No Shared History Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedI’m taking snippets from my most recently released scifi romance Timtur: The Teacher’s Alien Healer (Badari Warriors) this week.  (GABE just went to the formatter so it’ll be out soon, by the way.)

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!)

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

If you haven’t read any of my Badari Warriors books, here’s the background:

Genetically engineered soldiers of the far future, the Badari were created by alien enemies to fight humans. But then the scientists kidnapped an entire human colony from the Sectors to use as subjects in twisted experiments…the Badari and the humans made common cause, rebelled and escaped the labs. Now they live side by side in a sanctuary valley protected by a powerful Artificial Intelligence, and wage unceasing war on the aliens. The luckiest Badari find their mates among the humans. 

The alien scientists never bothered to create female Badari.

The excerpt – The pack Alpha, who is mated to a human, tries to answer Timtur’s question from last week about whether it’s possible to balance his duties with having a mate:

“I refuse to believe the goddess would send the human women to this planet at the very time, the first time in eight hundred years we’ve been able to enter into pair bonds as free men, and then expect you, of all people, to resist her gift. The Great Mother, as I understand her, isn’t a jealous or a capricious deity. I think she wants us to live. And mating and having children is the essence of life. She may even be counting on you to help show the way for others. A balance in all things is called for, true, but serving the needs of the pack and being a fully committed mate can be done.”

“Those are my hopes as well, but I take my duty to the pack so deeply,” Timtur remembered the interrupted picnic, when he’d left Lily and rushed off to care for the injured Badari soldiers. He still believed that was the right action at the time but now he could see he should have paused to reassure Lily he wanted to continue their conversation as soon as he could return to her. They had so little shared history, no deep understanding of each other’s life experiences, which he now saw was a lack he needed to rectify – the human life in the Sectors and his existence as a captive in the labs were so removed from each other that of course she had no instinctive comprehension of his pack bonds.

The Badari had no mating rituals and he’d no idea what courting behaviors a human woman might expect.

TimturFinalThe blurb: 

Far from her home in the human Sectors after the mass kidnapping, teacher Lily Garrison is making a niche for herself in the valley by running a school for the Badari young. Although she yearns for Timtur, the pack’s healer, another Badari male has his eye on her and won’t take no for an answer.

Timtur feels the weight and responsibility of being the pack’s only healer, constantly on call as the soldiers fight ferocious battles against the alien scientists and their troops. With scarcely a moment to himself, he’s drawn to the gentle Lily but worries he won’t be able to juggle his duties, his loyalty to the pack and a relationship with a human woman.

When Lily’s stalker takes direct action to kidnap her and steal her from the safety of the valley, she’s forced to reach deep inside to find the strength to battle for her life. Timtur realizes too late how foolish he’s been to resist the bond with his fated mate and leads the rescue effort.

Before this situation can be resolved both will have to put their lives on the line and decide what really matters in a dangerous world ruled by the enemy.

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Is She the #Scifi Anastasia? STAR CRUISE MYSTERY DANCER

Woman in waving dress as a flame dancing with flying fabric. Dar

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Adapted from a blog post I wrote this week for Pauline Baird Jones’s blog on “Why I Wrote Star Cruise: Mystery Dancer”, which is my latest 41K Sectors scifi romance novel in the just released PETS IN SPACE 3 anthology.

I love going back to revisit my interstellar cruise liner, the Nebula Dream, for these PISA stories, as the ship cruises through the futuristic human civilization known as The Sectors.  I’ve written a number of books and novellas centered on events aboard the ship now and find the whole cruise setup lends itself to telling a good scifi romance adventure tale. Readers new to my world don’t need to know a lot of backstory to enjoy the events, and for those who have read others in the series, it’s a nice return to see some favorite characters (I hope!).

Oval lacquered black Russian casket painted with troyka horses isolated

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I started with the concept of the pet because that drives my plot for these PISA adventures. For some reason I kept seeing a mental picture of a Siamese cat, but with a third eye. I thought a Siamese cat would be fairly easy and interesting for our talented artist Nyssa Juneau to turn into an alien feline. But I’ve done a cat and a catlike alien before, for PISA1, although Midorri, the alien pet there actually is kind of a cross between a red panda and a tribble who acts like a cat. So I wanted something very different and I started thinking about what if the cat wasn’t actually a real animal at all? I ended up making F’rrh a ‘jenfellini’, which is something like a genie, living in a beautiful lacquered box. Visualize the gorgeous painted boxes that come from Russia.

Then, the tenuous link to Russia reminded me of the whole tragic story of the last Tsar and his family, and how they were murdered 100 years ago, this year. Rumors always persisted one of the children might have survived. From Wikipedia:

anastasiaThe youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna.

