Who Could Predict Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’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!)

The snippet is from Two Against the Stars (story below the excerpt), my latest release. I’m continuing on from last week although I’ve skipped ahead a bit. After leaving the hotel and pawning Dobkin’s watch, Carialle rides the city’s mass transit all day, working her way into the seedier areas of town. She leaves the transport, buys lunch and studies the situation. (Edited somewhat from the published version.)

After finishing her meal, surprised at how healthy her appetite was after the traumatic events of the day, she wandered through the area, which boasted small shops with the proprietors’ living quarters above. The neighborhood was crowded and lively with street musicians playing for credits. Carialle kept her eyes open for any signs of Combine activity but detected none. Oh, there were scammers and pickpockets, but when she touched them lightly with her highly attuned senses, the petty crooks had no thought of the Combine.

Reassured she’d made a good choice, she strolled further, observing the mix of older, poorly maintained buildings and the newer, refurbished places. She encountered no police, which for her was just as reassuring as not seeing Combine enforcers. Who could predict how the mysterious authorities would view what she’d done as a Combine tool? And she’d probably be suspected of killing Dobkin, which was another huge problem.

High in the azure sky, the glint of an ascending spacecraft drew her attention for a moment. Averting her gaze, she blinked away tears – this planet was going to be her home for the rest of her life.

twoThe story:

Empathic priestess Carialle has escaped the evil Amarotu Combine, but she’s hardly out of danger. Not when she risks everything to rescue a drugged man from a crooked veterans’ clinic. By lulling the clinic staff to sleep, she reveals her powers. And once again, criminals are after her and her rescuer.

Marcus Valerian, a wounded Special Forces veteran, never expected to have his life threatened by the clinic that’s supposed to help ex-soldiers like him. But when he wakes from a drugged state to find a lovely woman urging him to run–he does. In his family’s remote fishing cabin, he suffers the agony of withdrawal, soothed only by her powers.

In their idyllic hideaway, the two also discover a nova-hot attraction flaring. But can they stay alive long enough for it to become more? Not if the Combine has anything to say–they are not giving up until Marcus is dead and Carialle is their weapon

Buy Links:

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No Time To Waste Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’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!)

NEW RELEASE! The snippet is from Two Against the Stars (story below the excerpt). I’m continuing on from last week, where Dobkin, Carialle’s mob handler, has died in the bathroom of their cheap hotel room from an accidental, drunken fall. She was handcuffed to the bed but has gotten loose, although one cuff remains around her wrist. Edited somewhat from the published version:

Carialle swallowed hard and forced herself to go through his pockets, snagging the key to the handcuffs and his ID and credit tag. Her hands were shaking so hard it took her three tries to release the shackle around her wrist.

She took a deep breath to quell her rising hysteria – No time to waste.

Carialle unfastened a gaudy, retro timepiece from his wrist and sidled away. It took her a few moments in the bedroom to dump out the contents of his small pack, snatching whatever might be useful and leaving the rest on the bed.  She contemplated the small hand weapon for a long moment. She’d no idea how to use it but the allure of possessing a means of defending herself against those immune to her power was impossible to resist. Grabbing the shiny mini blaster, she hid it at the bottom of the pack and sealed the seams.

She straightened her spine, took a deep breath and checked the mirror to be sure there was no blood on her drab gray tunic, leggings or shoes. She hastened to the door and stepped into the hall, closing the portal behind her, keying the advisory to Do Not Disturb.

twoThe story:

Empathic priestess Carialle has escaped the evil Amarotu Combine, but she’s hardly out of danger. Not when she risks everything to rescue a drugged man from a crooked veterans’ clinic. By lulling the clinic staff to sleep, she reveals her powers. And once again, criminals are after her and her rescuer.

Marcus Valerian, a wounded Special Forces veteran, never expected to have his life threatened by the clinic that’s supposed to help ex-soldiers like him. But when he wakes from a drugged state to find a lovely woman urging him to run–he does. In his family’s remote fishing cabin, he suffers the agony of withdrawal, soothed only by her powers.

