Thursday, July 30, 2015

Diane Burton shares some facts you should know about Human Trafficking

by Diane Burton

Did you know . . .
·     there are more slaves in the world today than ever before in history?
·     75-80% of human trafficking is for sex?
·     Human trafficking not only involves sex and labor, but people are also trafficked for organ harvesting.

While writing my newest science fiction romance THE PROTECTOR (An Outer Rim Novel), I learned more about human trafficking than I imagined. Yes, I knew there was such a thing, even here in West Michigan, but I thought it had more to do with slavery. Bring young people (mostly girls) into a strange country where they know no one and don’t know the language and use them in sweatshops or as domestics. I’m appalled than at any other time in history.

On the positive side for traffickers, what a source of income. When you add in children sold for sex, the income rises. I never even thought of organ harvesting. My stomach turns at that frightful statistic.

Considering such a depressing topic, including my usual wacky sense of humor was definitely a challenge. This book is much more emotional. How would you feel if your baby daughter was snatched from her crib by traffickers? That’s what my heroine Rissa experienced twenty years ago. After searching for her child for years, she’s closed herself off from children. Running a tavern on the Frontier ensures she rarely has contact with them. So what happens when she finds two teen girls who’ve run away from a slave ship? Rissa rescues them, of course. Then she goes on the offensive. Despite danger to herself, she declares war on traffickers and rallies the townsfolk to help.

Enter industrialist heir Dillan Rusteran who’s loved her for years, while she still thinks of him as the reckless kid who used to come to her little part of the universe to play. Little does she know that he’s changed. Proving that to her takes more patience than he expected. By helping her fight the traffickers, he hopes she’ll see him in a new light.


“Whoever you are, come out. Right now.”
Another rustle then the sound of feet lightly hitting the floor. The lock slid open then slowly the door moved.
“Please,” a soft voice whispered. “Don’t hurt us.”
That sounded like a young girl.
“Come out where I can see you.” Rissa, too, whispered.
A tall, dark-haired teen stepped out, followed by a smaller girl with light brown hair. They both looked terrified. Their hair was matted and dirt smudged their faces. Their clothes were filthy. The smells emanating from them contributed to the general san-fac odors. Rissa did her best not to react.
Holding the other girl behind her, the tall one stepped forward, jutting out her chin. “We are not going back.”
“O-kay. Back where?”
“You can’t make us. We’ll escape again.”
Rissa had to admire her bravado. “You escaped? From where?”
“Did they send you in here to get us?”
Since the taller one seemed to be the spokesperson, Rissa kept her eyes on her. Something about her was compelling. Rissa could be looking at herself at the same age. Then it hit her hard, like a blow to the stomach. That was what Miri would have looked like at that age. Same strong Traishan features—olive skin, dark hair and eyes. Same strong will.
Rissa took a deep breath to steady herself before locking the outer door. “Nobody sent me. You asked for help. What can I do?”
“Get us out of here before they discover we’re gone.” Despite the strength in the tall girl’s voice, she worked hard to keep her chin from wobbling.
“Who?” Rissa was afraid she knew.
“Those men. The Chellians. We can’t go back. We won’t.”
By the Matriarch, traffickers.
Her lungs seized, her heart hurt so badly Rissa clutched her chest. Be strong, she told herself. Pull yourself together. No traffickers had ever come to Astron Colony before. Or even to Galeriana. She had to help the girls get away.
She glanced at the window on the far wall.
“We couldn’t open it,” the smaller girl sobbed. “We were trying when you came in. We thought you were them.”
Since Rissa was taller, she could easily reach the window. With a shove, she got it open. “Come.” She motioned to the tall girl. “You first. You can catch your friend. She’s too small to catch you.”
She cupped her hands for the girl’s foot. “Hide outside. I’ll come around and take you somewhere safe.” At the girls’ wary looks, she added, “I promise. Now go before someone comes looking for us.”
Rissa boosted her up to the open window. The tall girl hoisted herself through, disappeared for a moment then stuck her head inside.
“The ground is higher out here. Come, Anaris.” She held out her arms.
The small girl, Anaris, gave Rissa a panicked look. “You’ll come for us?”
The door rattled. “Hey,” a male yelled. “Open up.”
Anaris gave her a panicked look.
“Gimme a min,” Rissa yelled back.
“I promise to come for you,” Rissa whispered then gave her a boost. Like the tall girl, Anaris disappeared through the window.
As Rissa reached to close it, the tall girl was there about to do the same. “Thank you.” She shut the window and ducked out of sight.
Hoping they would wait for her, Rissa walked out of the san-fac. A mech glared at her. “Whadda mean by locking the door?”
“Didn’t want you walking in on me.” She glanced over at a commotion near the freighter where she’d delivered the supplies. “What’s going?”
The pilot was yelling and his two crewmen were darting between ships, searching.
“Damn offworlder.” The mech brushed past her into the san-fac.
When the pilot saw her, he yelled, “What did you do with them?”
Rissa looked around to see who he was shouting at.
“You there.” He stormed up to her. “Where are those two girls?”
She affected a confused expression. “What girls?”
“My cargo, I mean passengers. Damn you to Lexol’s Fire. How did you get them out?”
The pilot’s slip confirmed what Rissa feared. The girls she helped escape had been cargo. The pilot and crew were slavers, bastards who trafficked in children. A primal urge swept through her. Kill them. Kill them now.

