Well the Final edits are in so I guess I can treat you guys to a quick peek of what's to come now.
Here's a first excerpt of Dante I. Hope you enjoy.
Tomas Valcino, known to his PIACT comrades as Taylah Valero, watched as Marcus followed Yumi back to her office. He’d lain beneath the Secondary longer than he needed simply to hide his painfully squashed erection—he’d never get used to the tight-fitting clothes the Dantians wore, nor to the effect that Yumi continually seemed to have on him. He’d also used the cover of the hiding place to put the tiny receiver in his ear. Once he stood up the miniature device would be completely invisible, covered by his hair.
Taylah could tell from the way Marcus walked, and the snatch of conversation he’d heard, that something serious was going down with the Rebyj’s. Anything involving Yumi was big trouble in Taylah’s opinion. The feisty Prefect’s daughter kept the heavily undermanned colony alive. Still, whatever news Marcus brought, hopefully the bug he’d managed to place in the Rebyj’s office would let Taylah know it all.
If Marcus hurt Yumi or her father in any way…
Dammit! Taylah swore to himself. He’d come here to help a rebellion and act as a liaison between the resistance and the Federation, not chase after the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.
Taylah couldn’t help himself. He’d wanted Yumi from the first day he’d arrived, still running from his successful mission on Colomber III and brandishing a shiny new identity. She’d greeted him at the port dressed in a pure white tailored pantsuit. At that time, with the aid of the Federation anti-aging drugs, she’d looked no older than twenty-four. Her soft features and deep green eyes were framed with titian hair that fell in flaming cascades about her shoulders. He’d struggled hard not to stare at her deliciously curved body, curves he longed to get his hands on. With nothing more than a business-like smile and a handshake she’d welcomed him to the colony with a caution he’d seen in too many Separatist-occupied worlds. Yet her touch had been electrifying, sending a shock through him that still made him hard when he thought of it.
In one magic moment his most dangerous mission ever had become suicidal.
Walking back to the tiny office he shared with the other two metallurgists, Taylah listened carefully to the conversation between Marcus and Yumi.
Sadie’s Hell, everything since he’d arrived in this ball of rock had been an escalation of problems—above and beyond working several light years behind enemy lines. First, he’d arrived here just after his one and only radio contact with the Bolgër had been captured by the Separatists. If the fighter hadn’t suicided before his interrogation, Taylah and a whole group of Bolgër would be nothing more than figures in a Separatist execution log. Unfortunately, the man hadn’t been unable to inform the Bolgër of Taylah’s imminent arrival. Subsequently Taylah had spent the last two years searching hard for other members of the paranoid resistance. He had a whole set of suspicions about some of its members but so far no one had nibbled at the bait he’d left. He also couldn’t risk breaking his cover by approaching anyone until he knew with more certainty he’d be talking to a Bolgër member and not a Separatist sympathizer. He was too far from Federation space for an emergency extraction.
The Bolgër paranoia didn’t surprise him. The reports he’d hacked from the Separatists’ system showed seven years of frustration on the side of the invaders. The Bolgër worked in isolated groups of four with a high level of independence. Orders were passed along via an unknown no-contact process which meant even the group leader had no idea of his commander’s identity. Over the years the system had proved extremely effective at protecting members of the resistance. Any captured member could name, at most, three others.
The net result prevented the Separatists from even coming close to locating the leaders of the Bolgër, powerful and enigmatic figures who remained as anonymous now as the day the Separatists arrived.
This was all good for the resistance, of course. On the other hand it played hell with his mission. Now since the Federation had liberated the neighboring Falant system, they’d be building their forces ready to strike at Dante. The Federation liberation fleet would arrive here in three weeks. He had to contact the Bolgër in less than two weeks to be able to effectively coordinate maneuvers. Now he also had to save Yumi from a forced wedding? Not to mention let his superiors know they needed to up the liberation force by another four or five battleships since Tarug’s fleet—including the flagship, the Ultimate—would be in system simultaneously. Hopefully intelligence would have that knowledge already, but it didn’t hurt to make sure. The Federation’s spies usually had Tarug’s movements mapped to an iota. Wouldn’t they have told him if Dante I was on Tarug’s itinerary? What in space had made Tarug suddenly change his plans and schedule a visit here? Taylah had to learn the reason behind the change. One thing he knew for certain, the Separatist leader hadn’t come for the wedding.
It brought to mind Sector Z and the ultra high security rating on the three hundred square kilometers of Dante I’s molten surface. It had to be something major to draw Tarug this close to the battlefront. If Sector Z held so much importance Taylah had to discover what it was. Just another small task to do on top of his other minor problems.
Reaching the tiny SpecMet office, Taylah let himself in and sat behind the small stone desk that had been allocated to him. Mossiron and Clyd were out, probably monitoring various stages of the refining processes. Grateful for the privacy, Taylah turned to his workpad. His whole mission was primed for a massive disaster and he had no idea how to fix it. Switching on the machine, Taylah immediately logged in to his pre-hacked pathways, ones that led directly into the Separatists’ military files. He had to determine what Marcus planned, how many ships Tarug had with him—and everything he could about Sector Z.
As he worked, Taylah listened to Yumi. Marcus had left her alone in the office and now she was humming. A rhythmic, mindless tune which repeated continuously—a sure sign of her growing worry. Somehow, one way or another, Taylah vowed to find the Bolgër. He’d keep Yumi safe, and save the colony—even if it killed him.