In their idyllic hideaway, the two also discover a nova-hot attraction flaring. But can they stay alive long enough for it to become more? Not if the Combine has anything to say–they are not giving up until Marcus is dead and Carialle is their weapon

Buy Links:

Amazon     iBooks     Barnes & Noble  Kobo 

Not Going To Be Used Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’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!)

NEW RELEASE! The snippet is from Two Against the Stars (story below the excerpt):

Her handler lay sprawled on the cheap imitation tile floor, a pool of blood spreading from the back of his head. He’d evidently fallen or passed out from the drugs he’d done, striking his head on the commode as he toppled. His sporadic breathing was labored and halted on a harsh exhale even as she stared at him. His head lolled to the side and his entire body went limp.

Her heightened senses confirmed Dobkin’s lifeforce had fled.

The handler’s death left her numb. He’d never assaulted her, nor beaten her, as some of the other handlers did with their charges, but he’d been casually cruel since they met. He clearly didn’t see her as a person in her own right. Indeed, not as anything but a tool to use for the Combine’s profit and his own advancement.

“I’m not going to be used for anyone else’s purposes ever again,” she said.

TwoAgainstTheStarsFinalThe story:

Empathic priestess Carialle has escaped the evil Amarotu Combine, but she’s hardly out of danger. Not when she risks everything to rescue a drugged man from a crooked veterans’ clinic. By lulling the clinic staff to sleep, she reveals her powers. And once again, criminals are after her and her rescuer.

Marcus Valerian, a wounded Special Forces veteran, never expected to have his life threatened by the clinic that’s supposed to help ex-soldiers like him. But when he wakes from a drugged state to find a lovely woman urging him to run–he does. In his family’s remote fishing cabin, he suffers the agony of withdrawal, soothed only by her powers.

In their idyllic hideaway, the two also discover a nova-hot attraction flaring. But can they stay alive long enough for it to become more? Not if the Combine has anything to say–they are not giving up until Marcus is dead and Carialle is their weapon

Buy Links:

Amazon     iBooks     Barnes & Noble  Kobo

 

 

 

Get Away From the Panic Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’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 another snippet from Mission to Mahjundar today (still on sale for $.99). I decided to share a bit more from it because I’m still editing my new book.

I decided in fairness to the hero, Mike Varone, you needed a snippet with him and Shalira, to make it more clear who gets to have the HEA with her! (And again, Shalira and Johnny, who was in the last two snippets, are platonic friends only.) Here’s how Mike and the princess meet for the first time. There’s been an explosion during a parade including the royal family. Shalira’s horse reacts badly (as one might expect) and she can’t stay in the saddle.

He managed to break the girl’s fall, going to one knee as he caught her. To prevent her from being trampled by the crowd, which surged into the space the distressed horse had kept clear with its lashing hooves, Mike carried her in the direction the panic-stricken people were flowing. “Come on, we’ve got to get away from this mob!”

It was like swimming in a riptide. Going with the flow initially, Mike angled toward the far curb and got himself and his trembling companion across the roadway.

“I can walk,” she said, voice faint. Making no effort to leave the security of his arms, however, she had her eyes closed again.

Rather than waste time arguing, he carried her as he clambered over fallen people and maneuvered around debris until they fetched up in the doorway of a bakery. The sweet smell of fresh breads mingled incongruously with the stench of smoke from the bomb blast. With a muttered apology, Mike set the woman on her feet behind him, so he could defend them both if necessary.

MissionToM2-FJM_Mid_Res_1000x1500The story:

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:

Amazon     Barnes & Noble   iTunes      KOBO

canva 99cent sale

 

Keep Going Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’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 on into July. I decided to share a bit more from it because my new book just came back from the Editor and I have some serious work to do on it. Not quite ready to start sharing.

Continuing on where I left off last week, after Shalira and Johnny escape the room with the giant statue of the alien god and the hypnotic voices…(apologies for the ‘interesting’ punctuation to meet the rules here). Slightly edited from published version. The Mawreg are the alien empire bent on totally eradicating humanity and the statue of the god here resembled a Mawreg closely enough to trigger a bad flashback for Johnny, which is why he was so easily mesmerized in the last snippet.

