Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Finding Calm

March 31, 2013

Happy Easter to those who celebrate. And I hope yours is warmer than mine. Can't really complain, though. At least the temp broke fifty degrees today. LOL

Had a good dinner of ham, au gratin potatoes, cheddar biscuits, and green beans. Now letting my food settle before attempting to watch the Walking Dead finale tonight. J

Today's post is from Finding Calm, a story about Sunny's journey to find some calm in her life. And not to create her own brand of chaos.

Here's the tagline:

Hank and Sunny have danced around finding happiness together so many times. Sunny botches it and learns a hard lesson at the hands of a crazed kidnapper. She finally wants to meet Hank on equal footing but the timing never seems right. Surely her cosmic bad luck has to take an upswing sooner or later.

And here's the sneaky peek…

Sunny Gage sat, her eyes darting around the last transpo off the planet, trying to take everything in. She noted the people on the flight, most of whom she hadn't seen in months. Not since she'd been taken by Connor Rathburn and lived a nightmare. They pretty much looked like she felt…on the outside. Nobody could feel what she did under the surface. And they shouldn't. She wouldn't wish it on her worst enemy.
And she had a few of those.
Reality kicked in and now that she didn't have to live in fight or flight mode against Connor, her hands shook and her body trembled. Hell of a time to start feeling wobbly. Months. She'd spent months with the man—no, thing—artificial intelligent being, her emotions running the gamut. But the last two weeks, she'd amazed herself by portraying a quiet, rational woman. One who'd accepted her fate and would play nice.
Right before she jabbed the meat fork in Connor's jugular. Or where the vein should have been, if he'd been human. Didn't matter. She'd hit key circuitry and ended his bizarre version of playing house with her.
And even though she’d had time to catch her breath…everything still seemed a little dreamlike and fuzzy and she wondered if the last few hours actually happened. Her mind ran the gamut of events leading up to the escape…
Connor dead. Again.
The nightmare of waking up to find a new model in his place…over.
Bern II…a bust.
But her little girl? Safe.
Sunny hugged the child perched on her lap closer. The poor kid had witnessed Sunny's display of quiet madness. Freaked out until she realized Connor didn't bleed. That he proved to be different. Didn't mean Celia wouldn't need buttloads of therapy to get over the sight of her mother killing the thing she called father.
Her rescue and escape had to be too good to be true.
Had to be.
She shook her head. No, all true. She couldn't be dreaming because Josh stood off to the side…staring at her like she’d disappear if he blinked. She wished she felt the same, but six months in the hands of the enemy beat her down. Made her angry.
Where the hell had Josh been? Other prisoners achieved freedom through a barter system. Information, goods, sex. All used to buy loved ones back. But not Josh. He had to know, probably on a level buried deep, her heart didn't belong to him. She'd married him to save herself…from herself. And to save Hank from her.
She held a large part back, didn't let the marriage become too real. Maybe she felt the effects of that now. It added to the surreal feeling she couldn't quite shake. Like she might still be back on that stupid planet and hadn't truly escaped the nightmare. But the full load of people in the transpo all looked real…ragged and worn…but real. Headed for home and almost afraid to believe it, Sunny closed her eyes. Home. Her real home. Could she really go back?
Celia convinced her. Soft blond curls tickled under her nose from the head lying on her shoulder. The little hand that reached for and grabbed onto her finger sold it. Celia would need stability. And time to understand they were finally free.
No more being held captive.
No more fighting to stay sane.
No more obsessive Connor models trying to convince her of a ‘special’ destiny.
Gods it felt good.
What didn't feel very good? Sunny had to face Hank…really face him…and his tone during their last conversation, when he'd blown the door to her pristine prison, indicated she shouldn’t expect a warm reception. She fought back the nervous roiling in her stomach, happy to see they were next in line to land. Everything else aside…good to be home. And…Sunny would be cool, calm and collected when she docked aboard the ship…
Right. Who the hell did she wanna kid? She’d never truly be any of those.
But she’d try hard now.
For Celia.
The poor kid already had the misfortune of having a bad mix of DNA. Sunny had to make sure Celia didn't pay the price for it. Her own childhood, full of abuse, made her that much more determined Celia never suffered for who her parents were. Anyone…anyone who tried to make her feel less than human would have to get through Sunny first.
She wished she'd had someone to do the same for her.
Except someone had…
Hank Moreno.
And she'd spit in his face for the effort.

