Tarkir – Dark World Warriors (Chapter 1)

Chapter 1

Defused by a drifting haze of acid smoke, the glaring red of the bridge’s emergency lights flashed as the battle stations siren wailed. Captain Da’von Rai’lyn picked himself up from the deck where he’d been thrown, swiping at the trickle of blood under his nose. A blast from an unseen enemy had rocked his ship, sending his crew tumbling. He gripped the arms of his command seat he looked around to see who was still standing among his bridge team. Most of them were on the floor or slumped over their posts. Injured or… dead.

 Av’aline Elo’wen, First Officer and second in command, stood hunched over the Navigation console. Fingers flying over the keyboard, she worked to regain control of the wounded Viper class space cruiser. Next to the Navigation station, the Chief Navigator St’ellan Gam’el lay on the deck, a pool of ruby red blood seeping from under his body. Rai’lyn shook his head to clear the momentary sense of regret at the man’s death before looking around the rest of the bridge. Communications Tech Fl’ynn Tyr’ese sat at comms, trying to bring the ship’s sensors back online; blood dripped down the side of his face from a cut over one eye.

 “Kill that fucking alarm now, Tyr’ese!”  Rai’lyn ordered the injured man. Without looking at his captain, Tyr’ese nodded, his finger stabbing at a button in front of him. Silence fell over the bridge, broken only by the moans of wounded crew and the crackle of a few small fires still burning.

 Rai’lyn scanned the destroyed bridge of his ship. The primary viewing port was black. It and ship sensors had been out since the first blast had stuck the ship. Eyes sweeping over the rest of the bridge, he saw parts of the ceiling had fallen, leaving wires and cables dangling. Most of the ships work stations had cracked screens, several still smoldering from small fires. Of the eight members’ of his bridge crew, two still stood; three were moaning as they got to their feet, another two were alive but looked to be injured. And one was dead.

He had been in command of the Viper class Spacecruiser Ph’oenix for five years, running two year patrols in the Zag’reus sector at the far edge of the Lel’eiona galaxy. In that time, he and his crews had encountered only a few space pirates. Nothing his ship and her crew couldn’t handle. Until now.

 Another blast from their unseen enemy impacted somewhere mid ship. The bridge shuddered and the emergency lights flickered overhead. Those still at operating stations glanced up, holding their collective breath until the lights blazed a steady red.

 “Captain!” Third Engineer Os’ric Zor’ion’s panicked voice drew Rai’lyn attention to the Engineering station. His face, bathed in flashing red light, appeared pale. “A section of engineering has been breached. The bulkhead doors have been sealed.”

 “Status!” Rai’lyn snapped out. Ship functions ran from the engineering deck. Life Support, weapons, scanners, and the ships engines ran from there. When a section was breached, it’d seal itself off from the others and any crew in that area would be lost.

 “FTL EmDrive is in that section, Sir,” The young Engineer’s voice quivered. “It’s still operating but at diminished capacity.” He looked at Rai’lyn, his eyes shining with fear. “We could lose it, Captain!”

 The Ph’oenix was powered by a faster than light EmDrive, a large cone shaped device. By bouncing microwaves back and forth inside the cone, it created a propellant-less thruster that moved spacecraft at extraordinary speeds. Losing the FTL EmDrive would leave Ph’oenix dead in space, making both the ship and her crew easy targets for their attackers.

 Rai’lyn grimaced, “How long do we have, Zor’ion?” He passed his hands over his stinging eyes.

“If the drive continues to degrade at its current rate,” Zor’ion said without looking up from the console in front of him. “We have twenty minutes before complete failure.” He looked up at Tyr’ese, face pale in the red glow of the bridge.

 Rai’lyn cursed. He saw the fear in the young crewman’s face. This was Rai’lyn third mission in this region but for the majority of his crew, it was their first one. This part of space was considered to be a safe mission for rookie crews. Dealing with the occasional rogue black-market trader or lost freighter gave them the opportunity to hone the skills they had learned in training. But this? This… most of his crew didn’t have the experience to deal with an attack like this.

 “Divert as much power as you can to the forward defense field without affecting life support and the pulsars-” Elo’wen interrupted his command before he finished.

 “Sir,” her voice was horse from the smoke drifting in the air. She cleared her throat before speaking again. “Pulsars are offline. That last hit to Engineering took out weapon controls.”

 Rai’lyn spun to peer in shock at his First Officer. “All weapons?”

 “Aye, Sir,” she replied. “Weapons are all offline.” Unlike the fleets newer ships, the Ph’oenix lacked an auxiliary control room where secondary controls could be used to run ships functions

 “Fuck,” Rai’lyn spat. Not only were they close to being dead in space, but they were defenseless, and blind. He looked at Zor’ion again. “Do it.” Zor’ion nodded once before turning back to his terminal. Turning to the communications terminal he frowned at the blood that had slowed but not completely stopped, dripping down the comms officer’s face.

 “Any luck on the scanners, Tyr’ese?” If they could get the primary screen on then maybe they could see who was firing on the Ph’oenix. The man lifted one arm grimacing as he wiped blood from his face.

“Engineering re-routed the power from Life Support to the main view screen feed and scanners, sir.” He paused as he worked the buttons on the console in front of him. “We should have visuals right about now-” Tyr’ese looked at the wall sized view port at the front of the bridge. It remained black for seconds before pinpoints of light faded into view. Stars started filling the screen between the webbed cracks.

