Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sunday Snippet: Understanding Truth

Well… I appear to be almost over the cold from hell. The scratchy throat from last week lasted about three days and then it all went to my chest. Those mucus busting tablets work wonders for clearing out the crud and getting lots of sleep helped a ton. I think I'm on the road to recovery, so yay!

I'm still behind on my regular viewing shows but I did catch the episode "The Icicle Cometh" on The Flash. Actually quite enjoyed that one.

Caught another episode of The Sarah Conner Chronicles. My Crackle app started misbehaving and I finally got it back to usable form. I'm about halfway through the second season now.

I have one episode left of series thirteen of Midsomer Murders. Looking forward to starting the next one. Also caught episode nine of Babylon 5. I'd forgotten how truly remarkable the first season of B5 ended up being.

Watched another episode of Birds of Prey. I think I have five left. That show was a little ahead of its time. If they shot it now, it would probably be well-received. Also started a rewatch of Roswell. If the new reboot gets picked up, I want to have the memory of the original in my mind. Not sure they'll be able to pull off a decent new show.

Caught episodes of Pensacola Wings of Gold and Lexx. I've discovered I'm not as fond of Lexx on my rewatch. The episodes are very hit and miss.

Caught a few more episodes of Classic Who and started the fifth episode of Doctor Who's new season.

That's pretty much it for television this week. Tonight's post is from Understanding Truth, a novella that started with a writing community prompt of writing a story that involves a lie. I put a bit of a different spin on it, but I'm hoping it works well.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Perdix Plane and Brock Halliwell are soldiers who finally understand a few simple truths. They're not normal people, they don’t follow standard operating procedure, and they'll never have a conventional relationship—and maybe that's perfectly okay.

And a sneaky peek…

Perdix hovered outside the Brock's alcove. She paced. Back and forth. Back and forth.
Heaving a sigh, she paused. "Why can't anyone give me a simple update?" At least let her know if he might be awake.
She could grill him about his wound and fill him in on Jonesett's condition. The asshole would live. Unfortunately.
Dammit. Her frustration warred with the knowledge of what seeing Brock down and bleeding did to her. The very idea she could've lost him hit hard. Way harder than it should have.
She started pacing again. "We're not a couple anymore." Her fault because she let past failed relationships guide her current ones.
But, dammit, she cared about him so much more than she realized.
The medic that brought him in rounded the corner and stopped short. "TS Plane? What are you still doing here?" She grabbed a clipboard off the side of the wall.
Perdix almost pounced on the woman. "What's his status? Is he awake?" She stopped talking, dragging in a deep breath.
She'd get answers if she gave the medic, Jess Able—according to her name tag—time to respond.
Jess's eyebrow quirked. "Are you family?"
Perdix rolled her eyes. "You know I'm not. He's a colleague and I'm the one who shot him. Cut me a break here, will you."
Jess put the chart back and folded her arms over her chest. "He's not awake and won't be for at least an hour. We're getting ready to move him for a procedure but he'll be back in his alcove as soon as we're done." She relaxed a little, unfolded her arms, and placed a palm on Perdix's shoulder. "Why don't you get cleaned up, grab a shower or something, then come back?" Her gaze swept over Perdix when she spoke.
Perdix didn't want to leave but caught the medic's meaning. She had Brock's blood on her and probably looked like a wreck.
Nodding, she accepted the advice. A shower actually sounded damned good.
Once home and under the water, Perdix replayed every moment of the fizzle out end with Brock. He accused her of letting her demons haunt her. The demons being the shitty guys she'd spent time with before meeting Brock on the job.
"You're always caught up with your ghosts, Perdix. There's no room for anything else." He'd shaken his head in disgust. "You exhaust yourself in the past because it's easier than dealing with the present or looking toward the future."
She'd refused to believe he might be onto something. But she had to admit he nailed her modus operandi.  
Man, Brock has it right. I do better with my ghosts, always playing the would've, could've, should've game.
A truth she finally understood. "Living in the here and now is so much harder."
She thought about the hard fact all the way back to the hospital. Maybe the time had come to start facing life and stop living moment to moment. And she wanted to move forward with Brock.
Another truth that took her way too long to admit.
While approaching his alcove, voices carried in low tones out to the hallway. She peeked around the corner, not wanting to disturb the doctors if they were examining him. But doctors didn't greet her. Instead, Dionne McNair, a perky little dispatcher, sat at Brock's bedside, pretty much hanging on his every word. She'd heard whispers about Brock going out with her. And, dammit, they'd be great together.
Perdix ducked back, slumping against the wall outside his space. "Shit." Another truth slammed into her.
He's gonna move on. Without me.
The bit of truth followed right behind.
It's better this way. I'm not good for him.
Hadn't she proven that by shooting him?
And the idea Dionne would be perfect for Brock, being there for him, taking care of him after he got home, blah, blah, blah… really smacked Perdix in the face.
And she faced the first truth of living in the present.
It hurt to let him go.
And admitting to the pain might be the hardest thing she did.
Squaring her shoulders, she stepped away from the wall and started to head right back out the way she came in. Luck not being on her side, she knocked a rolling stool in the corridor. Shit. Glancing up, she got pinned by Brock's gaze before she made a hasty retreat.
He called her name. "Perdix. Hey, wait."
Dammit. No quietly getting out of life.
Drawing in a deep breath, she entered his alcove and nodded toward Dionne.
Brock shifted his position, rubbing directly below the wound area. "Did you need something?"
What to do? She definitely couldn't be honest. She didn't have the balls to own the reason she truly came. So… big lie time.
She shook her head. "Nah. I stopped in to check on Jonesett and figured I'd come down on my way out." How lame did that sound? "Looks like you're in good hands, so I'm gonna head out." Turning, she waved over her shoulder. "Take care, Brock."
Once outside the hospital, she let out the breath she'd been holding and made the short trek across the parking lot to make a hasty retreat. Blindly merging into traffic, she drove on autopilot and ended up at her favorite watering hole, The Pissing Pig.
Her lips curved and she snorted. "Perfect. Best place on Mars to get over myself."

