OUT NOW—Cut and Run (The Dreadnoughts Book Two) by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #reverseharem #whychoose #rhromance #reverseharemromance #military #ku #kindleunlimited

Blurb:

Kim’s on track to save the world—but will she pay with her life?

Kim Medhurst, ex-British military intelligence officer turned scientist and climate activist, has a vitally important project on her hands. The mysterious object she set out to retrieve from the remote Scottish island has the potential to power the entire planet. All she needs to do is figure out exactly how to make it happen, and the Scottish Highlands seems the perfect place to complete her research in peace—as well as enjoy the company of the gorgeous Greig twins.

Unfortunately, things aren’t that simple. Someone knows what Kim’s up to and wants to get their hands on her and the object she now calls the ygrene. As if that wasn’t concerning enough, Chastain goes missing, spurring Kim and the others into action. The team’s newfound abilities come in handy as they attempt to find their friend and navigate the murky underworld of dirty energy and those who profit from it.

But, even with their powers, will they be a match for a greedy megalomaniac with no morals?

PLEASE NOTE: Cut and Run has a cliffhanger ending.

Available from: http://books2read.com/cutandrunlf   

*****

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Jason Chastain

Jason came to in a whole world of pain. He stopped himself from letting out the grunts and moans he wanted to voice, instead clenching his fists as hard as he could in a silent attempt to release some of his agony, frustration and anger. No way did he want the fuckers who’d taken him to know he was conscious. Much better they believed he was still out cold and therefore no threat to them whatsoever.

In reality, he was very dangerous indeed. Particularly since acquiring his newfound… ability. He could be rid of his bindings, the black hood over his head and the gag stuffed into his mouth with the most miniscule amount of effort. All he’d have to do was phase through them. But that would show his hand in a major way, and the whole point of allowing himself to be abducted had been to get inside the group’s HQ, find out who they were, what they were up to and, more importantly, just what they planned to do with Kim and the ygrene—all without them suspecting he was anything other than some random bloke. To do that, he needed to stay calm and quiet. If the goons thought he was still out for the count, they’d talk, and it would only be a matter of time before someone let something slip, something Jason could use to his advantage.

Firstly, it’d come in handy to know how many people were around, what sort of room he was being held in, and whether he was ever left alone. With that information in his arsenal, he could start to formulate a plan.

He remained still, silent, keeping his breathing slow and deep, which had the double bonuses of making it appear he remained unconscious if there was anyone with him, and allowing him to hone his senses more easily. Obviously with the hood he couldn’t see a damn thing, but he could feel, hear and smell. The first thing he realised, to his immense relief, was that he was still fully clothed—including shoes. Thank God for that. That’ll certainly make getting home much easier, once I’m done here. He moved on to his other senses. To begin with, he didn’t pick up anything beyond the sound of his own breathing and heartbeat, and the musty stench of the hood itself, but he drew on all his training and experience to push past that and reach for what was beyond.

No human sounds—no breathing, shuffling, coughing, sniffing, talking. Which either meant he was alone, or with someone extremely quiet. No one’s that quiet. He suspected the former, leading him to believe he was in an incredibly secure room, likely part of a bigger complex. If he was in some ramshackle garage on an industrial estate somewhere, there’d be bods right there ensuring he didn’t break out through some weakness in the structure itself—if he could get out of his bonds, that was. If only they knew.

He risked a sigh. So much for someone letting something slip in my earshot. There’s no fucker here.

In the past, the idea of being caged, alone, in an incredibly secure room would have concerned him, made him long for the ramshackle garage and the bods—easy prey for someone with his background. But now, even a steel box couldn’t contain him. He hadn’t yet tested the theory, but he suspected that not even metres and metres of reinforced concrete would hold him hostage. Yes, it’d slow him down, and escaping it wouldn’t be the most pleasant of experiences, but it was probably achievable.

He turned his attention to smell. After the pongy hood and gag, most obvious were his own body odour and the tang of blood—also his own, he suspected—but otherwise, zilch. Nada. He frowned. What kind of room or building was so… sterile?

He took another deep, slow breath. Even the air itself seemed clean. Not the pure freshness one would get from being outside or next to an open window; more like from air conditioning. With that thought in mind, he listened harder and… yes, unless he was mistaken, there was the gentle, regular hum of a system which circulated air.

