Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Snippet: One Hot Mess


It's been a truly long week, but Strike Back remains a bright spot. I'm utterly fascinated by Dalton and how much she's crossing the line (if there is a line LOL)

I've also been rewatching Farscape on Pivot. I love it when newish channels air one of my favorite shows. Farscape ranks in my top five of all time winners.

Tonight's post is a speculative romance, One Hot Mess, and it's a complete joy to write. I love it when the sages have fun and they're having a wicked good time with this story.

Here's the tagline:

Eva Twine and Van Jefferson have a very friendly rivalry when their teams compete for the galaxy championship. But when Van questions what Eva will wear to the celebratory masquerade, she decides to rock his very foundation.

And a sneaky peek…

Ducking into a boutique, Eva spent all of five minutes scanning the racks before the overpowering aromatherapy scents had her dashing back out to the concourse. She walked past several shops and found another location with appropriate attire. Entering the store, Eva rolled her eyes. Filled with scanty costumes and barely there designs in filmy fabrics, she snorted with disgust. She wanted something sexy and sensual, not tarty and vixenish. The costumes were so low cut, Eva figured she'd spend more time trying to keep her boobs from falling out than enjoying herself.
Screw that.
She exited the shop and almost decided to forget the whole deal. She could always stay with the casual look and forget Van. Bah. Eva had the idea in her head now and didn't want to let go of it. She stopped in front of a bridal outlet and tilted her head sideways, taking in the rainbow of colors displayed in the window. The cut and style of the dresses drew her in and inspiration struck. Why look in the obvious places for something to wear for the masquerade when the perfect item could be found elsewhere.
Letting a grin cross her face, Eva entered the shop and waved off the gaggle of sales associates. She'd find what she wanted on her own then call someone over. Maybe.
Rifling through the vast selection, Eva found a gown made of gossamer looking fabric that seemed to shimmer with iridescence. If she wanted to dress up as a fae creature it would be the perfect thing to wear. Rejecting that idea, she moved on to the next rack and passed over the dresses that truly screamed 'bridal party' and wrinkled her nose at the pastel confections that made her teeth hurt looking at them. She almost turned away to head toward another section of the store when a flash of green caught her eye.
Buried between a hot pink strapless cocktail dress and a gold, off the shoulder gown, Eva pulled a gorgeous emerald green dress from the rack. She'd found the perfect thing to wear, with a form fitting bodice that would accent her cleavage instead of putting it on display, and a frothy skirt that fell in asymmetrical waves from the bust line. The tiny, thin straps had just a touch of shiny thread woven in to catch the light and draw attention to her face. She'd look like one of the glamorous singers from centuries ago.
Satisfied with her find, she set off in search of some heels to go with it. Meandering through the displays, Eva finally found a killer pair of shoes. Forest green with metallic accents, the open-toed pumps fit the image in her head. She tried one on and found it more comfortable than expected. Grabbing the box, she took her choices to the first sales associate she came across and made her purchase.
Exiting the shop, she made her way toward the guest quarters with a wide grin on her face. Van would swallow his tongue when he got a good look at her. She slowed her pace. Did she really want that reaction? They had a very friendly rivalry. Did they need to add a bunch of tension to mess that up?
She thought about it once she entered her room. Maybe she and Van did need to shake things up a bit. The guy was intelligent, highly skilled, and damned hot. Why not let her hair down a little and show him a different side? He'd made an assumption about her and while based on fact, he didn't have the whole picture of what made Eva Twine tick. He'd only seen glimpses of what lay underneath.
But Van definitely knew the cocky, self-assured and okay, sometimes crazy cop side of her. He'd get a good dose of the other woman at the masquerade. A little excited by the prospect, Eva sat down and started the process of getting ready to knock his world of its axis.
Her lips turned up. She'd done that once before. Their first meeting set the tone for everything that followed between them. On a dare, she'd gone screaming down a back alley behind the academy—blindfolded—on her sky hawg. To date, she still had no idea what instinct kicked in and made her veer in a quick turn, but she thanked the universe for it. Van narrowly missed a road kill death when he exited out the night watch access point. He ate some loose gravel and a shit ton of debris her thrust kicked up when she made the sharp slide.
But at least he didn't end up dead.

LOL. It's always fun when characters meet in a very unexpected way, don't you think?

