The Whiskey With My Book blog header is currently featuring a picture I took of my bookshelf. On it are several SciFi Romance and Steampunk Romance titles. These are all favorites of mine and wonderful 5-star adventures, so they will be featured in several posts over the next few weeks.
Choosing favorites is always difficult to me. So when asked to choose my favorite SciFi Romance reads of 2015, I actually came up with three. Two of those books are included in my bookshelf photo. Today, I’m featuring one of those books.
Last year I was introduced to the books of Laurie A. Green. Inherit the Stars is the type of epic SciFi Romance Adventure Space Opera that hooked from on page one and didn’t let go, until long after I had finished the book.
To escape the merciless Ithian Alliance, Sair, a fugitive slave, makes a desperate deal with Drea Mennelsohn, captain of the prototype ship, Specter. But putting his life in the hands of a woman as mysterious as she is beguiling could turn out to be the biggest mistake of his life, especially when the price on his head begins to escalate.
Drea seems to want far more from the fugitive than just payment for his passage on her ship. Though neither can deny the sizzling chemistry and growing bond between them, Sair must soon make an agonizing decision that could result in the loss of the remarkable woman he has fallen in love with—and their chance to inherit the stars.
Here is an excerpt from the Inherit the Stars.
One chance. No mistakes.
Sair took a deep breath and peered out the open airlock of the merchant ship. This was it. Make a wrong move now and he’d end up as the main course at an Ithian feast. Heart pounding, he studied his escape route. No threat in sight; he had a clear path to the street outside the hangar. He gripped the edge of the hatch, palms slick, legs twitching.
No shouts of alarm spiked above the roar of the busy spaceport when he darted off the ship. Outside the hangar, he tried to disappear into the crowd on the bustling street. He sucked in his breath when a sharp-featured man in a dusty sun cloak strode straight for him.
Carduwan, not Ithian. Thank the Fire Lords. A neutral.
Sair caught the man’s arm. “Where am I?”
The Carduwan registered his size and build, his expression melting from annoyance to fear. “Eliptis hangtown.” He edged away. “Sir.”
The man’s eyes widened, and he croaked, “Dartis.”
Just my luck. A sandy, hell-baked ball where the Ithians ran as thick as rats in grain.
Sair tugged the terrified Carduwan closer, staring into the man’s sunshield. “Give me those.”
“Yours.” The man fumbled the dark frame off his beakish nose.
Sair grabbed the sunshield and slid it home, glad to hide his eyes.
Don’t thank him. You’re Rathskian.
He released the Carduwan and glanced back at the hang entry just as a chubby man shuffled onto the street. The pilot!
He froze, but the man never glanced his way. He didn’t seem to have a clue Sair had stowed away in his freight compartment to escape. So far, so good. At least he hadn’t been served up on a platter yet.
Sair strode away, breathing easier as he ducked down a side street that put him out of sight of the hang. Four strides later, he heard shouting voices, thumping sounds. He crept back to the corner to peek around a slag brick column. His heart jumped.
A squad of seven uniformed thugs had the pilot pinned against the hang wall, screaming questions in his ears. Their arm bands sported dual bars. Ithian Alliance operatives.
Gigadam. They know I’m on Dartis!
The premier must have traced every vessel leaving his private spaceport. It seemed his owner was going to throw all his resources into recapturing him and hauling him back to Ithis. Sair didn’t want to think about what fate awaited him there.
And those I left behind?
He grimaced against a sharp sting of remorse then doubled back, putting as much distance between himself and the merchant ship as he could, as fast as he could, without breaking into a run. Panic would only draw attention, which was the last thing he needed.
Head up and sunshield in place, he ignored the rough-faced crewies and hangtown beggars who moved aside as he passed. At least being Rathskian offered that advantage. His subspecies’ badass reputation might get him through the streets in one piece, but he had to escape this Ithian-infested pebble of a planet before he was caught.
With each step, he checked ahead, scanning each building and alley, every corner and entryway for uniforms. A glance back confirmed no one followed.
Find a bookie!
After three more turns and a fork to the right, he spied a kiosk sheltered by a battered frond umbrella. It huddled at the side of a street clogged with foot traffic and whining crew carts. Sair backed into the cooler shadows of an alley and watched. Several crewies paused to exchange words with the tender. None of them bought. It appeared he’d found what he was looking for.
He checked the street in both directions. No uniforms.
That was the very beginning of the book. No slow start here! Right?! And it just gets better after that! If you would like to read my review, please visit Smart Girls Love SciFi Romance.
Ms. Green is working on the next book in her The Inherited Stars series. Along with her short story Farewell Andromeda, The Outer Planets is set in the same Galaxy, but is much earlier on the timeline. The plots are not all that connected, so you will be able to read these books in any order you choose. If you are like me, I always like to read the latest first!
Here is a sneak peak – cover, blurb and excerpt from Laurie A. Green’s The Outer Planets. No word on publication date yet – I am hoping for soon!
A female video reporter with an altered identity and a damning secret joins the crew of a research mission bound for Jupiter and Saturn, only to find the past she wants to escape is already onboard.
Lieutenant Mitchell Coe, the loyal aide de camp to a murdered general–Lissa’s late spouse–is the one man with the power to blow her cover…or salvage her heart. But after a series of malfunctions threatens the mission, Lissa suspects she’s not the only one aboard with a dangerous secret.