I'm pretty excited to see where this one goes. I like having an established couple go through something like a breakup then find their way back to each other.

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

ML Skye

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sunday Snippet: Under a Crescent Moon

Ugh. The saying when it rains it pours definitely applied to me this week. All three of our vehicles ended up needing something crucial and important RFN. Luckily, one of our local car dealers is a friend and he let us borrow a car. Yes, I said borrow. Saving the expense of renting a car helped a lot! Then… I ended up with a nasty cold. The kind where I literally couldn't be more than an arm's length away from a box of tissues because my nose wouldn't stop running, my eyes wouldn't stop watering, and I coughed and / or sneezed every few minutes. Thankfully, I’m at the stage where my voice is gone and my throat is a little scratchy, but otherwise, I'm tissue-free. Whew!

I'm so behind on my regular television shows. Arrow is probably my favorite and I'm at least two episodes behind. I'm hoping to catch up this weekend.

I did get to watch Penny Dreadful and I'm one episode away from the end of the first season. I kind of like the jagged direction this show takes sometimes.

Wynonna Earp continues to be a favorite. The "Undo It" episode ended up being way better than I expected. This show is so good.

Watched another episode of The Dresden Files and I think I'm close to being at the end of the one season we got. So much promise for this show.

Started a new season of Underbelly: Razor. 1920s Australia is a great setting.

And that's pretty much it for television this week. Between dealing with all the car drama and the cold symptoms, my brain took a vacation. LOL

Tonight's post is from Under a Crescent Moon, a sexy short that started with a writing community prompt of someone tells your main character a secret about another main character.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Tyra Blanc, a top military pilot, harbors a secret love for classic old romance movies. When she's not paying attention during a briefing, her superior officer, Dev Dravenish, reveals her weakness and Tyra is caught between wondering how he discovered the information and how to deal with the all-out ribbing coming her way.

And a sneaky peek…

Tyra rolled out of bed at 0555. She'd barely make the briefing but every last moment of sleep counted.
She used a dry toothbrush with a minimal amount of paste and a bottle of water to get rid of the sticky morning mouth she hated with a passion. Swallowing the remnants, she vowed to get one of those personal one-shot coffeemakers to get rid of the minty aftertaste and jolt her system into go mode.
Dragging on her uniform, she muttered curses. "Stupid effing morning briefings. They oughtta be outlawed." She jammed her feet in her boots and exited quarters to make a semi-mad dash for the briefing room.
She skidded in at 0558. Not bad if she had anything to say about it.
Manny Ramsey blinked at the sight of her. "Damn, Tyra, who'd you tangle with last night?" He nudged Natalie Janis who chuckled when she got a good look at Tyra.
Tyra rolled her eyes. "Obviously it wasn't you." As if she'd share any details of her sex life with the leading male gossip on the ship.
Nat quirked a brow. "At least you made it on time. Bleary eyes and bedhead are a good look on you." She winked and added a smirk for good measure.
Tyra got off a shot at the duo. "You two are on a roll. Did you come up with this stuff before or after you hooked up on the hangar deck?" She pushed another round into the chamber. "No, wait. It was during, wasn't it?" The guilty flush staining each pilot's cheeks almost made Tyra's day.
Nothing like confirming a rumor about the notorious Manny, and having a little dirt on Natalie could be useful the next time Tyra needed a favor. All in good fun, of course.
She dropped into the first seat in the last row while Manny and Natalie headed toward the front. Dev entered and called the briefing to order, giving the rundown on the previous night's watch. Tyra yawned and settled back in the seat, listening with half an ear. They were flying through a neutral part of space and aside from a malfunctioning craft every once in a while, not much changed in the reports.
She yawned again and propped her head on her hand. I'll close my eyes… just for a moment. Bad idea. Vivid imagery of her night with Dev played out in her head. Damn… she loved the terrific sex. Morning briefings after, yeah, not so much.
Her chin dropped and she jerked upward. Shit. Power nodding through the briefing would get her in trouble.
Her eyes closed again after another yawn. Never again would she encourage a triple round of bed romping when they had an early briefing. Yeah, right, who am I kidding? I wouldn't trade a full night with Dev for anything.
Her chin dropped off her hand again and she slumped further down in the seat. She'd only leave her eyes closed for a few more moments.

