Tag Archives: Futuristic

The Royal Mate (MF) ~ April Zyon @aprilzyon @evernightpub

07 Jul 12th - the-royal-mate


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.


Hanging the towel on the rack after he finished drying off, Markus quickly dressed in civilian clothing. Since he was not on the destroyer, he had brought civvies for his stay mostly. It felt a little odd not to be dressing in his uniform; he practically lived in one even during his downtime on their home world, but he only had a couple clean ones with him, should they be required.

Once dressed he returned to the bedroom to unpack his bag into a dresser. They had weapons, and the bunker was definitely secure. He had to give the marshal props for that.

He headed for the kitchen area once he had things put away to find Paisley. Markus could smell something coming from that direction. It smelled good, whatever it might be. Not as good as Paisley had smelled when he’d held her close, but it would do in the interim.

He already knew she was his other half. He’d felt the pull to her the moment he had seen her in her mother’s office. And when they’d stepped into that tube and he’d touched her it was cemented in his mind just who and what she was to him. The missing part to completing him and removing the vague emptiness that existed within him. Like all Craegins born, there was always another individual out there in their territory who held that missing piece. It was the ceremony, the act of making love together, that completed the bonding or as they called it,Krathletri Vox, the Catching of Souls.

Her back was to him when he entered the kitchen. She was humming to herself. It was soft, and he only caught the occasional note, but it sounded vaguely familiar. Soothing. Moving in closer, he stayed back out of range when he noticed she had a knife in hand to chop up vegetables. No way was he going to startle someone with a blade in hand. She may not be military trained, but everyone had that basic instinct to protect themselves when startled by spinning to face the “threat.”

He cleared his throat to get her attention.

Paisley turned and grinned at him, and he felt his gut tighten. Damn, he could become accustomed to her smile. “Hey.” She set down the utensils she was working with and approached him. “Did the shower help you feel better?” He couldn’t help but notice the way her gaze skimmed down his body. He liked that she noticed him and that he affected her as much as she affected him. “I hope you’re hungry. Food will be ready soon.”

“Starving,” he told her. Markus moved in closer to her and peered over her shoulder. “Looks good. Anything I can do to help?”

“If you will just grab the drinks that I have in the cooler, that would be great. The plates are already out. The cooler is to your left. You can’t miss it.”

“I can do that,” he said. Following her directions and the pointed finger, he found the cooler tucked in among the cabinets. After finding out what she wanted, he took the drinks to the table. Then because he had nothing else to do he sat down at the table to watch her while she worked. She had a grace to her that pulled his interest back and had his body humming happily in anticipation. Paisley had long, flowing red hair that she kept pushing out of her face. Tiny freckles dotted her shoulders, teasing him, making him want to look under her shirt to see if the freckles went further than just her shoulders.

Unable to sit still any longer, he got up to help her. They spent the time cooking, talking, and getting to know each other. From time to time they would brush against each other, their hands touching and both of them looking at each other as if they had felt something. He had, but he didn’t know if she had.

Once they had finished with their meal, both of them moved into the living space.

She glanced at the chair beside the sofa, hesitating for a moment before she settled onto the sofa with him. Then she flipped on the screen, which took up most of the wall, with a small handheld remote. There before them was now a peaceful ocean view.

How much should he share with her? He wasn’t certain if he even should tell her that he felt something for her, because of the danger that he was in just from him being him. He wanted to. He wanted to take her into his arms and kiss her delicious-looking pink lips, but it wouldn’t be fair to her because it would bring her into danger, and while he was certain he could protect himself, he wasn’t sure that he would be able to keep her safe at all times as well.

She surprised him when she said, “I want to know more about you, Markus. Tell me about life on board a starship, please? I’ve never left the planet. I have this thing with flying, so I stay close to home.”

She was so cute. She had a thing with flying? That was certainly interesting. “Sometimes it’s hard to find a moment for yourself,” he told her. “I would go into the zero gravity area just so that I could have some time to think without listening to others constantly coming to me for this or that.”

“It sounds a little oppressive.”

“It’s not. I loved what I did because I believed in it. I loved being in the air and doing what I did because it meant that I was making a difference. I fought for our people because it was what I was born to do. I just didn’t know the extent of it.”

“And now you have me here with you. I’m here as part of keeping you out of the skies. You must really hate me.”

He saw sadness on her face and even though they had just technically met he knew he had to tell her. There was danger coming for him but he needed her as much as he needed his weapons.

He had to have her. To hell with the consequences. He needed her in his life. “Paisley…” He reached out to touch her hand, moving to take it into his, and pulled her close to his body. “I feel something for you.”

“I feel something for you, too.” Their hands touched, fingers twined, and he simply focused on that feeling for a moment and savored her words. She felt something for him.

“I also worry for you,” he admitted. He leaned in and brushed his lips to her cheek. “I worry that this life is going to be too dangerous to have you close to me but I can’t seem to let you go. Ever.”

She had moved in closer to him. He hadn’t failed to notice that she seemed to want to touch him as much as he wanted to touch her. He dipped his head just a bit and brushed his lips to her hand that he held, just caressing her knuckles with his lips. He felt it and knew she felt the small spark that fanned between them as well.

He decided to go all in and said, “You feel the mating bond, too. You are mine. You know that, I know it, and while it would be far safer for you to not be a part of my life, I have to have you. I need you in my life, now and always. Will you be mine?”

He saw the surprise on her face, then her tentative nod. When she accepted, he did the only thing he could in that moment and kissed her. He kissed her like a man starved and in many ways he was; he was starved for the other half of his soul.


Buy Links:

Evernight  ~  Bookstrand  ~  Amazon (US)  ~  All Romance

AprilZyon-Logo(halfsize)Author Bio:

April is a lover of all things romance, and a writer with an imagination that goes on for miles and miles. Writing for Evernight Publishing is a dream come true for her and something she wants to continue for the rest of her life.

Living in the great state of Indiana I’m now 42, married with 2 children aged 20 and 18 as of 2016 so life is always going. I live with the husband, both kids, my mom and her (our) puppy as well. :)

I work third shift and work odd hours and days so generally when I am awake no one else is, so I write :)

That’s about it for me!

Author Links:

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Facebook Fan Page  ~  Facebook Reader Group  ~  Tsu  ~  Twitter  ~  Tumblr  ~  Blogger  ~  Google+  ~  Goodreads

* ** *** ******** *** ** *


Adira’s Mate, book 1 – Evernight | Amazon (US)
Sadie’s Mate, book 2 – Evernight | Amazon (US)
Cecilia’s Mate, book 3 – Evernight | Amazon (US)
Petr’s Mate, book 4 – Evernight | Amazon (US)
Chevon’s Mate, book 5 – Evernight | Amazon (US)

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Chevon’s Mate (MF) ~ April Zyon @aprilzyon @evernightpub

06 Jun 7th - Chevon'sMate


Space Wars, 5

Dumping her fiance and going on their honeymoon alone was the best thing Laura Troxell had ever done. Too bad she had seen and heard too much and created enemies that wanted her dead.

Chevon von Janus simply wanted to mold the men and women that boarded his ship into the best Imarian officers they could possibly be. A general in his own right, Chevon was a trainer, but he was also a warrior. When his ship’s sensors picked up a strange object near an asteroid field, he felt it was his duty to investigate. What he found inside, however, threw the straightlaced general for a loop. The woman was from enemy territory. She was also his mate.

Now he has to figure out how to keep her safe from his people and hers.


She took in every single inch of his body. His cock was long and thick—and hard. The head of his shaft was a deep color that had her licking her lips and wanting to taste him. “You are utterly perfect,” she whispered. “I want to taste every single part of your body.”

He snorted at her first words while walking back to the bed. Climbing up, he leaned in to kiss her cheek, then her neck. “You can touch all you want if you’re not wearing anything under this robe. If you are wearing even one little item, I plan to bind your hands and have my way with you until you can’t think clearly.”

“Now I wish I would have put on something under this robe,” she grumbled. “Because I listened to your orders and have nothing on under it. I was just trying to give you a hard time. Did it work?” She tugged at the belt of her robe and watched him. “Are you ready for me to get naked?”

“I have been ready to get you naked since the day I met you. You must admit I’ve restrained myself admirably during your recovery.” She knew for a fact he’d been more concerned about her health than anything else. He’d taken amazing care of her. “But yes, you should remove the robe. And if you are completely bare under there then you get to play first.”

