Once a month the SFR Brigade does a blog hop where authors share excerpts, cover reveals or other fun posts related to their scifi romances. Check here for the list of all the participants this month.
The excerpt from my latest release:
A bored human attendant indicated a glowing circle on the floor. “Stand there, one at a time, and the seer will give you your fortune.”
There was inevitable good natured, drunken pushing and shoving between the high testosterone members of Larissa’s party. Fluffing her purple and teal hair, Pamila stepped around the others, using her sharp elbows freely to make a path. “Rude boys. Ladies first.”
Colored lights played along the floor, walls, and ceiling. Iridescent bubbles floated from small vents under the platform holding the throne. Larissa held her hand over her mouth to avoid laughing at the cheesiness of the effects. Maybe the local colonists in this frontier Sector found this awe inspiring, but for a well-traveled person like her, who’d actually been to a few of the genuine wonders of the galaxy, this setup was pathetic. Although, of course, in the military she’d rarely had time to enjoy the marvels of any particular hotspot. Fight the battle at hand and move on, summary of service in the Special Forces. Life as a mercenary was even more of a grind.
An amplified voice emanated from the general direction of the ‘seer.’ “A romantic encounter with someone you admire will lead to unexpected consequences.”
“Are you blushing?” Larissa asked Pamila as her friend stepped out of the circle. She poked the other woman in the ribs and winked while tilting her head toward the mercenary she knew Pamila fancied. “Better take precautions tonight.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Pamila sniffed and shifted her focus to a shelf full of gilded statues.
Devlin swaggered into the designated spot and received his prediction of fame and fortune. The other two men took their turns and received similar generalized good news.
“Are you happy now? Can we go?” Reluctance to approach the dais kept Larissa rooted to the spot.
“You haven’t had your fortune told,” Pamila protested.
“I’m good. No need to tell me about my coming good fortune or the tall, dark and handsome guy I’m going to meet.” I think I’m staring at him now, and it’s not doing either of us any good. I wonder if he ever takes a break. She held up both hands with a laugh. “Let’s get out of here and find the nearest feelgood vendor. My throat is dry.”
“You paid your credit and the all-seeing giver of prophecies is waiting,” said the attendant in a bored voice. “No refunds.”
Devlin shoved her forward, and Larissa stumbled into the spot. She straightened with a curse to find the seer’s eyes were open and he was staring at her, as he hadn’t done with any of the others. His eyes were emerald green, glowing, with glints of gold. She found she couldn’t avert her eyes.
A warrior of Thuun? Here? Have you come in answer to my prayer? The voice in her head was deep and resonant and she knew it was him speaking.
Inside the bubble, the man shifted restlessly, as if attempting to rise, to step down and meet her. Larissa realized he was held in place by force bonds, and she gasped, her adrenaline spiking. Slavery was illegal in the Sectors—what the hell kind of shady operation was this sideshow? She rested her hand on the blaster riding at her hip.
The attendant made an adjustment to a control panel at the side of the platform and the prisoner subsided, sweat beading his brow with the effort he’d made. His eyes closed and the enhanced voice sounded in the chamber. “You and your friends will journey far and reap great rewards. Widespread fame shall be yours.”
But in her head she heard his true voice, faint and desperate. I beg you for help, warrior.
Reacting to the prophecy, Devlin clapped her on the shoulder. “Now that’s more like it—widespread fame is good stuff. Let’s you book more jobs and hire your friends to watch your back, eh? I think you got the best fortune, Larissa, so you can buy the next round of drinks.”
She allowed her companions to pull her from the tent, only briefly glancing over her shoulder, to see the seer once more completely immobile on his elaborate chair, eyes closed.
Maybe I imagined the whole thing. Too much cheap local whiskey. Shaking her head, she stepped over the threshold and tried to ignore the quiet please echoing in her head in the alien man’s deep voice.
Larissa Channer, a tough no-nonsense mercenary in the Sectors, is celebrating success on her last job and a big bonus, with no slightest thought of taking on another assignment anytime soon. Out for a night of carousing with her friends at a third rate carnival on a backwater planet, she walks into the tent of a fake fortune teller and finds herself confronting the most intriguing man she’s ever seen. But something’s wrong, ominous currents lie beneath the surface of their encounter and Larissa can’t leave well enough alone.
Samell, a powerful, high born empathic priest, has been kidnapped from his own primitive planet along with a number of his people, and sold to the shady operator of an interstellar carnival. Kept enslaved, pretending to be a fortune teller while forced by his captor to steal information from the minds of all who come before him, Samell despairs of every breaking free.
Until Larissa walks into his tent and he recognizes the warrior who might mean the difference between life and death.
The situation becomes dire when Larissa and Samell come to the attention of the Shemdylann pirates who kidnapped him in the first place and the deadly Mawreg, aliens who threaten the Sectors. Can she save herself and the empathic alien noble, and derail the Mawreg plot against the Sectors? And will the soldier end up with her prince when all’s said and done?