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

ML Skye

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Need


I'm going to bore everyone with all my Strike Back talk, but holy hell, the hits keep coming. Poor Scott can't catch a break. I do have one wild hair theory of what I want for him at the end of the show's run, but I'll keep mum so I don't jinx it. :D

Tonight's post is from a manuscript that's a bit of a departure for me. It's got an omniscient narrator. I'm not completely sure it's going to work, but I love the flow so far. Need dives into how two people end up gravitating toward each other, almost in an inevitable way, because their need outweighs standard operating procedure, frat regs, and just about everything else. Very fun to write. :D

Here's the tagline:

Circe Nash and Oz Paterson, two top notch pilots, have the strangest courtship in the galaxy—one they swear doesn't even exist. But when the need to be together hits them, they inevitably find themselves in the same place at the same time, with a little help from their crewmates.

And the sneaky peek…

Circe Nash and Oz Paterson had the strangest courtship in the galaxy.
Sometimes the need to see each other hit them at exactly the same time. Sparks usually flew and they weren't the only two who noticed. The entire crew could pinpoint the exact moment it happened. And they had front row seats to the bizarre mating dance Circe and Oz would swear never actually took place.
Oh, but it did.
A top notch pilot, Circe could be out flying CAP, chattering away with the other pilots. She'd tease and lob insults and take her fair share of ribbing. Never one to dish out more than she could take, Circe usually kept the conversation going between the squad for the whole patrol.
But every once in a while, she'd go dead air silent for a few beats.
It happened to be one of those moments.
Oz would be deep into work on the comm deck, plotting courses, running coordinates and monitoring engineers and the deck crew. He'd be in the thick of his duties and stop, mid conversation with the landing station officer or keying in data, and go silent, like he'd heard something no one else did.
He'd get up, grab a headset and enter the discussion with the CAP. He could do that. As CAG, no one questioned his actions. It never took long for Circe to get back in the game and start trading barbs with her immediate superior.  
The over the air banter would take on a sharp-witted edge and everyone else would go quiet until end of shift, letting Circe and Oz carry out their weird brand of foreplay. Once the CAP landed, Circe met Oz or vice versa. Oddly, no words necessary, they'd exchange a look or a glance and fall into step beside each other then disappear. Or with a weird, silent communication make plans to meet without uttering a sound. The crew got used to the crazy interplay. They also knew not to go anywhere near Oz or Circe until both had laid-back smiles on their faces.
The two didn't start out so much in sync. In fact, Circe and Oz began their journey on opposite ends of the galaxy. Oz grew up on the central planet in their solar system. Commerce, education, and culture abounded in the primo location. A wide cross-section of every world shared the wealth of their knowledge and experience. Oz soaked it up and developed an appreciation for diplomacy.
Circe didn't leave her home world until a recruiter visited and offered her a chance. Street smart, she lacked discipline, but showed an aptitude for strategic planning. Razor sharp instincts kept her safe on the rough and tumble streets where gang law often trumped everything else.
She spoke her mind with fearless confidence and didn't suffer fools at all. She had some adjustment issues when she entered the military, used to living fast and free, coming and going as she pleased. But she quickly learned her natural ability to fly would buy lots of wiggle room. She also figured out how to walk the very fine line between skirting regulations and insubordination.
Their differences made things very interesting when Circe met Oz under less than stellar circumstances. She transferred in from a battle frigate, the Cyllene, and arrived during last dog watch. She discovered her tradition of entering the landing bay in an inverted position did not go over well with the CAG of the Titan.
Oz ordered her—from his bird out on CAP—to remain with her ship on the hangar deck until his shift finished…in two hours.
When he finally landed and the crew towed his plane to the hangar, he found Circe sitting on the wing of her ship, enjoying a meal from the galley. He completed his post-flight checklist in cold silence, giving the crew ample time to feel his wrath. Their always solid efficiency increased to superior levels and everyone gave him wide berth when he strode, slowly and with great purpose, to Circe's location.
Circe finished chewing her mouthful of food and washed it down with a long swallow of water. She slid off the wing, grabbed hold of the ladder and swung down to calmly wait for the CAG.
Everyone held their breath when Circe and Oz stood toe to toe for several long moments, taking each other's measure. No one knew what to expect when the CAG's gaze met the pilot's and sparks literally flew.
Circe gave Oz a cocky salute. "Lt. Circe Nash, callsign Trickster, reporting for duty." She waited a beat then added. "Sir."
Oz worked his jaw, silently clenching his teeth. "Wanna tell me why you disobeyed a direct order?" He completely skipped SOP and didn't offer the formal acceptance of her arrival.
Circe gave him an innocent gaze. "How do you figure I did that? I'm with my bird on the hangar deck…exactly as ordered." A slow smirk spread across her lips. "You didn't say anything about rations." She dragged the sleeve of her flight suit up and checked her watch. "And I hadn't anything to eat for ten hours."
Oz cocked his head to the side, silently regarding his new pilot. "You're gonna push the rules to the limit, aren't you?"
Circe's lips quirked and her eyes lit up. "That's what they're there for…Sir."
The deck crew waited for an explosion. The CAG's callsign of Wrath had been well-earned. He had a short fuse sometimes, and Circe all but lit the wick with her cheeky response.
The blast never came.
Instead, the CAG calmly responded. "I can see things will be a whole lot livelier with you around." He looked up, glancing at everyone on the deck. "They'll also be a lot cleaner." He shifted his gaze back to Circe. "You get to begin your tenure here with a week of detailing work on the planes." He turned and started for his office.
Circe grinned and called out. "Think I'm gonna like it here, Sir." When Oz angled his head around, she snapped off a crisp and precise salute, respect for the CAG clearly defined in her posture.
Oz snorted and shook his head. "We'll see about that, Lieutenant. We'll see."