She pulled off the robe, standing there before him so that he could see every inch of her body. Heat infused her cheeks and she chewed her lower lip. “Chevon?”

He breathed out something she didn’t understand, but his tone was reverent. Slowly he lifted his hands to brush up her arms, then cupped her face. Pulling her in for a kiss, he growled something out, the sound feral. It sent a thrill through her body, tightening her nipples and making the throb more pronounced between her legs. “So you approve?”

“Always,” he told her. Grabbing her ass, he lifted her and turned to the bed. He got them settled on the mattress so they were in the middle and she was on top. “Your reward is to play for however long you like, or until I can’t hold back. Whichever comes first.”

She couldn’t wait to be able to playwith him. Teasing Chevon with her mouth, she moved down his body slowly and took her time to nip and touch him from time to time. Finally, she closed her mouth over his cock and moaned, then looked up his body at him. “I’m not hurting you, right?”

He shook his head and swallowed hard enough she heard it. “No, little one.” Chevon shifted on the bed, bending one knee up slightly, and reached over his head to grab hold of the headboard. She leaned up and let her lips skim over his taut stomach, her hand on his chest once again, and he shivered under the touch. She couldn’t stop touching him. Laura wasn’t virginal as many women were when they came to their marriages but she was actually thankful for that at this moment in time. She scooted down and closed her mouth over his shaft again.

Chevon let out a string of words she didn’t know but had her blushing anyway. She knew the tone, and with the groans, moans, and other things he said, Laura knew he was on board for whatever she did to him. A creaking sound had her glancing up to see his hands holding the headboard tightly. She could only smile at the way he was reacting. She continued to touch and move her body over his, her mouth teasing him eagerly. Finally, however, she pulled back from him and kissed her way up his body. “Tell me, my darling man, are you ready for more?” she asked, kissing the side of his neck.

In an instant, his arms banded around her and she found herself on her back with his larger body covering hers. His flesh pressed deliciously against her own. Chevon grabbed her wrists and tugged her hands over her head until she felt the headboard brush her knuckles. “Hold on,” he told her, his voice rougher than she’d ever heard it before.

She wrapped her fingers around the headboard. “Holding on,” she told him, then moaned. “Please.” The way that he had manhandled her, the way he’d forced her body to his will, had her body getting wetter than she could possibly imagine. “Chevon…”

“Be still,” he ordered. Pressing his lips to her cheek, he trailed down to her neck. His hands were busy stroking her arms, moving down her torso, then back up to squeeze her breasts. Chevon pinched her nipples hard enough that she couldn’t stay still, and she gave in to the urge to squirm around, earning her a bite to the space where shoulder met neck.

She wiggled under his touch. Everything he did to her had her body aching for more.



Buy Links:

Evernight  ~  Bookstrand  ~  Amazon (US)  ~  All Romance


AprilZyon-Logo(halfsize)Author Bio:

April is a lover of all things romance, and a writer with an imagination that goes on for miles and miles. Writing for Evernight Publishing is a dream come true for her and something she wants to continue for the rest of her life.

Living in the great state of Indiana I’m now 42, married with 2 children aged 20 and 18 as of 2016 so life is always going. I live with the husband, both kids, my mom and her (our) puppy as well. :)

I work third shift and work odd hours and days so generally when I am awake no one else is, so I write :)

That’s about it for me!

Author Links:

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Facebook Fan Page  ~  Facebook Reader Group  ~  Tsu  ~  Twitter  ~  Tumblr  ~  Blogger  ~  Google+  ~  Goodreads



Adira’s Mate, book 1 – Evernight | Amazon (US)
Sadie’s Mate, book 2 – Evernight | Amazon (US)
Cecilia’s Mate, book 3 – Evernight | Amazon (US)
Petr’s Mate, book 4 – Evernight | Amazon (US)

Coming 2016The Royal Mate, the final book in the Space Wars Series.

Beyond Love (MF) ~ J.J. Lore @JJLore1 @evernightpub

04 Apr 28th - Beyond-Love


Every mining outpost needs a sheriff, and Eidan Cozad is just the Eleoni for the job. Newly arrived on planet with his deputy sister in tow, he faces corruption, hostility, and nearly continuous rain. A chance encounter with a defiant human postal worker adds yet one more complication to his mission.

Neat and tidy Teah Ruida thought when the Eleoni arrived and enforced some law and order, it would be easier for her to deliver her packages. Instead, she’s somehow become embroiled in spat after spat with the handsome and assertive Sheriff himself. Even though she doesn’t want to think about it, she’s become madly curious if the rumor about the strange markings Eleoni hide under their clothes is true.

Tension between Eidan and Teah ignites into passion that defies the barriers between their races. When there’s a violent ambush initiated by the settlement’s criminal organization, the future of their love hangs in the balance.


Eidan had been enjoying himself immensely. Watching Teah’s outrage grow as her eyes sparkled and her cheeks flushed, had made him forget all about the bruises forming on his torso and the chill rain surrounding them with grim humidity. He hadn’t teased a pretty woman in far too long.

He’d taken advantage of her distraction and moved close to her, his body urging him to stay near, be as tactile as possible because everywhere he touched made him want more. She didn’t seem to be searching for an escape as she had upon their earlier acquaintance, but that might be because she was so aggravated. She frowned, and he braced himself for a snappy comeback or perhaps even a push to move him out of her orbit. Instead, she reached out a hand and grasped his shoulder all while she rose up on her toes and pressed her mouth to his.

Shocked at her actions, he failed to react for a few beats. Such tender lips, so sweet. The unexpected caress had him reeling, so when she drew back, still frowning, he took only a moment to decide return the gesture, and he wouldn’t be nearly so chaste about it.

“See, I can be—”

He stopped her protest with a kiss of his own, circling one of his hands around the back of her head as he allowed the other to drop to her waist as he took over. With only a few nudging encouragements, she’d opened her mouth to him, allowing him to taste her, tease with his tongue in a new way as she quivered in his grasp. With a pent-up little moan she leaned against him, her breasts firmly pressed to his chest. His cock, which had been on alert since he’d first touched Teah, now sprang to near-painful attention.

Teah kissed him back, her little nips and licks the only encouragement he needed to lift her up and press her against the wall of the building sheltering them. He grabbed at her thighs and pulled them around his waist even as he ground his hips into her, his thickened cock sliding along the plump flesh between her legs. All the residual adrenaline from the fight ignited in his veins as he allowed sexual energy build between them. He wished he’d removed his damned gloves so he could finally grasp some of her curves.

She made a soft sound deep in her throat and clutched harder at his shoulders, her tongue teasing his then retreating to the safety of her mouth. He followed with a foray of his own and her whole body softened against his as he thrust his tongue inside her. A sudden flash of awareness filled him: Teah would melt against him when he penetrated her. She was incredibly responsive and he was certain when they finally had intercourse, it would be a fulfilling encounter. The way she suddenly clamped her thighs around him and rocked her pussy against the ridge of his cock only confirmed it.

The sudden chirrup of his alarm startled him, and he pulled away from Teah’s succulent lips, the need to return to duty overriding arousal in a painful snap. Teah’s head fell back and she blinked groggily as he answered his comm link summons. An emergency required as much of his attention he could provide even though he was in the middle of foreplay.

“Hey, Eidan! How’d the fight go?” His sister’s voice rang out in a cheerful query, and he winced. No emergency, just inopportune curiosity.

“I won.”

At his brief answer, Teah focused on him, then glanced down their tightly entwined bodies. A deeper blush rose up her cheeks, and she pressed at his forearms and wriggled her legs. Her movements were quite stimulating—everything about her was stimulating in fact, but it was clear she was trying to escape him yet again. In response, he tightened his grip on her full buttocks and she let out a tiny squeal.

“What was that? Are you still at the location? Do you need me to escort you out?”

“No.” He included Teah in that denial. She was staying exactly where she was. The woman in his arms sucked in a breath and pushed at his chest. He flinched because she happened to compress a new bruise and he almost lost his grip on her. She took advantage of his divided attention and kicked her legs. His cock appreciated the rhythmic motion.

“Let me down,” she whispered with a scowl.

