Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Marcher Lord Press – October 2011 The desolate world Mikuhr is home to a proud people now on the verge of extinction. Conflict explodes when apprentice priest Kiel Caldwell arrives to investigate rumors of new spiritual revelation, but he is kidnapped by a renegade who thinks he might be a predicted messiah. And when Kiel's loose-cannon military brother Kinnor arrives to investigate, it's up to returning Mikuhran diplomat Wind Haworth to head off a conflict that could have spiritual, political, and military repercussions—but no one has foreseen the consequences of introducing diplomat Wind Haworth to military Sentinel Kinnor Caldwell. "Wind and Shadow transports readers into the same vibrant story world that Tyers created for her popular `Firebird' trilogy. Once again she blends high stakes adventure and heroic sacrifice with a seamless science fiction setting. Her rich characters capture our hearts as they grapple with faith questions along with dire dangers. Suspenseful and thought-provoking." —Sharon Hinck, author of the award-winning Sword of Lyric series Chapter 1 Wind Haworth had risen early, eager to face this day. She sat on a stone bench inside Haworth housing's broad courtyard, calling up the day's tasks on her handheld: Main Air, meet shuttle at Inport— He's finally arriving. Overhead, past the courtyard's transparent ceiling, the big outdoor day lights flickered on. For one moment, Wind made out the higher, thicker dome skin of Baseline Settlement outside the clan's housing blister—three layers protecting her from Mikuhr's airlessness. Above the courtyard dangled dozens of ceiling streamers, the thinnest mere gossamer ribbons. Even the heavy narrative hangings helped young air flow techs study fluidic patterns, since Clan Haworth maintained air quality inside Baseline Settlement. Wind Haworth simply liked sitting here to watch the thin ones dance. Like flickering flames, they revealed unseen air currents, working together with the heavier hangings—just as she wished her own people would work with the occupying Federates. For many of her conquered people, that was a traitorous hope. But he's coming today. Maybe he can help with that. Her broad green sleeve had gotten draped over her handheld. She pulled it away to eye her list once more: First, a fast check of Main Air's master board. Report any anomaly to Occupation Governor Dardy as well as her clan great-aunt, Dowda Haworth. Second, in the time slot when she normally met with Governor Dardy— He's arriving today! No one ever visited Baseline Settlement. The world of Mikuhr was occupied, blockaded, and proscribed by Federate Regional Command. Maybe her guest—here on a special waiver—would join her for list item #3, her environmental committee meeting— The handheld let out a blat, and Wind nearly dropped it. She touched the screen to receive the incoming message: Get in here, girl. Wind gathered her flowing green robes around her and hurried to Dowda Rava Haworth's office. Oddly, Dowda Haworth was not sitting behind the stone surface of her desk. The Dowda wasn't tall, but she stood aggressively upright, as if she would like to challenge the Federate occupation force. Straight black hair dangled to her waist, and keen black eyes gleamed over her narrow cheeks. Thanks to selective breeding she looked thirty, or possibly forty. She was 108. Beneath another set of streamers, a stranger lounged in the comfortable side chair. His long face, black hair and eyes were typical of her people. She saw those features each morning as she washed and dressed. But through her mind's shields came an eerie, unfamiliar chill. Although his face looked unlined at first glance, fine wrinkles surrounded his eyes. He had to be even older than the Dowda, maybe the oldest person Wind had ever met. That meant he'd been an adult before the world fell to Federate forces. He might have been tube born in the Golden City. He would not call himself Mikuhran—but Shuhr. "Come in and shut the door," the Dowda snapped. Wind cautiously strengthened her mental shields and walked into the office, sending the door closed behind her. On the chamber's opposite side, shaded by a light filtering pane, hung a tapestry woven with bold geometric designs, a treasured artifact of the lost home world of Ehret. Since the Dowda had spoken aloud, Wind took that as her cue. She should not subvocalize mind-to-mind in front of this stranger, who might take it as an insult. Early childhood memories made her want to run and hide. When she'd been a child growing up on green Thyrica, the Shuhr—City people, like this man—had stalked her nightmares. A female City scout had eyed her for several seconds one day before deciding, apparently, she was not worth the trouble to torture and kill in some hideous experiment. Wind took her position at the Dowda's left hand. "So you're the one." The stranger spoke with a sneer. Wind stared back at him, still unauthorized to answer. The old caste rules came crashing back: When a powerful telepath spoke aloud, he meant it as a grave insult. Wind kept her emotions as passive as she could. If she provoked him, he would kill without a second thought. He finally stood, and words slithered into Wind's mind. A Caldwell. You're bringing us a Caldwell. Chilly disdain overlaid those silent words. Several weeks ago, Wind had queried the Federacy about a local spiritual issue. To her delight, they were sending a Na'marr or priest in training, a man she already admired. Kiel Caldwell. This time, the stranger wanted an answer. Wind used submissive vocal speech. "Sir, I did not request him, but I'm glad he's coming. Surely you've heard the rumors. New wisdom, encoded