Monday, November 20, 2017

MYSTERY MONDAY: SCI/FI, ADVENTURE, ROMANCE: SOLAR WIND BY CAROLE ANN LEE

Privateer Meets Stowaway: In this sequel to Banner's Bonus, Zeke Slater poses as an average cargo pilot, yet in reality he's a privateer for a secret alliance of merchants turned vigilante.



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EXCERPT

"Boss, what do y’ make of this?" Frank asked from across the helm, his eyes fixed on an overhead monitor.

Rising from his seat, Slater moved to stand behind his first officer. "Make of what?"

"Portal Screen B." He hitched his chin toward a pulsing red indicator.

Slater paused, his eyes following Frank’s. "Looks like something’s shifted back there."

"Yep, that’s what I figured too, but check this." Frank’s craggy gray brows drew together in concentration as he tapped in another directive. "Unless I’m mistak'n’, I’d say we picked ourselves up some live freight back at Port Chance."

In silent speculation the captain’s eyes narrowed as he watched the security vid-cam quickly replay the last sixty seconds of activity.

"You want me to run a backup on the sensors, Boss?"

"No, I’ve got a better idea." Descending the short flight of stairs to the corridor, Slater snagged his leather jacket and holstered weapon off a hook, wrenching them on as they made their way toward the ship's hold.

Lights snapped to life, and a host of familiar scents greeted them as they stepped inside the cargo bay. It was a pungent mixture of imported rarities, exotic spices, and the distinctive odor of raw textiles.

"Help!" came a muffled, yet decidedly feminine voice. "I want out!"

"Y’ hear that?" Frank asked, his breath forming in the chilled air.

"Over there." Slater’s eyes were focused on a stack of shipping modules lined along the starboard wall. "That damned Celeste," he muttered.

"Celeste? Y’ don’t think she’d be so foolish as t’--"

"I wouldn’t put anything past her." The sleek blue-black barrel of Slater’s weapon quietly slid from its holster as they wormed their way through the tightly stacked freight. If nothing else, he’d give her the scare of her life.

The muffled sounds came again. Stronger. More urgent. The insistent kicking and thumping coming from the far corner.

Thunk! "Somebody, get me out of here!" Thunk! "Please! I’m freezing." Thunk! Thunk!

"Since when did we start haulin’ talkin’ veggies?" Frank asked, grinning as they drew to a halt before a fresh produce pod.

A muttered curse was Slater’s low-voiced reply as he disengaged the lock on the vented pod. "All right, Celeste! Come on out." And with a swift upward motion that belied the weight of the cumbersome lid, he threw it back on its hinges.

"It’s about time somebo--dee..." Kira Delaney’s voice trailed into quivering silence as bright overhead light spilled into the pod--even as Slater’s lips formed an unspoken curse.

Frank’s long, breathy whistle finally broke the silence. "Y’ want me to check the next crate over for Celeste?" he asked, his gravelly voice dripping with unmasked laughter.

No response.

ALSO BY CAROLE ANN LEE


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INNOCENCE MEETS HEDONISM: He’s a father’s worst nightmare.  Yet cargo pilot, Nick Banner, is Jonathan Loring’s only hope of getting his daughter, Tressa, safely off-planet and out of harm’s way.

Within the tight confines of Banner’s ship, Tressa battles a girlhood crush gone dangerous.  As a sheltered teen, she secretly worshipped the hotshot cargo pilot from afar.  Even his carnal reputation seemed romantic. But, now, those old feelings are unsettling.

Banner misses nothing, particularly her coy glances.  Yeah, he’s noticed, and sexual tension smolders.  Danger stalks them across the galaxy and when Tressa is captured by pirates, Banner finds himself willing to sell his soul to free her.   





Sunday, November 19, 2017

ROMANCE SUNDAY: IRISH REBELS, STING OPERATION: THE BRAND

Northern Irish rebels pull off a sting operation against the British Army in 1777 Philadelphia.



REVIEW:

TITLE: The Brand
AUTHOR:  John Reinhard Dizon
RATING 5 Stars
REVIEWED BY: Tamara White

  When a man is branded his life becomes the brand. The reader can feel the pain of Sean Colerian and almost smell his searing flesh as he is branded for his beliefs. Sean Colerian is the under dog fighter readers love to read about and root for. John Reinhard Dizon thrust his reader into one of the more tumultuous phases in American history 1777. John Reinhard Dizon’s historical fiction The Brand does a tremendous job of not only capturing the essence of the period but the tensions and strife that occurred during conflict. The Brand is not just a war story; where an infant country is struggle to become free but a love story as well. Sean Colerian and the lovely Beth O’ Connell’ hearts want for each other while class and duty demand she care for another. Beth is a young woman who doesn’t want what society 1777 society requires her to desire. The Brand does an excellent job of balancing fiction with historical truths. The Brand reads like a thrilling heart pounding roller-coaster that the reader will want to read again.   

