Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Snippet: Mia's Choice

November 19, 2017

The weather in Ohio is truly crazy. We had flooding from rain yesterday and snow today.

Television this week ended up being pretty terrific. The Flash pulled in a bunch of Harrys to help save the day. Legends of Tomorrow had a fun episode with old Hollywood.

Riverdale had an interesting episode with some changing dynamics. I'm still on the fence with Hiram and whether or not I like him. I'm coming down on the not liking side but he gets some interesting snark lines so that pitches him into the fun column.

Arrow remains probably my favorite show. If the team can't be together, I like having two storylines that run along a similar theme. Also very glad John's secret is out in the open. Having Curtis work on a solution is excellent.

Catching up on Gotham today. I'll be glad to see the last of Professor Pyg. It's good to see Bruce again, too. There's never enough Alfred on the screen. LOL

I'm behind on Murdoch Mysteries. Having issues with my laptop and I usually watch via the website on that device. Here's hoping I get it fixed this week.

That's it for television. Tonight's post is from Mia's Choice a novella that reunites a former couple with one character having a lot of baggage to get rid of.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Mia Sinclair finally got her doctorate and embarks on a work trade assignment to a new space station. But when she runs smack into Hal Manning, and her past, she has to face her demons, which isn't easy because she promised she'd never be under any man's control again.

And a sneaky peek…

Mia Sinclair paced back and forth in her small suite of rooms across the corridor from the lab. The three box-shaped areas were almost cell-like, but she appreciated the symmetry, realizing a quick rehab job didn't allow for much in the way of aesthetics. She'd had no idea how she'd be getting to the outpost for Space Station Alpha when she signed on the bottom line for the work exchange program, only that a ship big enough to provide square footage for a lab and experimentation would be commandeered for the joint project.
She also had zero clue whose cruiser she'd end up on. When she found out upon boarding, she wanted to expire on the spot. And if she could have left, she would have.
Not that she minded the trade-off—this expedition would pay for her degree. But the main reason she'd signed on for the job had been to get away from everyone she knew and truly stand on her own. If she'd realized she'd be walking smack dab into her past, she might have looked for another way to repay her debt to the Science Academy.
Of course, Hal Manning hadn't been a commanding officer when she'd applied for the program. But a lot could change in two years. She'd never dreamed how much.
"Damn. Damn. Damn." Mia stopped pacing and faced her reality again.
After everything she'd endured, been subjected to, and fought her way out of, she ended up in a place she didn't want to be. Okay, make that with someone she didn't want to see. She wanted a clean start. It couldn't be too much to ask.
Her parents were dead. The divorce she'd fought so hard for, granted. Her joy over that detail marred only by the amount of time she'd had to spend with Fredrick the Dick in the first place. She could finally claim to no longer be under anyone's thumb—or any other part of their anatomy.
She'd earned her freedom.
She'd prepared for it, worked hard to gain it. Why couldn't fate or destiny or whatever ruled the universe cut her a break?
Just once, it would have been lovely.
No such luck.
She ended up being thrust into the orbit of the only person she ever regretted telling good-bye.
Except she'd never told him.
Not really.
Instead, she'd withdrawn. Descended into a personal hell. And never looked back.
Now she had to face the mistake.
And him.
God, so not fair.
And she couldn't do it. She avoided Hal Manning whenever possible and kept things very professional when not.
As if that would work, or keep her safe from dredging up things she didn't want to deal with.
But hadn't it?
Hal had taken her cue and gave her wide berth. He only spoke to her when duty required it. Or if he couldn't delegate the responsibility to someone else.
She wanted that, right? Needed it?
Anything else would crumble her carefully constructed and rebuilt self.
She had to do things on her own—make a new life, walk away from the past.
And it had been going so well aboard the Queen Amalie… until a random test showed the contaminated containment system. If she'd guessed correctly, they'd be seeing a number of sick people in the near future.
Which meant she'd be receiving a visit from Captain Manning.
"Shit. Shit. Shit." She paced again.
The knock on her door… hatch… whatever they called it, didn't surprise her. She walked over and spun the release so she could open it. Stepping back, a fresh-faced petty officer greeted her with a polite smile.
"Doctor Sinclair. Petty Officer Oliver Jones, ma'am. The captain requests your presence in his quarters. I'm here to escort you."
Not what she expected, but why wouldn't Hal want this meeting on his own turf? Mia heaved a sigh. She might as well get it over with. Crossing over to her small desk, she picked up a file and gave the young officer what she hoped to be a pleasant smile.
"By all means, let's not keep the captain waiting." She shrugged into a lab coat, deciding she needed it for armor, and exited her rooms. "I wouldn't want you to get reprimanded."
The young man fell into step beside her. "That's okay, ma'am. The captain isn't a stern taskmaster. And he did say to come at your convenience." He led her down to the next deck.
Mia clicked her tongue thoughtfully. Hal had always been very even-tempered. It appeared that hadn't changed.
"Now is as good a time as any, PO Jones."
The petty officer grinned bashfully. "We're almost there, ma'am." He made a left at the next intersecting corridor.
Mia followed his lead, wondering how the crew didn't get mixed up sometimes. She'd been on the ship for a couple of weeks and still got turned around if she didn't pay attention.
Her guide made a right and stopped halfway down the corridor. He rapped on the outside of the hatch.
Mia waited, a little nervous at her first one on one meeting with the captain since she'd boarded.
The hatch clanged open. "Thank you, Petty Officer. You're dismissed." 
Jones saluted his commander then turned to Mia. "You're all set, ma'am. Have a nice evening."
Mia nodded in his direction, hoping she didn't look as freaked out as she felt. "Thank you." She sucked in a deep breath and acknowledged Hal. "Captain."

