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Tag Archives: science fiction

Hidden Cargo (Alien Captors #2) by Sarah Marsh (@SM_fiction)

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Hidden CargoBlurb:

No good deed goes unpunished—or at least it doesn’t for Cassie Decker. Stopping to help someone on the side of the road was the decision that changed the rest of her life, and the one that found her stranded on an alien planet. Lucky for her, she was discovered by two very large, and very green rescuers that offered her a second chance at a new life. All she has to do is find the courage to reach out and grab it.

Deryc and Gage have a comfortable life on the island of Ilya, it may not be perfect, but they enjoy their work and they have each other. When fate reveals an unauthorized female has been hiding right under their noses for over a year, they know they must do their duty to bring her to their government—but can they hand her over to an unknown future when she just might be the perfect female for their clan?

The Goddess works in mysterious ways, but will Cassie and her officers realize what they have found before someone tries to alter their paths forever?

Purchase Links:

Evernight Publishing
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Bookstrand
B&N
Kobo
Smashwords
Itunes

*****

Excerpt:

Cassie washed up and changed into a nightgown as Dax settled comfortably at the foot of her bed. She turned out the light and walked over to open a window, letting the fresh air in. She’d always loved falling asleep to the sound of the ocean. Two deep voices entered on the breeze along with the sounds of the surf, causing a shiver to run up her spine, and she realized that Deryc and Gage must still be on the patio enjoying the evening. Cassie sat on the window ledge and waited for her eyes to adjust to the darkness outside. When they did, the sight before her was nothing short of decadent.

Both men were lounging on one of the large patio chairs. Deryc’s arm was around Gage’s shoulder, and his other hand cupped the other man’s cheek as he took his mouth in a slow and sensual kiss. Her breath caught in her throat as she watched Gage’s hand move leisurely up his partner’s thigh until he rubbed along the thick, hard ridge of Deryc’s arousal.

I shouldn’t be watching this, like some kind of pervert… I’m invading their privacy, but holy hell, I think this is the hottest thing I’ve ever seen.

Knowing it was wrong and willing her eyes to close were two very different things, and Cassie had to bite her lip as Deryc’s deep voice came to her on the night breeze.

“I believe you owe me a proper show of gratitude, my mate.” Deryc growled as Gage’s fingers freed the thick cock from the confines of his partner’s pants. “Or did you forget you promised me that this morning?”

“Hmm.” Gage lazily kissed along Deryc’s jaw, his hand now slowly stroking up and down his lover’s cock. “Did I say that? I can’t remember now…”

Deryc’s response was immediate, and it made Cassie gasp as he pulled away and moved to cover the other man until Gage’s wrists were held above his head in each of his strong hands, and Deryc was now straddling his mate’s hips. In the moonlight, Cassie could see his cock jutting straight from his body, the thick length an even darker shade of grey than the rest of him. He towered over Gage like an avenging god.

“Keep your arms above your head, boy.” Deryc’s tone was unforgiving now, and by the look of the large bulge in Gage’s own pants, he enjoyed this game of dominance as much as his mate did. Cassie had never experimented with any BDSM play with Peter, but that didn’t mean she hadn’t thought or fantasized about it before, and now that she had a front-row seat, her body flooded with heat at the idea of being on the submissive end of Deryc’s firm authority just like Gage was now.

Deryc’s hands released Gage and began to undress, revealing his muscular body, the dark skin seeming to almost sparkle in the moonlight. Then he began the same process of removing Gage’s clothing, and the other man bit his lip, but left his arms where they were.

“Cassie could still be awake.” Gage’s words turned into a groan as Deryc’s hand now closed around his shaft, rubbing a glistening bead of moisture over the plump head. “What if she sees?”

“Mmm, think about that, my love.” Deryc’s hand moved faster on his lover’s flesh. “Just imagine those stunning blue eyes, her gaze roving over your hard and aching flesh like a caress. Perhaps she would like to join us even? I see now why you were so enamored with her when you first spotted her. She is quite remarkable.”

Gage only moaned louder at Deryc’s words, his hips pushing harder into the other man’s grip, causing a warm chuckle to escape his mate’s lips. “I see how much you like that idea, love. I can feel your cock buck in my grip as if it were trying to get inside of her even now.”

Holy fuck! Were they fantasizing about her? This time Cassie couldn’t stifle the groan as her pussy flooded at the idea of being out there on that couch with them, and it was so loud she startled herself, jumping back from the window in case her hosts heard it as well.

She needed that shock back to reality. “Jesus, Cassie, what is wrong with you?”

