Today's the day, y'all! It's launch day for my space opera noir novel Fools Rush In, Book 3, Interstellar Rescue series. I couldn't be more excited! You've met Rayna and Sam, my Rescue agent heroine and pirate captain hero. Now enjoy an excerpt from the book. The blurb follows, and, if you just can't wait, you can find the book on Amazon here.
The starship’s hold was as dark and humid as a womb, as hot as blood. But Rayna hated the crowding most of all, the slaves packed inside the space like multiple embryos, filling metal scaffolding three levels high. On the lowest level, shoulder to hip with the others, she had to grit her teeth to keep from lashing out at those around her.
Rayna had lost track of how many in the hold had died, though it was one of her duties to estimate a number. She was too busy trying not to be one of them. Illness was common. Misery was universal. The strong preyed on the weak. The weakest died.
She stood to allow the blood to flow into her cramped legs, careful of her head in the restricted space. In the middle of a much-needed stretch Rayna froze. She lifted her head, reaching for a fading fragment of sound. She turned to the people at her feet.
“Did you hear that?”
They stared at her, eyes dull.
There it is again!
“We’re under attack.” She could just catch a whisper of the alarms behind the heavy plasteel of the hold, but there was no mistaking that sound. She’d dodged phased energy bursts on enough fighting ships to know.
No one around her seemed to care. A more immediate threat loomed. Three meters away a girl no more than fourteen was being pinned against the bulkhead by a male twice her size. He slapped her, snapping her head back against the unforgiving metal behind her, and ground into her, hip to hip. The girl sobbed.
“Aw, hell, no.” Rayna ignored her own internal warnings that the man was too big for her—shit, they were all too big for her—and waded through the bodies to get to him. He made it easy for her, too distracted to see her coming. She put her boot in the side of the big man’s knee and crumpled his leg. He went down with a howl. Then she dropped her knee on his chest and punched him in the throat. His eyes went wide, realizing he would never draw another breath through that crushed trachea.
Rayna lifted herself off him as he began to thrash, and started back toward her place against the bulkhead. People stepped all over each other to give her room to pass. She paused to see that the girl was okay. Someone had wrapped her in a hug, an older woman. Good. That’s good.
Abruptly the ship lurched and slewed to starboard. A startled cry went up from the hold as people were knocked off their feet. Rayna managed to stay upright as the deck rolled and pitched beneath her. A series of concussions shook the air around them—deep, thudding, rhythmic. The ship was firing back—plasma cannon, maybe. Her briefing hadn’t included the weapons load of her transport.
Another bone-crushing impact and the lights went out. People screamed, out of fear, rather than injury—the bulkheads remained intact. Red emergency lights came on. Yet another blast and the artificial gravity faltered, lifting bodies off the deck, then slamming them back in place. People vomited.
In any other circumstances, now would be a good time to get out of this hellhole. Even on a slave transport in the black of space there were places to conceal yourself if you were trained for it and didn’t have to hide too long. But Rayna Carver had worked her ass off to get inside this hold and, by God, she was going to stay.
She thought she had the toughest job in Rescue—
until the day she had to convert a pirate into a hero.
Interstellar Rescue “conductor” Rayna Carver is deep undercover on a slave ship bound for an isolated region of space when the ship is attacked by pirates. Her liberator is Captain Sam Murphy, a man known in the spacer bars to love only profit, adventure and women.
But Murphy hates a few things, too, chief among them slavers. Will it be enough to gain his help for Rayna’s mission—ferreting out two spies bent on sabotaging an arms factory to turn the tide in an alien civil war?
Fools Rush In is available from Amazon NOW!