The post below originally appeared on Pauline B. Jones' blog:
Aydarr (A Badari Warriors Scifi Romance Novel), Sectors New Allies Series Book 1. This is the first book in a new series I’m launching, connected to my scifi world of the Sectors, but with the action taking place elsewhere. I’m excited about writing an actual series with a specific overarching plotline, although of course each individual book has a satisfying Happy for Now ending for the hero and heroine. No cliffhangers! One of the reasons I wrote this book is that I’ve wanted to tackle an actual series for a while now, where each novel has a different couple front and center in the story, but the other characters will be showing up in the story too!
My Sectors SF Romance series is more of a connected series, all being set in the Sectors and with some characters mentioned in more than one book, plus a few direct sequels. But for this New Allies series, I had to come up with a longer running story arc that could stretch over 3 to 5 books before the conflict is resolved, but not do too much detailed plotting, because my Muse balks at telling a story where I’ve already figured out too much in advance. I lose the desire to write it all down then. It’s a total no go.
I’ve long been a fan of the Lora Leigh Breeds series and the Laurann Dohner New Species series, both centering around genetically engineered soldiers. I can’t ever get enough of those stories! So I decided to challenge myself to write my own novels with genetically enhanced warriors as the heroes (for the most part – there are a few Sectors Special Forces guys appearing in the books already and I think Gabe may get his own book soon. He’d demanding one!). The heroines in the first two books are Sectors women, Jill and her sister Megan respectively.
And I’ve thrown in a few other elements of my own brand of scifi romance along the way…
I thought the concept of these warriors created by alien scientists lent itself to a series arc I could handle and write some exciting stories for. I also see a lot of potential for ‘sidequels’ about other characters, that might not advance the main series arc, but which would be fun to tell. It’s going to depend if the readers like the books or not!
There are so many scifi romance novels these days with unusual and strong names that it was a fun challenge to pick a good one for my warriors. ‘Badari’ is sort of an Easter egg, because on our planet it refers to an agricultural society in Upper Egypt around 5000 BCE. So it’s a wink to my love of ancient Egypt – but let me hasten to add the New Allies books themselves have nothing to do with Earth or Egypt or ancient cultures here. I just liked the sound of the syllables and the private connection to things Egyptian was a bonus smile for me. My Badari did not come from ancient Egypt.
One other influence on me when writing Aydarr was the overall feel of the 2010 movie “Predators,” where a group of tough humans wake up in an alien jungle and have to fight to survive, while trying to figure out how to get home to Earth.
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?
The excerpt – Jill has been rescued from a dire situation by Aydarr and the Badari. In this snippet, she’s trying to figure out where she is and who they are:
“Stay and talk? I have so many questions.”
“And I may not have answers.” His grin was wide and cheerful.
“Where are we?” Jill glanced around. “Because this isn’t the world where I went to sleep a few days ago.”
He leaned against the cave wall. “We have no name for this planet.”
Odd, if they live here. “You’re Aydarr, right?”
“Of the Badari. I lead this pack.”
“Pack?” An odd word to choose. She wanted much more explanation than he was providing.
He shook his head. “You have much to learn and many of the facts will be highly unpleasant to you, I fear. Upsetting. The healer will give me a hard time if I overtax your mind so soon with too many details of our situation.”
Annoyed, she touched the smooth black bracelet on his arm, noticing they all wore one. Tapping her fingers on the matching band she wore, she asked, “Did you put this on me?”
He shook his head. “The Khagrish placed it there, as they did on all of us.”
“Which tells me exactly nothing.” She took a deep breath. Venting her fear and frustration on this man wasn’t going to help the situation. “I’m grateful for you rescuing me from the bug-eyed thing in the pit and nursing me through the poison venom attack. Can we start the conversation over? The last thing I remember before I had to sprint blindly across the grasslands in a thunder storm and fell in a pit, is going to sleep in my own bed on Amarcae 7. After which I woke up here in the rain. Do you know how I got here? Did—did you kidnap me?”
“My pack and I weren’t deployed on your world. Others may have been—I have no way to know.”
The military term gave her pause. Two of the men approached, with servings of meat and fruit on large, leathery leaves, and one carried another gourd of water.
“These are my enforcers, Reede and Mateer,” he said, as he accepted the food and handed her the water.
Mateer, a burly guy with a friendly expression, was the man who’d carried her out of the pit. “You did well, fighting the vermore the other day.”
“Thanks for coming to help—all of you. I’m grateful.” She glanced from one to the other, trying to keep her face pleasant despite the fact she was itching for real answers.
Aydarr nodded in acknowledgment of her thanks as he chewed a hunk of the meat. He washed it down with a swig of the water then said, “We haven’t decided yet what you are, Jill of Amarcae, but I pledge to ensure your safety to the full extent of my ability to do so. If anything happens to me, my enforcers will watch out for you. Unless you’re the cause of danger to us.”
Jill inferred from their expressions that the two men weren’t entirely on board with their boss’s decision. “What I am? I’m a human woman, obviously, a resident of the Sectors. Why would I be dangerous to you?”
“You could be an innocent trapped in this situation as we are, or you could be a trick of some kind, or worse. The Khagrish never take any action without a hidden purpose and placing you here in the Preserve, in my territory, must carry a meaning.” Mateer and Reede walked away in response to a signal from Aydarr. “Time will tell, but I wasn’t going to leave you to die. The Badari have honor, despite what the Khagrish believe.”
Plucking the water gourd from the spot where he’d set it, she took a cautious drink then a longer swallow, deciding what to ask next. “And who are the other men with us here?”
“Soldiers. And newly promoted cadets.”
The two clearly younger men at the fringes of the cave had been watching her with open curiosity but now lowered their eyes.
Jill did a double take as claws materialized at the tips of Aydarr’s fingers, and he shredded the cooked meat for her, as if he was wielding knives. Then the talons were gone as if nothing had happened, and he handed her the plate leaf.
She swallowed. “How did you do that?”
He shrugged as he bit off a chunk of his own meal. “I’m not prepared to explain myself to you. Forgive me for being rude, however. Not offering to share the meat earlier.”
OK. A bit affronted, Jill scooted further away with her plate and ate a few bites of the savory meat. She set the empty leaf on the sandy floor beside the pile of sweet smelling grasses. “Am I free to go then?”
Aydarr eyed her. “Why would you wish to venture into the Preserve unarmed and unaware of the dangers here? After what you just went through?”
“Merely testing the limits of your hospitality.”
“I would have to risk my men to save you again. No. You’re in my territory, I’ve declared you mine, you will stay safe with the pack.”