Anastasia was the younger sister of Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, and Maria, and was the elder sister of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia. She was murdered with her family by members of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police, in Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918.

Persistent rumors of her possible escape circulated after her death, fuelled by the fact that the location of her burial was unknown during the decades of Communist rule. The mass grave near Yekaterinburg which held the remains of the Tsar, his wife, and three of their daughters was revealed in 1991, and the bodies of Alexei Nikolaevich and the remaining daughter—either Anastasia or her older sister Maria—were discovered in 2007. Her possible survival has been conclusively disproved. Scientific analysis including DNA testing confirmed that the remains are those of the imperial family, showing that all four grand duchesses were killed in 1918.

Several women falsely claimed to have been Anastasia; the best known impostor is Anna Anderson. Anderson’s body was cremated upon her death in 1984, but DNA testing in 1994 on available pieces of Anderson’s tissue and hair showed no relation to the Romanov family.

anastasia movie posterAs Wikipedia states, various individuals claimed to be ‘Anastasia’ or another of the siblings, and of course, there have been movies and plays written with that theme, including a new TV series this year, entitled ‘The Romanovs’. I always flash back to the movie version with Yul Brynner (such an intense actor) and Ingrid Bergman because that movie was one of my mother’s favorites and also left the answer to the question of “Is she or is she not Anastasia?” somewhat open at the end. Personally, I always wanted it to be true.

My daughters loved the animated fantasy versionanastasia animated of the tale, with the voices of Meg Ryan and John Cusack, when they were growing up.

So I had the heroine – a possible princess on the run – but how could she fit into the Nebula Zephyr? Since the hero would be one of the former Special Forces soldiers who make up the ship’s security force, I had to be able to make the two interact and fall in love in a situation fraught with danger and suspicion.

I’ve wanted to do a story about the Comettes dance troupe which performs aboard the cruise liners since I wrote my very first published scifi romance, the award winning Wreck of the Nebula Dream (a sister ship of sorts to the one I write about nowadays). Dancing is a skill a maybe princess might have at a high level, right? So let her be a new member of the ship’s dancers….throw in a fabulous jewel and we have the PISA3 story!

Here’s an excerpt when Tassia begins to tell her tale to Liam, after some very distressing and dangerous events on the ship, involving her:

“You must have been really young at the time of—well, when your family…” Liam stammered to a halt and searched in vain for a tactful way to refer to the massacre of everyone she loved.

“I was eight.” She nodded. She hesitated before asking, “How much do you know about it?”

“I know it was something to do with an engagement? A wedding?”

“Yes, my eldest half-sister Fenna was engaged to marry the Duke of Gradmirov, a powerful and rival bloodline. It was a strategic alliance, not a love match. Even as a little girl, I understood that. Poor Fenna wept for weeks after my father decided she was the pawn.” She took a deep breath. “There was to be a reception to fete the happy couple, all of our family and all of the Duke’s relatives and retainers attending.”

Liam was concerned about Tassia, how pale she was, coping with the memories. He wasn’t sure this discussion was a good idea, but he kept silent as she continued her account.

“My father had multiple wives, you understand, which was allowed at the time on Ruatsar, and quite a few children. I was one of the youngest. I’d been at dance class, I think, but I was late to the gathering so I decided to slip in by a side door and brazen it out with anyone who questioned whether I’d been there the whole time.” She was quiet for a moment, eyes locked on visions from the past where he couldn’t reach her. “The entire family was dressed up, to do honor to the guests. I had on my finest white dress, with three petticoats and the badges of my rank on a sash, a blue sash. Matching blue shoes with shiny buckles.” Her fingers touched her shoulder as if to finger the long lost brooches once more. “I was just inside the room, only a few steps from the service door, when Gradmirov pulled out a weapon and shot my father at point blank range, then my sister Fenna. His guards targeted our guards and more of his men swept into the room, shooting and stabbing. The screaming was terrible, the blood…” Her voice trailed off, and Liam hugged her. “I saw my mother fall, her throat cut—”

“You don’t have to tell me.” He kissed her forehead gently.

Tassia looked at him, her eyes unfocused at first as if her gaze was directed inward, at the mental pictures she was describing and blinked. “I’ve never told anyone the whole story. I—I’d like to tell you.”

He locked his arms tight around her. “Then I’ll listen. You’re safe here, now, with me. Not there.” Liam’s anger at the monsters who’d slaughtered an entire family was a vicious beast clawing at his gut, but there was no one to kill for her. All he could do was listen and shelter her in the here and now.