He frowned. So he was in some kind of sterile environment with air conditioning? A hospital, or lab of some kind? Despite his extremely low opinion of the muppets who’d fallen into his trap and swiped him from the Greenwich street outside Kim’s house, they clearly worked for someone with resources.

But the question was, did those resources extend to having eyes and ears of the technological kind on him? That would be a problem, because although he could phase his way out of here at the drop of a hat, if his escape was caught on video, that was proof of what he could do. And, even if it got out to the wider public and he somehow managed to say the footage had been made up, manipulated somehow… well, there was no smoke without fire, was there? He’d have something he’d never wanted, something he definitely didn’t want now: attention.

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award), The Persecution of the Wolves, Hiding in Plain Sight, and The Heiress’s Harem and The Dreadnoughts series. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 170 publications to her name. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Join her Facebook group for exclusive cover reveals, sneak peeks and more! Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. Subscribe to her newsletter here: http://www.subscribepage.com/lfnewsletter

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Piloting Fury Part 49: Brand New KDG Read

It’s Friday, which means it’s Fury time again. In instalment 49, Gerando Fallon meets the family. If you’re enjoying Fury, please spread the word and pass the link to a friend. I love to share my stories with as many people as possible. I’m offering a new episode of Fury every Friday.

 

 

 

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAllister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

 

Piloting Fury Part 49: Bro123 

“I can’t contact him, and it wouldn’t do any good if I could,” Gerando mopped sweat from his forehead. He’ll track us right on in when the shields go down, and I know he’s got Apocalypse armed to the teeth. I heard him brag once to the Prime Minister that he had a planet killer he could detonate if he ever needed to, and with my old man, that’s not an idle threat.”

Rab watched while Fallon did shit to the ship’s computer, things he didn’t understand. He’d been little more than a glorified grunt onboard the Dubrovnik. Oh he had some technical skills, but most of them involved running loading equipment and reading ship’s manifests to be sure what he loaded and unloaded was what it was supposed to be, but knowing the ass end from the gullet of a ship’s main computer, that was Diana McAllister’s job, not his. “If I was her I’d let us both die.” Rab said. “Hell she just might. And that fancy SNT1, well he might just blow our poxed asses out an airlock and be done with us. Pretty sure ole Manning would jump for joy.” He gave a one-shouldered shrug. “The people on Pandora Base, I wonder, would they turn away people like us? Your bastard of an old man doesn’t seem to think so.”

“Fuck my old man,” the kid panted. If I could just shut off the over-ride controls, we could run the Ares hot and get there far enough ahead of the Apocalypse to at least give them some warning.”

“That won’t go down well.”

“Fuck! Do you think I care? He infected me. My own goddamned father infected me. Oh I’m not surprised, not really, but that being the case, I think any loyalty I might have owed him is shot to shit, wouldn’t you say?”

Rab said, gave himself another injection of pain killer, which wasn’t even touching the goddamned aches in his joints, and his fucking head felt like it was about to explode off his shoulders. “Hell, I’ve got no reason to be the shit stain’s cheer leader. What the hell you gonna do about it?”

“Well, at the moment, he’s controlling the speed and trajectory of the Ares through the Apocalypse. I have no control whatsoever. You see for him to get what he wants from Pandora Base, it’s all about timing, isn’t it? He’ll bargain for McAllister, agreeing to leave the base intact if he gets his property back. Of course he never keeps a promise, so once he has her, it’s just a matter of infiltrating the base and taking what he wants, and killing or indenturing the citizens. And our little plea for help will make it all possible.”

“Well fuck” Rab said.

“I just can’t seem to find the algorithm he used to override the Ares’ control. There was a drop, drop, drop of blood on the console and the kid cursed and sniffed. Holding his head back he reached for a steri-pad and pressed it to his nose. One of the symptoms of the virus was bleeding. “That’s just nasty,” he said. “I fucking got blood all over my nice console.” He went to wipe it off and suddenly the view screen flickered, gave a buzz of static and lit up.

            Bro bro bro bro go faster bleed. 