Excerpt from The Outer Planets:
Lissa would pay for her late entrance. Tardiness was a sin Daniel—Captain Storing—didn’t tolerate.
“Better late than left behind.” Her shuttle pilot turned his wistful gaze on the huge ship. “You’ll be one of the first people to see Jupiter and Saturn up close and personal. I envy you. What an opportunity.”
Lissa wondered if he was one of the thousands who’d applied and been rejected by the program. “Yeah.” She tried to keep the bite out of her tone. “Never could have forgiven myself.”
He glanced back, one eyebrow quirked. “Cold feet?”
“More like hot feet.” She attempted a smile. “From running into the burning barn.”
“Ah. Like the proverbial horse?”
“Or the proverbial aft end of one.”
The pilot chuckled. “Well, for what it’s worth, I’ve shuttled a good portion of the crew over from Armstrong. Most had the same look in their eyes. ‘What was I thinking?’”
But not for the same reasons.
She lowered her gaze to the expansive blue arc filling space below the giant ship’s hull. Earth. Home. And in committing to the mission, Lissa was trading this world of green trees and soft breezes for one of cold gray and recycled atmosphere. She was about to travel far, in both time and distance, from everything familiar and comfortable and safe.
And so far from Mitch.
She closed her eyes against the explosion of regret and longing his memory brought. Had she done the right thing by not contacting him, not dragging him into the maelstrom her life had become since Bobby’s death? Her misplaced loyalty had kept them apart before. Now it would be time itself that separated them. Five long years. And distance. Millions of miles.
I should have commed him.
No. Mitch didn’t deserve to get sucked into the wreckage of her life. If her not-so-innocents discovered she’d contacted him after…the incident…he’d be at risk, too. And besides, she wasn’t Jenae Bradley anymore. She had a new name, a new face, a new life, and she’d signed a contract of confidentiality that she would never reveal her former identity. To anyone.
She’d done the right thing seeking refuge here in Daniel’s protective custody where Mitch could be free of her brand of hell.
The staccato whine of a digital transmission interrupted her thoughts.
“Beginning final docking maneuvers,” the pilot said.
The pilot’s hands played over his console and the shuttle’s docking head locked on target. The retros pulsed twice more. Lissa’s seat rattled with vibration when the vessel connected.
“Captured,” the pilot announced, flipping a switch.
A ratcheting sound filled the cabin as the shuttle fused with the docking arm of the Bradley.
“Shuttle Five is locked and secure,” the pilot informed the Bradley docking crew. “Preparing to offload one passenger.” He left his console as the docking arm swung in a slow arc, bringing the starboard hatch of the shuttle broadside to the mouth of the airlock.
The shuttle made a smooth union and green lights activated on the cabin panel. “Dock integrity confirmed,” a voice said on the speaker.
Gathering her two bags from the bin Lissa moved to the hatch. Now for the tough part. Facing Daniel.
The pilot motioned to the com-con switch on the bulkhead to the right of the hatch. Lissa pressed it. “Crewmember Lissa Bruce, requesting permission to come aboard.”
She waited while soft space static played on the speakers.
“The NSS Robert Bradley welcomes you, Ms. Bruce,” a deep and familiar voice answered. “Permission granted.”
“That’s the old man, himself,” the pilot whispered. “Captain Storing.”
“In the flesh,” Lissa said, squaring her shoulders and raising her chin. Daniel wasn’t going to make the most congenial greeting party.
The hatch hissed open. Lissa nodded her thanks to the pilot and carried her bags into the air lock. The rush of intermingling atmospheres brushed her face and lifted the hair off her shoulders.
The pressure equalized and the inner hatch popped. Lissa squinted as the Bradley’s interior lighting flooded her small chamber. In the glare stood an imposing man in full naval dress uniform and no trace of a smile.
Lissa willed her legs forward, stepping onto the deck of Captain Daniel Storing’s ship. Behind her, the hatch to the docking bay closed with a clack, followed by a low rumble as the air lock depressurized.
Escape route sealed. Point of no return.
She looked into the commanding blue eyes of the man before her.
He studied her, neither relief nor anger evident in his gaze, his face molded into its usual professional scowl. “Welcome aboard, Ms. Bruce.”
As a civilian, no salute was in order. “Thank you, Captain. It’s good to be on board,” she said, cursing the slight quaver in her voice. He must realize stepping onto this ship was like walking into the jaws of hell—but a far safer hell than the one lying in wait for her back on Earth.
Daniel turned aside and spoke to a companion standing behind him. “Lieutenant, alert Mission Control our crew roster is complete.”
Something about the lieutenant’s voice shot straight to her soul. Lissa’s gaze jumped to the man’s face as Daniel moved out of her line of sight. Her heart stuttered and the breath lodged in her throat.
Oh my god!
Purchase Links (sorry, we have to wait a bit for The Outer Planets, but I just know it will be worth it):
Laurie A. Green’s Bio:
Laurie A. Green is a three-time RWA® Golden Heart® finalist and science fiction romance enthusiast who founded the SFR Brigade community of writers, which now totals over 700 members.
Her extended family includes her husband, David, four dogs, three cats and several horses, all who reside on a ranch in beautiful New Mexico. When she’s not writing, networking, or searching out the perfect cup of Starbucks, she’s usually busy exercisting her left brain as a military budget director.