The last days of Champagne Books' e-book sale (45% off anything but new releases, including my novella Heroes Die Young) are upon us...be sure to check out this excerpt if you haven't already (or check out the whole first chapter over at my website)!

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“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.

I glanced at displays as I stepped around the short end of an oval-shaped outer wall. All of them flickered with minimal power from backup systems, while I stepped over a pair of corpses. I stopped at a console and attempted to bypass the lockout. The sweat dripped from my face onto the screens and formed little pools that slowly worked up enough courage to slide down the panel. I realized my attempts were useless and walked to an access hatch at the back of the bridge.

“Jeanie, which bays contain contraband?”

“All of them.”

A huge smile spanned my face. My dream come true.