The Angel of 13th Street is Back in Fallen Angel by Eden Winters (excerpt and giveaway)


Title:  Fallen Angel

Series: The Angel of 13th Street 2

Author: Eden Winters

Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books

Release Date: 2/27/17

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 63,000 words

Genre: Romance, Age difference, urban, rent boys, redemption, second chances

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Who can save the rescuer of lost souls?

For ten years ex-rent boy Noah Everett has fought the good fight, offering second chances to those still in the life. Now he’s cracking under the stress. What began as a two-man mission is now going corporate, meaning rules, regulations and inexperienced volunteers needing guidance in a field Noah makes up as he goes along. Who can he turn to when his mentor’s strength is all but gone and his lover is leaving for college—possibly for good?

Four years at State with a full ride scholarship will launch Jeremy Kincaid’s future, but his present includes Noah, Doc, and the closest he’s ever had to a family. And a meth addict who’s become Jeremy’s own personal mission.

An attack sends Noah spinning out of control. Jeremy has to find the way to reach Noah before the man he knows and loves disappears forever.


Noah slammed a case of beer down in the cooler and fished his ringing cell phone out of his pocket. Nobody called his personal phone at this time of day without good reason.  “Noah Everett.”

“Noah? Hey, man. It’s Chip.”

Noah emerged from the cooler, passed through the bar and mouthed, “I’ll be back,” to Mary behind the bar. He stepped out the back door of The Twelfth Street Bar and Grill and plunked down onto a dry spot on the stoop. The rain had finally stopped, raising the humidity to sweltering levels. If this call didn’t need privacy he’d have stayed in the cooler.

“Have you thought any more about what we discussed?” Given the phone call, the caller probably had. Trouble was, thinking alone didn’t seem to be getting them anywhere.

The casual, “Yeah,” didn’t bode well.

“And?” Fuck.

A long silence followed. “Well, my… my boyfriend isn’t a bad man. I mean, he treats me good and stuff, it’s just that I don’t like… I don’t like—”

“You don’t like him pimping you out to other men,” Noah finished for Chip.

Inside his bar, sixty-seven notches decorated a doorframe, signifying sixty-seven rent boys who’d left prostitution behind and started over someplace else.

Had Doc Cook carved a notch somewhere when he’d pulled Noah from the gutter, dusted him off, and pointed him in the right direction?

What the hell made Chip stay with the user? Noah should’ve notched him in at sixty-eight by now. Instead Chip sat on a fence, dreaming of a better life and fooling himself into believing he could have it here.


An exasperated huff sounded in Noah’s ear. “Yeah. Things were cool until he started arranging dates for me.”

Arranging dates? Noah ran his fingers through his short hair and blew out a breath. Motherfucking pimps. More like pimples on the ass of mankind.

Chip continued trying to talk himself out of seeing reason. “I dunno, maybe he’ll stop. I mean, I know he loves me.”

Loves me? Chip had strange ideas of love. He loves me, and we’re only doing this until we have enough money to go away and have it be just us. Noah had said those same words to himself once.


But “us” never happened.

Empty promises had sustained him through sleazy meetings that had started with come-ons and a handful of cash and ended with Noah grateful when johns did him in a hotel room so he could scrub himself raw after they left.

And some johns had scared the fuck out of him.

Chip would be a hot commodity in certain markets. Cute, in an innocent, boy-next-door kind of way, easily influenced, with an inborn willingness to please, and, worse yet, gullible, much as Noah had been many years ago. Chip might as well hang a sign around his neck: “Use me!” No way would the boyfriend give up such a low maintenance source of cash.

Noah began pacing behind the building, boots crunching against gravel. Every kid who called forced him to relive his own past, his own fuck ups.

Damn it all to hell! Had the kid known so little love in his life that he’d cling to a sick illusion?

“Do you actually believe he’ll stop?” Noah kept because I sure as hell don’t to himself.

More silence, a sigh, and then a rare scrap of reality from Chip. “No.”

Noah forced his voice calm when he really wanted to jump through the phone and fix the dumb kid’s life before it was too late. “From what you’ve told me, your parents are out of the question, but how about your grandparents? Or older brother?” Those were Noah’s first choices: stick Chip on a bus and let others with a personal interest manage putting his life back together. Second choice? Put him on a bus to a safe house; let those better qualified handle the details.