“I hid behind a vase taller than I was, but a man ran at me, his face all contorted, like a demon in an old temple painting. I screamed and backed away, but he struck at me with his sword.” She touched one hand to her head gingerly, as if the physical pain throbbed to this day. “The scar is under my hair. We found out later I’d been shot as well, a flesh wound to the arm. My dress was all red. I don’t remember everything. Large chunks of time are blank. I get flashes of memory.”

A blank memory is a blessing. Listening to her, her voice eerie as if she was watching a trideo and narrating the events, he wanted to shield her from all the adverse things in the universe, to take her pain away. But he couldn’t touch this agony.

“Somehow I got out of the room, and I ran to my own bedroom. I hid under the bed. Xandrina’s adult niece was my maid, and she came in, I think intending to steal some of my things in the confusion. But, as a scared child, I didn’t realize larceny was her purpose, so I cried out to her for help. I believed she was searching for me. She was a known, friendly face. I give her credit, she threw another dress over my head, told me to be quiet, swept my shelves clean of my collection of the dragizi, the little jewel encrusted miniatures, putting them in a laundry bag, and took me through a servants’ hallway to her mother’s suite in the far wing. Madame Xandrina bandaged my head wound with scarves.” Tassia smiled. “Beautiful scarves my mother had given her at various times. I remember arguing with her that I’d ruin them with the blood. She told me to hush then she said we were going to go far away from Ruatsar so no one could hurt me ever again.”

Jaw clenched, he reflected on the terrible scenes she’d witnessed and the turn of fate that had saved her life when so many died. “Seven hells, what you endured—”

“Oh, there’s more.”

But is she who she says she is, or someone else who was there? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Embrace_the_passion_Pets_in_space3_pauline_Baird_jonesThe anthology blurb: Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity. Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!

STAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER blurb:  Tassia Megg is a woman on the run after the death of her elderly guardian. Her search to get off the planet in a hurry comes when chance directs her to an open dance audition for the luxury cruise liner Nebula Zephyr’s resident troupe. If there is one thing Tassia can do, it is dance!

Security Officer Liam Austin is suspicious of the newest performer to join the Comettes. She shows all the signs of being a woman on the run and seems to fit the Sectors-wide broadcast description of a missing thief, accused of stealing priceless artifacts. As he gets to know Tassia during the cruise, he starts to wonder if she’s something more – a long vanished princess in hiding from deadly political enemies of her family perhaps? And what’s the story with the three-eyed feline companion other crew members swear Tassia brought aboard the ship? Does the animal even exist?

As the ship approaches its next port of call, all the issues come to a boil and Liam must decide if he’ll step in to help Tassia or betray her. Life is about to get very interesting aboard the Nebula Zephyr as Liam tries to uncover the truth. Could F’rrh, the peculiar alien cat he has been hearing about, be the key to the mystery and Tassia’s fate?

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Carol Van Natta Talks CATS OF WAR Pets In Space 3

Embrace_the_passion_Pets_in_space3_pauline_Baird_jonesVeronica: Always fun to talk scifi with USA Today Best Selling Author Carol Van Natta!

Carol: We writers of the stories for Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 are a wildly inventive lot. All the stories have romances, of course, because it is a science fiction romance anthology, but they also have some very unusual pets. They play a pivotal role in causing trouble, bringing the lovers together, and/or saving the day.

In my story, CATS OF WAR, the pets are two top-secret, genetically-engineered creatures named Novo and Boz. (For more about the ethics-challenged pet-trade industry that created them, see Pet Trade, my novella from last year’s anthology.) They are mostly feline, but with enhancements, such as wings, opposable thumbs (they can operate the can opener!), and camouflage coloring. Oh, and they’re telepathic. My own home cats insist that all space opera is better with cats, and for this story, I have to agree. See the excerpt below for the human heroine’s first introduction to the cats of war.

I asked the other authors in Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 to tell you about their story’s pets (don’t worry—no spoilers).