Seriously, Circe and Oz's relationship has been so much fun to write through the narrator's eyes. I hope I can keep the flow going and finish it up soon.

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

ML Skye

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Napalm at Night


It's back!! Strike Back premiered Friday night and had me ready to throw things in the first two minutes of the episode. THAT'S a good show, folks. LOL

Tonight's post is inspired by soldiers Stonebridge and Scott. Rip Rafferty is a man who gets shit done, and Jensen Wallis falls hard for him. Napalm at Night is set on a different planet, but hopefully has something of a Vietnam War feel to it. I really wanted the vibe of not knowing exactly why the fight is so important.

Here's the tagline:

Napalm at night is dangerous stuff. Jensen Wallis, an extraordinary helicopter pilot, makes her fair share of early dawn rescues after enemy forces unleash the potent explosives on her fellow soldiers. She comes to the aid of Rip Rafferty's squadron and gets them to safety, but not before the enigmatic man sets her curious nature on fire.

And a sneaky peek…

Jensen landed the chopper, eyes scanning the dense underbrush for signs of life. Freaked her out when a head popped up in the open side door.
The mud-covered face spoke. "I've got five wounded. We have time to get 'em all loaded?"
She stared into the bluest eyes she'd ever seen, made more so by the dirt and caked on moss adhered to his skin. Even under all the grime, his chiseled features stood out.
"Lieutenant? Are we clear? Can I start bringing my men in?" He used her rank, snapping her back to the matter at hand.
She gave a jerky nod, trying to calm the rapid staccato of her heart. Good God, five wounded.
He took off, melting into the foliage, disappearing. She lost track of him completely until he trudged out, carrying a fallen comrade over his shoulders. She wanted to help get the guy in, but couldn't leave the controls. If they had to cut loose in a hurry, she'd be more useful if she stayed put.
A soft thud sounded behind her and she scanned the area, looking for the soldier. Again she couldn't find him, his stealth skill better than any she'd ever seen. Blinking, she shook her head. The guy had two more men, dragging them through the tall grass by their shirt collars. How the hell he managed when both were prone, she had no clue. Twisting around, she tried to get a closer look, but could only hear the rustling sound and grunt when he hefted first one, then the other up into the chopper.
Quickly facing forward, her gaze met empty field again. How did he melt into the surroundings? Narrowing her eyes, she breathed a sigh of relief when he emerged from the shadows, helping two more soldiers make their way to the copter. Neither looked completely conscious, but when she glanced back, one got in under his own steam and the other with a little assistance from his commanding officer. Each man sprawled where they landed and stayed put.
Her marine climbed up into the second seat and put the headset on. He winced and dropped his right hand.
She leaned forward and made an adjustment, catching sight of his wound. "You okay? You're bleeding a lot."
His fingers went to his shoulder. "It went through. I'll be fine."
He looked pale and winded—definitely not fine.
She eased the copter off the ground and headed for the MASH unit. "What the hell happened?"
He stared straight ahead. "Ambush. We spread out and got caught from both sides." A hard edge crept into his tone. "Napalm. Got cut off from the rest of the platoon."
Jensen wanted to hurl after catching a faint whiff of the unmistakable aroma. "Fuck." She jerked her head toward the back. "The first one you brought out? He gonna make it?"
The marine shook his head. "He's already gone. But I couldn't leave him behind. We were on the other side of the line."
Her eyes widened. "How far over?"
He shot her a sideways glance. "Three clicks."
She barely kept her mouth from dropping open. "You drug him all the way back?" The guy had to have a streak of insanity running through him.
He shrugged. "Him. Jeffs, Martinez, and Lambert. Dobbie crossed under his own steam, but dropped half a mile back." He winced and applied pressure to his wound.
Jensen huffed out a harsh breath. "Jesus. Are you human?"
His lips quirked. "I don't know." His mouth thinned and the life went out of his gaze. "Not sure I know what that means anymore." He leaned back, his eyes sliding closed.
Jensen concentrated on flying, leaving him to rest and maybe find some peace.
When she landed, she stayed out of the way while the men got unloaded. Her marine staggered out of the helicopter and started heading for the triage unit.
Jensen called out. "Hey, marine. Didn't catch your name."
He paused and angled his head around. "Rafferty. Rip Rafferty. Thanks for the lift." He touched two fingers to his forehead in a salute.
She nodded. "Jensen Wallis. And you're welcome." She swung back up into the pilot's seat. "Hope you don't have to hang out here very long."
He lifted a hand and turned back toward the mobile hospital. Jensen got another call and lifted off to head out for another run.
She had an eerie feeling she'd be seeing Rafferty again.
And she totally will be seeing him again and not under the best circumstances. L

