Triple Burn By Holly Bargo
“She looks tiny, almost like a child,” Bran commented, his voice pitched to a nearly inaudible volume.
“She doesn’t smell like a child,” Crow replied after drawing in a deep breath. He reached a clawed hand toward her. “I want to see her.”
Bran’s golden hand wrapped around his forearm and restrained him. “No. We proceed with caution.”
“She’s not going to harm us. Look at her. Her claws and teeth are blunted. Her body is soft. She cannot harm us.”
“But she could harm herself in her fear of us,” Gil admonished with a glare at their overeager Bridge. “Consider the risk she took in leaving the human embassy.”
“That was courage,” Crow argued.
“Inspired by fear,” Bran said. He rubbed a fingertip over one temple. “I feel her worry, her fright.”
“You feel her already?” Crow gaped.
“Aye. Our bond will be strong, so very strong. But not now, not yet. She will need time and persuasion.”
“Persuasion, not compulsion,” Gil said, biting off every syllable and directing a pointed glare at the berserker.
Crow lifted his lip, baring pointed teeth as he yanked his arm free of Bran’s hold. His brothers-in-arms could feel his need beating at him, the heavy urge to mate and impress upon her his possession of her. It was eating him alive.
“She will doubtlessly desire your strength and vitality, but not yet, Crow. Bide. Control yourself and bide until the time is right.”
“And who will determine that?” he snarled.
Bran’s golden eyes met the red-scaled Urib’s black eyes and held steady beneath the burning ire and impatience. None could withstand Crow’s rage, except Bran and Gil, and none as well as Bran. The golden Urib warrior wasn’t Prime of the Fangrys Triad for nothing. With a low growl of dissent, Crow subsided and lowered his eyes, submitting to his Prime’s will. Bran did not move while Gil removed their mate’s odd footwear. The shoes looked absurdly small in his big hands. After setting the shoes aside, he found a blanket and drew it over her.
“Sleep well, Ursula,” he murmured over her, running the back of his knuckle lightly over her cheek.
After last week's rant, I've settled down and really have nothing much to expound upon. I do have some updates for you, though.
The Book of the Month has been changed. February's featured book, Triple Burn, will be available as a free download the last weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) of the month. All other days, the e-book is only $0.99. The same goes for March's featured book, The Falcon of Imenotash. It, too, will be offered as a free download the last weekend of the month. Don't forget to leave a review of the book(s) you read.
On Friday last week, I had an interview with Tony Tellado who hosts Sci-Fi Talk. It's not live yet, but you can be sure announcements and the link to listen will go out when it is. The 20-minute interview discusses The Eagle at Dawn, the Immortal Shifters series, shape shifters in general, and the writing process. The last may disappoint, because I don't really have a process. Paranormal romance might not be what one thinks about with regard to science fiction, but let's hope it finds a receptive audience among the listeners anyway.
I have two more interviews coming up. One will be with AdriAnne Headen who hosts The Writers Television. This will be an face-to-face meeting in my hometown, probably at one of my favorite lunchtime eateries, Un Mundo Cafe. The interview with Ms. Headen has yet to be scheduled. The other interview will be on Thursday, April 2, at 5:00 PM EDST with Richard Dugan who hosts Peabody Award nominated Tell Me Your Story in Santa Barbara, CA. This will be both a live radio broadcast and podcast. The theme of our interview is "possibilities."
I have events coming up, too. On Saturday, March 21, I'll be at the Reader's Envy Legendary Book Bash at the Double Tree Suites in Lexington, Kentucky. My bestie, Cindra, will accompany and (probably) do much of the driving. Driving in unfamiliar cities unnerves me. Admission is free to the public. I'll have copies of my latest books to sell: Shot from the Hip (a collection of all my western short stories) and Hogtied (which was released on Valentine's Day). Whichever book(s) you read, please leave a review!
Speaking of events, more are coming up. Check the EVENTS page of the Hen House Publishing website for updates.