 “Nothing?” Rai’lyn muttered to himself. The port showed nothing but the blackness of space littered with shining stars. He glanced Tyr’ese “Are the scanners showing anything?”

 “No, sir,” the man shook his head “scanners are showing nothing-“

 “Captain!” Elo’wen snapped from the navigation station. “Ahead of us!” Rai’lyn’s attention jerked back to viewing port. As he watched it, space seemed to simmer and the outline of a ship unlike any he had seen before became visible. A shaft of pale green light shot from the underside of it, streaking toward the injured Ph’oenix. Space simmered again and the enemy ship faded away.

 “Brace for impact!” There was a collective gasp from his people as Rai’lyn yelled out the warning. The words had barely left Rai’lyn’s mouth before the beam smacked into the forward defense shield. Everyone on the bridge covered their eyes and cried out in pain as the view screen filled with a blinding green glow. The ship rocked as the energy from the beam impacted against the shields sending those that had managed to regain their feet back to the floor.

 “Shields?” Rai’lyn barked as he pulled himself upright with the arms of his chair. A groan answered him from where Zor’ion was attempting to rise. He used the edge of the Engineering console for support and jabbed at a few buttons. “Zor’ion?” Rai’lyn asked again.

 “The shields… are gone,” Zor’ion intoned his voice low and resigned. “and Capitan-“ he broke off and turned to face Rai’lyn. “The EmDrive… that last hit we took…” he paused “we have 10 minutes before a complete shutdown.” His assessment met with a stunned silence.

“Explain,” Rai’lyn demanded. “Diverting power from the EmDrive shouldn’t have made it degrade at a faster rate.”

 “It didn’t, Sir,” the Engineer acknowledged, “but that last shot caused the shields to pull more power to counteract it.” He turned to observe the reading on the station’s screen. “It’s like something in that green beam triggered the response.”

 Everyone grew silent and the air became heavy with certainty that they were all going to die. Rai’lyn closed his eyes and ran a hand through his short hair. He had to do something… anything… to try and save what the rest of his crew.

 “Av’aline,” he turned to his First Officer, the quiet use of her first name telling. “Survivors?” She nodded once as she moved to the Life Support station, running her fingers over the panel there.

 “Life Support shows sixteen crewmembers scattered throughout the ship, Sir.” Her voice was study, masking her emotions. She’d been with Da’von Rai’lyn since he had taken command of the Ph’oenix five years ago. At one point she had imagined herself in love with him. Her feelings had changed over time in the confines of the ship and the years they had served together. Now he stood, when not aboard ship, has her best friend.

 “Prepare to evacuate,” Rai’lyn gave the order in firm voice. “Alert all remaining crew that they have two minutes to find and secure themselves into Life Pods. We will be launching pods in three minutes.” He watched as Elo’wen programed the onboard computer to deliver the evac order. “Send a burst status update and our current coordinates to the nearest Lel’eiona star base.” Elo’wen didn’t look at him as her fingers danced over the console. When she finished Rai’lyn cleared his throat.

 “Clear the bridge and report to a Life Pod.” The crew didn’t move. “Go.”

“And you, Captain?” Elo’wen asked. “We won’t go without you.” There was a stubborn note in her voice. “As a member of the royal family we won’t-“Rai’lyn interrupted her.

 “And as captain of the Ph’oenix and member of the royal family,” their eyes locked as he stated in a firm voice. “It’s my duty to see everyone left gets safely off this ship.”  He held up a hand as Elo’wen tried to interrupt. “I’ll be right behind you.” Elo’wen’ s lips tightened but she nodded. “Now move!” he added. The crew moved toward the door to the corridor where the Life Pods for this section of the ship were.

 Each pod held two crewmembers for up to thirty days with reduced life support. Once launched the pods would chill until the occupants were hardly breathing, then a sleeping agent would be pumped into the pod, putting both occupants into stasis. After launching, the pods would be drawn together by a low magnetic pulse, forming a larger connected unit, then a homing signal on a tight beam would be automatically broadcast to the nearest Lel’eiona base station. A ship would then be sent to recovery the pods.

 Rai’lyn followed his bridge crew as they scurried to where the Life Pods were waiting to launch. They spilt into pairs and one at a time, grabbing the bar over each pod opening slid into place. Rai’lyn peered into each pod. “Goddess Be With You,” he uttered the old blessing as he sealed each hatch. Each pod auto launched thirty seconds after closing.

 “EmDrive failure in ninety seconds.” The mechanical voice of the ship’s computer intoned. Da’von had switched the computer to automatic before leaving the bridge. As he grabbed the bar over one of the remaining pods and paused, taking a last glance toward the bridge. With a disgruntled sigh he slid into his pod, thumbing the door closure pad just inside the opening. Da’von settled into the pod’s seat and the soft hiss of the sleeping agent filled the space. As his eyes grew heavy he thought of the bodies of his fallen crew left behind on the Ph’oenix. They deserved better than to be entombed on a dead ship floating in space. With a dull bang, his pod shot into the darkness of space, sprinting away from Ph’oenix, now dead and drifting in space. Within seconds of launching, the Ph’oenix’s computer whispered through the pod’s open commlink.

“EmDrive failure in ten seconds.” As the Life Pods completed the stasis procedure, closing ranks and forming a cluster, the Ph’oenix seemed to glow from within. Her battered hulls expanded, before being sucked inward as a massive implosion shattered the ship into a million pieces.