I love this story. Mia and Hal are very dear to my heart. Can't wait to finish this one up and put it out there for everyone to read.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flipside.

ML Skye

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday Snippet: Matchmaker's Men

Ugh… what a week. I've been down with a combination of cold / flu symptoms. I'm pretty sure I've pulled at least three different muscles from coughing, sneezing, and blowing my nose incessantly. Bleh.

Not a bad week for television viewing. The Flash had a girls night out that brought Felicity Smoak over from Arrow and entertained in a big way. Legends of Tomorrow kind of disappointed me by bringing Damien Darhk back, even if the fight sequence proved to be very entertaining.

Arrow also had a great episode. Loved getting to know Dinah's former partner and have some background there. I'm fond of the actor who's in the role and look forward to seeing more of that storyline play out. Also liked having Oliver work with Slade. I'm excited to see where that goes, too.

Riverdale turned things up to triple digits. I'm still liking my theory about who the black hood is. Alice's past coming out and her reaction made the whole show for me. I want to see that story explored a little more. My one true hope? The snake charmer ends up being Alice's long, lost sister. How much fun would that be?

Once again, I have to catch up on Gotham. The whole cold / flu thing had me napping when it was on. LOL

The holiday movie overload is ongoing. I thoroughly enjoy the cheesy, sappy, happy fare. I've even watched a couple of them more than once.

Looking forward to more terrific TV this week. Tonight's post is from Matchmaker's Men, a sexy short with two characters who have a whole crew trying to set them up.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Nova Anell and Matz Yarmacher belong together, but neither wants to be the first to admit it. But when their crewmates start working behind the scenes to put Nova and Matz together, they have no choice but to face what they feel and decide what to do next.

And a sneaky peek…

Matz had waited for something like this. Frankly, it shocked him she'd taken this long to reach the point of a meltdown. He'd wondered if she'd make the full forty-eight hours before she lost her grip and went bug ass gonzo on the crew—or worse—on him.
Looked like he got the prize. And he hadn't even come up with anything for the list. Hell, in all likelihood, he'd have let her off the hook and called things even. Enough for him that he'd won.
Probably why the crew had their ideas readily available. Matz tried not to play favorites and cut everyone slack, but he had a soft spot for Nova. She got away with shooting her mouth off more than anyone else. But she usually had valid points and they helped keep him in check.
The others got to have their say if they needed to get something off their chest. Matz had an open door policy and he let anyone enter and exit as often as necessary. But Nova never used an easy entry when she could take aim and blast through a wall instead. Proprietary be damned.
She paid the price—brig time, reprimands, revoked passes—as often as she got off the hook. Nova went to the mat when she had a strong opinion and while it earned her the respect of the regiment, it didn't do her any favors with the brass. She walked a very fine line sometimes.
And backed herself into corners to save face. Like now. The crew got their licks in. They loved her but also had gleeful moments when she went down a peg or two.
Pushing away from the bulkhead, Matz spoke quietly. "First… you lasted a hell of a lot longer than I thought you would. I gave it maybe twenty-four hours before you'd decide to say fuck it all and be done." He slowly advanced in her direction and she backed up, looking skittish, and bumped into the table behind her. "Second… no one, not even you, bothered to ask me what I wanted you to do for me." He stopped a few feet away from her and waited for her response.

Matz catches Nova off-guard and it's fun to write her reactions. Looking forward to seeing this one completed and ready for public consumption.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flipside.

ML Skye

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sunday Snippet: Manifest Legend

Welcome to November! We're almost finished with 2017 and I'm honestly looking forward to a new year. It's been a rough ten months so far.

Excellent television viewing this week. The Flash had a great episode. It's always fun to see Cisco on the hot seat. Really enjoyed his storyline. Also interested in seeing where things go with Joe and becoming a father again.