  • S.E. Smith: HEART OF THE CAT – Cinnamon and Spice are white Bengal tigers that were recovered from an illegal exotic animal trader. They are extremely protective of their mistress, which complicates things for my amorous hero.
  • Anna Hackett: DESERT HUNTER – Fiend is an alien canine of unknown origin. He’s big, scruffy and protective with a barbed tail to watch out for. He’s also hiding some dark secrets…
  • Ruby Lionsdrake: QUASHI — That’s the name of the species and the real start of the story. There are dozens of them in the adventure, but only Roberta gets named and does more than trill in a cage. These are like old Star Trek tribbles except they have legs, antennae, and blue fur. Favorite food? Apple slices. (BTW, Roberta is concerned that everybody else’s critter is a predator.)
  • Veronica Scott: STAR CRUISE MYSTERY DANCER: The pet is F’rrh, resembling a Siamese cat but with three eyes. F’rrh is a jenfellini, an alien spirit similar to a genie who doesn’t grant wishes but will occasionally utter a prophecy.
  • Pauline Baird Jones: OPERATION ARK: Tiger is a caticorn – he has a small horse body, but his head is a cat’s with a small, single horn in the center of his forehead. He has secrets and plays a key role in resolving a crisis in my story.
  • Alexis Glynn Latner: STARWAY – Strelka, nicknamed Star, is delicately built little dog with thick white fur. She’s a Wendisan Chivvier, the only dog breed native to the interstellar city called Wendis. Chivviers are bred to be very good at finding missing people and misplaced things.
  • E.D. Walker: THE BAJO CATS OF ANTEROS XII – I have two bajo kittens in my story. They’re brightly coloring (like a Lisa Frank illustration come to life), and they also secrete a psychotropic substance from their fur that causes some…uh, complications in my story.
  • Tiffany Roberts: HUNTER OF THE TIDE – Ikaros is a prixxir, a land and sea creature. They’re scale covered predators with sharp claws and teeth, very territorial, and are usually in packs. He’s fiercely protective of those he has bonded with and loves, who he has claimed as ‘his pack’, and will place himself in danger to defend them…despite being a pup. Prixxir are intelligent and can read body language and emotions, allowing Ikaros to be the perfect companion.
  • JC Hay: SHADOW OF THE PAST – JJ is an Umbra Wolf pup. Umbra Wolves are rendered mostly invisible when not in polarized light, and develop an empathic bond with the SpecOps soldiers they’re paired with. The wolfbond benefits both Ranger and Wolf, but carries a risk as the death of one can destroy the other as well.
  • Kyndra Hatch:  AFTER THE FALL – H’tch and K’mi are moghas, which form a one-time bond with a Korthan biped. H’tch already has his alpha master companion, but K’mi is still waiting for one when the story starts. If it were possible to get a cross between a wolf and a fox of Earth, that’s what they generally look like, except that they have long antennae sticking up from the tips of their ears with feather-like tufts on the ends. They also have retractable fingers in their front paws that help them grab and climb.

Here’s the excerpt I promised you from CATS OF WAR. Ferra, the human main character, is in a prison of sorts, working off a restitution debt. When she discovers two creatures in the pouring rain, she feels compelled to smuggle them into her cell, despite the risks. Now that they and she are temporarily safe, she discovers what she has rescued.

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Carol’s pets, Artist Nyssa Juneau

THE EXCERPT: She closed up the lab, returned the gravcart, and walked back to her cell. She closed and locked the door behind her, just like any other evening.

The bed looked inviting, but first, she had to look after the cats. She could feel their presence in her mind, even if she couldn’t see them. She used the wallcomp to turn up the lights and darken her only window.

The female oozed out from under the bed, followed by the male.

Now that she saw them in better light, she didn’t know what she was looking at. Wide, cat-like heads and ears, with narrower muzzles, and nose flaps. Mottled dark fur with a faint rosette pattern, and folded, bat-style wings with fine downy fur. No orange stripe on the female’s wing, so that must have been a trick of the light. Their front paws had sharp-looking claws and opposable toes. Their tails were long and ovoid.

We are cats. That was the female.

We were made for war, thought the male.

Food? asked the female.

Ferra didn’t know what to do with cats designed for war, since the Central Galactic Concordance government had kept the peace across the galaxy for the last two centuries, but she could do something about food.

She reached up to the top shelf of her closet to retrieve the mealpack she’d stashed there two days ago. She triggered the heater and put it on a narrow counter that served as the cell’s desk and table to warm.

She sat on the bed and pulled off her clammy shoes and tossed them onto the drying mat by the door. “Do you have names?”

The female’s tale twitched. Yes.

Ferra laughed. The cat was just like some AIs Ferra had known, unhelpfully literal and disdainful of imprecise questions. Ferra tried again, this time forming the words in her mind and projecting them to the female cat. What is your name?

My call sign is Novo Seventeen Alpha.

I am Bozlurian Four Delta, volunteered the male.

“I’ll just call you Novo and Boz, if you don’t mind.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Read more in CATS OF WAR, one of eleven new, original stories in
Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3

10% of the first month’s profits goes to Hero-Dogs.org

Story blurb for CATS OF WAR:

A repair technician must convince a disgraced military sub-captain to help her save two special cats before trouble engulfs them all.

Military Subcaptain Kedron Tauceti counts the days until he can leave the rare metals factory and his current duty station as the liaison to the Criminal Restitution and Indenture Obligation system. The post was protection—and punishment—for exposing a theft ring in his previous assignment. He’s more than ready to get his career back on track on a new base halfway across the galaxy, even if it means leaving behind the one person who makes him want to stay. Not that he’s told her, because technically, he’s her warden.