The Protector is available at:

About the Author:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website:

Connect with Diane Burton online

Sign up for Diane’s new release alert:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Aurora Springer discusses the various aliens of the Grand Master's Trilogy & book 2: Grand Master's Game

Meet the Grand Masters

Who are the Grand Masters?
The twelve Grand Masters on the Council are the most powerful entities in the galaxy, or so they claim. Their psychic powers are incredible, and secret.

At the beginning of Book 1, Grand Master’s Pawn, much of the information about the Grand Masters is unknown. The new pawn, Violet, learns about them through her empathic sense and conversations with the other pawns. Finally, she meets her Grand Master, Athanor, and two others. Exposure to a Grand Master’s power can be lethal to ordinary people. Fortunately, Violet is protected by her secret psychic power.

During Book 2, Grand Master’s Game, Violet meets all of the Grand Masters on the Council. She learns their names, auras and some of their emblems. Some are her allies, others are deadly enemies. The twelve Grand Masters include six humans, male and female, and six aliens. We will learn more about the aliens in Book 3.

Human Grand Masters

Nathan, Lord of Lightning, is the Chair of the Council. His eyes flash green psi fire and his emblem is a bolt of lightning. He is proud and dominates the Council.

Pashtari Hanuman, is the oldest of the Grand Masters. He has a benign face, like a Buddha, and yellow-white aura. His emblem is a white monkey. Hanuman is the monkey-faced Hindu god.

Morrigu, the Red Queen, is a prominent adversary in the books. She has four arms and strawberry blonde braids in a hideous amalgam of Celtic and Hindu mythology. Red is her psi color and her avatar is a red cobra, poised to strike.

Garron Lionheart has a handsome face with golden hair and blue eyes. His emblem is the lion rampant.

Ravaleen, the Meilai of Marina, is a green skinned woman with flaming green eyes and turquoise hair. She is as beautiful as a fairy queen.  

Athanor Griffin is the youngest of the Grand Masters. He attended the Terran Space Academy at the same time as Violet’s parents. He has a hooked nose, long black hair and glowing blue eyes. His emblem is the griffin rampant. Athanor took a risk when he selected Violet as his pawn because her father prophesied the doom of the Council of Twelve Grand Masters.

Alien Grand Masters

Radjuser resembles an orange octopus. He emits orange slime and psi fires. He was killed at the end of Book 1.

Amarylla Threeleaf is a planetoid alien. She has three pink petals and trailing roots. Her aura is pink and her emblem is a trefoil.

Umloa Thundercloud is an amoeboid, a semi-transparent green blob filled with bubbles.

Baxicki is a brown insectoid with six thin legs.

Eziz looks like a bunch of dry twigs with dots of gold eyes at the tips.

Sulkar is a yellow pebble covered with undulating filaments.