She didn’t want to think she was the kind of person who couldn’t control her own urges, but the fact that she hadn’t been able to help herself from watching Gage and Deryc’s intimate display meant they had much more power over her than she’d thought. Good grief, all she could hope for at this point is that they hadn’t heard her at all.

Pervy, sex-starved human … table for one, please.

Want to read book one first? Check out Precious Cargo here!

*****

Author Bio:

Sarah Marsh was born in British Columbia, she’s only recently began her writing career finding it the perfect outlet for taking the edge off a nine to five job. She’s a science fiction and romance junkie and when her imagination started to take the characters she’d read about even further in their adventures she decided to try writing something of her own.

Her biggest weaknesses are animals of any kind…she even loves the ones that wake you up at four in the morning because they can almost see the bottom of their food dish. When it comes to life in general she’s a big believer that laughter is the best medicine and that there’s no such thing as too much love, which is why she’s such a sucker for a happy ending.

Connect with me!

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New Release: Genie’s Awakening by @JewelQuinlan #99cents A Reverie Resort Vacation

Blurb:

Visit Reverie Resort, a luxury hotel on a tropical island where vacationers come to enjoy their wildest dreams but get more than they ever expected…

Genevieve, a Jinn, comes to Reverie Resort for one last vacation before she must go before the Afrit tribunal and formally declare that she has no powers. She hopes to enjoy one last taste of a luxury beyond even what she is used to before being cast out of her own dimension to live among humans.

But something goes wrong. Instead of the spa weekend she’s expecting, she finds herself on a remote, barren planet being auctioned off to the highest bidder and has no way to contact her hosts to correct the situation. Is there really a mix up? Or do her hosts have sinister intentions toward her? In the meantime, she finds her new owner, Colin, to be quite attractive for a human…

Where you can buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK |  iTunes  |  Kobo  |  Nook

Add it to your shelf on Goodreads

*****

Enjoy this excerpt:

Will turned to address the men again, but did not release her from his grip. “Have a good look at this beauty, gents.”

As they gawked at her, she stood straight and proud as though daring someone to try and claim her, returning their gazes with scathing, cold eyes, her fair lips pressed into a tight line. After one quick scan of crowd before her, she shot an icy glare at Will, who let go of her and backed off.

Colin chuckled. Could this petite thing be the reason for the bruise on Will’s cheek? She radiated anger, was so alive with it that it cast off her like the heat of a flame.

Will strolled to one corner of the platform as though nothing dramatic had just occurred. “Now, where shall we start the bidding?”

“What skills does she have?” asked one of the men.

“Yeah, can she work a terminal?” asked another.

“A bit scrawny for farm work. Looks like the most she’d be able to do is keep the house clean,” someone else commented. That was followed by snickering from the cluster of men around him.

The woman tossed her head and the dark strands of her hair gleamed onyx in the light of the double suns. “I do not do menial labor.”

She reminded Colin of warrior princesses in tales. And it was obvious to him that she was unused to being handled the way she was right now.

The trader wagged his eyebrows and strolled to the other side of the platform. “Who cares what skills she has? Come now. Let’s start the bidding. With a woman of this quality, why would you ever want her to leave the bedroom?”

The deep multi-toned chuckle of men followed his statement. But Colin wasn’t among them. Instead, he frowned, and started making his way forward to end the show.

“Who will give me twenty credits?” the trader shouted. “Twenty credits for the loveliest creature you’ve ever seen.”

The woman stood with her head held high, eyes distant, stance hard as the rock that formed the distant red mountains of Garrulus Four.

The men shuffled and murmured amongst themselves. Given the kind of lives they led, beauty was a luxury far outweighed by the many other qualities they needed in a wife. This lot of men were used to leading quiet lives, and they wanted women who did the same or went along with it at least. The woman on the platform would not fit in with this plan. Even if one of them could afford her, Colin doubted they’d be able to handle her.

Will’s eyebrows were high with shock. “Nobody?” He stopped his movement on the platform and pulled his head back in an exaggerated way, making his potbelly poke forward from the coat he wore. “No one will pay twenty credits for this gorgeous creature? That’s a bargain for someone like her.”

Colin saw one corner of the woman’s mouth quirk upward in satisfaction, and he grinned again. Obviously, she felt like she was winning so far, but what would be the consequences? She’d already stated she wouldn’t work, and she’d failed to declare any skills. If all she had to trade was beauty, she was on the wrong planet.

