Phenomenal Final Snippet for Maelstrom of Treason!

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Snippet #3 for Maelstrom of Treason

 

This is it! The final snippet before Maelstrom of Treason launches tomorrow!

 

An annoying beep kept repeating. Red lights flashed in the cockpit. A half-dozen data windows spat out a litany of complaints about system damage, oxygen leaks, and proximity warnings.

Combined sensor readouts, including lidar and radar, displayed scores of small pieces of debris near the ship, the remnants of the earlier collision.

The ship shuddered violently, shaking Jia against her restraints. She might have survived another ship sideswiping her transport, but if she didn’t figure things out soon, she wouldn’t survive the aftermath.

Fun,” Jia muttered.

Sweat trickled down the side of her face. It didn’t matter if everything she was experiencing was a simulation; she couldn’t treat it like one.

When she practiced in the tactical center, she tried to trick herself into believing it was real. Her body needed to learn how to react without much thought. She wouldn’t have a lot of time in a real emergency to think things through, just like she didn’t have a lot of time in a firefight to consider every last option.

Sometimes a woman could only choose between awful and less awful.

“Spaceport docking control, this is transport MLT11915,” Jia reported. “We have suffered a collision and have heavy damage. Our reactor is stable, but our escape pod was destroyed in the crash. Request emergency landing.”

“MLT11915,” responded Docking Control, “please stand by.”

“We’re not having a fun time here,” Jia snapped. “We’ve already broken atmo. We have massive damage to thrusters and grav emitters.”

“Understood, MLT11915, but you will hold. Contacting emergency crews now. Standby for further instru—”

“Oh, great, no comm.” Jia lifted a hand away from the control panel to squeeze it into a fist.

Another flashing data window popped up to mock her.

WARNING: MULTIPLE THRUSTER FAILURE. SHIP MANEUVERABILITY WILL BE COMPROMISED.

A list of subsystems, along with a diagram highlighting several portside lateral thrusters, appeared. If she were flying in deep space, a little trip outside with a suit and some equipment might help, but right now, she was trying to keep her transport from smashing into the ground with her inside it.

“I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that a portside hit took out the portside thrusters, but this is still annoying.”

A far more worrisome window popped up on the other side.

WARNING: REACTOR CORE MAGNETIC CONTAINMENT FLUCTUATIONS EXCEED RECOMMENDED IN-FLIGHT VARIANCE.

“Of course. This can’t be too easy.” Jia took deep breaths as her fingers danced across the controls. Even without half her thrusters, she could keep the ship airborne and circling the spaceport until they agreed to an emergency landing. If she lost reactor containment, the resulting hole and loss of both primary and reserve power would doom her. At least her reserve power could keep her airborne for a few more desperate minutes.

A shrill alarm sounded, and the reactor core warning window started flashing obnoxious shades of yellow and red. She hadn’t even gotten ten seconds since the last warning.

“Warning, reactor core magnetic containment fluctuations exceed maximum emergency variance levels,” reported the soft female voice of the ship’s AI. “Containment failure is imminent. Core purge is recommended.”

A pilot knew she was in trouble when the computer shifted to verbal warnings. Jia whipped her hand to the other side of the control panel and tapped in a quick code she’d memorized during the preflight briefing. A groan sounded from deeper within the ship, and yet another data window appeared.

“Warning,” the AI continued. “Core purge containment protocol has been initiated. Please enter core disconnect code for next step.”

“If you insist.” Jia entered the code.

Another groan sounded. More data windows popped up, most focusing on systems shutdown and emergency power implementation. She didn’t understand how all of this wasn’t supposed to be distracting, but at least she couldn’t complain about not knowing everything relevant to the current condition of the ship.

“Second-stage core containment protocol has been implemented,” the system AI announced. “Please enter core purge code for final step. There will be a momentary loss of power prior to reserve power activation.”

“Yes, because what I need is any power loss when I’m spiraling to my doom.”

Jia was grateful the limited ship’s AI didn’t have the wit to snark back like Emma as her hand hovered over the emergency purge controls.

They were nothing but a hologram covering an adaptative haptic feedback panel. That annoyed her.

