“Terrakis Five: A Brigadier’s Soul”
Sci-Fi/Futuristic with Romantic Elements
Much-anticipated stand-alone sequel to the best-selling novel,
“Calypso’s Revenge: A Traitor’s Heart"
Available at: Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and Smashwords.com
From Blue Leaf Publications!
An ex-soldier sentenced to five years, when Teah Valtamise is frozen in cryo she expects to wake in prison but instead finds herself someplace much worse: Crashed on a planet battling not only the other survivors and a swarm of vicious, black-quilled alien creatures but a foreign world that is determined to kill her.
Resigned Envoy and part-time Hunter, Jonathan Ryker, loved her—enough so to feel that his very soul had been ripped from his chest during her trial—yet when he learns of her ship going down, he can’t believe he’s lost her and will give anything to find out the truth—including his own life.
From the core of the Calypso galaxy to the depths of an alien wilderness, “Terrakis Five: A Brigadier’s Soul” is a space-operatic, romantic quest about two heart-torn lovers fighting to find not only each other, but the happiness they so truly deserve.
There were plenty of things worse than being frozen stiff and sent straight into the lion’s den but as the cryo-coolant gel oozed through her veins, she really couldn’t think of many. Regrets, yes, she had quite a few. Fear, a helpful dose of that too…but most of what filled her was the hollow sense of loss. Of what had been and what would never be. Of love found and lost all in one simple breath. And of blue eyes filled with pain…
It was the heat that woke her, an odd stinging burn that crawled over her skin and down into her lungs as Teah Valtamise raked her fingers across her chest to remove the restraints. A deep groan then a hiss and the emergency release engaged. The door of the cryotube opened. Slumping to the floor, gasping, she found each breath more searing than the one before and shivered from the raw pain. Something was wrong…terribly wrong. Thick gray smoke loomed overhead, a gaseous vapor of fumes and spent chemicals. Roiling blue flames danced near the end of a supply line. A thin stream of coolant trickled close by. The constant sputter of fire and steam. She’d been on too many interstellar vessels not to recognize the consequences of a crash. Had even trained for this kind of event in the Corp, alongside many others, each vying for that all so desired position within the Red Brigade…and she’d earned it, with honors…earned her place as a soldier…but that was so long ago, before…
A deep breath, one she instantly regretted. This was not the time to get distracted. Not now. Not when she knew how vulnerable she was. Dragging herself towards the brighter end of the corridor, she hoped it was daylight in the distance and not just white-fyre she saw—the deadly, heatless infusion of plasma and fuel. A sudden popping erupted overhead. Sparks showered down like orange-hued fireflies as a metal beam dropped from the ceiling. She rolled to the side to wait for the smoke to clear, then spotted a row of cylinders lined up along the far wall. Dark etchings of flame revealed swollen, burnt fingers seared to the interior of the glass. Another breath, shallow this time, so as to not irritate her lungs any further. She had to get outside. To stay here, fighting for every bit of clean air, was senseless…yet I just can’t crawl out into the open without…
A glance back to the light. With no idea of who or what lay outside the ship, being who she was—not to mention what she was—convicted felon or not, if the wrong people were out there… She took another look at the litter and debris scattered about, the pitiful remains of a once solid transfer vessel, and instinctively ran through the schematics—one of the perks of being an ex-soldier.
Clenching her hands several times to get the blood flowing, she gained her feet. Now closer to the smoke and flame, waves of heat pelted her skin like acid rain. She slunk forward, bit by bit, away from the light, fingers drifting across the warm metal surfaces for balance until she reached the end. Sweat rolled into her eyes. She smoothed it away, into the stubble of her shaved head—yet another reminder of her recent incarceration—before examining the opposite wall. Several lockers, blackened with soot, remained fastened. She reached the first and tried the release. Nothing moved. With a well-placed kick, it popped open. A pathetic menagerie of items fell to the floor. Squatting, she inspected the meager bounty: an unsealed medi-kit and three rolls of gauze. Not much. She snatched it up and moved to the next. The offerings weren’t any better.
Just as she went to pull out a hooded cloak, the smoke whirled about her, an abrupt motion not caused by wind, but by movement. Slipping back behind one of the cryotubes, she dropped to the floor and stared down the metal grating. Two thin shadows moved near the opening at the far end, wavering in the heat, then disappeared. Her attention shifted to the insignia on the back of her hand. Hiding her womanhood would be easy enough, but that mark—the mark of a soldier—would identify her as no other. Suddenly, random images of the last few months flashed through her mind. Of her running from bounty hunters, hiding out in her base on the dark side of a moon, of the friends she’d left behind, the sacrifice she’d made to save her sister, her trial…then his pain-etched blue eyes…
She shook her head slightly.
What was it now, a month maybe…longer…since she’d seen him, been held so tight in his arms, telling him he couldn’t give it up all for her? How she just wasn’t worth it? That she was…no more than the traitor everyone believed her to be. A sharp pain in her chest as she realized that even then, when she’d betrayed him that dark night, she knew what her fate would be. Known all along what she was giving up and all the reasons why, but now, as she lay in the midst of this destroyed vessel, she wondered if giving her life and losing her heart in the process had really been the right thing to do. The next deep breath, one filled with acidic pain, brought her back to reality. There wasn’t any time for this—pity and regret were emotions sought by fools, not soldiers...