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

ML Skye

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Midsummer Mayhem


I gotta say we're having the most incredible weather right now. August in Ohio tends to be hot, sticky, humid, sweltering, and generally horrible. We're four days into the month and haven't hit above eighty degrees. It's honestly been the most pleasant summer I can remember, even with a buttload of rain. J

On a more random note, I'm actually rather 'meh' about the choice for the twelfth doctor. In all honesty, it's going to be hard for me to picture someone who had a prominent role on Torchwood—a sister show of Who—as anyone BUT that character. And the guy had a featured guest role in the Pompeii episode, so again, it effs up my continuity. And yeah, yeah, Eve Miles had a featured guest role on Who and went on to play Gwen, so what the hell am I bitching about, right? I guess it's because she didn't end up playing a third role in both shows.

Enough about television. LOL

Tonight's post is from Midsummer Mayhem, a novella set in the Capital City Seasons series. Murph and Jess play a role in the story, but Jess's boss Chris Renfer takes center stage as the hero. And he's been very fun to write. J

Here's the tagline:

Chris Renfer, Alpha Team Leader for the Strategic Tactical Unit, falls for Melanie Pramble at first sight, but she's new to the city wants to get her bearings. But when a Renfer's team is stuck in a bad situation, Melanie is the go to person for negotiation and Chris can only hope their beginning doesn't end before it makes headway.