Poor Sunny. She'll have a long road ahead of her to find the peaceful calm zen she wants.

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

ML Skye

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Escape on Equinox

Hello again!

Found out my favorite actor has a new series he's filming in the UK. And it sounds like a great series. The Smoke is all about firefighters, which is near and dear to my interests. Half my family is involved in the fire service. :D

Looking forward to seeing how it's done in the UK. :D

Let's see, on a similar vein, tonight's post is about Escape on Equinox. Not sure if it'll be the second or third book in the Capital City Seasons series, but it'll feature characters we met in the opening book.

Here's the tagline:

Jim Hodges, an elite officer in a specialized tactical unit, finally meets a woman with a sweet disposition and a naughty sense of humor. But when she's taken hostage and his team is called in, he's determined to make sure a quick resolution takes place, which won't be easy because he's ordered to step aside and let his fellow members handle everything.

And here's the wee sneaky peek…

"Hey, Lieutenant, check out the hot, new nurse."
Jim Hodges shot a sideways glance toward the person in question. He never knew if the guys on Alpha team were setting him up. They would find it vastly amusing to point out an attractive male, even though they knew Jim played it straight.
Okay, not a male. Jim's eyes widened at the definitely hot visage in front of the hospital. The nurse had a long mane of red hair, scooped back from her face in a loose, messy ponytail. Even in scrubs, her evident curves indicated a sultry figure. Jim tried to keep the drool from escaping his mouth.
"Wow." He honestly couldn't think of anything else to say.
Red Mackinee slapped him on the back. "Thought you might like the view." He jerked his head toward the lovely woman. "Might wanna play it very carefully, though."
Ah…he'd found it—the catch. She probably had a partner, or something else not quite right. Maybe the gorgeous woman didn't do men. Figured the guys would dangle a seemingly perfect woman who couldn’t be touched.
"She taken or something?" He regretted the question as soon as it slipped out. Now they knew he had an interest.
Red scoffed. "Naw. But she's got a reputation for handing guys their asses on a plate." He shook his head. "Damn shame, it is."
Frustrated, Jim growled. "Then why point her out?" He tired of the games his teammates like to play. A recent transfer, Jim still had the new guy smell and the guys didn't let him forget it.
He wondered how long it lasted. Good natured for the most part, he'd grown weary of waiting it out. Not like they hadn't known him prior to his post with the team. He'd trained with them not long ago.
Red finally answered his question. "Well, see. We've all struck out, but figured you might have a chance, being new like she is."
Jim nodded slowly. "Right. What you're really thinking is how much entertainment you can eke out while watching her snap off my head." He shook his head. "No thanks."
Red tried to look affronted. "Now why would you think something like that?" He angled in. "Sure you don't want to at least attempt conversation?"
Jim hefted his rucksack over his shoulder. "Not in this lifetime, no." He turned and started for the van.
The main doors opened and Jessa Muldoon walked out. "Yo, Hodges. I've got someone you should meet." She jerked her head toward his object of interest and dragged him over to make the introduction. "Roz Mayfair, this is Jim Hodges—an incredibly great guy you should really get to know." She winked at Jim. "Hodges, this is Roz. We grew up together."
Jim stuck his hand out. "If you're friends with Jess, I like you already."
Roz laughed and pulled him into a quick hug. "I have a feeling there's a story here." She leaned in and whispered for his ears only. "And knowing Jess, it's a good one."
Her warm breath fanning against his ear did crazy things to his libido, but Jim nodded. "You called it. Maybe we can—" He broke off when the Mackinee shouted for him.
"Hey, lover boy, we gotta go. Make a hook-up with the hot nurse later."
Roz chuckled. "A hook-up, huh? Jess didn't mention you like to move fast."
Jim started for the truck. "Don't listen to them. They're morons." He turned back. "But coffee or something sounds great…if you're interested."
Roz blew him a saucy kiss. "Oh, yeah. Consider me exactly that." She waved and turned to head back into the hospital.
Jim barked out a laugh and climbed into the van. Roz Mayfair. Who knew he'd meet the hottest woman ever on a routine trip to go over training protocols?

