Day Two of the Swept Away Blog Hop and once again I step out of the dungeon only to find that I’ve missed the elusive mystery lady
tonight. It’s been a long couple of days in real life and by the time I’ve gotten to sit down to attend to my writing it is already late. So I’m not totally surprised that I’ve missed her again.
What I am surprised at is that she had not only a copy of Imogene’s Starburst and Star of the Fleet but also the first meeting of the hero and heroine from my good friend Khloe Wren’s upcoming book, Her Guardian Angel, which isn’t due out until June 1st.
She’d left markers in both books and I found myself coming back to reread them several times today trying to figure out if there’s a pattern to what she’s flagging.
Star of the Fleet Excerpt:
She walked in, her body more slender than ever before, hollows at her cheeks, not gaunt, but without the softening of her features. Those eyes of hers carried a distance and coolness Gustav had never seen before, the green depths freezing him out. He couldn’t detect any long-term signs of damage from the torture she had experienced, but he itched to strip the clothes off her to check, making sure she had healed. The impulse to go to her shook him to the core.
Duvall McCord had kept him apprised of her physical condition while she recuperated on the Elector. Once she had recovered enough to board the freighter, though, there had been total silence. He didn’t like that. But he was an Admiral, and he had a role to serve. How well I understand the restraints of my position,he thought sourly. It kept him from acting on the emotions, clawing at him all the time, especially the one which told him she remained his woman. Therefore he observed radio silence and stewed. His staff was confused by his almost irrational behavior of the last months.
Now she was here, vital and alive. He ached to touch her face and soft, satiny skin. He cleared his throat instead of acting. “Good to have you back, Commander. How are you feeling?” He winced at the question, thinking soberly that while she seemed fit enough, dark shadows remained in her eyes. Her beautiful, rich brown hair was tied up in the severe bun she always favored on duty, her flawless skin pale. He didn’t need to detect any sign of bruising, having already received and reviewed the holographic images Duvall had sent him. Her condition when Raven and Jemma had found her enraged him even now.
“I’m fine, Admiral. The SurgiTech aboard the Elector cleared me to take a leave period. However I believe I am well enough to report for duty.” Her eyes glinted, and for an instant, he wondered if she meant to disagree with her placement here. He knew she would argue his placing her on medical leave, at least until a satisfactory evaluation arrived showing her recovered enough to resume duty. She had such a fiery temperament, but it seemed muted—the one particular hot-blooded trait that had drawn him to her over time. The vitality she exuded warmed him, and he craved her heat, even now, after all these years.
“Commander, I am placing you on medical leave until I have an updated medical status.” She started to rise, the lines at the sides of her mouth tightening and her knuckles on top of his desk turning white. He waited as she drew herself back, ready to argue the point.
“With all due respect—”
He cut her off. “No, Commander. This is a routine requirement, and you know it. Besides which, you need to log in with the accommodation section and obtain a billet, so I have no doubt the time will be welcome.” Her eyes flashed against her pale skin. She sat back in the seat, obviously understanding this was not an argument she needed.
“Sir. Yes sir.”
He understood she wanted to fight his decision, and the urge to grab her and tell her why he had brought her back here raged within him. He contained his anger as reality slammed into life. He held on to his patience.
“You have also been transferred to the Admiralty on Security Detail. The current Commander is taking leave. You are required to take over for the duration. He will arrange to complete an official handover in the next day or two, and once you have effectively taken control, we will be required to meet to discuss a particular case that requires looking into. You will also contact SurgiTech to arrange an exam, allowing you to resume duty.” He kept his words quiet and controlled, dismissing her.
“Sir, I need to be back in the field—”
“No.” His voice was decisive and firm, dismissive, stopping her outburst. His gut churned. Every word he spoke felt like it built a brick wall between them, this one more insurmountable than the one that already existed between them. “I need your completed report on my desk before 1500 hours.”
She reached into a pocket of her suit, pulled out a micro disk, leaned forward, and placed it on his desk. “My report is complete. I had five weeks of nothing to do.” She raised her chin and looked at him. “Sir.” The last word she chewed out, cold enough he could almost see ice dripping from her lips, and that almost shattered his control. “If that is all, sir?” He nodded, and she stood, a small gasp escaping.
He half rose. She still experienced pain, even as she tried to deny the truth, and he wondered just how much. He needed to know she was ready to resume her role as a security officer. Her eyes flicked to his, daring him to say anything. He subsided, watching her heft the bag, and with a smart salute, she left.
That went well. He slammed his fist on the desk, watching as the disk she had presented him with jumped in response. Barsha! Even after nearly ten years, he still wanted her. The tortures of being near her, but unable to be with her, would never end, not if they continued this way. He closed his eyes, breathing deeply in through his nose, and exhaled. Gustav pushed the defeatist thoughts aside before focusing on his work once more. He pressed the communications center, giving orders to his staff.
