Space Rep: That sounds good. What's it about?
Liza: It's a romp through space with fast paced action, mystery, humor and romance.
Space Rep: Wow! It's got everything!
Liza: It sure seems to. So transport the book over and let's find out more.
Space Rep: Got it!
Liza: Welcome, Captured by the Hawk. Mind if I call you Cap for short.
Space: She's a terrible speller, I advise you to accept her suggestion.
Cap: OK. I'm easy going.
Liza: Great attitude. Can you tell me about your book?
Cap: That's why I'm here. Interstellar spy and expert code thief, Grey Kat, is captured by the enigmatic Black Hawk, renegade captain of the Rogue Star, who terrorizes the Emperor’s spaceships.
Liza: Oh, he sounds interesting. Tell me more.
Cap: He wears black, exposing only his fierce green eyes.
Cap: Because he doesn't want anyone to see his face and he refuses to tell anyone why.
Liza: In that case, tell me more about Kat. Is she locked in the hull of his ship, chained to a wall and fed gruel?
Cap: Hardly. Kat is housed in the luxurious cabin of his wife, who died under mysterious circumstances.
Liza: It doesn't sound like he means her harm.
Cap. Actually, Captain Hawk persuades Kat to assist in his next piracy attempt.
Liza: And how does that turn out?
Cap: Not too good.
Liza: Could you be a bit more forthcoming.
Cap: I don't want to give too much. Let me say their initial attempt at piracy plunges them into a series of comic misadventures as they frantically dodge pursuit, crashing through several ships and different planets.
Liza: Sounds like one crazy occurrence after another.
Cap: It is. I hope you will follow their adventures from Hassam port via the dock on a small planetoid to the remote planet of Ulverkop.
Liza: And if I do this, what should I expect to learn?
Cap: How will they evade the Emperor’s troops?
Space Rep: Stop, Cap!
Cap: Will Kat discover the secrets of the mysterious Black Hawk before she suffers the fate of his unfortunate ex-wife?
Space Rep: Cap stop! Liza hates questions she doesn't know the answer to.
Cap: Can she ever resume her true identity as the wealthy Mistress Trina Sligo and wed the Emperor’s son?
Space Rep: Cap this is suicide!
Cap: And with the concussion she manages to acquire, will a foggy headed Kat succumb to the pirates charms?
Space Rep: *peeks out from beneath a table* Why aren't you threatening to toss Cap out into space for all those questions? You HATE questions.
Liza: I'm feeling very happy today. No desire to toss anything.
Space Rep. No...that's not it. There's only one reason you wouldn't find the questions upsetting...You already know the answers, which means you read the book without me.
Liza: Yep. And would you like to know what I thought of it?
Space Rep: Sure.
Liza: I thought it non-stop action from page one onward. My only complaint--and this is due no doubt to my preference of novels to novellas-- is that it stopped too soon. I wanted them to continue the fun. Instead, they wrapped it up faster than I could "Oh no you don't!"
Space Rep: So you gonna write a review for Amazon.
Space Rep: What's it going to be?
Liza: Well, I was going to ding it for ending too soon and give it 4.5 stars, which I intended to round up, but then realized it's hard to find a half star, so I'm just going to call it a short 5.
Space Rep: Well, that's all fine and dandy for you, but I've yet to read it!
Liza: Cap, may Space Rep read beneath your covers.
Cap: Of course!
Finally, she had her interrogation. Two armed men escorted her through the ship’s narrow passages and into a large cabin. A tall man stood by a table displaying galactic charts. Strikingly, he was clothed entirely in black. He wore black leather boots, black gloves and a black turban covered his head. Even his face was wrapped in folds of black cloth, exposing only his piercing green eyes. She stared at him curiously. Sexy outfit, she mused, and judging by his broad shoulders, he would strip well. But, why did he have that black mask over his face? Was it a cultural obligation, or was he hiding some hideous facial deformity?
He scrutinized her small figure with equal intensity. He saw a slim woman with alert tawny eyes, short brown hair and skin. She was dressed in coveralls of a faded, nondescript brown, almost matching the color of her skin.
He spoke in a cool, dispassionate tone, “My men say you are the cunning thief who stole the secret codes from the Emperor’s Revenge. Where are the codes?”
