Where are you from? I am from Magara Prime, but currently live on New Caledonia, a Terran-controlled planet in the Andromeda Galaxy.
What is your main purpose in life? To save the Magaran way of life. Contact with the Terrans and other species is changing us, to our detriment.
Who is your greatest enemy and why? To name a name is to follow a false trail. A person can be beaten or manipulated or bought or seduced or killed if necessary. I have to save a way of life, that faces a slew of threats. The seductiveness of humans, the Magarans’ clandestine continuation of indentured servitude even though we illegalized it 40 years ago, the democratic potential the intergalactic grid – all are part of the problem and have to be neutralized.
Although the Gren an Dane, a minor rebel coalition, seems to be moving from an annoying fly that just needs a periodic swat to the head, to something more. If they keep interfering in my plans, I may be forced to categorize them as an enemy. But generally, I prefer to focus on the prize, not spend precious time removing impediments.
What is your weapon of choice? Strategy and seduction. I prefer to out-think and out- plan my opponents. I also like to enjoy them, to have them begging for more.
Do you have a code of honor? Of course. My supporters are those I rescued from indentured service. A nasty practice, where sex is usually what’s bought and sold. I provide every member of my flock with what they need to heal and build a new life. In exchange, I ask only for their total loyalty. I honor my end, they must honor theirs.
What makes you angry? Losing, in any way. Elaina’s lack of interest in joining one of my threesomes remains a source of continuous frustration. Trying to get her there distracts from my primary work.
Name one person you trust. No one. That would be foolish indeed.
Only the goal matters.
A woman who lost everything.
Intergalactic storm racing champion Elaina Carteret had it all – fame, wealth, men – until a horrific accident took it away. To get it back, she agrees to pose as Lainie Carter, medical transport pilot and corporate spy. Her risk-taking attitude infuriates Dr. Erik Johansen, who runs the outpost with an iron hand, a permanent scowl and the tightest bod on the planet.
A man desperate for redemption.
Unable to forgive himself for a past tragedy, Erik works himself into an early grave. He has no patience for the insubordinate Lainie Carter, who can’t take an order, disrupts routine and flames his body to ash.
A planet at risk.
When the outpost is attached, they’re thrown together in a race across the desert to stop a deadly biogenetic weapon As a fragile trust blossoms between two damaged hearts, their pasts resurface and threaten their growing bond.
Be warned: Erotic romance, level five heat designation, gender neutral characters.
To save her corporation, and her position as its primary racer, Elaina has agreed to provide intelligence to Tij and Noah, her former fiancée, now Tij’s lover, on the medical facilities she visits on non-aligned planet, Ranhar. Tij is the CEO of StormTech, the company Elaina built in partnership with Noah and her brother. In the scene below, Tij contacts Elaina to see how she is getting on with it.
After chowing down on a few energy bars, she disrobed to prepare for a bath when the lights above the vid screen flashed red and white. Wrapped in a towel, she touched the screen to allow the call. Tij Pardahl’s pale, angular face twisted into a sneer.
“Like my attire?” She liked to stick to Tij when the Magaran was several planets away.
“Did you wear it for me?”
“You know I didn’t.”
“Life would be easier if you did. Report, Elaina. I don’t like having to chase down information you promised us.” The soft cadence of the Magaran accent could not camouflage the angry tic that pulsed along Tij’s jaw.
Like I care. “I only promised to think about it. Where’s Noah. I much prefer his company.”
Noah swaggered his sexy self to the screen. His hand slid down’ Tij’s back and did a few other things she couldn’t see, but Tij’s eyes rolled up. A groan escaped the Magaran’s lips.
“Ellie.” Noah nodded, using her zoner nickname. “Cover holding?”
“No problems on that score. Those periodic Elaina sightings are effective misdirects.”
“How can we help you? What do you need?”
Noah quirked an eyebrow. “There is something you need.”
“Better quarters. Karamite chocolate.”
“I know you better than that.”