 A short distance away, the attacking ship shimmered into view. Its size dwarfed the knot of life pods. The cluster had a few self-defense capabilities but those would be useless against the larger vessel.  Before the enemy could fire on the survivors, an ominous red beam washed over the ship from above, turning it bright red. It didn’t explode; it just… crumbled until only a haze of tiny particles filled the area it once occupied. As the destructive beam faded, it was replaced by a white shaft of light that encompassed the cluster of drifting pods. They glowed eerily for a few seconds before fading from sight, leaving no sign that they had ever been there in the cold blackness of space.

Be A While Since I’ve Posted

It’s been a while. As in 8 months since I posted anything here. It’s been a wild 8 months though. I worked a temp job on the AF base from Oct 2019 to Feb 2020. I loved it and have been trying to get on permanently as a part time worker. I wasn’t having much luck, even though my two bosses wanted me back. However I don’t think the HR person felt the same way.

It turned out to be a mote point anyway, because along came Covid-19 and the whole base shut down. So no job, no Pharmacy, no commasery, no Exchange. Nevada shutdown, hubby got furloughed until at least July, and now we’re home together. Good thing we’ve got a strong marriage! No big issues, just some bickering once in a while. We are lucky that we can spend time outside in the yard. We have some lawn, ponds, a waterfall, and we’re doing some gardening.

So with all this time at home you’d think I was moving along on my writing. Yeah, not so much. It’s been hard to get into a flow with everything going on these days. The virus, the protests, the togetherness makes it hard to concentrate on writing. I really need to do a WIP update (I’ll do that in another post).

So to recap…

  • Temp job
  • Covid-19
  • Shelter at home
  • 24/7 togetherness
  • Social upheaval
  • We lost a fur baby, adopted a fur baby
  • TP shortage
  • Wearing facemasks
  • Social Distancing

So stay safe my friends!

Excerpt – Chapter 7 of Tarkir– Dark World Warriors

I am making progress on my SFR story. I’m trying to do some work on it everyday. Right now I’m mostly feeling good with what I have so far. Although I think I may have to “punch up” the world building aspect of it.

So with all that said, here’s an excerpt from chapter 7. Note: This is first draft stuff, no editing has been done on it!

Da’von Rai’lyn stared at the figure of his older sister on the viewscreen, back straight, chin tilted up, fully in command of herself and her ship.  He’d heard the heated possessiveness in the War Admiral’s growled word, wondering what it meant. Ay’esha’s demand for identification plus her not so subtle threat to blow the alien ship out of space pushed that thought to the back of his mind. His gaze swiveled from the view screen to Tarkir, trying to gage what the War Admiral would do. One brow shot up at what he saw. The male’s body was ramrod straight, tense, his face drawn tight, eyes a swirling mix of red and violet. Movement near his waist drew Da’von’s attention. Frowning, he watched those hands clinch, long fingers curled open and closed with each breath he took.

Da’von stepped closer, ignoring Zotul kul Nozek’s  warning snarl from behind them, standing ready to defend his War Admiral. Clearing his throat, eyes locked on the imposing male, Da’von spoke softly. “War Admiral,” he paused, drawing the male’s attention to him. “War Admiral—“

“Da’von!” Ay’esha hissed, taking a step forward on the view screen when her brother stepped into view behind the alien commander’s right shoulder. Da’von glanced at her, a brief shake of his head and her mouth snapped shut on whatever she had been about say.

“War Admiral,” he repeated, this time Tarkir turned his head to look at him. “My people mean you no harm,” he glanced back at his sister. “She means you no harm.” Da’von emphasized with a nod at Ay’esha. Tarkir’s eyes flashed back the female.

“Who is this female, Rai’lyn?” Tarkir growled, having regained some control. Da’von moved, standing a few paces ahead, to the side of Tarkir.

“If you would allow me—“  The same low growl filled the space. Da’von grimaced. Something was going on with the big War Admiral, something Da’von didn’t quite understand. He frowned, drawing in a deep breath, straightening, arms down to his side, chin up.

“War Admiral Tarkir kul Cadeyrn,” Da’von bowed slightly from his waist, voice study, respectful. “Allow me to introduce you to Commander Ay’esha Rai’lyn of the Lel’eiona Space Fleet.” He turned to look at his sister, who was frowning at him. Both Ay’esha and Tarkir spoke at once.

“This female is the sister you told me of?”

“Da’von, what in the all of space is going on?”

One corner of the younger man’s lips lifted in a smile. One that he did not dare let cover his entire face as both parties glared at each other. Oh yeah, this was one time his sister could not take control, the thought was fleeting, scattering almost before he could grasp it. He cleared his throat, looking to Tarkir, asking permission to explain. The big male, body still tense, folded his arms across the hard planes of his broad chest, nodding at Da’von to proceed. With a brief nod, Da’von turned, fully facing the view screen. He stared at the image of his sister a minute, noting how tightly strung she was, before he spoke.

“It’s good to see you, Esha—“

“Commander Rai’lyn.” She corrected him tersely. Her lips tightened, her tone holding both anger and fear. He was going to have step lightly. He started over.

“Commander Rai’lyn, it’s good to see you.” Her eyes narrowed. “The Ph’oenix was attacked, destroyed. Those of us that survived were rescued when War Admiral kul Cadeyrn intervened, destroying our attacker and collecting our Life Pods.”

