Thursday, July 4, 2019

Exclusive Excerpt of Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard #scifiromance

“Running out of blue sky,” she noted. “Bringing interstellar drives online. Watch the harmonic on the starboard atmospheric. We had trouble with it when we set down.”
Seaghdh let out a breath that whistled between his teeth. “I’ve never seen an engine config like this. You do the custom work yourself?”
Ari shook her head as she brought the star drive online to warm up. “The atmospheric engines are unique to the Sen Ekir. Dad demanded close-in maneuverability, slow speed, even hovering capability and station keeping, but wasn’t willing to sacrifice interstellar speed to get his samples back to his labs for it. He made enough noise, and consistently turns up such impressive results, that Tagreth Federated Command had IntCom design and build this ship for him.”
“TFC handed you a science ship built by Intelligence Command?” Seaghdh echoed, stunned. How had his team missed that detail? Who knew how many taps and wires IntCom had on board?
“Not me, Captain. They handed it to my father.”
“You think the distinction matters?” he prodded.
She glanced at him, pushing a strand of hair out of those silver eyes, seemed to note his perusal, and looked away, flustered.
He watched her clasp her long, elegant fingers together. The precision and skill with which she’d handled the energy blade had him imagining her touch on his skin.
Cursing under his breath, he shifted, discomfited by the suddenly too tight fit of his trousers.
“What I think is immaterial,” she said, dragging his attention back to the ship and the question of who actually controlled it. Calculation shifted behind her eyes, and she scanned the cockpit as if seeing it for the first time. “The question is whether the distinction matters to IntCom.”
Seaghdh nodded.
“And you’re manipulating me,” she said, her tone mild, “trying to make me question the integrity of my ship.”
He froze at her summation. Where had she learned the espionage techniques she’d so accurately identified? Nothing in her files indicated she’d received training from IntCom, and his spies inside the Armada hadn’t been able to identify the manipulation when it had been turned upon them.
“Your attempt to undermine and switch my loyalties does not negate the validity of your observation. If IntCom has the Sen Ekir in its clutches, I can’t trust the Sen Ekir,” she finished and then slanted him a sly smile. “Point to you. One to zero.”
She’d heard and accepted the invitation to play he’d issued with his last use of power on her. The two of them seemed uniquely susceptible to one another, though he prayed she didn’t know about his weakness yet. Savoring the want dancing through his blood, he answered with a lazy grin. “What does my point get me?”
Every inch of her exposed, pale skin flushed in reaction to his innuendo.
The visible rush of her reaction drew him. He shifted, wanting closer to test the heat of her skin with his lips.
She opened her mouth, but a single, urgent beep from her panel snapped her attention away from him.
He mirrored her move, scanning his panel. Time to switch from atmospheric engines to interstellar drive.
“We’re on,” she said, her voice all business. Ari opened intraship and nudged the star drive output higher. “Secure for transition. Change over in five, four, three, two, one. Mark.”
He focused on procedure and drew down power on the atmospherics.
“Atmospherics at eighty,” Seaghdh said.
“Acknowledged. Cut by fives every ten seconds, mark.”
The ship trembled.
“Damn it,” she muttered. “Cut to fifty percent. That starboard atmospheric is coughing. I knew it wasn’t tuning.”
Alarm drove through him and he grimaced. She’d corrected their angle of ascent and balanced engine output without so much as blinking. He admired her gifted piloting, but cutting power like that was flat risky. Against his better judgment, he shook his head and did as she asked. “Atmospherics at fifty percent. Altitude gain decreasing.”
“Aye. We’ve got a little arc. That’ll give us enough momentum to make escape velocity,” she said as she worked on starting the interstellar drive. “Come on, you radioactive hunk of tin. Wake up.”
“You spoke so nicely to the atmospherics,” he said.
She flushed. “You weren’t supposed to hear that.”
The rumble of the interstellar drive gave him a much-needed distraction from watching her every reaction to him. “There it goes.”
The starboard engine gave up the ghost. They lurched sideways. The two of them swore in unison as she fought the controls.
“Restart?” he demanded.
“Negative. Cut the port engine. We’ve got enough thrust in the star drive to clear atmosphere.”
She hadn’t even glanced at the nav or engine equations.

“No margin for error,” Seaghdh warned, scanning both panels and running a rapid set of mental calculations. She was flying by feel. He shook his head and bit back a grin. Damn, she was good. Why the hell had her career been stalled piloting this piece of scientific space debris?

Enemy Within
Chronicles of the Empire
Book One
Marcella Burnard

Genre: Sci-Fi Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication: July 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5092-2698-6 Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-5092-2699-3 Digital

Number of pages: 422
Word Count: 98539

Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Tagline: The military hung her out to dry. Captain Ari Idylle isn’t going to dangle.

Book Description:

Horrific torture in an alien prison torpedoed Captain Ari Idylle's military career. Stripped of command and banished to her father's scientific expedition to finish a PhD she doesn't want, Ari refuses to fly a desk. She intends to have her command back by any means possible, until pirates commandeer her father's ship, and she's once again a prisoner. Perhaps this cunning captor isn't what he pretends to be.

As far as Cullin Seaghdh is concerned, the same goes for Ari. Her past association with aliens puts her dead center in Cullin's cross-hairs. If she hasn't been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. He can't afford the desire she fires within him. His mission comes first. He'll stop at nothing, including her destruction, to uncover her true purpose and protect what is his.

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About the Author:

Marcella Burnard graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a degree in acting. She’s a Tarot-reading, Third-degree Wiccan who knows far too much about space travel because she desperately wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up. Turns out she gets air sick. She wisely decided to write space travel instead. Marcella writes science fiction romance, urban fantasy, paranormal, and fantasy. If a story brings the weird, Marcella’s right there for it. She lives in Florida where she and her husband are outnumbered by cats. Marcella is actively involved in feline rescue in the Tampa Bay area and you can always find cat photos and videos on her Facebook page or on her Instagram account.

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James Robert said...

Thank you for taking the time to share your terrific book with us. I enjoyed reading about it.

Bridgett Wilbur said...

Sounds like something I would love to read.

Marisela Zuniga said...

Very nice cover, this sounds great