Former financial specialist and current indenturee Ferra Barray, hiding from her past, only has three months to go on her restitution sentence. She’s lucked into a tech repair job, and If she keeps her head down, she’ll be free to figure out her future. Unfortunately, the local boss behind every illegal scheme in the facility wants her to steal for him, and she’s running out of excuses. And now the heroically handsome Tauceti, who she hoped could help, is transferring out.

Everything changes when Ferra discovers two genetically modified cats. Saving them takes incredible risks. She doesn’t know what she’ll do if she can’t convince Tauceti to take them with him and keep them until she’s free to come for them.

When trouble erupts at the factory, it might just be the cats who save them. Find out what happens in this exciting stand-alone novella from Carol Van Natta’s award-winning Central Galactic Concordance space opera series.

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Anthology Blurb for Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3

Pets in Space is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity.

Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with disabled U.S. veterans and first responders.

Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 today!

Website: https://www.petsinspaceantho.com/

Universal link: https://books2read.com/u/4Dl6XA

Direct links:

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/embrace-the-passion-pets-in-space-3

iBOOKS: https://itunes.apple.com/mt/book/embrace-the-passion-pets-in-space-3/id1414010304?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/S_E_Smith_Embrace_the_Passion_Pets_in_Space_3?id=JghkDwAAQBAJ

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/embrace-the-passion-se-smith/1129099896?ean=2940155751496

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FNXKQJZ

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07FNXKQJZ

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FNXKQJZ

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07FNXKQJZ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40237564-embrace-the-passion

cvnAbout the Author:

USA TODAY bestselling science fiction and fantasy author Carol Van Natta shares her Fort Collins, Colorado home with a resident mad scientist and various cats, all of whom would love to travel to the stars.

Nightmare Not A Dream Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedSharing from AYDARR, the first book in my Badari Warriors scifi romance series…

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!)

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

The excerpt: 

A bolt of lightning arced across the sky, and Jill broke into a zigzag run, forcing her body to respond to her terror. Standing anywhere close to a giant tree in a thunder storm was a recipe for disaster.

I’m in a nightmare, not a dream, but it’s all too real. In her headlong flight, she stepped on a rock or a sharp root and cried out, but she kept going as thunder boomed. She had to find either a stand of small trees surrounded by taller ones or a ravine. Of course, an actual shelter would be better than either of those make-do options but probably too much to hope for.

Running full tilt, ignoring the pain from her foot, she suddenly slammed into an invisible barrier and bounced off, falling on her back. Cautiously she rose, extending her arms –  the barrier was a tingling against her palms. She tried going right then left, but the wall ran for quite some distance in both directions. Being in an invisible cage was the most unsettling thing since she’d awakened, especially when coupled with the bracelet affixed to her arm.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00068]The blurb: 

Jill Garrison, a maintenance tech at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown stranded in the middle of a forest on an unknown world. There’s no time to think as she’s stalked by carnivorous predators and rescued by genetically engineered warriors calling themselves the Badari. Turns out they and she, along with her whole colony, are now prisoners of the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.

Aydarr, the Badari alpha, isn’t sure he can trust Jill but his attraction to her is undeniable. He impulsively claims her as his mate to prevent her death at the hands of the Khagrish.

Can he continue to protect her from the experiments already underway? Will his claiming her put his pack in jeopardy from their alien masters?

As Jill searches for a way to rescue her fellow humans and get them all to safety, she finds herself falling for Aydarr, despite the secrets he’s keeping. She has a few of her own.

The situation becomes dire when Aydarr and his pack are sent offplanet on a mission, leaving Jill unprotected, prey for the senior scientist. Can she escape the experiments he has in mind for her? Will she be able to thwart the Khagrish plans and liberate humans and Badari alike? How will she and Aydarr reunite?

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Tiffany Roberts Talks HUNTER OF THE TIDE Pets in Space 3

Embrace_the_passion_Pets_in_space3_pauline_Baird_jonesVeronica: So excited today to have Tiffany Roberts here to share an excerpt from Hunter of the Tide, their story in Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3. I’ve been fascinated by the character of Randall since we first ‘met’ him in the Kraken Series and now we get to know so much more via this story. Plus a really cool scifi pet!

Tiffany: Though all our books have either strong sci-fi or fantasy elements, our approach to storytelling has always focused on romance first. The core of each of our books is the love that develops between the main characters. Their relationships have to feel natural, have to feel genuine, and have to grow. Our story for the Pets in Space 3 Anthology, Hunter of the Tide, has that romantic core, but this anthology has allowed us to explore a relationship that we’ve never touched on before: the bond between people and their pets.