Ay’esha stared at her brother, eyes carefully avoiding the big male standing just behind him. “The Ph’oenix and her crew were assumed lost after comms between your ship and Fleet were lost.” She paused. “The Sc’ythe was sent to find out what had happened and to bring back any…” She stopped, not finishing her sentence. Da’von grimaced, knowing what she had left unsaid. 

“Commanders Rai’lyn,” Tarkir’s deep voice brought both the Rai’lyn siblings gaze to where he stood. “This conversation can be better held in person.” He locked eyes with Ay’esha, “Commander, you will transfer to the Slayer, your brother can speak of what happened and what to do next.”

There was a long moment of silence before a rough voice hissed from behind him, “War Admiral… I must point out, we do not know what threat this ship is to us. To bring these beings aboard—“

“Enough First Sentinel!” Tarkir snapped, freezing everyone on the bridge. He turned to Zotul kul Nozek, locking eyes with his First Sentinel. “You will escort Da’von Rai’lyn to the hanger bay and shuttle him to the Lel’eiona ship. Return with,” He turned to look at the female standing ramrod straight on the screen. “Both Commanders.” His gaze went to Da’von. “You will accompany my First Sentinel, returning with Commander Rai’lyn.” He wasn’t asking. Da’von frowned, eyes narrowing.  

“War Admiral kul Cadeyrn,” Da’von came to attention.  “I thank you for your timely intervention, the rescue of my crew, and the hospitably of your ship. I do not take orders from you.”  Tarkir raised one eyebrow and Zotul growled loudly, taking a step toward Da’von, ready to protect his captain. Tarkir held up one hand.

“Stand down,” he ordered Zotul, who froze, massive body vibrating with suppressed tension. “I understand your words, Rai’lyn. In your place I would feel the same, there are issues we need to talk about. The three of us.”

“What issues?” Da’von asked. “Why do these issues involve my sister?” Tarkir looked back at the viewscreen. He ignored the other male’s questions.  

“You will go to her ship, return with her,” Da’von swung his gaze to his sister. Her gaze was locked on the big Teric male.

“Nether of you will decide my actions.” Her words were pitched low, each one dropping like ice. “I am the commander of the Sc’ythe and as such will determine my next course of action.” She glared at both males, her gaze softening on her brother’s face. “I’m so happy to see you alive, brother. Most thought you all lost.” A slight tremble edged her words. “I knew you lived…” Breaking off, she visibly reined in her emotions, eyes shifting back to Tarkir, she gave him a shallow nod. “I will contact you, War Admiral.” The viewscreen on the bridge of the Slayer went dark. War Admiral Tarkir kul Cadeyrn eyes narrowed. He’d been dismissed…by a female!

Excerpt – Chapter 4 of Tarkir– Dark World Warriors

So I’m working on my SFR right now. It’s slowly moving along. I’m going to post a snippet from Chapter 4.

  “How close are we to the last reported position of the Ph’oenix?” Ay’esha asked as she continued to stare out into space.

  “We should be on station at that location within the hour.” Ai’leene swung her gaze to her Captain. “The ships sensors should have picked up the Ph’oenix already.” She looked back down at the console with a frown. “All they’re picking up is a vast debris cloud.”

 Ay’esha came to her feet and her head whipped around to stare at her Comms officer. “Debris cloud?” she questioned. “There’s no sign of the Ph’oenix?”

Ai’leene’s eyes met Ay’esha’s as she answered with a soft “No.” She drew in a deep breath before containing. “There is no sign of the ship or…” she paused, “the Life Pod cluster.”

 “What?” Ay’esha asked, stunned. “Scan again!” She demanded turning back to the view screen. “Wit’hrop, get us as close as possible to that debris.” Ad’ara Wit’hrop was the In’vader’s master navigator and was one of five volunteers for the rescue mission from that ship. She was also one of the best the fleet had to offer.

  “Aye, Captain.”

  “Lav’rans,” Ay’esha spoke to the man standing at the science stations. Ja’xon Lav’rans stood silent, waiting for his orders. “I want an analysis of the debris field.” He gave a short nod and turned back to his station. “I want to know what is in that field.” She stood ridged, her hands curled into fists at her side as she fought a swell of panic. Were those parts and pieces floating around in space part of her brother’s ship and the life pod cluster? And if they weren’t, where was Da’von, his crew, and the Ph’oenix?

  The tension raised the closer to the floating detritus they got. Each person on the bridge stared at the viewport, searching for any signs that this was not the Ph’oenix. Another soft ping sounded from the engineer’s station and every head turned to watch Ai’leene read the information on her screen. She looked at Ay’esha, her face grim.

  “Still no sign of the Ph’oenix or her pod cluster, Captain.” She looked back down at the screen again. “Scanners show nothing over a few centimeters in size within the cloud.” Ay’esha’s face was pale as she processed that information.

 “Then maybe the ship and her pods weren’t in this location,” Ay’esha spoke in a low voice. “Wit’hrop, recheck the coordinates fleet received for the Ph’oenix.”

“Aye, Captain.” The man bent over his station, fingers flying.

 Ay’esha turned to the Command chair and thumbed one of the small buttons embedded in one arm. “Engineering,” she waited for a reply from Engineering Master Ya’nic Bro’nwyn, another volunteer from the In’vader.

 “Aye, Captain,” the voice that answered was clear and study. It took a lot to rattle this man. The quiet strength in that voice washed over the bridge, lessening the tension some.

 “We need to send a small nano probe into the debris cloud ahead of us.”  She glanced over at her Science Officer who was still working his station. “Lav’rans will send you the coordinates for the center of the cloud.” Lav’rans looked at Ay’esha as she spoke, giving her a slight nod of his head before returning his attention to the science stations screen. 

 “Got them, Captain.” Bro’nwyn acknowledged. “Programing the coordinates into nano probe now.” There was a moment of silence and all eyes turned to the viewport. “Probe away.” the voice came from the speakers embedded in the hull of the bridge. A bright streak of blueish light shot from below the view screen, headed straight for the debris cloud in front of them.

 “How soon before we get any type of readout back from that probe?” Ay’esha asked Lav’rans without looking at him.

 “Once it reaches the center, it should only be a matter of seconds before we get any data.” He answered still watching the view screen. “It might take a bit longer to interpret that data to know what we’re looking at.”

 “Alright.” Ay’esha replied as she started to pace the deck in front of the captain’s chair. She was normally a patient person, a good trait to have if you were in command of a battlecruiser, but this… this was family. She had to find Da’von and his crew and failure was not an option. 

Sneak Peek – Chapter 24 Taylor – Paranormal Operations, Inc

I’m making some progress on the text to speech edit of Taylor – Paranormal Operations, Inc. This is the edited version of chapter 24. After all the chapters are done, then it will be off to a pro editor.

Shay looked up from the report he’d been reading as a rumble shook the building. A second one rolled through before the first one had ended. Immediately alarms rang, their high pitch squeal loud enough he cringed.

“What the fuck?” He murmured jumping up from his seat and headed to the closed office door, ripping it open and striding out into the operations center. “What the hell is going on? Where did those explosions come from?” He shouted the questions over the screaming alarms as he moved to the center of the room.

“The surveillance cameras are down in both the garage and the adjacent staircase.” A voice answered from the left. Shay swung his head in that direction. A man named Tomas sat in front of a bank of video screens that showed the feeds from the cameras that monitored the Paranormal Operations Irish headquarters. Tomas glanced at Shay as he continued. “The blasts were in those areas. The other cameras nearby show the staircase blocked and the elevator to the garage is out.”

“Casualties?” Shay barked. “And turn off that fucking alarm!” A woman answered from a desk next to the bank of screens.

“Yes sir.” Her eyes never left her computer screen as her fingers raced over the keyboard in front of her. The screaming alarm cut off suddenly. “No casualties reported so far, sir.” She added. Tomas broke in before she could say something further.

“There were people in the garage, sir.” He peered back down, pressing a few keys on his keyboard. “You need to see this, sir.” Shay tensed and moved to stand next to Tomas.

“Who?” Shay demanded. Tomas gestured at a side monitor. The screen switched from black to a still image of the garage, with one stab of his finger, Tomas started the video playback. Shay hissed out a breath.

On the screen was Devon and Taylor along with Mikhail Romanov. There wasn’t sound with the video but it was obvious that the couple was saying goodbye. The following minutes of the video recorded the two men checking the SUV for supplies before they got into the vehicle and drove out of the garage. After it disappeared from view, Shay watched as Taylor turned around and glared right into the camera before passing out of view.

“So they made it out before the blasts?” Shay questioned, note of relief in his tone. Tomas shook his head.

“The camera in the area near the elevator caught this.” He pressed several more keys and different scene filled the screen. Taylor walked into view, her head down as she worked her phone. She stiffened and turned as a red headed figure moved into the frame from the bottom of the screen. Even from the back, Shay knew who he was.

“O’Grady.” He hissed, watching the leprechaun raise a weapon and fire. Taylor threw herself to the side trying to avoid O’Grady’s shots. Shay’s hands curled into fists at his side as Taylor jerked from multiple impacts before she slid down the wall and slumped over.

“Fucking bastard!” He snarled, as O’Grady turned, flipping both of his middle fingers at the camera. He grabbed one of Taylor’s legs and dragged her body from view. A few minutes later the video shook as the first explosion went off, then within seconds the elevator doors blasted outward and the video died.

Shay glanced at his watch, gauging how much time since the explosions. Five minutes, he thought with grimace. Five minutes for everything to go to hell.

“Track where that bastard took agent Conner,” he instructed Tomas, his voice hard. Tomas frowned as he started to speak.

“I’ll try, sir, but…” He swallowed at the dark look Shay aimed at him before he continued. “With the camera destroyed in the garage, I’ll have to piece together what I can from the surrounding traffic cameras.” Tomas peered at the keyboard in front of him as he muttered to himself. “If I sync the time of the garage blast with the traffic cameras on both corners nearest to the building and check for any vehicles going through those intersections…”

“Just fucking do it.” Shay said before he turned to speak to the female agent seated nearby.

“Get the EOD to the garage and after they’ve swept it for evidence, get a team to remove the rubble.” The explosive ordnance disposal team was made up of a few well trained agents at each headquarter site. The woman’s fingers flew over her keyboard as Shay shot orders to her. “Have another team access the damage to the garage and the surrounding space for structural damage.” He glanced at the woman. “You’ve got that?” he asked. She nodded and replied without looking up from her screen.

“Yes, sir.” Shay turned and strode toward his office. He reached for the phone that rested on his hip and punched the speed dial number for Devon.

“Devon’s going to lose his fucking shit about this.” He said as he waited for the other man to answer.