So…there is a story about Jim and Jess, but you'll have to read Midwinter Crises to discover what it is if you don't want to wait for Escape. :D

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

ML Skye

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Down and Dirty


Happy St. Paddy's Day to those who celebrate. And honestly, why don't we all? :D

I've been fighting one of those nagging headaches all day. The kind that hovers in the background and becomes annoying, but not overly painful. Bleh.

But…a post must be made!

Tonight's preview is from what I hope will be a free download if and when I ever get my lengthy space saga trilogy completed and published. Down and Dirty outlines the betting pool that features heavily in the first book of the trilogy, Follow Me.

Here's the tagline:

The tale behind how a certain pool gets started that put Sloan and Molly in the hot seat. And how Specialist Neve Campbell thought she might have caught them in the act.

And here's a wee sneaky peek…

The nearly empty flight deck sounded oddly quiet on third watch. Only the deck chief, Keegan Douglas and Specialist Neve Carlyle remained, handling some routine maintenance reports and cleaning up. The chief sat on a stool at one of the workstations, catching up on the paperwork. Specialist Carlyle cleaned up around the perimeter of the flight deck with her push broom, every once in a while she'd stop to spray down a workstation and wipe it clean. Neither the Chief nor Neve paid much attention to the two pilots in a darkened corner of the deck where a mangled bird needed extensive repairs.
Finishing up a workstation, Specialist Carlyle took a moment before she started sweeping again. Resting her chin on the handle of the broom, she stared dreamily, her mind flitting back to an earlier incident after the first dog CAP.
Phoenix—Lieutenant Molly Ryan—came in hot and landed hard. The CAG—Captain Sloan MacNeill—read her his riot act. Not that Neve blamed him. The lieutenant pulled a daredevil maneuver against the captain's orders and cut it too close. If the CAG hadn't jumped her shit, the chief would have. The space carrier's planes were his babies and he got very protective…and extremely grouchy…when pilots decided to play rough with them.
Neve stumbled onto the scene on her way back from the mess. If she'd known what would go down, she'd have brought popcorn. Keegan…Chief Douglas…hovered close to the action, which drew Neve's attention right away. The chief rarely stood still on the deck. He preferred a constant state of motion, the better to put out fires with a quick response. Neve stopped and followed his line of sight to the CAG and his top pilot.
Her breath caught in her throat. It usually did when the captain and lieutenant got within five feet of each other. Even when they argued—usually a daily occurrence—something, chemistry maybe, oozed back and forth. Sloan and Molly had a history and baggage with each other, but the depth of feeling, always there, defined their friendship. Lieutenant Ryan pushed MacNeill's buttons, but everyone knew she respected him. That helped smooth the way when he took over as CAG.
It really saved the day when Captain MacNeill had to get in the lieutenant's face. Molly often stood toe to toe and argued with him, but she held the key to his acceptance among the other pilots and crew. The fact Molly approved of him meant everyone else did. And the current turmoil made it vitally important. The pilots were the front line defense, protecting the fleet and providing safe passage. Neve wouldn't hesitate to admit she appreciated having them around. Being on the run and having them as backup made her take extra special care with her duties. Even something as mundane as cleaning up the flight deck.
