THE FIRST ENTRY IN A NEW SCIENCE FICTION SERIES…
Against the background of an interplanetary war comes the story of Allan McAllister and N’Sagar sh’en Singh.
He’s a Paxist, a believer in peace, forced by the United Terran Federation into military service to punish his treasonous kinsman. She’s the daughter of a Felidan pride chief, one of the enemy, but there’s no hatred in her heart for the lone Terran marooned on her planet.
Thrown together, then torn from each other by the aftermath of a war neither wanted, their love will be a tragedy and a triumph as a man sworn to walk the road of Peace is made to follow the dictates of War and suffer its consequences.
This is their story…
Pardee had a package from Shelagh. Home-made cookies. He opened the little box, offering it to Allan. The smell of ginger and cane sugar wafted out. “Gingerbread raisin. Have one, Mal.”
“Why do you call me that?” Allan asked, selecting a large, thick wafer. He inhaled the spice’s sharp scent. It made his mouth water. Taking a bite, he spoke through the sweet mouthful. “My name’s Allan. I don’t use my middle name.”
“No, you’re Mal. Short for Malcolm, aye.” Jon picked his own cookie, ate it in two bites before going on. “But mal also means “bad” an’ you’re a bad boy, Allan Malcolm McAllister…just like I am. Whether you want t’ be or not.”
“What do you mean you’re bad? I don’t see anyone beating up on you. They may be a little deferential to you but at least you aren’t ostracized like I am.”
“Is that your way o’ askin’ about me background? For if ’tis, I’ll be tellin’ a sordid tale, boyo.” Pardee could turn the thickness of that Irish accent on and off at will, but it always became more pronounced when he got serious. He picked another cookie.
“I guess I am,” Allan replied. “I’ll admit I’m curious. You’ve become my friend, Jon, and I can’t help wondering why. Is it for the notoriety, or are you just a glutton for punishment? It certainly can’t be because of my winning personality.”
“Now that…” Pardee pointed at him with the second cookie, closing one eye in a weird little squint just short of a wink. “…is where you’re wrong. I’ll admit I felt sorry for you at first, but it didn’t take me long to see you an’ I are alike in a way, an’ if an’ when things get down to basics where’er we’re goin’, ’tis you I want guardin’ me back, Mal. Just as I’ll be guardin’ yours.”
That floored Allan. That this man who was almost a stranger would come right out and say he trusted him with his life and would be willing to protect him, too.
“In that case…you’d better tell me how you became a bad boy, Private Pardee. Give me the whole, sordid mess.”
Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and a diploma in Graphic Art and also produces book videos. Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone. Her novels have garnered awards from The National Writers Association, Preditors & Editors, The Maryland Writers Association, and The Paranormal Romance Guild. In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books. She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the Paranormal Romance Guild. Recently she was named a professional reader by netgalley.com.
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