Today, I am excited to welcome author Veronica Scott to Whiskey With My Book. Veronica is the author of the popular Sectors SciFi Romance series that includes several books that I have read or that are on my TBR list. Please welcome Veronica as she tells us about the latest Sectors book, Hostage to the Stars.
Thanks for having me as your guest today to talk about my new release Hostage To The Stars! As you and I were discussing, I had three new releases, one each in April (Star Cruise: Outbreak) and May (Lady of the Star Wind), and I didn’t get much chance to talk about June’s book, Hostage, until recently!
So what do you do when one of your favorite characters is the hero’s best friend, and the adventure is over, the hero and his heroine get their Happily Ever After, the friend has been Best Man at the wedding, and now is retired to his home world to a life of ranching? (All of which happened in my August 2014 release, Mission to Mahjundar.)
If you’re a romance author of any genre, you write the sequel where the Best Friend becomes the hero!
But I thought I was done with Sgt. Johnny Danver, retired from the Sectors Special Forces.
He’s a person I really enjoyed writing, however, and my audiobook narrator enjoyed bringing to life, and as we talked about Johnny as a person during the recording of Mahjundar, I started thinking, what would call him back to active duty? What could possibly lure him into uniform and send him off on another mission? Because he’d been very adamant he was done with the military life after a long, dangerous career….so how could I get him to step up and take the hero role in his own book?
I’ve always been fascinated by real life tales of hostage rescues carried out by Special Forces operators in dangerous locales outside the USA, so it occurred to me I could create a situation where Johnny was put back on active duty to be a consultant on such a mission (for compelling reasons that are in the book), and once he got there, of course the situation wouldn’t be as cut and dried as he’d been told. Johnny is very much an honorable man and he’d never walk away and leave a helpless person behind in captivity so…
He rescued her from space pirates … but can he keep them both safe from the far greater evil stalking a deserted planet?
Space travel without Kidnap & Ransom insurance? Not a good idea. University instructor and researcher Sara Bridges can’t afford it, so when pirates board her cruise liner, she’s taken captive along with the mistress of a wealthy man, and brought to a deserted planet. When a military extraction team sent to rescue the mistress refuses to take Sara too, she’s left to the mercies of a retired Special Forces soldier, along as consultant.
Reluctantly reactivated and coerced into signing up for the rescue operation to the planet Farduccir where he once was deployed, Sgt. Johnny Danver just wants to get the job done. But when the team leader leaves one captured woman behind, he breaks away to rescue her himself.
As Johnny and Sara traverse the barren landscape, heading for an abandoned base where they hope to call Sectors Command for help, they find villages destroyed by battle and stripped of all inhabitants. A lone survivor tells a horrific tale of the Sectors’ alien enemy, the Mawreg, returning after being pushed out …
Searching for evidence to give the military, Johnny is captured. He regains consciousness in a Mawreg cage–with Sara next to him. Death is preferable to what the aliens will do to them… And even if they do escape their captors, can they alert the military in time to prevent another invasion of the Sectors?
“What about Sara Bridges?” Ms. Immer whispered. “Aren’t you going to get her too?”
Captain Scortun leaned closer. “Who?”
“The other woman taken off the Star Swan with me.”
“We’re here for you, ma’am. No intel on anyone else.” Scortun’s answer was crisp and disinterested.
“Do you know where she’s being held?” Johnny asked.
Tresha shook her head. “We were separated the first day, when we got here. Nice little thing, no insurance. I tried to tell the warlord a lie about her being my friend but he didn’t care.”
“Forget it, Danver, we’ve got our high value package and we’re out of here.” Scortun’s voice was low and stern. “Check the corridor. We need to move.”
Johnny gave him a considering look but took point and led the team from the palace and safely into the foothills. The two squad members who’d been on overwatch joined them. There was no sign of pursuit. Once they were about a mile from the warlord’s compound, Johnny signaled for one of the others to take point and he dropped back to where Ms. Immer trudged along in the column, wearing a pair of borrowed boots and a jacket. “Tell me more about this Sara.”
“I didn’t know her, just a passenger on the Star Swan, had no idea about K&R insurance or pirates. Naïve. I heard she put up a fight when the pirates grabbed her – she was bruised pretty bad the last time I saw her, before we were separated. I wouldn’t have thought she had it in her. The stewardess on the ship said she was a teacher or librarian.” Tresha paused, bending to rub her legs for a moment. “Umarri ordered me not to mention her to the negotiation team if I wanted to stay healthy so I kept my mouth shut.”
“And you have no idea what’s happened to her since the pirates took her away?”
“I told you, no. I was kept pretty busy fending off the warlord without pissing him off, if you know what I mean.” Head tilted, she gave him a flirtatious wink.
“Drop it, Danver,” said the other soldier. “We ain’t here for incidental victims. Captain told you more than once already.”
“Cut the chatter and pick up the pace.” Scortun made his way through the column. “We’re going to miss the extraction window if we don’t hustle and I’m not staying on this hellhole planet any longer than I have to. Danver, take the rearguard and quit distracting Ms. Immer.”
Johnny faded to the end of the column and kept watch on their back trail. Once the group ascended to the plateau seeking the designated landing zone, and he heard the muted sound of the incoming shuttle, he sought out the captain, crouched in the lee of a large boulder, close to Ms. Immer.
“Just fyi, I’m goin’ for the other woman,” Johnny said. “You have a nice flight home to base. Don’t forget to tell them I’m here. Good luck to you, Ms. Immer.”
“Who the hell do you think you are, sergeant?” The captain’s voice was tense and angry. “You don’t get to change mission parameters to suit yourself. I don’t care if you’re in the goddamn Special Forces or not, I gave you a direct order. We’re not going after any other civilians this trip.”
“No, you’re not, I see that.” Johnny couldn’t keep the contempt out of his voice. “In my branch of the service, we don’t leave people behind. In case it’s escaped your notice, I’m not under your command. Special Forces operates independently.”
Holding his pulse rifle where it could conveniently be considered a threat by Captain Scortun if he was feeling paranoid, Johnny backed away. None of the other soldiers wanted to challenge him.
“We’re not waiting for you,” Scortun yelled. “When our shuttle lands, we’re gone.”
“Good riddance,” he said under his breath, as he faded into the underbrush and slipped away down the steep hillside.
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 “City On the Edge of Forever.”
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Veronica-Scott/e/B006CUCJ92/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1