Accused (The Talani Trade Alliance Book 1) by Leona Windwalker
Rune Tree Press
December 27, 2016
Matthias Reynolds loves his life. He’s starting to make it as a graphic artist at last and has a job he really likes at a local café that pays the bills. When a night out clubbing leads to an awkward morning after, he’s embarrassed and more than ready to forget all about it. When Talani Enforcers show up at the café, he doesn’t know what to make of it all as he’s led away in restraints.
Standing accused of crimes he struggles to understand, he finds he has an unexpected champion: the Talani warrior and war hero J’nah Quislin. J’nah knows that Matty is his. All J’nah has to do is keep Matty safe from those who engineered Matty’s charges and sentencing. That, and get Matty to accept that the universe always intended them to be together as one. All it requires is for Matty to return J’nah’s devotion and offer his willing submission. Can Matty do it, with all that it will mean for his future?
He carried his clothes and shoes over to the waste receptacle as instructed, wincing at the thought of how much he’d paid for those shoes just three weeks ago. He finished just in time, as he could hear doors opening and closing. His door opened moments later, another burly Talani warrior entering with a bowl of food. He took it as it was offered and thanked the warrior, who gave a curt nod and carefully backed out of the cell, quickly shutting the door behind him before pushing a cart to the next cell.
The food looked unappetizing, being some sort of purple mush with strings of some unidentified meat and vegetables he knew no name for. He’d not eaten all day since the two bites of toast on that seemingly far away morning. He gingerly tried a taste.
Okay, so not revolting despite the looks of it. Not great either, but I’ve had worse things.
He polished off the bowl and pondered what to do with it.
Are they going to come back for it or do I throw it away or what?
He decided to place it upon the floor until someone came to tell him what to do. He waited until his thirst made him go to the sink and take a drink from his cupped hands. He scrubbed at his teeth with his finger, wishing he at least had some toothpaste. Exhausted from his harrowing day, he was relieved when the lights began to dim, slowly going out. He climbed onto his bed and curled up on it before the light was completely gone. He was asleep before he knew it.
Morning came quickly, the lights slowly brightening up almost as if they were approximating sunrise. Another warrior appeared, bringing more food and a plastic tumbler of some type of juice. He eyed the dirty bowl and utensil on the floor pointedly, then pointed to the trash receptacle.
“Okay, sorry, I wasn’t sure,” Matty said contritely.
The warrior gave a curt nod and handed him his breakfast. It too did not look like much and was on the bland side. He found the juice sweet with a tart edge to it that he found hard to define. Whatever it was, it was refreshing and not only slaked his thirst, but left his mouth feeling clean. When he finished, he placed all the dishes in the trash, taking a moment to wonder where it all disappeared to when he closed the lid.
He’d splashed his face with some water from the sink and dampened his hair finger combing it to try to tame the bedhead he couldn’t see but knew was there. He was just finishing his efforts when guards came, opening the cell doors and ushering the prisoners out into the hall. Exiting into the branch corridor, they continued on until they came to the main corridor, then made their way to yet another branch. This one ended in a large area that had a stage of some sort set up, with a large overhead screen set up. There were chairs filled with Talani as well as a few other humanoids he couldn’t identify.
Other Trade members, no doubt. I suppose only those of us who make it off-world get to meet them until Earth makes full membership. Though maybe some of the higher ranked employees back at the Trade Confederation Headquarters back on Earth might’ve too, I suppose. Not like I can ask Duane, he thought with a mixture of sarcasm, anger, and sadness.
The group of prisoners were ushered through a door at the rear of the stage and the door shut. Sound from the other room was abruptly cut off and the prisoners were urged to sit down, being re-cuffed as they did so.
One of the warriors tilted his head as if listening to instructions, alerting Matty that he was wearing an earpiece of some sort. The instructions seemed to involve taking the prisoners one by one to the outside room, returning a few minutes later to retrieve another. Soon it was Matty’s turn and he found himself onstage, made larger on the viewing screen that hung over head. Information written in Talani scrolled on one side of the screen and the seated audience seemed to be busy glancing up at it and idly tapping away on their data pads or staring off into space. A chime sounded, apparently serving as an alarm as all movements ceased. His image vanished from the screen and characters flashed up on the screen for several moments. He was escorted offstage and met by yet another official, this time a Talani woman with short-cropped hair.
“This way, please, Matthias.” She continued speaking to him as they walked along. “You’ve successfully been matched and now we are beginning your out-processing. First stop is Medical, where they will give you an exam and prepare you as needed for where you are going.”
“You mean like immunizations?”
She hesitated before answering. “Immunizations, well, yes, that is definitely something they’ll tend to.”
Makes sense. Not like I’d have any natural defenses against some exotic hemorrhagic fever or anything like that. Matty shuddered at the thought. “So, can you tell me who employed me?”
“J’nah Quislin. He’s a warrior of great renown, a hero of the Expansion Wars.”
Leona is a longtime staunch supporter of human rights and environmental causes. Her favourite genre to read is M/M fiction and she particularly enjoys science fiction, fantasy, and action/suspense sub-genres—especially if they have a nice seasoning of romance. She has far too many books on her Kindle, has overloaded her phone with even more and, when not reading, writing, being driven to distraction by her children, or being overlorded by her three cats, can be found trying to locate the portal that the sock monster uses to steal socks from her dryer.
Recent head-reeling news for her included her novel Jared:Urban Wolves #1 being nominated for an Indie Award from Metamorph and placing as a finalist in the 2016 Rainbow Awards, earning an Honorable Mention. She’s still suspicious that it’s all been a dream, but as long as her readers are happy and she can find at least one of the missing socks, she’s happy.
You’ll find her books on Amazon (universal link is http://author.to/LeonaWindwalker), including on Kindle Unlimited. You’ll also find her on Facebook at Leona Windwalker, where you can keep up on news regarding current, new, and upcoming releases.
Don’t forget to put it on your Goodreads shelf! (Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33414912-accused)