Excerpt – Chapter 34 of Taylor – Paranormal Operations, Inc

“Taylor…” Devon groaned as he opened his eyes, his body stiff from being on the floor so long. He shifted his legs and grimaced as sharp tingles raced up and down his legs. Taylor’s body moved with his, still a dead weight in his arms.

“Taylor!” Devon stared down at her still pale face as his eyes searched for signs of life. “Come on, Mo ghra, come back to me. Open those amazing eyes!” Her body stayed still. Devon glanced up at Aveta standing over them.

“Do something, dammit, you’re a fucking Goddess!” He demanded. “I did what you told me to do and went after her. She was coming back with me!” One hand touched Taylor’s pale blue lips. “Why isn’t she…”

“The athame is preventing her from returning.” Aveta explained. “Only you, her true mate, can remove it before she can travel back to this world.” She looked at Taylor. “There’s no more time, Devon, you have to do it now or she’ll be lost to this world.”

“Remove it?” He glanced up at the Goddess. “How the fuck do I do that? Just yank it out?” Aveta shook her head and sighed.

“You grasp the handle of the blade and smoothly draw it out.” She answered. “Yank it out and you could damage Taylor’s heart and she may truly die.” Devon cursed under his breath and wrapped the fingers of one hand gently around the athame handle. It warmed at his touch and he felt power singing within the blade. His fingers tightened and he slowly started to slide the blade from his mate’s heart.

“Carefully, Devon.” Aveta cautioned. Devon froze, looking up at the goddess with a glare before returning his attention to the athame. Inch by inch he withdrew it from Taylor’s heart until at last the tip of it pulled free. A swell of blood filled the hole it left before starting to spread out, being wicked by her shirt.

“Shit!” Devon bit out as he dropped the bloody athame and pressed his hand over the wound. Instinctively he forced his magic into the wound but as depleted as his magic was, it didn’t slow the flow of blood.

“Fuck!” Devon growled, desperation in his voice. “I can’t stop the bleeding.” A cool touch
brushed the side of his cheek and a wave of pure, light magic rushed through him and into Taylor’s open wound. He watched closely as it started to close from the inside, breathing a sigh of relief as the bleeding slowed, than stopped. Next the wound closed until only a faint scratch remained on Taylor’s breast. Devon’s body tensed as for the space of a few heartbeats nothing happened. Suddenly Taylor’s body jerked and she gasped, drawing in a deep lungful of air. Her eyes, when they opened, swirled a violet color. The paleness of her cheeks gradually turned to a pale pink and the tip of her tongue peeked out from between dry lips, trying to moisten them.

“Dev… Devon?” she sounded confused, lost. He sat up, pulling her with him, his arms wrapped tightly around her.

“Shhh, Mo ghra,” he whispered into her hair. “I have you and we’re both safe.” Taylor’s body trembled as her eyes drifted closed once more and Devon’s arms tightened around her. “Stay with me, love.” He ordered softly, his mouth now next to her ear. “Open those amazing eyes of yours and stay with me.”

Excerpt – Chapter 33 of Taylor – Paranormal Operations, Inc

“Come into the light, Kaden Regan.” Her words more of a command
then a request. A low growl preceded the scowling young man that walked from
the shadows, eyes never leaving the goddess’s face. Aveta gave him a small
smile when he stopped a foot from father’s body. They stared at
each other, one slightly amused and the other wary but defiant.

“You certainly look like Taylor.” Aveta mused as she studied
him. While the man stood taller and more muscular then his sister,
they looked the same. “Except your hair,” she muttered. Where Taylor’s was
midnight black with swaths of silver framing her face, Kaden’s was silver with
swaths of black. She could see the range of emotions as they swirled in his
dark eyes. Anger. Fear. Confusion. This boy… no, this man had seen and
done things that would haunt him forever.

“Who the fuck are you?” Jaden rasped, body
shaking, hands fisted at his sides.

“I am the Goddess Aveta,” Aveta drew herself up,
straightening her spine and seeming to grow a few inches. “I helped bring you
and Taylor into this world. I protected your sister from…” she glanced down
to the body at Kaden’s feet. Kaden’s eyes followed hers and one corner of his
mouth curled up into grimace at the sight of William’s body. It smaller than when the man had lived.

“And me?” He bit out before looking up, angry
gaze locking with hers. “Who was supposed to protect me?” Jaden took a half step
closer to Aveta, almost touching the body at their feet. “Who decide I wasn’t
worthy of being protected like my sister?”

“William wanted a son, he wanted you.” she answered. ” I knew
you would live…”

“Live?” Jaden ground out. “Do you even understand what my
life’s been like? What growing up with that… that… piece a shit of a
father was like?”

“But you did live!” Aveta pressed home her point. Jaden
stepped over the corpse, closing the last foot between them. Aveta, tall in
her goddess form, still had to tilt her head back to meet Jaden’s gaze.

“No, not living,” Jaden sneered angrily, “I was just surviving.”

Drawing in a deep breath, Jaden closed his eyes, working to regain some control over his emotions. Eyes still closed he continued. “Do you understand what my life was like with him?” He opened his eyes , anger still there but now they also held a haunted expression. He didn’t wait for the Goddess’s response before continuing.

“I don’t remember very much of him before my thirteenth birthday,
just lots of different women working to care for me. They never lasted longer
than a year or so. Now I realize he’d kidnapped young women with any
kind of magic in their blood. They were permitted to care for me while he drained
their magic…” Aveta touched Jaden’s arm, stopping him .

