Lieutenant Commander Verly Black is ready to leave the atrocities of war behind and immigrate to the planet of Livre, where he can build a future away from the ghosts of his past. He doesn’t expect to find a kindred spirit in councilman Naite Poli–a man with secrets as dark as Verly’s own and bearing the scars to prove it.
Both men have done what was necessary to survive–Verly in battle and Naite in defense of his family–and they’re haunted by memories that leave them wary of trusting others. As they circle each other, the political maneuvering around them grows more dangerous, with the outer worlds trying to force Livre into one alliance or another. Some still view Verly as a killer and a spy, and they’re determined not to let him forget what he’s done.
Others fear the implications of a military officer sharing the bed of a councilmember. When the rebel alliance moves beyond threats, Verly and Naite must push through the pain of their pasts and stand together to fight for the future of their world.
VERLY HELD the edge of his seat, feeling the machine struggle through the air. The seat vibrated and the vehicle rolled a little left and then banked to the right before evening out for all of two and a half seconds and then repeating the cycle. Verly understood the irony of a pilot bothered by the bucking of a shuttle as it fought its way through air, but normally he was the one in control. He trusted his own flying more than Lieutenant Gilson’s.
“How’s it going?” he asked.
“Not much longer, sir.” Gilson managed to sound almost respectful, but Verly had seen the sneer when Gilson had first heard his name.
Sometimes Verly wondered how he would handle an entire planet of people who didn’t recognize his name, assuming he could call Livre a planet. Today, the Planetary Alliance would never allow colonization or even mining in such a fragile environment. The planet had huge mountain ranges that interrupted deep deserts and an underground water supply too contaminated with poisons for human consumption. That led to a relatively limited range of flora and fauna.
Back before the civil war and before ships could carry people to countless systems, humans had put boots down on planets that could barely sustain them. They terraformed and carved out niches in places where no human should go. Most of those colonies had failed, but against all odds Livre was still here. And now Verly was going to make this one small planet his home–his refuge from the past and the mistakes that still haunted him. Step one had been learning all about this new home of his.
Honestly, Verly had studied the ecosystem out of a desire to avoid ending up a meal for some carnivorous plant or rodent, which Livre seemed to specialize in. He’d fought in space for most of his life… fought the dirty war of terrorism and bombs that had followed the official end of the Alliance War. So dying with his foot in some pipe trap while rat-sized mammals ate him… that was not an option.
Of course, thirst posed as much of a danger as the plant life or the local predators. Naturally occurring pure water was too rare for human survival, but huge tankers had once landed on Livre carrying water to begin the terraforming. That had been before Verly’s birth. He hadn’t even heard of Livre before its two rather eccentric ambassadors had negotiated an interesting treaty that put Livre off-limits to all but preapproved applicants on official business.
Verly had one of those rare visas.
As a planet, Livre left a lot to be desired. He wouldn’t find cities or long rails for aircars or shuttle launches. He wouldn’t live in sealed buildings or even walk manicured natural spaces with carefully controlled ecosystems. This was a border world like Verly had never seen before, and he wasn’t sure what he could expect to find.
People as odd as Ambassadors Gazer and Polli.
Citizens who didn’t look at him oddly the moment they recognized his name.
DSP Publications: Click Here
Amazon: Click Here
Lynsey “Lyn” Gala is a voracious reader. Westerns starring men with shady pasts gave way to science fiction with questionable protagonists, which eventually became any story with a morally ambiguous character. Even the purest heroes have pain and loss and darkness in their hearts, and that’s where she likes to find her stories. Her characters seek to better themselves and find the happy (or happier) ending.
When she isn’t writing, Lyn Gala teaches history in a small town in New Mexico. Her favorite spot to write is a flat rock under a wide tree on the edge of the open desert where her dog can terrorize local wildlife. Writing in a wide range of genres, she often gravitates back to adventure and BDSM, stories about men in search of true love and a way to bring some criminal to justice… unless they happen to be the criminal.