Trying to reach that elusive bestseller status, one reader at a time...enjoy this excerpt from Heroes Die Young:

***

“I’m in,” I announced to Jeanie.

“Be careful.”

Inside, I broke into a sweat from both the physical exertion and the climate controls aboard the freighter. Rulusians were from an extremely warm and humid jungle planet, and liked to make their ships feel like home. My heavy jacket didn’t help matters. Lines of sweat made their way down my face as I stepped away from the airlock hatch.

I turned my gaze to the entry corridor and saw carnage I wouldn’t soon forget. Rulusian bodies lay on either side of the hallway. Burn marks from energy weapons shone as black patches on a background of dark green skin. The putrid scent of scorched flesh was in the air. I passed an open doorway on my left and looked inside at crew quarters. More Rulusian corpses lay amidst sparks and clouds of smoke.

I lifted my sleeve again. “You’re sure there isn’t anyone on this ship?”

“Affirmative. All scans show nothing but you.”

“This damage is too recent for my liking.”

“Did the crew abandon ship?”

I grimaced. “Doesn’t look like it.”

I continued toward the bridge. Dark blast marks lined the floor and frame around a blown access hatch. Smoke particles lingered in the air, and I detected a faint chemical odor as my eyes watered. I took slow, cautious steps through the opening and became witness to even more carnage. Ten more Rulusians were collapsed against the wall or slumped over consoles, all roasted by weapons fire. I definitely didn’t need to meet up with the people who had done this. I didn’t get into the scavenging business to be a hero. Everyone loves heroes, but heroes have a tendency to die young.

***

Be sure to check out the full first chapter excerpt over at AstonWest.com. Copies of Heroes Die Young are currently on sale (discounted, even) over at the Champagne site, in both print and e-book versions.