Prime Enforcer (Valerie’s Elites Book 3) Snippet #2

(To see the first snippet, visit

Chapter Two

Kalan gazed up at the small hut built into the mountain high above them. “Are we sure about this?”

Jilla nodded. “As sure as we can be.”

They were in the heart of Chmara, a city built on the side of a steep mountain. The city was connected by a complicated network of steep ladders, elevators, and boardwalks rather than roads. The rocky terrain made it a near-certainty that anyone who stepped off the walkways would take a quick and violent trip to the bottom.

Like many of the less expensive homes in the city the one they were approaching was set far back from the main boardwalks, which meant a long climb up a ladder to get to the front door.

“I don’t like it,” Bob complained. “If this guy looks out the window and decides he doesn’t want visitors, he could drop a rock on our heads.”

“Maybe that’s the point,” Kalan said. “Works better than a Keep Out sign.”

The team had been working leads for weeks, trying to dig up any information that would give them a clue about where to find this so-called Lost Fleet. While Valerie focused on tracking down Talrok, Kalan and Jilla were working their network of connections from their days on SEDE, the prison ship they’d both grown up on. SEDE babies, or “sabies,” tended to look out for one another and share information.

Jilla knew a guy who had gotten post-prison work in the largest shipyard in the system, which had led them to a network of pirates who tracked the movements of large ships. That had brought them to the bottom of this mountain. The Skulla male living in the house at the top of this ladder was a former smuggler who had supposedly had dealings with a mysterious fleet from outside the system.

They were here to see if there was any truth behind the rumor.

“Well, better get to climbing,” Kalan said with a sigh.

Wearl’s voice came from the apparently empty spot to his left. “I’ll go after Kalan. That way when I look up I will see a truly inspirational view.”

Bob nudged Kalan. “I think she means your ass.”

“Yeah, I got it, Bob.” With a sigh, Kalan grabbed the ladder with both hands and started climbing.

At the bottom the ladder seemed sturdy enough, but the higher he went, the more it began to sway. The gentle breeze got more severe, and it rocked the ladder. Kalan clutched the thin wood and tried not to think about the thousands of feet of sheer rock below him.

“Hey, I just thought of something,” Bob called when they were about halfway up. “Maybe this ladder wasn’t built to hold four full-grown adults at once, especially one Kalan’s size.”

“Shut up, Bob!” the others shouted.

Despite the human’s misgivings, all four made it to the top with nothing more than a few worrying groans from the ladder. All the same, Kalan was relieved step onto the boardwalk outside the small house.

A Skulla male was standing there with his arms crossed and his tattooed face wrinkled into a grimace. He offered no greeting as they approached, just looked at the tattoos on Kalan’s and Jilla’s forearms that marked them as sabies. When he turned his attention to Bob’s tattoo-free arms, his grimace deepened.

“Who’s he?” he asked.

It was odd hearing such a gruff voice come from such a small creature. Kalan tried to look as nonthreatening as possible, hoping his friendly smile offset the fact that he towered over the Skulla by more than three feet.

“This is Bob,” Kalan said. “He’s from outside the Vurugu system. Don’t worry, he’s harmless.”

The Skulla grunted noncommittally. “I’d invite you inside, but…well, I don’t like having people inside my house. We can talk out here. I’ll help you if I can. It’s my duty, after all.”

“And you carry it out with such joy,” Wearl said sarcastically, but thankfully the Skulla man couldn’t hear her. Unlike the rest of them, his translation chip hadn’t been enhanced to allow him to hear Shimmers’ voices.

It was for the best, Kalan thought. Almost everyone got a bit uncomfortable in the presence of Shimmers, but former residents of SEDE much more so. They’d felt the cruelty of Wearl’s fellow Shimmers firsthand.

After they’d made their introductions Kalan told the Skulla what they were looking for, and asked what he could tell them about the mysterious fleet.

“Sure, I remember them,” he said. “One of the oddest groups I ever dealt with. Trying to remember what they called themselves. The Lapcords? The Lampers? Something like that. They were as tall as Kalan here, but they were wispy things. Looked like a light breeze might blow them over. Their skin was as orange as anything. I did like their leader, though. He was one of those guys who inspired confidence. You knew right away he could handle himself, and you trusted him.”

He seemed to warm up to them as he spoke. His arms were still crossed tightly over his chest, but his expression had softened.

“Anyway,” he continued, “they came to me looking for a strange collection of items. They wanted enough supplies to keep them feed for over a year, and a bunch of parts for their ships. They didn’t want to deal with the local government on the planet they’d settled on, and wisely so—those stingy bastards would have made them pay through the nose.”

“Did you get them the supplies?” Kalan asked.

The Skulla looked at him like he was the biggest idiot ever to fly the galaxy. “Of course. I was very good at what I did. That’s why I’m able to live the lifestyle you see before you today.”

Bob raised an eyebrow. “Yeah. So luxurious.”

The Skulla didn’t seem to notice his sarcasm.

“Can you tell us where they are?” Jilla asked.

“I can tell you where they were then. I can give you exact location, in fact. Wait here a minute, and I’ll embed it for you” He opened the flimsy door and disappeared inside his hut.

Kalan glared at Bob, willing him not to say anything stupid the male might overhear, and thankfully he stayed silent.

The Skulla came out and tossed a chip to Kalan. “There you go. I put the exact location on there, though I must warn you that it didn’t seem like they would be keen to get unexpected visitors, if you know what I’m saying. And they have the weapons to make those visitors feel very unwanted.”

“Thanks for the information,” Kalan replied, “and the tip. By the way, what’s a Skulla like you doing living way out here?”

The Skulla grinned. “Let’s just say I had some family-related issues back home.  Arguing at the dinner table. Disagreements about inheritances. Them hiring assassins to kill me. That sort of thing.”

“Sure,” Bob said, “that sort of thing.”

“Anyway, moving here was the best decision I ever made. No one talks to me. Like, ever. I haven’t spoken to another living being for eight months before today. It’s been heavenly. I was even thinking about moving farther up the mountain. That way any visitors would have to—”

Something slammed against Kalan’s chest, knocking him backward. The blow was so unexpected, so out of nowhere, that it took him a moment to understand what had happened. He reeled backward and struggled to keep his balance, but ultimately failed.

He fell on his ass and glided over the edge of the boardwalk, but as he fell into open air he threw a hand out and caught the top rung of the ladder. He held on with all his strength as gravity pulled him downward and the ladder groaned noisily, but it held.

He twisted and got his feet onto a rung, and scurried back up in time to see Jilla slammed backward, again apparently by nothing.  He dashed over and caught her before she too tumbled over the edge.

“What the hell?” she shouted.

“My thoughts exactly,” he replied.

Then Wearl said, “Hello, sisters.”

Kalan’s mind reeled. Shimmers. They had been attacked by Shimmers.

Another disembodied voice, this one a bit higher-pitched than Wearl’s, said, “You are no true sister to us. You have aligned yourself with an enemy of the Shimmer people.”

“Who, him?” Bob asked, pointing to the Skulla.

The Shimmer spoke again. “Kalan Grayhewn led a breakout on SEDE and freed one of our most important prisoners. This was an affront to our honor that cannot be ignored. We are taking him back to SEDE, where he will remain for the rest of his days.”

“Ha,” Jilla said, getting to her feet. “That prisoner he freed is now the leader of the Vurugu System, which means he’s your boss. I don’t think he’ll take kindly to you throwing his rescuer in prison.”

Another Shimmer answered her statement. This one sounded a bit older, and had a gravelly but feminine voice. “Sslake does not need to know about this. Kalan will be in SEDE, so he won’t be able to tell him, and the rest of you will be dead.”

The Skulla was watching the proceedings with wide eyes. He looked confused, which was to be expected, Kalan supposed. He couldn’t hear the Shimmers, so to him it seemed like these people were having half a conversation. “Are you all okay?”

The Shimmer ignored him. “Kalan Grayhewn, you will come with us now. If you fight, you’ll die a thousand slow deaths before our—”

Her voice was choked off.

“I’ve got her by the throat,” Wearl shouted. “The other one’s standing to the left of the door.”

Jilla immediately drew her pistol and squeezed the trigger, blasting the wall of the house.

“Six inches farther left!” Wearl yelled.

Jilla corrected her aim and squeezed off another round, and the Shimmer shouted in pain.

“Got her in the arm,” Wearl said. “Shoot her again.

The Pallicon fired, but something slammed her backward.

“You missed, shapeshifter!” the Shimmer shouted as she crashed into her.

“Let me go!” the Shimmer Wearl was choking croaked.

“You just told me you’re going to kill us all and capture Kalan,” Wearl said, “so I think not. I don’t want to die, and he’s way too sexy to spend his life in a cell.”

Jilla tried to get up, but something hit her in the face and rocked her head back.

Kalan had about had it with these invisible bitches.  He ran toward Jilla and leaped at the space above her.

He slammed into the Shimmer with all his weight, and she let out an “Ooof!”

He wrapped his arms around the Shimmer as they hit the ground and locked his hands.

“Unhand—” the Shimmer he was holding groaned, but that was as far as she got. Fists beat against his sides, but he only squeezed harder.

As soon as she spoke, revealing the position of her face, Kalan headbutted her. His forehead connected with the Shimmer’s face, and something cracked.

“Ha!” Wearl said. “You broke her nose.”

Kalan felt something wiggle against his side, and realized too late that the Shimmer had pulled her hand loose. Her fist connected with his eye, and his head rocked back.

Jilla crouched next to him and pushed her gun forward until it connected with something solid. “Is this her head?”

“Yep,” Wearl confirmed.

Jilla pulled the trigger, and the creature in Kalan’s arms stopped struggling.

“Just a second,” Wearl said. There was a crack, follow by the thump of something hitting the ground. “Okay, mine’s dead too. Broke her neck.”

Bob looked around, a bit perplexed. “Is that all of them? I didn’t get to kill any.”

Wearl chuckled. “Hey Kalan, your shirt is covered with blood.”

“What?” He looked down at his chest. His shirt felt wet, but he didn’t see anything. “I take it your blood’s invisible too?”

“Invisible to you.”

The Skulla was staring at the hole Jilla had put in his wall. “Will someone tell me what the hell is going on?” he asked through clenched teeth.

“Invisible assassins tried to kill us,” Bob said.

“Huh.” The Skulla stood and crossed his arms again, his mouth a thin line. He looked like he was trying to decide whether to believe them, and after a moment he continued, “I think it’s time for you to leave.”

He’d get no disagreement from Kalan.

The team thanked him again, and apologized for putting the hole in his wall. Kalan gave him all the coin he had on him, a substantial amount he suspected would go far beyond covering the damages. He could probably buy a whole new house.

That was one nice thing about running with Valerie’s Elite: they weren’t short on funds. Sslake had paid them well for their role in freeing him and returning him to power.

As they descended the ladder Jilla asked Kalan, “You okay?”

“Aside from a black eye, I’m great. You?”

“I’m fine. I meant are you okay mentally. You just found out you’ve been declared an enemy of the Shimmer race.”

“So?” he asked.

Jilla paused as if she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “You know what that means, right? The Shimmers won’t stop. They’ll keep hunting you. Chase you across the galaxy if they have to, and eventually they will get you.”

“She’s right,” Wearl, who was below him, said. “We are a persistent race.”

“Wonderful,” Kalan muttered. “Hey, why aren’t they mad at Bob? He was involved in the breakout too.”

“Don’t bring me into this!” Bob said. “I’m just here to fight for justice and stuff.”

“Bob didn’t grow up under their care,” Wearl explained. “You represent something they deeply fear. Think about how many sabies there are in the galaxy, and imagine if they all got together and used what they knew to take the Shimmers down. You didn’t merely insult their honor, you also threatened their business. They can’t afford to let you run free. They have to make an example of you.”

Kalan reached the bottom of the ladder and stepped off, glad to once again be on semi-solid ground. “You know what? I’m not going to let it distract me. We’ll deal with the Shimmers later.”

“Kalan,” Wearl said, “the fact that they found us means they know you’re in this part of the system. And if those two were following procedure, they contacted their commanding officer to say they’d found you before they attacked. The full might of the Shimmers’ force will probably be on the way here soon.”

“Then let’s make sure we’re not here when they arrive. We got the information; that’s what matters. Now, somebody contact the Grandeur to let them know we need a ride.” He paused for a moment. “And tell them I need a clean shirt.”

From PT – I hope you enjoyed this brief look at what’s coming up in book three. You won’t have to wait long to read the rest. Not long at all… stay tuned! 

Death Defied (Valerie’s Elites Book 2) Snippet #3

In this snippet, Valerie and her Elites head to Sslake’s Manor and learn a little about the stakes they’ll be fighting for in this book.

If you missed them, here’s a link to snippet one and snippet two.

Let’s go to snippet three!

Planet Tol: Sslake Manor

The Bandian’s former house had been completely transformed into a hub for the new government. While the old system had relied heavily on one person getting his way by instituting terror through his death games and soldiers, Sslake wasn’t having any of that. Continue reading “Death Defied (Valerie’s Elites Book 2) Snippet #3”

Death Defied (Valerie’s Elites Book 2) Snippet #2

Justin and I can’t wait for you to read Death Defied. And you won’t have to wait long…

In the meantime, here’s the second snippet. If you missed the first one, you can read it here.

In this snippet, we find out what Kalan, Bob, and Wearl have been up to since the end of book one, and we see them step into a hornet’s nest once again.

Let’s get to it!

Chapter 2

Planet Coybon

Kalan had been on the planet Coybon for three days before he found the damn temple.

And once he did, he didn’t much like the looks of it. To think he’d gone through all that trouble for this old stone building!

Bob had spent most of the three days at local drinking establishments, supposedly trying to gather Intel. He came back to the ship every night smelling strongly of alcohol and the strange leaves they smoked on this planet.

Wearl had disappeared for up to a day at a time. She was secretive about it, refusing to reveal even to Bob what she was up to.

On the third day, Bob surprised Kalan by coming through with a lead. A male claimed to have seen a Grayhewn near the Skulla temple south of the city. It had been many years ago, but he said he remembered it vividly, and just as importantly, he agreed to lead them there.

Kalan was following up on the fourth record from his father’s files. Each record contained the suspected location of a Grayhewn, as the Pallicon called them, or a Bandian, as they called themselves. Most of the records were nothing more than vague rumors, and they’d already spent nearly a month chasing down three dead-end leads.

This one was different in that Kalan’s father had actually had an eyewitness, although as they learned when they got to Coybon, that eyewitness happened to be dead. Still, they took it as another bump in the road.

But Bob’s lead had come through for them.

So it was they found themselves standing in the middle of a forest gazing down at a few stone spires jutting skyward above a thickly wooded valley.

Bob scratched his head. “Are we sure this is the place?”

Kalan gave him a look. “Are you serious? We got this intel from your lead.”

“Yeah, I know, but the guy seems shady. I have a weird feeling we’re maybe, I don’t know, grasping at straws.” He paused for a moment, listening. “What’s straw? Seriously, Wearl, you don’t know what straw is? It’s like hay. Dried long grass. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a saying.”

They marched through the thick trees, their rust-orange trunks twisting upward at impossible angles, and were halfway down the steep trail when they spotted the temple below. It was a large squat building whose stone walls were the same color as the trunks of the strange trees.

Before long they found a narrow stone path that quickly broadened as it approached the temple. It widened enough that ten men could’ve walked side-by-side.

Bob glanced nervously toward Kalan. “Are we sure this is a good idea? The Skulla religion is all about fighting, right?”

“Not all about fighting,” Kalan said with a smile. “Like seventy percent maybe. Honestly, there’s a lot more to it than that.”

They reached the bottom of a long staircase leading up to the door of the temple. Each step was only a few inches high, which made the staircase much longer than it needed to be. A staircase for a shorter species, Kalan mused.

When they reached the top, he put his hands on his hips and stared at the stone wall in front of them. “Huh.”

The stonewall was thirty feet high, ran the entire length of the building, and appeared to be seamless. Impossibly, it looked as if it had been made from one solid piece of stone.

“Not big fans of doors, are they?” Bob muttered.

“Shut up, I’m thinking.” Kalan slowly walked forward, his hand outstretched toward the stone wall in front of him. “Stick close behind me, you two. If I step into some sort of deathtrap, grab my shirt or something before I fall.”

Bob sighed. “Wearl says she’d never let that happen to someone as handsome, kindhearted, and muscular is you.”

At first Bob had refused to pass along Wearl’s flirty messages. She’d coerced him into doing it with threats of bodily harm, and now, after three weeks together as a team, he’d pretty much resigned himself to playing weird messenger boy.

Kalan didn’t know what to think of the messages. For all he knew it could be the strange Shimmer sense of humor coming through, or she could actually have the hots for him. One thing he did know was that he wasn’t interested. His standards weren’t sky-high, but he did prefer his girlfriends to be visible and able to communicate to him without Bob whispering in his ear. That would make for a truly awkward date.

Kalan extended his index finger until it was only an inch or so from the stone wall and leaned a bit closer, his finger almost brushing the orange stone. Suddenly the wall was gone, and he saw a long corridor leading away from the empty spot where the wall had been up until a moment ago.

Whether the wall had been some sort of hologram or if it’d actually moved that quickly, Kalan had no idea. He didn’t have long to think about it before he noticed an especially short Skulla in a flowing orange robe standing at the end of the dim hallway.

“Come! All are welcome.”

Kalan and Bob exchanged a surprised glance. They been ready for hostility, aggressive questioning, or even a fight, but the one thing they had never expected was hospitality.

“Thank you,” he said simply. “I am Kalan Grayhewn, and my colleagues and I are here to seek your help.”

“Fine, fine. That’ll do. We’re happy to help.”

Kalan took a deep breath and figured he had nothing to lose. This was why they’d come into this strange valley forest, after all. They’d found the temple, and he was one step closer to either another dead-end or to finding one of his kinfolk.

He walked forward with long but slow strides, scanning the walls and the floors as casually as he could for any sort of traps.

The Skulla priest waited, his hands pressed together, the arms of the robe drooping nearly to his knees. “As I said, all are welcome…all who are willing to pay the price of entry.”

Kalan stopped walking. “Did you say ‘price?’ I think you might have the wrong idea here. I have a couple questions. I don’t want to—”

The Skulla priest waved his hand as if dismissing a foolish notion. “It makes no difference. You are here, and that means we will get our payment. As will you.”’

Even though the words were menacing, the priest spoke them in such a friendly and welcoming tone that Kalan began second-guessing himself. Was he reading too much into this?

“Kalan?” Bob called in a soft but insistent voice.

Kalan glanced back and did a double-take. The stone wall was back, and now they were trapped inside. He was more than a little tempted to take a run at the thing and find out once and for all if it was a hologram, but instead he turned towards the priest.

“Listen, I think we’ll have our chat right here if it’s all the same to you.”

The priest slowly shook his head, and Kalan was almost certain he saw a pang of regret in the old Skulla’s eyes. “I’m afraid that won’t work. I must take you deeper into the temple.”

Kalan casually rested his hand on the butt of the Tralen-14 pistol hanging from his belt. “All due respect, but that’s not happening. You’re going to answer our questions. I don’t mean to be impolite, but you’ve sort of put us in a tight spot here, what with the occasional wall popping up behind us and all.”

The priest sighed. “Fine. Ask your question.”

Kalan hesitated, surprised the old priest had so readily agreed. But why should he be? Three strangers were towering over the old male—wasn’t that incentive enough?

“Excellent, thank you. We’ve heard tell you have a Grayhewn here at the temple. A male of my species.”

The priest’s eyes widened a bit. “Those who come to the temple do so in secret. I’m afraid I cannot reveal any information about those inside.”

“Oh, yeah? How about now?” Bob drew his pistol and trained it on the priest.

Kalan resisted the urge to smack Bob so hard he’d fly through that stone wall, but the damage was done and now they needed to present a unified front. There’d be plenty of time for chewing Bob a new one later. He drew his own weapon, though he didn’t point it at the priest.

The priest frowned. “Is that how guests behave where you’re from?” He shook his head sadly. “I fear it will be no joy collecting the payment from you.”

“What’s this payment you keep talking about?” Kalan asked.

The priest smiled slyly. “Anyone who sets foot inside these walls is bound to our service for the rest of their lives.”

Bob took a step forward and waggled his gun, as if trying to bring it to the priest’s attention. “I’m sorry, did you just threaten to make us slaves?”

“Not slaves, but disciples.” He turned to Kalan. “As to your question about the Grayhewn, there was one here, a grouchy old male who couldn’t be taught manners. Sadly he is no longer with us. He passed on to the final resting place ten cycles ago.”

Kalan grimaced and turned to Bob. “All right, let’s get out of here. “

The priest waved his hand and suddenly the wall behind him disappeared, revealing five armed guards.

“I enjoyed having a Grayhewn here,” the priest said. “And now I have one once again.”

That’s all for now. We’ll jump back to Valerie’s POV for snippet #3, coming tomorrow!

Death Defied (Valerie’s Elites Book 2) Snippet #1

It’s time for the first snippet from book two of the Valerie’s Elites series. Justin and I are thrilled at the response to book one, and we can’t wait for you to read the second volume.

Without anymore preamble, here’s the cover:

Now onto the snippet!


Chapter One

Planet Tol

Days spent on Tol were nothing like back on Earth, and it wasn’t only because Valerie had just helped institute a successful coup. While on Earth she had hidden in the shadows, forced to try and keep the status quo of not too many humans knowing about the existence of Weres and vampires—of which she was the latter.

Up here though? Here she was a hero, the liberator of the people. As much as she insisted it hadn’t been only her, and even tried to push the credit over to Kalan, where much of it was due, the Skulla and Norral were hard to convince.

It wasn’t only a matter of them listening to her on this matter, there was the issue that, until Valerie had come along, the Norral were slaves to the Skulla. Now this whole system was being reworked, with Sslake as the new leader, trying to put the pieces together of this metaphorical vase she’d broken.

Of course, in the process of breaking it, she’d made it ten times better than it had been. No more slaves, no more people having to fight for their right to live here or to rise up in society.

What the new system would be like, Valerie wasn’t trying to influence. If Sslake needed them, he would ask for their help.

At the moment, she just wanted to find something to eat that wasn’t the local variation of flowers or Rantu, their version of panther. It was their local specialty, but after having been friends with a Were-puma for the year or so before leaving Earth, she just couldn’t see herself eating any animal that even remotely resembled a cat.

“Maybe the Norral have a better diet?” Garcia offered, as he and Robin walked with Valerie through the bazaar. They made their way over toward the Norral tables, not happy to see that, even though they weren’t slaves anymore, their sales tables were set up in the back and with very little room.

Too bad Kalan and Bob had to take off so soon, she had a feeling Kalan’s tastes were much more in line with her own, and he probably knew where to look.                

A shot went off and everyone ducked—everyone except Valerie, who turned and scanned the crowd looking for the shooter. She didn’t have to look hard, because there was a tall Pallicon, standing at least a head above all of the Skulla that had dove for cover. His pistol was aimed right at Valerie, though he’d clearly missed.

“Wandrei skum!” he shouted, about to shoot again, when an enhanced Skulla tackled him, two more joining a moment later.

“Looks like our friends haven’t abandoned us,” Robin said with a raised eyebrow. She nudged Valerie and nodded to the far curtain of the bazaar, where Warlord Palnik stood watching, arms crossed. Several more of those large-armed Skulla stood by as his bodyguard.

In spite of everything that had changed, there were still classes here, and Palnik was still one of those at the top. If not for Sslake, in fact, he might be at the top. Before it had been Warlord Charbon, who Valerie had taken out as part of her mission, and the top warlord who had called himself the Bandian, after a race of aliens who, it turned out, Kalan actually belonged.

“What’s he doing here?” Valerie wondered aloud.

“Looking for trouble,” Garcia replied. “Maybe I’ll bring him some.”

Valerie held out a hand, then used it to wave to the warlord. In response, all she received was a scowl.

“To be fair, you changing the system essentially stripped him of any real power,” Robin pointed out. “You could see why he would be annoyed.”

“And we saved lives when we did so.” Valerie started walking toward him, motioning the others to follow and simply ignoring the shooter. “I’d say he either starts living in the system or gets out of it. Pretty black and white, if you ask me.”

Palnik waved his guards off at Valerie’s approach, walking over to meet her halfway.

“I trust you’re finding a new way to entertain yourself?” Valerie asked, referring to the fact that the fighting arena was closed now.

He sneered, then turned that into a frown. “Sslake’s looking for you, asked me to locate you. Looks like I get to be his personal errand boy.”

“You must love that,” Garcia said with a chuckle.

“Maybe I break your legs and we see who’s laughing?”

Garcia took a step toward Palnik, and to the warlord’s surprise, his guards didn’t step in to do a damn thing. It hit Valerie that it was likely because of the legends surrounding her and her team. Nobody wanted to mess with them, not with what had happened in the fighting arena, nor how they had taken down the false Bandian at his strange base in the jungle.

“You were saying?” Garcia asked, towering over the warlord.

Behind them, the other Skulla were taking care of the shooter, dragging him out of the tent, unconscious and with a line of blood dripping from his nose.