Neve worked her way around the hangar and edged closer the bent plane, but she hadn't made it far enough to see who lingered there. Besides, the darkened corner could wait a few minutes for the swipe of her broom. Maybe she'd get lucky and they'd leave before she reached it. She hoped none of the nuggets decided to try the chief’s patience by sneaking in a quickie on the flight deck.
It would not go over well. Just last week he'd caught two newbie crewmen all hot and heavy in one of the transports. Her ears still rang from the scathing lecture he'd delivered. Neve wondered if maybe he'd been listening to the CAG and picking up pointers. Captain MacNeill blasted Lieutenant Ryan not long ago for disobeying a direct order. Neve would totally deny it, but watching them go a round always made her a little hot under the collar.
And why wouldn't it? The air between the captain and lieutenant literally crackled. Neve took a moment, letting the scene play out in her head.
Sloan moved with purpose when Molly exited her wounded bird. "You pulled a hot dog move after I ordered you not to." His voice rose with each word. "And what happened, lieutenant?"
The fact Sloan reported directly to his father didn't faze Molly in the slightest. She held a place of importance in the commander's life, too.
She rolled her eyes. "I cut it a little close. So what?"
The captain made a strangled, choking sound. "A little close? You're insane." He lowered his voice. "Any closer and the deck crew would be welding on new wings, Lieutenant."
Molly looked away and shrugged. "Yeah, well. I told you I needed to let off some steam."
Sloan exploded. "Only crazy people do barrel rolls when the landing bay doors are closing.
Molly's eyes snapped back to his. "I got in, didn't I?" Her face dared him to counter the fact.
Sloan snorted. "Barely, Lieutenant. You barely got in. And you will make the repairs to the landing struts."
Molly's nostrils flared, but she held her temper. "Whatever. Doesn't mean I have to like it."
Sloan snapped. "Fine."
Molly mimicked. "Fine."
Each stalked off in opposite directions.
Neve shook her head. They should just lock themselves in a supply closet and be done with it.
Chief Douglas shot her a look and Neve realized she'd said the thought out loud.
She blushed. "Er, sorry, Chief." Her mouth always seemed to get ahead of her brain.
Keegan cocked his head to the side. "Actually, Specialist. You might be onto something." His eyes followed the CAG's angry progress toward the office. "They're either gonna screw each other or kill each other. Hard to say which."
Neve pondered his words, keeping an eye on Molly when she yanked her flight suit down to her waist then glanced back over her shoulder, her gaze following the CAG's progress away from the flight deck. "No. They won't kill each other. It's a matter of when or where they'll hook up."
The chief grabbed a clipboard and a fresh sheet of paper. "I'll take that action. Date and time, Specialist."
Neve gaped. "You're serious, Sir?"
He snorted. "Hell, yes. Those two going at each other is like foreplay. Sooner or later, they'll cave." He handed her the clipboard.
And with a stroke of a pen, a pool had been started.

And there you have it. You'll have to come back once I get Follow Me published and see why Neve thought she might have caught the CAG and his top pilot in action. LOL

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

ML Skye

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Snippets: Dress for Dinner

Okay, Walking Dead, you've got me. Didn't think I'd enjoy the showdown between Rick and the Governor, but yeah, I'm enjoying it. :D

But…a post must be made! So…tonight's is from the final installment in the Top Dog Pilots trilogy. Dress for Dinner has been so much fun to write. Not quite ready for prime time, but getting there. My hope is to finish it up and submit all three at the same time.

Here's the tagline:

Max and Maggie are training up and coming pilots and life is great. But when Maggie's uncle, a retired admiral, brings his new and much younger bride, to the ship for their honeymoon, Maggie takes one look at the woman and sees disaster. An emergency makes her miss the full dress dinner, leaving Max alone to deal with the hot simpering mess.

And here's a wee sneaky peek:

Maggie took one look at Celine Rockwell Harper and saw straight to the truth. The too high heels, clingy, low cut dress, and mounds of over styled hair proved to be a dead giveaway. Woman had trouble written all over her.
Oh, Uncle Artie. What the hell?
Maggie observed her new auntie in action. Her fingers lingered too long on the sleeves of the male officers. Her eyes flashed promises at each and every one. She thrived on suggestive words and innuendo. And she had a throaty laugh that seemed to be a mating call. Maggie would bet the woman had claws when crossed.
She aimed to find out.
Working her way through the throng of men packed around the vivacious red head, Maggie smiled sweetly. "Uncle Artie suggested I show you to the head…sorry, the facilities, so you can freshen up a bit." She turned to the disappointed masses. "Sorry, boys. She'll be back later." Maggie didn't wait for Celine to respond. She grabbed her arm above the elbow and dragged her down the corridor.
Celine stumbled along beside her, the heels of her fuck me shoes skittering on the nubby surface of the deck. Maggie shoved open the hatch and tugged Celine inside.
The other woman whirled around to face her. "What. The hell?" She tossed her head and straightened her shoulders.
Maggie smirked. "I'm sorry? You weren't done holding court?" She turned the water on and rinsed her hands. "I'm sure the guys will understand. None of them want to piss off a retired admiral."
Celine rolled her eyes and snorted. "Please. I've got Artie wrapped. He finds it's amusing when all those young bucks fawn all over me." She moved to stand in front of a mirror, adjusting the bodice of her dress.
Any lower and her tits would fall out.
Maggie shook her head back and forth. "You know, Celine. The thing about manipulative creatures like you is…you always think you're smarter than anyone else."
Celine's lips curved up in a nasty smile. "I usually am, darling."
Maggie shrugged. "Maybe. But the other thing about your type…" She moved to stand behind the other woman, meeting her gaze in the mirror. "And this is the best part, so pay attention." Celine narrowed her eyes, but said nothing. "You always trip yourself up. You can't help it." Maggie backed away, giving Celine room to refresh her lipstick. "Believe your own hype and eventually, it'll bite you on the ass."
Celine smoothed her lips together. "We'll see about that." She dropped the tube back in the tiny purse she carried. "My ass sees a lot of action."
Maggie smiled. "I have no doubt. Being a good lay won't always cut it with the admiral."
Celine's lips curved again and her eyes flashed. "You might be surprised. He quite loves the things I'm willing to do in bed."
Maggie held back a shudder. Way more information than she ever wanted about her uncle's sex life.
"He's not a stupid man, Celine. And you won't be able to help yourself. Sooner or later some hot young stud with a stiff dick will be your downfall."
Celine sauntered over to stand beside Maggie. "Not really your concern is it?" She pushed the hatch open and exited.
Maggie watched her totter precariously back toward the ready room. A young pilot, newly assigned to the Pathos, grasped her elbow and aided the sultry vixen back to her spot. Maggie heaved a sigh.
What a piece of work.
And no, her new auntie's next hard dick didn't concern Maggie. But her Uncle Artie's happiness, on the other hand, did.
The wicked bitch would need a watchful eye.

Maggie will be less than thrilled but not surprised by what follows. :D Stay tuned.

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

ML Skye

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Domino Effect

Trying to get a jumpstart and post a little earlier in the day. We'll see how that goes. :D

Finished up a marathon of Continuum…really, really like the show. Makes me have lots of thinky type thoughts. Always a good thing for writers.

Tonight's post is from The Domino Effect. The tagline pretty much sums up the storyline, but I'd like to make a special note that I love writing the type of drama that feeds on itself. Not sure that makes sense to anyone but me. LOL

Here's the tagline:

Every action Frank and Katya take pushes a reaction out of the other. And like dominos, one barrier crashes into the next until nothing is left but a tangle of emotions they have to deal with.

And here's a wee sneaky peek:

