I’m excited to be participating the Super Nova Week of the SFRB Summer Cafe!
First, let me tell you about the opportunities to win! There is a rafflecopter giveaway for the week, linked at the bottom of the post. I’m also giving away your choice of Stealing Mercury e-book, Deadly Lover e-book, or Stealing Mercury print edition (US only). To enter, just comment below with which book prize you’re interested in and I’ll draw one random winner on Thursday.
The Theme of the blog hop is the “summer Cafe” and I’ve been asked to post something that ties into the theme: recipes, excerpts, or food from the book.
I’ve selected an excerpt from Stealing Mercury, that I like to call: Samantha learns that making sure everyone gets to eat could be a recipe for disaster.
“You can’t be serious.” Samantha spun around to face Drake. He and Resler sat at the table tucked into a corner of the crew commons room. Twenty-four hours into the journey and they already looked comfortable and relaxed, while she was still suffering from the nerves chewing a hole through the lining of her stomach.
Drake had again dressed in all black, wearing the synth and leather like a macabre uniform. The precise cut of the thin beard that defined his jaw provided a stark contrast to Resler’s unkempt appearance. The man must not own a comb. A deck of silver and white lambda cards stretched across the shiny black expanse of the tabletop like an asteroid field. Their half-eaten meals had been shoved aside to make way for the game.
“Very serious,” said Drake. “No food for the Dogs, Sam. None.” He met her glare with a calm that beat against Samantha’s outrage like water on baked coolie-clay. One good tap and she’d explode like a shower of pottery shards. “Come, sit.” He waved her forward with a flick of his wrist then scooped up the cards and shuffled them. “We’ll deal you in.”
“Hey,” Resler grumbled, “I was winning.”
“Don’t be an ass.” Drake tapped the cards on the table.
Samantha rolled her shoulders and waited for their bickering to die down. Stars she was tired. It had been twenty grueling hours of flight prep, getting up to speed on the peculiarities of the Dove and getting them all safely into skipspace—that wonderful state that bent the laws of ordinary physics and made faster than light travel possible.
She’d spent the last four hours walking the ship, doing systems checks, and she needed sleep before she had to be back at the pilot’s station to prep for the first skip-point. At each skip-point the ship had to drop back to normal space for the skip-field generator’s cool-down period before jumping again. The Dove was top of the line. She could probably recalculate to a 48 hour interval between skip-points. Unfortunately, she had to stick to the standard 36, if she wanted to end up at the rendezvous coordinates on schedule to meet Sevti’s people.
The ship was in tip-top shape, but she couldn’t boast the same. She needed to find a bed and climb in, but first she needed fuel. And she refused to fill her own belly until the Arena Dogs had been fed. Their cages had built-in waste and water units, but no rations. She couldn’t let Drake’s decree stand.
Patience gone, she filled her lungs, ready to shout for their attention. “The Arena Dogs, Mr. Drake. I won’t let them go hungry.”
He flipped the triangular cards through his hands again. “It’s not your concern, Sam.”
She pinched the bridge of her nose and willed away the building headache. “As pilot, the wellbeing of everyone on board is my responsibility.”
Drake set the cards down in a tidy stack. “They aren’t passengers.” He twisted in his seat to face her more fully. “They’re property. And my responsibility, not yours. But, if it will ease your mind, there’s nothing to worry about. The Dogs were engineered for endurance and efficiency. They can easily survive without food for the three week journey.”
That stopped her for a half a minute. He said it so casually and looked at her like he thought it made everything all right. “It might be true, but it’s also cruel. The ship is fully stocked. There’s no reason to let them suffer.”
Resler smirked then reached over and snagged a chunk of tuber from his plate. “You should tell her.”
Drake shot the man a glare to rival the chill of space.
“Tell me what?” She considered that look and what it might mean. If there was something, anything, she could use to break through his resolve she’d jump at it and worry about the consequences later. Fisting her hands on her hips, she stepped close enough to tower over the seated men. “I get it. You’re afraid.”
All expression slipped off Drake’s face. “Afraid? Of you?”
“Not me. The Arena Dogs.”
“Ha!” Drake slid off of the seat then stood, forcing her to look up to hold his gaze.
Samantha resisted the urge to step back.
He leaned in, crowding her even more. “They’re afraid of me, not the other way around.”
She’d been bullied by bigger men. “You’d have to get close to the cages to feed them. I think you’re afraid they’d make a grab for you.”
He shook his head and smiled. “Did you really think I’d be that easy to provoke?”
She shrugged, impressed that he saw through her ploy. She’d have to be careful not to underestimate him again, but that didn’t mean she was ready to give up. “Prove it then. Feed them.”
The smile tightened, giving him the pinched look of a man wearing a belt synched one notch too far. “I’ve worked with them—no bars between us—for years. If I wanted to feed them, I would.”
Samantha nodded. “Sure. But I bet you had a bunch of guards there to back you up.”
He stepped forward and her muscles tensed in reaction, but he brushed past. The pop of a storage bin opening drew her around as he dug into one of the built-in containers that lined the wall.
He pulled out a protein ration bar and tossed it to her. “If you want to bet, I’ve got a better wager.”
Stealing Mercury is available now at:
SFRB Summer Cafe Blog Hop – Week 5: June 29th – July 5th: SUPERNOVA
This week, visit each blog below to learn more about all of the SuperNova, SuperHot SFR Stories we have on tap for you. Many of the blogs have giveaways, all have something fun for readers!
- Teresa Noelle Roberts
- Smart Girls Love Scifi Romance
- The Nightlife
- Cathryn Cade’s Blog
- Creating Character Connections
- Zaniah Press
- Inkblots from the Inkstained Succubus
And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter prize draw: