Hi everyone! It’s been a while <cough> November <cough> since my last blog post. After writing an alien romance novella (which I LOVE) for an anthology call and then having the publisher cancel said anthology, I stopped writing for a few months. 🙁
But it’s a new year and according to a shaman woman I met in Okinawa, Japan last fall, the Year of the Rooster is supposed to be a good year for me, so I’m rejuvenated and back to work on book 3 in the Survival Race series. I’m also expanding that novella I loved so much into a novel. Oh, and changing it to a YA (Young Adult), which I haven’t written before but the story fits this genre better.
Anyway, the SFR Brigade Showcase is the chance for Science Fiction Romance authors to showcase excerpts from their latest releases, snippets from a work-in-progress (WIP), a new cover for their book or just have fun with something silly, like a character interview.
Here’s a peek into my WIP from book 3 of the Survival Race in which we meet our hero, Griffin. Though we technically met him in book 2, FEARLESS, we now get to see his POV. I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think either way. And be sure to check out more from all the awesome SFR Brigade authors here!!
SURVIVAL RACE: Book 3 Excerpt
How could anyone love a gladiator?
More specifically, how could a sweet spiritual healer like Myia love a brainless gladiator warlord instead of a scientist?
Inside cramped castle walls, Griffin slowed his steps and quieted his breaths at the secret entrance to the king’s bedchamber. If Lord Stone-for-Brains found him sneaking through the tunnel system on his mating night, he’d hang Griffin from a tree outside the refuge until taken by wild animals, poachers, or a slow death. Suspension was not how Griffin envisioned departing this world.
He intended to leave by spaceship.
Disgusted by the muffled lovemaking sounds, Griffin continued on his mission.
Navigating the tunnels was as easy as it had been as a boy. He had spent countless hours creeping around the castle playing spy, sneaking midnight snacks, and avoiding his father’s wrath. But Father had built these escape routes and always knew where to corner him and then the beatings had been worse.
Shoulder braced against the back of a bookcase, Griffin held in a grunt as he shoved it open into the king’s private office. Hopefully no one heard the bookcase scraping over the floor. He squeezed through the tight opening and then went to work rummaging through desk drawers searching for his confiscated tech-ring.
It was the only device capable of synthetic telepathy. He couldn’t communicate with the hyborean and get the answers he needed without it.
A key rattling the door sent him sprinting back to the bookcase. There would be no time to squeeze back through and close it from the other side before someone entered so he pushed it shut, cutting off his only escape.
Behind him the door opened and the cold metallic ring of a long blade unsheathed from its scabbard sent chills down his back.
“Don’t move,” said a deep, steely voice.
Of all the soldiers on guard, why did it have to be General Max?
“Drop the lightstick and put your hands on your head.”
Griffin did as instructed. This was not a gladiator to piss off. Having recently escaped from the Human Breeding and Research Center, Max oscillated a fine line between man and beast. He played by his own rules especially when it came to family and friends, and unfortunately Lord Stone-for-Brains was both.
“Inform Lord Kedric,” Max said to someone.
Yeah. That wasn’t going to go over well. Deciding not to turn around, he spoke over his shoulder. “Don’t you think it unwise to interrupt the Lord’s mating night? Why not tell him in the morning when his mood is more agreeable? I’ll wait in the dungeon. Or, preferably, my home.”
“You’ll wait here and you’ll tell me how you got in.”
From the sound of it, Max had crossed the room to the window, probably looking for a ladder or rope since they were on the third floor. Perhaps he didn’t know about the secret passage. Did Kedric?
“Surely Lord Kedric won’t leave his bride tonight. Not on my account. I wouldn’t dream of it.”
“I appreciate your concern.” The familiar derision in Kedric’s unmistakable voice sliced through his nerves.
The fool was too stupid to stay in bed and make love to his bride. Shaking his head in disbelief, he turned to face Kedric, barefoot, red hair disheveled, and wearing only pants. A sheen of sweat covered his body.
Apparently gladiators lacked stamina when it came to pleasing their women.
Griffin didn’t dare lower his arms. Fists and blades were gladiator weapons, words and patience were his. If he wanted to wound Kedric, he merely had to threaten his reign or speak suggestively about Myia. He didn’t like using her as his sword, but it always cut Kedric the deepest. “I didn’t think I could pity you more. Your bloodlust for me eclipses your lust for our sweet little shaman girl.”
Gray eyes blazing, Kedric lunged. A meaty hand caught Griffin’s throat and the bookcase rammed into his back. “You are to speak of the Highland queen with reverence and honor. Is that clear?”
Angry heat flushed Griffin’s cheeks. There hadn’t been a highland queen since his mother’s death eighteen years ago. He had nothing against Myia, but not even a woman as kind and beautiful as she was could ever replace his mother.
“I said is that clear?” Kedric’s grip tightened, coercing etiquette from him.
“Yes. My lord.” He ground out the last word through a constricted throat and clenched teeth. His head slammed into the bookcase once more before Kedric let go. Cool air rushed into his trachea. He refused to rub the pain from his neck. He wouldn’t give the barbarian that satisfaction.
“Now then,” Kedric said. “What the hell are you doing in my castle?”
His castle? It would have been Griffin’s if his Father hadn’t bequeathed the throne to this knuckle-dragging prick instead of his own son.
Griffin shot him his best look-at-me-I’m-clever grin. Oh yeah, he was about to get decked hard. “I apologize, my Lord. I wouldn’t have come here if I’d known you couldn’t satisfy sweet Myia, I’d be in her bed–.”
The fist to his face came fast and furious. And so did the floor.
The uncontrolled anger flushing Kedric’s expression had been more than worth the throbbing ache and bloody nose.
“Throw him in the dungeon,” Kedric said. “I’ll interrogate him tomorrow.”
“Get up.” Max’s fingers dug into his arm as he yanked him up onto his feet. He shackled his hands behind his back before shoving him toward the door.
Fighting back wasn’t an option. He’d rather spend the rest of their numbered days in the dungeon than stoop to violence.
On the bright side, if he couldn’t escape the planet before the hyboreans retaliated, at least he’d die at home in the castle.
Well, technically under it.
I hope this excerpt piqued your interest to learn more. If not, let me know what I can do to improve. As always, leave me your thoughts in the comments. If you enjoyed this excerpt, you might like to read the first chapter of book 1: CAPTIVE for free here and the first chapter of book 2: FEARLESS here.