Here’s a snippet/excerpt from A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE. Investigator Kylie Sanderson has been caught and transformed into an alien reptile being–then rescued and the process reversed. Her cold shapeshifter lover does what he can to help. But her problems aren’t over.
“Are you ready to watch the films now?”
She shrugged without answering.
He reached for the remote the doctor had left on the counter and started the show again. “May I sit with you?” he asked.
“Sure.” She waved a hand at the chair the doctor had vacated. “Why not?”
He looked as if he were about to answer then he sat down without saying anything. Her attention was caught by the film. This section included Griff, in his reptile form. What a different attitude she displayed toward him than the staff! Whenever he entered her enclosure, she immediately calmed and became submissive to his every command, if that’s what they were, those odd clicks and bumps.
She might not understand them, but her reptile self clearly did. For the next several sections, Griff translated for her as Dr. Astrid gave commands, and Reptile-Kylie performed a multitude of tasks, manipulating machinery and other devices. She passed every one of the tests conducted by the doctor and her staff, easily lifting heavy objects, able to navigate obstacle courses at lightning speed, even passing dexterity tests with ease, especially when rewarded with raw meat.
The doctor returned during the screening to watch with them. “A fine specimen, for what she is.”
Kylie tore her eyes away from the screen. “Did — did Jaco see this? And the others? Did they?”
The doctor paused the film. “Only when you were rescued. Jaco took you to the nearest hospital, and an ambulance brought you here. After that, he wasn’t permitted access until we were well on the way to recovery.” Her voice acquired an edge. “If I’d known Rand would be such a fool as to bring you that trash this morning, he wouldn’t have been allowed in at all.”
Kylie chewed her lip, recalling the conclusions she’d drawn from that conversation. “And. my family?”
The doctor wouldn’t meet her gaze. “Your father was here. He didn’t stay long.”
“He saw it? Me?”
“He pushed his way in, or bought his way in, I don’t know which. I found him staring in the glass. I asked him if he wanted to visit. I even offered to call security if he was hesitant to try it one on one.” She rubbed her hands together, as if they pained her. “He looked through me like I wasn’t really there.”
Kylie swallowed hard, her throat closing. “Didn’t he say anything at all?” she whispered.
The doctor didn’t answer.
She turned to Griff. “Were you there? Did you hear what he said?”
Griff cocked his head and looked her in the eye. “He said, ‘That’s not my daughter.’”
A few years ago when shapeshifter romances were becoming all the rage, I wrote A Small Degree of Hope. Not your standard warm and fuzzy hero, Griff is an alien reptile, who has the ability to shift into a human appearance.
Worse yet, his species is trying to turn human women into reptiles for mating purposes. Kylie Sanderson is part of the crack team investigating the case, and she becomes involved in a way she never imagined in her worst nightmares.
With that said, here’s today’s snippet:
Griff said, “While you were at the hospital, I tracked my brothers who fled when you were rescued. They have not withdrawn far.”
That raised her eyebrow. “You knew where they were, and you didn’t tell SIRT?”
“I was not sure I could trust them. While they had you, I had to be cautious.”
There it was again, that almost tender sound to what he said. Like when he’d pledged his loyalty to her a few moments before. Did he know the feelings she held for him, the effect he had on her? She’d been comfortable, held in his arms but she intentionally hadn’t defined their relationship.
In the hospital, she rationalized his role as mentor, perhaps, or a co-participant in experiments. He’d been necessary to explain the differences between reptile and human as he knew them for medical necessity.
But here, as they hid together from the forces massed against them, she knew in her heart that this was different. She was drawn to him, not by necessity, but because some tenuous feelings had evolved between them. He had been there, each step of the way. He hadn’t abandoned her, like her father, or turned on her, like Jaco. He’d stayed by her side, good or bad.
For better, or for worse, in sickness and in health…
That was the standard, wasn’t it? When you mated/married, you took each other with all the foibles as well as the high points, and you did what you could to support the other person through the bad times.
And these were bad times.
A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online and retail booksellers. Enjoy!
Happy Saturday scifi and fantasy fans! Hope you have something lovely planned–here in beautiful Crawford County, it’s the last night of the huge fair…demolition derby and fireworks! Highlight of the backwoods week. 🙂
But out in space, book two of the Horizon Crossover series is slowly coming together. HORIZON STRIFE picks up a year after Temms Rogers and his crew burst through a wormhole into a new universe. They face new issues and new enemies:
After his sudden, shocking arrival in the Mariel star system, his ship broken and crew decimated, Captain Temms Rogers has fought his way back to self-sufficiency, even prosperity, in a new universe with his new crew. Over the months, he’s established a reputation as a fair and competent mercenary ship—if someone’s got a job, he can handle it. His fledgling alliance with the powerful Consortium has opened many doors for him, and he repays that support with his loyalty.
As time goes on, what appeared to be a rosy future begins to pale. First, the Consortium’s system rival, The Agency, takes notice of Rogers’ efforts to rally the other independent ship owners against them, and trouble isn’t far behind. Worse, those officers who crossed over through the wormhole with Rogers have begun to fall ill, victim to a local virus or germ to which they’ve never been exposed or developed immunity.
Just when he needs his ship at full battle readiness, Rogers finds his crew incapacitated, one by one, leaving the new recruits from this side of the barrier to try to rescue them from impending death.
Even as he deals with these possibilities, Rogers finds he has to face a horrifying fate worse than that of his crew: a lovesick doctor determined to marry him—or else!
So here’s today’s snippet, from the opening chapter:
The door slammed open, and the two men, blindfolded and bound, were shoved inside, bouncing off the hallway’s narrow walls. “Keep moving!” barked the man who’d brought them. He planted a hand firmly in the back of the second in command of the ship Ramman and pushed him ahead into the darkness.
“Captain, what do they want?” the second gasped between clenched teeth.
“Shut up,” his captain replied. Jak Moster had been around this cosmos for nearly sixty-five annuals, forty of those dealing with the financial monster called the Agency. The organization controlled the way free captains did business in nearly the whole interplanetary sector, on an unofficial basis. The local governments couldn’t—or wouldn’t—take action against them.
He had a pretty good idea what was wanted here–most important now was the ability to stay alive through this encounter. It might happen, too.
Poor Jak. Not a good time to be wrong.
If you haven’t read HORIZON SHIFT yet, it’s still available. Check it out here:
or also on Kindle.
For more wonderful snippets for FREE, check out the rest of today’s list at Science Fiction and Fantasy Saturday!