“Who was that?” Brida asked quickly. No longer willing to put up with eavesdropping, Eidan reluctantly removed one of his hands from the lush curve of Teah’s ass and hit private link on the comm. Now his sister wouldn’t be able to hear anything but his voice. As soon as he let go of her, Teah struggled in earnest and with an agile twist she was free, ducking under his arm as he reached for her.

“Was there anything else?” he asked as he followed Teah along the walk. She picked up the pace, and he allowed himself the luxury of watching her hips sway.

“Not really. Just checking in to make sure my little brother hadn’t gotten his skull cracked open by some smelly human savage.”

At these words, Teah spun around suddenly, a thunderous frown on her face. “Smelly human savage?”

“You’re not a savage,” Eidan tried to reassure her, though the idea of Teah sinking her teeth into him as they engaged in a naked tussle definitely brought out the primal in him.

“Who’s a savage?” Brida asked.

“No one’s a savage.” He nearly shouted it, frustrated that Teah wasn’t touching him and that his sister had used such a derogatory term so openly. Yes, they had joked about how primitive human society seemed, but it wouldn’t do to entertain even superficial judgments now that they were here among their new constituents. “Brida, I’m signing off.”

With a jerk of his hands he shut off the link and faced his peeved human.

“Don’t even think it.” Teah warned him off with a raised hand. She shuffled backward and eyed him like he was armed and dangerous.

“You don’t know what I’m thinking.” Eidan knew it was a lie, the bulge in his trousers clearly advertising what he was after.

Buy Links:

Evernight  ~  Bookstrand  ~  Amazon (US)  ~  All Romance

Author Bio:

J. J. Lore needs three things; strong, black coffee, time to write, and…well…you can guess the third. When she isn’t inventing fantastical tales filled with passionate people, she’s shaking sriracha on whatever she’s eating or reading about the Justinian plague. For updates on her bestselling erotic romance releases, visit her at:

Author Links:

Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Systematic Seduction (MF) ~ Ravenna Tate @RavennaTate @evernightpub

03 Mar 14th - Systematic-Seduction
The Weathermen 9
***Click HERE to purchase directly from
Evernight Publishing***


Biosystems engineer Blair Adams has worked for Oliver Fairchild, CEO of Fairchild BioSystems, for seven years. And for the past two years, she’s turned him down every single time he’s asked her out. Blair has more than one secret from her past she prays will stay hidden. If Oliver discovers them, she risks losing more than her heart to her charismatic, sexy boss.

Oliver is part of a group of friends financing the efforts to put a stop to The Madeline Project. The program now has a mind of its own, thanks to a virus called Tommy Twister. These men have power, resources, and money, but they’re as ruthless and possessive as the storms ravaging Earth.

They call themselves the Weathermen…

Be warned: anal sex, spanking, sex toys, bondage


When Oliver returned he was barefoot, and she moaned softly. There was something so damn sexy about a barefoot man. He dumped a box of condoms and a bottle of lube on the table next to the sofa, and then he grinned in a way that had her pussy wet all over again.

“Now, I’m ready to make love to you.”

He kissed her again, rougher this time, but she didn’t mind at all. He was so fucking sexy in the way he moved his mouth over hers. When he released her mouth and planted kisses along her neck again, she pushed her body against his, desperate to be skin to skin.

Oliver pulled off her top, nuzzling his face between the cups in her bra. “This is very pretty, but it needs to go.” He unhooked it with one hand, forcing another soft moan from her at the expertise of his gesture, and then he pulled it off her and tossed it onto the floor. “I knew you’d be fucking exquisite. I just knew it.”

No one had ever called her body exquisite. Fat, yes. Lush, definitely. Curvy and full were both used alongside not so thinly veiled suggestions to lose a few pounds so she’d be healthier. But exquisite? Never.

“You’re so damn sexy.”

He grasped her breasts and teased the nipples with his teeth and tongue, taking turns, making such satisfied noises in the back of his throat that she was sure she’d cry from happiness. She’d never had this experience before. This worshipping of her body as though it was meant to be treasured, not merely taken and then made fun of, or picked apart and critiqued.

“Oliver, thank you.”

He looked into her eyes tenderly. “For what?”

“For being like this. For making me feel so … so wanted.”