Randall Laster, the main character of Hunter of the Tide, is a broken man at the onset of the story. Ikaros, a semiaquatic sea creature that was found wounded, provides him an unexpected means of support and healing. Those of us with animals in our lives reap the benefit of such relationships every day, often without noticing—our pets provide us with so much more than something to pat on the head or scratch behind the ears every now and then.

The relationships we develop with animals are unique and powerful things, somehow enhanced by our inability (in most cases) to speak the same language. We connect with our pets on a deeper level, and the most precious and special of those connections don’t require words; they are intuitive, empathetic, and beneficial to all involved. Pets provide comfort, companionship, affection, and so much more. They can heal the wounds we carry in our hearts, they can ease the pain and worry we so often carry throughout our lives, they can help us see, if only in brief glimpses, that everything will be okay.

We’re honored to have taken part in this year’s Pets in Space Anthology. Not only will it contribute to a worthy cause—Hero Dogs, which places service dogs with disabled veterans and first responders—but it is a celebration of the joy and love people have for their pets, no matter how mundane or otherworldly those pets may be.

tiffany roberts pet

Artist Nyssa Juneau

Hunter of the Tide Teaser

“He is eating so well,” Melaina said, twisting to grin at Rhea and Randall. Her attention immediately swung back to the prixxir. She offered another bite of fish, and the creature devoured the morsel, long tail waving eagerly.

“That’s good. It’ll help him heal faster,” Randall said.

Rhea watched her daughter pet the creature. Melaina’s face was aglow with delight, and her eyes sparkled with adoration. Rhea’s chest tightened; the youngling’s wanderlust had caused trouble over the last year, but seeing Melaina so happy filled Rhea’s hearts near to bursting.

And it was because of Randall. He’d made it possible by agreeing to care for the prixxir.

Ikaros chirruped, cocking its head and tilting it back when Melaina dangled a bit of fish higher up. The prixxir followed the moving food with large eyes, and the instant the meat came within its reach, it darted up to snatch the food out of Melaina’s fingers. She giggled.

“Once he’s fully grown, you won’t be able to hold food out of his reach anymore,” Randall said. “Not until you grow up, yourself.”

“When I’m as tall as you?” Melaina asked.

Randall glanced at Rhea, sweeping his gaze over her from tentacles to head, before looking back at Melaina. “You’ll probably be taller than me when you’re done.”

“Are you done growing? You don’t seem so tall for a male.”

Rhea smirked.

“Yeah, I’m all done growing. Maybe I’m not as big as Dracchus—”

No one is as big as Dracchus,” Melaina interrupted.

Randall smiled. “But I make up for it by being the hairiest one in this whole place.”

Melaina laughed, pointing at Randall’s chest. “You are!”

“Everyone has to have something they’re good at.”

“Being the hairiest cannot be all you are good at,” Rhea said.

“I might have a few other talents,” he replied, eyes roving over Rhea’s body again. Her brows rose, and her lips curved into a smile. “But I usually let other people judge that for themselves.”

tiffany robertsBio: Tiffany Roberts, a husband and wife writing duo, are now actively living their dream creating happily-ever-afters one monster or alien at a time.

Veronica: I’ve chatted with them at length on the phone and they are so much FUN! They bring a strong video gaming background to their worldbuilding and the Kraken universe is really well done, in my opinion!

 

The book blurb:

Eleven original Science Fiction Romances. Eleven action-filled tales that mix pets in space with their two-legged companions. Supporting a great cause – Hero-Dogs.org. Don’t miss out on Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3! https://www.petsinspaceantho.com 

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Not a Combat Unit Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedWelcome to my weekly excerpt from Darik (A Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Novel): Sectors New Allies Series Book 4, my best selling new scifi romance action adventure novel!

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!)

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

I’ve moved on a bit further from last week and now Darik and his Artificial Intelligence companion are trying to hack into the Khagrish computer system. Darik is speaking.

The excerpt: 

“Any estimate how long?”

“This system has unusual parameters, not what I was led to expect. We may be here for an extended duration,” Now the AI sounded annoyed and orange was moving through the turquoise and pink hues, blotting them out on MARL12’s smooth surface.

Plan, meet reality. Conditions in the field invariably varied in ways large and small from what you’d expected at your home base. Probably a good lesson for the MARLs to learn. He just hoped the repercussions weren’t going to be unpleasant for them both. “What kind of ops did your primary unit carry out with your original sentient anyway?”

“Scientific studies of new planets and various astronomical phenomena.”

Darik hid a grin in case MARL12 was monitoring him too, “So, I’m guessing you weren’t a combat unit?”

darik_Veronica_ScottThe blurb: 

Nicolle James is far from her home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments.  Her only hope might be a mysterious soldier she’d glimpsed outside the laboratory fence. She’d managed to sneak a few words of conversation with him when her captors weren’t watching but now the aliens were taking her inside the lab to begin the experiments.

