Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Midnight's Shadow - Sara Brookes

Hey Brigaders! Just wanted to say that my new SF Romance just released from Liquid Silver Books and pass along the details. It's the second book in the Star Runner Saga and if you like lots of action, adventure, and general sci-fi goodness in a love story, this is the one for you.

Midnight's Shadow


It’s been months since the traumatic and life-altering events on Sulis. Wallace hasn’t been the same and Taran has spent her nights in an empty bed. When a stranger offers her the opportunity to pilot the extraordinary Spyridon—Taran refuses. There’s too much emotional turmoil in her life right now and the less complications, the better.


But Wallace has other ideas and seizes the opportunity without her knowledge. He deliberately sacrifices the one thing Taran loves unconditionally—Eidolon.


Now Taran finds herself captain of a starship that legend paints as haunted. Nothing is as it seems on a ship that appears to have a mind of its own. Forced to accept the consequences before her, Taran will have to put her faith in a man she doesn’t trust as she tries to win back the love of the man she does.

Midnight's Shadow is available for purchase here: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/books/midnightsshadow.htm

But, if you'd like to read a snippet from the first chapter, I've posted it below. Want to read the first chapter in its entirety? You can fly over to my site where I have it posted: http://www.sarabrookes.net/2011/02/08/midnights-shadow-releases/.