Palnik shook his head and turned to lead the way.

“He’s not at his quarters?” Robin asked.

“Actually, he’s had a team going over the Bandian’s base since you took it out, and thinks he found something quite intriguing. He asked for you all specifically, and said it might be a job for you and your team.”

Suddenly the lights went out completely and an explosion sounded, followed by a feminine voice, loud and carrying as it said, “It has come to our attention that new leadership is in play on Tor, and you have yet to pay tribute to your gods. We require blood. We are taking hostages. On the fourth hour, if you haven’t fulfilled our demand, one will die every hour until we have the Bandian. Send him, and be quick.”

With that, the lights returned to normal and only the far off screams could be heard.

Valerie took a split-second to process this, then ran outside, leaping over tables and shoving locals aside until she was past the tents and could see that the threat was real.

Hovering over the city was a massive spaceship, drones pulling back into it—but the drones were carrying their screaming hostages.

Half a dozen fighters rose up from the city, but as they moved for the ship above, their engines all seemed to die and they went careening back into the city creating new explosions and subsequent fires.

“Well, we’re off to a great start,” Robin said, running a hand through her hair.

Valerie turned to the nearest Skulla. “Who are they?”

He shook his head, eyes never leaving the sky.

“Looks like that might be a question for Sslake,” Garcia stated.

“Hell, at least they only want the Bandian.” Robin shrugged. “No brainer, give him up.”

“We can’t just go around handing out prisoners to whatever alien group comes along making demands like this.” Valerie stared off at the fires, almost wishing she didn’t always have to be in these situations, but knowing she was the most qualified for it.

“Don’t forget,” Garcia cut in, “it’s not exactly we, is it? Not like back home. Here, we’re the mercenaries, not the government.”

He had a point.

“Looks like we better pay our friend Sslake a little visit then,” Valerie said. “But first, let’s make sure nobody’s hurt over there.”

They all took off, running for the fires and anyone who needed their assistance. It bothered her that she wasn’t going to have final say here, but if she was going to play her role, she had to do it by the book. Although, the way she figured it, since there wasn’t technically a book yet, she had some wiggle room.

Storm Warrior Snippet 1

It’s almost time for book four of the Storms of Magic series. This is the last book in this story arc (but not the last in the series), and I’m really excited about it.

You may be asking, “PT, what’s Storm Warrior about?”

Well, I’m glad you asked. I’m not going to tell you, but I am going to show you. Kind of. For each of the snippets, I’ll post a clue to one aspect of the story.

Here’s the first clue: Continue reading “Storm Warrior Snippet 1”

Storm Breakers is out now!

It’s been a whirlwind of a last few days, but hopping on to let you know that the third book in the Storms of Magic series is out now.  I hope you enjoy it. I had a very good time writing it. Here are the details:

How do you defeat a magician who can shape mountains?

Abbey and her friends travel across the sea in search of Syd’s brother, a sailor captured by a warlord years ago. To find him, they’ll need the help of their greatest enemy, the Storm Caller Dahlia.

When they arrive, they discover a land ruled by a new form of magic: the Way of Stone.

The Stone Shapers agree to help Abbey and her friends track down the missing man, but only if Abbey helps them defeat a band of rebels first.

What Abbey doesn’t know is that the leader of the rebels is the very man they came to rescue.

Storm Breakers is a fun, swashbuckling romp filled with twists, adventure, and plenty of banter.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Storm Breakers Snippet 3

Holy cow, the release date for Storm Breakers is almost here! There’s only time for one more snippet, but it’s a good one. In this section, we get to check in on what Syd’s brother Elliot is up to. It’s sort of the answer to a long-running mystery, but I think you’ll agree that it raises more questions. Including who are these stone magic users…

See you tomorrow for the book release! In the meantime, the snippet starts after the cover image. Here we go.

Continue reading “Storm Breakers Snippet 3”

Storm Breakers Snippet 2

Welcome back! When we left off in the first installment, Abbey was about to tell Syd what Dahlia did to her brother fifteen years ago. This installment starts with some mighty salty language. But, hey, Syd has never been afraid to express herself in a colorful manner.

Thanks for all your nice comments on Snippet 1. I’m delighted to see that so many of you are excited about this book. I am too!

Okay, no more preamble. The snippet starts after the cover image.

Continue reading “Storm Breakers Snippet 2”