(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. This excerpt follows directly from last week’s. Tom is speaking:
“Well, the Mawreg slaughtered all the colonists. The old star destroyer Cassiopeia had been detailed to escort the next colony transport ship from Sector Command to Merenia. Her captain engaged the enemy cruiser in battle, which he eventually won by ramming those Mawreg bastards, sending them all to hell. Our ships at that time didn’t have the armament to do the Mawreg much damage any other way, you know? Suicide runs were the only solution.”
Andi huddled inside the shawl, pulling it closer around her. The Mawreg are one scary subject. “I’ve read some journals of the early encounters. I know things were grim. At least now we have a new class of battleships capable of taking on the enemy and winning. What happened to you?”
“The colony ship landed, put out a distress call,” he said. “While waiting for evac escort, her crew and the new colonists buried the victims.”
“But they found you?”
“I’d gotten out of the storm shelter somehow. I was sitting next to my mother’s body, holding her hand.” Deverane shrugged, but Andi thought maybe she saw a glint of unshed tears in his eyes. Next second, he brushed a hand across his face, cleared his throat and sat up straighter. “I remember that. I’ve no memory of how I got out of the shelter or much of anything else.”
Andi sat silent. I wish I dared to hug him. Or hug the little boy he had been. Sad, so sad. His closed-off body language didn’t suggest that he’d welcome any demonstration of her sympathy.
The captain flicked the remnants of his coffee from the cup into the lake below.
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.