Are you among the number of readers that has been enjoying Veronica Scott’s Badari Warriors Novels? If so, you are in luck. Today, Ms. Scott is back to introduce her latest addition to the series: Darik. Welcome Veronica Scott!
Thank you so much for having me as a guest today! (And thanks for your support of scifi romance too…)
I’m having fun with my first ‘real’ series, the Badari Warriors, about genetically engineered soldiers of the far future and the human women who love them. It’s been interesting to write each book and keep the storyline fresh, plus advance the overall arc of the series itself but my Muse seems to be enjoying the challenge so far. And equally importantly, the feedback from readers has been so encouraging.
My hero this time, Darik, is really a self-confident guy, which is understandable since he’s 7’, with fangs and claws and muscles, and a lot of military training and experience. I mean, who or what is going to tangle with him? Well actually, as the story progresses, it turns out a Badari warrior doesn’t necessarily always have the upper hand. Darik is in for some rough times.
The heroine, Nicolle, is a tough human woman (because I really can’t write any other kind of leading lady – sorry not sorry) who doesn’t realize how strong she really is in her own way. She also has some unexpected attributes that help her and Darik as the action unfolds.
And then there’s MARL12. Readers of the series know that in book one, MARL a stranded alien Artificial Intelligence who was around 10,000 years old was discovered. Grateful for being rescued from his predicament, MARL decided to throw his lot in with the humans and Badari as they fight the alien scientists. Now in this book Darik has been ‘honored’ by being sent on a mission with the first ‘mini MARL’, to see how well they can work together. Problems of course ensue!
Nicolle James is far from her home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments. Her only hope might be a mysterious soldier she’d glimpsed outside the laboratory fence. She’d managed to sneak a few words of conversation with him when her captors weren’t watching but now the aliens were taking her inside the lab to begin the experiments.
Darik, a warrior of the genetically engineered Badari pack, is on a solo recon mission to check out a mysterious new lab high in the mountains. His orders are strict – do not engage. But when he has a chance meeting with the woman who might be his mate, he vows not to abandon her, orders or no orders.
Can he get inside an underground lab, find Nicolle and rescue her without getting captured himself? And when he learns the lab’s deadly secrets, can he get word to his pack about the new dangers?
Because the ruthless alien scientist running the experiments wants to get her hands on him too and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.
The excerpt: (MARL12 has refused to disrupt the force barrier around the zoolike outdoor area of the installation so Darik can rescue Nicolle, although he did drive away a huge predator threatening her. MARL12 gets the last word at the end.)
Darik took a step forward, halting abruptly as a harsh buzz emanated from the barrier, as if the power was building to repel or punish him. “I’ll do my best to get you out, I swear.”
Cringing as another wave of torment washed through her nervous system, Nicolle said, “That and a credit will buy me a cup of coffee, soldier boy. I don’t think Dr. Hidamarr is going to give us up easily. She said we wouldn’t ever leave her lab once we were taken inside.” Brushing tears off her cheeks, she stumbled into a clumsy run, heading for the prisoner shelter. Anger, fright, and regret battled for top spot in her roiled emotions. How could he stand idly by, knowing what he obviously did about the Khagrish, and leave her and the others to their awful fate? Darik sounded like a good guy, but his inaction left her livid. Even if the robot or whatever-it-was had authority over his actions, he’d indicated he could place a call to others for help. So why didn’t he? I wish I’d never met him. I wish he’d let the bearbeast kill me.
Darik watched her go, his own adrenaline and anger raging at his inability to help Nicolle. His heart pounded so hard it felt too big for his body and all the primitive battle instincts coded into his DNA urged him to fling himself at the barrier to get to her side. Letting her walk away from him while he stood and did nothing was like a Khagrish lash striking his exposed heart.
She’d obviously been angry and bitterly disappointed over his apparent refusal to help her. She must hate me right now. Even if he’d had time to explain matters more fully, her opinion probably wouldn’t have changed and the knowledge stung. Leaving others to suffer at the hands of the Khagrish ran totally counter to his deepest instincts. His self-revulsion applied doubly to failing Nicolle, for reasons not entirely clear to him. They’d barely exchanged a few words, he knew next to nothing about her. But I want to know everything.
The realization was unsettling and so unlike him that he drew a deep, shaky breath.
The Great Mother could not have been so cruel as to send him the woman who might be his mate under these dire circumstances, could she? But why else would he have this unreasoning, bone deep fury riding him?
He had to fight to keep his fangs and talons from deploying. There was no adversary for him to battle. He turned his head as MARL12 cautiously approached, its overall colors pale green and yellow. Darik bit his lip to avoid swearing at the AI or begging it to make a hole in the force field, enabling him to go after Nicolle. I never expected my ally to become an impediment. The primary MARL unit had willingly accompanied Jill Garrison and assisted her in freeing humans and Badari alike. So what was wrong with unit 12 causing it to constantly refuse to assist him in a rescue?
As he paced into the forest, sticking to the shadows, he pondered. Maybe the smaller units were equipped with a less agile intelligence pack, not as able to recalculate when conditions in the field took a radical change. Oh yes, his final report was going to be blistering, and he hoped he got to confront MARL’s main unit itself.
If MARL12’s recalcitrance cost him the chance to find his mate, then the AI wasn’t going to make it back to sanctuary valley.
But none of these iron hard resolutions would help Nicolle today. Giving up on her was not a choice he could bring himself to make. There was no way he was walking away from her but he had to be cagy if he was going to get MARL12 to do what he wanted.
“I’m going to retrace our path, maneuvering to where we can see the entrance to the lab,” he said casually after a few more minutes passed, and they were quite a distance from where he’d left Nicolle. “I want to observe while the humans are taken into custody, see if I can glean any useful intelligence about the staffing here. More data for our report home.”
“But we will not intervene.”
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About the Author
USA Today Best Selling Author
“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 read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
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