Writing the scene where Tyra can't quite keep her eyes open ended up being loads of fun. I can't wait to writes Dev's response.

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

ML Skye

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Sunday Snippet: To V or Not to V (A V-Word novella)

Hello, December. Per usual, the weather in Ohio is crazy back and forth. Super cold for several days then sixty degrees then back to super cold again. And rain. Lots and lots of rain. Bleh.

It's been another busy workweek with a rush job for a holiday release and finishing up another manuscript. Throw in car trouble on Friday with not one but two vehicles and, yeah, lost the whole day. LOL

Television was a mixed bag of viewing pleasure. I finished out last week with Pensacola Wings of Gold watching a pretty interesting episode where one of the marines got set up by another government worker. Lexx's second season is at the wobbly part where one episode is great and the next is not so much. Also caught a Hallmark movie, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, which has three of my favorite actresses. Should be following up with the Christmas movie this week if my schedule doesn't blow up again.

I have to take a moment and rave about The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. This show always ends up making me smile, even when the storyline is somewhat sad. The fifth episode ended up making laugh out loud and I needed it this past week.

I followed up the funny with some serious emotional drama in Strike Back. Almost through season five, which should catch me up for season six. I gotta say this show does a great job at not letting the members of section twenty save the day in an easy fashion. Two steps forward and five steps back is things usually go for them.

Chicago Fire is kind of losing me with this whole deputy commissioner bullshit. Kind of like Chicago PD lost me with sticking someone in just to put a leash on Hank. I'll finish out this season but if there isn't a big change, I'll be skipping the next with the exception of crossover episodes. I love crossovers.

I'm almost finished with Luke Cage's second season. I'll be honest, I'm really disappointed there won't be more and supposedly it's because of the whole Disney + streaming service that's not even launched yet. I'm all for choice and options, but when services get overly proprietary, they sometimes shoot themselves in the foot. I hope that doesn't happen here.

Passionflix debuted another Quickie with Dry Spell and it was funny and sweet but not sugary. I enjoyed it.

I also caught Murdoch Mysteries and liked seeing Terence back again. Finished out the night with a Christmas Belle, a holiday spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Not a bad week of viewing. Tonight's post is from To V or Not to V, a V-World novella that dives in the world of virtual reality and puts my main couple in danger.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Mallory Biden and Surge Tempest work side by side to police crimes in V-World, a virtual reality recreation area where anyone can live out their wildest fantasy. But when Surge goes rogue to track down an old nemesis and enters the Void Zone, a dangerous, untraceable place he helped create, Mallory will risk getting trapped inside to pull him out.

And a sneaky peek…

"Hey, Mal. We got him."
The voice came from outside the office and Mallory Biden looked up from the report on her desk expecting to see her brother Rex in three, two, one…
He burst through the door, winded, and skidded to a halt.
"You tracked Surge?"
Rex nodded, breathless. He must've hauled ass from the monitoring station, two floors down.
"Where the hell is he?"
God, they'd been trying to find Surge for days. She'd been so prepped for bad news she didn't know how to respond to the good.
Rex sucked in air and gave a quick shake of his head. "Uh, you're not gonna like it." He pulled out a chair and collapsed in it.
Okay… not so good then. At least she knew how to deal with that.
Then it hit.
"Dammit. He's in V-World, isn't he?" Virtual World could take him anywhere and her job, hell… their job... gave him jurisdiction to do whatever he wanted. Shit. Shit. Shit.
Rex grimaced. "Worse. Surge is in the VZ."
The urge to punch something took hold of her. "Son of a bitch." What the hell, Surge? Did the man want to drive her mad?
Her best friend, fellow soldier, and lover couldn't just go off the grid in V-World for a few days. Nope. He had to really screw shit up by hitting the Void Zone—something he had no business doing. Not when he recently battled with an old employer—the Nemesis and hadn't quite recovered yet.
"Stupid, stupid man." Mal got up and paced the area behind her desk, worry mixed with anger, and concern merged with frustration.
She stopped abruptly and looked at Rex. "Wait. How did you track him in the VZ? That's not possible."
Her brother's smile was grim. "It is now."
Well… hell.
Rex had finally done it. Cracked the wall that made it so bleeding hard to find anyone once they hit that particular virtual setting. In V-World, they traced people via their log in… not an easy thing. Back tracing took time. Lots of it.
But the VZ didn't use a log in… users entered via hacks. And once in, they could go anywhere, either by jumping on someone else's stream and splitting off from it or by simply hi-jacking it out from under them when they stayed idle too long. If that happened, the hi-jacked user only had to log back in, none the wiser to the theft of their data.  
The process made it very, very hard to trace or monitor anyone's activity in the zone. And the VZ users wanted it that way. They didn't want to be tracked or watched… it defeated the purpose of the Void Zone.
But her genius brother found a way to do it.
She'd have to deal with that crisis later. They had some time… but not much. Once word got out, everyone, everyone would be after Rex for the knowledge. The government. Corporations. Criminal gangs.  
And word would get out. Somehow it always did.
Right now though? Surge came first.
Mallory put her hand on Rex's shoulder. "Okay… show me where he is."