“You don’t need to tell me, Kaden, I know full well what your father
did to you.”

A snort escaped him. “You knew he was grooming me to do the same
thing? That he compelled me to fuck countless women from the time I turned
thirteen? You understood those…” his voice cracked. “Girls… women…
died each time I fucked them to steal their magic?” He paused and glared into her
eyes. “You knew all of this but decided to only protect my…” With a
snarl he stepped to the side, breaking Aveta’s grip on his forearm. Jaden’s eyes
moved to the couple on the floor. “Was I so worthless you couldn’t…?”

No!” Now it was Aveta’s turn to be angry. “I… we never thought of you as worthless, Jaden.” She reached out to him. “As much as I disliked leaving
you with him as a babe, I had to. You have your own destiny to fulfill. What
you have endured made you stronger…”

Jaden threw back his head and laughed contemptuously. “Made
me stronger?” The laughter ended abruptly. “What it made me is just like my
father! It made me a murderer.” Turning away, he scanned the floor.

“Kaden, no,” Aveta insisted. “You didn’t kill those girls, your father
did! William wanted you to believe you had, but each one of those countless
deaths came at his hands!” Jaden ignored her comments, spotting the object he’d
been looking for. Bending, he picked up William’s withered heart and clenched
his fist around it. He watched, mesmerized, as thick black blood oozed from
between his fingers and dripped slowly to the floor.

Excerpt – Chapter 20 of Taylor – Paranormal Operations, Inc

I’ve been MIA from this blog and my Author’s blog for a long time. But I haven’t stopped working on my writing. I’ll have to do an update post after this one. But I have been working! Here’s the first part of chapter 20 of Taylor – Paranormal Operations, Inc.  Front and center is the bad guy of the story. Please feel free to comment!


Halloween concept. Mystery evil eyes


Slumped in the oversized stuffed chair, Aife O’Hara opened her eyes. and raised her head, eyes struggling to bring the room into focus. Where am I? What happened to me? A painful moan escaped her as she licked bruised and swollen lips. Aife closed her eyes again and tried to move, to raise her hand to touch her lips but it wouldn’t move. Her eyes popped open, and she saw that both hands and ankles were bound wooden chair legs. Panicked, she struggled to free herself as memories of the last few hours filled her mind. A deep chuckle snapped her head up and Aife cringed as she met the gaze of the man leaning against a big desk in front of her.

“Welcome back, Ms. O’Hara,” The man grinned. “I’m sorry for the rather rough treatment of my men before your arrival to my home,” glancing behind her with a slight frown. “I asked Wallace to find me a skilled dowser to assist me in finding a witch.”

William pushed off the desk and walked forward, stopping in front of Aife. She drew back into

the chair as far as her bonds would allow. His eyes, as they held hers, were black and cold. One hand grasped her chin and tilted her head up and his thumb caressed her swollen bottom lip. “I do so hope you can help me.”

“Who… who are you?” Aife stammered. “Where am I?”

“I am William Regan,” He stated, as if he expected her to
know his name. When she didn’t respond, his lips tightened before he continued.
“As I said, you’re in my home in Kilcommon.” He released her chin and stepped back, his eyes roaming over her in the chair.

She was small, maybe five feet in height. William saw the pixie blood that ran in her veins. It showed in her small frame and somewhat pointed ears and eyes that slanted upwards a bit at the corners, but not enough for her to have the gossamer wings of her ancestors. William captured her eyes with his and began a silent chant. His smiled coldly as he watched her eyes grow large and unfocused.

“You will help me find the witch I’m looking for, won’t you, Aife?” His voice was low and hypnotic.

“I… I… can’t.” She said in a soft, sing song voice. William frowned down at her.

“You will.” His spell should have made her totally compliant to his wishes.

“I can’t find witches.” Aife replied with a puzzled frown as she stared up at William standing over her. “I can only find humans and animals.” Her voice trailed off as William released her chin and his lips curled up in a snarl. He glared at the two men standing behind the chair with in fury.

“What the fuck?” he ranted at the two henchmen standing behind the chair. “You were supposed to bring me a witch dowser that could find the witch at the source of that power surge!”

Aife’s head dropped to her chest, her breathing ragged and William returned his attention to her. “Where did you find this little bitch?”
Neither of man responded and he glowered at them. “I asked you both a question,” His words dripped with an icy rage. “And I expect an answer.”

Wallace Flanagan gave his brother, Francis who stood next to him, a furtive glance. Francis didn’t notice, his eyes staring down at his feet. Wallace swallowed, his Adams apple bobbing up and down as he started to speak.

“Um… well…” Voice shaky, he swallowed again.
“We sent a crew to Donegal looking for a dowser, boss.” William raised one eyebrow and Wallace rushed on. “Me and Francis went to Bundoean and Sligo looking for one.”

“And this is the best any of you could do?” William interrupted with a snarl as he stepped away from the now unconscious girl. The brothers glanced at each other before Francis eventually spoke.

“Her granddad said she was able find anything and anyone,” he muttered. “Said we were lucky to find her.” William waited for his henchman to go on, but nothing was forthcoming.

“And?” he growled the men.

Wallace spoke now, “He said all the other dowsers had left the north.” Francis nodded in agreement. “Said after that surge of magic they made themselves scarce. You know, due to the strange things happening in the area.”