She stared back in silence, tilting her chin in defiance. Who was he to question her?
“I am the Black Hawk. You are on my ship, the Rogue Star, and utterly in my power. I recommend you tell me what you know.” His deep cold voice sent a shiver down her spine.
The Black Hawk, she thought. He was a renegade captain of uncertain allegiance who terrorized interstellar space. His ship raided isolated ports and boarded lone ships, especially those registered in the Emperor’s sector. She could never admit to her identity as the wealthy Mistress Sligo to such a rapacious pirate. Only her secret persona as the insidious thief, the Grey Kat, from the sleazy side of the docks was viable in this situation.
“Ain’t got nothing!” Kat whined like a wretched dock rat, as she resumed her role as the desperate thief, using the dialect of the seedier docks.
His fierce eyes probed her. She flinched involuntarily and lowered her eyes, while stalling for time or inspiration.
“Are you afraid of me?” he asked.
Kat raised her head, gazing boldly into his green eyes, and sneered, intending to confound him, “What me? Why’d I fear a slick spacer like ye?”
“What did you steal from the Emperor’s Revenge?” he said in accusation.
“Wha’ ship? Didn’t take nothing from no ship!” she spat out, pursing her lips as if in perplexed anger.
“My men saw you creep out of the Revenge’s cargo bay.”
Oh, no, Kat thought, I must be growing careless. I didn’t spot his men.
“Ain’t bin in no ship! Ye put me back on dock,” she pleaded, chin tipped impudently. “Ain’t done nothing wrong!”
“My ship has lifted from the spaceport. You cannot return to Hassam.” He stared at her for a minute, noting the unconscious challenge in her eyes and her defiant stance. “You intrigue me. You are not afraid, and your replies are too prompt and recalcitrant for the usual dockside thief.”
Kat remained silent, keeping her gaze locked on his green eyes, while pondering her best approach in dealing with this coldly confident pirate.
“Are you ready to talk?” he insisted in a harsh voice, evidently unused to opposition. “What is your name, thief?”
It was time to switch her guise and confuse him with the story of her life. She spoke, enunciating carefully, “I am called Grey Kat, and I am no common thief.”
He said in a derisive tone, “Proceed with your story.”
She spoke smoothly with the hint of the unkempt underclass giving way to the educated voice of a skilled narrator, “With your permission, Sir, I shall begin my story. I was born into a wealthy family on the planet Terra in the center of the Solarian sector. My fortunate childhood did not last for many years. My family’s wealth was lost to the predations of a financial genius affiliated with the Emperor. We were forced to beg for a livelihood. My talents led me in divergent directions. I roamed the streets at night in the service of criminals, and was instructed in the skills necessary for the Solarian Intelligence Service in the daytime.” She paused, noting a gleam of interest in his shadowed eyes.
“I wish to know what you have done, not your life history,” he demanded in an attempt to forestall her digressions.
“You cannot keep me imprisoned here,” she countered in her sweetest tone, despite her fear that he had kidnapped her for profit.
His eyes scanned down her slight figure, lingering over her slender anatomy. Kat stiffened defensively. What was he thinking? But, he lowered his gaze to the table, as if he pondered some unwelcome choice.
After a moment’s silence, he raised his penetrating green eyes to her face, saying slowly, “We can provide suitable accommodations for you on the Rogue Star. I realize you are more than a scrubby dock thief.”
“Thank you, Captain Hawk,” she murmured politely, unsure what to expect as suitable accommodation.
He called the guard and spoke quietly to him. She could not hear their words, although the guard looked surprised, shaking his head and whispering as if he were raising an objection to his Captain’s command.
Black Hawk glanced back at her, “Take her away, feed her and bring her back at the same time tomorrow.”
Space Rep: Oh this does sound good. Are you going to share your copy or buy me my own.
Liza: If you can find a link, I'll buy you your own.
Space Rep: Got it! According to Amazon, it's expected out on Sept 1, 2014, but it has Pre-order available.
Liza: Cap, we'll be keeping you 3 days, so sit back and relax.
Cap: No problem. I could use a spot of stillness for a change.
Cap: No problem. I could use a spot of stillness for a change.