He brushed a finger along her face, sending shivers down her spine. “Oh, Blair. I do want you. I’ve wanted you for a long time. You’re beautiful. I mean that. It’s very hard right now to hold myself back. I’m dying here.”

She swallowed hard against the lump in her throat. “So am I. In a good way, I mean. I’ve never been this turned on.”

His sweet, sexy smile sent fresh arousal racing through her. He licked her breasts again, paying attention this time to the undersides, and then he pushed her down until she was on her back, and peeled off her Capri pants, panties, and sandals. He sat back on his heels, his gaze traveling lazily over her, the same smile still on his face.

“Damn. You’re more beautiful than I pictured.” He took his dick out of his jeans and pulled on it. “I don’t know where to go first.”

Blair’s mouth opened, but no sound came out. She watched him stroke his cock, mesmerized by the length and width of it. Red, swollen, and glistening with pre-cum already at the tip, it grew in his hand. She couldn’t stop staring at it. Oliver pleasuring himself this way, like he did it all the time in front of people, was the sexiest thing she’d ever seen.

When he released his dick, he moved his hands over her thighs, up and down, then gently spread her legs. He turned her torso toward the edge of the sofa and sat on the coffee table, his cock still free, and licked her inner thighs.

Blair cried out loudly, the desire climbing to crazy levels now. With each pass of his tongue, he moved closer to her labia, until he licked them, too. She whimpered softly as he teased the opening to her wetness with a finger, and when he slid it inside her pussy, she clamped down on it, trying to make herself come.

He made soft noises in the back of his throat as he licked her clit, over and over, while moving his finger in and out at the same time. “Oh, baby. You taste like heaven.”

***Other Buy Links***


* ** *** ***** *** ** *


An Appetite for Blackmail – Book 1
Evernight | Bookstrand | Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | AllRomance

Obsession by Design – Book 2
Evernight | Bookstrand | Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | AllRomance

The Price of Secrecy – Book 3
Evernight | Bookstrand | Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA)AllRomance

Exclusive Access – Book 4
Evernight | Bookstrand | Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA)AllRomance

A Slow-Burning Dance – Book 5
Evernight | Bookstrand | Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA)AllRomance

Taking Passion by Storm – Book 6
Evernight | Bookstrand | Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | AllRomance

A Covert Conquest – Book 7
Evernight | Bookstrand | Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | AllRomance

Surrendering to Chance – Book 8
Evernight | Bookstrand | Amazon (smart link) AllRomance

Petr’s Mate (MF) ~ April Zyon @aprilzyon @evernightpub

**Make sure to enter the giveaway as well!**


Petr’s Mate, Space Wars, book 4

by April Zyon

Publishing by Evernight Publishing

Cover by Jay Aheer with Simply Defined Art



About the Book:

She had no idea how much her life was about to change…

Recruited by NASA to be part of a special team tasked with finding a new world in space, Doctor Samantha Kennedy reluctantly embarks on a six-year voyage. But when a meteor shower forces the crew to take shelter, something goes horribly wrong. Thrown through time and space, she wakes up surrounded by chaos. Her spacecraft is destroyed. Everything she loves is gone. A tall, alien stranger is her only comfort in this bizarre new world.

Fleet Admiral Petr van Jahnsen has seen many things in his career. The strange spacecraft was new even for him, though. But it’s the woman inside that truly fascinates him. Against all odds, everything about the mysterious stranger calls out to him in a way nothing ever has. Now all he has to do is convince her that she’s his mate.

Be warned:  BDSM, spanking


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The clearing of a throat pulled Petr’s attention away from the reply he was working on in return for the latest vid his sister, Adira, had sent. Ensuring his personal data pad was locked, Petr lifted his chin to pin a look on the young officer hovering at the end of the table.

He had figured the dining hall at that hour in the midst of a shift was the best place for privacy. It had worked until now. The young sub-lieutenant looked nervous. “Lieutenant?”

“Apologies, Fleet Admiral van Jahnsen,” he said. A tremor ran through him even though he snapped a salute.

“On board a cruiser or in informal settings it is Admiral, Lieutenant.”

“Of course, sir. Apologies, sir.” The young man was getting more nervous by the minute.