“Eighteen credits then. Who will pay eighteen?” Will called, an edge of desperation in his voice now. “You’ve all become shy suddenly. Suffering from performance anxiety, perhaps? Who wouldn’t be with her around, eh?” He chortled and leered at the woman.

Colin could see the men glancing at each other. Who would be crazy enough to take on the beautiful spitfire? That’s what it came down to, their masculinity. Clearly they found themselves lacking, because none of them were brave enough to bid.

As the silence stretched on, a warm wind whooshed through, audible in the vacuum of stillness. It was only then that the woman’s stance thawed. Her shoulders rounded, and worry transformed her eyes from their sparkling glare to the round-eyed, lost look of an innocent. The pink lips softened and parted revealing surprise at the group’s rejection, and Colin’s heart went out to her.

“Eighteen credits!” His hand shot up in the air before he even realized that the words had left his lips.

*****

About the Author:

Restless by nature, Jewel Quinlan is an avid traveler and has visited sixteen countries so far. Lover of ice cream, dark beer, and red wine she tries to stay fit when she’s not typing madly on her computer concocting another romance novel. In her spare time, she likes to do yoga, hike, learn German, and play with her spoiled Chihuahua, Penny.

For more information about Jewel Quinlan

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Multi-Genre Instafreebie Giveaway! #instafreebie @instafreebie

Grab yourself full books and amazing samples in a multitude of genres, including romance, thriller, mystery, horror and more. So what are you waiting for? Click the link below to grab yours!

**Instafreebie Group Giveaway Landing Page**

Happy Reading,

Lucy x

Shari Elder (@ShariElderBooks) Stops by to Talk Villains!

race-to-redemption-evernightpublishing-nov2016-ereader-lrg

Menage a Villain

I love a good villain, don’t you?

But they can be so hard to find! The best villains don’t see themselves as villains and it is this moral blind spot that enables their evil. Their ability to nuance their ethics – make their actions understandable, even sympathetic, is what makes them so downright scary. Like lovers, villains make our hero and/or heroine a better person by forcing them to confront and overcome their weaknesses, while surviving in the face of endless challenges.

Looking at the villains I can’t forget, I see a set of common characteristics:

  • They are on a mission, even if we don’t agree with it.
  • They often lead a pack. Their ability to motivate their people, care for them even if that care is twisted, reveals that nuanced reality.
  • Their words, mannerisms, looks, intellect, all would be drop dead sexy if their bad wasn’t so truly bad.

My two hands down favorites are Hans Gruber, excellently depicted by Alan Rickman, in the film Die Hard and John Harrison/Khan, played to perfection by Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek into Darkness.

Hans Gruber glides off the elevator in a custom-tailored, Savile Row suit, followed by a horde of to-die-for bad boys in tight black t-shirts to execute the ultimate burglary. Within minutes on the screen, he had me at, “I could talk about men’s fashion and industrialization all day but I’m afraid work must intrude.” He is clever, quick, charming and a total snake.

Cumberbatch’s Khan is convinced of the rightness of his superiority.  As ruthless as he is, he had my heart clenching in my chest when he admitted his commitment to his crew. Remember this line? “My crew is my family, Kirk. Is there anything you would not do for your family?”

A family man, but also a cold-blooded ruthless psychopath. Who didn’t shiver when he said to Spock, “I will target your life support systems located behind the aft nacelle. And after every single person aboard your ship suffocates, I will walk over your cold corpses to recover my people.”

Gotta love him. So, when I write villains these are my role models, what I aspire to create.

In my latest release, Race to Redemption, my goal is to build an equally nuanced villain. Tij Pardahl is an alien species, which is gender neutral at rest, but shifts into male or female during sex. They socially organize in threesomes. I show Tij’s complexity through the love scenes—nurturing protectiveness yet with ruthless chill. I actually hadn’t planned to do it that way, but Tij insisted.  Characters do want their own way.

Who are your favorite villains?

*****

Race to RedemptionRace to Redemption Blurb

A woman who lost everything.

Intergalactic storm racing champion Elaina Carteret had it all – fame, wealth, men – until a horrific accident took it away. To get it back, she agrees to pose as Lainie Carter, medical transport pilot and corporate spy. Her risk-taking attitude infuriates Dr. Erik Johansen, who runs the outpost with an iron hand, a permanent scowl and the tightest bod on the planet.

A man desperate for redemption.

Unable to forgive himself for a past tragedy, Erik works himself into an early grave. He has no patience for the insubordinate Lainie Carter, who can’t take an order, disrupts routine and flames his body to ash.

