Today, I've got the fabulous Veronica Scott
and her latest book, Star Cruise: Marooned.
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!
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
And one additional treat
The best trailer I've ever seen for a book
Right now, Star Cruise: Marooned is only 99 cents.
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!