Legends of Tomorrow didn't have a terrible episode. The homage to ET maybe went a little overboard but still fun.

Riverdale was sort of on the fence for me… until I got a wild hair theory about who the black hood is and now I have to stay tuned to see if I'm right. I'm honestly fairly disappointed with the addition of Hiram to the fold. He made a better villain working from the shadows.

Arrow continues to amaze me. I love the way roles continue to be mixed up and everything is fluid. That keeps me glued to the screen.

Got caught up on Gotham and watched this week's episode. I won't be disappointed to see the end of Professor Pyg but at least the plot is moving forward and I'm down with that.

Having fun watching holiday movies on the Hallmark channels. There's usually something on one of them that catches my interest.

And that's it for television this week. Tonight's post is from Manifest Legend, the opening world builder for Insula Ara.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Insula Ara is a mystical island offering sanctuary to those in need, but when she reveals herself for the first time, Cedric Edward Teasdale, former crewman of a privateer, almost blows his chance for refuge… and a reunion with his lost love.

And a sneaky peek…

A tendril of guilt wrapped around Ceet. He hadn't been exactly truthful with his captain. But it was for the man's own good.
The island would protect them, but one of them had to stay behind. If Avery knew that, he'd insist on being the one. The cause needed good men like James Avery. Men who made the impossible happen.
Ceet thought men like himself, those who didn't quite have what it took to lead others, were expendable. And it wasn't as if he'd cease to exist or anything. On the contrary, he'd live a very, very long time.
The island had picked him and he'd stand by that choice.
Lost in his musings, the arrival of able seaman Foxworthy—carrying a box of munitions—startled Ceet into readiness. He scanned the horizon. The enemy had finally sailed within range.
"Foxworthy, keep those boxes coming for an hour half, then get yerself on a longboat and hightail it out." Ceet primed the cannon and lit the fuse.
The young man kept the ammunition coming while Cedric did his work. First the cannon on the east, then the one to the south. He held off the small fleet of ships intent on blockading the harbor inlet.
"Ceet, I've loaded all I can. I'm off for the Reprieve."
Ceet raised a hand but didn't spare Foxworthy a glance. Instead, he fired off another booming round at the closest vessel to the east. To his delight, the mast splintered and snapped, rendering the ship lost. It would give Captain Avery the hole he'd need to make it out to sea.
"Thank ye, Sanctuary. Thank ye." He spoke directly to the island, his refuge, by its given name. "Now gimme one more." Ceet turned the cannon and lined up his shot. "Right about there." Lighting the fuse, he stepped back and moved to haul the second cannon over to his position.
He kept a steady volley of fodder flying from the battlement as the Reprieve got up enough speed to slip past the last ship in her way. Ceet loaded both weapons and put flame to the wick. He took cover and felt the ground shudder under his feet from the force of the blast.
Peering out, the gutted hull of a flaming ship marked the end of the threat. The island grew peaceful once more.
Ceet knew what truly happened.
Sanctuary destroyed the final ship. The two rounds from the canons couldn't do the devastating damage he now witnessed.
He sank to his knees and gave thanks. "It's done, Sanctuary. And I thank you for it."
The wind kicked up, tree leaves swaying in the playful breeze. Ceet listened and nodded his head. A very good day indeed.
Ceet rose and strolled down the path to the shoreline. He looked out at the inlet and said a sad farewell to his former mates. They were a good crew and he'd miss them.
A quiet hush fell, all around him, and Ceet shifted his eyes around slowly. An eerie feeling trickled down his spine and he jumped when a loud crack reverberated and a deafening roar burst through the skies. Thunder boomed and lightning danced all around him. Even the trees seemed to scream their fury.
Ceet threw up his arms, fists punching toward the sky. "Now just you calm down! I ain't a going anywhere." He shouted, raising his voice as loud as he could. "We had a deal and I aim to keep my end. Now, stop this nonsense!"
He flung his arms down and the noise ceased. Peace and quiet returned.
"Just like a woman, it is."

I'm so excited about this free read. It's fun to write Ceet back in the day.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flipside.

ML Skye

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunday Snippet: Make the Call

Whew. What a week in TV. Lots of good stuff going on.

The Flash had a fun episode. I'm rather interested in the behind the scenes manipulation going on and discovering more about that. Also interested to see what happens with Caitlyn when Katee Sackhoff's character enters the narrative.

Legends of Tomorrow is still terrific. I'm hoping they dive into the big threat looming over them sometime soon.

Arrow ended up being better than expected. I want to know what Diggle has himself into and how bad it's going to bite the team on their asses. Also loved Oliver and Felicity helping William out and discovering they work well as a team. The FBI agent is already annoying me. We'll see if that ends up being a good thing or not.

I missed Gotham and need to catch up. Not sure when I'll get a chance, but it should be soon.