Petr did not like the effect his rank had on the young, impressionable officers. Petr wasn’t one to use his position often, only when someone overstepped the boundaries of their society in ways that truly pissed him off.

To that end, he waited patiently while the young man gathered up his courage. “First Admiral Chevon requests your presence on the bridge, sir. We received a transmission of unknown origin. It was weak and distorted. Moments later an unidentified craft crossed our outer border.”

Frowning at that, Petr pushed to his feet. He waved the young lieutenant out ahead of him, tucking his data pad carefully away in a pocket. “Do we have any other information on the craft or potential occupants?”

“Not at this time, sir. The admiral has ordered us to investigate but we are not yet in range for a full scan of the craft. It passed the sensors lining the border, which gave us what little we now have.”

He rode the lift with the young man, his mind spinning in concern and curiosity. Striding onto the command deck of the cruiser, he nodded to the commanding officer. “Time to intercept?” he asked.

Chevon, apparently having instructed the lieutenant to pass along all pertinent details, didn’t appear surprised by Petr’s pointed question. “Within the hour, sir. We should have it on radar shortly prior. From what we could discern from the data coming in from the sensors on the border it has a small radar profile. Likely why it slipped through.”

The man moved to a console and nodded to the woman working at it. “Bring it up.”

The screen above her head, eye level for Petr, lit up with data and some grainy images. Chevon put a finger to the small object tumbling lazily through space. “The sensors read it as debris. There was a blip of something that potentially could be a life sign, but it was too quick and faint for the sensors to accurately interpret, would be my guess. Per standard protocol, a notification was sent to the closest available vessel, us.”

Petr nodded slowly, narrowing his eyes on the images. “Play it again,” he requested absently. The images were reset, and he again watched the little oddly shaped item tumble on a wobbly axis while it passed through the sensor ring. Twice more he asked it to be replayed before having the crew member send it to his work data pad.

He wanted to see if he could clean up the images a little more. He could have asked the crew to do so, but he had the time. Beyond that, Chevon had many crew members on board who were fresh out of officers’ school. This flight was a training mission of sorts. “Alert me when we are within radar range. I will be in my quarters.”

“As you wish, Admiral.” Chevon saluted briskly before moving on to pass instructions to the crew.

Pausing briefly to watch the interaction, he felt a hint of a smile tug at his lips. Chevon might be gruff, but he was an exceptional and patient instructor. One of the best still on active duty. It was why so many that came through officers’ school fought to gain a position on his cruiser for the mandatory two years of in-field training. Those that came from Chevon’s cruiser were better officers for it. The man put his crew through every conceivable scenario. And Chevon had many experiences with which to draw from to make sure they were ready for whatever their next posting might be.

The crew listened when Chevon spoke, not merely out of respect for his rank but also for the knowledge they knew he had to share with them. Petr stood for another moment, watching the interaction between the crew and their leader since it was part of the reason he was onboard the cruiser. He was there to evaluate how the new officers were integrating into their roles before he’d return to his own vessel, which he’d left in the skillful hands of his second.

Satisfied that everything was well in hand, Petr left Chevon to the situation that presented itself, and what he could teach his young crew. His mind turned instantly to the sensor video once he cleared the bridge.

In his quarters, Petr settled in at the workstation and slotted the data pad into the port of the station. Once it queued up, he pulled the file off and got to work on getting some clarity. He could have waited for them to arrive, and intercept, but Petr was not feeling all that patient.

Odd for him. He had patience out every orifice even on the worst days. Unless it involved his sister or something that piqued his interest. Like this mysterious and unusual craft. While the programs began their work to remove some of the noise of space that often distorted the sensor feeds, Petr collected a snack and beverage. His original plan was to go to the dining hall and eat there, but he’d been drawn into the video his sister had compiled and lost himself in it. Seeing his niece and nephew, who had grown so much since his last visit, was well worth skipping a meal.

He could not believe how big they both were getting. Once he returned to his own vessel, he would have to see about arranging another trip to visit with them all. Even that rogue Fintan, who had actually dared to entice Adira into falling in love with him. While it was now mostly the principle of being the older brother that kept him harassing the other man, Petr did actually respect him. And Fintan treated Adira like the jewel she was. Good thing, too, or Petr would have personally shoved him out an airlock when they had first met in person.