in the ancient holy books—found by a Mikuhran. Can you imagine how that could raise our standing in Federate eyes?" Who cares about Federate eyes? He kept staring, lips unmoving. In her mind's eye he appeared as a blur of raw power. Anyone besides you? You abandoned us. You are not welcome back. She gathered her courage. In front of her clan aunt, the highest local leader in Baseline Settlement, it might be safe to argue. I abandoned no one. I was taken as a five-year-old, stolen from my home, brought to a world where I was seen as an enemy. Catching herself, she suppressed the old anguish. Sir, we share the Sentinels' ancestry. Those holy books are ours, too— A Caldwell! He barely closed a hand down at his side, as if gripping something invisible. Among Golden City Shuhr, that had been a threatening gesture. We danced with that family for ten generations. Such fun, dangling their own prophecies in front of them. He widened his lips in an awful smile. His teeth looked as if they'd been artfully stained blood red. Don't say you weren't warned. © 2011 Kathy Tyers, used by permission. Do not reprint or reproduce without permission. To read the rest of Chapter 1, visit www.kathytyers.com. To order in paper or ebook format, visit www.marcherlordpress.com. DUTY TO PROTECT Roxanne Rustand December, 2011
Love Inspired Suspense She needed a safe haven... After nearly a lifetime in witness protection, Emma White depends on the anonymity of her false identity. But when her mother dies under suspicious circumstances, her father is shot and Emma is framed for murder, all of her security is gone. There's nothing left to do but run. Montana cop-turned-rancher Jake Kincaid is an unlikely defender. Why would an ex-cop believe an accused killer? Though he is determined to find the truth, he is an honorable man who makes Emma feel safe. With his drive to protect her, she knows staying on his ranch endangers him both and she needs to leave--yet now that he has captured her heart, she's not sure she can walk away. CHAPTER 1 The soft blanket of new snow glittered under the street lamp and muffled her steps as Emma strode from the city bus stop at the end of the block to the side door of her garage. Anxiety twisted her stomach into a tight knot of fear. The snow could muffle the sound of someone else's steps, too. And even now, that unknown person could be watching her. Waiting. Just as he had waited for her father last week. She'd been only a few feet away from her dad, pushing a cart of groceries in the busy Safeway parking lot. He'd suddenly faltered to a stop. Started to whisper a warning to her. "We've got to leave," he'd said urgently. "I just saw-- Then he'd fallen face first, a widening pool of crimson spreading through the slushy snow beneath him. He died at her feet, and she hadn't even heard the gunshot. Had he seen his killer's face? Why hadn't the shooter taken her out, too? The melee of screaming, frightened people running for cover would have given the shooter ample opportunity to pull the trigger, and he probably wouldn't have missed. From the perfect placement of the single bullet in her father's skull, the cops figured the killer possessed ample sniper experience. Which meant it was someone sent by the drug organization that had been trying to kill Emma and her family for over ten years. And now she was the only one left. Taking a slow breath, she willed away the horrific images of blood and panicking people, and willed her heartbeat to slow. I'm okay. I'm almost home. She unlocked the door of the garage and slipped inside, then rounded the rear bumper of her old Blazer, thankful that the dark, smoke-tinted windows hid its contents. No one could look inside and guess at what she planned to do tomorrow--not that anyone was likely to drop by. No one ever did. The witness protection program was no place to make friends. From somewhere inside the house came a thud. She paused, her hand on the door leading from the garage into the tiny entryway off the kitchen. That hadn't been the sound of the furnace kicking in. There was no one else who had a key. A crazy longing flitted through her thoughts. It's just Dad-- But he was dead and so was her mom, and now she totally and forever alone. Surely she was just hearing things. She lowered her gaze to the doorknob. Started to fit her key into the deadbolt. But then she heard another thud. An anguished moan. And were those voices inside? Not possible. She'd locked all the doors and armed the security system when she left. Not even her WITSEC contact knew the code--yet there were intruders inside. So where were the sirens? The squadron of patrol cars that should be closing in? Had the alarm even triggered? Warning bells sounded in her head. An inner voice screamed at her to run. Rising on her tiptoes, she braced her trembling fingertips on the doorframe for a quick glance through the rectangular window set high in the door. A narrow separation of the loose-woven curtains on the inside revealed just a slice of the kitchen, but the bright lights inside illuminated more than enough. Horror and disbelief swept through her as she stumbled away from the door, caught herself, and swallowed hard, trying to hold back a wave of sudden nausea. A body was lying face down on her kitchen floor, the hilt of her favorite carving knife rammed upright into his back. And the dark, wet crimson pool spreading from beneath him couldn't be anything but blood. Roxanne Rustand www.roxannerustand.com Available at www.bn.com , www.amazon.com , www.christianbook.com and fine bookstores everywhere-- This material is copyrighted. Do Not Reproduce without permission.

1 comment:

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