Riverdale, you're killing me. There's so much I'm loving but the one thing I'm not on board with—yet—is Hermione and whatever the hell pod person has taken over her character. I kind of love the relationship she had with Veronica last season and right now… not so much. We'll see if it smooths out, similar to Alice last year. I trust the show to make it happen.

Finally watched the finale for Teen Wolf and I'm kind of thrilled with how it ended. I'm very happy with everyone's place and how their stories were resolved—with one exception. I so wanted Monroe to die a slow, painful death. The fact she escaped annoys me to no end. Grr.

Got caught up on Murdoch Mysteries. So far, I'm excited for the new season. I have so much love for this show, which considering it's in its eleventh season, is saying something.

I have my holiday television and movie list all put together and ready to watch. The Hallmark Channels launched their festive season this weekend and I plan to catch a bunch of fare on both channels. Seriously, I won't mind overdosing on the merry happenings right now. The world is a crazy place… why not have some happy, happy, joy, joy in life?

And that's it for television this week. Tonight's post is from Make the Call, a novella that started with a two-word prompt of "patience, child".

Here's the mini-blurb:

Gia Pimm has everything she wants, but a reminder from her mother—that Gia will always suffer when good things happen—makes her walk away from Nolan Curry. But when she needs antibiotics, she swallows her pride and makes a call to the man who has them—Nolan.

And a sneaky peek…

Gia came home to find Rand gone. Again.
Shaking her head, she stomped out of their yurt. "Damn the man." She stopped, dragging in a deep breath.
She couldn't get too angry. He'd left because she didn't come home last night. His way of taking some pride back.
She started toward the arena… more like a huge tent with three sparring fields… one of the places he liked to hunker down and lick his wounds—both physical and mental. Of course, he could avoid the physical if he stayed away from the nightly fights, which he wouldn't do as long as she didn't come home.
A vicious circle of her own creation.
Halfway to the makeshift arena, Gia bumped into the colony leader. "Hi, Lila. Have you seen Rand today?" The woman had her thumb on the pulse of the entire community.
Lila gave Gia a tight smile. "Actually, I was just coming to find you. Yes, I've seen him. In medical." She looped her arm around Gia's and altered their direction.
Gia went along, but her heart sank. "How bad is it?" Her mind filled with images of broken bones and stitches.
Lila paused outside the entrance. "It's not what you're thinking. He's not injured from spectacles he participates in." Her distaste came through in her tone.
Lila didn't stop the men from conducting their nightly bouts but she didn't approve of their need to be aggressive off the clock. The community had too much work to do before the cold season set in. If they failed to get the land ready for the incoming settlers, the federation would pull their support.
Gia didn't want to get sucked into an argument over how the federation put too much pressure on the terraforming teams. After being on both sides, she understood each viewpoint, but couldn't offer any answers. She doubted a solution would be forthcoming anytime soon.
Gia nodded toward the medical facility. "So what's going on with Rand?"
Lila tugged her over to the small seating area outside the building. "He's been fighting one of the local viruses. The aides warned him last time—"
Gia cut in. "Wait. He's been here before?" Why didn't she know?
Because she'd been too busy not spending time with her significant other for reasons she'd rather not ponder at the moment.
Lila quirked a brow. "Yes, at least twice. He's been instructed to stay away from the bouts because his immunity is low. He should've been able to weather the symptoms and build a natural resilience to the virus, but he's not taking their advice." She leaned in and lowered her voice. "We're very low on antibiotics and the doctors only want to use them in extreme cases. Since Rand didn't listen and follow their recommendation, they're not inclined to administer what they have."
Meaning her boyfriend defined idiot on a whole new level. Gia wouldn't touch on her part in the scenario yet.
She met Lila's gaze. "What's his prognosis?" Had to be serious if Lila came to find her.
The leader gave it to Gia straight. "Poor. He's pushed himself almost beyond help. Right now, he's being monitored and they're keeping him hydrated with an IV. But he's reached a stage where he can't fight the virus because his resistance is too low." She grasped Gia's hand. "I'm caught in a tough spot here."
Gia nodded. "You can't countermand one of your own stipulations and order them to provide antibiotics because it'll look like favoritism." Lila needed to show strength and let nature take its course. "Dammit. Men can be utterly stupid sometimes, especially ones who aren't getting their way all the time." Like Rand… who showed an annoyingly childish disposition when she thwarted whatever grand vision of the future he had planned.
Lila smiled. "Men don't have a lock on being stupid, dear. Humans, in general, make life messy." She squeezed Gia's hand, the only acknowledgment the leader would give about Gia's ongoing relationship problems.
Gia sighed. "What can I do here? I mean what are my options to keep him from getting worse?" She might not full spousal privileges—didn't want them either—but there had to be something she could do.
Lila tilted her head to one side. "Well… you're former military; you could liaise with Captain Curry and maybe get an allotment from him." Her gentle tone spoke louder any recriminations could.
Gia's head spun and her heart pounded. Liaise with Nolan? Roberts had no idea what she asked of Gia. Okay, Lila totally did. She'd been privy to the details, in fact demanded them when Gia applied for a civilian post.
Could I be more responsible for this fiasco?
The short answer? No. The weight of Rand's dilemma rested firmly on Gia's shoulders.
Fighting the free-fall feeling of helplessness, she launched into all the reasons why Roberts's request sucked. "Look, there's no way I can just call Nolan and ask for something. Hell, anything. He won't be inclined to help… especially if I'm the one making contact." She shook her head. "God… why did Rand have to be so juvenile?" Okay, the why stood to reason. "Now my current boyfriend is in bad shape and the only way to help him is to beg my former lover for the meds he needs. Can this situation get any more stupid? Can men?" She sent the leader a scathing glance. "I'm sorry, Lila, humans make messes, but throw in a man's pride and those messes take on epic proportions." Dragging in air, she went on. "And I don't want to do this. I can't. Isn't there anyone else? I mean how much time does Rand have?"
Lila put an arm around Gia. "Slow down. Calm down." She patted Gia's shoulder. "Yes, the request could come from the head of medical, but I think you know what will happen. The official log will show the request and requisition. If it comes from outside the chain, we can avoid the official nature of asking." Her lips curved in an understanding smile. "Which doesn't make it any easier for you, I know."
Gia shot up and paced back and forth. "Shit, shit, shit. Fine." She stopped. "You're right. I'll suck it up and deal with Nolan. In fact, I'll just go in now and—" She started for the door.
Lila grabbed Gia's arm, pulling her down to sit again. "Patience, child. There's no need to go off half-cocked. Take some time to figure out what you want to say first." She gave Gia's hand a squeeze. "But make the call. It'll ease your mind and maybe keep Rand from pushing so hard all the time."
Gia dreaded the idea, but Roberts had it right. The less official paperwork attached to the request, the better for the colonists. The kick of guilt because Rand landed in the medical because she never stuck around didn't sit well with Gia. She needed to do something about the relationship, one that shouldn't have happened, but only after she got him back on his feet.
She heaved a sigh. "Okay, I'll figure out what to say then I'll make the call. Give me a few minutes then I'll come in."
Lila nodded and got up, heading into the medical building to give Gia some space to think.
She snorted. "Doesn't really matter what I say. Nolan's gonna bust my chops no matter what." And she deserved whatever he dished out.
She really couldn't point fingers and men and their stupidity. She'd made the biggest mistake of her life when she walked out on Nolan. Hooking up with Rand proved to be the second biggest. She needed to fix both and making amends wouldn't be easy. But she'd reached a point where she had to at least try.
Getting up, she squared her shoulders. "Time to face my demons." She strode forward and entered the medical building.

