PRINCE OF LUSTER
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Publisher: Crimson Romance (July 14, 2014)
Genre: Futuristic Romantic Action/Adventure
Formats: Print and e-book
Sequel to STARLAW…
This is a full length e-book novel available in many venues. It will be followed soon in print version.
Marcos Starlaw is as charming and arrogant as Constellation League officers come. Women love him and his family considers him an endearing rake. He bears no small opinion of himself, but his ever-present and often infuriating swagger is about to be permanently subdued.
Sent on an undercover mission to a mining planet called Delta Seven, Marcos poses as a gem merchant who’s fallen on hard times. He’s supposed to find out why, after many months of silence, the inhabitants of that small world haven’t made contact with allies. When he discovers murder, treachery, and pirates wielding a weapon called fire plasma, his best-laid plans go completely wrong. Captured, tortured, and in horrific pain, Marcos fears he’ll never see home or his beloved family again.
Nova Drayton is a woman who hates League officers with a vengeance. Because no law enforcers ever set foot on Delta Seven-as alliance agreements required-pirates have taken over and killed most of the population. Now, one of the very people she blames for such deep heartache is injured and needs her help. Only she is in a position to give it.
Scarred and burned beyond recognition, Marcos is dying. If Nova is caught aiding him, the pirates will finish her off, and in ways too terrible to imagine. But if she does nothing, will she sacrifice her conscience-and her heart-forever?
Copyright © CANDACE SAMS
All Rights Reserved
“You foolish, wonderful man,” Nova muttered under her breath. “No one will help you.” The miners, merchants, and the rest of the crowd would stand by and watch him die. Just as they’d stood by and watched while her father, mother, and other several other brave miners met their fates. Indeed, her parents had been among the first and the last citizens to defend their small colony. After that initial example of power and control, the slugs owned them all. She sighed and felt deep pity for this stranger among them. Surely he was new to this world, or he wouldn’t have been so valiant. It was an unfortunate fact that the defender’s death would not only be excruciating, it would be degrading. Prometheus would see to that. He’d make the brave man an example.
“Come forward, human. Let me see you.”
The bold man in their midst did as the slug asked, and finally pushed his hood back. He stood before Prometheus, lifted his chin, and glared into the ugly alien’s black eyes. Nova gasped at the audacity shown. But she felt her heart leap at the show of courage few had seen for a very long time.
“Ah, the new gem merchant,” the slug said.
The bold man slowly smiled, then spoke loudly. “While you seem to know me, I’m afraid I haven’t had the pleasure.”
“Our acquaintance will be short-lived. Before another hour passes, your body will hang in the town square. Then, my comrades and I will quarter you and dine on your flesh tonight,” Prometheus promised.
“I don’t think so.”
Prometheus lurched forward. “And why is that, merchant?”
“Because you’ll have to kill me first. And I don’t intend to die today. And certainly not at the hands of an oversized snail.”
The slugs behind Prometheus growled in anger.
Nova instinctively winced but she couldn’t leave. The man standing up to the slug leader deserved to be heard. He deserved to have his final hour witnessed and remembered.
Prometheus glanced over his shoulder at his companions. “Finally, a human that’s worthy of a warrior’s death.” He turned his head back toward the tall human before him and studied the man carefully. “I think there’s a better way to deal with you. Something that will make a lasting impression.” He motioned to one of his compatriots. “Codge…come forward. It would amuse me to watch this puny human fight before we kill him.”
“I hear and obey my leader.”
The slug known as Codge walked in front of Prometheus, hissed loudly at the rebel in their midst, and drew out a long sword from a sheath at his side.
Prometheus drew his own sword, tossed it to the human.
“Let’s see what you’re made of, gem merchant. Let’s see if you can fight a Limaxian brawler with the same courage you boast. Fight well, and I’ll kill you quickly. Fight poorly, and you’ll die…shrieking in agony.”
The brave man took a fighting stance, took off his cape, and tossed it aside.