A planet at risk.

When the outpost is attached, they’re thrown together in a race across the desert to stop a deadly biogenetic weapon As a fragile trust blossoms between two damaged hearts, their pasts resurface and threaten their growing bond.

Be warned:  anal sex, bondage, menage sex, gender neutral characters.

Buy Links

Evernight Publishing | Amazon UK | Amazon US | All Romance eBooks

*****

About Shari Elder

Hello, I’m Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, walk the dog, get my kid off to school, hop on the metro, and save cities within the four walls of my office. Usually by email.

At night, the other Shari emerges.  I take off the suit, curl up on the couch and let my imagination play, with words and images until stories take shape (while periodically checking on my teen-ager, hiding out in the bedroom and plotting world domination).  As my alter ego, I save cities in a cape and spangled tights, wander space and time on a surfboard, fly over the Himalayas on feathered wings, make six-toed footprints in indigo talc snow on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy or eavesdrop on Olympian gods while pretending to whip up a bowl of ambrosia.

In all these wondrous worlds, romance and passion blossom. I can’t resist a happy ending. And I am particularly prone to writing happy endings for those who have given up on ever getting one. That gives me immense satisfaction.

Join me on my journey. The best ideas emerge from team work.

Find Shari

Facebook:        https://www.facebook.com/Shari-Elder-Stories

Twitter:           @ShariElderBooks

Web/Blog:       www.sharielder.com

Pinterest:         https://www.pinterest.com/ShariElderBooks/

Ruler’s Concubine by Peri Elizabeth Scott #scifi #erotica #romance

Thank you for having me! Ruler’s Concubine represents two different species attempting a connection, and proves that regardless of distinct differences, love will carry the day.

Rulers-Concubine-evernightpublishing-2016-3DrenderBlurb:

Meridia is headed for extinction, unless a compatible species can be found. The backward planet, Earth, the one the Meridians stripped of technology now holds the only promising species in the Galaxy. As Ruler, Lysett Daboort will do his duty and choose a royal concubine from those women ‘liberated’ from Earth, but that is all it will be—until he meets Celeste Raynor.

Celeste is barely subsisting on Earth and isn’t enamored with becoming one of Meridia’s concubines, despite the esteem afforded their females. But there is nothing left for her at home and she isn’t averse to having a child to love, not to mention a caring, supportive partner. Until she meets the Ruler himself.

The Ruler resists Celeste’s appeal and she refuses his arrogant approach, yet they must somehow come to terms. Lysett rules supreme, or does he? Because love has the most power of all.

Buy Links:

Evernight PublishingBookstrand | All Romance eBooks | Amazon UK | Amazon US

*****

Rulers-Concubine-evernightpublishing-2016-banner2

Excerpt:

This isn’t happening. This is not happening. If she kept repeating those words then surely it would be true and she’d miraculously wake up from this erotic nightmare and in her own bed. Except it wasn’t a nightmare and she most certainly wasn’t in her assigned bed—or even on her own planet. Although her imagination was fertile—and she’d seen pictures of him—it was unlikely to manifest the enormously good looks and incredible physique of the alien male who was stripping right before her very eyes. Yes, stripping. Removing all of his clothes, not five feet from where she lay on a bed constructed of some otherworldly material that both cushioned and restrained her. Had it only been yesterday when Bast told her today would be the day? No wonder she hadn’t slept well, thinking about this. And why did this Ruler look even better in person?

Once he’d overcome his reticence to speak so frankly with her, Bast had prepared her with stories of his Master’s need, of his sexual prowess and all the pleasures he would bestow, not to mention that cup of elixir she’d swallowed down.

Being assured it was the planet’s best aphrodisiac had her quaffing the liquid as though it were a life saver. Its effects were marked almost immediately as she cataloged an increase in her body temperature and a definite aching in her private parts with embarrassingly obvious lubrication accompanying the throbbing. Even her breasts had ached, the nipples tightening and beading in reaction to the potion.

But the effect had worn off because Lysett had been detained for a considerable period. The delay had given her too much time to reflect on her decision and the strange glowing feelings throughout her body had diminished—until he walked through the door. His good looks stole her breath, and when he began to take his clothes off, she wanted to do shocking, sexual things with him. The emotional and physical swings made her stomach lurch.

Her uninfluenced sexual-self recognized the potency of such a male, and to say she wasn’t naturally aroused would be untrue. Her body acknowledged a male suited to her, awash with chemistry and basic animal instinct. It was simply the circumstances that brought her here, and the stark implications of the contract that spoiled their first interaction. Why hadn’t he deviated from so-called royal tradition and spent some time with her beforehand? Surely Bast had relayed that even an initial chat would be optimum.