EXCERPT


He and three of his men escorted Colonel Blackmore to the Penn Hotel that evening for the high-stakes Poque game Coulter alluded to. They reserved the conference room on the second floor, and there were eight other men who arrived to keep watch over the lobby area. One of them was Joe Flynn, who was with his three cohorts standing in the rear area on the main floor in discussion with four of Count Verdu's Spanish guards.
"Well, well," Brennus swaggered over to where the eight men were conversing. "Looks like we've got some truly hard men on guard down here. If I was a terrorist, I sure would think twice about making a move in this hotel."
"Just a friendly card game, it shouldn't be attracting a whole lot of attention," Flynn replied. "I'm not quite sure as to what would be the gain in offing a prison official, a couple of diplomats and an overseas trader."
"Nothing these terrorists do these days ever makes sense," Brennus said, before a flash of realization suddenly hit him. "Say, fellow, did anyone ever tell you that you looked like Flynn Ravernet?"
"Ravernet?" he squinted, looking at Cobra, who suddenly looked like he was poised to strike. "You mean Flynn Ravernet, the English highwayman? Do you mean you've actually seen a depiction of him? I was under the impression that no man could see Ravernet and live. Kind of like what God told Moses on Mount Sinai."
"I don't think there's a whole lot to compare between God and a murderous cutthroat."
"Well, I will admit Ravernet has not earned many admirers back home, although there are always the odd groups of females who fancy the rogue," Flynn smiled.
"Joe Flynn," Brennus mused. "Even that's a coincidence."
"I know it's hard to keep track of current events, being so far away from home, but I have found it to my benefit to keep reference material handy for the misinformed," Flynn reached into the pocket of his waistcoat and produced a folded-up newspaper. He unfolded it and handed it to Brennus. KING OF THIEVES KILLED IN SHOOTOUT
Brennus read the accompanying story on the front page of the London Times which told of a military foray into the hills surrounding York. Ravernet and his gang were trapped in a ravine and gunned down, the bodies returned to London before being buried in an unmarked grave. "Where's the rest of the paper? And why would you be carrying it around anyway?"
"I think I've had my share of the third degree," Flynn narrowed his eyes. "You're a prison guard; you're not an officer of the law. If you have any misgivings, I suggest you take it up with your superior officer. He may not be in the mood for much foolishness if he ends up on the losing end of that Poque game."
"I'll be sure to separate fact from foolishness before I bring it up with him," Brennus smirked. "I appreciate the suggestion."
Brennus turned and walked out of the lobby as the eight men began speaking in muted voices. He signaled his own men to keep an eye on things as he stepped out onto the windy streets. These scoundrels might be using these Poque games as a distraction for a bigger gambit. Anyone who spent time around Colonel Blackmore knew he was a degenerate gambler who would sacrifice time for a crap shoot. He would find out if Coulter and Flynn had an interest in anything more than cards.
He decided to head back to Constitution Hall and find out where Benjamin Franklin was staying. It was well known Franklin traveled with a portable printing press. He had no doubt Franklin could have made up a copy of the Times at Flynn's request. He also knew the authorities were dying to hang anything onto Franklin to warrant an arrest for sedition. It might be a career-changing move on his end if he could prove Flynn was actually Ravernet and had ties to Franklin himself. As he turned onto Market Street, he saw the figure of a woman on the opposite end of the block walking in his direction. She was dressed in men's clothing, possibly riding gear. It didn't make a lot of sense for a woman to be wearing that type of expensive apparel in the downtown area.
He stared in astonishment as he recognized the face of the Princess Nightshade beneath her tricorn hat. It seemed impossible she was out here in the middle of downtown, dressed like this. The last time he saw her she was beautiful, and Indian or not he would have married her in a heartbeat. If he had a choice between Beth O'Connell and the Princess, he would have gone for the white woman, but it would have been a hard choice.
The Princess walked directly up to him, and before he could say anything, he felt the sickening impact in his belly. She drove six inches of cold steel into his stomach, twisting it before shoving him backwards toward a narrow alley to her right. He felt his legs buckling, and the last thing he remembered in this life was collapsing onto his back on the slimy concrete. The Princess grabbed an overflowing trash barrel and dumped it out onto Brennus. She set it down in front of the alley, satisfied the body of the dying man would not be visible until daylight as she disappeared into the darkness.