Nova still couldn’t see the stranger’s face clearly. The backing crowd was so dense that their retreat forced her to reverse with them. But the one feature she made out were the striking green eyes of the lone human facing Codge. They were as bright as new blades of grass or buds on a tree. And even from that distance, she could see the firm set of his strong jaw, and the long black hair that flowed straight down his broad back and shoulders. She prayed this courageous stranger would live. That he would somehow survive what was to come. “Please, don’t let him die,” she whispered.
The brave man lifted his sword, glared at Codge, and readied himself.
Prometheus sat on a nearby metal cargo box and raised his hand. “Take him, Codge.”
Codge growled, immediately faced the human before him, and brought his sword up.
The weapon the human fighter had been given was meant for a man twice his weight. But there was room on the hilt for two hands. He balanced himself but maintained a light stance, probably so he could move quickly.
Nova put one hand to her mouth as she watched the fight unfold.
Codge lunged at his quarry and swung high. The man she immediately dubbed green eyes instead of just the brave man ducked and moved to the slug’s left.
Codge faced green eyes again and thrust forward with his entire weight.
Nova saw green eyes parry the sword aside and strike low. The tip of his blade nicked Codge’s stomach. A gray blotch appeared on the fighting slug’s brown shirt front just above his enormous buckle. There was an overwhelming stench of rotting meat and she knew the human had scored a minor victory. Codge looked down at his small wound and emitted a howl of anger. Just as she was sure green eyes intended, the alien lunged at him blindly several times. The human dodged or parried the blows away from his body. She heard a murmur from the crowd and someone shouted out a cry on behalf of the human defender. Other people rallied and called out encouraging words. Finally! This was what the people needed. Someone who could take them from the depths of despair, motivate them out of their hopeless state, and join them together again. Instead of acting selfishly, they began to speak with one voice and heart. More cries came and she saw the human fighter continue his taunting game with the oversized, slimy savage. As Codge repeatedly attempted to regain a position of power, green eyes removed each effort with one expert blow after another. Soon, Nova saw the huge slug begin to tire. He became clumsy and his ill-timed strikes were further misdirected because of his uncontrolled anger.
“I thought you said you could fight,” green eyes taunted. “I’ve scraped things from the bottom of my boot with more class than you.”
Enraged by the insult, Codge bawled out and lunged uncontrollably.
Green eyes knelt on one knee, letting the slug’s blade miss him by inches. And before the creature could recover and deliver one more strike, he turned his blade sideways and cut deeply into the mucous-coated body. Gray blood gushed forth.
Green eyes stood, backed away, and kept his sword up. But the fight was over. Codge was down on both knees, his sword lay on the ground, and his appendage-like hands gripped his ugly wound.
Prometheus slowly stood. He walked toward his fallen comrade and looked down. “Codge…get up and finish him.”
“I-I can’t, my leader. My wound prevents it.”
Prometheus snarled, withdrew his own sword, and swung it once.
Everyone watched as the slug leader’s minion lost his head. It rolled in the dust of the street. Women near Nova screamed in horror; she wasn’t one of them. Green eyes had surely sealed his fate in the most horrifying way. Prometheus would never kill him quickly now, not when the embarrassment of such a defeat had been witnessed. And not when the leader of the slugs had to slaughter one of his own cutthroats to reassert his position.
Prometheus circled the body of his comrade while glaring at the crowd. He slowly turned his attention back to the human who’d succeeded in rallying the people. He pointed the tip of his sword at green eyes. “You’ll pray for death, human. You’ll know the meaning of agony before this day is done.” He looked at the other slug present and issued a severe order. “Cell disrupter…on stun.”
Nova and the crowd quickly backed away once more. She stared at the helpless green-eyed warrior and sent a prayer for him to the Creator. Their hero turned to face the slug to which Prometheus had spoken. Green eyes bravely charged the second slug, but not before that gray hulk pulled a sidearm and fired. Nova flinched and physically lurched when the hero’s entire body convulsed. He’d received the full brunt of the electrocuting stunner. She saw the human warrior fight to maintain consciousness, but it engulfed him seconds later. In an instant he lay quite still. There’d be worse done to him this night. Tears filled her eyes. The courageous, green-eyed combatant would indeed wish himself dead, and very soon. She and everyone around her knew what would happen. They’d all seen it before. In this instance, however, the horror would be inflicted on someone who’d stood up for someone else.