I'm having fun with this story. I started it over five years ago and I'm loving how far VR has come in those five years!

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

ML Skye

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sunday Snippet: Top Honors

I hope everyone who observes Thanksgiving had a terrific one. The fam and I went to my dad's for a very low-key dinner and quality time together. It's been a few years since we've been able to do that, which is weird because he only lives two miles away from me. LOL

I can honestly say this year I'm so thankful that my family and work life is on an even keel and I some majorly great ideas popping for both my writing and a business venture I hope to pursue in the new year. My editing work keeps me busy and I get to read new books all the time. For a book nerd, there's nothing better.

Television took a back seat to some work commitments and the holiday. I caught a bunch of Classic Who episodes. I'm in season two during the Rome arc. Thoroughly enjoy watching the first doctor.

I’m almost finished with season one of Penny Dreadful. There are times when the show seems to plod along a little. I hope that smooths out with the next season.

Legends of Tomorrow had a great Thanksgiving episode. I kind of like Nate being with the time bureau. Of course a huge showdown with his dad is inevitable. Sadly. I also kind of love Ray getting a little tarnished and being so uncertain about some of his decisions. Makes him a lot more interesting.

Wow. Wynonna Earp keeps getting better. They never quite do what I expect them to do and I love it. Messy relationships playing out on screen is highly entertaining.

Got in another episode of The Dresden Files and I remember watching this one. I hope the new incarnation stays with some of the interesting details of how Harry became a wizard. Also got the last episode of Underbelly's first season. Gotta say it started out pretty slow but ended up being pretty decent.

I watched Midsomer Murders while getting caught up on folding laundry. The entire episode… so yeah, I had a crap ton of clean clothes to fold. Also got an episode of Babylon 5 in on the same day.

To round out the week, I caught episode seven of Birds of Prey on CW Seed and then followed up with The Flash's All Doll'd Up. While I like Nora, she can be a little whiny sometimes. Hope that changes soon.

And that's it for television this week. Tonight's post is from Top Honors, a novella that started with a writing community prompt of "academy graduation". So many possibilities for that topic.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Katie Beal and Hilton Hillion have a very messy breakup after she fails him from basic flight. Two years later, Forbes Hillion bumps into her at Hilt's graduation from the academy and sparks fly, but Katie won't go down the same road again… after all, her career can't withstand another setback from Forbes's dad.

And a sneaky peek…

"Nothing like a late transport flight to almost miss graduation." Forbes Hillion arrived just in time to see his brother accept his certificate and receive his rank insignia. "Way to go, Hilton." Tucking his cover under his arm, he added his applause to the others in the auditorium.
Glancing to his right, his gaze landed on a woman lieutenant standing in the shadows clapping for his brother. She looked familiar but Forbes couldn't quite place where he'd seen her before. Before the admiral announced the next name, she stepped out of the darkened alcove and started for side exit, the one Forbes had entered through. The dim light illuminating the aisles gave him a better look and recognition hit Forbes.
His brother's ex.
Forbes automatically leaned to open the door at the same time she put her palms out to push the handle. She stumbled a little and shouldered into Forbes's chest. Startled, she glanced up with a quick muttered apology before ducking out into the hallway.
Forbes followed her into the corridor. "Hey, sorry about that. It's Katie, right?" He'd almost forgotten then name… over two years had gone by.
Her head whipped around and she paused a moment then nodded. "Yeah, um, hello, Forbes." A wary note crept into her gaze.
Forbes frowned. Maybe she didn't want anyone to know she'd been here. He could understand; the breakup had been rather public.
But what better time to get reacquainted. He'd always liked her.
Moving to the side, he let the door to the auditorium close. "What brings you here today?" He shouldn't assume she came for Hilt's ceremony.
Katie's lips kicked up in a brief smile. "Despite our somewhat spectacular breakup, I wish nothing but the best for Hilton."
Forbes propped a shoulder on the wall. "I never got to thank you." Her confused look had him clarifying. "For failing him. He never had the will to fly but he let Dad push him into enrolling in the program." Something Forbes tried to talk Hilton out of.
Katie shrugged. "I only did what Hilton asked. He's got a good head on his shoulders and he's scary smart. He'll do well in intelligence."
Forbes snorted. "Unless he goes with cryptography. They're in a bit of a battle to see which one can offer the most incentive to get Hilt to sign on with them." His brother had serious skill when it came to languages and codes.
 Sadness drifted into her gaze, but she covered it quickly. "It's good to have options. And he's got plenty." She gave a small nod and started down the corridor toward the main lobby.
Forbes didn't want to let her leave. Where did the balls-to-the-wall instructor go? He'd like to find out.
He caught up with her. "Are you busy this evening? I'd love to have dinner and catch up with you." And maybe discover what took the fire out of her eyes.
Katie blinked and shook her head. "Aren't you celebrating with family?" She moved to the side of the corridor, staying out of the flow of traffic.
Forbes chuckled. "Nope. Hilt's got a late flight out to meet with a base commander. One of the ones pulling out all the stops to impress him." No doubt there would be a veritable feast provided on his brother's flight.
Katie gave him a long, studied look. "Dinner sounds great. What time—" She broke off the question when his dad rounded the corner from the main auditorium doors.
Walsh Hillion cut an authoritative figure. He strode forward with confidence, gave a curt nod to Katie, and clapped Forbes on the back.
Walsh directed his gaze toward Katie. "Lieutenant Beal. Did you have students graduating today?"
She schooled her features into a pleasant mask. "No, admiral, only a former one."
His dad's eyes narrowed and a long moment passed in silent exchange. Forbes didn't have a clue what the hell pinged between the two of them but the vibe took an awkward turn.
Walsh glanced away and turned toward Forbes. "Glad you made it. What kept you?"
Forbes kept his gaze on Katie but answered his dad. "Late getting in. The transport had a delay waiting on a colonel to make the connecting flight." Katie fidgeted and looked ready to bolt.
Because of his dad? But why?
She made a move toward the door. "If you'll excuse me. I'll let you two catch up."
Forbes stepped away from his dad. "Where can I meet you? What time?" He wouldn't let her get away without nailing down the details.
She gave his dad a quick side eye, named a restaurant and time, then pushed through the exit. Forbes stared after her. His head spun from her hasty retreat.
His dad cut through the fog. "There'll be trouble if you take up with her." His voice had a warning edge to it.
Forbes quirked a brow. "For her? Really?" He faced his dad. "And why is that?"
Walsh's brows furrowed. "You don't think your brother will have a problem with you starting something up with his ex-girlfriend… the one who failed him?"
Forbes rolled his eyes. "He might if he hadn't started dating his current girlfriend ten minutes after he publicly split with Katie." Something else had the admiral in a twist. "It's been two years, Dad. Why are you making an issue?" Seriously, what the hell had he missed?
Walsh backed off. "It's your life, son. But you could do better."
Forbes opened his mouth to respond but Hilton came around the corner, his arm wrapped around Margo James, the current girlfriend.
Walsh moved away and greeted his youngest son, leaving Forbes to ponder exactly what his dad meant by the comment about Katie. Personally, Forbes rather hoped Katie wouldn't think she could do better than her ex's older brother.
Maybe he'd find out at dinner.

