Release date: 19 May 2014
Darius Starlaw is the commanding officer in control of the starship Titan. He’s charged with bringing back a murderous space vampire and will do whatever it takes to see his mission succeed. With him, the operation is less a matter of duty than a sworn vendetta. Every moment his suspect remains free is one more he has to live with memories of what that killer did. He and his intrepid crew have chased their man to one of the most primitive planets in existence: Earth. Still, orders are orders and Darius will see his suspect in irons.
San Diego Police Officer Laurel Blake doesn’t know aliens from other worlds exist. Like almost every other cop on the planet, she’s got her plate filled with other, more important, day-to-day matters like chasing down and arresting thieves, drug dealers, and murderers. One night as an undercover operative in Balboa Park utterly destroys her well-ordered concept of the universe and everything in it.
When Darius’s and Laurel’s duties force them to work together, their lives drift from one adventure to the next. Laurel doesn’t trust the so-called spaceman who’s so bombastically dropped into her life. And Darius believes Laurel, as an Earth denizen, is far too technologically backward to do her job properly or to be of any use at all.
The pair has two choices: They can work together to take their mutual suspect back to Darius’s home planet of Luster, or they can remain enemies and risk seeing a murdering savage go free. It’s not only a battle for justice but a war between hearts.
by Candace Sams
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Candace Sams is known for writing fight scenes and police procedure into her books, drawing on experience in law enforcement and as a member of the US Kung Fu Team. Find Candace Sams at www.candacesams.com, on Facebook , and on Twitter @CandaceSams.
An excerpt from Starlaw:
Darius listened intently as a seemingly last request was made. After it was done, the man referred to as Martinez closed his eyes and went limp. He breathed his last.
“Commander … what did he say?”
Darius sighed heavily, ran one weary hand across his face and the back of his neck. “He wanted me to ‘look after my partner … the woman who was with me.’ Those were his exact words.”
Piercing alarms tore through the stillness.
“I think those are warnings coming from conveyances. If memory serves, they’re called sirens,” Darius said. “We’re out of time. I don’t want to encounter innocents not knowing if even stunners will do permanent damage.” He looked down at the unconscious woman.
“We need to go now, Gemma.”
“Sir, we can’t leave her. She’ll die if we do,” the medical technician insisted.
He slowly shook his head. “You know our orders. We’ve interfered all we dare. ”
“Sir … please. We can’t leave her. You said she’s probably an enforcer … like us.”
Darius touched the unconscious human woman’s face. She was shivering, indicating shock was taking hold.
“Sir? Let me try to help her,” Gemma pled.
“Orion’s blood!” He gazed down at the still figure before them and made a decision for which his entire crew might suffer.
A dying man had begged for this woman’s life. If someone he cared for were lying there, what would he do to give them one more chance?
An old wound opened and he knew the answer to the question. His crew would understand. The punishment, if there was to be any, would be much less harsh for saving a life than if he’d taken Goll’s. If he had his way, that penalty was to be his and his alone.
“Get moving. I’ll take her aboard but I have one last duty to perform.”
“Thank you, Commander!”
He watched as Gemma made her way out of the clearing.
Alone with naught but the dead and one injured human, he stood. Then he set his sidearm to maximum.
“I grieve with those who will never know what happened to you. But know your deaths were not in vain. Justice will be served … you will rest in peace,” he murmured just before he fired and incinerated the bodies of the dead around him as well as all their weapons.
There could be no evidence as to the existence of an advanced race. Leaving dead behind—dead whose wounds were produced by highly unconventional weaponry—was in violation of supreme code. Let the local constabularies ponder the burned clearing and conclude what they might. There’d be any number of reasons for such a thing, but none rationally involving advanced races from other worlds.
Like the men he’d just incinerated, no one would ever know what happened to the girl. But if he took her aboard the Titan and she did live, she could never know this world again. Rules prohibited returning her.
He easily scooped up the injured girl’s body then followed Gemma out of the clearing.