Darik, a warrior of the genetically engineered Badari pack, is on a solo recon mission to check out a mysterious new lab high in the mountains. His orders are strict – do not engage. But when he has a chance meeting with the woman who might be his mate, he vows not to abandon her, orders or no orders.

Can he get inside an underground lab, find Nicolle and rescue her without getting captured himself? And when he learns the lab’s deadly secrets, can he get word to his pack about the new dangers?

Because the ruthless alien scientist running the experiments wants to get her hands on him too and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.

Buy Links: Amazon    iBooks    Nook      Google     Kobo 

canva badari warriors series 4 covers

Not Today 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!)

Sharing now from my newest, just released scifi romance  Darik (A Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Novel): Sectors New Allies Series Book 4.

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

Last week we left Darik and Nicolle staring across a force barrier at each other. She’s inside. The floating orb is an alien Artificial Intelligence named MARL12, assigned to Darik for this expedition. More of MARL12 later…

The excerpt: 

Granted, he was incredibly tall and well built under his camouflage uniform, but there was nothing about him to suggest the ability to utterly terrify a creature like the one recently slavering to eat her. Had the beast been frightened off by the sight of his lethal pulse rifle? But then who or what had been roaring?  “Thank you,” she said, her vocal cords barely working, “Who are you?”

“A friend.”

Thank the Lords of Space—he speaks Basic.

He looked her up and down critically, “Are you ok?”

She dropped the stick into the water, wrapping her arms around herself in an effort not to shake so hard, “Just scared. Can you—can you get us out of here?” Nicolle sank onto the nearest boulder as her legs gave way from reaction to the danger so recently averted.

Brow furrowed, he glanced at the oddly colorful small orb floating in the air beside him and shook his head, “Not today.”

VS note: He has a good reason….

darik_Veronica_ScottThe blurb: 

Nicolle James is far from her home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments.  Her only hope might be a mysterious soldier she’d glimpsed outside the laboratory fence. She’d managed to sneak a few words of conversation with him when her captors weren’t watching but now the aliens were taking her inside the lab to begin the experiments.

Darik, a warrior of the genetically engineered Badari pack, is on a solo recon mission to check out a mysterious new lab high in the mountains. His orders are strict – do not engage. But when he has a chance meeting with the woman who might be his mate, he vows not to abandon her, orders or no orders.

Can he get inside an underground lab, find Nicolle and rescue her without getting captured himself? And when he learns the lab’s deadly secrets, can he get word to his pack about the new dangers?

Because the ruthless alien scientist running the experiments wants to get her hands on him too and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.

Buy Links: Amazon    iBooks    Nook      Google     Kobo 

canva badari warriors series 4 covers

One Man 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!)

Sharing now from my newest, just released scifi romance  Darik (A Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Novel): Sectors New Allies Series Book 4.

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

Last week we left Nicolle facing off against the giant predator. Today we continue from there.

The excerpt:

A roar sounded from behind her, across the water, maybe even from outside the force barrier. Startled, she screamed and slipped on the mossy rocks, barely keeping her footing. The animal in front of her rose to its full height again, bellowing and displaying an impressive array of sharp teeth, as well as yellowed claws on its massive front paws. Nicolle cowered, but the beast wasn’t paying any attention to her now. All its attention was on whatever was beyond the stream.

The next roar from behind her was even more impressive. It sounded almost…human?

Ears flattened, the beast pivoted, dropped to all fours, and scrambled away from Nicolle as fast as it could go, bushy tail tucked away between its legs.

Breathing shakily, she steeled herself to turn, hoping this new threat was outside the force barrier and couldn’t get in.

Having wheeled to face the other direction, at first she couldn’t believe her eyes. Nothing but one man stood across the force barrier from her.

VS Note: And of course the guy is Darik…

darik_Veronica_ScottThe blurb: 

Nicolle James is far from her home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments.  Her only hope might be a mysterious soldier she’d glimpsed outside the laboratory fence. She’d managed to sneak a few words of conversation with him when her captors weren’t watching but now the aliens were taking her inside the lab to begin the experiments.

Darik, a warrior of the genetically engineered Badari pack, is on a solo recon mission to check out a mysterious new lab high in the mountains. His orders are strict – do not engage. But when he has a chance meeting with the woman who might be his mate, he vows not to abandon her, orders or no orders.

Can he get inside an underground lab, find Nicolle and rescue her without getting captured himself? And when he learns the lab’s deadly secrets, can he get word to his pack about the new dangers?

Because the ruthless alien scientist running the experiments wants to get her hands on him too and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.