I'm pretty pleased with how this scene came together. And Forbes? Well, dinner might not go the way he wants it to. LOL

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

ML Skye

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday Snippet: To Create a Spy

Geez… what a week. I can honestly say I've never worked harder on a copy edit than I have for the past twelve days. I've actually never taken twelve days to complete a copy edit before. TLDR… it's a long manuscript and there were a crap ton of glitchy little things that needed review. My brain kind of hurts right now. LOL

To top the long work week off, my daughter had three nights of after-school events.  National honor society inductions on Tuesday, golf awards banquet on Thursday, and the holiday parade on Friday, which we made five gallons of hot chocolate for the choir kids to drink and keep warm while riding the float. Seriously… it's not as easy to make five gallons of a hot drink as one might think. And… my daughter's also in band so she doesn't even ride the float with the choir. She marches and misses all the chocolaty goodness.

Needless to say, I'm now behind on my television viewing. I actually couldn't watch the finale of The Last Ship. I'm not ready to say goodbye to this show yet. I'm going to miss that damn ship and its sailors so much.

I do have brief rundown of what I did get to see. Caught another episode of Strike Back's fifth season. I'm starting to like this group a lot. I do miss the instant chemistry the previous cast had, especially the leads. That said, the dynamic is different enough with this group that I'm interested in where things go. And they're completely pared down, carrying on with how the previous incarnation ended. The commander is rebuilding and restoring the reputation of Section Twenty. So… they get lots of wiggle room.

Caught the Chicago crossover event with Fire, Med, and PD. Thoroughly enjoyed all three shows. I've lost some love for Chicago PD. The fifth season kind of lost me with all the sneaky snitchy bullshit. I really want to watch Chicago Med from the beginning. Here's hoping that happens in the near future.

I'm almost finished with Luke Cage. Disappointed there won't be a third season but maybe we'll see the character is something else. Who knows.

Got an episode of Murdoch Mysteries in. I like how this show weaves current topical events into the storyline, showing how often history tends to repeat. Not necessarily a great thing, but it's fun to see how they work it all out.

Watched a couple episodes of Classic Who. I'm behind on the new season but should get caught up soon. Started a new episode of Penny Dreadful and should finish the first season by the end of the month.

And that's it for television this week. Tonight's post is from To Create a Spy, a novella that pays homage to one of my favorite shows, La Femme Nikita.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Mariah St. James isn't what she appears to be when she's recruited by a covert black ops group hell bent on using her supposed skill set. But when she finds an ally in Matthew Jamison, she thinks she might actually survive the rigorous and deadly training… until he betrays her by leaving her alone in a dangerous situation.