Once she knew she was out of the chamber, and the pull of the voices lessened, Shalira opened her eyes, and she and Johnny leaned side-by-side on the wall for a moment. Sweat was pouring off the sergeant and his hands were shaking.

            “Are you all right?”

            Cradling his blaster as if to anchor himself in reality, he nodded, swallowing hard, “Thanks – I owe you one.”

            “I owe you more than one,” she answered, “Let there be no accounting between us.”

          “The Mawreg held me prisoner briefly, initiated their interrogation, not long enough to do real damage. Mike and a squad of operators rescued me, took down the base.” He leaned his head back, closing his eyes, “It’s a hard thing to get over – I’ve had all the standard military treatment, but I still have nightmares sometimes, which is the real reason Mike and I are retiring – I can’t do the job any more.”

            “You appear to be doing all right to me,” Shalira said, “I know what it’s like to have screaming nightmares, to not be able to remember what was done to you but knowing it was bad. You don’t owe me any explanations – the important thing is to keep going, and I have a feeling we’re both accomplished at that.”

The story:

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:

Amazon     Barnes & Noble   iTunes      KOBO

canva 99cent sale

Voices in Her Mind Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’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.

MissionToM2-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700 (2)The story:

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:

Amazon     Barnes & Noble   iTunes      KOBO

THE PROMO:

sf&f promo JULY2017

http://pattyjansen.com/promo/ 

Not Her Name Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’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!)

Since I forgot to mention last week that I was done with excerpts from Star Cruise: Stowaway, here’s one more after all. I’ve skipped over quite a bit of drama with saving Tyrelle’s life right after Owen finds her. Next day Owen goes to visit her in sickbay, with the pets keeping her company. It’s a relatively peaceful moment before things heat up again as both the crime syndicate and the rather ruthless Sectors authorities come after Tyrelle, the stowaway. Next week, I’ll excerpt something else.

moby_and_midorri_pets_in-space_artwork_nyssa_juneauMidorri chirruped and slithered to the floor, going to the portal, where she scratched at the door with two of her six feet.

Owen rose to let her out.

Moby promptly entered, jumping to the bed and rubbing Tyrelle’s face, arching her spine and purring loudly.

“When one leaves, the other arrives. You’re the keeper of the animals?” she asked.

“Moby’s mine –  I rescued her from kids in a rough port town as a kitten a few years ago and brought her with me to the Zephyr. Midorri belongs to the entire ship, but she spends a lot of time in the cargo bay, with Moby, hunting vermin.” He sat, trapped in the small chair, “The Zephyr’s not  infested or anything, we run a tight ship, but there’s always a few space rats.” I can’t believe I’m talking to this beautiful woman about rats.

She laughed, scratching under Moby’s chin for a moment and staring into the cat’s green eyes, “Yes, this one likes you very much and the name you gifted her. Midorri is not the other one’s name, you know, but she told me she doesn’t mind answering to it.”

stowawayThe story:

I’m really excited to release three Sectors stories that have only been available previously in anthologies, none of which are available currently. I’ve bundled them ALL into one book with the lengthy title STAR CRUISE A NOVELLA: STOWAWAY WITH RESCUE AND GOLDEN TOKEN SHORT STORIES.

Here are the story descriptions:

Star Cruise: Stowaway: A novella of 22K words, previously in the ‘Pets In Space’ anthology.
Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

Star Cruise: Rescue: A short story of 9K words, previously in the ‘Romancing the Stars’ anthology.
When a shore leave excursion goes terribly wrong for Mira Gage, a member of the Nebula Zephyr’s crew, Security Officer Clint Miltan races the clock to find her before the ship leaves orbit and abandons Mira to her fate. Clint’s got more than a professional interest in Mira, but will he be able to save her from the aliens holding her prisoner?

The Golden Token: A short story of 13K words, previously in the limited edition ‘Dealer’s Choice’ paperback anthology handed out at the 2016 RT Booklovers Convention Interstellar Bar & Grille event.
Sectors Special Forces operator Charlie McBrire had a few days to kill on a layover at Space Station 47. He never expected to find himself in the middle of a miners’ rebellion, fighting to save the life of a casino dancer he just met but can’t imagine living without.

