I’ve decided to change up these weekly snippets and go through my backlist, sharing the first meeting between the two main characters in each book. I’m going roughly in the order of first publication. It’s always fun for me to revisit the books and I hope it will be for you too! Or if you’ve never happened to read a certain book, maybe I can entice you into giving it a try.
STAR CRUISE STOWAWAY is the first book in my alien empath series. as well as part of the STAR CRUISE series. (They can all be read as a standalones.) It’s actually a novella and is in a volume with several other short stories I wrote in my world of the Sectors.)
I’ve always been fascinated by empaths, ever since I saw an episode of the original Star Trek featuring an empath, and so I enjoyed writing my own stories about them.
The excerpt – the cargo master of the interstellar cruise liner Nebula Zephyr found a stowaway, chained up, with an explosive collar around her neck and stuffed into a cryosleep pod hidden in a cargo container. This is the next day, when he goes to check on her in the ship’s sickbay. She was unconscious during the rescue. Midorri is an alien pet, sort of a cross between a tribble and a red panda. There’s also a ship’s cat…
Holding the flowers clutched like a wrench at his side, he entered the sickbay, ignoring nurse Relba’s widening eyes as she focused on what he carried. “I’m here to see the lady, the one brought in last night,” he said, feeling like an idiot, not knowing her name.
“Sorry, sir, the patient’s not allowed to have visitors—”
“I’m the exception,” he said, interrupting ruthlessly. “Dr. Shane agreed. What room is she in?”
Relba pointed to the corridor on the right. “Room 2. If you can get past the guard.”
He proceeded in the direction she indicated and had no trouble persuading Clint Miltan to admit him to the stowaway’s room, confirming (the head of Security and the Ship’s Doctor) had kept their word and left orders he was allowed to see the patient.
He knocked and entered as the portal slid aside.
Dressed in a plain blue sickbay gown, she reclined against a stack of pillows, with Midorri curled in her lap, making the humming sound he regarded as an alien version of purring.
Suddenly overcome by the awkwardness of the moment, Owen stopped as the door shut behind him. He extended the flowers. “I’m Owen Embersson, the ship’s cargo master. I’m the one who found you last night. I just – I came to see how you’re doing.” With a flash of anger at whoever had imprisoned her originally, he noticed the explosive collar was still around her neck.
She held out her hand, inviting him closer. “The animals said you were one to be trusted. Thank you for saving my life.”
He took her hand, gripping the bouquet in the other.
“I’m Tyrelle,” she said. “Are those for me?”
He handed over the flowers and went to grab the visitor’s chair. As he carried it to the bedside, he watched her hold the flowers to her face, inhaling the fragrance. The flowers were glowing, richly colored spots of light and as he watched, each bloom expanded, the tired petals plumping, taking on a satin sheen, all the brown spots disappearing. The perfume wafted to his nose, intoxicating him. “Wow, how did you do that?”
“The ability is one of my gifts. It’s been so long since I beheld flowers, or anything green,” she said. “You brought me a rare luxury.”
“And you improved upon my pitiful posies a thousand percent.” He grabbed the water pitcher, and she placed the bouquet carefully into the vessel. “I’ll set this here, where you can see it,” he said, placing the arrangement, glowing and gorgeous, on the narrow bedside tray.
“Please, sit, be comfortable,” Tyrelle said, indicating the chair. “I’m grateful for the company, although the animals have been good companions, taking turns amusing me today, telling me about the ship and the people.”
Psychic then, able to talk mind-to-mind with the animals? “I’m probably not allowed to ask you any questions about what’s going on, but I want you to know you can count on me. As a friend, anything you need while you’re with us.” Unable to stop himself, he added, “I’d like to kill whoever mistreated you.” He bit his lip.
“You’re an honorable warrior.” She petted Midorri, smoothing the green fur with her graceful hand.
Star Cruise A Novella: Stowaway with Star Cruise Rescue and Golden Token Short Stories. Please note only the Stowaway novella itself contains an empath story although the other two are set in my Sectors interstellar civilization.
The blurb: In this volume I’ve gathered three stories set in the Sectors which have previously only been available in anthologies (which are no longer on sale), plus a bonus Sectors short holiday story that I originally wrote for my blog.
Star Cruise: Stowaway: A novella of 22K words, previously in the first Pets in Space™ anthology.
Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.