How can you become a Grand Master?
To achieve the status of Grand Master involves:
1. An inherited potential for psi talent.
2. Training to control your talent, since nascent psi powers can be erratic.
3. An initiation ordeal. The details are secret, although not everyone will survive the horrid ritual.

Spin across the galaxy as Violet and her Grand Master hunt their enemies.

Cracks in the portal web threaten galactic civilization, and suspicions fall on the mysterious Grand Masters with their immense psychic powers. Once, there were twelve Grand Masters, humans and aliens, on the Council. Now there are eleven. One was killed when the young pawn, Violet, rescued her Grand Master, Athanor, from the Red Queen’s dungeon. The Red Queen fled the fight and now she lurks out of sight, regenerating her energies.

Athanor devises a risky plan to expose his enemies on the Council and force the Red Queen into the open. His strategy will employ Violet’s empathic skills as his secret weapon. Meanwhile, she wrestles with her erratic talents and doubts about their unequal partnership. In their search for revenge, they contend with the portal crisis, psychic traps and hostile aliens. In the inevitable battle of Grand Masters, Violet and Athanor each will face their worst nightmares. What is the sacrifice for victory?

The battle between the Grand Masters continues in book two as Griffin forces the council to choose sides when he demands recompense for the destruction of his home and imprisonment by the evil Morrigu. When Violet is brought in to testify, she tries to determine which of the council are for and against them through her hidden powers of empathy. 

While Violet believes her empath abilities make her unlovable, for who wants a mate who can read their every emotion and thought, it is her most powerful skill. With it she understands and befriends various species. And these friendships she makes are long lasting, so even after time, when situations have changed, when she needs something, her prior friends come through for her.

While there may be power in evil, Violet and Griffin prove there’s also power in good. Which will win is still in question, but my money is on good.

What isn’t in question is Aurora Springers ability to weave a complex and extraordinarily powerful story with masterful battles and constant dangers for our two main characters one moment and then create love scenes of tender emotions to balance the story line. And I must also mention her extraordinary detail to all the various sentient beings that fight for and against our protagonists. Her descriptions are so vivid, that not only can you believe and picture them as living creatures, but you may dream about them at night. I certainly have.

If you want an extraordinarily complex but fabulous story, written exquisitely, then the Grand Master’s Game is for you. 
5 out of 5 stars.

Book 1, Grand Master’s Pawn:
Book 2, Grand Master’s Game:

Aurora Springer is a scientist morphing into a novelist. She has a PhD in molecular biophysics and discovers science facts in her day job. She has invented adventures in weird worlds for as long as she can remember. In 2014, Aurora achieved her life-long ambition to publish her stories. Her works are character-driven romances set in weird worlds described with a sprinkle of humor. Some of the stories were composed thirty years ago. She was born in the UK and lives in Atlanta with her husband, a dog and two cats to sit on the keyboard. Her hobbies, besides reading and writing, include outdoor activities like gardening, watching wildlife, hiking and canoeing.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Liza congrats Pluto and shares news

I've lots to share, but first, let give a grand high five to Pluto and his little bud Charon.

One of the oddities of the two planets is they are said to always present the same face to each other as they rotate, like dance partners, or better yet,  warring ninjas. But perhaps instead of facing inward, they actually face outward to ward off danger. I'm mean seriously, have you checked on their neighborhood? It's a death zone!

I'm thinking Pluto is Warrior King and the four moons are his mighty warriors, sworn to protect him.

And does Pluto appreciate their help. Yes he does, and that is why he has a heart tattooed on his belly.

They are a team. And despite their god-awful neighbors, they will survive. And someday, we will not only admire Pluto, but we'll reinstate him as a planet...if we live long enough...which we probably won't. Then Pluto will declare himself Emperor of the Kuiper belt.

Seriously, we need to leave this planet (Earth, not Pluto). It's highly unstable. (Rather like us.) But given the way we've insulted Pluto, I don't expect we'll get a welcome there.

And since we love selfies, here's our battle cameraman, who took this mission knowing it's a one way street to outerspace, where to the best of our knowledge, no battery recharge stations exists.

And here's some selfie video's



(You'll need $3.99 + a bribe to the guard)
unless you are a KU Subscriber.
(KU subscribers can take me out like a prison  slave and return me once I finish the story. 
No beating or abuse is necessary. 
I will happily tell you my stories.)

