Friday, February 05, 2010

Red Dawn by Annie Nicholas

RED DAWN from Eirelander Publishing RELEASING TODAY!


Assigned as an interpreter to the Cyngi, Liaison Sadie Beckit is left in the dark. Knowledge is power when dealing with multiple races of aliens but this mysterious species has chosen to withhold most of their culture and language information.

Crossing multiple star systems to the remote Cyngi world on an old space freighter, she has come to accompany Ambassador Nual back to Central Station. On their return journey the crew and passengers end up fighting for their lives.

Sadie is forced to confront her past. Difficult choices must be made and the survival of a whole race depends on her decisions. Can she abandon her heart and sacrifice the Red Dawn?



She handed him a silver foil package, “Here’s a nutrient pack,” then retreated to the bathroom.

A blush burned across her cheeks. He caught her trying to steal. Must be losing her edge. The temptation had seduced her, and the things on his head caught her off guard. Those weak excuses didn’t offer much comfort.

After relieving herself, she stripped and turned the shower on. The hot water pounded on her back. She heard Nual use the facilities. At least their species had that in common and chuckled to herself until the shower door slid open.

“What’s so funny?” He stepped in and hogged the hot water.

Pressed into the corner her laughter died. She crossed her arms over her breasts and sucked in a breath. The water poured over his upturned face, bounced off his broad shoulders, and down his sculpted chest. Was this proper Cyngi behavior? She hated being kept in the dark. For all she knew Cyngi males and females always showered together.

She lowered her arms and allowed herself a peek at his abdomen. Dark blue freckles gathered in the center and trailed down. Did they reach all the way?

He held out the soap. “Can you wash my back?” Then he turned to give her an excellent view of his firm ass.

A little soap went a long way. It spread over his broad shoulders as she scrubbed down the line of his spine. The muscles flexed as he leaned into her hands. His skin felt smooth, and she resisted the urge to use more than her hands to rub against him.

This crossed her professional limits but she didn’t mind. When did she lose her discretion? Probably the moment this luscious piece of blue male flesh walked through the airlock.

Some Liaisons slept with their charges, but this urge never applied to her. Without more info on Cyngi culture, she wouldn’t make the first move. She’d learned from personal experience not to mistake alien mannerisms for flirtation. It could cost her what dignity she had left.

After he rinsed, he took the soap from her hands. “Turn. I’ll wash yours.”

She spun around to face the wall, anxious to feel his large hands. In quick sure strokes, he lathered her skin then kneaded the knots from her shoulders. They melted away and left her feeling like putty.

“You were so tense.” He traced his fingers along the scars between her shoulder blades. They thrilled from his touch. “Claw marks. How does a protected member of the Galactic Liaison get such a scratch?”

“By not running fast enough from a Tegany beast in a Zair desert.”

“I heard of your expedition to Zairan. You should have had a guard detail. The Zair are too aggressive for you to travel alone.”

“None of my guards survived the trip.” The memory hurt enough to steal her voice leaving it a whisper.

He applied soap to her head and scrubbed the tight, short curls of her hair.

“They shouldn’t send you to such places, Sadie. The military should have gone instead.”

It surprised her that he heard her emotionally strangled words over the rushing water as she rinsed her head.

Reluctant to leave his hands, she dragged her body out of the shower.
He followed and accepted the towel she offered him.

“They didn’t send me. I volunteered. The people of Zairan deserve a chance for change. Not all of them are from the warrior clans. Some want a different life.” She twisted away from him.

The frustration and pain caused by the convoluted politics brought tears to her eyes. She’d left behind those people, unable to help them and possibly making things worse.

“They needed a teacher.”

“I’m glad you agreed to my contract instead of going back there.”

“I wasn’t given a choice.” She managed a small smile. “I want to be here and am honored by your request, but my work is incomplete and no one else wants to help.”

The Galactic Liaison office had made it an order to make sure she couldn’t refuse. She never would have denied such an opportunity. The Zair Warlords who had placed a price on her head made the decision to leave Central Station even easier. Sent to the outer edges of space should keep her out of trouble until a solution could be found.

“You want to return?”

“If the Earth Liaison gave up so easily on humans I’d never be standing here.” She glanced down at herself. “Naked.”


His chuckle followed her out of the bathroom where she pulled out a camisole and underwear set with the red one-piece suit from under the cot and dressed.

He came from behind and caressed the other scar that went through her left
shoulder. “This is from a blaster. Seems you need to learn to duck faster as well.” His hands stopped her from tugging on the suit any further. “Lay down on the cot. I’ll work out the rest of the knots in your back.”

She pivoted to face him, grasping the half-done suit to her breasts. If only he knew he caused most of those knots.

“Did I offend?” His brow knitted together.

“No.” He scrambled all her internal circuits with his charm. She needed to gather her wits. “Even though I’m a Liaison, I am still human and cannot control all my primal instincts. I’m attracted to you, and the physical contact makes me uncomfortable.”

“No need to feel this way.” He grinned.

But his skin paled to a lighter shade of blue. As he sat on the edge of the bunk she could see his hands trembling.

“There’s something wrong. Are you ill?”

“The nutrient packs were not enough. How long were we in Jump?”

“Two days. What do you think you need?”

“Days?” He rested his head in his hands. The dull hue of his skin made his freckles appear darker. She should have noticed this earlier in the shower. “Can you get me to my storage bin? The one we were going to check on before Jump.”

She knelt next to him to gaze up at his face. A thin sheen of sweat covered his forehead. “I think we should have Kaille take a look at you. She’s the ship medic.”

“What I need is in the bin.”

“Okay, maybe I can bring your stuff here instead of making you move. You look like hell, Nual.”

“No, I have to go there. I have to feed, Liaison.” He stared at her and gave a soft smile. “Please.”

Annie Nicholas
Who says a sexy man has to be human?

1 comment:

J Hali said...

Congratulations, you deserve the best!