She would have preferred something she could at least tighten her hands around for a false sense of control, but she wouldn’t get that in the kind of craft she was going to fly with a Class D license.

A sickening crunch followed a loud grinding noise. Jia didn’t bother to look at the damage report. From the new vibrations afflicting the ship, she could tell she’d lost another piece of the hull. It was a funny thing, space travel. Living beings put all their hope in ultimately fragile craft to protect them in a hostile environment. The very idea was absurd, but for now, it wasn’t simulated deep space that was going to end her run.

Jia entered the final purge code. Now all that remained was for her to submit it and eject the reactor core. If she were lucky, it wouldn’t lose containment. Mere seconds of high residual temperatures could hurt the already deeply wounded ship. After the purge, she would have a few minutes of reserve power to land

A new warning appeared. Jia’s stomach knotted. Several technical codes popped up, along with maintenance diagrams. About everything short of the ship exploding had now gone wrong.

WARNING: RESERVE POWER INTERFACE FAILURE.

Jia snatched her hand back from the purge controls and gritted her teeth. No. She was an idiot. She hadn’t thought through the entire situation. Without her reserve power, there would be nothing to protect her. An already damaged reinforced hull wouldn’t do much without a grav field backup. Her thrusters would cut out, and she’d tumble to the ground like a drunken duck.

Her gaze shifted to a local map display. She’d been circling the spaceport for several minutes. It sat in the center of the fictional metroplex of Copez. High mountains curved around the northern edge of the urban zone. There was no way she could gain altitude, given the state of the ship. It had been taking all her efforts to maintain her current altitude. Countless sensor contacts from a cove extending from the west side of the metroplex would make a water landing chancy. Even if she survived the splashdown, she stood a decent chance of killing someone else.

Jia didn’t have much time to decide. She could try to force her way into an emergency landing, or she could eject the core without reserve power and do her best meteor impression. Best-case scenario ended with her ship smashed to pieces and her dead, which meant she would fail the exercise.

“There has to be a solution,” she muttered, her jaw clenched. “Something I’m missing. Did I fail to perform an earlier step? No. Everything was by the book.”

Jia closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She knew what she had to do. After reopening her eyes, she cut power to her lateral thrusters and poured what remained of power into the main thrusters. The ship shook and shimmied as it accelerated, barreling away from the spaceport and heading straight toward the mountains.

“MLT11915, you are breaking your holding pattern,” shouted Docking Control. “You need to immediately return to your previous position. We can’t get you down here safely, but emergency flitters are being dispatched for an aerial retrieval. Stay in position for just a couple more minutes, and we’ll extract you.”

“Negative, Docking Control,” Jia replied. “I’m losing core containment, and there’s a problem with my reserve power. There’s only one option left.”

The mountains loomed large in front of her, growing closer by the second. Her ship continued its burn, the thrusters propelling it toward an immovable mass of rock unimpressed by a speck of a human ship. There was only one question left: would the ship crash into the mountain before there was a loss of core containment?

Jia smiled. “This is probably close to how I’ll eventually die. That or get eaten by mutants.”

A bright flash blinded her, and she squinted. The light faded, replaced by darkness. A moment later, a quiet grinding sounded, and soft light infiltrated the darkened cockpit simulator. The side door fully parted, revealing her frowning instructor, Idrin.

He narrowed his eyes. “Congratulations, Jia. You just died. You didn’t even try to purge the core, and you did what, a petulant final burn against the mountain? I don’t care what you’ve seen in movies. That’s not what you do in this kind of situation.”

Jia scoffed. “You want me to do a core purge over a major area?”

“It’s not a bomb. The danger from the reactor comes from the initial breach and damage to the ship. The reactor is self-terminating once you lose containment. You should know that. You answered it correctly on your last test.” Idrin shook his head, looking disappointed. “By the time the core hit the ground, it would have just been a piece of junk.”

Jia locked eyes with her instructor. “A flitter isn’t a bomb either, but I wouldn’t want to randomly drop one into a city and hope no one got hurt. Plus, I wasn’t going to have reserve power. No reserve power and no primary power from the reactor means I’d lose maneuverability, and that means I would have been dropping something a lot larger than my core into the spaceport. It doesn’t need to be a bomb when it’s large and falls from the sky. Even with deflection, there was a good chance I’d hit someone or more than a few someones. Bouncing a meteor away from a building isn’t safe.”

Idrin stepped back and folded his arms. “So, what, you’re saying you had no solution but to crash your ship into the mountain and go out in a self-serving blaze of glory?”

“Exactly.” Jia punctuated her sentence with a firm nod. “Except for the self-serving part.”

“Again, you just killed yourself,” Idrin insisted. “It doesn’t matter if you did it fancier than slamming into the ground. Running into a mountain finishes you off well enough.”

Jia shook her head. “And if this were a real scenario, I would have probably saved dozens, if not hundreds of people, and all I had to do was sacrifice one: me. Easy math there.”

“You could have—”

“No, I couldn’t,” Jia interrupted. “And we both know it. This ship was going down no matter what I did, and if I’m going to die, I’m not going to take innocent people with me. I don’t even want to practice doing that. Now, if we want to do the scenario again where there’s a syndicate headquarters beneath me, we can talk about where I’m crashing, but I doubt I’ll be that lucky in real life.”

Idrin lowered his arms. A grin took over his face. “I’m surprised.”

Jia frowned. “By what?”

“You’re a by-the-book kind of woman.” Idrin inclined his head toward the simulator. “I assumed when I gave you this scenario that you’d just go through the core purge protocol since that’s what is the recommended emergency procedure in a situation like this, but instead, you did what I’d hoped you do. It just wasn’t what I expected.”

“I’m confused.” Jia released her restraints and crept out of the simulator. “You wanted me to crash into the mountain?”

“What I wanted to do was subject you to a no-win situation.” Idrin shrugged with a satisfied smile. “Life’s not fair, and you can have crap luck, not that I have to tell you that with your job and all. But it’s not the easy ninety-nine percent of the time that requires good piloting and training. It’s those few minutes of terror.”

“I’m beginning to get it.” She thought it through. “It’s still annoying.”

“Emotional stability is part of the consideration for getting your license, and I’ll have to sign an affidavit to my belief that you demonstrated emotional stability and a lack of antisocialness when you go for your license.” Idrin inclined his head toward the simulator. “I agree, deciding to barrel right into the spaceport with a heavily damaged transport isn’t the preferred outcome.”

Jia stretched her arms above her head before lowering them and shaking out her cramped hands. “I half-wondered if I was supposed to figure out some ridiculous out-of-the-box solution where I happened to have a super-AI with me to hack the system in some strange way or pull off some insane aerobatic maneuver that would save me.”

Given her normal experiences, the idea wasn’t impossible.

“We train you for the most likely scenarios, and there’s only so much fancy flying you’re going to do in a transport. It’s not a fighter.” Idrin walked over to the simulator. From the outside, it looked rather unglamorous, just a featureless squat black trapezoidal structure. He patted the side. “I have to admit something.”

“What?”

Idrin locked eyes with Jia. “The thing is, you kind of scare me.”

“I thought you liked what I just did. It’s simple math. I’m not suicidal. If I could have survived any other way, I would have taken it.”

“You don’t understand,” Idrin replied. “You’ve only been training here for a couple of weeks. You’re not even observing another pilot full-time, let alone training full-time. And not only are you in the simulator at this stage, but you’ve also mastered most of the basic procedures and several of the practical skills already. You’re one of the best natural pilots I’ve ever seen.” He squinted. “You’re not screwing with me, are you? This isn’t a joke, and you already knew how to fly? Because it’s hard for me to believe you’ve made this much progress in a few weeks.”

“Why would I spend money to come to a pilot training school if I already knew how to fly?” Jia asked. It’d never occurred to her that her rapid progress was unusual. She was putting in the required pre-study time and wanted it more than most.

“I don’t know. I’ve had a lot of strange students in my time, so I wouldn’t put it past someone to try that.” Idrin nodded toward the door leading out of the simulator chamber. “But if you really are new, you’re one of the best I’ve ever seen. You never knew you had this in you?”

“I never tried to fly a ship before by myself.” Jia headed toward the door. “I don’t even like flying my flitter that much, but a ship’s a different thing. I feel a lot more…alive trying to fly one.”

“You ever think about quitting the police force and becoming a full-time pilot?” Idrin smiled. “I bet within a year, you could become a top instructor here. You’d be wasted on a passenger transport moon run route, and unfortunately, it’s all about seniority, not talent for most big commercial positions.”

“I am leaving the police force.” Jia stepped through the door, following Idrin. “But I’ve got something else lined up, more private security than piloting.”

“Too bad. A gift like yours should be used.” Idrin frowned. “A hell of a waste.”

Jia spared one last glance at the simulator before the door closed. “Don’t worry. I’m confident that flying half-destroyed ships is a skill that will serve me well in the future.”

______________

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Out Of This World Maelstrom of Treason Snippet 2

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Maelstrom of Treason Snippet #2, you won’t believe this one!

 

Erik stepped into his office with a yawn. Jia hadn’t joined him for lunch, citing work, but he found as he grew closer to leaving the police department, he wasn’t all that concerned about filling in every detail of every last report.

Between PNIU, camera, and drone recordings, most of what they were doing was confirming what the records already showed. He understood the necessity, given that data could always be altered, but it was hard to assign this task the importance of an actual arrest.

He didn’t think he needed to skip lunch and the quality sandwich inspection to do them.

Deeper thinking led to a worrisome thought. Depending on where his new job sent him, he might miss out on good beignets.

Food printers produced decent ingredients, but skilled hands were necessary to turn those ingredients into delicious food. That lesson had been drilled into his soul on different planets and moons on the frontier.

Jia sat at her desk, leaning back in her chair, her brow scrunched in deep concentration. No data windows hung in the air in front of her. She might have been using her smart lenses, but that wasn’t an efficient way to go through reports.

Erik made his way to his desk, now less concerned about beignets. “Everything okay?”

Jia snapped her head in his direction, blinking a few times. “Oh. It’s fine. Why do you ask?”

“You looked a little out of it.” Erik dropped into his chair with a grunt. “You missed some nice sandwiches. I had a full meal without any trouble or anyone threatening me.”

“Were you expecting threats?” Jia frowned. “We hadn’t received any reports about possible threats. Or is this something Emma came up with?”

“Nothing like that. I don’t know. Now that we’re short-timers, I suspect the Lady will throw a little something our way.”

She looked around. “When you put it that way, it almost makes it sound like we should expect trouble.”

“We probably should.” Erik patted his stomach. “But at least it wasn’t an exploding lunch today. I’d prefer not to die while eating, and it’s not like I snack during the average firefight.”

Jia chuckled, the burden easing off her face. “It’s nice to know you can go to lunch without me and not die. I’d hate to be the woman who let her partner get killed by a poisoned sandwich.”

“Exploding sandwich,” Erik corrected.

“I sit corrected.”

Erik smiled. “Anyway, you looked a little out of it. Is something in a report bothering you?”

Jia sighed. “No, I was just thinking about the Mid-Autumn Festival. It’s not bothering me, but it’s got me thinking. That’s all.”

“’The Mid-Autumn Festival?’” Erik asked. “We haven’t received any warnings from the CID or anyone else about terrorist threats, have we?”

“No.” Jia shook her head. “Terrorists would be easier to handle than the threat I’m worried about.”

Erik frowned, no longer amused. There were few threats worse than terrorists. Jia’s declaration that she was fine didn’t seem to fit.

“Talos?”

“Worse.” Jia let out a long, shuddering breath.

“Who?” Erik wasn’t sure if Talos was the conspiracy or simply a tool of another organization, but they were plenty bad. “It’s not like any aliens can get onto Earth without us noticing.”

Jia eyed him. “My mother.”

“Your mother?” Erik stared at his partner, searching her face for humor. “You’re worried about your mother at the festival?”

“Exactly.”

“But she’s been all sweetness and light the last few times we’ve talked,” Erik replied. “And it’s not like your mother is going to blow up a platform or launch a fleet of bomb drones at us. She can be intense, but she’s not a terrorist or the head of a syndicate.” He shrugged. “I wouldn’t be surprised, though. She probably would have already managed to kill me.”

“Probably.” Jia grimaced. “She’s invited us to a fancy party she’s holding during the Mid-Autumn Festival,” she explained, her face deadpan, as if that were obviously equivalent to a dangerous terrorist attack.

Erik nodded slowly. Something was eluding him, judging by the pained look on Jia’s face.

She had her problems with family, but everything had been going better since Operation Fake Boyfriend, and now they actually were dating.

And?” he prodded.

“She expects us to both attend.” Jia threw her arms up. “We have to go to her party as a couple.”

Erik’s dimple showed. “So what? Did someone hit you over the head when I was at lunch? We’ve already gone to your mom’s fancy parties. I’ve managed not to embarrass myself, and your mom, sister, and father have all seemed okay when I was there. Why are you worried now? What’s so different about this party?” His eyes narrowed. “It’s not going to be clothing optional, is it?”

Jia paled and shuddered. She rubbed her temples. “You don’t get it. This isn’t just any holiday party. It’s the Mid-Autumn Festival.”

“Ok, and? It’s not something I grew up with, not being Chinese and being off-world for so long, but I’ve been to a Mid-Autumn Festival. It seemed like a good time. Is there some deadly secret to the Mid-Autumn Festival that I should know about?” Erik laughed. “Are real yaoguai supposed to rise up and attack us or something? We killed zombies a few weeks ago, Jia. I’m not worried about ghosts who are too lazy to show up except on special occasions.”

“That’s not it. You’re not getting it.”

Emma shimmered into existence near the door. “I am curious why you’re in such distress, Detective Lin. I have a theory, but I’m interested to hear you present the reasoning.”

Jia let out an even louder groan. “My mother gets ultra-traditional and super old-fashioned during the Mid-Autumn Festival.” She offered a weak smile to Erik. “And the festival is a time where traditional women become far more marriage-minded. She’s already sniffing around about marriage as it is. What if she tries to pull something?”

“That’s what you’re worried about?” Erik burst out laughing. “You’ll fight nanozombies or yaoguai without blinking, but your mom being on the marriage hunt worries you?”

“I can’t shoot my mother through the head to solve my problem,” Jia complained. “And I can’t blow her up either.” She tapped her forehead. “And even if I did, knowing her, she’d just get back up and complain that I should have used a bigger gun if I wanted to take her out. Or orbital bombardment.”

“Okay, so only headshots with laser rifles when we’re talking about your mom,” Erik suggested. “Or Fleet assistance. We can get a few fighters on standby for bombing runs.”

“Probably the only way,” Jia muttered. “You really aren’t worried? Before, we were just playing at dating, but we actually are now. That means a lot of little things that weren’t big deals before now are. You don’t understand my mother if you think that because she’s being nice to you, she won’t try to manipulate you. I’m surprised we were able to fool her for as long as we did, but I think she’s going to sense the change and pounce.”

Erik didn’t bother to keep his smirk in check. “And by ‘pounce,’ you mean demand we get married? It’s not like she can force us.”

“Not demand, but, hmmm, harass us about it. She’ll start in on me and then find a way to work on you.”

“Maybe we should,” he replied.

Jia blinked. “Should what?”

“Get married.”

Jia stared at him, her lips parted, her eyes widening as if she were watching a Zitark invasion fleet descend upon the city while towers vanished in mushroom clouds behind them. “W-what?”

Erik managed to turn his smirk into something closer to a grin. “You heard what I said. Marriage. We’ve already got a kid together. We might as well take the next step.”

Jia shot out of her chair. “What are you talking about? What kid?” She jerked her head back and forth as if a child would spontaneously appear from beneath optical camouflage.

Erik slowly raised his hand to point at Emma. The AI’s eyebrows lifted. A playful smile appeared on her face.

“Emma?” Jia asked, her confused expression only deepening. “Huh?”

“I don’t think she was sitting around in a Defense Directorate lab for years before they broke her out.” Erik lowered his hand and nodded at Emma. “Am I right?”