This time, no uncertainly colored the adamant, “No! Definitely not! I can’t go home.” More quietly Chip added, “But I’m not sure how long I can stay here, either. He… he talked to a friend of his yesterday.” Even through a telephone connection, Noah envisioned a shudder. “I don’t wanna be in videos.”

Oh shit. Videos. Noah slammed his hand against the wall. No!

“Charge extra for pictures, Noah,” Stevie had said. Noah’s pimp didn’t want to miss a buck, and every time Noah flexed and stretched, it was an easy extra that went straight into the pimp’s pocket.


Bad enough how Noah had made his living without adding hard evidence. It was only a matter of time before Stevie sent him to a studio.


Noah couldn’t go back in time and save his eighteen-year-old self, but he could save Chip. If only the guy would listen.


Rocky Ridge Books | Amazon

Meet the Author

You will know Eden Winters by her distinctive white plumage and exuberant cry of “Hey, y’all!” in a Southern US drawl so thick it renders even the simplest of words unrecognizable. Watch out, she hugs!

Driven by insatiable curiosity, she possibly holds the world’s record for curriculum changes to the point that she’s never quite earned a degree but is a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit.

She’s trudged down hallways with police detectives, learned to disarm knife-wielding bad guys, and witnessed the correct way to blow doors off buildings. Her e-mail contains various snippets of forensic wisdom, such as “What would a dead body left in a Mexican drug tunnel look like after six months?” In the process of her adventures she has written fourteen m/m romance novels, has won several Rainbow Awards, was a Lambda Awards Finalist, and lives in terror of authorities showing up at her door to question her Internet searches.

When not putting characters in dangerous situations she’s a mild-mannered business executive, mother, grandmother, vegetarian, and PFLAG activist.

Her natural habitats are airports, coffee shops, and on the backs of motorcycles.

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Sparky by Marek Moran


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

the-sparky-by-marek-moranAaron’s been living in what his friend Howie calls a sexual desert. But an oasis appears on the horizon when Paul, a divorced electrician with a five-year-old daughter named Sam, moves in next door. He’s a country boy from northern Australia, and although he’s never been with a guy before, he has an impression that anything goes in the city. They find that the ordinary things in life—books, footie in the park, looking after Sam—lead them into an unlikely relationship.

But as their relationship slowly deepens, with Aaron spending time on Paul’s family’s cattle station, it becomes clear that Paul might have a harder time leaving the country behind. To him, happiness means a conventional life—including a mother for Sam. Being with his old friends convinces him he’s on the wrong path with Aaron, and he starts a relationship with a girl from his hometown. If he cannot find the courage to go after what he truly needs, he and Aaron will become nothing more than awkward neighbours.

The Sparky by Marek Moran is well-written, and both the plot and the characters feel current and believable.  Where that should work in most books favor, I think it hurts The Sparky because there are a lot of readers who will just find the dynamics between Aaron and Paul deplorable, especially Paul’s choices later after he and Aaron have begun a relationship. I’m not especially fond of them myself.

If Moran had not made Aaron and Paul so real, I think, perhaps, readers reactions would not be so in keeping to ones similar they would have to people they know in the same situations.  I “understood” what made Paul decide to ‘straight’ again, you get his fear and the pressures, at least the ones he encounters in the small community and inside his head.  Doesn’t make you like him or his actions any better or the pain he inflicts on Aaron.  No these aren’t spoilers, they are part of the blurb. Hell, the whole story is laid out in the blurb, another trend I’m not liking these days. And Aaron’s actions?  That of a huge-hearted man who can’t stop caring even when he’s knows he should.  Also very understandable even if you want to give him a very stern talking to.  I liked Aaron. He and Sam were among my favorite characters.  Sam is Paul’s  daughter with way more smarts than her dad.  Sometimes that happens.

For me the biggest flaw in The Sparky?  The fact that we never know the ‘whats or whys’ when Paul decides to come back around. Paul comes off as too changeable and that sets off so many flags. The switch back is too sudden and without any foundation for us (or Aaron for that matter) to judge that its real, to see why Paul made this life changing decision, the whole story just loses anchor and sort of floats away on a untrustworthy cloud of happiness.