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No Heartbeat Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’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!)

Here’s the next snippet from Star Cruise: Stowaway (blurb below).  Skipped a few sentences further describing the leaking crate. Owen has decided he’s better unseal the container. Edited a bit from the published version:

A loud click echoed in the cargo bay and the seams on the crate glowed yellow, unsealing in a smooth progression along the rim. Sure enough a deluge of liquid followed, but Embersson froze for a moment as he saw what had been inside the crate. Then he was on his knees beside the now-open container, heedless of the green cryo fluid soaking his pants, as he tried to extricate the woman who’d been illegally stored inside. She was tightly curled in the midst of the cryo tubes, and he swore again as he realized chains bound her ankles.

Carefully he disentangled her from the nonfunctioning equipment. She opened her eyes for a moment, staring straight at him with beautiful green and gold eyes before convulsing, knocking Embersson off balance. He broke the fall for both of them, holding her securely.

Midorri scrabbled across his body, gently poking the woman with her head, making mewling sounds.

Shoving the beast away with his elbow as he got to his feet, he observed the woman wasn’t breathing, “Tell Dr. Shane I need her down here now, with a crash cart,” he yelled to the AI as he laid the stowaway on the deck and checked for a clear airway. Ear to her chest, he detected no heartbeat.

stowawayThe story:

I’m really excited to release three Sectors stories that have only been available previously in anthologies, none of which are available currently. I’ve bundled them ALL into one book with the lengthy title STAR CRUISE A NOVELLA: STOWAWAY WITH RESCUE AND GOLDEN TOKEN SHORT STORIES.

Here are the story descriptions:

Star Cruise: Stowaway: A novella of 22K words, previously in the ‘Pets In Space’ anthology.
Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

Star Cruise: Rescue: A short story of 9K words, previously in the ‘Romancing the Stars’ anthology.
When a shore leave excursion goes terribly wrong for Mira Gage, a member of the Nebula Zephyr’s crew, Security Officer Clint Miltan races the clock to find her before the ship leaves orbit and abandons Mira to her fate. Clint’s got more than a professional interest in Mira, but will he be able to save her from the aliens holding her prisoner?

The Golden Token: A short story of 13K words, previously in the limited edition ‘Dealer’s Choice’ paperback anthology handed out at the 2016 RT Booklovers Convention Interstellar Bar & Grille event.
Sectors Special Forces operator Charlie McBrire had a few days to kill on a layover at Space Station 47. He never expected to find himself in the middle of a miners’ rebellion, fighting to save the life of a casino dancer he just met but can’t imagine living without.

Amazon    iBooks    B&N     Kobo

 

What Mischief ? Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revised

If you’re here for the SFR Brigade Presents excerpt from Hostage to the Stars, go here.

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!)

Here’s the next snippet from Star Cruise: Stowaway (blurb below).  Edited a bit from the published version. ‘She’ refers to Moby the cat:

Figuring she wanted to show him a recent kill, which he’d then have to dispose of, he followed.

Moby moved faster now that she’d gotten him with the program.

moby_and_midorri_pets_in-space_artwork_nyssa_juneau

Moby & Midorri by Artist Nyssa Juneau 

He followed her around the corner of the pallet the ship had taken on earlier in the day and found Midorri, the Zephyr’s other pet, crouched beside a free trader container. “What mischief have the two of you gotten into now?” he asked Moby. Midorri came aboard the Zephyr originally as the pampered pet of a princess, but after the whole outbreak incident, Sector authorities refused to let the lady disembark on Sector Hub with the undocumented animal, so the ship had kept the odd green fluffball. 

Midorri sneezed, as she was often wont to do, allergic to humans perhaps, and flicked her plush prehensile tail before lowering her head and extending her long green tongue to lap at something on the deck.