Chapter One
If Wallace didn’t kill us, I’d kill him myself.
Bright laser lights streaked across the screen and the ship rocked from the impact. I swore and tapped the helm controls in front of me before I grabbed the side of it as another blast shook the deck-plates beneath my feet. At this rate, we were going to either die in a hail of gunfire or shake to death.
Personally, I didn’t like either option as I’d done the whole at-death’s-doorstep bit already. Twice. Death didn’t suit me.
“Dammit, Wallace,” I said through gritted teeth. At this rate, someone would need to go check for any breaches in the hull. “Do something.”
The volume and ferocity of his swears matched, then surpassed mine as he fought with the main helm wheel. “I need more power.”
“I haven’t got any to give you.” Even as I said it, I started to bypass less critical systems and tried to find another tactic to use because I refused to crack into life support. The bridge lights flickered twice and we both made automatic adjustments to counter the power surge. “You’ve got three wicked pixies and four regular missiles, not to mention one fighter hot on your tail.”
“We’re going to go vertical on these sons o’ bitches,” he barked out. “See if we can’t loop around and take out the lone fighter first. Then we’ll deal with the rest.”
The choice of flight pattern was wrong and I gritted my teeth to keep from correcting him. The group of three was easier to deal with. If you were a good shot, you could get more than one fighter at a time and conserve any dwindling weapon supply. In a fight, that was always a good thing. To shoot wildly at a lone fighter was a waste of time, energy and resources–all things we already had in short supply.
Despite my reservations, I made the changes he requested and waited for further instructions. I wasn’t here to fly, only to teach and offer assistance, nothing more. Whatever I was supposed to do–it was damn hard to keep doing it.
As expected, the fighters adjusted accordingly for Wallace’s maneuver and we now had even bigger problems. “Enemy is making course corrections and firing weapons. Three fighters are incoming, port side, screaming like a virgin having her first orgasm.”
“Hang on.” Wallace jerked the controls to the right and I wrapped my hand around the left side of my control panel to keep myself in the seat as the ship tilted. The fighters made the same corrections and continued to arrow for us with deadly accuracy.
Wallace’s focus held firm on the helm in front of him. I seized the opportunity and quickly tapped a sequence into the computer with my thumb as discretely as I could. An alarm blared in response and I overrode it with a quick key combination to shut it down. Shit, I’d hoped to make the correction without setting off the alarm.
My cheeks heated as Wallace cut his eyes to me and his lips bowed down into a deep frown. “I don’t need your help. Change it back.”
I reversed the combination even before he finished his demand because I realized my mistake. He wanted to do this on his own, but I could only stand to watch him struggle for so long. Wallace was out to prove himself and my covert piloting flew in the face of that.
My fingers hovered over the panel in front of me and I studied the reports that quickly scrolled past. “I can divert forty percent of the gravity control system for you but that’s all I can manage. Anymore and I’ll start cutting into the life support. I don’t know about you, but I’m particularly fond of breathing.”
“What about the recirculation systems? Can you bypass it and re-route the life support that way?”
At his request, I studied the systems in front of me and felt the motion of the ship change as he made a course correction. We continued to barrel forward with the small IGP fighters still tailing us. “Some, but I don’t know how much it will help.”
“Do it,” he ordered firmly.
I nodded and started to make the changes, hopeful they’d make a difference. Midway through, the computer in front of me shut down completely and I slammed my hand down on it in frustration. The screen flickered once then went completely dead.
Harness straps clanked loudly against the back of the seat as I threw them off and pushed away from the dead console in order to sprint around Wallace to the starboard controls. I plopped down into the seat, ignored the restraints at the side as I keyed up the sequence he ordered. Within thirty seconds, it was entered and my finger hovered over the control in wait.
“Initiate it.”
The ship shook violently as he pulled back on the helm control to shoot vertical. Panic caused me to scramble to get the harness locked around my waist as I cursed myself for not engaging it earlier. The controls in front of me displayed the gravity of our situation.
“They’re still hot on our tail. Engines holding steady for the moment. I imagine not for long though,” I added through clenched teeth. I had my suspicions about what would happen next.
Something hit us on the port side and I examined the panel in front of me to see what happened as the ship bucked from the force. Another Calibur class fighter that hadn’t shown up on my scans hit the aft engines–which were on the brink of failure. I scowled and immediately started to re-route the systems in order to compensate but it didn’t seem to help. While I had a very skilled touch, it was geared more toward flying than efficiently compensating for damage.
Everything stilled around us, which was a bad sign. While it meant the impact had finished shuddering through the hull, the cessation of sound also meant the engines were completely gone.
“At least the shaking stopped,” I said wryly as my body went limp in defeat and my head came to rest on the controls. I’d gotten to be a real pro at the whole ‘crash a spaceship’ deal. Honestly, it was not something to excel in. You’d think I’d learn to avoid it by now, but that didn’t seem likely given my history and the current situation.
Wallace let loose a string of violent words that caused me to flinch and as I lifted my head, my eyes cut to the narrow opening just above the large screen in front of us. His tirade ceased and he shouted my name a few times in order to gain my attention.
I glanced his way and saw the tight set of his mouth and the shake in his shoulders as he tried to muscle the controls into submission. “Taran, some help would be nice.”
My hands lifted in defeat. Even I would have performed horribly under these same conditions. I didn’t have Wallace’s enhanced strength, but he didn’t have my ace flying skills.
I didn’t bother to keep the annoyance from my voice. “Your aft engines are damaged and gone. All you have are the two starboard thrusters and they’ll only spin us around in circles. There is nothing I can do. It’s all on you now.”
He growled in frustration and keyed in sequences with one hand while he continued to struggle with steering. Every combination was met with a low beep to indicate failure and I was fairly certain his teeth ground together in annoyance. I could have told him it was futile, but he obviously needed to figure it out on his own.
“Can you override these controls?”
“Wallace, this isn’t Eidolon.” Never had I missed my former ship so much. I knew her controls better than I knew myself. Thisunderused, underpowered piece of shit was not high in my knowledge base and despite the fact it looked like Eidolon, the two couldn’t be further apart. “The safety controls are still engaged and there’s nothing either you or I can do to override them.” I folded my arms across my chest as the screen turned a garish red color–the sign of a thorough kill.
Wallace threw the helm control forward as he pushed himself away from it. In contrast, I pushed away from the station I’d been sitting at as gently as possible, stood and slid my hands into the pocket of my pants. If nothing else, it would keep me from finding someone to throttle.
Wallace folded his hands behind his neck and blew out a heavy breath as he stared up at the overhead. My eyes cut to the small opening over the screen again and gave a slight nod because we were as good as dead. There was no need to rub salt in the wound. The dull red glow of the screen was enough. The replica of the bridge we stood on slowly faded and we now stood in a vast, empty room as the simulation program ended.
Wallace dropped his head forward and sighed heavily in frustration. From the set of his shoulders, it was easy to see that he was disappointed in himself. It was a feeling I understood all too well as I felt the same about myself.
Maybe I pushed too hard or maybe even not enough. To find the balance between backing off and encouragement was harder than I thought. As I watched the troubled man I loved, I began to second-guess my own abilities as a pilot.
The last thing he needed to hear was how I doubted myself. What he needed was some form of support in his abilities despite his recent failure.
“Wallace, it’s okay.” I walked around behind him and started to fold my hand over his shoulder. “Even I would have–” I stopped as he stepped away from my touch and walked out of the room without a glance in my direction.
The doors slid closed and I swore softly into the emptiness. My gaze fell on the high window that was the only solid feature of the room. With no flight training simulation programmed to run, I looked through the glass to the lone occupant of the room.
“Reece!”

7 comments:

  1. Sounds fun, Sara. Is it all in the first person?

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  2. Yes, Barbara. The entire book is first POV from Taran, the lead female.

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  3. Congrats Sara! And good luck with Midnight's Shadow. I know for sure writing in first person is not easy. This sounds exciting!

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  4. Thanks, Kaye! This series is a lot of fun to write.

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  5. Congratulations, Sara! A fun excerpt!

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  6. Congrats on your release.

    Fun excerpt, Sara. I love the twist that all this drama was in a simulator.

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