“What the fuck?” Every bone in his body ached as Rab dragged himself to the console, which the kid was trying to wipe clean. What the hell did you do?”

“Nothing! Jesus! I didn’t do anything.”

            Bro go bro go faster bleed. 

The message flashed up on the view screen again, then multiplied and repeated itself until it filled the whole damned moniter.

            Bleed bleed bleed faster bro go bleed fast bro go.

“Sonovabitch!” The kid wheezed and the fought off a fit of coughing. “Is this for real?”

“What? What is it, some other sadistic trick your ass wipe of an old man dreamed up for us?”

“No. I don’t think so.” Junior began to something on the computer, and Rab watched as his words appeared on screen.

           Bro go faster how?

The response was instantaneous, up on the screen almost before Gerando stopped typing.

            Go faster bro bleed bro bleed.

“I know this is going to sound insane, but I think Apocalypse is trying to communicate with us, with me. I’m his brother, remember?”

“Fuck me,” Rab whispered.

“I think … I think,” he sniffed and leaned his head back as another stream of blood appeared under his nose and down his upper lip and he caught in his hand before it could drip.

            Bleed bleed bleed! Bro go faster bleed!

“All this bleed shit sounds like a sadistic trick from your father to me,” Rab said.

The words were no sooner out of his mouth than then entire screen filled with a single word bleed just bleed over and over again.

“No. No I don’t think so.” Gerando said with a loud sniff. Then he placed his bloody hand against the console and the words blinked off and on neon bright. Bleed go faster bleed go faster bleed go faster!

            “We’re blood,” the kid said. “That’s it. That’s the message Apocalypse and I, we’re blood. Our DNA’s the same. That’s the connection, my blood on the auto doc, don’t you see, no part of an SNT ship is the brain of the SNT. All of the ship is a whole. My blood touched the SNT part of Apocalypse and there’s a link. That means.” He scrambled to the Ares’ CPU and placed his bloodied hand against the unit and suddenly they were both flying back against the wall as the ship shot forward and jumped into hyperspace.

 

 

“Jesu fucking Christu,” Rab gasped when they could both manage to get off the floor and stumble to their seats. “Next time your bro decides to pull a stunt like that have him give us a little warning. I hurt bad enough without having every bone in my goddamned body broken.”

“Stop your whining and come look at this.” The kid held a bloodied sani-med to his nose and imput something on the computer. Rab figured he was trying to see how fast they were actually going. “This isn’t even possible. Even if I could have gotten the controls away from the old man, this ship should be burning up at this speed, and yet it’s not. It’s purring like a kitten, everything working well within parameters and above. According to my estimates, we’ll be dropping out of hyperspace in about six hours, a good day ahead of my old man.”

“And what are we going to do when we get there?” Rab asked. “They ain’t exactly gonna roll out the welcome mat for us.

“Doesn’t matter. At least we can warn them. After that, it’s out of our hands, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, we can warn them so they can all bend over and kiss their asses good-bye. What the hell good do you think it’s going to do? A day? A week? The fucking Apocalypse will chew them up and spit them out before they even know what hit them, and you’re old man knows it. Oh, he’d like to take the base intact so he can take whatever tech secrets ole Keen’s been working on all these years, but it don’t matter, in the end he’ll have Diana McAllister back one way or the other, and he’ll get what he wants.”

“I don’t care,” the kid said, around a wet cough. “It does matter. We have to do something.

Go bro 2

The message flashed bright on the screen and then multiplied and spread from top to bottom. Go bro 2 Go bro 2 Go bro 2.

            Before Rab could ask what the hell that meant, the kid typed,

Will Fury help?

            Bro 2! Bro2! Bro2!!!! Came the response

Will you help? The kid typed.

???? Came the response, to which the kid cursed profusely, ending in a coughing fit. Rab handed him water, which he sipped, then typed again.

Will Apocalypse Help?

            Bro123, Bro123, Bro123!!! Came the response.

The kid managed to pump a fist in the air before another coughing fit hit. This time Rab found a cough treatment in the auto-dock and administered it. And the kid relaxed, drenched in sweat and burning up. “Why don’t you go lay down and get some rest. Neither of us gonna do anyone any good if we are too sick to communicate once we get there. I’ll keep an eye out for more messages from Big Bro.”