“Freaking flares, do not tell me we’ve got leaking cargo,” He hoped Moby hadn’t sampled whatever Midorri was drinking. The alien animal could probably handle anything up to and including nuclear fuel, who knew, but Moby was definitely a terrestrial cat, with a more delicate stomach. He tried to shoo Midorri away from the slowly growing puddle of green goo, dripping from a dented corner of the container. Musta gotten banged when the shuttle crew offloaded the final pallet too fast and had to straighten everything in a rush.

stowawayThe story:

I’m really excited to release three Sectors stories that have only been available previously in anthologies, none of which are available currently. (I know many of you purchased the Pets In Space anthology, which first contained STAR CRUISE STOWAWAY and thank you so much!) Along with STOWAWAY, I’ve really been wanting to get the other two stories out there for you, especially THE GOLDEN TOKEN, which was only in the  limited edition paperback we handed out at last year’s RT Booklovers Conference. So I’ve bundled them ALL into one book with the lengthy title STAR CRUISE A NOVELLA: STOWAWAY WITH RESCUE AND GOLDEN TOKEN SHORT STORIES.

Here are the story descriptions:

Star Cruise: Stowaway: A novella of 22K words, previously in the ‘Pets In Space’ anthology.
Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

Star Cruise: Rescue: A short story of 9K words, previously in the ‘Romancing the Stars’ anthology.
When a shore leave excursion goes terribly wrong for Mira Gage, a member of the Nebula Zephyr’s crew, Security Officer Clint Miltan races the clock to find her before the ship leaves orbit and abandons Mira to her fate. Clint’s got more than a professional interest in Mira, but will he be able to save her from the aliens holding her prisoner?

The Golden Token: A short story of 13K words, previously in the limited edition ‘Dealer’s Choice’ paperback anthology handed out at the 2016 RT Booklovers Convention Interstellar Bar & Grille event.
Sectors Special Forces operator Charlie McBrire had a few days to kill on a layover at Space Station 47. He never expected to find himself in the middle of a miners’ rebellion, fighting to save the life of a casino dancer he just met but can’t imagine living without.

Amazon    iBooks    B&N     Kobo

SFR Brigade Presents Hostage to the Stars

SFRB ShowcaseOnce a month the Science Fiction Romance Brigade authors showcase snippets from new work, WIPs, cover reveals or other fun things. The link is here for all  the participants.

I’m sharing from my SFR Galaxy Award Winning Hostage to the Stars, which is on sale for $.99 at the moment.

Hostage ToTheStarsFinal-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700The story:

He rescued her from space pirates … but can he keep them both safe from the far greater evil stalking a deserted planet?

Space travel without Kidnap & Ransom insurance? Not a good idea. University instructor and researcher Sara Bridges can’t afford it, so when pirates board her cruise liner, she’s taken captive along with the mistress of a wealthy man, and brought to a deserted planet. When a military extraction team sent to rescue the mistress refuses to take Sara too, she’s left to the mercies of a retired Special Forces soldier, along as consultant.

Reluctantly reactivated and coerced into signing up for the rescue operation to the planet Farduccir where he once was deployed,  Sgt. Johnny Danver just wants to get the job done. But when the team leader leaves one captured woman behind, he breaks away to rescue her himself.

As Johnny and Sara traverse the barren landscape, heading for an abandoned base where they hope to call Sectors Command for help, they find villages destroyed by battle and stripped of all inhabitants. A lone survivor tells a horrific tale of the Sectors’ alien enemy, the Mawreg, returning after being pushed out …

Searching for evidence to give the military, Johnny is captured. He regains consciousness in a Mawreg cage–with Sara next to him. Death is preferable to what the aliens will do to them… And even if they do escape their captors, can they alert the military in time to prevent another invasion of the Sectors?

The excerpt: 

One minute Sara was sound asleep in her bunk in the tiny cabin on board the Star Swan and the next moment the sound of alarms jolted her into wakefulness. Sara threw on a robe and stuck her head into the corridor. “What’s happening?” she asked a passing crewman.

“Pirates. We’re being boarded.” He looked her up and down. “You’d better get dressed, ma’am.”

Saluting, he moved toward the gravlift.

