Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Shyler: Finding Home (A Furlough 99 Novella)


Whew! I'm relieved to say my favorite characters are still intact on Strike Back and Sons of Anarchy. And I got to see more of Stonebridge than I have in a while. :D

Arrow returns Wednesday and I'm dying to have it back on my TV. The behind the scene teases and brief clips are only serving to whet my appetite. Come on, Wednesday!!

Enough about television. Tonight's post revisits a current release. Shyler: Finding Home is taking up some space in my brain because I'm working on a new manuscript for the Furlough 99 brand and it features a character introduced in Shyler's story.

Here's the tagline:

Inspector Shyler Lumen and entrepreneur Marshton Gray don't have much in common. A manhunt for a brilliantly mad chemist brings them together and sparks fly. Shyler and Marsh can fight the wave of change…or grab hold and go along for the ride.

And another sneaky peek…

Shyler found the spot she wanted—away from the main entrance, but still in her line of sight. She also had a view of the back, in case another entrance existed. Hopefully that covered all the bases.
She nodded and grinned. At least she felt prepared.
"Care to share?" Marsh pulled out a chair.
Shyler directed her gaze to the annoyance who seated himself across from her. "Share what?"
"The knowing little smile and what it's all about."
Shyler looked away, checking the two areas. "Not really. You're Mr. Intelligent. I'm sure you'll figure it out."
Marsh let out a frustrated sigh. "It would save time if you just told me."
She shrugged, pleased she'd pushed a button. "Be that as it may, I'm—"
"Shyler Lumen, Inspector?"
Shit. Damn Marshton Grey for being a distraction. She'd completely missed the Guild operative's approach.
Glaring in Marsh's direction, she didn't bother standing, but swung her gaze to greet her new contact's. "Yeah. And you are?" She pushed another chair out with her foot and nodded, inviting the other man to sit.
"Spider Smith."
If his name was really Spider Smith, she'd eat her creds. He looked like one of the low level dealers she used to drag off the streets during a sweep.
But looks could be very deceiving.
Spider dropped down into the empty chair at the table. "I'll be your contact while you're here on Furlough."
Progress. Finally.
"Look, I'll cut right to it—"
"You're here for Baj Dogo aka Doctor X. Responsible for at least 150 deaths with the count still rising. One of those lost was an associate of yours. Went by the name of Glib."
Shyler sucked in a startled breath. "You're very thorough." Her eyes narrowed. "Are you sure you're not a droid?"
Spider cracked a grin. "Yes, I am. And no, I'm not. It pays for me to be as thorough as possible. The Guild needs to know who the players are and how many pieces are involved in the game."
Not a game to her, but she understood. The fewer surprises, the better the outcome.
"I can respect that." She leaned forward. "As I'm sure you've read my jacket, let me assure you right now, I can play nice with others…regardless of how it looks otherwise."
Marsh rubbed the back of his neck and snorted. "I'd like to see that."
Shyler glared. "Shut. Up. You brought that on yourself." She turned her attention to Spider again. "I'm more than willing to cooperate with whomever I have to."
Spider looked from her to Marsh. "You sure about that?"
Slightly offended, she clarified. "I said it, didn't I? I don't want or need the collar. Or whatever bounty there might be on Dogo. I just want to personally interrogate and escort the son of a bitch back to Mars."
Spider looked from one to the other again and it put Shyler's back up. What the hell did he hold back?
Playing it cagey, he lifted a shoulder. "The logistics can be worked out. That's not going to be the issue." His tone clearly indicated something else would be.
Impatient, Shyler all but growled. "Then what is the damn problem?"
Instead of answering, Spider focused his attention on her tagalong. "Marshton Grey, Entrepreneur. Midas touch, growing the already considerable family fortune to greater proportions. On the board of dozens of interplanetary and galaxy wide companies, including the resort section of Furlough. Bachelor, never married, no offspring."
Impressed, Shyler glanced to see Marsh's reaction.
He acknowledged the information. "You are good."
Would that be tension she noticed along Marsh's shoulders?
Spider shook his head. "No, I'm better than good. All that information is public domain. I dug a great deal deeper and uncovered a connection the inspector probably isn't aware of."
Oh yeah, definite tension.
Not taking her eyes off Marsh, Shyler queried. "Oh, really? What would that be?"
Spider shifted in his seat, also keeping Marsh in his sight. "You know Dogo works for Greyswell Industries, yes?"
Shyler inclined her head in agreement. "Yeah. I'm aware of the bastard's employment."
The Guild operative continued. "What you probably don't know is there's a deeper connection, one that might present a problem for you."
Shyler's stomach churned. "Go on. What's the deeper connection?" Her gut readied for a wallop.
Spider shifted again, this time looking at Shyler. "It's familial. Baj Dogo and Marshton Grey share a mother. And from the Guild's point of view, the fact that Mr. Grey wasn't up front about that means he's got a different agenda than you. And that's not okay."
Red. Her anger burned red hot and flashed brightly behind her eyes. Shyler didn't speak…couldn't have if she tried…not until she got it under control.
The son of a bitch had played her. No one's fault but her own. Stupid to feel betrayed by someone she'd just met…but she did. And it sucked. Big time.
Breathing deeply, she swallowed down the rage. When she spoke, her voice came out calm. Cool even. "No. That's definitely not okay. But I'll deal with it." Looking away from Marsh, whose guilty flush didn't help his standing, she turned her attention to Spider. "I appreciate the intel." She decided to focus on more pressing matters. "Moving on. Any assistance the Guild can provide is welcome. I'm assuming you have interview rooms somewhere on this station?"
Spider blinked at the quick change act. "We can probably arrange for one. It might be a holding cell we wire for sound." His cheeks flushed sheepishly. "We don't usually need anything but visuals."
Shyler shrugged. "Whatever works." She thought she'd better clarify a few things. "Look, I don't know how you guys operate, but I need Dogo alive."
Spider tensed for a moment, but relaxed again. "I'll pass the request along…but no promises. The bounty clearly states lethal force is an option."
Shyler leaned forward. "Look, it's important. I need information that only Dogo can provide." She cast a quick glance at Marsh, who had yet to defend himself…or try to. Unsure if she could continue without compromising her case, she opted to throw Spider a bone. "Dig deeper. Into the reports on Mars. Use those mad skills of yours. It might make a difference."
She hoped it would. A person with Spider's ability should be able to ferret out the primo detail being held back from both the press and authorities.
"Please, peel back the layers."
They were racing the clock. 157 dead, but a handful weren't, among them Glib. But they were hanging on by a thread, probably only had 48 hours before they met the same fate as the others.
Spider considered her for a long moment. "Yeah. Okay. I'll see what I can discover." He leaned back in his seat. "Key your creds into any info terminal or droid. It's a link directly to me. It's also how I'll update you with any new intel." He slid his gaze toward Marsh and turned back to her. "Gotta say, I admire your restraint." Referring to the fact her head hadn't completely spun around and popped off as yet.
Shyler didn't acknowledge his comment. Decided it would be best not to. She got to her feet. "Scan my creds to communicate. No prob. Thanks." She leveled her gaze on Marsh. "Let's go."

My next installment for Furlough is going to be Spider's story. Honestly, I'm thrilled about writing it and so far, it's been as much fun as I anticipated. Spider meets his match when Hailey Webb decides she wants his help.

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

ML Skye

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