Katya traveled stealthily through the underground passageway. Too bad she didn't know about it when she'd been on the elementary school field trip. Even though the wide corridor kinda creeped her out, she imagined what a great boredom buster it would have been. Her small group of friends could've had so much fun running wild in the maze-like tangle of tunnels.
Probably why it had been kept fairly secret.
She hefted her light higher and cast its glow back and forth. According to the map she'd reviewed, she should hit her turn pretty soon. She checked her forearm for good measure. The cheat of jotting things down on skin took her back. She hadn't done it often, didn't even use the answers most of the time. She tended to know her material cold…but when the old man expected perfection, it never hurt to have a backup plan.
And damned if that didn't make her think of Frank again. He'd burned her once, back in flight school, for having ink on her skin. Only showing him she could pass the test without looking at her scribbles had saved her ass. And once she explained why she opted to put crib notes on her skin, he'd kept her secret.
She still wondered why. Frank didn't shirk his responsibilities and he had her dead to right. He should've informed the instructor and the commanding officer as soon as he busted her. Instead he pulled her into an empty classroom and watched her take the test.
She'd never forget that day. He'd given her a chance to prove herself and usually still did. Sometimes she lived up to the challenge, other times not so much. But that incident didn't prove to be the last time he'd veered from the expected norm. Frank made a very strange mix of rules, regs and contrarian choices.
One of the many traits that drew her in and wouldn't let go.
So lost in thought, she almost missed her turn. "Way to stay alert, Katya." Her voice echoed in the tomb-like corridor. She shuddered and said a silent thank you to be close to her destination.
Another right and two lefts found her deep under the city. Standing outside a huge wooden door, she frowned. Figured there'd be a stupid padlock on the thing. She dumped her pack on the ground and dug around inside. No key or bolt cutters, but she did have a hammer. Maybe she could break the old thing off. Wait…her hand reached all the way to the bottom and her fingers closed around a metal pin used to set weights on the dumbbells in the gym.
Ha. She could pick the lock. Bending the metal open, she stuck the curved section into the heavy iron mechanism. Working it around, she got it unlocked and pushed on the door. It creaked open, swinging slowly in toward the room. Katya grabbed her light and took a tentative step inside.
Artifacts overfilled the huge room. She needed to find an ancient star chart and cipher in the mess? Where the hell should she start? Frank would know exactly where to look. So think like Frank, Katya.   
She could almost hear his voice in her head. 'You have to be methodical. Don't just poke around here and there.' Okay, even she got that much. But where would Frank start? Katya held the lantern up high and perused the area. The jumbled mess actually had some structure to the chaotic piles. Weapons lined one large floor to ceiling section of the wall to her right. Spilling out in a tangled pile, they'd be handy if she needed to fight her way out of the museum.
The left side of the room held a hodge-podge of ornate and stately furniture. A series of shelves behind the antiques contained a mish mash of odds and ends. Nothing looked like books or charts.
"To the right it is." But first, Katya dragged a heavy chair over and blocked the door. If anyone came nosing around it would give her something of a warning.
She didn't want to die over a star chart in the Book of Wisdom. No matter how important it might be.
She found an oil lamp and struck a match to the wick. Deciding to play it cautious, she grabbed several small fire arms and dug around for ammo. To be on the safe side, she picked up some cutlery, too. Several short daggers and one nice long blade. She tucked everything in hidden pockets and got to work.
Katya did a quick inventory of the other paraphernalia along the right wall. Nothing of interest. Headed to the back of the room and struck pay dirt. Loads of drawers and bins lined the lower section of the area. The book had to be in one of them.
She began a methodical search, sifting through old texts and huge, heavy tomes. Blowing a thick layer of dust off a pile of blueprints, she shuffled quickly through each one, hoping she didn't end up with a series of paper cuts. Score! Halfway through the stack she found the chart. Carefully removing the large sheet she rolled it up, print side in and inserted it into a carrying tube.
Now to find the cipher. Of course it couldn't possibly be in the same stack as the star chart. She dreaded trying to sift through everything, including the furniture, to find the necessary method to decode the chart. Her eyes scanned the area again and inspiration struck. She hadn't checked the back wall, yet. Katya made her way across the room, climbing over metal grates and more than a few rolled up carpets. When she reached the back section of the room, she chuckled. The entire wall had shelves filled with locked boxes. Wouldn't it make sense to protect the cipher by making it nearly impossible to find the thing? Katya would go through every single locked up crate if necessary. Her gut couldn't be wrong.

Writing Katya has been an exercise in ups and downs. She really did Frank wrong and thinks they'll never have another chance. But she's starting to realize how much of role he plays in her life.

And Frank has some soul searching to do also. Katya's influence on him definitely shows up in a big way later in the story.

See what I mean by domino effect? LOL

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

ML Skye