As many of you know, I decided to see if it is humanly possible for me to publish a book a month. Since I have written a great deal of series, I chose a Sci Fi series I really liked. Yes, there are some stories I've written which disturb me and makes me worry about myself, but this series is delightful. 

Reviews of book 1, The Gods of Probabilities, liken me to Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams. I am honored, but humble enough to know I'm not there yet. But at least it says I might be headed in the right direction.

If you haven't read The Gods of Probabilities, I suggest you start there. But given I wrote book 1 last, you can also start where I originally started, and begin at book 2. I still recommend starting at book 1, but you won't be lost at book two if you insist upon being perverse and starting there.

If you don't like being early and would prefer to wait until book 2 arrives, that will be August 3. But seriously why must you be so difficult?

Is it not enough that I'm working 17 hours a day/7 days a week to get these books all shiny for you to read once a month? Must you have them all at once? That is not a rational expectation for a full length novel. I'm pretty certain 1/month isn't rational either, but I'm giving it a try, but only because I know you have no patience.

I hear a violin and weeping....oh that's me. 
*Slaps face* Get a grip! Ouch! 

Since you've read this far, I'll share a secret that could tank my sales right now. (Come Aug 3, to celebrate Surviving Outbound, I'm dropping the price of book 1, The Gods of Probabilities to 99 cents!)  

If you join my newsletter I'll even remind you on August 3rd. (Sign up is on the right hand column of my blog near the end.) Hey at least it's not behind a locked door with a sign that says 'Beware of the Leopard'. That would be insane, and possibly a copyright infringement.

Well, I need to work on book 3 so it's all shiny come Sept 1. But thanks for checking out my blog and staying past Pluto.
      out                 almost out        getting ready waiting impatiently

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Space Cowboys & Indians by Lisa Medley

Space Cowboys & Indians


Lisa Medley

How can the chance of a lifetime go so horribly wrong?
Mining Engineer Cole Hudson signed up for NASA astronaut training, but after washing out short of getting his gold wings, he retreats to Alaska where he stakes out a gold claim. When billionaire entrepreneur Duncan Janson offers him an opportunity to join a mining team on an asteroid, Cole jumps at the chance.
But nothing is as it seems. Former NASA reject and rival classmate, Tessa Hernandez, is also a member of the team, and from the beginning of the mission test flight, things go wrong. They soon discover they’re not the only ones on the asteroid. As they try to escape, they are pulled through a wormhole and back to the early 1800s New Mexico desert where aliens and Apaches may be the least of their problems.


Chapter One

Alaskan gold mine, the Hudson Claim - the near future.