Easing back into the chair before the workstation, Petr watched the program work at scrubbing out all the unnecessary background noise that translated into white spots or garbage on an image. He set it to working on the one image where the craft was at the closest point to the camera sensor array. It was still quite small, but if he could get rid of the excess items clogging up the picture he could blow it up more. Of course, it was all only a theory. He didn’t know if it would work.

He stared at the monitor while eating his snack. The soft beep from the workstation pulled him out of the trance-like state he had fallen into. Shaking his head, Petr set aside his cup. The program was now analyzing the image, filling in what it could, and slowly it was clearing up. The final image was crisp in comparison to where it had been.

Petr clicked on it to enlarge it. What he found had confusion sliding through him. A few more clicks, and he got it as large as it would go while remaining clear enough to see it. The writing on the outside hull was unusual. There was also an image in primary colors marking the exterior. Neither were familiar to him, nor was the shape of the craft. And it was definitely a spacecraft of some nature. Approximately twice as large as one of the Imarian crawlers, it had a unusual shape to it. Narrowing his eyes, he leaned in, knowing it wouldn’t help him to see it more clearly and yet unable to stop himself.

His communication device chimed softly. Leaning back in his chair, he pressed the side to activate it with his touch. “Yes?”

“Admiral, the craft is now in radar range,” Chevon told him.

“On my way.” After locking down the workstation, Petr quickly returned to the bridge. Stepping onto it, he nodded to the officers who saluted, making his way to Chevon’s side. “What do we know?”

“Not much more than we did, sir. We will be in range soon to bring it on board. Now that we have a bearing, we’ve increased our speed slightly to scoop it up.”

“I’m reading two life signs, sir.”

Petr turned his attention to the young female officer. “Anything more?”

“Their life-support system appears to be failing. Based on the computer models, they have perhaps a day’s worth available. The last hours would be thin, though.”

“That makes boarding easier,” Chevon muttered. “I’ll have the boarding party readied. Once it’s in the cargo hold, they can sweep through.”

Petr made the decision immediately. “I will go with them.” Chevon’s sharp look said he wanted to argue but was hesitating. “I’ll remain behind the first men in, but I’m intrigued by this craft.” He was also highly trained in close-quarters combat, more so than even the highest ranking of the security personnel that Chevon would be sending in. Petr knew what it was like to have to fight for his life every moment of every day.

The commanding officer gave a slow nod. “As you wish, sir.”

One of the other officers called out the time to intercept. Giving Chevon a nod, Petr headed through the cruiser for the large cargo hold that would be the unusual craft’s home for the time being.

It seemed to take much too long for them to pull the ship into the hold. The first four from security began their sweep. From his vantage point at the area they had managed to open on the craft, Petr watched the men pause to look around now and again before moving on.

The interior of the ship was oddly cluttered. Very inefficient, to his thinking. The stench of death permeated the air. Never a good sign. Two more from security went in to do the follow-up sweep behind the other team, which is when Petr stepped into the craft. He had to keep his head bent slightly while moving. At the joints between sections, he practically had to fold himself in half to get through.

A very inefficient design, indeed. Shaking his head, he froze at the sound of blaster fire. What shook him to his core was the feminine scream. It cut straight to the protective core of his being and had him racing through the craft in the direction it continued to come from.

Two of the first security team were down, dead. One of the ones Petr had followed in was holding a blaster pointed at the head of a hysterical female. Pushing the weapon down, Petr ordered him to move into a position to watch the one direction and had the other man look at the direction they had come from.

He then crouched down before the woman. She still cried, the tears pouring freely over her cheeks, but her screams had calmed to whimpers of an emotional agony that had her arms locked around her chest while she rocked back and forth. “We are not here to harm you,” he said in his most gentle voice.

She flinched, and the whimpering grew louder. The rocking movement had ceased, but now she shivered as if freezing.

Going with instinct, Petr undid his uniform jacket and shrugged it off. In slow, smooth movements he wrapped it around her shoulders, keeping a watchful eye on her should she feel the need to strike out at the unknown. Then he held out a hand to her, palm up, and waited.


This is book 4 of my Space Wars Series.