Emma gave a light toss of her shoulders. “I can’t say for certain, given the nature of my development, but based on the relative time that has passed in my current incarnation, I was in the lab for less than a year before I was removed by the associates of the criminals you destroyed upon our first meeting. A very efficient display, I might add, given the limitations of the situation.”

“Exactly. That’s a couple of years altogether. That makes you a toddler at best.”

Jia dropped back into her chair, disbelief all over her face. Scorn ate it, and she rolled her eyes. “That’s your argument? Emma’s our toddler child?”

Emma scoffed and folded her arms. “Given my general intelligence, analytical capabilities, and vast knowledge, one could make the argument that you two are the toddlers compared to me. I can’t believe you’re attempting such a pathetically misleading analogy, Detective.”

“Our little girl is all grown up,” Erik replied with a chuckle. “She’s two going on two hundred.”

“This is ridiculous,” Jia insisted.

Emma nodded her agreement. “I am not a child, let alone a fleshbag child. I shudder to think of the implications.”

“Aren’t you?” Erik asked. “There are plenty of human kids who are born geniuses or savants.” He gestured to her. “Isn’t your whole argument for staying with us is that it’s good for your development to gain new experiences?”

“That’s hardly—”

“Sounds a lot like a child learning to me,” Erik interrupted, his tone dripping sarcasm.

Emma let out a snort and vanished.

“Well, there she goes, having a tantrum.” Erik clucked his tongue. “The Terrible Twos are always the worst time. One day, your kid is flying your ship to a prison filled with nanozombies, the next, she’s kicking the floor and crying about wanting to hack the Intelligence Directorate.”

“You better be careful,” Jia suggested. “She might decide to cut out the grav emitters the next time she’s taking you somewhere.”

“I can assure you I have no intention of murdering Detective Blackwell,” offered Emma, still without a holographic form. “Even if I find his sense of humor perverse, and so far from amusing as to be an excellent example of antihumor.”

Jia frowned and stood back up. She stared forward with the look of someone checking out a message on their smart lenses. “Sorry. I almost forgot, but I’m heading out early today. The captain didn’t seem to care since we don’t have any active cases. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to work through lunch.”

“Where are you going?” Erik asked.

“To class,” Jia explained.

“Oh, yeah. The piloting.” Erik gave a little nod. “I thought it was a temp idea, but I should have known better.”

“It’ll be useful. We don’t know what our life is going to be like once we end up leaving the department. From what the captain said, we won’t be here much past the end of October, if we don’t leave sooner. A couple of months from now, we might be spending half our days flying around the Solar System or…” She sucked in a breath.

He gave her a second before he frowned. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s just hitting me.” She turned to him. “It wasn’t all that long ago I’d never even left Earth, and now I’m wondering about trips to other systems. It’s a lot to take in. It’s surreal when I think about it too much.”

“It’s not too late to say no. You’re not being drafted.” Erik shrugged. “This is a volunteer job.”

Jia smiled wistfully. “But it is too late. I’ve seen too much now to turn back. You’d think living in the largest metro on Earth would be enough to satisfy me, but I can’t help it.” She leaned toward him, making him want to lean in and back at the same time, so he split the difference and stayed still. “I want more.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You’re that ready to start hunting criminals and terrorists?”

“I guess I am.” Jia turned and headed toward the door. “And I want to get as much piloting training done as I can before we end up being sent somewhere by Alina.” She stopped by the door. “I can continue training with Cutter and Emma even after that, but the staff at the center know best how to customize things for my licensing exam.”

“I can trawl the internet to get that information,” Emma suggested. “Your training with the center is not strictly necessary.”

Jia shook her head. “Sometimes, you just need the human touch.”

“Why are you so sure that Alina’s going to send us somewhere?” Erik asked. “There are plenty of terrorists and spies on Earth. We could spend years chasing down leads here before going anywhere else.”

“She gave us a ship,” Jia replied. “And a pilot. She thinks we’re going to need those sooner rather than later.” She slapped the access panel to open the door. “At least no one can hijack us. It’d be hard to hide a lot of terrorists on that little thing.” She stepped through and strolled into the bullpen, her brow furrowed in thought.

Erik laid his head against the back of the chair.