“Goddamn it, Hudson. The washplant is down again.”
Cole ground his molars together before he could unleash the torrent of swears coursing through his brain in reply. Of course the washplant was down. Again.
This claim would be the end of him.
“Show me,” Cole said.
His foreman, Todd Cargill, held up four shredded washplant screens with holes the size of bowling balls, useless now for the first step in screening for gold.
Cole squeezed his eyes shut and wondered for the eleven-millionth time this summer why the hell he’d come to Alaska.
Redemption, he reminded himself.
Wasn’t worth it.
“That was my last replacement screen. Be a week before the supply plane can bring us more,” Todd said. “No use running dirt until it’s fixed. This way, we’re only making mud.”
Most expensive mud he’d ever not made. A week in the bush with no work? He’d have to pay the crew, regardless, or he’d lose the whole lot of them. Hell, he still owed them from last month. They were running out of summer to mine, and they’d barely collected any gold so far.
“Shut it down. I’ll call in the order.”
“What do you want me to tell the guys?” Todd asked.
“Tell them—”
The chop, chop, chop of helicopter blades slowly pounded across the sky until the beast came into sight on the horizon. What the hell was a chopper doing out this far?
The copter landed on the flat several hundred feet from their dredge, stirring the dust up from the broken ground and tailings. Covering his face with his arm, Cole coughed into his elbow and waited for the cloud to settle. The copter blades whirled to a stop, and his small crew left their work detail to gather around him and see what was going on.
A white-haired man, maybe fifty, maybe older, emerged from the helicopter cabin, quickly followed by two men wearing sleek black suits, wrinkled from the tactical firearm harnesses strapped snugly across their chests. They were loaded for bear.
That wasn’t what concerned Cole. He knew he was in for trouble the second the guy’s thousand dollar cowboy boots hit the turf. The man swatted at the swirling dust on his white shirt and designer jeans then brushed his hands through his shoulder-length hair three or four times, shaking it out like the mane of a horse. He cranked up a smile as he made a beeline for Cole.
“Mr. Hudson?” the man asked.
“I’m Hudson.”
“You look exactly like your NASA application photo, Mr. Hudson. Haven’t changed a bit in the past five months. It was five months you were detained. Yes?”
Todd coughed loudly beside him. “Okay, I think we have things to do. Let’s go, boys.” Todd urged the crew back toward their office trailer.
Cole was going to have to give his foreman a raise. Right after he beat the dandy in front of him into a bloody pulp.
“Who exactly are you, and what the hell are you doing here? Surely you didn’t fly that deathtrap all the way out here just to insult me in front of my crew. Or did you? You with Montoya?”
The man appeared bewildered for a moment. “Oh my. Let me start over. I…this wasn’t the impression I intended to make. I’m afraid I started off badly. I’m simply so excited to find you. Out here.” He motioned toward the distant tundra. “It’s a very, very long way out here.” He flashed another smile at Cole and offered his hand. “Duncan Janson. You might know me from the airline ads?”
Cole stared at the man’s smooth, tanned hand. The guy had never worked a day of hard labor in his life if those hands told the right story—that much was obvious. He knew exactly who he was, now. Billionaire airline owner and profiteer. What he didn’t know was what he was doing on his little piece of Alaska.
“You answered the first question. Now answer the second,” Cole said, purposely not taking the offered hand.
Janson pulled his hand back then clapped them together, clearly proud of himself. “I’m here to offer you a job.”
“I have a job.”
“This would be quite a different job. Well, maybe not all that different. You’d still be mining, but you would also have a chance to partake in some of your other passions.”
Clouds slid past the sun, and a gust of wind stirred up a dirt devil near the copter, cooling the air noticeably.
“What is it you think you know about my passions, exactly?” Cole asked.
Janson twisted his expensive Rolex around his wrist nervously. “Was it not your passion for space that led to your gambling problem? Trying to raise enough money to continue in the program? Which led to your legal issues, which led to your detainment and now self-exile here in this godforsaken place? Isn’t your work here an effort to earn enough money to finance your first two passions? It’s a bit of a vicious circle, it seems.”
Cole could feel his blood pressure rising. This asshole was on his last nerve five minutes after meeting him and about one more sentence away from a shallow Alaskan grave.
“What if all of your skills could be utilized to fulfill each of those…passions? You’d be paid well. Very well.”
“Is this prospect legal?”
“Yes, but it’s not without risks. I want to hire you to do some mining for me.”
“Where? You have a claim in Alaska?”
“I’m afraid my claim is quite a bit farther away from here. Your gambling problem and detention might have gotten you booted out of NASA’s space program, but your personal problems are not a deterrent to me. Your other skills and expertise are exactly what are needed for my project.”
Skepticism scratched at the back of his mind, but Cole couldn’t deny he was intrigued. He hated Janson’s manner, but he could take his money. No problem. Hell, this job might be the financial boost he needed to finally make this claim profitable.
“How long is the job, and where is it?” Cole asked.
Janson smiled again, clearly certain he’d already sealed the deal. “I expect the job to take around six months. All expenses paid, of course. With an option to renew for a second mission after that, if you are so inclined. Your season here is winding down? Am I correct?”
Considering the ruined washplant screens? Yeah, winding down would be a kindness.
“You didn’t tell me where the job is,” Cole pressed.
“Ah, that’s the best part, Mr. Hudson. The job is on Amun. It’s an asteroid. I want you to mine it for me.”