I like writing couples who've made poor choices and need to redeem themselves. Gia is definitely paying the piper for her past decisions.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flipside.

ML Skye

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday Snippet: Major Issues

I'm loving the fall weather! Mild temperatures are so lovely and the pretty colors popping on the leaves are incredible.

Another great week in television. I completely forgot to mention Riverdale's premiere. Man… I love the show. I had so many questions after the premiere my head spun for a while.

But first… let's get to this week's shows. The Flash had a great episode. I like the new Cisco. I'm definitely looking forward to more of how Barry and Iris work out their issues. Legends of Tomorrow also had a great showing. I do truly enjoy the character's interactions.

Okay, Riverdale. Loved, loved, loved the premiere. I like where things are going and while I could do without Hiram, I'll be interested to see what kind of havoc he'll create. Having Archie take a darker path is also going to be fun. And whenever Dark Betty makes an appearance I notice. I loved her giving the lowdown to Cheryl. Speaking of… wow, Cheryl's got some issues, yeah? All in all, I'm excited to see what else happens. The dark hood killer will hopefully not take out any of my faves. I'm already a little miffed one of the characters I like might not be with us anymore.

Gotham keeps getting better. It always seems to throw in a twist I'm not expecting and I love it. Nice to see Lee back, whatever her drama might be.

Arrow is also throwing some nice twists into their plotlines. I'm down with Oliver being a dad, but I was very much hoping he would make Raisa William's guardian so he can still do his second job.

Continuing on with Midsomer Murders and also got my holiday movie and show list started. I plan to completely overdose on holiday fare this year.

That's it for television this week. Tonight's post is from Major Issues, a novella that started with a writing community prompt of having a conflict with a military person with a higher rank.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Ellis Wright, a damn good pilot who works hard at her job, runs into an old nemesis—Major Anton Burnhard—and he tries to put her on the defensive again. But Ellis isn't the same raw cadet from five years ago. This time around she'll bring in her backup—Trey Shuttleworth—if she can convince him the rumor about her affair with the major isn't true.

