This post deals with GAMBIT, book 5 in my Scifi romance series, THE FELIG CHRONICLES. The series covers the aftermath of an alien invasion of Earth. The alien Felig want Earth as their new home as their home planet, Solicia, is dying. They do not make nice, or play well with others. They simply tolerate humans until they can extract from them what they need. Which is their life essence. At times, assimilation can occur with their human targets; it can happen by accident when a Felig is in a feeding frenzy. But in truth, for a species as arrogant and superior as the Felig, mixing their genetic material with any life form other than Felig better have a higher purpose. And be absolutely necessary.
The series kicked off with a heartbreaking abduction which brought hero and heroine, Nate Lowe and Tina Cain, together. Joined together to squelch the Felig, they became warriors-with-benefits. As time wore on, the two became “committed lovers.” The series follows them and their crew of Felig fighters as they battle the aliens for the existence of mankind. So far, Nate and Tina have been lucky in winning the little battles in the on-going war. With every victory, comes a more dangerous wave of retaliation from the Felig.
Strategies, plans and friends who rise to the occasion every time when called upon, despite being petrified, have always worked. But in GAMBIT, the aliens’ biggest move in the game just might be impossible to defeat.
When the stakes are high and lives are in the balance, it all comes down to knowing when to risk it all to win the game.
For our Felig-battling couple, Tina and Nate, the fight is far from over. After they learn that the Felig invaders, now under a new more ruthless leadership, have concocted yet another, harsher future for Earth, the pair and their crew jump into action. The lovers, together with their friend, the wealthy society rebel Wiley Devilbiss, and the disgraced, dethroned former Felig leader, Lord Advisor Leltin, will have to forge a peculiar alliance fueled by revenge and gamesmanship to outwit the indefatigable Felig.
The following excerpt picks up where book 4 ended. It also gives a taste of the hectic, unpredictable atmosphere whirling around in Nate and Tina’s house and world.
After a life re-affirming evening with Nate and a sweet reunion with her cat, Tatum, Tina began her morning with a visit to Linda Comstock, the young woman she’d met while they were being held captive by the Felig. Linda, now pregnant by the Felig Lord Advisor Leltin and now a refugee, was taking sanctuary in Tina’s and Nate’s farmhouse. Tina climbed the staircase to Linda’s third floor room. She knocked lightly and waited for about a minute. There was no answer. Not wanting to barge in, in case the woman was using the toilet, Tina knocked louder and waited again. Still no answer. Alarmed now, she burst into the room to find an empty bed.
“Linda? Linda? Are you here?” Tina walked to a nearby closet and peeked in. She even looked out the window to see if Linda was stealing off the property. There was no sign of the young woman. Tina stood still and listened. She heard a weird mix of hitched breathing and muffled speech. She traced it to the bathroom.
“Hello? Hello?” Tina tapped on the door. She rattled the glass doorknob. The sound became louder. She hoped the chick was decent, because Miss Faustina Marie Cain was going to rush in no matter what. “You’ve been warned. I’m coming in.” Tina opened the door to see Linda on the bathroom rug, back braced against an under-sink cabinet, knees bent, feet pushing against a stationary closet across from her. Linda was breathing hard through her mouth, cheeks puffing in and out like Dizzy Gillespie’s. She lifted her distressed face to her hostess.
“Tina, help me please!”
“Oh double hell,” Tina said under her breath.
“Don’t leave me. I’m so afraid!” Linda forced out between gasps. “The baby is coming!”
“Help! Help!” yelled Tina. She grabbed a washcloth and ran it under cold water in the sink. She got down on her knees next to Linda and pressed the wrung-out cloth to the woman’s brow and neck. Time dragged and Tina’s patience waned. “Help! We need help in here!” she yelled again. Addressing Linda, she pleaded, “Please close your legs and hold that kid in while I go see what the holdup is.”
“You gotta be kiddin’!” Linda closed her eyes briefly and clutched Tina’s hand. “Don’t leave me.” At that moment, Spechelle came through the bathroom door buttoning up her shirt.
“It can’t be,” the teen said. “It’s too soon, right?”
“Tell the kid that,” said Tina. “Go get Evie and tell her to bring her bag.” Spechelle stood mesmerized. Tina snapped the fingers of her free hand. “Don’t stand there staring. Get a move on!” Spechelle re-entered Earth’s atmosphere, then bolted to get the nurse. Tina continued to pat Linda’s face.
“Tina, I’ve never had a baby before. Hell, I’ve never been pregnant. I don’t know what’s going on. Am I going to die?” She grabbed Tina’s forearm and moved it away from her face. “Take my baby if I die. Can’t give it to my parents. There’s nobody else.” Linda squeezed Tina’s arm extremely tight through the next wave of pain. “Ow! Son of a bitch!”
“Whoa! I like that arm.” Tina endured the discomfort, then added, “You’re not dying. The only one who may croak is me if Evie doesn’t get her butt up here soon.”
Nate, soaking wet and barely clothed in pajama bottoms, came crashing into the bedroom and hit the bathroom door so hard and fast that the doorknob dinged the drywall behind it pretty good. “What is going on? I heard the yelling. Practically knocked down Spechelle in the hallway. I couldn’t make any sense of what she was trying to say.” He caught his breath and finally took in the scene. “Is she—”
“Seems so.” Tina fanned herself with a free hand. “Oh boy, I’m getting clammy.”
“Are you about to faint?” Nate got down on his knees behind her, poised and ready. Tina offered Linda a weak half smile. “I’m a poor substitute for a midwife. Evie’s coming. She’s got the sheepskin to show that she’s better at this baby stuff than I am. So sorry.” Tina felt the blood leave her head and passed out cold into Nate’s ready grasp.
I am the product of an only child upbringing by a single mom when it just was not done! I was raised in the embrace of her colorful family. A jazz drummer. A trucker. Two WWII vets. A numbers’ runner. An aspiring opera singer. A few gay uncles and aunts. All mixed in with staunchly independent women and men who took no stuff from anyone. We had neighbors who people nowadays would label as people of “questionable repute.” I loved every minute of it. My eyes and ears soaked it up. They all forged me in the fire of their many-faceted hearts. Watch the HBO film “Lackawanna Blues.” It’s the closest you’ll come to my life. I hope I’m doing them proud.
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