Fallon cracked a smile. “He’s actually Little Bro. Fury’s Big Bro, being the eldest, and I’m the one in the middle.”

“Well that explains a lot,” Rab said. “I heard that the middle kid was always the trouble maker.”

Junior forced a chuckle. “You never met my sister. If it’s all the same to you though, I’ll just stay right here, just in case.” He curled up in the chair and Rab covered him with a blanket, and decided he didn’t want to be all that far away from Little Brother either, and he curled up in his own chair.

 

Piloting Fury Part 48: Brand New KDG Read

It’s Friday, which means it’s Fury time again.  Mr Grace and I are just back from a wonderful holiday in glorious Cumbria with lots of walking and lots of relaxing in the local pubs, as well as a special treat of a few extra days with friends. Now amid the laundry and the catching up, I want to make sure your next episode of Fury is happily waiting for you right on time … thought this episode is certainly not happy as Captain Harker and the crew of the Dubrovnik make a decision from which there is no turning back. If you’re enjoying Fury, please spread the word and pass the link to a friend. I love to share my stories with as many people as possible. I’m offering a new episode of Fury every Friday. PS: No pics of the stars this time, but a few holiday photos from our wonderful walk to Nine Standards Rigg, a part of the Wainwright Coast to Coast path and the Pennine Way.

 

 

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAllister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

Piloting Fury Part 48: No Turning Back

It had been Harker’s experience that when an operation was going too smoothly, it usually meant all he had to do was wait for it, and the shit would hit the fan. This was not the time when he needed the unexpected. This was the time when he needed everything to go exactly as planned. Flissy and her two assistants had been very careful with the vaccinations to make sure Fallon’s spies were equally interspersed with the rest of the crew so not to draw any attention. Six other trusted crew members worked in the sub-basement getting Fallon’s groggy loyalists safely and quietly into the cryo-pods.

The real worry was that Lebedny was not yet among the crew reporting for vaccinations. Twice he’d delayed saying he’d come as soon as he finished what he was doing. When it happened the third time, Harker dispatched a security team to escort him down. That was half an hour ago. He was just about to com up and see what the delay was when the cargo bay door slid open and Lebedny stepped in flanked by two of the other men, both working security, who had come onboard with Fallon’s snitches. He smiled benignly enough, but there was nothing benign about the three of them together. Lebedny was a big man, muscled and fit, and the two who flanked him were bigger still. Harker had done his homework and he knew that Lebdny had come up through the ranks through Authority special forces. His job, before he had come onboard the Dubrovnik, had been organizing security details for Fallon and Fire Star Conglomerate’s more sensitive, more ‘at risk’ cargo.

“They’re the last three,” came Ivan’s voice inside Harker’s ear piece, “and I think the jig is up.”

When Harker motioned him to the bay where Flissy waited, he offered a lazy smile. “There’s no radiation leak, Harker. Did you think I wouldn’t check? I don’t know where you’re holding my people, but I suggest you release them now, and we can forget any of this ever happened.” Then he tapped the button on his chest and opened a ship-wide com. “Attention all personnel, Captain Harker is attempting to hijack an Orca class ship belonging to Star Fire conglomerate. Any members of the Dubrovnik’s crew are who are found to be aiding Harker or his co-conspirators will be punished to the full extent of Authority law.”

Harker had just stepped out of the sub basement after checking the cryo-pods, all but three of those prepped were full. He gave his earpiece two quick taps, the signal between him and Ivan and Flissy as well as several other key players, that there was trouble. Then he spoke quietly to the crew assisting with the pods, who were securing the last three patients. “Finish up and get out of there.” Keeping one eye on Lebedny and his accomplices, he tapped into his com officer. “Hansu, play it.” Immediately the message from the from the Svalbard began to play over the com system. Once it was finished and he was sure the other members of the crew were clear of the pod room in the sub-basement, he began the depressurization sequence. “That was the last message from the Svalbard before Abriad Fallon destroyed her and her crew.” He spoke into the open com. “You know where the escape pods are if you have no stomach for what’s about to happen.” He didn’t say anything else. He didn’t have to. Fallon had underestimated the crew’s loyalty and the discontent at having a third of their compliment replaced with Fallon’s ass-kissers who were far less competent then the members they had replaced and nothing more than glorified snitches. Add to that, like Harker, they were tired of living with the threat of a shackle hanging over their heads and the heads of their families.