And a sneaky peek…

The nightmare had her snared in its tangled depths. Thrashing on the cot, trying to fight the onslaught of images crashing through her mind, Mariah St. James battled physical restraints, too. But she didn’t know that.
Caught up in the terror, she had no idea she was strapped to a cot wearing only thin cotton clothes drenched with sweat. Twisting, writhing she flinched with pain and memories. The horrific flashes tumbled around, churning, pushing her deeper into the darkness.
She answered for made up transgressions on the receiving end of her mother's pounding fists and verbal tirades.
Forced out and abandoned at age sixteen, living on the streets, scraping by however she could.
Enjoying her freedom, making her home with people in similar circumstances. A made up family, when it suited their purposes.
Dragged out of a rave, doused with chemicals, and held against her will.
Lights and darkness. On and off. Faces obscured by shadows and masks. Cruel eyes and garbled voices.
And pain. Excruciating and torturous pain.
Each new image a tether, which held fast and wouldn't let her go.
Then came the swirl of color and numbing calm, followed by droning voices humming with suggestions, elusive and out of reach.
And then the worst. The screams of agony, her own and many, many others. Trapped inside herself, a living hell filled with brutal killing, senseless violence, and gripping bloodlust.
Drowning in the depths of her own depravity, Mariah had been leg go, set free, dumped in an alley and left to her own devices. Still in the thrall of an altered state, she had no concept of real and imaginary anymore. No idea of anything she'd done.
Dragged in for questioning by the police, she babbled incoherently, trying to tell them what happened to her, but couldn't get the words out. By the time her head cleared, it became too late. She'd been charged with seventeen counts of murder.
The evidence against her irrefutable, everything happened so fast she barely had time to breathe before—
The cell door closed on her new home. The one her mother swore she'd live in one day.
Not even she would've believed her daughter would go down for murder—not in Mariah's nature.
But the right cocktail of psychotropic drugs could alter anyone's make-up. Force them do unimaginable things at a whispered command.
In the time it took Mariah's body to expel the last traces of the drug, she'd only begun to weave together tiny bits and pieces of the things she'd done.
The nightmarish specter of her dreams had, in reality, been her. She watched the undeniable proof of her actions in court, throwing up afterwards. Not that it made a difference.
Life in prison, no chance for parole.
A death sentence would have been better.
Once word of her horrific misdeeds got out, she became an open target in the detention center. Everyone wanted to take down the crazy, insane killing machine known only as Mariah.
The courts and prison system stripped her of her last name to protect her family. She'd tried to tell them it wasn't necessary… she had no one who claimed her. Her mother had written her off years ago.
She suffered a vicious beating her first week on the cell block. Someone—she had no idea who, her eyes were swelled completely shut—dragged her to the infirmary for treatment. The nurse kept her overnight then released her to go back to her six by nine home. The fact she peed blood for the next week either deemed unimportant or overlooked.
The second week, she got stabbed in the arm with a shiv. Fourteen stitches, another overnight stay and a refusal to take any kind of pain medication saw her back on the block. Keeping a low profile didn't work. She had to fight back.
Engaging her attackers failed miserably. Her third week resulted in a trip to the prison hospital ward. A cracked skull and fear of brain matter swelling kept her out of reach for forty-eight hours. Mariah didn't know how much more she could take and not end up dead.
Worse, she didn't know if she cared.
The fourth week, tactics changed. No one touched her, snarled at her, or messed with her. She ate alone—for once—and actually finished all her meals. But by the third day she understood why. Sluggish and out of sorts, her ears hummed and her brain revved at ninety miles a minute. Her hands shook and she couldn't focus on anything. By day five, she started hallucinating, seeing the violent images of her handiwork everywhere she turned.
Rocking in the corner of her cell, Mariah prayed for death, if only to escape the terror of not having control. When the nurses came for her, her mind saw the men in white, cruel eyes flashing behind the protective goggles they wore. She fought, kicking and screaming, refusing to go back to that place. Terrified they'd make her do more horrible and destructive things to others.
A prick against her skin and everything went black. She sank blissfully into the ether.

I'm truly enjoying this story and fleshing out the other two or three books that should follow. Mariah and Matthew are doing a slow, dangerous dance toward something terrific. I hope.

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

ML Skye

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sunday Snippet: Ties Don't Bind

As someone with family and friends who have served or are serving in the military, I'd like to thank all of our service members for their courage, sacrifices, and efforts. Thank you.

It's been a rough week with two difficult manuscripts and the end of daylight savings. Seriously, I've been all out of sorts and my internal clock hasn't caught up yet. LOL

I didn't get a lot of television in this week—see above for why—but I did stay current on usual shows. The Last Ship killed off another of my faves, which means I'm trying to prepare for a high body count in the finale. A box of tissues and alcohol might be involved. Just saying.

Arrow kicked some butt. I'm kind of liking the flash forward stuff, especially because the flashbacks are a thing of the past for the most part. I'll give kudos to Stephen, Emily, and Katie because I think they're doing some stellar work. The rest of the cast is on point also. Riverdale's Midnight Club episode rocked. The more batshit this show gets the more I seem to enjoy it. And it's definitely over the top.

