Midnight's Ghost (erotic science fiction romance)
The timeline is excruciating.
Taran has three days to get her former lover – whom she’s barely speaking to – and the mysterious teenager she knows nothing about from one planet to another. Given the fact her ship, Eidolon, is the fastest in the star runner fleet, Taran knows she can make the run in the time Wallace has allotted. As the best – and only – female pilot, she’s got something to prove.
As if things weren’t complicated enough, Wallace, and the teenager he has in tow, are both escapees from the harshest prison facility in seven galaxies. Not only is Taran putting her career on the line, she’s got the Intergalactic Patrol hot on her heels. It isn’t long before unresolved feelings and tempers flare to life again and Taran is left second-guessing her decision of putting everything she stands for on the line.
Her determination may just cost her everything.
One man who feels no remorse for a crime he committed and one woman pilot determined to fulfill her promise equal one impossible mission.
“So they tell me.”
He wasn’t kidding either. He really had been told he was insane by the court that sentenced him to jail time. “You just cost me a paying job, Wallace. Find someone else to hassle.”
“But I enjoy hassling you.”
After blasting his way back into my life, Wallace was the last person I wanted to deal with in the confines of a starship. “Stuff it. I’m not in the mood for your cutesy bullshit. I have debts to pay now because of you, so go find someone else that can actually stand the sight of your face.”
“There you go assuming again.” He pushed away from the wall to twist himself around so he stood in front of me and I suddenly felt closed in. I knew all I had to do to get him to move is strip off one of my gloves and let some part of his exposed flesh brush against my hand. He bracketed my arms against the wall to take that option away and I could feel his warm breath against my face. “I never said I wouldn’t pay you.”
“You haven’t paid for a ride in your life, at least not with credit chips.”
He stepped into me, closing the distance between us. I could feel every inch of him through his tan colored pants and shirt. For the breath of a moment, I thought he was going to brush his lips over mine. “I never heard you complain once about my method of payment. You were very vocal however, if memory serves me correctly.”
A wave of heat scorched through my veins at the combination of his words and the feel of him pressed against me like this. He was saying things he knew would get my juices flowing and it was actually working. Wallace knew exactly what got me riled up.
Despite the fact I wanted to give in to the rich layers of arousal weaving their way through me, I knew Wallace was trying to manipulate me. He was blatantly using my attraction to him against me and wasn’t making any apologies for it. Unfortunately for him, while I remembered what it felt like to give in, I also knew I would hate myself in the morning. Since I was all that I had, hating myself wasn’t an option.
“Find yourself some other star runner, Wallace. Leave me alone.” I jerked forward with my hips, and was surprised when he lost his balance. I expected him to reach out for me again, but he let me go as I brushed past him. His voice drifted to me as I started to walk away and the seeming desperation in his voice had me stopping in my tracks.
“I can’t get anyone else, Taran. I need the best.”
I sighed heavily and closed my eyes as I stood with my back to him. Damn, I hated how he could still say things that let him get under my skin. I was supposed to be angry with him for what he had done. Although, angry was probably putting it too nicely.
I dipped my hands into the pockets of my shorts still splattered with Lunatian blood and shrugged my shoulders. “Stony and Webster or, hell even Jett, find one of them. They’re just as good.”
He shook his head in desperation as I turned to face him. I knew, just like he did, the names I had ticked off were good haulers, but they weren’t what he was looking for. None of them had the same level of equipment I did. They couldn’t get him where he needed with that type of speed.
“Good, but not the best. Taran, whatever our screwed up history together is, can you just put it aside for right now and let me hire you? You and Eidolon are the fastest in the star runner’s fleet. Like I said, I need the best,” he added when he saw the skepticism I was fighting with.
That ghost of something was back on his face, but this time he didn’t do anything to disguise it. I saw it as clear as the darkening sky overhead and it made my stomach do a slow, lazy slide. He seemed to genuinely believe that I was the only one who could help him.
Wallace had even played the right cards in telling me that I was the best and the fastest. It wouldn’t have even taken that because he also knew I had never been able to say no to him, but it certainly sweetened the pot. I couldn’t ignore the fact that even though we hadn’t spoken in three years and had an abrupt breakup hanging over our heads, he had sought me out. That meant there was something more in this than just him. He wouldn’t have come otherwise because that was just the kind of guy Wallace was. While he could be selfish, the look of desperation on his face told me that this was something beyond him. Something he couldn’t handle alone and that’s what I found so damn intriguing.
For him to let me see it was an enormous concession for him.
I rubbed my hands over my face and blew out an exasperated breath, chastising myself for what I was about to do since I knew I would end up regretting it. “I can’t believe I’m about to say this. You need to be there in how many days again?”
“I can do it in four, maybe three and a half if I push her hard enough.” I made the offer, knowing I could deliver him in the time he requested, but wanted to have a little room to play in case things didn’t go as planned.
His voice was low as he spoke and I recognized the tone he used when he knew someone was trying to pull one over on him. “Don’t bullshit me, Taran. Those upgraded transwarp drives have GreySec stamped all over them. The ones no one else knows about, the ones I helped you install? I know, just like you do, that you can make the run with time to spare. How much?”
He was right, Eidolon did have upgraded transwarp drives no one else but him knew about. She was technically too small of a ship to possess that size of a jump core, but then again, there was a reason her name was Eidolon. Being a ghost in space was definitely advantageous when you ran legal, or illegal, goods to distant planets.
I should have known better than to try to feed him a line. If there was anyone who could spot a lie at two paces, it was Wallace. He, on the other hand, could slide one effortlessly off his tongue without batting an eye. There were times when I was jealous of that talent. Resigned that I was going to do this whether I liked it or not, I fired off an exorbitant amount, assuming he’d be put off by it and forget this whole conversation happened.
“Done,” he said tightly and stepped away, gesturing for me to lead the way out of the alley.
Interested? I'll giving away a free ecopy of Midnight's Ghost over at fellow author D L Jackson's Para-Fanatics website. One lucky commenter will win!