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.
DANGER IN THE STARS is the second one in my alien empath series and features the sister of the female main character in STAR CRUISE STOWAWAY, although they can be read as standalone books.
I’m really proud of this book, which has a lot of romantic suspense elements, secrets and surprises. It’s one of my favorites! When the book opens the empath is a prisoner of the interstellar mob, forced to use her powers for their goals. The only man who might be able to help her is the mob enforcer but how can she trust him?
With painful effort, she straightened her spine and stepped away, brushing one hand down her plain gray tunic in a vain attempt to smooth out the wrinkles. “I can walk.”
“You don’t look like it.” As their new companion voiced his opinion, she realized he was no one she’d ever met before. Tall, with broad shoulders and well-defined muscles, he had black hair and gray eyes that were almost silver. She was mesmerized by his eyes. Miriell wished she dared to engage her gifts, get a sense of this person, maybe figure out why he made her feel safe, when clearly, she was anything but.
Jareck stopped to pick up his kit bag, never releasing his hold on her. “Conor’s right, we’ve got to be going. You’re ready to behave, right?”
Submissively, she nodded, bottling up her anger and hatred. Someday I’ll get my chance and you will die. The implacable secret vow was the only thing keeping her going. There would be revenge, not only for herself, but also for all the others. Hands at her sides, head bowed, she said, “As you wish, sir.”
“How do you ensure she won’t make a break for it when we walk outside, won’t scream for help?” Conor at least seemed skeptical of her meek compliance.
Jareck pulled a slim black AI case from his pocket and waved the device under her nose. Miriell fought not to flinch. He grabbed the necklace at her throat, a thick collar of gold set with a few random faux gems. “We taught them to behave right from the start. See this? It’s explosive.”
The other man moved so fast Miriell could only blink. He snatched the AI from Jareck’s hand and shoved the skinny man against the wall. “You’re planning to blow this woman up? And us with her?”
Pulling at Conor’s arm to no avail, Jareck choked. “No, it’s a directed charge, sophisticated, kills her and localizes the effects. A bit messy, but not like you’re thinking. I swear.”
Conor frowned at the device in his hand and then at Miriell, who struggled to remain calm, to push away the memories of when the Amarotu thugs who kept her and her people captive demonstrated the way the collar worked, selecting a man at random from their group and ruthlessly killing him as Jareck was describing.
Conor released Jareck, stepped away and tossed the AI back to him. “A bit overly dramatic and barbaric, don’t you think?”
“Nah, these people are savages. Didn’t even know they lived on a planet going around a sun when the Shemdylann slavers captured them. The Tulavarrans understand brute force, for all they’ve got a touch of psy power.” Coughing, Jareck came back to her. “And she knows damn well if she misbehaves, we’ll kill a few of her friends too. The deadly consequences in store keep them in line.”
Conor stared at her. She felt his gaze as if it was a physical force. “I’ll take your word for it. All I care about is you and your performer, as you call her, getting the job done for us the way the boss wants.” Brushing his hands as if to say he was done with them and their problems, he walked to the door.
Jareck rushed to grab her, towing her after the other man. “Oh, she’ll get the job done all right. These people are amazingly effective.”
Danger in the Stars
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?