Ivan moved to flank Harker, and Ledbedny assessed the situation with an experienced eye. “Jacobs and Schmidt are dead, Harker,” he said, keeping his voice even, trying to make the threat seem less than it was. “You should have known better than to send them against me. They were just freighter security. Their training wasn’t up to the task. It’s a pity really. They were good men. They didn’t have to die. There deaths are on your head. The rest of you,” he raised his voice to be heard above the Svalbard’s last transmission now being played on a loop. “The choice is yours to make. But be warned, it won’t go easy for you if you choose wrongly. The Authority doesn’t look kindly on industrial espionage and hijacking of an orca class ship. The best you can hope for is a shackle for you and your families and a life sentence in the mines.”

He turned his attention back to Harker. “Captain, I’m going to ask you one more time to release my people.”

“I can’t release your people, Ledbedny. They’re in cryo-stasis, and nice and ready for a long trip.” Just then the alarm began to sound for the decompression of the chamber and Ledbedny went wild. He dove for the door and hit the lock mechanism with his fist just before it would secure the sequence, the door slid open with the computer’s voice mindlessly repeating a warning of imminent decompression. His two cohorts each grabbed Harker by a shoulder and Ivan grabbed for Lebedny. His momentum forced them both through the door, which slid shut automatically behind them and the locking sequence commenced again. But when Harker tried to pull away from Lebedny’s men, they held him so that he couldn’t key in the abort. He could only struggle and watch helplessly as Ivan and Lebedny battled inside the decompressing cryo-chamber, all the while the final message from the Svalbard played mindlessly over the intercom. “When that chamber hatch blows, Lebedny goes right out the door with no cryo-tube, now let go of me.” The fact that they didn’t budge made him wonder if they were more afraid of Lebedny than they were of him.

“Don’t worry, boys,” came Flissy’s rough contralto voice from behind. “I’ve still got space for you.”

In unison the two men gave a soft grunt of surprise and stumbled backward into the waiting arms of Flissy and her assist, Keller, and Harker sprung forward to key in the code that would reverse the decompression sequence. But it was too late. All he could do, all any of them could do was watch in horror as the hatch opened, the clamps on the occupied cryo-tubes released and the tubes, along with Lebedny and Ivan, still locked in heated battle were sucked outward into the void.

 

There were no tears shed. No one had time for tears. Ivan’s loss was a heavy blow for the Dubrovnik crew. He’d signed on as an ensign when Harker became captain. They had worked well together, and he would be missed. Only Harker knew that he his family had pooled their last resources to send him away so that he would escape the shackle of his family’s debt. They had risked further debt to buy him a new identity and a new life. Harker had kept his secret, and he had been loyal to the end. Ivan’s death was a sacrifice that Harker knew he saw as his duty, and yet that made the loss no less bitter. Ivan and Flissy were two of the few people onboard that Harker had come to consider friends and equals – them and Diana McAllister, for whom he’d had to keep his respect and admiration hidden.

The crew was all gathered on the observation deck, at his request. Flissy flanked him and so did Science Officer Hal Rehnquist. Harker looked out over the faces he had become familiar with over the years. Few ever left the service of the Dubrovnik on purpose. It was a good ship and a good place to serve. He looked out on determined faces, squared tense shoulders and all eyes were on him.

“We will mourn the los of our comrade Jelik Ivan, make no mistake, that time will come, and we will drink to his memory and to the example he represented aboard this good ship. We will mourn the loss of the Svalbard, her fine crew and captain and the good work they did. We will mourn so many losses, more than we can count. I promise you that time will come.

“Today, though, we have a chance to make a difference. But know this, all of you who stand before me, the price will be a high one. We’ve hijacked a conglomerate orca class flagship. We’ve tossed a third of the crew overboard, and we’ve disobeyed every direct order and every rule we’ve lived by all these years together.” He stepped forward to the com and played the last message of the Svalbard once more. And when it was done, when the silence was as complete as death, he spoke again. “If any of you wish to leave, now is your chance. After this there’ll be no turning back. If you choose to go, you’ll be set aboard an escape pod with coordinates that will take you far from the action, but land you safe in an Authority stronghold, where you need tell nothing but the truth, and no harm will come to you. No one here will hold it against you.”

