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New Release | Searching Among the Stars by @vickyburkholder #futuristicromance #romance #bookboost
Title: Searching Among the Stars
Author: Vicky Burkholder
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Cass Brennan makes her living scavenging artifacts and searching for her lost parents, while piloting her spacecraft. When she discovers an ancient ship, everyone rushes to steal her prize. Along with her godfather, and Zack Anderson, who she admires for his expertise with engines, gentle manner, and handsome features, Cass refuses to go down without a fight. Zack is on a search also—to find who’s responsible for destroying his family. He doesn’t want to believe the beautiful, brave, and talented woman he’s trying hard not to fall for is the one he seeks. The more he gets to know Cass, the idea of her being a murderer is ridiculous, and he is definitely ready to take the next step in their relationship. Zack and Cass are betrayed and then stranded on an unforgiving planet. While nature’s forces try to kill them, they fight to stay alive.
Cass hated hiding, but better subterfuge than trying to fight the Dagger. At the moment, she was outgunned, outmanned, and her ship was damaged.
She didn’t have the power to outrun Ian, but maybe… “There!” Cass headed for a nearby asteroid belt. Her little ship, the Seeker, was more maneuverable than Ian’s bigger one.
“Cassie, darlin’, you wouldn’t be thinking of going into that belt now, would you? Might make me think you don’t want to see me.”
Cass barely kept from gagging at Ian’s smarmy tone.
“We could be good together, Cassie. Real good.”
Another blast rocked the Seeker.
“If we could be so good, why the hell are you firing on me?”
“Just trying to get you to see reason, darlin’. With your record for finding abandoned ships and my resources, we could clean up around here.”
“Yeah. You could use some cleaning up.” She ducked behind a large asteroid, then shot straight down to a smaller one and tucked in under an overhang. The high tritanium content of the surrounding rock would effectively hide her from his scanners. “Delta, go dark.”
“Not without your full suit on.”
“Damn it, go dark. I’ll get my helmet and gloves.”
She hated when her AI went all controlling on her. But that’s what she’d paid for. An AI that actually thought for itself.
“B…B…boss, we g…g…got a problem.”
“Another one? What now, Delta?”
The ship shuddered, then went still. Completely still. And dark. Cass felt her straps cutting into her shoulders as weightlessness set in. That was odd. Usually when she told Delta to go dark, the AI just turned off the main power, not the gravity. And definitely not before she was ready. Cass unbuckled from her seat and floated back toward the airlock and her helmet and treasures.
She flicked on her wrist lamp even though she could find her way through her ship blindfolded. But the little circle of light was a comfort.
“Delta?” Cass grabbed her helmet and clamped the seals to her suit. Delta never went dead. Delta was her right hand out here in the vastness of space. Her companion and more. Yes, she was just a computer and could be replaced, but…she was Delta. “Delta!”
Cass headed for the engine room. What she found hurt her heart. A gaping hole about as big as her helmet marred the smooth outer wall. Liquids bubbled and floated from multiple leaks, and wires hung from the hole. As for the engine, that was also dead, judging from the leaks emanating from the central core.
“Damn it. You will pay for this, Ian! I swear, if it’s the last thing I do, you will pay for this.”
Cass dashed back to her workroom and grabbed the largest piece of plasticine she could find and some sealant and ran back to the engine room. She sealed the hole and accessed the control panel, but the damage was done. And so was her ship. Cass was going to have one hell of a story to tell her friends Omar and Katie when she got back.
If she got back.
Shoulders slumping, she went back up to the bridge and toggled on her emergency beacons. “To any ships in the area, this is Cass Brennan on the Seeker. Emergency alert. I repeat, emergency alert. I am dead in the water here. Emergency alert.” She added in her coordinates and set the signal to repeat. She prayed that anyone other than Ian would hear her call and get her, though at this point, she didn’t have much choice. If Ian came, she’d take his hospitality, knowing doing so would cost her dearly.
She went back to the workroom and secured the statuette in packing materials and her bag of crystals on a shelf. Then she went down to the engine room and did what she could to patch the leaks and reconnect wires, all the while knowing her work probably wouldn’t help, but even a useless task was better than waiting around. Cass blew out a sigh of relief as the emergency lights powered back on. That meant she might be able to get life support back.
As she finished the last of the patches, her suit beeped at her. She was almost out of air. If someone didn’t get to her soon… She gasped as all her systems red-lined. If she kept still, she might have three minutes of air left. Maybe. She tried hard not to panic.
“Cass? Are you all right?” The welcomed and worried voice of Zack Anderson, her partner Ben’s friend—and her…what? She wasn’t sure what to call him. He wasn’t exactly a boyfriend, but there were definitely sparks between them, though she’d only known him just over a year. But as his voice came over her helmet com, she closed her eyes in relief.
“Zack? How…?” She shook her head and answered his question. “One of Ian’s shots hit my engines. I’m dead in the water, life support’s out, and my suit’s almost done as well. Wait, what happened to Ian?”
“We sent him packing.”
“What? How? We who? And how are you out here?” She gasped as her air died out. “Can’t breathe.”
“We’re coming. Hang tight.”
As Cass fought for every breath, she wondered how he had gotten to her so fast. There wasn’t enough time for him to get here from Pointe Noir station since she’d sent out her call.
Dark spots clouded her vision when she saw an angel. And gasped in fresh air.
“Shh. Just breathe. I got you.”
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Barnes & Noble: Searching Among the Stars by Vicky Burkholder, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)
The Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/searching-among-the-stars/9781509244690
The Wild Rose Press https://www.thewildrosepress.com/bookauthor/vicky-burkholder
As her alter-ego, Vicky has multiple homes all over the universe. She looks human - for the most part - but when she starts writing about characters being able to move things or flicking fire from their fingertips, or changing the course of rivers, people tend to get a little freaked out. She found the one guy out there in the universe who loves her for who she is and they've been together forever and raised four wonderful (now) adults. Her career includes work as a technical writer/editor, a stringer for the local newspaper, and an editor and copy editor for various publishers. At various times in her life, she has been a teacher, a secretary, a short-order cook, a computer specialist, a DJ, and a librarian. When not editing or writing, she can be found in the kitchen creating gluten free goodies for her family.
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