And a sneaky peek…

Jessa Muldoon had a very distinctive laugh. Chris Renfer, Alpha Team leader, looked up from his desk when it rang out across the hall. She stood outside the briefing room with her significant other, Ben Murphy, and leaned in to plant a huge, smacking kiss on his lips. Chris grinned. Jess definitely needed Ben in her life. She'd found her groove again, now that they'd patched over their differences.
Chris leaned back in his chair and watched the two lovers talk quietly in the corridor. Two people made for each other, they wouldn't suit anyone else. When they split up, Jess tried—with a marksman who'd come in to train with STU, the Specialized Tactical Unit of Capital City Police—but no one clicked with her the way Murph did. Chris couldn't be happier they'd found their way back together.
Except when his gut burned with envy. He wanted what they had, to find the other half of himself. He couldn't manage to make a relationship last longer than a month or two. Not that he didn't try. He gave each one his best go.
What he did for a living tended to be the first bone of contention. Heading up the Strike Unit, he led Alpha Team. His squad went in when a situation required armed response. A nation wide ban on firearms didn't do much to deter anyone determined to cause harm. What it did do? Made people get creative. So many interesting ways to hurt someone. Poison. Blades. Sharp and/or blunt objects. And last but not least…bombs. And just because guns were illegal, it didn't mean they couldn't be purchased. Cash talked, and enough of the stuff could make even the most restricted weapons available.
For some reason that seemed to be a huge turn off and a cause for concern. And he couldn't be anything but honest when he clicked with someone. He never hid what he did for a living or lied about the sometimes intense schedule he had to keep. And even when he explained he rarely ended up in the thick of the action he discovered it didn't make much difference to a woman who wanted attention.
His last relationship ended because he got called out twice during important moments. The dinner date hadn't been a big deal, but the anniversary party for her parents pissed Winnie Caldwell off and did not go over well. Criminals and insane people didn't work a regular schedule. They struck when the mood took their fancy.
And he had apologized profusely when his emergency unit went off in the middle of the congratulatory speech. The angry glare Winnie sent his way should've been his first clue, but Chris held out hope she'd forgive him. They got along so well and both had demanding careers. Her work as a midwife meant she often got called out at strange times, too.
She'd understand, wouldn't she?
Not so much. After STU contained the situation, he'd dropped by her place with takeout and a good bottle of wine. Ended up stowing both in the box she'd left outside her door. A few shirts, a pair of jeans and some toiletries marked the end of his relationship. No screaming match or giant missive…just a silent 'fuck you', no note required.
Chris made his way home and decided to stick to a friends with benefits deal, until he could find someone who truly got what he did for a living. One of the nurses at the hospital, Angie Malcolm, had given him a standing invitation and he'd taken her up on the offer. They enjoyed each other when their schedules allowed, but neither sought more than sex. Made Angie's decision to rekindle an old flame less of a burn.
But three months of zero sex sucked. And it showed in his mood. He'd been snappish the past week and Jess would be in his office to find out what the hell as soon as Murph took off.
Like Renfer wanted to share the reason with her…but he would. She'd drag it out if he didn't volunteer the information. Jessa could be like a dog with a bone, gnawing away until she hit the marrow. Chris didn't have the fortitude to fight the tide.
And Jess would feel like it she owed it to him. Why not unload and let someone listen to his restless ramblings. He itched for something permanent. He wanted what Jess and Murph had. The ups and downs of a relationship…he yearned for them. Sitting back, he heaved a sigh.
"That sounded frustrated." Jess strode into his office and made herself at hom, pouring a mug of coffee and dropping down across from him. "Spill it, boss."
Chris rolled his eyes. "I'm not your boss anymore." He leaned forward and busied himself by shuffling the files on his desk.
Jess halted his movements. "Bullshit. You run the place. I just head up the second team." She waited until he met her gaze. "Something's bothering you, Chris. We've all noticed." Her eyes narrowed.
Renfer frowned. He figured Jess would pick up on it…he didn't count on the others catching on. Thought he'd controlled his mood better.
Jess nodded. "Yeah, you need to unload." She sat back and kicked her feet out. "And I've got all day."
Renfer raised a brow. "What? No nooner with Murph later?"
Jess sputtered and choked on the coffee. "Oh hell, give me a warning next time." She swiped her hand over her mouth. "How did you know?"
Geez…she and Murph couldn't be more obvious. "The 'I just got laid' glow is pretty much a dead giveaway…and hard to miss." God, did his tone have to sound so jealous?
Jess chuckled. "Damn. I'll have to remember that." She settled back. "But no, won't be hooking up with Murph. He's meeting a prospective new partner today." Her lips quirked. "Over lunch…at noon."
Renfer cocked his head back. "Ahh. The final member of the team. Should I prepare to break in a new talker?"
Jess smiled. "If all goes well—and it will—yeah." She drained her mug. "We'll probably have some kind of get together to make introductions." She leveled her gaze on him. "Enough about Murph and Jess. What's up with you?" Her tone suggested he'd better quit stalling.
Chris shrugged. "It's nothing, really. Just restless, I guess."
Jess pushed, not satisfied. "You know you can tell me anything, right? You've listened to me how many times? And helped get me through a major rough patch." Jess leaned forward again. "Let me be here for you."
Chris considered the offer, knowing Jess wouldn't relent. He bought some time. "I will. Over drinks later?" He grabbed the top file and flipped it open.
Jess saw through him, but agreed. "Yeah, okay." She nailed down a time. "Seven pm. Come to my place."

Little does Chris know, but he'll be very, very happy he went to Jess's for drinks. J

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

ML Skye