When no one budged, he heaved a sigh and offered a tight, but earnest smile. “Your loyalty moves me deeply, that you stand by me knowing that I may very well be leading you to your deaths or worse. But this is where we draw the line. This is where we take our stand. Pandora Base can’t stand against the Apocalypse. It is unarmed, and until now, undetected. The shields will only hold for a short time. There are five hundred souls on Plague 1, and the research that has resulted in a cure for the SNT virus in any stage. There are secrets there that we cannot allow to fall into the Authority’s hands. Most especially we can’t let them fall into Fallon’s hands. There’s space aboard the Dubrovnik for the people and the equipment. Once the base is evacuated and everyone is onboard, with a quick stop on Grania 5, we can take on supplies enough to get us to the Rim. Once we’re there, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, there’ll be no coming back, so I will offer you one last chance to opt out.” Still no one moved. He looked out once again over the faces of his trusted crew and nodded. “Well then, buckle in. We’re already on course for Plague 1 and we’re about to jump to maximum speed. We’re way closer than the Apocalypse is, since the destruction of the Svalbard happened here.” He pointed to a place on the star map. With any luck, we can be there, have the base evacuated, and have jumped a couple of times before the Apocalypse arrives. Good luck. Good luck to all of us and all of those at Pandora Base.”

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 47: Brand New KDG Read

It’s Friday, which means it’s Fury time again.  Mr Grace and I are enjoying a lovely week of holiday in glorious Cumbria with lots of walking and lots of relaxing in the local pubs. But I haven’t forgotten today’s episode of Fury, which finds Rab and Gerando in a really, really bad place. If you’re enjoying Fury, please spread the word and pass the link to a friend. I love to share my stories with as many people as possible. I’m offering a new episode of Fury every Friday.

 

 

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAllister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

 

Piloting Fury Part 47: Infected!

Rab woke parched and drenched in his own sweat. He was buckled into a seat in the control room of the Ares and Gerando Fallon was strapped in next to him. He was thrashing about like he was having bad dreams. Well bloody hell, why wouldn’t he be after all the fun and excitement aboard the Apocalypse? Rab was damn glad he couldn’t remember if he dreamed. “Wake up kid.” His throat felt like he’d swallowed a goddamned Cairovian sandstorm. “Hey! Fallon! Hey, you’re dreaming.” It was as he reached across to give the kid a shake that he saw it, the thing of his own nightmares, the small raw patch on the inside of his left forearm, the faint outline of the incision still visible beneath the skin, but as upsetting as that was, it was nothing compared to the beginnings of a blistered rash around the outer edge of the incision.

“Vaticana fucking Christu! Fallon! Goddamn it, Gerando, wake up! We’re in deep shit.” In the kid’s thrashings about, the infected incision on his arm became visible too. “I hate that goddamned fuck of an old man of yours,” Rab roared as the memories of their last audience with Abriad Fallon came rushing back. His throat didn’t like that one bit.

The kid woke with a violent jerk, and Rab could already see the fever in his eyes. Jesu! How long had they been unconscious? “Your fucking father shackled us and infected us.”

Before Gerando could do more than stare at his own arm in horror, the ship’s console came to life with an incoming message from the old shite gob. His image filling the screen added to Rab’s sudden urge to puke. The goddamned sonovabitch wore a smug smile plastered across his face that Rab would have loved to melt off with a mol-pistol, or better yet, tear it off with his bare hands. “Good. I am so glad to see the two of you are awake.”

“What have you done? What the fuck have you done?” The kid roared, shoving his way out of the belt and leaning forward over the console frantically searching for their location.

“Oh don’t bother, boy.” Fallon said with a wave of his hand. “I’m more than happy to tell you where you are. You’re onboard the Ares, as I’m sure you figured out already, and you’re on your way to Plague 1, or as they call it these days, Pandora Base.”