“Yeah,” Wallace chimed in quickly. “But her granddad, he made her stay, said she owed him for rising her after her whore of a mother disappeared a few years ago.”

William walked past the chair to stand just in front of the two men. “And he just let you take her?” His voice deceptively quiet. Both men’s Adam apples bobbed as they swallowed in time with each other.

“Um… we… um… paid him a small sum for the…” Francis stammered.

“You paid for this girl?” William’s nostrils flared and his lips thinned. He had no issues with the buying and selling humans when needed. But to buy this girl without first checking to see if she
could even fill his need for… William was now shaking, close to losing control to his magic. It had been a few days since he had recharged that magic.

“Go.” He ordered the two men, his hands clinched into fists at his sides. “Get out of here before I kill you both.” The two men didn’t need to be told twice. They both turned and headed to the door, slipping out of the room without looking back.

Excerpt From Polar Shift – Mistletoe, North Pole Book Two, Chapter 4

It’s been a rather non-productive May for me. I’ve been trying to work on Sig and Holly’s story. But it’s just not “speaking” to me right now. And I no matter how much I push at it, it’s just kind of stalled. But I still post excerpts from each chapter I do get done (see below).  I am going back to continue first edits on Taylor- Paranormal Operations, Inc.


Holly stood still, enclosed in Sig’s arms, his heat radiating through his parka but for the sharp crack that reverberated through the dark. The sound snapped her from the fog of Sig’s kiss. Pressing her hands against his chest hard, she struggled to break free of his grip. Sig lifted his mouth from hers and stared into her green eyes, seeing they were hazy. She pressed harder and he let her go, stepping back to give her some of space.

Another crack sounded and he glanced in the direction of the sound. In the dark, he couldn’t see much, even with his enhanced shifter sight. A haze of snow drifted near the small knot of spruce and fir trees next to the parking lot. The heavy, wet snow covering them had snapped a couple of smaller branches, sending them crashing to the soft cushion of the snow drifts that ringed the trees. His gaze slid back to Holly and he frowned. Her eyes had lost that soft, hazy look and were now narrowed in anger.

Holly took a step back before she hissed at him. “You ass, you have no right to kiss me.” She scrubbed at her lips with one mittened hand, trying to get the taste of him off her lips.

Sig’s narrowed in determination. “But I do have the right to kiss you,” He reached out to draw her back into his arms, but she eluded him, taking two more steps back.

“No,” she rejected. “You gave up any rights you had in our relationship the day you disappeared from my life years ago in Afghanistan.” He tensed, his whole body going ridged. This was what he’d needed to talk to her about. He owed her an explanation for walking away from her.

“You’re my mate, Holly–” She shook her head before he even  finished.

“Mate?” She shook her head as she spit the word out. “I didn’t know what that word meant until after you left. But I now know what it means. If I was your mate, you wouldn’t have–” She halted and drew in a deep breath of the frigid air. Tears glistened in her eyes.

Sig took a step closer but halted when Holly held up both hands. A pained expression passed over his face. “Holly–

Excerpt From Polar Shift – Mistletoe, North Pole Book Two, Chapter 3

So here’s a snippet from chapter 3 of Polar Shift. This Sig Olson and Holly Rowan’s story. I’m still working on which direction I want to go with story.


The silence lengthened as they drove out of Mistletoe and toward the NPI building that housed the med center on the edge of town. Nether one of them knew what to say. After fifteen long minutes the front of a sleek, white two story building came into view. It was in the middle of a flat, snowy area, the perimeter of the building surrounded by dim lights. Sig brought the SUV to a halt in front of the steps leading up to the doors. Holly shifted in her seat, reaching with one hand to unlatch her seatbelt, the bag with now cold dinner gripped in her other one. Sig turned his head, studying at her.

“We need to talk, Holly.” His tone was throaty. Her eyes flashed to his face, already shaking her head no. “Yes,” he reached over and fingered a strand of red hair that had escaped her pony tail when she’d pushed back her hood after getting in the car. He stared at his fingers as he caressed the silken strands between them.

Holly stilled. “Mistletoe is a small town, Holly, we see each other around town, we work in the same building and I don’t want what…”

“Don’t,” she said, her voice quivering as she too watched his stroking fingers.

“We have unfinished business…”

Unfinished business?” She looked at him now, her eyes in the shadowy car narrowed on him. “Was that all I… we were to you? Business?” She wrenched her hair free of his touch and fumbled with the door handle, thrusting it open and sliding out of the car.

“Holly, wait!” Sig throw open his own door, appearing next to her before she could even blink. He grasped both of her arms, her bagged dinner falling to the snowy ground as he pinned them to her side. “You know that’s not true.” He insisted quietly.

“Do I?” she countered. “What I do know is that I thought we had something between us, Sig. Something…” She broke off and took in a deep breath of the icy night air and glared up at him. “You know, just skip it. Forget those six months in the Afghan desert, forget that I fell in love with you, forget the plans we made before you…” She couldn’t finish.

Tears pooled in her eyes but she’d be damned if she let him see them. She jerked back, struggling to free herself from his grasp. Sig tightened his grip on her, tugging her into his arms, trapping her arms between their bodies. He tilted his head, his lips hovering just above hers.

“I haven’t forgotten a fucking thing.” He rasped, his eyes locked with hers.

“Let me go-”

“Not a chance in hell, sweetheart.” His lips crashed down on hers, his tongue sliding into her mouth when she gasped.