Here’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the
participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)
I’m sharing a snippet from an older book, Misson to Mahjundar today as it’s on sale for $.99 in a big scifi promo (on into July). The heroine Shalira and Johnny, a secondary character, are trying to escape a local temple when they find themselves in the inner sanctum. A reader recently told me the later scenes in the book involving the god Tlazomiccuhtli “seemed almost Lovecraftian” to him (WOW!!! what a compliment), so it was on my mind. I’ll excerpt something else, newer, next week. Edited from the published version.
Johnny seemed locked into position, literally transfixed, either by the dark powers Tlazomiccuhtli wielded or his own memories, or both. Frantic with the need to move, Shalira tugged harder on the paralyzed Johnny but couldn’t rouse him from the trance or traumatic state he was in. Unblinking, he stared straight at the effigy, his body rigid.
Dizziness was overtaking her senses, whether from the smoke or the influence of Tlazomiccuhtli she wasn’t sure. Reaching a decision, she closed her eyes and took off her protective amulet. The end of the chain slipped from her fingers as if pulled and she heard the locket clatter onto the stone floor. Kneeling, Shalira swept the floor with her hands. Frustrated, she risked opening one eye and immediately felt the pull to turn toward Tlazomiccuhtli and worship him. Fortunately she caught a glimpse of her locket, shining with a pale green glow, half-hidden under a table supporting a cage of hissing snakes. Forcing herself to move away from the statue, praying the snakes couldn’t escape the enclosure, she crawled to retrieve the locket and brought it back to Johnny. As soon as she fastened the chain around his neck, he jerked and blinked, rubbing his forehead.
She led him out of the chamber, counting the steps and listening to the echoes, although it was hard to hear over the voices in her head, calling her to return to Tlazomiccuhtli’s embrace.
An attempted assassination left Princess Shalira blind as a child and, now that she’s of marriageable age, her prospects are not good because of her disability. She’s resigned herself to an arranged marriage rather than face life under the thumb of her cold stepmother. But then she meets Mike Varone, a Sectors Special Forces officer sent to Mahjundar by the intergalactic government to retrieve a ship lost in her planet’s mountains. After Mike saves Shalira from another assassination attempt, she arranges for him to escort her across the planet to her future husband. She’s already falling hard for the deadly offworlder and knows she should deny herself the temptation he represents, but taking Mike along to protect her is the only way she’ll live long enough to escape her ruthless stepmother.
Mike, for his part, resists his growing attraction to the princess; he has a mission on this planet and rescuing the vulnerable but brave princess isn’t it. No matter how much he wishes it could be.
But what should have been an easy trek through Mahjundar’s peaceful lands swiftly turns into an ambush with danger around every turn. Shalira’s marriage begins to seem less like an arranged union and more like yet another planned assassination. The more they work together to survive, the harder it becomes to stop themselves from falling in love. Caught in a race against time, can they escape the hostile forces hunting them and make it off the planet?
A 2015 SFR Galaxy Award Winner
Buy Links for my book: