The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes back author Veronica Scott as a guest blogger to talk about her newest release, GABE.
Take it away Veronica!
A Peak at the next BADARI WARRIORS Novel: GABE By Veronica Scott
Thanks for having me as a guest! Always thrilled to have a chance to talk about how things are going with the writing and the books!
I had a special thrill recently when AYDARR, book one of the series, won the I Heart Indie contest in the SF&F romance category.
GABE is the fifth book of the series, although – why did I do such a confusing thing?! – TIMTUR actually came out in mid-October under the In the Stars Romance label and is book 2.5 of the entire line of Badari adventures. His story fell between the events in MATEER and JADRIAN on the series timeline. So if you missed the story of how Timtur the healer and Lily the human teacher became mates, please do go pick that title up from your favorite ebook seller.
But getting back to Gabe, he’s a human, kind of devil-may-care ex-military guy and a supporting character since book one of the series. I have a special fondness for him and I always knew I’d give him his own book. There’s a special twist to the story, relating to who his mate turns out to be. The reveal comes pretty early in the book but SPOILER alert:
SPOILER: Keshara, the heroine, isn’t human. She’s a Badari woman!
The very fact that everyone has been so adamant all along in the series that there are no Badari females, that the evil alien scientists never created any, has been tantalizing to me as the author. I had to ensure there ARE Badari women just to confound everyone on the planet. But they needed a good solid backstory of how they came to be and how Gabe of all people meets them. I had great fun writing this book and I hope the readers will enjoy seeing the events unfold.
Now enjoy this excerpt of GABE!
Setting: Keshara is on the run, escaping from her home, and sees Gabe’s flyer crash. She debates whether to go investigate…
Deciding not to risk herself in the storm for mere curiosity’s sake, she prepared to return to the cozy den when a flash of lightning illuminated the sky and she caught sight of a new problem. A man was falling, clinging to a strange harness. He seemed to be fighting whatever was slowing his fall, and it was clear to Keshara he was descending much too fast.
Heart pounding, hand on the hilt of her knife, she watched him attempt to blunt the shock of hitting the ground by allowing his body to go limp. As he collided hard with the muddy, rock strewn ground near her den, she winced in unwilling sympathy. Through the driving rain she watched him, but he made no attempt to rise. After a minute, she heard an exclamation of pain and a few words with the force of a curse.
Enemy or not, Keshara didn’t have the heart to leave the poor man to die in the cold rain. She could at least go check out the situation, see if he had any chance to survive his amazing fall.
Adjusting her rain cape, knife at the ready, she crawled from the tunnel, rose to her feet and ran to where the man lay. Cringing as thunder boomed overhead, she prayed the lightning would hold off. The man lay on his back, one arm flung over his eyes and, as she drew close, she froze in astonishment.
He had no large crest of red and yellow hair and his skin tones were pale. He wasn’t Khagrish.
He was of some species unknown to her, similar to her own perhaps.
Groaning, he attempted to sit up but cut the move short with a jerk as he realized she was nearby. He fumbled at his hip as if searching for a weapon that was no longer there, lost in the turbulent fall perhaps. Then he spoke in a variation on her own language, the secret tongue the Director was unaware the sisters all knew. His accent was odd, some of the words made no sense, but the general meaning was clear.
“Well, you’re the last thing I was expecting.” He managed a lopsided grin despite obvious injuries, blood welling from a bad cut on one thigh and another on his head. He swiped moisture from his face. “Can we get out of the rain before we do introductions?”
Tongue tied, she stared at him. His face was undeniably handsome, although set right now in lines of pain, radiating from his eyes and lips. He was probably the same height as she was, well over six feet, and since his odd uniform was plastered to his body by the rain, Keshara could tell he was solidly built, with the muscles and sinews of one who was a deadly fighter. And what the wet fabric outlined between his legs was impressive as well. Her primary knowledge of males was gleaned from study modules, and observing the few Khagrish men left at the Retreat. This man put them to shame with his physique.
Thunder crashed again and lightning stabbed a tree at the far end of the meadow, throwing massive sparks high into the air and breaking her concentration. “We’d better get inside,” she said in her own tongue since he obviously understood the language. Reflecting on his aborted search for a weapon, she showed him the knife. “I’ll help you, but don’t think me easy meat for your taking.”
“Aww, seven hells, lady, if you’re what I think you are, you have better weapons than that.” His smile, although strained, was warming. “Do you have a shelter?”
Gabe Carter, hotshot pilot and ex-Special Forces soldier, is far from his home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments. Shot down by the enemy over desolate territory far from his Badari allies and gravely injured, Gabe’s only hope is a mysterious woman on the run herself.
Keshara has to decide whether to abandon the human to die of his injuries on a windswept mountain top or give up her own quest for freedom and take him to a place he can be helped. The undeniable spark between them complicates matters.
His attraction to her is off the charts but when she betrays him to the Khagrish enemy, Gabe doesn’t know what to believe. Trapped inside an alien lab bursting with mysteries and lies, his only hope may be to trust her…again.
Because the renegade alien scientist running her own private experiments wants to use him to accomplish her goals and perpetuate the evil, no matter what she has to do to ensure his compliance. Keshara’s life hangs in the balance and Gabe has to make a choice.
About Veronica Scott
USA Today Best Selling Author, as well as the “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Veronica Scott as a guest blogger to talk about her new book, Aydarr.
Take it away Veronica!
AYDARR (A BADARI WARRIORS SCIFI ROMANCE NOVEL): SECTORS NEW ALLIES SERIES BOOK 1 By Veronica Scott
Thanks Patty for having me as a guest so early in the New Year and giving me a chance to talk about my new venture into writing an actual series!
In mid-2017, I decided I really needed to try my hand at a series with an overarching plot arc that had to be resolved over the course of the books, versus ‘just’ telling standalone stories set in my interstellar Sectors civilization. The Sectors novels all fit within the same world building but I’m not really trying to resolve the bigger intergalactic issues in each book. There I’m focusing on one hero and heroine and their unique challenges wherever they may be. (I’ll still be writing Sectors novels too though because I have so many stories to tell.)
So then I had to ponder what might make an interesting series for the readers and I know I’ve always been fascinated by genetically engineered warriors, like Lora Leigh’s Breeds or Laurann Dohner’s New Species. I can never get enough of those books! I started thinking what if the alien enemies of the Sectors had created a race of such soldiers, who I named the Badari– how would these warriors gain their freedom? And to up the stakes, what if these mad alien scientists also kidnapped an entire Sectors colony of humans to experiment on as well?
Oh so many plot ideas came to me (always a good sign for an author)! And I could pretty easily see a 3 to 5 book plot arc involving the human colonists and their natural desire to escape and get back to the Sectors, while partnering with the Badari to take down their mutual captors. I can also see associated, standalone books later, if the readers want to have more Badari adventures. I had so much fun writing this first book, Aydarr, and the reader response has been very gratifying. I have the second book, Mateer, at the editor now and I’ve just started working on book three, which – breaking news – is entitled Darik.
As a special treat, below is an Excerpt from Ayadarr
Setting: Jill has just awakened and is trying to find shelter from the storm:
The ground gave way under her feet. She teetered on the edge of the sinkhole or pit, but her precarious state of vertigo betrayed her. Screaming, she half slid, half fell into the deep hole, debris raining down with her.
Scrabbling at roots embedded in the wall as she fell, the flimsy vegetation snapping off in her hands, Jill managed to partially break her fall. Landing in a substantial mud puddle, she rose to her feet, staring upward, realizing there was no easy way to climb from the pit. At least the rain was tapering off.
A rumbling sound like an engine behind her made her pivot, to find two huge, faceted glowing eyes staring at her from a tunnel opening into the hole. A giant body lurked in the gloom. The creature blinked and emitted the sound again. Jill retreated one step at a time to the opposite wall of the pit and snatched a loose rock from the small debris pile at her feet. Whitened bones were mixed in with the rocks on the pit floor next to the rainwater puddle. She shuddered and gripped her rock hard enough to make her hand sting.
The creature watched her and moved forward a bit from the tunnel, the front segment of its body sinking onto the ground, while the rest remained in the tunnel. The segmented body expanded like a child’s toy as the predator closed the space between them. Opening an outsize mouth, revealing a yellow, forked tongue, the animal hissed and reared as if preparing to charge at her.
Jill shouted defiance in a combination of rage and fear, and threw the rock hard, striking one glowing eye in the center, shattering the facets. She dodged as the predator made a high pitched sound like an exploding generator and lunged toward where she’d been. As she scrambled in the slick muddy water at the bottom of the trap, she searched for another rock, finding only small ones. She gathered a handful of them as better than nothing and spun around as the half-blind animal tried to locate her.
With a hoarse yell, a man jumped into the pit from above and landed between her and the predator. He didn’t seem to have a weapon but, as the lightning flashed, briefly illuminating the scene in stark white light, Jill gaped. Were those talons? He glanced over his shoulder at her briefly as if to see how she was doing then made a dash at the animal, slashing its neck before dancing away.
Jill moved along the pit wall as the man and the beast fought. Mud dripped from the sloping side of the hole. Resting her palm on the damp dirt, she felt vibrations. There’s another one tunneling towards us. No matter how brave and strong this guy was, he couldn’t defeat two of the animals. Frantically, she searched for more rocks, trying to pry a likely candidate out of the wall with her fingernails. I have to help.
“Incoming! There’s another one about to pop out of the wall,” she yelled. Hefting the rock she’d dug from the muck, she took a few steps forward, waited for the right moment and threw the stone at the first beast’s remaining eye, striking a glancing blow on the brow ridge above the glowing orb. The warrior took advantage of the animal’s distraction to open more gaping wounds along its upper body with the lethal claws he bore.
Something in the rapidly rising water brushed against her leg. She jumped sideways, but not fast enough. As the unseen predator made a stinging bite on her calf, Jill nearly toppled over. Unable to see below the surface of the roiling water, she hurled her handful of rocks a foot or so away from her body, hoping to drive away this new menace.
Before she could find more rocks to use as weapons, another man lowered himself into the pit on a rope, reaching for her and speaking urgently in Basic as he gestured. “He can’t fight them off forever – we need to get out of here. More beasts will arrive soon, attracted by the vibrations signaling prey.”
Figuring whatever might happen later, getting out of the trap was the best plan in the short term, she stepped closer. The newcomer grabbed her by the waist, and unseen comrades above hauled the two of them out of the hole at a surprising speed. Her second rescuer handed her off to another man and hastened back into the pit.
She sank to the wet grass, shaking in reaction and feeling the pain now from her cut foot, the mysterious bite, and the effects of the fall. With a fresh rush of fear, she glanced at the strange men surrounding her. Most were ignoring her, facing away as if watching for an attack, although all of them were oddly weaponless. She’d expected to see spears and knives at least. Then again…Had the one who’d jumped into the pit really had claws?
One man stood next to her, as if appointed as her personal guard.
A final animalistic shriek rose from the depths of the pit then the two individuals who’d come to her rescue climbed out.
The one who’d jumped in to help her first came to her side, picking her up without a word and took off to the south at a dead run, the others following them.
“Nice shot with that rock, by the way,” her captor said.
Ayadarr is available at: Amazon | B&N | Google | Kobo | iBooks
Jill Garrison, a maintenance tech at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown stranded in the middle of a forest on an unknown world. There’s no time to think as she’s stalked by carnivorous predators and rescued by genetically engineered warriors calling themselves the Badari. Turns out they and she, along with her whole colony, are now prisoners of the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.
Aydarr, the Badari alpha, isn’t sure he can trust Jill but his attraction to her is undeniable. He impulsively claims her as his mate to prevent her death at the hands of the Khagrish.
Can he continue to protect her from the experiments already underway? Will his claiming her put his pack in jeopardy from their alien masters?
As Jill searches for a way to rescue her fellow humans and get them all to safety, she finds herself falling for Aydarr, despite the secrets he’s keeping. She has a few of her own.
The situation becomes dire when Aydarr and his pack are sent offplanet on a mission, leaving Jill unprotected, prey for the senior scientist. Can she escape the experiments he has in mind for her? Will she be able to thwart the Khagrish plans and liberate humans and Badari alike? How will she and Aydarr reunite?
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl presents this excerpt Aurora Springer’s latest release is GRAND MASTER’S GAME.
Spin across the galaxy as Violet and her Grand Master hunt their enemies.
Cracks in the portal web threaten galactic civilization, and suspicions fall on the mysterious Grand Masters with their immense psychic powers. Once, there were twelve Grand Masters, humans and aliens, on the Council. Now there are eleven. One was killed when the young pawn, Violet, rescued her Grand Master, Athanor, from the Red Queen’s dungeon. The Red Queen fled the fight and now she lurks out of sight, regenerating her energies.
Athanor devises a risky plan to expose his enemies on the Council and force the Red Queen into the open. His strategy will employ Violet’s empathic skills as his secret weapon. Meanwhile, she wrestles with her erratic talents and doubts about their unequal partnership. In their search for revenge, they contend with the portal crisis, psychic traps and hostile aliens. In the inevitable battle of Grand Masters, Violet and Athanor each will face their worst nightmares. What is the sacrifice for victory?
Excerpt from Grand Master’s Game
The Professor’s office was large, furnished with a desk, side table, couch and several chairs. Leather-bound books filled the shelves on one wall, while a landscape on the opposite wall attracted Violet’s interest.
Phineas stood up politely when they entered, and Violet hid her amusement at the contrast between the two men. Even disguised and shielded, Athanor exuded an air of authority tinged with menace, while the Professor was a bright-eyed academic brimming with curiosity. Phineas straightened and stared at his visitors. Usually, he was the authority in his office. He was both disgruntled and curious about the grim man examining his books. He noticed Violet gazing at the picture, and waved a hand at the landscape, saying, “It is a scene from my home planet of Phylox alpha.”
Violet was admiring the picture, while Athanor ran his finger over the spines of the books to read their titles, when they heard quick footsteps in the corridor.
Tessa stepped into the office and cried in her nervous high-pitched voice, “Oh, Phineas, I didn’t realize you had visitors.” Her beautiful face brightened on recognizing her friend, Violet, and Tessa ran to hug her.
Athanor frowned at the interruption and the door slammed shut, leaving an unnatural silence.
Tessa stared intently at his saturnine face, which radiated confident pride despite his disguise. Her eyes widened in shocked insight and she yelped, “Violet, he’s your Grand Master!”
They all stared at Athanor. His figure appeared to grow taller and darker. The room filled with psi pressure and blue rays flared from his unveiled eyes. Simultaneously, the clicks from the box sped up until their volume reached a shattering crescendo. Athanor’s gaze flicked to the box and the clicks halted abruptly.
Tessa gasped and clutched at her chest.
Violet called, “Stop! Mute your power or Tessa will faint!” The psi pressure lessened and his eyes dimmed to a faint blue glow.
The Professor paled beneath his tan. Tessa squeaked and fled to the comforting arms of her fiancé.
“It is all right, Tessa,” Phineas said in a shaky voice. “He does not mean to harm us.”
“You’d be dead!” The Grand Master’s mental snarl reached Violet, and she restrained the urge to give him a mental kick. In her opinion, a friendly approach would serve him better. The two people trembling behind the desk were not the enemies he wished to crush in a blast of power.
The Grand Master pointed a finger at the metal box on the desk and demanded, “What is the purpose of that noisy contraption?”
Phineas gulped, “It’s my invention. An instrument for detecting psychic power.” He patted the shiny top of the box. “Did you break it?”
“You are fortunate. I merely located the off switch,” Athanor said. The blue beams from his eyes played over the box.
“How could you touch the switch from the other side of the office?” Tessa’s voice was shrill.
The Professor gulped again and muttered, “My dear Tessa, he is a Grand Master.”
“Just so. I suggest you keep your detector well away from Council Hall.” The room vibrated with the ominous undertone.