Celeste’s heart rate doubled, then tripled, when Lysett’s erection sprang forth as his lower garments were yanked down, and dark spots swam in her vision. That part of him was a duskier gold than the rest of his burnished skin, and freaking huge.

“Shhh, Lady.” Bast’s caramel tones spoke soothingly in her right ear, and one of his hands tentatively patted her shoulder. She’d very nearly forgotten he was still in the room with her—with her and his Master, although he had handled the process clinically and indicated he would leave before… “You are prepared for this union, as we discussed. It will be over before you know it, and if you get with offspring this first time, there will be no need for further joinings. Unless you wish them. And to beget other children.”

Well, didn’t that make her feel special? No pressure either. Merely a vessel out here in space, far away from home, to be used. She blinked away the tears that welled in reaction. Where was her voice? She could still say no…

The Ruler paused in his approach to the bed and glared at Bast after he spoke, though that look encompassed her as well. Celeste had never felt so naked—or so vulnerable. She knew what was supposed to happen. She thought she was ready. Not. And to think she’d scoffed at the wait, chuckled about others procreating before this man. No one would dare. Shocking need warred with apprehension.

“You assured me she was prepared, Bast.” Lysett’s perfect features set in angry lines and those remarkable green eyes now appeared as cold and frozen as that small pond at her home place in the winter months. She tried to use the memory of Earth to distract her, and it caused a homesick shudder to take over her entire body, the gentle clasp of the bed’s fabric undulating to keep her in place.

Lysett’s attention snapped fully to her in an instant, his orbs now glowing with green fire as the vertical slash of his pupils elongated. His gaze raked her body, lingering on her breasts and the apex of her thighs. Despite her limited experience with men, let alone alien men, Celeste recognized lust and desire and her body responded. Or maybe it was apprehension.

“She is prepared, Master. I do assure you. It is merely that a period of time has passed since we expected you to attend her, and it is no surprise that your concubine is experiencing a trifle of anxiety.”

Even with the translator chip, Bast’s wording felt off to her, and she decided to add her own voice. This was going to happen, this attending to her, no matter how she second-guessed her decision, and she believed Bast when he promised she’d be safe here. Having sex—joining—with his Master until she conceived was something she could do. Women did it all the time, had done it over the eons. It wasn’t like she was being forced or anything. And she wasn’t a prostitute, although that profession got a bad rap as far as she was concerned when one considered women had to survive somehow.

She was, according to the contract, a revered commodity, a virgin concubine—who wasn’t going to be a virgin much longer—a concubine who would bear a child for the alien ruler, right? And if the baby was female, she too would be cherished and Lysett would try again to beget a son. And again… All of Bast’s teachings slipped through her brain with lightning speed. Celeste shivered and quit thinking about all those possibilities and focused on what she’d been promised.

She would want for nothing, be well taken care of, and ultimately, kept safe. The presenter’s words and those of Bast rattled around in her head. Given her past circumstances, it was a no-brainer, and she couldn’t go home. Her body was up for it, and her mind had accepted it was the best out of all her choices. So it must be her heart throwing up the roadblock, looking for romance, all because of his pictures and the wonderful things his first servant had said about him.

That was nonsense. Just look at the agony love caused a person. Her stupid heart must be masochistic. This was the best deal she’d get and it was time she said something. There was no way she could go through this process again. Humiliation drowned her common sense. She moistened her lips and addressed Lysett, who was busily engaged in a staring contest with Bast.

“I am prepared, sir. Sir. Ruler. I won’t give you any trouble.”

His eyes froze through to their depths again and his dark brows drew together. She noted his erection didn’t flag at all, though. He might be annoyed, but it didn’t affect his arousal. The wide head glistened in the well-lit chamber, with his natural lubricant beading at the tiny slit. She had timidly asked if her deflowering couldn’t take place in the dark, but Bast refused, saying that tradition didn’t allow it. Spread eagle as she was, there was little left to the imagination, and she flushed again with embarrassment and no small shame. Lysett was superbly made, muscled and lean, with broad shoulders, long thick legs, and narrow hips. She was … well, she was short, and small and round, now that she’d had enough to eat. So not like the remaining Meridian females on this planet. And certainly not the cream of the crop of the human females either.

“You were not given leave to speak.”

Celeste didn’t much care for the way he snarled at her, Ruler or not.