 

 

“What the –”

He raised a hand and the kid shut up as though he’d been gagged. “I told you that you both had a key role to play in this mission. But I’m not so stupid that I was not aware of your – shall we say – lack of enthusiasm. Now, Gerando, I know that you’ve always been half in love with Diana McAllister, and you didn’t much like it that I did with her whatever I wanted and you couldn’t.” The kid’s face went crimson and, and Rab felt for him.

“And you, Leo Rab, well you’ve worked with the woman for, how many years now aboard the Dubrovnik? A soft life you had there, I’d say, compared to the triax mine I pulled you out of. Oh, I know that everyone onboard the Dubrovnik respected McAllister, and some more than others. How do I know that she didn’t endear you to her like she did Harker and the rest of the crew? How do I know that you didn’t just get soft and spineless aboard the Dubrovnik? You see,” he said, pacing in front of them in the same library he had slipped them the mickey in. “How can I possibly be sure either of you are up to the task without a little incentive.” He nodded to their arms and smiled beneficently.

He waved a dismissive hand. “Oh I really don’t need you – either of you. With the firepower the Apocalypse carries, I could simply go in guns blazing, mol-tran out McAllister, take the Fury by force and blow the whole base off the planet. But in this case, I opted for finesse rather than brute force. You see, there’s technology on Pandora Base that I want. That being the case, the two of you are useful. I know that bleeding heart, Keen. And I know he won’t turn away infected indentureds, no matter who they are, and they sure won’t expect a cloaked orca class gun ship coming in right behind the Ares while the shields are down.” He looked down at his antique chronometer and smiled. “Oh I’ve timed it all just perfectly, my lads. I know the top speed at which the Ares can arrive at Plague 1, and I know just how long you two have been infected. There’s no real rush, you’re far past the point at which I can administer the antidote. If you want to live, and if you want to recover from the virus, then you go and beg help from Plague 1. If you don’t succeed, you die. If you do succeed, well, you might just stand a chance of recovery before I take over the base and take back what’s mine. After that,” He shrugged. “Well after that I don’t give a shit what the two of you get up to together out in the big wide galaxy.” He rubbed his hands together. “Oh I love a good challenge, don’t you?” The screen went blank. The com went dead.

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 46: Brand New KDG Read

It’s Friday, which means it’s Fury time again.  In today’s episode Mac learns more from Professor Keen about her two boys. If you’re enjoying Fury, please spread the word and pass the link to a friend. I love to share my stories with as many people as possible. I’m offering a new episode of Fury every Friday.

 

 

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAllister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

 

Piloting Fury Part 46: Testosterone and Secrets

Both my boys, I thought. How could anyone consider them to be my boys when they didn’t trust me enough to tell me something as basic as me being born to compliment Fury, something that they both knew was an important part of the past I knew nothing about.

Keen squared his shoulders and blew out a heavy sigh. “Why the dumb oaf would think it would matter to you is beyond me, but he does have more than his fair share of testosterone, I’m afraid. They both do, Diana. You need to remember that. Fury may look like a battered freighter, but his heart, his mind is just as humanoid male and just as driven by his urges and hormones as Richard’s is.”

“You got that right,” I managed around my heart that had lodged itself somewhere in my throat. “And I’ve had so much experience with men and relationships that I should have known this.”

“Of course you haven’t, and that’s why none of you has a clue what to do now that you have found each other. That’s why I’m telling you.”

I downed my tepid cappuccino in a single gulp without tasting it and nodded to him, folding my arms across my chest. “I’m listening.”

“The tether is the tie that binds bonded compliments to their ship. It quite literally is like an umbilical cord that feeds the ship’s life and strength into the compliment’s physical body and the reverse is true as well. The compliment’s physicality and organic nature in return infuses the ship. It’s very much a give and take. Because the ship is sentient and because that sentience is based on humanoid genetics, carbon based organisms, this interchange not only can happen, but it’s essential to the SNT system. It is even more essential to Fury because he was created from a joined sperm and egg, while the other SNT ships were cloned.