Legends of Tomorrow keeps delivering great episodes. I'm always excited to see who's going to interact with whom. The constantly changing dynamic of the cast is so much fun.

I did catch an episode of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and, honestly, I love this show. It's going to go down as one of my favorite viewing experiences. I also caught an episode of Classic Who and finished up an episode of Midsomer Murders.

That's it on the television front. Tonight's post is from Ties Don't Bind, a sexy short that will hopefully feature in a new magazine that might launch early next year. Fingers crossed.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Gemma Neal, a soldier, shares a past with Tripp Macintosh and wants to reconnect with her former friend and lover. But when Tripp gets elected to a parliament position, trading fatigues for a suit and tie, she's not sure how to proceed… a foreign concept for the take-charge lieutenant.

And a sneaky peek…

Gemma Neal entered Tripp Macintosh's quarters, her mind noting the difference between her ship and his. Privacy ranked as the biggest bonus, but she'd trade it for being able to see him more often. She missed him. More than she thought she would.
"Flying escort is something we used to do together."
Now she flew for him as a newly elected member of parliament.
She never thought he'd leave the unit… or her. Not that she didn't deserve it. She'd told him it would be the only way they'd ever be together. And when he'd left? She'd said she wouldn't be with a man who'd mustered out.
"Geez, I'm such a bitch sometimes."
Of course, Tripp left anyway. He wouldn't be led by his dick.
And damned if she didn't respect the hell out of him for that reason.
Her fingers trailed over the personal belongings he'd taken with him. The items on proud display invoked memories. "Wow, it's like wading through the past." Each piece represented a stage his life. And hers.
They'd spent so many years together.
The honors cords hanging from his mirror—their graduation from the military academy.
The wings sitting on his bureau—the nightmare of flight qualifications and getting their first posts.
A patch from each ship and base, many the same as her collection, took her on a stroll down memory lane of their building friendship and random hookups.
"Man… we had some seriously good times."
She came to a framed photo and picked it up. "Oh, Tripp." Her breath caught in her throat.
The image captured them together, her sitting in a cockpit with Tripp on the ladder, their gazes locked in a shared moment of intimacy. They were always on the same wavelength when it came to flying. Their wires got crossed when it came to the personal stuff.
Okay, mostly hers did. Tripp never waffled back and forth.
She moved on to the desk where his new life spread out in the form of files, notes from the delegation sessions, and his formal representative sash. She'd listened to his rebuttals today. Everything he said made so much sense. As much as she hated to admit it, he belonged in government.
But being there meant leaving her behind.
She shook her head. "No, dumbass, trying to bed him while drunk—after you kicked him aside—is why you're not high on his list right now." Stupid move when she truly wanted to reconnect with him.
She took a chance coming aboard, hoping to get a few minutes with him. Her instinct to turn and leave got trumped by her need to see him. Maybe find a way to forge a new, different relationship.
She snorted. "Right. Because I'm so good with change." But for Tripp, for a potential future, she'd sure as hell put her grown-up panties on.

Oh, Gemma, it's hard to face the past and the future at the same time. LOL I love this little story so much.

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

ML Skye

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunday Snippet: Threshold

We're entering the next to last month of the year… how did ten months already fly by? I got some scary news earlier in the week. My younger sibling had a major heart attack while at work and ended up having surgery to put stents in. He's actually doing terrific, considering it's one of the worst types of cardiac infarctions. I'm so very grateful I still have him around.

Needless to say, television viewing ended up being limited this week. The Last Ship killed off one my favorite characters and I’m still mourning that loss. Thankfully, The Flash had a pretty terrific episode and I love the introduction of meta-tech. Arrow is doing a great job of keeping me interested. I didn't know how I'd end up liking the whole prison angle, but I'm very satisfied with how it's playing out. Legends of Tomorrow remains excellent. I'm always surprised by how fast the hour flies by when I'm watching.

I caught another episode of The Sarah Conner Chronicles. I'm about halfway through the season and the end is being shaped. I truly forgot how much I loved this show. Also caught another episode of Birds of Prey. Stylistically, I love how this series plays out on the screen. Caught another episode of Lexx and completely forgot about Stan's trial. I actually enjoyed this one.

Doctor Who's episode with spiders ended up being pretty good. I'm never sure how I'll take to episodes with creepy-crawly things. Somewhat disappointed there won't be a Christmas special this year but having a New Year's show could be fun. We'll see.

Got another episode of Pensacola Wings of Gold in. Enjoyed seeing how that one played out. I'm almost finished with the first season and I'm not sure if I'll continue on because it seems like the second series has an almost entirely new cast. I'll watch a few episodes and see what happens.

Caught another Hallmark movie, Hannah's Law. Ended up being pretty decent. I watched mainly for Greyston Holt, a favorite actor of mine.

Rounded out the week with some classic television marathons. The Saint throughout the week and Burke's Law this weekend.

That's it for television this week. Tonight's post is from Threshold, a novella that started with a two-word prompt of "not yet". The sages jumped on this one and I had the brainstormed story idea written out in record time.