Honestly, I hovered between a 2.75 rating and a 3 stars for The Sparky, but as I said the writing is excellent as are the characters.  Just because I didn’t like their actions or relationship doesn’t mean the story doesn’t have merit.  You might like this couple more than myself.  Let me know if you do and why.

Cover Artist: Catt Ford.  This cover art is confusing, misleading even.  The story has nothing to do with cowboys.  More with the suburbs and a electrician. Wrong, wrong. Put it on another story.

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Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635334470 (ISBN13: 9781635334470)
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Release Day Review: Why I Love Waiters (Why I Love… #2) by T.A. Chase


Rating:  4 stars out of 5


whyilovewaiters-prAs a member of a covert military unit, John Davidson isn’t scared of much. Yet one look into Heath Kane’s dark blue eyes and he knows a different kind of fear for the first time. John can’t be gay, at least not out and proud in his unit, even with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repealed. He’s never been interested enough in any man to risk the fallout.


Heath’s hometown wasn’t the best place for a gay kid to grow up, but his grandmother did her darnedest to make it good for him. Now he’s paying her back for all her love. She’s getting older and needs help, so he returns home to wait tables at the Corner Café while taking online courses to get his degree. Even though the Army base provides him with a lot of buff eye candy, he knows it’s best to keep his head down.


Neither Heath nor John can deny their attraction, and John’s finally willing to act on their mutual interest. But holding on to each other will mean big changes in both their lives.


This was another wonderful sweet story.  John has stayed in the closet due to his military career.  He has been admiring Heath from a distance and knows he can’t do it for much longer.  Heath has been admiring John right back, but fear from past experience and living in his hometown has kept him from making any advances.


John and Heath can’t deny their chemistry once they get the chance to be together.  Heath is so adorable and can begin to ramble when he’s nervous or pretty much just anytime and John can’t help but find him more endearing because of it.  John and Heath pretty much jump right in once they decide to take plunge into dating, but still take the time to learn more about each other.


Heath continues to hope that he won’t be hurt again by someone he decides to put his trust in and John has a pretty stable head on his shoulders which helps to counteract some of Heath’s more flighty qualities.  Seeing them work through their issues and John having to make a life changing decision on if he wants to stay in the military is nice and helps connect with the characters and keep them down to earth.  I loved seeing Chuck and Herb again when they came to visit and at the end.


Cover art by Anne Cain is great and I love the visuals of the characters.


Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N


Book Details:

ebook, 149 pages

Published: 2nd Edition, March 3, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781635333459

Edition Language: English

Series: Why I Love…

A Paul B Review: Webb (Demon Elite 9) by April Kelley


Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

webb-demon-elite-9-by-april-kelleyDario Navarro has been taking care of his mother for the past few years.  While others might see this as a burden, Dario actually enjoys it.  Now that his mother has gotten to the point that caring for her at home is no longer possible, Dario seems to be at a loss for what to do with his life.  To complicate matters, he has feeling for one of his brother’s Demon Elite teammates.  But that really cannot go anywhere as Webb still thinks of him as Credo’s kid brother.

Webb Benbow believes he has blown it with Dario.  Yes, the sixteen plus year difference between the two of them concerns him.  So does the fact that he is Credo’s brother.  But he really screwed things up when he did not answer his phone when Dario’s Mami had a mental breakdown accusing Dario of killing his brother Credo.  He must overcome his issues with the age difference and try to win back Dario’s trust if he is going to have any chance of winning his heart.

Webb and Dario are drawn together again a few days later when Victor, a former member of the assassin squad before it became Demon Elite, breaks into Dario’s house.  Luckily Dario was aware of the situation and was able to escape before Victor finds him.  Following the training that Credo has given him, Dario goes to a predetermined safe spot and calls for rescue.  Webb goes with Credo to pick up the frightened young man and offers comfort.  Webb vows to keep Dario safe from then on.  Dario offers himself as bait to get the location of Victoria Mize.  He has had training whereas the other potential bait options have not.  Webb reluctantly goes along with the suggestion.  He will do everything in his power to protect Dario, but the operation may not have a successful outcome because of it.