Lisa has always enjoyed reading about monsters in love and now she writes about them, because monsters need love too.
She adores beasties of all sorts, fictional as well as real, and has a farm full of them in her Southwest Missouri home, including: one child, one husband, two dogs, two cats, a dozen hens, thousands of Italian bees, and a guinea pig. 
She may or may not keep a complete zombie apocalypse bug-out bag in her trunk at all times, including a machete. Just. In. Case.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Star Cruise: Marooned by Veronica Scott

Today, I've got the fabulous Veronica Scott 
and her latest book, Star Cruise: Marooned. 

Space Rep: Oh! I love Veronica Scott!

Liza: Space Rep! Where have you been? You went out on a space walk and never came back.

Space Rep: I sort of forgot to tether myself to your junkheap and floated off. And did you look for me? Not at all! Fortunately, I had my towel and was able to flag down another ship. And before you ask, the only reason I'm back is because I heard you bought a copy of Star Cruise: Marooned and it is selling so well that every place I went to buy wanted a million digits for it, and I'm broke.

Liza: Does that mean you want your old job back.

Space Rep: Not really. I just want to read Veronica Scott's latest book. 

Liza: Well, so do I and it's only 99 cents here on Earth, so even you can afford to buy your own copy. Check out Veronica's beautiful cover!

Star Cuise:


Veronica Scott

Meg Antille works long hours on the charter cruise ship Far Horizon so she can send credits home to her family. Working hard to earn a promotion to a better post (and better pay), Meg has no time for romance.

Former Special Forces soldier Red Thomsill only took the berth on the Far Horizon in hopes of getting to know Meg better, but so far she’s kept him at a polite distance. A scheduled stopover on the idyllic beach of a nature preserve planet may be his last chance to impress the girl.

But when one of the passengers is attacked by a wild animal it becomes clear that conditions on the lushly forested Dantaralon aren’t as advertised – the ranger station is deserted, the defensive perimeter is down…and then the Far Horizon’s shuttle abruptly leaves without any of them.

Marooned on the dangerous outback world, romance is the least of their concerns, and yet Meg and Red cannot help being drawn to each other once they see how well they work together. But can they survive long enough to see their romance through? Or will the wild alien planet defeat them, ending their romance and their lives before anything can really begin?