Buy Links: Amazon    iBooks    Nook      Google     Kobo 

canva badari warriors series 4 covers

Human Not To Be Messed With 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!)

Sharing now from my newest, just released scifi romance  Darik (A Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Novel): Sectors New Allies Series Book 4.

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

Today we’ll meet Nicolle, who is being temporarily held in an outdoor area of the alien lab, like a zoo.

The excerpt: 

Nicolle stood with her back to the stream running unimpeded through the invisible fence, clutching a forked stick she’d grabbed from the ground as she slipped and scrambled to get away from the beast she was now facing. Holding the unwieldy branch like a trident, she tried to make herself appear bigger and more fierce. A human not to be messed with. Her throat ached from the first few screams of terror, but the sounds only seemed to intrigue the beast, so she bit her lip until she tasted blood. Not a good idea either, Nicolle. Blood probably entices the creature even more.

On all fours now, the animal studied her, sniffing the air as its massive head swayed from side to side.

Will anyone come to help me? But, even if Greer and the others heard her scream and followed her tracks, what could unarmed humans do against this terrifying beast? When the creature stood on its trunk-like hind legs, it was easily 7’ high and the dinner plate sized paws carried multiple hooked claws. Its coat was an odd mix of white, silver and gray, in a camouflage-style pattern that made the animal hard to focus on and the fangs were like daggers.

VS Note: So now we’ve also met a creature like the one whose tracks Darik saw last week.

darik_Veronica_ScottThe blurb: 

Nicolle James is far from her home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments.  Her only hope might be a mysterious soldier she’d glimpsed outside the laboratory fence. She’d managed to sneak a few words of conversation with him when her captors weren’t watching but now the aliens were taking her inside the lab to begin the experiments.

Darik, a warrior of the genetically engineered Badari pack, is on a solo recon mission to check out a mysterious new lab high in the mountains. His orders are strict – do not engage. But when he has a chance meeting with the woman who might be his mate, he vows not to abandon her, orders or no orders.

Can he get inside an underground lab, find Nicolle and rescue her without getting captured himself? And when he learns the lab’s deadly secrets, can he get word to his pack about the new dangers?

Because the ruthless alien scientist running the experiments wants to get her hands on him too and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.

Buy Links: Amazon    iBooks    Nook      Google     Kobo 

canva badari warriors series 4 covers

 

Twice the Size 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!)

Sharing now from my newest, just released scifi romance  Darik (A Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Novel): Sectors New Allies Series Book 4.

Punctuation may be wonky to comply with our guidelines here. May be edited a bit from published version.

Today we’ll meet Darik and next week I’ll introduce Nicolle.

The excerpt: 

Darik measured the size of the huge paw print in the snow, comparing the breadth to his own generously sized hand, “Big predator, nothing we’ve ever seen before. Nothing comparable in the lowlands.” He took a deep breath of the crisp mountain air, automatically sorting the scents and savoring many new to him. Small furred creatures, towering trees, elusive woodland flowers and moss – he enjoyed all the novelties. It was still a rare luxury for him not to smell the hated disinfectants and chemicals of the Khagrish lab where his kind were created.

His metallic companion MARL12 shifted beside him, disturbing the air as the small alien device floated on an antigrav cushion, “Best to avoid an encounter with any predators.”

Grinning, Darik rose to his feet and eyed the miniature ovoid, now positioned a few feet further away, orange and pink lights flicking across its shiny surface in rapid patterns. The one tiny patch of green on the machine which he’d noticed was consistently present blinked in the lower rear quadrant of the Alien Intelligence unit’s silver skin.

Darik dusted snow from his palms, “Nervous? I’ll protect you, don’t worry.” He kicked loose snow over the tracks contemptuously, “Big as this animal may be, he’s not going to challenge a full grown Badari male like me – my talons are twice the size of his.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00068]The blurb: 

Nicolle James is far from her home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments.  Her only hope might be a mysterious soldier she’d glimpsed outside the laboratory fence. She’d managed to sneak a few words of conversation with him when her captors weren’t watching but now the aliens were taking her inside the lab to begin the experiments.

Darik, a warrior of the genetically engineered Badari pack, is on a solo recon mission to check out a mysterious new lab high in the mountains. His orders are strict – do not engage. But when he has a chance meeting with the woman who might be his mate, he vows not to abandon her, orders or no orders.

Can he get inside an underground lab, find Nicolle and rescue her without getting captured himself? And when he learns the lab’s deadly secrets, can he get word to his pack about the new dangers?

Because the ruthless alien scientist running the experiments wants to get her hands on him too and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.

Buy Links: Amazon    iBooks    Nook      Google     Kobo The Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Series canva