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ANNOUNCEMENT: Echoes of the Storm – Charlene Newcomb

Echoes of the Storm

QSFer Char Newcomb has a new MM sci fi romance out: “Echoes of the Storm.”

The battle for Torredo is over, but the war has just begun…

Jack Gamble’s lover is a double agent. Norse betrayed the resistance and now commands Galilei’s military operations.

Rallying what remains of the resistance and their galactic allies wasn’t part of Jack’s plans. His contacts are scattered, maybe dead. Streams are broadcasting his face from one end of the galaxy to the other, and mercenaries under the command of Captain Ben Stone intercept his ship.

Space pirates, friendly interrogators, security grunts, and Norse stand in Jack’s way. Can he trust Stone? The intriguing captain has his own problems with the empire – and an interest in Jack.

Jack isn’t looking for a one-night stand, and any emotional entanglements need to be off the radar. He has a rebellion to win and a world to take back. Failure means his people will never break the empire’s chains, and his homeworld is screwed.

Norse already did that to him.

He won’t let it happen again.

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Is this how it ends?

Jack Gamble swiped away the dark stray hairs clinging to his forehead. This defeat by Galilei—unimaginable. His people—dead, wounded, gone underground. The only thing worse? Fleeing with a small band of resistance fighters when he should have stayed behind to pick up the pieces.

His stomach tightened with guilt. He stared out the viewport from the jump seat as Encompass veered toward clouds tinged red by Torredo’s rising sun. Far below, a column of armored vehicles smoldered on the roadside, twisted, blackened scraps of metal. Fires in the capital created an eerie show of shadows and light across the early morning skies. The ship jinked through black, acrid smoke, which splattered the reddish canvas of clouds like brush-strokes, a death mark for Jack and his comrades.

Ship’s captain Matthew Chase cursed beneath his breath from the pilot’s seat. His modified transport was a cut above most ships in Riga’s fleet, covertly outfitted with super-charged engines and ultraebon composite shields.

Chase might get them out of this jam.

The ship shuddered, a blast from a Galilei crusader singeing its shields. Jack’s head smashed into the leather seatback. Behind him, circuitry along the corridor sparked and sizzled. He gripped the armrest, stomach churning, his mind on Ari Norse’s betrayal.

My fault. I did this…

Ari—his cell leader in the resistance. His lover. 

The thought sickened Jack. What had he revealed to Ari?

The transport dodged another blast.

“Just take me to the firing squad,” Jack mumbled.

Cloe Detreson swatted at him from across the narrow aisle. “I didn’t hear that.” She stood five feet tall in combat boots. Her hair was dirty blond, shorter than Jack’s. That, and her round, angelic face always got her stares. Or maybe it was the boots. She wore them even when she wasn’t in gray-brown camo fatigues. That face belonged in the colony choir, but sniping beat out singing any day, especially if it meant overthrowing the Galilei. “Risked my butt dragging your vid-star pretty ass up the ramp of this boat,” she said. “Don’t think I’ll let you off that easy. Besides, we can’t help our friends if we’re dead.”

Blasts from a crusader clipped the hull and rocked the transport, but Cloe’s words were the kick Jack needed, the jolt sharp as a slap.

Jack bolted from the jump seat, wrangling into the co-pilot’s chair with a nod to Chase. The transport was bigger than anything he’d flown, but the controls weren’t much different. Sensors showed enemy ships at their six. Weapons? Mother of Colonists! This was a transport. A fast one with extra shielding, but not one laser torpedo or cannon to be had.

Another crusader appeared off the starboard bow at ninety degrees. Gauges on the control panel blinked like a holiday display. “We’re in his cone,” Jack said, tapping keys to create a barrage of anti-missile sigs from the ship’s comm array. 

“Hold tight!” Chase veered sharply, taking the ship into a wild spin. Lights from a dozen indicators swathed his face in harsh colors.
ack’s gut lurched into his ribs. He felt every vibration, and wished that was enough to numb his brain. His gaze dropped to his knuckles whitening on the controls. He said he loved me.

Ari hadn’t just betrayed him. He had betrayed everything they’d been fighting for. Bastard.

His eyes were drawn back to the sensors and blinking green lights confirming their tail was Galilei-free. “Clear,” he reported.

Cloe was almost the same shade of green as the indicators. Shooting out of atmosphere was not her thing. Her forte was ground-based and stealth ops like Jack’s, but with a heavy dose of bomb squad mixed in.

Jack hadn’t flown missions against the enemy, but his association with Torredo’s elite had its perks. He trained with the best, including aces from air command. Jack could move about society undetected as a member of the resistance, the spoiled, but well-liked heir of the most powerful family on the planet. It took little effort to take his public façade a step further with his carefree playboy lifestyle—fast ships, fast friends. He could leave politics to the politicians and turn a blind eye to Galilei’s galactic transgressions.

But Jack detested every bit of Galilei’s history. One world after another had been ravaged. Galilei stripped resources, and ignored, even encouraged, rampant corruption. The Grand Emperor dissolved the legitimate Ruling Council of Torredo. Thousands were arrested and executed without trial.

When Ari contacted him to work with the resistance, Jack didn’t think twice. He was in.

And Ari used him. Worse, he let Ari…Norse… He let Norse use him.

Author Bio

Charlene Newcomb. Char. That’s me.

Welcome to my worlds.

Librarian (retired).
Veteran, U.S. Navy.
Mom to 3 grown, amazing people.
I live in Kansas. Yes, Toto. Kansas.

Born & raised in South Carolina, I wanted a life of adventure and travel. I realized that dreams of hitting the big time with my all-girl rock band Liberation were just that – dreams. And becoming an astronaut wasn’t in the cards. So I joined the Navy to see the world and spent six years as a communications technician/voice language analyst. I fit college into my life (BA in History, and many years later an MA in Library Science).

That desire to travel in space translated into writing science fiction: I published 10 short stories in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, many featuring a Rebel underground freedom fighter named Alex Winger. I have published 4 novels, one a contemporary family saga, Keeping the Family Peace; and 3 books in the Battle Scars series: Men of the Cross, For King and Country, and Swords of the King, historical fiction set in the 12th century and featuring gay protagonists. Battle Scars allows me to share my love of history with readers. With Echoes of the Storm, I am returning to my SCIFI roots.

Travel remains a passion, with only time & money standing in the way. I enjoy quiet places in the mountains or on rocky coasts. But even in Kansas I can let my imagination soar.

I am a contributor and blog editor for English Historical Fiction Authors.

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