And a sneaky peek…

Ellis Wright entered the sim room and turned the recorder off. "Don't want a log of the time I spend here." Mainly because she didn't have the okay to use the flight simulator.
But… she wanted to fly, to try and beat her current times, see if she could improve her on her excellent scores. Her competitive streak extended well beyond vying with her fellow cadets in flight school. She loved to surpass her personal bests, too.
She slid into the cockpit and started the program—her favorite—the smooth beginning quickly gave way to complex maneuvers that would often put seasoned pilots through their paces.
She flashed a smile, her adrenaline pumping. "Here we go." With her hand on the joystick, she let out a breath and fell into the simulation.
An hour later, she laughed, giddy over beating her former record. She didn't care if the time didn't actually count for her course work. The fact she'd shaved another few minutes off her time and increased her target efficiency thrilled her. She climbed out of the plane and wrote her final marks down. Putting everything back and flipping the recorder back on, she let herself out of the sim room, closing the door quietly behind her.
She started down the corridor and almost jumped a foot when an oily voice sounded behind her.
"Well, well, well. Looks like I've caught a little bird whose wings need to be clipped." Major Anton Bernhard emerged from a shadowy recess.
Ellis groaned but tried to play off being in the training center after hours cool. "Er, I'm sorry, sir. What do you mean?" Damn her guilty tone for betraying her.
Bernhard's lips twisted in a smirk. "Oh, I think you know, cadet." He held a video card between his thumb and forefinger. "You didn't know about the security cameras, did you?" His eyebrows hitched up and down.
Shit. Shit-shit-shit. Busted.
Heaving a sigh, Ellis owned her mistake. "No, sir, I didn't." So much for thinking she covered all the possible problems.
Bernhard grasped her arm and dragged her into an empty classroom. His fingers dug into her skin, but Ellis barely felt the gouging. Her mother had done much worse.
The door closed behind them and the lights flickered on to their lowest setting. A fission of fear skittered along her spine, but Ellis pushed it back. Bernhard might be a man who liked to throw his weight and rank around, but he had a standard to adhere to.
But when he turned to face her, Ellis didn't like the calculating gleam in his eyes.
He tucked the video card in his pocket and advanced toward her. "You've violated protocol, which is grounds for expulsion." His continued approach backed her into a corner. "I might be able to overlook your transgression… but it comes at a price." A slimy sneer left no doubt what he had in mind.
Ellis shook her head. "Look, I'm sorry. I just love to fly. There has to be something else I can do to avoid getting kicked out." She sat at the top of the class… that should count for something.
Bernhard snorted. "It's obvious you love to fly, you have the top scores in this recruit group. I'd say all the extra practice gives you an added edge, wouldn't you?"
Ellis frowned. "I've earned those scores from day one. I didn't have any extra time in the simulator the entire first two weeks. I proved I've got the chops first." Her skin crawled and anger boiled in her gut at letting herself get trapped like this.
The major quirked a brow. "You've also got a file of youthful transgressions, many of which could've helped you get into a room early to practice a bunch of runs." He placed a hand on the wall beside her head. "It would be easy for me to make a case for kicking you out." The other hand landed on the wall, effectively boxing her in.
Her juvenile record came down to being under her mom's thumb and along for the ride whenever she went off the rails. The thought of crawling back to Louanne Wright after walking out almost a year ago made Ellis's blood ran cold. Bile rose in her throat. She would not return to the abusive and dangerous home she grew up in.
But the major could make it impossible for Ellis to maintain her hard won freedom.
Ellis used a final defense. "I'm in a relationship with someone." She embellished only a little, her status with fellow cadet Wyatt Germaine tended to be on uncertain footing most of the time.
Bernhard quirked an eyebrow. "Is that what they're calling flight school hookups now? Germaine is destined for greatness. His family name guarantees he'll move up the ranks." The major's gaze slid downward coming to a stop at her chest. "You, on the other hand, might be required to use your personal assets to move ahead, not to mention stay out of trouble." His arm lowered to her shoulder, his fingers gripping her. "You should think about starting now if you want to graduate." He pushed his groin forward, leaving no doubt as to what he expected. "It'll be our little secret, Cadet Wright."
Ellis wanted to heave her guts up. She didn't see a way out of the tricky spot with Bernhard. No way would she survive going back to Louanne's. Flight school represented everything Ellis ever wanted. A way to be close to her dad—who died serving the fleet—and freedom from the crazy life her mother led after his death. Ellis cringed but ultimately accepted her fate.
Slowly lowering down to her knees, she reached up to loosen the major's belt.
How bad could buying his silence with a blowjob be?