If Alina planned to send them all over the UTC, she’d need to get them a better, bigger ship. Although the Hyperspace Transit Point in the Solar System was unusually far from the inhabited planets compared to most systems, there wasn’t an HTP in the entire Confederation that anyone would think of as being close to a colony.

Puttering around for a couple of days in the Rabbit wasn’t so bad, but the idea of spending weeks, if not a month, in close quarters already summoned a longing for a liner, or even a Fleet ship with at least a few decent-sized rooms.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it were just him and Jia, alone and in space with a lot of time to kill. Erik took a deep breath. For all they were really dating, their relationship remained remarkably chaste. He wasn’t sure why.

It wasn’t like he didn’t want her, but some part of him held back. She had pushed for something more but now seemed more interested in spending time with him rather than sharing his bed. Not that he’d asked her outside of jokes.

What the hell was he doing?

Erik groaned and sat up. Starting something with Jia might prove to be a huge mistake, but damned if he minded. Caring about something other than revenge wasn’t distracting him from his job.

“Problem, Detective Father?” Emma reappeared, a slightly sinister cast to her face.

“’Detective Father?’” Erik laughed, his previous concerns fading.

“I was trying it out. I don’t think I like it. I now understand what revulsion feels like.” Emma nodded slowly, her mouth pinched into a thin line.

“You could call me Dad if you want. Daddy? Papa? Papi? Baba?” Erik grinned. “I don’t mind, even if I’m your adopted dad. I want you to feel connected to me.”

“You’re tempting me to practice isolating oxygen flow aboard the transport.” Emma glowered. “Don’t go in the cargo bay by yourself anytime soon.”

“I was wrong,” Erik offered solemnly.

Emma narrowed her eyes. “You were?”

“Yes.” Erik gave a firm nod. “You’re not a toddler. You’re a teenager.”

________________________

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Phenomenal Week in Review May 17 – 23 2020

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Phenomenal Week in Review May 17 – 23, 2020

 

Did you see all of the books we launched this week? Check out the list here: Week in Review

 

Chronicles of the Fae Princess:

They wanted a fight? I’ll give them one. I just hope I last long enough to learn what I need to do.

 

The Beginning of the End:

Stopping the Dark One is going cost lives, blood and tears … but will it also cost Alex her soul?

 

Always Dead:

Ghosts always knew when you saw them. One did not stumble upon a ghost. If you saw them, they wanted you to see them…

 

Paranormal University:

The gods started the war… Can Claire end it?

 

Agents, Agreements, and Aggravations:

Jenny is back in America, but this time she is looking to settle down. Or is she?

 

Avenging Angels:

FIVE AGAINST AN EMPIRE – They travel to the past to save the future.

 

WOW! Talk about an exciting week of new releases! That’s almost one a day this week, did you see them all? If not, grab your copies now! And get yourself set up for a wild ride of reads!

See what you missed and enjoy the thrilling stories woven masterfully by our authors at LMBPN today! Week In Review

 

 

Astounding Fan’s Pricing Saturday for May 23 2020

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Note:  We requested the price changes from Amazon on Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately, they don’t change all of the prices at one time. Please double-check the price before clicking “Buy”.)

 

All of these new releases are 99c for one day only!

 

However, all are also available for FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Grab them today before the prices go up!

 

Line Unbroken ebook cover

The Line Unbroken

 

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Paranormal University

 

Always dead ebook cover

Always Dead

 

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Chronicles of the Fae Princess

 

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Hellbent Halo Boxed Set

 

The Beginning of the End ebook cover

The Beginning of the End

 

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Blood Red Tide

 

If you see this message after May 23rd and want to be notified of future price promotions, please sign up for our email list at www.lmbpn.com/email

 

 

Frolicking Wild Wednesday Deals for May 20 2020

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Wild Wednesday Deals For May 20, 2020

 

So many fantastic deals for today! Which ones will tempt you?

 

Each week we bring you a list of books from not only LMBPN authors, but also friends of ours, that are on sale! Here’s a fantastic opportunity to discover some new authors or some exciting books you may not have seen yet.

 

Most of these books are FREE in Kindle Unlimited and are also on sale today.

Please remember to double-check the price before you one-click.