On the beach, there was chaos. An eel, easily two feet in diameter and eight feet long, lay convulsing on the sand, Red’s hunting knife buried to the hilt in one eye. The crewman had the medkit open beside him and was struggling to staunch the blood flow from Sharmali’s lower leg, while she lay on a red-stained towel and moaned. Callina was standing beside them, trying to help. The other men and women milled on the beach nearby, drinking and talking in too loud voices. As Meg headed for the injured passenger, the Primary intercepted her.
      “Miss Antille, I demand to know how something like this could happen.” white in the face, he waved a hand at Sharmali. “I paid top dollar, if not an exorbitant price, for a safe, enjoyable cruise for myself and my guests, and now the poor girl’s had her foot eaten!” He was so upset he was spitting.
      “On behalf of the Line, I certainly apologize, sir. We do everything we can to ensure the safety of our guests under all circumstances, but if she swam beyond the sonic barrier—”
      “She was standing in three inches of water right next to me,” Finchon said. “That monster could have just as easily gotten my foot.”
      “The barrier’s off,” Red informed her, not glancing up from his task. “Can you argue with him later? I need your help.”
      Meg ran to his side, the Primary matching her step for step, yelling at her about lawsuits and refunds. She tried to stem the tide of his vitriol so she could concentrate. “Sir, please, let us assist Sharmali, and then I’ll be happy to discuss the legalities.”
      Trever, the retired pro athlete, came forward and took his host by the arm, shoving a drink into his hand and drawing him aside. Meg took a deep breath of relief and knelt beside Red. “What do you want me to do?”
      “Apply pressure to the wound for a minute while I see what antivenom we’ve got.”
      Gulping against her nausea, Meg set her hand on the makeshift bandages and pressed hard. “You said the barrier was off?”
      “Must be. There was more than one of these things right in the shallows at the beach. We were lucky no one else got attacked. I got her out of the water as fast as I could so the blood wouldn’t attract other predators.” He sat on his heels, frowning, holding an inject. “This is only a generic. Will it work on eel venom?”
      “It’s all we’ve got on the shuttle. It’ll have to hold her until we get to the ship’s sick bay.”
      As he gave Sharmali the inject, Meg eyed the wound with deep misgiving. The woman’s leg was definitely swelling and there were ugly white streaks advancing toward her knee. “This is my fault,” she said.
      “How do you figure?” Red applied a light tourniquet.
      “I should have known if the ranger station was closed, the barriers might be shut off, but I didn’t check.”
      “Well, keep your voice down, the Primary is pissed off enough right now. Don’t add fuel to his fire. We’d better get her to the shuttle and hustle offplanet, to the ship. What did you find out?” He turned to take more towels from Callina with a murmured thanks and wrapped the oversize, gaily colored fabric around Sharmali. “She’s going into shock, gotta keep her warm.”
      “Drewson said he hadn’t heard anything. I called the ship myself, but we got interrupted. Signal failed or something.” Meg rose as he did, admiring the smooth manner in which Red lifted the injured woman, not jostling her.
      “We’ll know soon enough.” He shifted Sharmali to lie more comfortably against his chest and walked away as if her weight was nothing to him. “Guess it’s our turn to leave the equipment behind, at least temporarily.”
      “Oh, Lords of Space, of course.” Meg grabbed the cleaning supplies bag, since the blasters were in there, thankfully unneeded. She detoured to flip the switch turning off the power grid, dropped the bag inside the nearest robo’s storage cavity to leave her hands free, and then caught up to the guests at the base of the walkway leading to the landing pad.
      The rumble of the shuttle’s engines caught her by surprise. How could Drewson possibly know about the emergency? As she decided he must have checked the beach-facing vidscreens for some reason, the tenor of the sound changed from warmup to full power. In disbelief, she saw the shuttle rising from the pad.
      “What the seven hells is he doing?” Red yelled.
      “Stay clear, don’t get caught in the backflare,” Meg screamed, pulling at the guests. Most shrank away from the landing pad, but the Primary strode up the ramp, shaking his fist and yelling curses at the pilot. Red set Sharmali in the sand and sprinted to tackle Finchon before he got crisped. The two men rolled on the ramp, the ungrateful host trying to punch Red.
      As the crewman laid their passenger out with a swift right hook to the jaw, the shuttle cleared the trees and shot into the sky, leaving them behind in the blink of an eye.
      “Now what?” Callina said, shielding her eyes with one hand as she watched the shuttle grow smaller and smaller in the sky. “He won’t forget to pick us up later will he?”

Review for Veronica Scott’s Star Cruise: Marooned.

Warning: This books is not recommended for petulant billionaires. You might relate to petulant guests who end up dying.

For the rest of you: Grab this book and read it at once. It’s a fabulous story. It starts off like a sci-fi rom and ends like a heart palpating Sci-Fi Adventure.

I couldn’t put the book down. The world Veronica creates is superbly believable.  They land on a beautiful planet so the cruise guest can enjoy a lovely day on the beach. Unfortunately, obnoxious mega-wealthy cruise guests, randy crewmembers, and venomous native animals are not the main problems of the day. That would be something far more dangerous.

Meg is everything I love in a heroine. Specifically, under pressure, her brain not only works, but works really well. And she doesn’t fall under the spell of a guy just because he smiles at her.

Red, the hero, was once a member of special forces, and even he is impressed with Meg’s ability to think and survive when matters go south. But we soon find out he’s been smitten with her since he saw her at a mixer a few weeks before. In fact, he signed on as a crew member just to be around her, but he can’t seem to make any headway.

When trouble begins, matters between them start to change.  Together, they try to save the guests. Best not get too attached to the wealthy spoiled guests for a lot of them die. Honestly, the fact anyone survived is amazing given all that Veronica throws at them.

It’s not often that I become so engaged in a book that my heart actually races, but while reading this book, my heart thumped double-time for the last quarter section of the book.
Final Warning: If you have a heart condition, you probably shouldn’t read this book either.
Since I lived, I give this book
5 stars

And one additional treat
The best trailer I've ever seen for a book

Right now, Star Cruise: Marooned is only 99 cents. 

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Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog,  Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Three time winner of the Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!
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