I'm pretty sure Ellis won't be thrilled with how things play out with Bernhard. But she'll have the last word with him, I have no doubt.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flipside.

ML Skye

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Snippet: Luck Runs Out

Well… another homecoming is in the books and life can return to semi-normal, which is still crazy but less so. LOL

Terrific week for television with shows returning for their fall premieres (and one season ender)!

The Last Ship's finale was everything I'd hoped for. The people I wanted to see not make it died in appropriate ways and they didn't touch anyone on my "better not kill" list, so, yeah, I'm thrilled to bits with how the season ended. And it looks like season five will be terrific! Can't wait for next summer.

I honestly didn't know if I'd like The Flash, but it ended up being a great episode. Cisco keeps things interesting and I like where Caitlyn is right now. Same goes for Legends of Tomorrow. Their reboot after messing up all of time is excellent. Can't wait to see what they end up doing for the rest of the season.

Arrow's premiere rocked. I really didn't know how they'd end up resolving the island explosion and it looks like there will be plenty of repercussions. I'm interested in what happened to the few we didn't see in the opening episode, namely the former league crew. I can honestly say it was awesome to see Raisa back with Oliver, too.

Gotham had another terrific episode. This show just keeps getting better and better. I like how they're beginning to weave Bruce's story into Gordon's… finally. I'm pretty "meh" about the Sophia Falcone stuff but we'll see where it goes.

My Netflix queue random pick ended up being Midsomer Murders. I'm enjoying a nice revisit to this show.

And that's it for television this week. Tonight's post is from Luck Runs Out, a novella set in my Inter-Stellar Police universe, with a visit from Shyler Lumen of Furlough 99's Finding Home.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Domino Montgomery and Webb Wellesley are totally different personally and professionally, but they work seamlessly together. When they land an off world transport assignment, they have to babysit a condemned prisoner and deal with an impish captain who's hiding a wee bit of a secret of his own.

And a sneaky peek…

Domino rounded the corner to find Webb standing inside the door to her quarters. He itched to tidy up, his fingers literally twitching to pick stuff up. "Don't even think about touching anything." She strode through the entrance and tossed her empty rucksack on the bed.
He shot her an incredulous look. "How do you stand it? Live with the mess?" His eyes scanned the small space she called home.
Domino smirked. "I prefer to call it controlled chaos, but whatever." She reached for a pile of clothes. Clean, but unfolded, she rifled through the stack and pulled out what she'd need for the transport.
Webb shook his head. "You've been back from leave less than three hours and can't see the floor in here." He shot her a sideways look. "I know for a fact they cleaned while you were gone."
Domino rolled her eyes. "I know. I walked in this morning and wanted to heave." She shoved matched uniforms into the bag, but looked up. "Don't tell me you like the mashed pea green?" She stuck her tongue out and made a retching sound.
His lips twitched. "Okay, I'll give you that one. The color is disgustingly similar to what we see in the field." His grimace spoke volumes.
They saw some nasty shit out there. Bodily fluids did not come in pretty colors. And too many resembled the color of the carpet in her quarters.
Domino laughed. "Exactly." She snatched up her toiletry case and stuffed it into her duffel. "Which is why we need to get going… so I don't have to look at this anymore." Hoisting the case over her shoulder, she left her quarters. "Bilar said we need to be briefed first? Do you know why?" A drop run with a prisoner should be straightforward.
Webb shrugged one shoulder. "Eh, not really. Unless it's to give us tips on how not to die from boredom." He fell into step beside her.
 Domino's senses went on alert. "Argh. Something tells me that's not the case." Maybe the guy needed some kind of special care.
Webb paused outside the door of the captain's office. "Maybe not, but I've got a deck of cards in my gear that I'm willing to share."
Domino shot him a glance. "I brought a set of dice to keep things interesting." She bit back a grin when Webb frowned.
She loved playing tripoly. And Webb would be a straight shooter. She'd bet anything.
The trip might be more appealing than she'd thought.
They entered the office and the captain quickly ended a call. His face gave nothing away, but Domino's shoulders tensed. An air of tension permeated the room.
He motioned for each to take a seat. "Okay, we've got some ground to cover before you two head out." He opened a thick file folder. "This isn't your standard drop run."
Domino groaned. I knew it!

I'm enjoying the dynamic between Domino and Webb. I love opposites attract tropes and finding out where they find middle ground.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flipside.

ML Skye

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday Snippet: Lover's Lament

And so the crazypants onslaught begins. October starts the official launch of "let's go Mach II with our hair on fire" season. Homecoming is this weekend and my daughter is hosting nine other couples for pictures and dinner. Then we slide into Halloween, followed by the fall sports banquet, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year, and starting January 11, birthdays for all but one of my immediate family. LOL See… crazypants.

