I’m happy to announce my latest new release, Aydarr: A Badari Warriors SciFi Romance Novel, which is book one in my new Sectors New Allies Series. Writing an actual series is a new experience for me, but each book has a Happy for Now ending, no cliffhangers! There is an overarching series plot, however. I’m busy working on book two now, Mateer, which I expect to release in mid January.
Here’s the plot for Aydarr:
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?
A short excerpt – Jill’s first encounter with the Badari, as she’s running from a storm and predators:
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.
A boom of thunder directly overhead startled her into motion, and she ran in a new direction, terrified of being struck by lightning. The rain lashed her face and barely-covered body, like stinging nettles, adding impetus to her desperation to find cover.
The ground gave way under her feet. She teetered on the edge of the sinkhole or pit, but her precarious state of vertigo betrayed her. Screaming, she half slid, half fell into the deep hole, debris raining down with her.
Scrabbling at roots embedded in the wall as she fell, the flimsy vegetation snapping off in her hands, Jill managed to partially break her fall. Landing in a substantial mud puddle, she rose to her feet, staring upward, realizing there was no easy way to climb from the pit. At least the rain was tapering off.
A rumbling sound like an engine behind her made her pivot, to find two huge, faceted glowing eyes staring at her from a tunnel opening into the hole. A giant body lurked in the gloom. The creature blinked and emitted the sound again. Jill retreated one step at a time to the opposite wall of the pit and snatched a loose rock from the small debris pile at her feet. Whitened bones were mixed in with the rocks on the pit floor next to the rainwater puddle. She shuddered and gripped her rock hard enough to make her hand sting.
The creature watched her and moved forward a bit from the tunnel, the front segment of its body sinking onto the ground, while the rest remained in the tunnel. The segmented body expanded like a child’s toy as the predator closed the space between them. Opening an outsize mouth, revealing a yellow, forked tongue, the animal hissed and reared as if preparing to charge at her.
Jill shouted defiance in a combination of rage and fear, and threw the rock hard, striking one glowing eye in the center, shattering the facets. She dodged as the predator made a high pitched sound like an exploding generator and lunged toward where she’d been. As she scrambled in the slick muddy water at the bottom of the trap, she searched for another rock, finding only small ones. She gathered a handful of them as better than nothing and spun around as the half-blind animal tried to locate her.
With a hoarse yell, a man jumped into the pit from above and landed between her and the predator. He didn’t seem to have a weapon but, as the lightning flashed, briefly illuminating the scene in stark white light, Jill gaped. Were those talons? He glanced over his shoulder at her briefly as if to see how she was doing then made a dash at the animal, slashing its neck before dancing away.
Jill moved along the pit wall as the man and the beast fought. Mud dripped from the sloping side of the hole. Resting her palm on the damp dirt, she felt vibrations. There’s another one tunneling towards us. No matter how brave and strong this guy was, he couldn’t defeat two of the animals. Frantically, she searched for more rocks, trying to pry a likely candidate out of the wall with her fingernails. I have to help.
“Incoming! There’s another one about to pop out of the wall,” she yelled. Hefting the rock she’d dug from the muck, she took a few steps forward, waited for the right moment and threw the stone at the first beast’s remaining eye, striking a glancing blow on the brow ridge above the glowing orb. The warrior took advantage of the animal’s distraction to open more gaping wounds along its upper body with the lethal claws he bore.
Something in the rapidly rising water brushed against her leg. She jumped sideways, but not fast enough. As the unseen predator made a stinging bite on her calf, Jill nearly toppled over. Unable to see below the surface of the roiling water, she hurled her handful of rocks a foot or so away from her body, hoping to drive away this new menace.
Before she could find more rocks to use as weapons, another man lowered himself into the pit on a rope, reaching for her and speaking urgently in Basic as he gestured. “He can’t fight them off forever – we need to get out of here. More beasts will arrive soon, attracted by the vibrations signaling prey.”
Figuring whatever might happen later, getting out of the trap was the best plan in the short term, she stepped closer. The newcomer grabbed her by the waist, and unseen comrades above hauled the two of them out of the hole at a surprising speed. Her second rescuer handed her off to another man and hastened back into the pit.
She sank to the wet grass, shaking in reaction and feeling the pain now from her cut foot, the mysterious bite, and the effects of the fall. With a fresh rush of fear, she glanced at the strange men surrounding her. Most were ignoring her, facing away as if watching for an attack, although all of them were oddly weaponless. She’d expected to see spears and knives at least. Then again…Had the one who’d jumped into the pit really had claws?