Here's the mini-blurb:

Satin Welch takes one look at the gorgeous Blade Killian and has to have him. She purchases his slave contract and grants him freedom. Blade doesn't trust the beautiful woman or her idea to make him a partner on the Threshold, a pleasure ship traveling throughout the galaxy, but he can't quite resist the chance to make his own choices after a decade of sexual servitude.

And a sneaky peek…

Blade Killian had three women close to the edge of orgasm. The first rode his cock, rocking her hips hard and fast. The second poised above his face, his tongue working magic over her clit. And the third had three of his fingers scissoring deep within her dripping pussy. All were gasping and moaning their pleasure, begging him for more.
Blade hated the multiple partner bookings, but he kept his clients satisfied and tended to get stuck with at least two per day. He'd grown so tired of being a stud. Of being used as a fuck toy for both sexes. His owner lavished the best clothes, products, and food upon Blade, but he'd rather be free. Ten years of servitude with no way out. He'd been taken at the age of sixteen by a gang of slave traders and didn't see any end in sight.
The woman riding his dick shuddered through a powerful orgasm, her nails raking his pectoral muscles, drawing blood. She leaned forward and licked a droplet, grinding her hips a few more times before dismounting.
She grasped his erect length. "Well, my goodness, look at you, still rock hard and ready to go." Her hand fisted around his girth and she gave it a painful squeeze. "Don't think I'm enough woman for you? Too good to drain your balls inside me? Maybe I should—"
The woman riding his face cut off the other's tirade. "Great universe, Fenley. Can't you see he's busy and can't respond?" She made a low moaning sound. "If you're so damned worried about his balls, why don't you stuff your mouth with his dick and try your luck that way." She huffed out a gasp. "Mmmm, lover, keep sucking my clit. Feels soooo good." Her knees tightened, pinning his head between them, limiting his movement.
Fenley snorted. "Not a bad idea, Bidgie. I'll suck him dry." Her head lowered and she enveloped his cock between her lips.
She'd be sorely disappointed when she couldn't get him to come. He never did with multiple partners. Not lately. Something about the mix of herbs his owner forced down his throat when he had two or more clients kept him from finding his release, usually for several hours. And when he did finally get off, he had so much semen it sometimes hurt to expel the creamy fluid.
The third woman shuddered and writhed, grabbing hold of his wrist and lifting her hips up and down. She gasped and moaned, then collapsed, spent and sated. Blade withdrew his fingers, flexing the digits to relieve the cramping.
Bidgie finally stiffened then trembled with her release. Her knees dug into the sides of his head, making his ears pop with the pressure.
She rolled sideways and planted a wet kiss on the third woman's lips. "Mmm, Marcia. He's deliciously skilled, isn't he?"
From the corner of his eye, he watched the women maneuver into a position where they could orally pleasure each other.
Fenley continued to suck and slaver all over his cock. The grip of her mouth and sting of her teeth on the sensitive skin had him bucking to get her away from him. She grabbed hold of his balls, twisting them hard and he shot up, growling in pain.
She spit his shaft out and slapped him. "You insolent bastard. Who do you think you are?" Flinging herself from the bed, she stalked across the room, her chest heaving with anger.
Bidgie and Marcia stopped their sexual exploration and slanted glances between Blade and Fenley.
Bidgie frowned. "Fenley, why don't you join us? We still have thirty minutes." She nodded toward Blade. "He can do all three of us round robin style."
Fenley snarled. "I don't think so, Bidge. This stud for hire needs to be taught a lesson."
Her hand pulled one of the inset drawers open. She fished around for a moment, brought out a riding crop and slapped it against her palm.
Taking a menacing step forward, she sneered. "I'm going to whip his cock into a frenzy and beat the cum from his balls."
A red haze of rage settled over Blade and he snapped, leaping from the mattress and putting his hands around Fenley's throat. "You won't lay a hand on me." He'd snap her neck before she could succeed.
Marcia squeaked with fear and pulled the long bell cord, signaling his master's security force. Fenley got one blow in, striking his shoulder with the split end of the whip before he pinned her to the wall with one hand and stripped the crop from her with the other. The doors burst open and a brief shock stung him between his shoulder blades, the jolt sending Fenley and the torture device to the floor. Blade had a flash of satisfaction, knowing the bitch of a woman got a jarring zing from the contact.
A set of hands pushed him to his knees. "Dammit, Blade. Makesh isn't going to ignore this insubordination." Jaym Dervish, the closest thing Blade had to a friend, slipped a collar over his head and tightened the restraint. "You've got to tell him about the side effects of those damned herbs."
The other security agent corralled the women and did his best to soothe the raging beast Fenley turned into, while clucking over Marcia and Bidgie. Jaym dragged Blade toward the door and he met Fenley's angry gaze, holding it until Jaym made the turn into the corridor.
If Blade never saw the shrewish female again, it would be too soon. He didn't care if Makesh beat him or sold him to another master. He could not deal with any more raving madwomen.

I'm very excited about this story. Satin and Blade are damaged by their pasts but also fun to write.

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

ML Skye