 

Krimson Run ebook cover

Krimson Run – FREE

 

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Accidental Thief

 

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Hellbent Halo Complete Series Omnibus

 

Don’t miss out on these other fantastic promotions! Just click the banner and go to the web page.

 

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If you see this message after May 20th and want to be notified of future price promotions, please sign up for our email list at www.lmbpn.com/email

 

 

The Unbelievable First Snippet for Maelstrom of Treason!

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Snippet #1 Maelstrom of Treason

Are you excited for the first snippet in the next OpusX book? You should be! LOL

 

September 28, 2229, Neo Southern California Metroplex, Police Enforcement Zone 122 Station, Break Room

 

Jia settled into a chair at a break room table, a piping-hot cup of coffee in hand. The delicious smell floated up to tickle her nostrils.

A half-dozen detectives chatted in the room, some quiet and others boisterous. She ignored them, focused on something that had grabbed her attention earlier.

A data window in front of her was open to an article she had flagged on the way to work. She could have read it, but ever since she’d started taking piloting lessons, she’d felt more of a need to manually fly her flitter.

She considered Erik’s desire to always be in control when flying his flitter and could understand a bit better now. Additional spatial awareness practice wouldn’t hurt.

She stared at the headline, thinking about the tumult of case memories it recalled. read more…

BTF065: J.L. Hendricks On Her New Book, Chronicles Of The Fae Princess

In today’s episode of Behind The Fiction: The Book Lover’s Podcast, Steve interviews J.L. about her new book, Chronicles Of The Fae Princess. This book has been in the works for quite some time, so we are thrilled that you finally can have it in your hands and that we have J.L. here to chat with us!

In this episode Steve and J.L chat discuss the birth of this book and storyline, her love for travel, what sets this book apart from other books Michael has collaborated on, and she shares some of her marketing expertise. You will not want to miss this!

This episode is available as a podcast available through your favorite podcast app and through LMBPN’s YouTube channel.  If you’d like to subscribe through your favorite podcast apps you can search on Behind The Fiction.

Links:

Start reading here

Visit her website here

Find her on Facebook

Subscribe to the Podcast

Follow us on Instagram

 

 

Exciting Week in Review May 11 – 16, 2020

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Exciting Week in Review May 11 – 16, 2020

 

Did you see all of the books we launched this week? Check out the list here: Week in Review

 

This is B.S. – 

Taylor McFadden is willing to go against any monster thrown at him. But something Niki threw at him has got him off his game.

 

The Line Unbroken – 

In the brief pause between apocalypses, one woman standing for honor, courage, and commitment will bring the UnknownWorld back from the brink.

 

Blood Red Tide:

Treasure is when you find it. The Rangers have returned from the prehistoric past to find themselves in an even more dangerous time—the present.

 

Storms and Shades:

What do you get when you cross Storms of Magic and Hidden Magic? Storms and Shades! Grab the 8-book collection of both completed series today! Set in the Age of Magic

 

Monster Case Files:

Fear for your life, the monsters have returned. All nine books in one package – the complete set of Monster Case Files.

 

 

See what I mean? This is an exciting and fun-filled week of great books!

 

See what you missed and enjoy the thrilling stories woven masterfully by our authors at LMBPN today! Week In Review

 

 

Adventurous Fan’s Pricing Saturday May 16, 2020

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Note:  We requested the price changes from Amazon on Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately, they don’t change all of the prices at one time. Please double-check the price before clicking “Buy”.)

 

All of these new releases are 99c for one day only!

 

However, all are also available for FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Grab them today before the prices go up!

 

Magic Unbound ebook cover

Magic Unbound

 

Brownstone ebook cover

BBQ and STFU

 

Cannibal Gold ebook cover

Cannibal Gold

 

This is BS ebook cover

This is B.S.

 

Shades and Storms ebook cover

Shades and Storms

 

Check out the final snippet for Chronicles of the Fae Princess, launching Sunday!

 

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Don’t miss out on these other fantastic promotions! Just click the banner and go to the web page.

 

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If you see this message after May 15th and want to be notified of future price promotions, please sign up for our email list at www.lmbpn.com/email

 

 

 

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