“In most bondings, the tether is, for practical purposes, long and loose, meaning that the compliment may be away from his or her ship for an extended period of time, might even survive permanent separation, if necessary, though that theory was, obviously, never tested. When Fury bonded with Richard, he had no way of knowing this. In so many ways, you have to consider that Fury was born before he was ready. He was sent out into the world untested and untrained. He was, as you know, our last hope. That meant that his understanding of what was supposed to happen in a bonding was limited. Since the circumstances were most definitely extenuating, and due to Fury’s lack of understanding of a bonding, the tether created was short, meaning that Manning can only safely be away from Fury for a few days at most. Less if his physical or emotional reserves are taxed, as they were when he rescued you. What he did, the surgery he performed on your shackle to neutralize it was exacting and difficult. Fury had no antidote onboard at the time because their last cargo had been infected indentureds. And even for Fury it takes a while to synthesize it. When Richard found out that Fallon had sent his son to take you back to Terra Nova Prime, there was no time to spare. Richard had to perform the delicate task of neutralizing your shackle, this after a rough ride and a tight turnaround. Mind you, I don’t have to tell you that by this time Fury’s love for you and need of you had become Richard’s as well. He was terrified he’d do something wrong.”

“Fuck!” Suddenly I was shaking all over. “I thought he left me alone in that horrible room to go back to the barmaid. I thought …”

 

 

“He left you alone in the Nine Tails’ safe room, Diana. Every bar worth its salt has one — at least on the Rim. It’s a place shielded from all scans and probes and with a force field around it that makes it almost invisible. And when you left the next morning, presuming you were alone. Well you weren’t. You were well guarded until you were safe onboard the Fury. Diana,” he squeezed my hand, “Richard had to return to the Fury or risk death. Under such circumstance all he can do, the only thing that will help is if he literally sleeps and regenerates in Fury. It’s best if he’s home in his own bed inside Fury every night. That way he’s always at full strength. What happened when he was here was a combination of the energy it had taken him to get you safely onboard the Fury and away. His regeneration between your arrival onboard and the disaster with the Svalbard was too little and the situation too stressful. That was why he collapsed here.”

“Jesu,” I whispered. “Why didn’t he tell me? I would have understood. I would have understood better than thinking he’d rather be holed up with Stanislavski than helping me get Fury through the storm.”

“Diana, there’s no place he would have rather been than beside you on Fury’s bridge. But he absolutely couldn’t. Even then it took Ina to make sure he didn’t try to go to you anyway. That would have done no one any good in his condition. Ina knew you couldn’t do what you had to do to get Fury to safety if you had to take care of Manning as well. He knew it too, and he hated it. He sees it as his weakness. He didn’t want you to know.”

“Stupid fool! Why would he think I wouldn’t understand? Of course I would have understood. Even Fury wouldn’t tell me what the problem was. What?” I asked when I noticed him studying me as if I was somehow missing the bigger picture.

“Diana, there’s a lot more to it than the need to regenerate inside Fury. You see, Fury literally brought Richard back to life. It’s Fury’s energy, fury’s essence that sustains Richard. The short tether is way more than just an umbilical chord for Richard, it is a lifeline. It is short because his life is literally Fury’s.”

“Wait a minute.” I suddenly felt as though the floor beneath me was tilting. “Are you trying to tell me that Manning is …”

“Dead. Yes. Richard Manning, at least the Richard Manning that Fury rescued all those years ago, died of his extensive injuries. The matrix you see and know and have clearly grown fond of is one created by Fury to contain Richard’s essence.” His face broke into a beatific smile. “I had no idea that Fury was capable of such a thing, and at the time, he didn’t realize what he was doing. What he knew was that this man had gone to extraordinary lengths to free himself from bondage and Fury simply refused to let his efforts be in vane. Oh I promise you, all of what you see and interact with, all of the man who clearly adores you, is as real and as alive and breathing as you and I are, and is as much Richard Manning as the flesh that died all those years ago was – more so in fact because the Richard Manning who now serves as Fury’s compliment has grown and evolved and is a much better human being for his experiences. That he has not told you, I suspect is because he fears your reaction.”

“Goddamn him!” I sniffed back tears. “Goddamn both of them. What the hell do they take me for – an idiot? A monster?”

“Of course you’re not a monster. Diana, listen to me.” Keen reached for me, but I shoved my chair back and stood.

“I’ve gotta go.” I turned and fled with Keen calling after me.

 

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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