Yeah, he did and didn’t that suck eggs. Especially since Tij turned him into a slimy, intergalactic dealmaker.
“We can help each other here.” That low alto that used to make her shiver in the bedroom. The perverse upside to her learning about StormTech’s corporate corruption is that it eliminated any remaining attraction she had for Noah. Her libido was fully imprinted on Erik.
“There’s very little we can’t get for you.”
“Everything you know about Dr. Erik Johansen,” she rushed out before she lost her nerve or questioned her motives. For a second, she’d have sworn Tij’s eyes lit up like a Terran Christmas tree. “And utopia pods,” she added since she didn’t know how else to get them.
“Ellie?” Noah’s head shook from side to side.
“Don’t be daft. It’s for a friend.”
“All doable. Give us something before I agree.” Tij took back control.
“Rumors are that the Den Vedran population in Karas is increasing, but there are no official reports to prove it.”
“Elaina. That’s on every grid.” Tij tsked at her. “Something from those medical facilities you visit?”
That was planned. She’d need to be careful—to give them enough to help her, but not enough to be useful. She was not ready to toss Erik or Brej to the dust until she knew enough about both sides. Nothing in her world made sense any more.
“In one of the facilities, there are two sick Ranharrans with some strange illness. Gray, itchy skin, stiff hair. No one knows why.” That’s innocent enough.
“Do the utopia pods have anything to do with that?”
How did Tij guess that? “No,” she answered too quickly. “I’m helping out a friend. Not everyone appreciates the quality housing available here.”
“We’ve got a deal, if you keep us updated on the Ranharrans.” Tij was beaming and seemed way too happy about the turn of events.
“Deal,” she said, crossing her fingers behind her back. Childish, but it made her feel better. Nothing felt good anymore.
“Do you want to know about Jimmy?” Noah returned to the conversation. She hadn’t talked directly to her brother since the accident that caused Devon’s death. Even with his appearance at the Board meeting, she still struggled to forgive him.
“Not really, but I would like an update on Ryan.” She missed her nephew’s goofy chuckle and lollipop obsession.
“Maybe if you’d forgive him, you’d have been able to heal together. He needs you Elaina, so does Ryan … and you need them.”
“Ah, the loyalty of one betrayer for another. So sweet, it makes me gag. Love is supposed to be a forever thing. But then you wouldn’t know about that, would you?” Guilt and anger warred in her gut. She wanted to hit something to rage back at all the pain those she loved had heaped on her. “And inviting me to be a threesome is not the same thing.” With a smirk, she let the towel drop and stood tall. “Sorry, you can’t have it.”
Even as Tij’s eyes flared indigo with desire, Noah remained unfazed which told her way too much. Part of her had hoped it was Noah’s remaining love that kept that invitation open. It was Tij all along. And that broke her heart all over again. Whatever she felt for him now, Noah had been part of her life since almost infancy. Had his feelings for me ever been real?
“We’ve both always been here for you and always will be.” Recognizing his quiet cadence as a lie, it no longer soothed her frayed nerve endings or the pounding ache in her chest.
“I’ve had enough of our nice little chat. Contact me with the pods. I’ll let you know when I learn more.” Maybe.
She grabbed the towel and headed down the hall to the bath, wanting to wash the feel of Noah and Tij off her body. She realized two things along the way. They had given her nothing on Erik and they already knew about the kids at the medical outpost.
My God. What have I done?
Hello, I’m Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, walk the dog, get my kid off to school, hop on the metro, and save cities within the four walls of my office. Usually by email.
At night, I take off the suit, curl up with my computer and save cities on a jet-powered skateboard, make six-toed footprints in scarlet sand on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy and bring men and women, who had given up on romance, another chance to find it. I also periodically check on my teen-ager, hiding out in the bedroom and plotting world domination with her minions – the elderly cat and adult dog who insists she’s a puppy.
Website/blog http://sharielder.com/ (You can sign up for my newsletter here too)