Monday, October 31, 2016
Saturday, October 29, 2016
I am so grateful to my readers all over the world for taking Alien Embrace to the top of several bestseller lists this past week, including the top 10 rankings for all of Kindle sales in Canada. Thank you so much for this honor! You are the best!
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Kila didn’t react to the insult. “The Basma is exceedingly careful about those he can’t blackmail into helping him. If he can’t hold you hostage through past misdeeds, then he must be absolutely sure of you. That means immersing yourself in being the best turncoat you can be.”
The queasy feeling strengthened, turning into outright nausea. “I’m to defect. All the way. Give Maf the means to take out an actual target.”
“You will feed me, the Basma’s somewhat trusted spy, information about a colony or military installation that will benefit his forces. You must give me its weaknesses and strengths in preparation for the revolt to attack it. It has to be a real target, Piras. Something the Basma will want to have.”
Piras thought it over. He could see the advantages and difficulties of such a project. He appreciated the wisdom of such a maneuver, that it could indeed get him into Maf’s inner sanctum. Yet he felt there was more to it, something ugly under the seemingly cut-and-dry operation. Why else would his gut be churning so hard?
He repeated what he thought he knew to clarify the assignment. “I’m to identify a target that will help swing the war to the Basma’s advantage. Give him the means to successfully attack that target. And no one, including those who are aware that I’m playing double agent, can know what target I choose?”
“Such a smart fellow. No wonder they made you an admiral.”
“Fuck off. What am I missing, Kila? If the Fleet Admiral or Admiral Tranis don’t know what I’m up to, who will warn the target of the coming attack?”
Kila shook his head. “Warn the target? So much for you being smart. At least you have a nice ass.”
Piras ignored the innuendo, his focus on the dawning horror. “Wait, if no one warns the colony or base I choose, then people will be killed. You’re talking about me serving up victims to the Basma on a silver platter.”
“My faith in you is restored.” Kila sounded tired rather than teasing. It was as good a sign as any that bloodshed was on the menu.
Piras stared at Kila, aghast. No wonder his instincts were screaming. “If I choose a colony, it will mean civilian casualties. A military post will lose us good, loyal fighters and perhaps weaken our defenses.”
“It will also win you and I the Basma’s complete confidence, making us privy to important information we can pass on to the fleet.”
Piras jumped to his feet and paced back and forth. His bare feet managed to make plenty of noise on the wooden balcony. He was stomping in his agitation, but it still didn’t make as much noise as the disbelieving chaos in his head. How could Hobato sanction such a ruse?
“You’re telling me to become a butcher. I’m an asshole, not a murderer, Kila. There is a difference, you know.”
Kila watched him, his expression weary but unruffled. “If that bastard Maf has the Earthers under Copeland on his side – and it’s certain he does – then we are in for a long, deadly war, Piras. One that could finish the Empire. To get in close enough to Maf and the Holy Leader means sacrifices must be made.”
“But to give the victims no chance! No hope!”
“If the target is military, then we’re discussing mainly Nobeks.”
Piras halted to snarl at him. “Just because there are more of your breed and they make up the majority of the deserters doesn’t mean I should sign them up for a killing spree.” Lidon’s face flashed in his imagination.
A ghost of Kila’s sarcastic smile flitted over his lips. “Well, that warms my sweet little heart to hear you care so much for my breed, Dramok.”
Monday, October 24, 2016
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Sure enough, an unfamiliar man in a fleet engineer’s uniform with green trim was looking at the acceleration readouts, checking things over, and shaking his head. Kila stood behind him and folded his arms over his chest.
Adjust one thing, and I’ll take your head off.
Like most Nobeks, Kila moved silently. Chief Engineer Lokmi was also wearing ear pieces and humming along with whatever he listened to. He didn’t know he was being observed by his captain.
It gave Kila a chance to size the Imdiko up. From behind, Lokmi possessed an athletic build. Not too bulky, not too lean. Kila automatically checked out the man’s ass, judged it nice, and remembered chief engineers were the enemy.
He made himself look back up, at the back of Lokmi’s head. The Imdiko’s black hair was shoulder length, its gentle waves giving it a tousled look. An ‘I-just-rolled-out-of-bed’ look.
Kila thought about punching his own head and hopefully knocking such thoughts out of it. He hadn’t gotten laid since Piras several months ago, and that encounter had certainly not gone as planned. It was no wonder he kept thinking about sex.
Lokmi snickered at a reading and made a note on his handheld. He went to one of the accelerator chargers and removed a panel from the side. Kila stiffened as Lokmi ran his fingers over the bank of power modules.
The engineer turned and froze to see Kila standing there. He bowed to his superior officer. In a voice that approached a yell, he said, “Captain Kila, I presume?”
Kila nodded. “Chief Engineer, welcome aboard.”
Lokmi snorted and yanked the earpieces out. For a moment Kila heard the steady thud of rimnastin music before it switched off. “My apologies, Captain. I forgot I was wearing those.”
Kila smiled in pardon. Lokmi’s face was as pleasing as his backside. Handsome, firm features. He had the gentle expression that was the hallmark of an Imdiko…to a point. His eyes were piercing. Demanding. Unwavering. The direct stare was all Dramok.
So be it. Kila’s spine steeled for the inevitable fight. “I see you’re doing your initial inspection?”
“Yes sir. And may I say, your former chief should be taken out and whipped. The modifications I’ve found are a nightmare.”
“Those would be my modifications, Chief.” His voice steady and cold. His tone definitely don’t-fuck-with-me.
Lokmi didn’t react with the flustered anxiety Kila anticipated. He didn’t even blink. Instead, there was a slight grimace as he said, “It makes sense that a speed junkie would do this to his poor ship. Son of Clan Poc, aren’t you? The famous shuttle racing team?”
Kila wasn’t sure if he should be offended or not by the other man’s comments. “Did you look me up to impress me or are you an actual racing fan?”
Lokmi grinned. “Oh, I love anything to do with machines. Your Nobek father and mother are incredible mechanics. Geniuses, really. It’s no wonder your other fathers consistently place at the top of the standings when they race.”
The compliment seemed genuine. Kila allowed himself to relax a little. “Thank you, Chief. I happen to think they’re pretty good myself.” He couldn’t keep the pride out of his voice as he spoke.
Lokmi nodded toward the opened charger. “You’ve got a talent for tinkering too, but this ship isn’t a racer. The booster on the accelerator is asking for trouble.”
“Only if I engage it for more than ten seconds. Which I would never do. I know how to run my ship.”
Lokmi waved off the warning in expression and tone. “Sure you do. But what about the crewmember who has to pilot it out of a hairy situation before you get to the bridge? Or if you’re incapacitated?”
They always thought the captain didn’t have a clue. Lokmi’s observations would be valid with another captain, but Kila was confident in his abilities not only to modify engines but to anticipate trouble. “The crew is kept advised. I send out tutorials and instructions with every alteration I make.”
“To your enemies as well? What happens when a hunter-killer grabs you in a traction freeze field while you’re tearing around at top speed?” He made a sound like an explosion, flinging his arms out to further illustrate. “Or what if we experience a failure of the defensive field grid you’ve tied in to keep us from shaking apart for those ten seconds of thrill ride? The very same defensive grid that keeps us from blowing all to hell when a lucky shot hits the pulse drive system…which you’ve diverted to powering said grid for your joyride.”
Kila’s mouth stretched in a smile. Not his usual mocking smile, which he could help no more than Mostar could help his suspicious look. This smile was purposely big and dangerous, more a snarl than a grin. Most men had the good sense to back off when he looked at them like that.
Lokmi just looked at him, waiting for a reply. He had a ton of Dramok in him, all right.
No release date set.