Violet giggled. She caught Athanor’s blue gaze and sent, “Show off!”
He tossed her an image of the box exploding on exposure to the full power of twelve Grand Masters.
Aurora Springer is a scientist morphing into a novelist. She has a PhD in molecular biophysics and discovers science facts in her day job. She has invented adventures in weird worlds for as long as she can remember. In 2014, Aurora achieved her life-long ambition to publish her stories. Her works are character-driven romances set in weird worlds described with a sprinkle of humor. Some of the stories were composed thirty years ago. She was born in the UK and lives in Atlanta with her husband, a dog and two cats to sit on the keyboard. Her hobbies, besides reading and writing, include outdoor activities like gardening, watching wildlife, hiking and canoeing.
Aurora has published science fiction romances in two series, two novellas and short stories. Her first series, Atrapako on Eden, describes the interactions of humans on the terraformed planet of Eden with scaled aliens from the hostile planet of Vkani. She has published two books in this series: The Lady is Blue and Dragons of Vkani. Her second series is Grand Master’s Trilogy. Book 1, Grand Master’s Pawn, and Book 2, Grand Master’s Game, are published. Her short story, Gifts of Jangalore, is set in the Grand Masters’ Universe. Her standalone novellas are: A Tale of Two Colonies and Captured by the Hawk.
It is my honor to present an excerpt from the novel GRAND MASTER’S PAWN by Aurora Springer, which is being released in 4 parts.
She flipped her laser on low beam to illuminate the cave. Two large golden eyes gleamed only a few paces in front of her. As her sight adjusted to the dim light, she perceived the eyes were set on a long narrow head. The head swung from side to side in a mesmerizing motion.
Violet blinked, and the rest of the large animal became clear. His bulky body loomed above her head. He had four legs, and a long thin tail curled around his clawed feet. The beast shifted position uneasily. A great leathery wing lifted on one side, while his other wing drooped at an unnatural angle. Ythris was a dragon.
The dragon swung his great head to peer at her, perplexed by her lack of fear. Violet was fascinated. At last, she stood next to one of the fabled dragon lords of Sythos. A fleeting nudge at her collar marked the Grand Master’s interest.
“Your wing is injured,” she said, reaching out her hand in sympathy.
His head recoiled and Ythris hissed in distaste, “You are a Vron, an ugly human!”
“Yes, I am a human. I have permission to venture onto your lands,” Violet said firmly, refusing to be overawed by the huge dragon. “Will you permit me to examine your broken wing, Ythris?”
The dragon’s luminous eyes blinked, and his head curled round to stare at the unusable wing, “I have little choice. No one else has replied to my calls for help.” His head swiveled until his long nose almost touched her face. Violet noted the curved white fangs protruding from his jaws and the flat black scales over his narrow face. He was deadly, yet she did not fear him.
“I am pleased to meet a dragon lord,” she said, emoting reassurance.
Ythris placed his clawed forelimb on her shoulder, and she stood motionless, feeling the sharp claw tips prick her skin even through the insulated suit. “You do not fear a dragon lord?” he said, emitting intense curiosity.
Violet shook her head, “No, you’re hurt and need my help. Why should I fear you?”
“Many people fear Ythris the Black!” the dragon hissed, and swished his tail from side to side to demonstrate his ferocity.
A thousand years in the future, instant travel via portals links the civilized planets. Now, portals fail at random and wars disturb the outer planets. Do the powerful Grand Masters conspire to disrupt galactic civilization? Drink tea with the White Mother Tingu, soar through the skies with dragon lord Ythris, and slip through a portal to explore another planet. Follow the adventures of Violet Hunter as she explores unknown planets, while pursuing the truth about the mysterious Grand Masters.
Violet Hunter seems an ordinary student, graduating with a master’s degree in xenobiology from the Terran Space Academy. In secret, she is a trained empath, and the unwitting catalyst of her father’s prophesy. One Grand Master took the risk and selected the girl with the star mark on her forehead. He gets more than he expected. Violet is an impudent and disobedient pawn, but her secret talents lead to successful missions. She gains new powers, strange allies and snatches clues to the identity of the Grand Masters. Violet is hurled into explosive conflicts with her adversaries, while the galaxy flies toward chaos. Will she survive the confrontation?