*****

3551b (2)Author Bio:

Peri Elizabeth Scott lives in Manitoba, Canada. She recently closed her part time private practice as a social worker and child play therapist. Her love of children extends to the animal world, and her most recent rescue includes a one-eyed cat with an Elvis smirk.

Peribeth and her husband have a seasonal business and pretend to work well together, so she will always have a job.

Writing for years, mostly short stories and poetry, she has published dark erotica under another pen name and reads everything she can lay her hands on.

http://www.perielizabethscott.com/

 

***

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The Royal Mate (Space Wars #6) by April Zyon (@aprilzyon)

The Royal Mate Bannner

Blurb:

It all comes down to this. The truth about what started the war between the Imarian and Craegin is coming out, along with the fact that there is one true royal left. One man to rule them all.

Markus Rothschild wants to live a simple, quiet life but when faced with the truth of what’s happening in his world, he knows he has no choice but to take his rightful place.

Paisley Ralston is a woman who loves teaching small children. She’s never even held a weapon, let alone fired one. Playing bodyguard to the royal heir is the last thing she expected to do. But when Markus’s security team is sabotaged, she may be his only hope.

Paisley didn’t realize that meeting Markus meant finding her mate. Hidden in a special bunker, Paisley and Markus will test their limits and prepare for what’s coming. Together they will come out stronger, bonded, and ready to face both galaxies.

Buy links:

All Romance Ebooks | Amazon | Bookstrand | Evernight Publishing

*****

the-royal-mate-evernightpublishing-Jayaheer2016-finalimageExcerpt:

She looked at her mother and frowned. She couldn’t have heard the woman correctly. Paisley wasn’t a militant; she wasn’t a protector. For the love of all the saints, she was a teacher for young children.

The marshal looked at Paisley with a frown, then sighed. “Because you are about the one and only person that I will trust to be around him right now, and since you know where the safe house is I will leave you to take him. It’s too dangerous right now for him to remain on his ship with Fintan.”

“Wait, you mean, The General?” There was awe in Paisley’s voice and she knew it but she had seen what the man had gone through for his mate. He was the only reason that Paisley believed in love once more. It was the reason why, with her mother’s help, she’d broken the arranged marriage and begun to live for herself and not for what she should do.

“He’ll be arriving soon with several guards. You are all going to the bunker. The guards will take the outer shelter, and you and Markus will take the inner sanctuary.”

The inner sanctuary was a place that none could enter if they weren’t of the Ralston family. It literally took living blood and a tie to the blood and heartbeat of a Ralston to keep the air actually on in that sanctuary. It would be either a haven or a tomb depending on if people knew it or not.

“And what about you, Mother? You’ve kept a low profile while they sorted out the issues that were evidently in your offices.”

“This is very true and it’s past time for me to get back to what it is that I do. Besides, this way I know that you will be safe as will Markus.”

“You could always go into the shelter with him instead of me,” Paisley pointed out.

“No, because they would use you to get to me. You are my one weakness, Paisley.”

Paisley moved and gave her mother a hug. “There are not many that know of me, Mother. You’d probably be safe, you know, and so would I.”

“No, there is too much to be done.”

“But—”

“No buts, Paisley. This is an order. You are to keep him safe.”

Paisley bowed her head and nodded. “As you say. Just remember I don’t know how to fight.”

“You don’t, but he does.” Her mother gave her another hug, then pushed her toward where the family bunker was. It was something that no one and nothing could get into. Even if the world exploded, the bunker would eject into space and hook up with a waiting ship that would become their own private spaceship. It had been designed with the ultimate of protections in mind. Her great-grandfather had designed it and it had kept her mother safe when this war began to truly heat up as it had in the last several months.

“I trust you,” Paisley told her mother. She took a deep breath and smiled. “I’ll go pack.”

“Your things are already in the bunker. I had my assistant go to your home and empty your closets and drawers, and I personally put everything into the bunker. It’s fully stocked with food for the two of you for as long as you might need to be in there as well as the machines to recreate foods if you wanted or needed it. I doubt that much time will be needed, but just in case.”

“A career military man,” Paisley mused. “And how does he feel about having to hide?” she asked with a knowing grin. She knew the type.

“About like what you think he’s feeling,” the marshal stated with a laugh. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Fin had to tranquilize him to bring him in. Now, go.”

And just like that Paisley was summarily assigned a duty that she had no business taking care of. She wasn’t a fighter and never had been. She was soft, short, and more than a little pudgy. Paisley was not anything that anyone really would ever look a second time at.

*****

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