For two fugitive lovers, space has no haven,no mercy, no light—only...SHADES OF DARK
Before her court-martial, Captain Chasidah “Chaz” Bergren was the pride of the Sixth Fleet. Now she’s a fugitive from the “justice” of a corrupt Empire. Along with her lover, the former monk, mercenary, and telepath Gabriel Ross Sullivan, Chaz hoped to leave the past light-years behind—until the news of her brother Thad’s arrest and upcoming execution for treason. It’s a ploy by Sully’s cousin Hayden Burke to force them out of hiding and it works.
With a killer targeting human females and a renegade gen lab breeding jukor war machines, Chaz and Sully already had their hands full of treachery, betrayal—not to mention each other. Throw in Chaz’s Imperial ex-husband, Admiral Philip Guthrie, and a Kyi-Ragkiril mentor out to seduce Sully and not just loyalties but lives are at stake. For when Sully makes a fateful choice changing their relationship forever, Chaz must also choose—between what duty demands and what her heart tells her she must do.
…I saw Sully falling backwards, Gregor’s hands locked on his throat. I saw black-clad arms gripped around the stained, sweaty back of Gregor’s gray shirt. I was standing, Stinger set to stun, but I couldn’t get a clear shot. Sully and Gregor, tangled together, pushing and shoving, toppled into the small space between the table and the wall.
Ignoring the grunts and curses, I shoved the table away with my boot, giving Sully more room. I didn’t know why he didn’t just blank Gregor’s mind, shut him down then and there, but he wasn’t. Instead, he yanked on Gregor’s arm, wrenching it around. Gregor turned, knees coming up. Sully jerked sideways, Gregor moving with him. If Sully wasn’t going to use his Ragkiril methods, then I needed a clear shot. But they were too close.
I danced out of the way of a swinging leg just as Sully flipped Gregor over on his back, pinning his shoulders to the floor. A chair skittered sideways, fell.
Move, Sully. I have a shot! “Stop it, Gregor, now!” I took aim.
Gregor reared up, bellowing a guttural cry. Sully swung, smashing his fist in Gregor’s face. Gregor thrashed back, bleeding, cursing, twisting, reaching—
Something glinted in his hand. I saw the thin edge of the knife. “No!”
The room exploded.
I was flash-blinded, seeing nothing but light. I dropped to the floor, shielding my face, waiting for the intense heat from the detonation to roll over me. But I felt nothing. Heard nothing.
I jerked my face up, blinking. Light melted into haze. Still clutching my gun, I pulled myself onto my hands and knees. Sully was three, four feet in front of me, down on one knee next to Gregor’s body, fingers splayed. The silver fire of the Kyi whipped all around him, flowing over Gregor and past me, but it was nothing compared to the luminescence radiating from within Sully.
Sully? For a moment I wasn’t sure who I was looking at.
Jagged streaks of lightning striped his face like blazing tattoos, one down each cheek. More streaks disappeared beneath his black shirt, which barely contained the heated glow. It was Sully’s profile, it was Sully’s clothes. But this was not a Sully I’d ever seen.
I stared at him. His focus was fixed on Gregor.
The only movement on Gregor’s body was a thin trickle of blood flowing from his left ear. His gaze was riveted on Sully’s hands. His mouth was open in a silent scream.
This was not supposed to happen. You’ll control yourself because of her, Ren had said.
This was not control. This was... I shook myself, trying to process what I was seeing. The only thing I knew for sure was I had to stop this. Sully. Back off.
Gregor’s chest jerked up, his body arching unnaturally, almost as if Sully’s fingers pulled him up. Pulling the life from him. Kyi energy sparkled in small bursts all around me.
Was this what would eventually happen to Thad?
“Sully!” I hissed. “Enough!”
Gregor’s gaze moved to me. He heard me. God. Gregor was still alive. Stark terror showed in his eyes. His throat moved convulsively. He panted in short, hard gasps through his gaping mouth, sounding more animal than human.
Another abrupt jerk on his body. Then Gregor’s right arm came up smoothly as if guided by the thick silver haze around it. His hand clutched the knife, bringing it toward his own face, his own throat—
“Stop this! Or I will!” I levered up on my knees and raised my Stinger, taking aim at the man who was ky’sal to me. And I screamed, in my mind, for Ren.
For two, three heartbeats, nothing happened. Then Gregor’s fingers spasmed. The knife fell, sliding off his arched chest, hitting the floor with a muted clink.
Keeping the Stinger on Sully, I grabbed blindly for the knife with my left hand, then shoved it across the floor behind me, toward where I remembered the door being. I wasn’t going to turn around and check. And in this silver haze, I wasn’t even sure I could see that far.
Stupid, I told myself when I heard the knife hit against something metallic. He wants a knife, he can think a thousand of them into existence.
Sully turned suddenly, his expression of intense concentration shifting to one of an almost detached curiosity. No, this wasn’t Sully, mercenary, poet and lover. But Gabriel, shape shifter, telepath, Kyi-Ragkiril.
I had no way of knowing if he heard my mental comment or had suddenly noticed I was there. But it was the first time he’d looked at me. A chill ran up my spine. I didn’t know this man kneeling a few feet away from me, this luminescent demon with lightning glowing in flashes under his skin. But I could taste his power. It was a cold thing, thick and astringent. It had no mercy.
And I had no choice.
“Gabriel, let him go.” Silver tendrils still writhed around Gregor’s partly suspended body. “I will shoot you.” And I swear, if you rip this gun from my hands, or in any way stop me from stopping you, you will be sleeping alone for the rest of your very miserable, very celibate life...
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RITA(c) Award Winning SF Romance from Bantam Spectra
Coming 2007-08: GAMES OF COMMAND, THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES, SHADES OF DARK