Parts 1 – 3 of Grand Master’s Pawn are now available from Amazon, with part 4 coming soon.
About the author:
After a career in science, Aurora achieved her life-long ambition to publish novels. Her published works include science fiction and fantasy with romance and a sprinkle of humor. Aurora was born in the UK and now lives in Atlanta with her husband, a dog and two cats, who are always sitting on her laptop. Aurora’s hobbies, besides reading and writing, include outdoor activities like watching wildlife, hiking and canoeing.
Emery put his mug down. “Okay, so what now? We are gonna go get her out of there, right?”
Cupping his drink in his hands, Benedict considered the situation. Just the thought of Grace at Hammel, subjected to their horrific tests, made his blood run cold. Emery was right- they had to get her out. But that meant going in there himself, and he wasn’t sure he could. It wasn’t what they’d done to him, but what they’d made him do to others. He’d killed someone. Her name had been Eloise Suarez, and he’d burnt out her mind. And she was who he remembered killing–there was a good chance that there were others he couldn’t.
That he didn’t want to remember.
Shaking his head, he spoke in a low voice. “I can’t go into Hammel.”
Emery sat straighter. “What do you mean, can’t? You did it before.”
“And look where that got us!” Benedict took a breath and raked a hand through his hair. “I want Grace back. But if they have her, then they’ll be expecting a rescue attempt. They have a suppression field that dampens abilities. Not even I’m strong enough to counteract it. The only person who’s been able to manage that is Grace.”
“And she’s in a tank,” Charity said.
The thought made Benedict ill. “Yes.”
“We have to do something,” Emery stated.
“Don’t you think I know that? I know what they’ll do to her, what they’re probably already doing. Do you imagine I’d be sitting here if I’d any idea of how to get her out?” Benedict glared at the other man, frustration mingling with guilt. He wanted to act, but so had Grace and look where that had gotten her. “I’m no coward, Emery. But Hammel turned me into a weapon and I will not allow them to do so again. You know what they made me do. Now consider that used against you or Charity.”
With Grace held at Hammel, it’s down to her lover Benedict Thomas and the other “abnormals” he and Grace rescued to return the favour. Yet going back to the institute holds a special danger for Benedict – it was there that his powers were used to “train” others… and to kill those who didn’t make the grade.
Facing the nightmare of his past is one thing, but there is another that worries him even more: that he is playing right into the hands of the enemy.
You can purchase the story from the following retail outlets:
Jane Austen enchanted us with Elizabeth and Jane’s story in Pride and Prejudice,
Now Lydia Bennet shocks and intrigues us in Untamed and Unabashed.
Elizabeth Bennet told her story in Pride and Prejudice. Now Lydia Bennet tells her side of her whirlwind marriage to Lieutenant Wickham and what happens afterwards. As the youngest of five daughters with a pittance of a dowry and no hope for a good marriage, it appears her life is doomed from the start. But Lydia refuses to accept such a possibility. She learns how to set herself apart from her sisters and gain the attention of young men. She hones charm and flirtation to an art. Willing to take risks, she manages to acquire a substantial dowry and marries her beloved Wickham. Yet, her life remains on the brink until she gains the patronage of a wealthy Duke trapped in a loveless marriage.
“Lydia was Lydia still; untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy and fearless.”
—quote by Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The moment Lydia saw Wickham’s friend Robert, she froze in horror. He was a middle-aged, potbellied man, wearing a suit two seasons out of fashion. Worse yet, his scraggly beard seemed to have captured much of what he had eaten for lunch.
Carmella gave her a cold smile. “There she is now. Isn’t she lovely Mr. Hanson?”
His eyes swept over her with clear contempt. “She’ll do.”
Oh no, I won’t! Lydia pressed her hand to her beating heart. “You must forgive me, Mr. Hanson, but I am unwell.” She turned and hurried upstairs.
“Here now!” Carmella screeched and ran after her. She snared Lydia’s arm, turning her around. “You can’t back out now, miss.”
