Friday, January 13, 2017

FREE SciFi Romance ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE Veronica Shares an Excerpt

Posted by: Veronica Scott
I've made my award winning science fiction romance Escape From Zulaire free at all major ebook retailers. This best selling novel won a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award and an SFR Galaxy Award!

Here's the story: Andi Markriss hasn’t exactly enjoyed being the houseguest of the planetary high-lord, but her company sent her to represent them at a political wedding. When hotshot Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane barges in on the night of the biggest social event of the summer, Andi isn’t about to offend her high-ranking host on Deverane’s say-so—no matter how sexy he is, or how much he believes they need to leave now.

Deverane was thinking about how to spend his retirement bonus when HQ assigned him one last mission: rescue a civilian woman stranded on a planet on the verge of civil war. Someone has pulled some serious strings to get her plucked out of the hot zone. Deverane’s never met anyone so hard-headed—or so appealing. Suddenly his mission to protect this one woman has become more than just mere orders.

That mission proves more dangerous than he expected when rebel fighters attack the village and raze it to the ground. Deverane escapes with Andi, and on their hazardous journey through the wilderness, Andi finds herself fighting her uncomfortable attraction to the gallant and courageous captain. But Deverane’s not the type to settle down, and running for one’s life doesn’t leave much time to explore a romance.

Then Andi is captured by the rebel fighters, but Deverane has discovered that Zulaire’s so-called civil war is part of a terrifying alien race’s attempt to subjugate the entire Sector. If he pushes on to the capitol Andi will die. Deverane must decide whether to save the woman he loves, or sacrifice her to save Zulaire.

And an excerpt for you:
The Sectors Special Forces captain awaiting Andi in the library stood with his back to the door, hands on his hips, staring at one of Lord Tonkiln’s prized abstract paintings. Well over six feet of hard warrior, he’d rolled his camouflage uniform sleeves up, revealing muscular arms matching the rest of his physique. Andi glimpsed the hint of an intriguing tattoo, a black sword wreathed in comets, on one bicep. His hair was sandy brown, a bit shaggy for military correctness. He tapped the toe of his boot against the expensive mahogany floor. The captain’s whole attitude suggested a man poised for decisive action at a moment’s notice, reinforced by the way he wheeled at the sound of the door opening. 
          “Finally.” His glance at the military chrono on his tanned wrist was an unconscious gesture of annoyance at time forever lost.
           Green eyes in a tanned, ruggedly handsome face. Andi’s knees went a little wobbly for a moment. My particular weakness in a man. Classic square jaw, straight nose, high forehead with a small scar on his cheek.
His eyebrows drew together in a frown. “Miss Markriss?”
          “Why are you here?” Andi snapped out of her fascination with his features, feeling her cheeks grow hot. Wow, was I blatantly staring or what? “Has something happened to Dave Flintmay? The Loxton planetary agent?”
          Flashing very white teeth in that tanned face, he smiled at her, but the too-easy grin didn’t reach his tired eyes. “Don’t you people get the news out here? Comlinks broken?”
          She blinked, trying to follow this unexpected conversation starter. “What?”
Lady Tonkiln received a stack of messages each morning, from either her husband or friends in the capital. Lysanda also had many messages, filled with inconsequential social gossip. Nothing for Andi, but then, everyone knew she was on an extended vacation from the office. The Loxton operation was on its summer hiatus along with most of Zulaire. “Of course we get news. What does that have to do with anything? Captain, what are you doing here?”
          Glancing at Iraku, the officer’s lips tightened as if he bit back some hasty comment. Unabashedly eavesdropping, the Naranti servant remained by the open door. “Thank you, I think the lady and I can manage.”
          Andi stifled a laugh. The gardener’s assistant had been right—the captain’s accent was pretty bad, soft on the consonants and missing the required prefixes. His hypnotraining must have been a rush job.
          Iraku stared at the outworlder, who glared back, jaw clenched, one hand resting on the butt of his blaster.
I never tried outright dismissal on the old dictator. Avoiding him sure doesn’t work. Breaking the silence, Andi tried for a gracious note. “Thanks for escorting me, Iraku. Can you do me a favor and inform Lady Tonkiln I’ve returned to the house, since she was concerned?” Blinking at last, the servant bowed low. He left without another word but drew the door closed behind him in a leisurely fashion calculated to infuriate the impatient captain.
          As Andi watched in disbelief, Deverane crossed to the door. Opening it a few inches, he checked to be sure Iraku hadn’t lingered within earshot, before shutting the door again.
          Offering no explanation to Andi for the cautious maneuver, he gestured toward the overstuffed chairs grouped in front of the fireplace. “Would you like to sit?”
          “No, thank you, I want to know what’s going on.” She took a deep breath, trying to calm her frayed nerves. Is all this mystery necessary?
          “Captain Tom Deverane, Sectors Special Forces.” He walked to the chairs himself. To be polite,  she joined him, shaking his proffered hand before seating herself. “Excuse my dust,” he said. “But I’ve been in the Western Plains and the Abujan mountain range for quite some time now.”
“Why don’t you try telling me something relevant about why you’re here?” Many a slow-moving clerk at the Loxton offices had jumped at that peremptory tone from her.  
          “I forget you’ve been out of the loop.” Sitting down, Deverane leaned forward, putting his hands on his knees and taking a deep breath. “Two days ago I got urgent orders, relayed from Sector Command, diverting me from my primary mission. The new priority was to come five hundred miles out of our way to extract you for a safe return to the capital city.” From the dry tone in his voice, Andi guessed how little he’d appreciated the change. “Now, if you could get your things together, I’d like to be on our way before dark.”
          She blinked. Today? He wants me to leave now? Andi shifted back into the chair’s embrace, crossing her legs. “Get my things—what are you talking about? I’m the guest of Lord Tonkiln’s family, and I’m expected to present a significant gift from Loxton at the reception tonight with due ceremony. I can’t ride off with you on literally a moment’s notice without some compelling reason. Why is your Command issuing orders concerning me anyway?”
          The captain got up in one smooth motion, like a great cat uncurling, paced to the fireplace and back, then half sat on the edge of a sturdy table. I bet he’s a person in constant motion—discussing anything in patient detail doesn’t appear to be his style. Well, I’m not one of his soldiers and I don’t take orders from him, so he’d better explain himself.
          “Miss Markriss—”
          “Call me Andi.” And let’s get this discussion on a less military, more personal level so you stop trying to give me orders.
          The quick, meaningless smile crossed his handsome face again, never reaching his eyes. “Andi. In case you haven’t heard, this entire planet is about to be embroiled in a devastating Clan war.”

Here's the USA Today Happy Ever After Blog recommended trailer for the book: 

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