I've made decent progress on my next book, tentatively titled F-Stop. Another tentative title is Focus. The idea for this book sparked after yet another failed attempt to read a BDSM romance and, consequently, to like it. I know the sub-genre's popular, very popular. But I don't see the appeal of heroes who treat women with no respect and spineless heroines who roll over and take it. Regardless, this story is not focused on BDSM, but does have a strong theme of respect running through it. Can you hear Aretha Franklin singing now?
That's it for now. I'll probably be back to ranting next week.
Available on Amazon
A lengthy and increasingly unnerving interview lands Ursula a job as the event planner at a foreign embassy. Not until the government hustles her off to a different planet does she realize just how foreign that embassy is. When the U.S. ambassador hands over one of her coworkers during her first event as collateral to seal a trade agreement, Ursula breaks out of the embassy, determined to find a way back home before she, too, can be used as a bargaining chip in this world desperate for females.
What she doesn’t know as she navigates the unfamiliar streets of a totally alien culture and climate, is that she already caught the attention of a native warrior triad in a land where women are coddled and kept, yet prized above all else. They take her, elated to have obtained their collective heart's desire.
What they don’t know is how fiercely independent a woman from Earth can be. Disoriented, confused, and not a little angry at the way these three overbearing, dominant, sexy warriors take over her life, she wants to go home, but soon discovers this job was a one-way ticket courtesy of the United States government. If she can’t go back, she must go forward. Can she retain her identify and adapt to life on this new world with the three warriors who’ve claimed her as their mate? Is compromise possible between a woman used to controlling her own life and three warriors steeped in a culture that forbids it?
“Well, go on, Miss Cartwright. Up the ramp. The wormhole is open.”
“Miss Cartwright, you’re stalling.”
“You’ve been dishonest with me, Mr. Argosie. I never agreed to somewhere in outer space.”
The fat man frowned. “Miss Cartwright, you have two choices.”
The two soldiers drew pistols from the holsters at their hips and aimed them at her. Her eyes went wide with fright. Her sphincter clenched.
“You go through that portal or we kill you, because what you know cannot be divulged beyond this facility.”
“No one would believe me,” she muttered. “No matter. Make your choice now.”
Ursula swallowed the lump of fear clogging her throat and stepped forward, eyes locked on the black hole in the center of the room. Formed like an arched doorway, the gleaming metallic rim flashed with sparkles of sudden color like black opal. Her heels echoed in the nearly empty chamber as she trudged up the steel ramp toward an open doorway large enough for a Clydesdale to trot through. No sound penetrated the opening. She looked back over her shoulder. The grim expressions and leveled pistols convinced her to go forward. At least she had a chance of surviving by doing so.
She did not want to think there were worse things than death, but the thought occurred to her anyway.
She paused in front of the black void beyond the arched door frame and listened. No sound. She saw nothing. The world oubilette came to mind and she shuddered again. Ursula’s heart pounded as she crossed herself and whispered a quick prayer.
“Miss Cartwright, don’t make me push you through,” Mr. Argosie snapped with obvious impatience.
Ursula’s hand trembled with fear as she raised it with the intention of testing the portal with a finger, like dipping a toe into a pool to test the water. The empty blackness clamped down on her finger and sucked the rest of her through, her frightened yelp of surprise abruptly cut off before it could echo within the large, nearly empty room.
Flashes of color burst before her eyes and vanished as something squeezed her in its crushing grip and then spat her out. Frost rimed her exposed skin and she crumpled at the base of the portal, shivering uncontrollably.
“Quickly! Get her to the recovery room,” an authoritative, masculine voice ordered.
Hands grabbed her shoulders and legs and shifted her onto a stretcher. Ursula blinked, but could not focus her blurry vision. She whimpered when straps anchored her to the stretcher.
“Damn it,” the voice muttered as the loaded stretcher was hefted into the air and carried away. “I wish Argosie would better prepare new hires for the journey.”
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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