Lydia shook off her grip. “You are not the master of me, Mrs. Younge. If you think so highly of the man downstairs, then you go out with him. I find him ill-dressed, uncouth, and repulsive. I would not be seen in his company for all the tea in china.”
“Good night, Mrs. Younge.” Lydia entered her room and slammed the door behind her, locking it to ensure their privacy.
Wickham looked up from the desk. His eyes rounded in puzzlement. “Is my friend late?”
He looked so sincerely surprised at her return, she now suspected he had never met his ‘friend’. Now certain Mrs. Younge had procured the vile man, she said, “Perhaps he was down there and I missed him. Describe him to me?”
Wickham closed his book and rose from the desk. “Lydia, what is wrong?”
She bared her teeth in the facsimile of a smile. “We are about to have our first fight, I believe.”
“Because I cannot recall what Mr. Hanson looks like?”
Upon walking to the window, she stared out at the street below. Still too angry to speak, she remained silent. In this matter she wished to be decidedly clear with Wickham. She could never allow this to happen again. Never!
When twenty minutes passed, she sensed Wickham grew more nervous with her silence. She refused to face him, but she could hear him pacing with heightened breathing. Finally, he evidently could bear it no more.
“Lydia, I don’t recall his manner. Was he truly so repulsive?”
“It makes no difference if you can describe him or not. If you can, then you set me up with a lowborn, disgusting old man you knew would repulse me beyond endurance. If you cannot, then Mrs. Younge chose this man to humiliate me, and you supported her in this connivance. Either way leaves me outraged.”
Wickham came behind her and placed his hands around her waist. She turned and kneed him in his groin, sending him to the floor.
It is again my honor to reveal another cover by author, friend (full disclosure) AND fellow Fangirl, Pippa Jay!
This time it is a Halloween themed Romance titled “Hallow’s Eve“!
Can one night of magic heal his heart?
12 months ago, Hal’s world crashed and burned, taking the love of his life with it. He’s waited all year for that one special night when the souls of the departed come home, hoping his candle will summon back one in particular to heal his broken heart. But the forbidden knowledge he’s learned could call something far worse, and put more than his own soul at risk…
Excerpt from the story:
The thud and chink of beer bottles and glasses on the bar announced Dan’s return.
Hal shook his head. “Not tonight.”
“Oh, c’mon, man. Just one beer.”
Hal dropped his gaze to the glass he was still drying with a vehemence it didn’t deserve, avoiding his friend’s pleading stare. “Thanks, but I’m not in the mood.”
Dan made an exasperated sound. “Look, I know it’s nearly a year—”
Pain lanced into his chest. “Stop.” He looked up.
A frown creasing his tanned face, Dan glared back, but he shut up.
Hal sucked in a breath. He didn’t want to fight with Dan over this. The guy had stopped Hal’s life completely falling apart after last Halloween. “I know what you’re trying to do,” he murmured, and relief flickered in Dan’s brown eyes. “But I’m not ready to let it go.”
“I’m not saying you should, man. But how about getting back into some social interaction? You can’t spend the rest of your life as a recluse.”
“I won’t.” Hal smiled. Dan had no idea.
“Then come out for a beer.”
“Tomorrow then. I know you’ve got the Halloween shift off.”
Hal put down the glass he’d abused. “I’m busy.”
“Oh, yeah? Doing what? Trick or treating?” Dan scoffed. “What is it with you and Halloween? You never struck me as religious enough to find it offensive, but you don’t go out and have any fun either. So how come you always take the night off?”
Hal looked around the bar at all the tawdry holiday decorations, and debated how to answer. Maybe Dan thought he was a closet Christian or something. The truth would shock the hell out of him. Especially with what Hal had planned this year. “My…family don’t see it as something to joke about.”
“Oh. Strict Catholic or something?”
“Something like that.” Hal smiled at the thought of his parents taking Holy Communion. But let Dan interpret it any way he liked.
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Pippa Jay’s bio:
After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.
Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, like I am, she blogs at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), two self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply and The Bones of the Sea), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).