This is the ninth and it looks final book in the Demon Elite series.  I could see Webb and Dario being the focus of this book from the events in the previous book.  Webb’s problem with the age difference between himself and Dario nearly undoes the relationship before it even begins.  Even as Dario openly cruises Webb as he helps Dario watch his mother, Webb is reluctant.  With assurances from Dario and Credo that it doesn’t matter, it keeps coming up in Webb’s mind.  When Dario is put in danger, Webb realizes that having Dario is what really matters.  The major story arc of the series is wrapped up though I would have preferred that more of the team members were in on the action in the finish. 

Once again Latrish Waters provides another great cover for this series.  Webb is in a suit against a blue background with the Demon Elite crest in the corner again.

Sales Links

eXtasy Books


Book Details

EBook, 107 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  January 13, 2017 by eXtasy Books

ISBN:  978-1-4874-0991-3

Series:  Demon Elite

Crash (Demon Elite #1)

Wolf (Demon Elite #2)

Cosmo (Demon Elite #3)

Tanner & Shade (Demon Elite #4)

A Lila Review: Jumping In (ALPHAS #6) by Cardeno C.


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

jumping-in-by-cardeno-cWhen love’s on the line, the brave jump in with both feet…

Small town cop Clint Rivera can’t catch a break. His ex of two weeks is suddenly getting married, his dogs tore up his furniture, he’s getting evicted, and he’s out of beer. When he decides to solve his alcohol shortage by going to his ex’s engagement party, Clint winds up too drunk to drive himself home.

Enter gorgeous deputy mayor Hawk Black, the man who constantly shows up unexpectedly and sends Clint’s body and mind into a tailspin with nothing but his whiskey voice and blue eyes. After months of patience, Hawk can finally seduce the man he’s been craving.

Clint’s day might not have started out well, but Hawk’s going to make sure it ends with a bang, preferably in bed. He’ll show Clint some rewards are worth the risk. With love on the line, Clint will need to decide if he can open his heart, tear down his shields, and jump in with both feet.

Jumping In walks the line between romance and erotica. It’s insta-everything, but it works to a certain extent. Clint and Hawk have great chemistry and an easy friendship. I like their banter before and after their relationship.

There are some parts I wish were transition a bit better. They started at a good pace, but as soon as Hawk got his hands on Clint, they went from zero to sixty in less than thirty seconds. For a moment, I was waiting for Hawk to be a shifter, bringing the mating pull into play, but he wasn’t. It worked in the end, but it was a risk the author took.

Overall, if you’re looking for a quick story with good characters and some spice, this is it. If you want some UST, keep looking.

I like the new cover. It’s sweet and goes with the light mood of the story. I like the colors and the cute picture.

Sale Links: Amazon | Payhip | Nook

ebook, 64 pages
Published: February 5, 2017, by The Romance Authors
ISBN: 9781942184676
Edition Language: English

BG Thomas on Writing, Second Chances and ‘The Real Thing’ (Guest Post and excerpt)



The Real Thing by B.G. Thomas
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host B.G. Thomas here today on tour for his new release The Real Thing. 

Welcome, B.G.


A Second Chance

There is something that a writer has to learn. And that is when to stop stop stop and hand in a story. So often we want to edit it one…more…time. We wonder if our hero’s brother should be a sister. Maybe our main character should have had a cat instead of a dog, because, dogoneit, all our heroes have dogs! Or maybe we needed to cut a section. Or add one! It can be agonizing.

Oh, and the deadline! When, if you have a chance of getting the story published, you have to turn it in by a certain date. It’s time! Give it up! Hand it in.

And still there is that feeling. That inner voice…. Gosh! If only I had….

Maybe a writer will do a public reading and there will be this inner cringe because, “Oh no! I forgot to resolve that story thread! OMG! Why is it that I haven’t gotten two dozen IMs or emails asking about it? This will be the day! I am reading this out loud and they will hear the mistake and they will come to me and ask about it and….”

And it’s all senseless. There is no point. At some point the child has to be allowed to walk even though they might fall down. But chances are?

Chances are people like the story just the way it is. And maybe they’ll love it too.


Every now and again something happens and an author gets an opportunity to have that rare second chance. When it’s a director, it’s that version of a movie called “The Director’s Cut.” Or a musician will get to do a remix or newer version of a song.

What happened to me is that I got to clean up and add to three different stories!

