surface and picked up the metal cup that had been sitting on the other side. “I’d offer you a cup of coffee, but since wakefulness is your problem—”
Andi smiled ruefully. “I’d love some, but you’re right. That won’t help my insomnia.”
He drank before setting the cup down, steadying it with one hand as it rocked on the uneven surface. “I have nightmares sometimes, but from my own private collection. Have you ever heard of Merenia 12?”
”Sounds familiar.” Racking her brain, Andi chased down the reference. “It was one of the first worlds the Mawreg attacked in Sector Fourteen, wasn’t it? A long time ago?”
“Right. I’m the sole survivor.” He stacked a couple of small stones on top of each other, then toppled the tower with a flick of his finger.
“You must have been very young.” What could it have been like, going through an ordeal like that as a child?
“Maybe a year or two older than Sadu.” Deverane’s smile was the one Andi had come to read as a social gesture only, containing no amusement. He looked at her briefly, his eyes hooded, then turned his attention back out toward the lake. “My mother made me crawl into the storm cellar—Merenia 12 has huge tornadoes. Anyway, she shut me in there, and she ran to decoy the Mawreg away from me. She told me to wait until Dad came to get me.” Falling silent, Deverane picked up the blaster rifle again, checked the safety and the charge level.
“Then what?” Andi reached out from under the enfolding shawl to lay a hand on his arm, squeezing gently. Maybe he needed to talk about it. And I have to admit I’m curious about the man beneath the taciturn warrior façade.
Raising his coffee cup to his lips, Deverane gave her an unsmiling sideways glance. “Are you sure you want to hear this?”
Andi nodded. If it helps me understand you better, I’ll listen all night. “I’m a good listener.”
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.
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