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.
I love “Groundhog Day” style time loop romances and it finally occured to me I should write my own! I had to do more advance plotting than I usually do in order to have enough elements for the time loop to repeat and be interesting as the female main character begins to unravel the day she’s living through over and over and works to change the outcome.
And who can resist the idea of an alien “turtle” pet who can leave his shell?
The excerpt – oh, did I mention there’s a big budget futuristic ‘movie’ being filmed on the interstellar cruise ship? Raelyn won a crew contest for a bit part and when she reports to the ‘beach deck’ set, she meets Kev, the main male character:
Three people in a row ignored her before she snagged a fourth person by the sleeve and hung on. “Please, I need to know where to go.” After blurting out her frantic request, she focused a bit more on the man she’d waylaid. He was over six feet tall, more handsome than anyone had a right to be, with sandy blond hair and dressed in what looked at first glance like a flight crew uniform. The logo was the fictional cruise line’s emblem, however, and the officers of Raelyn’s ship didn’t wear their shirts unbuttoned to the navel to show off eight pack abs. Realizing she was staring, she raised her eyes to his face. “Oh, I’m so sorry.”
“No problem.” His voice was deep and the sound curled around her, leaving her wanting to hear him say more. Anything would do, although intimate nothings would be great. Raelyn realized he was staring at her with a grin as she daydreamed yet again. “First time on a set? It can be confusing.” His voice was kindly but amused.
“I—I won a crew contest to do a walk on part today,” she said.
“Didn’t anyone tell you who to report to?” Without waiting for her answer, he took her hand and led her around the frantic activity to a smaller group off to the side. “The AD is your best bet. Assistant Director Pete Hinklin to you.”
Hearing his name, a short, rotund younger man turned with a frown. Stabbing a finger at the man accompanying Raelyn, he said, “Kev? You’re supposed to be in makeup right now, not escorting visitors.”
“She’s a bit player for this afternoon’s scenes.” The actor relinquished her hand, much to Raelyn’s regret. “Pete’ll take care of you. I have to run.”
“Thank you,” Raelyn called out after him.
“And you are?” The AD was scanning a handheld. “Sivala Amson?”
Confused to hear another stewardess’s name, Raelyn shook her head. “No, I’m Raelyn Cantorini. I won the crew contest to be in a scene with Mr. Strongson? I memorized my lines.”
“Good for you.” Pete remained grumpy and was clearly unimpressed by her diligence. He didn’t even look up from his device. “Oh, right here you are. Sivala’s already in makeup. You’re late.”
She bit her tongue, not wanting to argue and still puzzled as to why another crew member was present. No one had said anything about more than one winner of the contest. “Where should I be?”
“Costume first.” The AD took her by the elbow and walked her across the sand to a large tent. Inside the activity was nonstop, with men and women being fitted in uniforms and beach attire. Pete handed her off to someone else. “Get her to makeup pronto,” he said, “And then have them bring her to the set. Strongson isn’t here yet but when he does arrive we can’t keep him waiting.”
“Yes, Mr. Hinklin.” The assistant costumer was all deference. As he bustled away she fired questions at Raelyn. “Size? Measurements?”
Dutifully she supplied the information, although the woman, who didn’t identify herself also ran a handheld scan over her. “Hmm, a truth teller,” the costumer said with a chuckle. “I can tell you’re not in the business.” Quickly plundering a nearby rack of uniform pieces, she gave an armful to Raelyn. “Dressing rooms over there. Keep your own underwear since we aren’t doing a period piece, thank the Lords of Space. The stuff they used to wear in the early days—impossible to get comfortable! There’ll be shoes in the cubicle in various sizes.”
When she was decked out in her new uniform, Raelyn had to chuckle. The colors were on the garish side, pink and vivid lavender, with gold piping on the seams. All the seams. “As if I was an admiral.” The faux logo was perfectly positioned to call attention to her chest and couldn’t be moved. The bodice laced up and enhanced her décolletage while the skimpy jacket pulled at her arms and didn’t do much to hide the cleavage created by the rest of the ‘uniform’.
“I could never do my job in this getup,” she said to the costumer as she emerged from the dressing room. “No offense.”
“None taken. We’re not filming a documentary or a drama. Well, not a serious drama.” The girl laughed. “Spy jinks, I heard Mr. Strongson say once but don’t repeat that.”
Raelyn Cantorini, senior stewardess on the interstellar cruise ship Nebula Zephyr thinks the alien artifact she bought on the last planet the ship visited was just a pretty glass orb…until her pet Eyn knocked the ornament off a table, shattering it and sending her into an infinitely repeating time loop. Stuck reliving the same day over and over, Raelyn has only hours to try to save the ship and everyone on board from dying in a terrible catastrophe. As she tries to solve the mystery of what happens to the ship right before midnight each time the day repeats, Raelyn meets Kev Gordonn, the former Special Forces soldier turned actor and finds herself falling in love with him. Each time the day repeats, she learns more about him while he has no memory of her. Can she persuade him they’ve met before? Will he trust her enough to help stop the Nebula Zephyr’s destruction? And if they do save the ship, will that reset time for Raelyn? This is a lightly edited rerelease of my novella from the Pets in Space 6 anthology. No new material has been added.