Saturday, January 13, 2018

Bring It Back(list) DANGER IN THE STARS Excerpt and Sale

Posted by: Veronica Scott
I'm highlighting one of my alien empath novels this week - Danger in the Stars, which is also on sale for $.99!

Here's the blurb:
Miriell, a powerful empathic priestess, has been kidnapped from her own primitive planet along with a number of her people, and sold to the evil Amarotu Combine, largest organized crime syndicate in the Sectors. When she and her handler are sent to use her power to commit an assassination, she must leave behind her own sister as hostage to ensure her compliance. Miriell cannot ask for aid without endangering herself and others.
Despite his best efforts, Combine enforcer Conor Stewart is entranced by Miriell, and helps her evade the worst of brutal treatment from the rest of the mob. But Conor must keep his distance, before the lovely empath learns that he has secrets of his own–secrets that could get them both killed.
The situation becomes dire when Conor and Miriell come to the attention of both the Combine overlords and the deadly Mawreg, aliens who threaten the Sectors. Can she save herself and the Mawreg’s next victims? And will Conor help her, or remain loyal to his evil bosses?
And the excerpt - through a fluke, Miriell, the captive empath, has a fleeting chance to escape the interstellar crime mob but things don;t go as she hopes:
When she reached the lower floors of the hotel, other people were in the tube, apparently prevented somehow from ascending to the penthouse but able to use the gravlift unhindered below a certain level. For the most part, the other guests ignored her, although excitement and terror made her clumsy, and she bumped into several. She exited at the lobby along with a group of excitedly chattering tourists, human and nonhuman sentients, all babbling about the temple ruins on their itinerary for the day’s trip. Scurrying in their wake through the crowded entrance hall, she hoped a casual observer would think her part of the group.

The outer doors opened at her approach, and a burst of adrenaline propelled her onto the sidewalk in a rush, jostling a couple who’d paused to check their AI’s. Murmuring an apology, she stepped away. Which way? What now? Frantic, she set off to the left toward what appeared to be a main street with heavy groundcar traffic.  The necklace bobbed around her neck as she ran. No one had ever told her what the range of the controller was but the more distance she put between herself and Jareck, the more hopeful she felt. And the police the Amarotu were always talking about with loathing would be able to remove it, wouldn’t they?

Reaching the thoroughfare, Miriell stopped in confusion. There were so many people and so many vehicles. How did one find these police?

“Excuse me—” She tried to stop one of the hurrying citizens, but he shrugged her off and shouldered past, as did the next person.

Changing tactics, Miriell approached a woman waiting with two small children to cross the street. “How do I find the police?”

“Now, darling, no need for involving the cops. The authorities have better things to do.” The deep voice swirled around her as Conor hauled her in, not ungently, and held her close in a parody of affectionate care.  His arms were like steel around her, his muscles unyielding. “I told you, the hotel will be able to take care of the problem.”

Pushing against him in frustration, Miriell swore at Conor in her own language. To be so close to escaping…

Mouth open, the woman was staring at them. As her children tugged at her hands, she said directly to Miriell, “Are you all right?”

“My wife’s fine,” Conor answered smoothly. “Aren’t you, honey? We just arrived today. She gets disoriented a bit by cryo sleep.  Waking dreams for the first day or so. You know how it is, I’m sure. I’ll get her back to the hotel, get some nice hot tea into her, and she’ll be herself again, good as ever. Thanks for your concern.”

Conor’s grip was now crushing her elbow. Miriell nodded, fighting back tears. “I’m sorry to have bothered you. I hope I didn’t frighten the children.”

Uncertain, hesitant, the woman scooped up her smaller child, tightened her grip on the other and sprinted across the street as the traffic paused in obedience to signals Miriell didn’t see.

“Not your smartest move,” Conor said in a low voice as he pulled Miriell away, retreating toward the hotel. “We have to get you back to the room before Opherra learns you escaped. Her punishments tend to be swift and harsh. Fortunately, she’s addicted to long baths, so we have a window of opportunity.”

“Please—” She knew there was no mercy to be had from an Amarotu soldier, but it was heartbreaking to come so close to escaping the nightmare her life had become. She sagged in his hold as her knees weakened. “I’m nothing to you. Let me go, I beg you.”

He shook his head, gripping her arm more tightly as he pulled her along. “You’re part of my boss’s operation. It’s my job to secure her assets and watch her back. Can’t have you picked up by the police. When I realized you were in the lobby by yourself, I called the room and told Jareck to let me handle it. He won’t trigger the necklace, don’t worry. But if you aren’t under his control by the time Opherra becomes aware of the breach, she’ll order your death, likely as not.”  He glanced at her. “Haven’t you ever heard where there’s life, there’s hope? My advice is live to fight another day.”

“Not for such as me. Hope fled a long time ago.” She shook her head, angrily brushing at her tears with her free hand. Belatedly, she tried to summon her power, to break free of this man and run, but she was too upset to find the necessary inner calm, and only flickers answered her call. Conor marched her through the lobby and into the gravlift, intimidating an elderly couple who tried to enter when he did. He took her aloft so rapidly that Miriell had a hard time breathing.
“By the way, for future reference, many of the local police are on the Amarotu payroll.” As they entered the hall and headed toward the room, he added in a low voice, “I’ll swear you didn’t talk to anyone. Otherwise, you’re on your own.”

Buy Links:
Amazon      iBooks    Kobo     Barnes & Noble
This book is one of several standalone titles in my alien empath series (but the only one on sale).

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