First the wonderful publisher Amber Quill Press went out of business and a story I sold them back in 2011 became mine again to do with what I will. And then two Dreamspinner Press anthologies, Riding Double and Two Tickets to Paradise went out of print and I had the rights of two more stories revert back to me.

Then I was thrilled when Dreamspinner was interested in the taking the novella Trust Me and reprinting it…as long as I turned it into a novel. I was like—OMG! Because that story was definitely one of those I had wanted to be longer. There was an important twist in the book I wanted in there and I had to leave it at the side of the computer.

And then they wanted my two short stories as well. And once again, knowing that I am a better writer with eight novels and twenty novellas and short pieces under my belt, they asked me to clean them up a bit and expand them. Dreamspinner Press edits and re-edits and re-edits and a writer can’t help but learn and become a better author.

So that is what I got to do. I added something like twenty thousand words to Trust Me and I renamed it Do You Trust Me? Then I expanded the Two Tickets to Paradise story, New Lease, and was very happy with the result. And finally I took the Riding Double story, The Real Thing, and did the same.

I am so happy I got to expand and clean up my story The Real Thing. I think it is charming and it’s personal and I simply love it. But to get a chance to make it better? I was in heaven. Because Bryan and Curtis are very important to me.

Here is the blurb:   

Bryan Mills has fantasized about cowboys all his life. Real cowboys, that is. He even dresses in what his roommate calls “cowboy drag” when he visits his favorite bar, in the hope of attracting the attentions of a genuine cowboy. But all he usually finds are posers and guys his own age.

Then one night, to his surprise, Curtis Hansen buys him a beer, and Bryan has no doubt this is the real thing. Curtis is a rugged, gorgeous man who is every bit a cowboy. He even owns his own ranch. What follows is about the most amazing night of Bryan’s young life. 

But can they move beyond a night of incredible sex when Bryan admits to Curtis that the only horse he’s ever ridden was a birthday party pony? And that he’s nothing but a poser himself? Maybe, just maybe, Curtis can find the real cowboy inside Bryan, and they can ride off into the sunset together!

And there is nothing I love more than arranging the Universe so my characters can ride off into that fabled sunset.

What amazes me is the response to The Real Thing. It has been on the Amazon best seller list for over a week—as a pre-order! And in the first day of sales hit as high as #5 in LGBT short reads, #113 in short reads for Romance—please note that is Romance and not gay romance, and #250 in gay fiction. Wow!  I am in happy tears and am so happy.

I love Bryan and Curtis so very much and it is wonderful to see readers like them too, especially when making comments like, “The Real Thing by B.G. Thomas was an awesome short story. The way the author has of writing the story constantly had me laughing or fanning myself from the hot scenes.” And, “I am a huge BG Thomas fan and I love cowboys. This story didn’t let me down. It was short but also fun as in all B G books and also sweet and sexy.”

I mean, wow! *wipes more happy tears away* Maybe adding to my story was the right thing to do!

Here is a little taste of, The Real Thing:. Curtis has brought Bryan home to his ranch to see how he feels about the idea of living in the country with a bunch of cattle. Because how can he have a forever man if he can’t find one that likes cows?

Brian helped Curtis load the back of a horse trailer with large, heavy metal sections of what Bryan assumed were gates. It turned out they were corral sections. The pieces ranged from ten to twelve feet long and had small pieces of chain attached. After loading the trailer, they climbed back in the truck, and Curtis explained their job on the way.

“I have a bull and a heifer that just won’t come in. I think there’s a dog scaring them or something. We’re going to assemble a small corral, fill a tub with range cubes, and call for them. I think they’ll come.”

The assembly wasn’t easy, and it embarrassed Bryan how quickly he was out of breath. Curtis didn’t seem to even raise a sweat. They arranged the pieces in a large square, placing them end to end and then slipping the small chains through a hole and back around to secure the sections into a fence. When they were done, they stepped back into the truck and Curtis began to tap a pattern on the horn on his steering wheel. “They know this signal,” he explained. “They’ll come.”

But after a while, there were still no cattle.

Just as they were driving off, Bryan stopped him. “Oh, look! Are they that reddish-brown color, like on TV?”

“Yup. You see them?”

“Way off over there,” Bryan said, pointing.

It took Curtis a moment, but then he said, “Yup. That’s the female. She has a white face.”

So they honked and honked, but to no avail.