So, moving on to what calms me… television. The Last Ship proved, once again, it's never a good idea to mess with a wolf. Seriously, a few nice reveals were dropped and the episode let Fletch redeem himself… kind of. I'm probably in the minority but I'm not quite ready to forgive his transgressions yet.

Still need to watch Teen Wolf's finale. The past week got crazy busy so I didn't have time.

Finished up The Defenders and, yeah, I pretty much loved it. Looking forward to more from the individual series and also to The Punisher whenever it arrives. Heh, if it hasn't already because I'm that far behind right now.

Almost finished with Hawaii Five-0. Truly can't see how season eight is going to be decent without Chin or Kono. I guess I'll play it by ear.

I'm all caught up on Gotham and I love this show. The soft intro of Bruce's alter ego ended up being exactly perfect. Penguin raining havoc is a joy to watch. And poor Jim is getting ready for another round of the absolute wrong woman for him bingo. Falcone's daughter is probably not what the doctor ordered for the guy. Just saying.

That's it for television this week. Tonight's post is from Lover's Lament, a novella that got a start with a writing community prompt of putting military types on a civilian ship away from prying eyes and see what happens.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Taryn Untied and Holmes Selari, two soldiers under a constant stream of pressure, start making mistakes due to lack of any kind of downtime. Their superior officer finally orders them to take R and R on the Lover's Lament and promises to conveniently forget their location if anything else goes wrong. Thirty-six hours of alone time should clear up their cranky attitudes.

And a sneaky peek…

Well, she managed to piss Waybright off even more. Way to go, Taryn.

Holmes shook his head and sighed.

Taryn stomped back down to the front of the room and parked her ass in a seat. "A little show of solidarity would've been nice." Her snarky tone carried to Waybright's ears.

The man turned and glared and Taryn shut up.

Holmes snorted. "I'm too damned tired." He slouched further down into the chair. "First time I've actually sat down all day… aside from being in the cockpit." The cramped confines didn't exactly inspire relaxation.

Waybright came around the front of the podium after he'd picked up the clipboard. "Here's what's going to happen." He held up the board, moving it slowly in front of their faces. "I'm ordering immediate R and R for you."

Holmes barked out a laugh. "Right. I have to be dreaming. Or I woke up in an alternate universe." His head dropped to the back of the seat cushion.

Is it possible to dream with my eyes open?

Taryn agreed. "Yeah, and we'll get within five seconds of leaving the ship when you revoke the passes because some idiot fucks up their job and we have to fix it."

A valid point. Waybright pulled rank more than a few times.

He shook his head. "Not this time. Frankly, I can't stand either one of you right now and if you don't get off the ship, I may shoot you." He moved closer and stopped at the edge of the row. "You're going to quarters. You're getting your rucksacks, and I'm personally escorting you to a transport in the aft landing bay."

Taryn crossed her arms over her chest. "And when the transport fails to show up, what then?"

Another valid concern. Too often, the small crafts ran behind schedule and during the wait something went sideways and they got called back.

Waybright held up a hand. "Oh, Lieutenant, I'm one up on you. It's already here." He leaned in close to Taryn. "And that transport is going to take you and your grouchy captain to the Lover's Lament and get you the hell off this ship for seventy-two hours." He straightened. "And as soon as you two are clear, I'm burying the flight manifest so nobody else can find you." He waved the clipboard back and forth, then tucked it under his arm.

Something in the man's tone indicated he meant business.

Holmes blinked and sat up. "Are you serious, Sir?" Seventy-two hours of downtime sounded like pure bliss right now.

Waybright quirked an eyebrow. "Am I ever not, Captain? Get moving." He pointed toward the hatch. "You've got five minutes. If you're not packed when I get there, you'll leave with nothing, because you are going."

Taryn shot Holmes a quick glance. He hustled to his feet and made a dash for the exit. He and Taryn didn't waste time, they hot-footed it out of the briefing room and double-timed it to quarters.

She yanked open her locker and grabbed her rucksack, already packed. "Do you really think—"

Holmes cut her off. "I'm not taking the time." He pulled his duffel out—already packed like hers. "Right now, blind faith works for me." His lips quirked. "You left yours ready to go, too?" He nodded toward her rucksack.

She rolled her eyes. "Hell, I didn't have time to unpack so, yeah, it was ready and waiting." She started for the hatch but stopped. "You don't think he's just messing with us, do you?" Her tone held menace.

Holmes gave a quick back and forth of his head. "No. You saw the stack of complaints. He had to do something." Geez, Holmes hoped the XO wouldn't prove him wrong.

If the man reneged on the R and R, Taryn would have to race Holmes to take the guy out.

I have a feeling Taryn and Holmes won't know what to do with downtime and that's going to be fun to write.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flipside.

ML Skye