Star of the Fleet, the story of Kera Aarens and Gustav Elphin will be released by Secret Cravings Publishing in August 2012 as an Ebook.
Kera Aarens is strong, sexy and focused on her new role as Commander. She is also recovering from her brutal experiences at the hands of Crick Sur Banden. What could be better than the post of Head of Security on Aenna?
Gustav Elphin is the Admiral in charge of the Admiralty base of Aenna. His past with Kera is a lonely testament to the mistakes he made in his focus on the Star of Ishtar – the mistakes he keenly regrets.
Now the two are thrust together under dangerous circumstances. Gustav must work with Kera to find and neutralize the threat to the base security before any hope for the safety of all are compromised.
Somewhere along the way, maybe, there will be a chance to find hope and a second chance at love.
Xander drove Jake and Dominic in the truck out to the accident. Nick and Kit were in the Rescue Vehicle behind them. Dominic was still riding high from knowing his mate was coming closer to him. As they pulled up at the accident and saw the crumpled cab, he hoped it didn’t involve any injuries. Just at that moment, Rosebery was short a paramedic, their one and only ambo was otherwise occupied today so they were it for emergency call outs. His Dad really didn’t do well with blood and gore and was much more comfortable with putting out fires. His heightened empathic senses easily overloaded with other peoples emotions and made him sick.
Xander pulled the truck up as close to the wrecked cab as possible. Nick and Kit pulled up behind them and were the first out as they rushed to get the jaws of life, stretcher and first aid case out the back of the Rescue Vehicle. While they were getting the equipment, Dominic jumped out the cab. As soon as his feet hit the road, his head snapped up as his instincts went nuts – he froze to the spot. His father jumped out after him and all but bowled him over.
“What the hell Dominic? Get moving boy, times-a-wasting.”
“It’s her, Dad.” Dominic breathed out. He couldn’t believe it. Her first day on the island and she’d come straight to him! He stood in a trance-like state as he watched her all but dance around the fallen logs, clutching a first aid kit, trying to get to the cab. A thump to his shoulder knocked him back to reality.
“Head out the clouds son, you can see to her later. We got a victim to help and a job to do first.” Jake left him to head over to the wreck, throwing back over his shoulder “Remember, she doesn’t know you and you can not let her know that you know her. She’ll freak out and run, then you’ll really have your work cut out for you.”
Dominic and his team met up in front of the wreaked cab. Kit and Nick headed off to start cutting the driver from the wreck. He watched as Kit leaned in the broken window to check for a pulse. She gave them the thumbs up to indicate he was still in the land of the living. It would take a few minutes for them to cut the cab apart enough to remove the driver so Dominic moved his focus to his mate. Watching her come closer to them, she was focused on her feet so as to not trip. She looked up as she reached them and stumbled out of shock. Dominic caught her elbow before she went over.
“Easy there, beautiful, we don’t need to go adding any more injuries to this accident.” He noticed his voice sounded deeper, smoother than it normally did and he’d felt the shiver that ran over her as he’d spoken. She quickly righted herself, turned to him to with a slight smile that faulted. Her eyes went wide, as she took him in. She frowned slightly as she focused on his eyes. No doubt she thought they looked familiar. She had been seeing them for the last four years in her sleep. She closed her eyes briefly, took a deep breath before she spoke.
“Thanks for the save. I saw the accident and thought I could help. I’ve just finished my degree in nursing and para-medicine and have been a volunteer paramedic for the last nine years. So I thought you might like help with the driver, you know, only if you need it. I don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes.” She finished nervously, her voice was so sweet and sent shivers down his spine turning his brain to mush. Thankfully his Dad’s brain still functioned and he quickly brought the situation back on track.
“That sounds great, we could sure use a hand in that department. I’m Jake White by the way. The captain of the TFS here in Rosebery. The man who caught you would be my son, Dominic, then there’s Xander. The two over at the cab are Nick and Kit – what’s your name?”
Dominic watched as she firmly shook his father’s hand.
“Pleased to meet you Jake, my name’s Adele.”
Adele. Dominic rolled the name around his head, finally after four years he knew her name – it was as beautiful as her.
“Well, Adele. Let’s get this job done shall we?” His Dad led the way over to the wreck that Kit and Nick had now finished opening up.
It looks like I’ll have to change my strategy tomorrow and work in the Tavern proper to make sure I catch her when she first arrives. I had some very interesting suggestions as to why our mystery lady keeps leaving books and/or what she’s waiting for at the Tavern each day. There are still more surprises ahead I’m sure.
If you’d like to be entered into the contest to win a copy of one of the books Imogene is offering and the necklace from Khloe, follow the Wicked Muse Tavern and leave a comment as to what you think our mystery lady is searching for. Be sure to check back over the next couple of days to learn more about her.