It was only then that Bryan remembered Curtis’s traditional family Sunday meal.

“I let them know we were skipping today,” Curtis said.


No,” Curtis said. “Today is for us. And it’s time for dinner. Our dinner.” With that, he took a bag of range cubes, poured them into a large washbasin, and left it in the corral. “I think they’ll come for them tonight. When I honk tomorrow, they’ll come a-runnin’.”

Then they were off and back to Curtis’s house, where he cooked them two huge steaks, once again from his own cattle, for their dinner.

It was the best steak Bryan had ever tasted.

Finally it was time for Curtis to take Bryan home. Bryan had hoped for one more tumble in Curtis’s bed, but two times in one day wasn’t bad, especially when one of those times was under the sun in a bed of hay. Who all could say they’d done that?

The trip back was nice but sad. He didn’t want to go home. He wanted to stay.

With Curtis.

He kept stealing looks at Curtis as they drove, and his heart threatened to pound right out of his chest. Was this love? God. Was he in love?

The thought made him feel very good. It made him feel wonderful, in fact.

And the idea that this was just a weekend thing scared the shit out of him. He wanted more.

Bryan had never felt like he had the past two days, or the past week. Never anything like it. And maybe Tommy was right. He didn’t have much experience when it came to being with a man when they weren’t fucking. Maybe this feeling wasn’t love. He didn’t really know what love felt like, did he? Maybe it was normal to get so swept off his feet the first time a man wanted to spend actual quality time with him.


If this wasn’t something like love, the real thing might just kill him. But what a way to go.

Suddenly it occurred to Bryan that there was something pretty major he was keeping from Curtis. And before he could even think about what he was doing, what he was saying, what the consequences might be, he blurted it out.

He had to….

And if you want to know what it is, you will just have to read the novella!

So long. Y’all come back, now!

B.G. “Ben” Thomas



About the Author


B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of more than a decade and their fabulous dogs Sarah Jane and Oliver. He is blessed to have a lovely daughter as well as many extraordinary friends. He has a great passion for life.

B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction, and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. He has gone to literature conventions his entire adult life where he’s been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He has made up stories since he was a child; it is where he finds his joy.

In the nineties, he wrote for gay adult magazines but stopped because the editors wanted all sex without plot. “The sex is never as important as the characters,” he says. “Who cares what they are doing if we don’t care about them?” Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he began writing again. He submitted a novella and was thrilled when it was accepted in four days. Since then the romantic tales have poured out of him. “It’s like I’m somehow making up for a lifetime’s worth of story-telling!”

“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message. “It is never too late,” he testifies. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”



In the Science Fiction Spotlight: Ardulum: First Don by J.S. Fields (exclusive excerpt)



Ardulum: First Don by J.S. Fields
Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: February 27
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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J.S. Fields today on tour with Ardulum: First Don.



Ardulum. The planet that vanishes. The planet that sleeps.

Neek makes a living piloting the dilapidated tramp transport, Mercy’s Pledge, and smuggling questionable goods across systems blessed with peace and prosperity. She gets by—but only just. In her dreams, she is still haunted by thoughts of Ardulum, the traveling planet that, long ago, visited her homeworld. The Ardulans brought with them agriculture, art, interstellar technology…and then disappeared without a trace, leaving Neek’s people to worship them as gods.

Neek does not believe—and has paid dearly for it with an exile from her home for her heretical views.

Yet, when the crew stumbles into an armed confrontation between the sheriffs of the Charted Systems and an unknown species, fate deals Neek an unexpected hand in the form of a slave girl—a child whose ability to telepathically manipulate cellulose is reminiscent of that of an Ardulan god. Forced to reconcile her beliefs, Neek chooses to protect her, but is the child the key to her salvation, or will she lead them all to their deaths?

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex
Pairing: Female/Female
Length: 83500

Genre: Literary Fiction, Science Fiction, NineStar Press, LGBT, lesbian, bisexual, space opera, aliens, bonded, captivity, coming of age, criminals, kidnapping, pilot, religion, science, slow burn, smugglers, space, spaceships, telekinesis, telepathyExcerpt


Ardulum: First Don
J.S. Fields © 2017
All Rights Reserved



Exclusive Excerpt

In this excerpt, Neek, the pilot of the tramp transport Mercy’s Pledge, stumbles into a battle between the supposed sheriffs of the Charted Systems, and an unknown alien species. This is a significant event, because the Systems have been at peace, absolute peace, for years, so conflict of this magnitude is unheard of. Something is clearly of value on the Risalian ship, and crew of the Pledge are about to have that ‘something’ dumped into their laps.

“Get those skiffs off our tail!” Captain Yorden Kuebrich yelled as Neek rounded the corner.

She looked out the viewscreen just in time to see the Pledge—her engines dead—exit the Callis Wormhole into the middle of a much-unexpected dogfight. A wedge-shaped Risalian skiff zipped past the Pledge, catching the edge of the ship on its wing, and started her into a slow spin. A pod, deep purple and about half the size of the skiff, chased the skiff and grazed their starboard flank. Neek braced herself against the console and heard Yorden tumble into the wall behind her, his substantial girth denting the aluminum.

Mentally cursing the ship’s poor artificial gravity, Neek launched herself into the pilot’s chair, grabbed the yoke, and scoured the latest damage report. “Aft stabilizer is shot,” she called out after checking the computer. Other skiffs near them suddenly swooped back into a larger group, and the Pledge was, for the moment, left alone. Neek released the yoke and let her fingers move deftly over the interface. “Those new spray-on cellulose binders for the hull are holding, but only just. What’s left of the Minoran armor plating is now officially cracked beyond repair.”

She swiveled to see the captain buckling himself into a much larger version of her own chair. His brown hair puffed about his head, per usual, but his body language spoke of surprise and tension. That concerned Neek because Yorden was old enough to have lived through actual conflicts. If anyone knew how to react in a situation like this, it was him.

“Were we just attacked?” she asked incredulously. Neek took a closer look out the viewscreen. The rectangular cutter that sparkled with pinpricks of light and the wedge-shaped, agile skiffs were Risalian. The pods—both the smaller purple ones and the frigate-sized, maroon ones—were unfamiliar. Their formations were just as strange, stacked in columns like stones on a riverbank instead of in pyrimidal and spherical formations like Systems ships would. “Are those all Charted Systems ships?”

Yorden threw up his hands in disgust. “They’re not just Charted Systems ships—they’re Risalian ships. The cutter and skiffs are, anyway. No clue on the pods. What those blue-skinned bastards are doing out here with fully weaponized ships, I can only guess. However, they’re firing lasers. If we lose our armor and take a hit from any of those, we are space dust.”

“Comforting,” Neek mumbled. She hadn’t noticed the laser ports on any of the ships, but now that she looked closer, all of the vessels were covered with armor plating and had at least two laser turrets each.

Neek continued to watch as the pods begin to cluster around a Risalian cutter. A pod ship zipped beneath the cutter, firing wildly at its underside, before making a quick right turn and heading back to a larger pod. Five others followed suit. The cutter’s shielding began to splinter, but the ship remained where it was.

Neek leaned towards the viewscreen, still unsure what she was seeing. “The Risalian ships aren’t chasing, they’re just defending. What is going on? If they’re going to appoint themselves sheriffs of the Charted Systems, they could at least fight back.”

Yorden smacked his hand against the wall, loosing a shower of dust. “Something on that Risalian ship is holding their attention. Get us out of here, before either of them gets any closer.” He pointed to a cluster of ships to Neek’s right, and her eyes followed. Little flashes of bright light sparked and then died intermittently as ships were destroyed, their flotsam creating an ever-expanding ring. A large piece of metal plating floated past the Pledge’s port window. The edge caught and left a thin scratch in the fiberglass as it slid off.

“What are they protecting that is so damn important?” Neek wondered out loud and then snorted. “Something worth more than our hold full of diamond rounds and cellulose-laced textiles?” she added cheekily.

Scowling, Yorden pushed Neek’s hand away from the computer and began his own scan of the Pledge’s systems. “Communications are still up, but I don’t think either party is listening right now.” Frustrated, he kicked the underside of the console. “Try one of them. Better than being crushed.”

“Captain, come on. We are dead in space. If another one comes at us, why don’t we just fire at it? It’s better than being rammed.” She pointed upwards at a circular hole in the ceiling. “What’s the benefit of flying a ship so ancient it falls apart if you’re not taking advantage of the grandfathered weapons system?”


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