As she shut the portal to her cabin, she was puzzled by the calmness of the man’s demeanor. Was this a terrifying disaster, as the klaxons suggested? Or was it a routine situation and they’d be on their way shortly? She wasted no time in getting dressed, wishing she had a weapon, which was ridiculous of course because what would she – a Sectors university researcher – do with a weapon? Especially if the ship’s crew wasn’t putting up any fight. She had little of any value with her, but she took a moment to hide her ring and a bracelet, wrapped in a scarf under the bunk. She knew the cache wouldn’t escape even a perfunctory search but the jewelry had sentimental value. Why not at least try to outsmart the pirates, if the bastards were greedy enough to search even her closet-size cabin?

“All passengers and crew will report to the dining room at once,” The ship’s AI announced, adding, “Per protocol, no weapons allowed.”

Sara joined the small group of people moving through the corridor. She grabbed the sleeve of a crew member she recognized, the stewardess. The Star Swan wasn’t a big cruise liner like the Nebula-class ships. She could never afford that much luxury on her academic pittance of a salary. Carrying mostly cargo, this vessel only had a few cabins for passengers and the cheaper fare reflected the few amenities. This woman had been friendly and efficient about any request.

“Excuse me,” Sara said, “Was the earlier announcement about pirates on the level?”

“Yes.” The crew member didn’t stop walking but she gave Sarah an odd look. “It’s not a rare occurrence in this quadrant. Unfortunately for us, we were stopped to make minor repairs on the engines in this old bucket and the pirates were out hunting.” She stepped into the gravlift and Sara followed. “I’ve been through this before. Most of us have. These are human-descent pirates, from Farduccir, not the Shemdylann.”

“Oh.” Sara digested the information as she ascended next to the stewardess. She fought the vertigo gravlifts always gave her. Even she had heard of the alien Shemdylann.  “So what happens next?”

“The pirates are mostly interested in our cargo. Probably offloading it now in fact.” Her companion shrugged. “Everything’s insured.”

Sara stepped off the landing ledge into the corridor. The longer the stewardess talked, the more calm Sara felt as her adrenaline levels subsided. This incident would make an exciting tidbit to tell people about when she got home. “So the raiders don’t bother the passengers and crew?”

“You never know with pirates.” The woman seemed ill at ease, but not afraid.  “Our line pays the pre-negotiated ransom on the spot, credits transmitted to a bank on New Switzerland. Routine. Expense of doing business in this part of the Sector.”

She’d arrived at the cafeteria and Sara saw the other passengers clustered at one table in the front of the room.

“You’d better go join them. You can’t sit with the crew.” The stewardess gave her a not so gentle push. “Good luck.”

Sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach again, Sara grabbed her arm. “Why do I need luck? You said there’s a preset ransom for us. Routine.”

She received a pitying stare now, as the crew woman broke her grip. “For the ship and the crew. You’re on your own. I hope you have good K&R insurance.” She walked away.

Stumbling a little, Sara made her way to the passenger table, feeling exposed and vulnerable. She slid into a vacant chair next to the only other woman.

“Hey, it’s not so bad, relax.” The woman patted her hand. “I’m Tresha Immer. I’ve seen you in the corridors.”

Early in the cruise, Sara’d learned from the stewardess that Tresha was some kind of Sectors’ admin person, mid-level in an obscure branch of the bureaucracy. She had the single luxury suite on the ship and the crew had formerly bent over backwards to supply her slightest whim, while gossiping about her.  Apparently an influential politico with a lot of gravity didn’t appreciate her receiving less than stellar service and attention, so people rushed to do her bidding. “What’s K&R?” she asked the table at large.

“Kidnap and ransom insurance. Did you bring your certificate?” asked the Tregon Inc. trader sitting across from her. “Do you have good coverage? These Farduccir are greedy bastards.”

“I-I don’t have any insurance. I’ve never even heard of it before today.”

The man shoved his chair away from the table. “The government shouldn’t allow people like you to travel in these parts. “ He shook his head. “My sympathies. Any last messages you want us to send to your family?”

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