It’s time for another awesome SciFi Brigade Showcase. Every month, the Science Fiction Romance Brigade authors showcase cover reveals or excerpts from their new releases or current WIPs. CLICK HERE to view the other authors participating in the showcase.
I’m sharing a snippet from my novel, Claimed By The Succubus. Are you ready for a little guy talk between a soldier and his ship? (It gets lonely in space.) Enjoy!
She is Izeria’Ahzul, the long-lost daughter of my king. She was raised away from our people and knows nothing of her heritage. Our kind are a myth to her. She doesn’t believe we exist and there’s no way she’ll believe she’s one of us.
I am Shun’Uhl, the soldier ordered to return her to my king’s side so she can marry a royal and produce an heir to save our people. To get her to trust me, I shed my beastly form and take on the form of someone she knows. I choose unwisely. The form I’ve selected is a male she despises.
The more time I spend with her, the more she comes to like me. And though I’ve tried to resist, I find myself falling for her also. Her feelings for me will change once she learns of my deception and sees how I really look. Part of me wants to complete my mission and return her to her father. Another part of me wants to remain in this form forever and spend my life with Izeria.
I have a choice to make: be honest with the female I love and risk losing her or lie to her for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, the choice is made for me when we come under attack and I have to release my beast to protect her.
Now she has to make a choice: Me and my beast or a kingdom?
When we arrive in her room, I place her on the bed. I stand in front of her while she takes her medicine and washes it down with a swig of soda. I can tell it’s her first time experiencing the beverage from the look of awe and delight on her face. She places the cup on the nightstand next to her before staring up at me.
“There are bubbles tingling on my tongue.” She sticks her tongue out to show me.
I shove my hands into my pockets. I will not touch her. “What made you sick?”
“I ate too much. I mean, like way too much.”
“It was all so good. I couldn’t resist.”
“Moderation is key.”
“I know. I’m never eating again.”
“I say I’m never going to drink again every time I have a hangover. As soon as the hangover is over, I’m back to drinking.”
“Do you do that a lot, drink spirits?”
“No. Only when celebrating.”
“Good. I’ve seen alcoholics. Drinking too much can ruin your life and your body.”
Silence fills the room. I’m okay with just standing here, staring down at her. I force myself to back away. “I’ll leave so you can clean up and get some rest.”
She nods. I hesitate briefly before turning to leave the room.
I stop and glance over my shoulder at her.
She pushes her hair behind her ear before speaking. “Thank you, for helping me.”
Guilt creeps over me like a chill in the air. I’m not who she thinks I am and I’m definitely not helping her. I don’t deserve a thank you. “You’re welcome.”
“And thank you for not laughing at me or yelling at me for being stupid.”
“You’re not stupid and I would never yell at you. You’re on an adventure. You’re supposed to make mistakes. We learn from them and then move on.”
She chuckles. “I have learned my lesson, trust me. Thanks again for being there for me.”
“I’ll always be there for you.” Why did I say that? I won’t always be there. Soon, she’ll be married off to a royal she’s never met. I won’t have further contact with her. She smiles but says nothing. I need to get out of here, away from her, to clear my head. “Get some rest,” I tell her and leave the room. Shutting the door behind me, I lean against it and stare up at the ceiling.
“You’re failing at keeping your distance from the princess,” Blue tells me.
I’m thankful that Blue can speak to me on the hall speakers and not be heard by Izeria on the speakers in her bedroom. Still, I don’t know much about her kind. Her hearing could be just as good as mine.
“We have a guest, Blue. You have to talk to me through my ear piece.” I push away from the door and walk back toward the flight deck. When Blue speaks again, he uses my ear piece to voice his opinion. He always has an opinion.
“There was an extreme increase in heat coming from you when you were holding the princess.”
“I’m hot natured. It’s in my genes.”
“Did you have to hold her so closely to your body, captain?”
No. “Would you rather I’d left her to be sick alone?”
“This will end badly. Captain, you are being dishonest with her. You are not who she thinks you are. You look like someone she knows, that is why she is being familiar with you. When she learns of your deceit, she will feel betrayed. If you allow her to care for you on an intimate level, she will feel worse than betrayed.”
“What feeling is worse than betrayal?”
“She’ll feel destroyed.”
Destroyed? Yeah, that does sound worse. When I reach the flight deck, I fall into my seat and stare out the port hole. I know what Blue’s saying is true. If Izeria comes to care for me, she will feel destroyed when she finds out that I’m not helping her, instead, I’m kidnapping her. I have no choice. The king has ordered this. I have to obey.
“Should I ignore her the rest of the voyage?” I say aloud.
“You should keep a friendly distance.”
A friendly distance?
Speak to her only when I have to. Don’t allow my beast to sniff her or be too close to her. Avoid sharing meals with her.
A friendly distance. I can do that. I will do that. Time to return my focus to the mission and away from the female resting a few doors away from me.
“Blue, when was the last time you did a perimeter scan?”
“Ten minutes ago. Would you like for me to pull up the report?”
Leaning back in my chair, I stare at the screen in front of me, waiting for the perimeter scan to come up. When it does, I lean forward and watch the slide show. The perimeter is clear. There are no threats lurking in the shadows.
“We are all clear,” Blue reports. “There are no cloaked ships hiding in the shadows.”
“We are on solar day one of our forty solar days’ journey.”
On schedule. Forty solar days. Ten weeks. Two and a half months. It will feel like forever alone on this ship with Izeria. It will take all my willpower to keep my beast in check, hell, to keep myself in check for that long.
I try to resist asking… I can’t. “Update on Izeria. Is she okay?” I ask my ship’s AI, who acts more like a father than a computer.
“You were just with her, captain. You saw for yourself that she is recovering nicely from her upset stomach. This inquiry makes me believe you are going to have a hard time keeping a friendly distance.”
“I just want to make sure she’s comfortable. She’s the king’s daughter. I have to be hospitable.”
“True, captain. Our princess is well. She has taken advantage of the sanitation mist and is now resting in bed.”
“Is she asleep?”
“No, captain, she does not slumber yet.”
I place my elbows on the console and stare out into space. I wonder what she’s doing right now. She needs to feel better soon. I don’t like her being sick. It makes me uneasy. If Blue says she’s fine, she’s fine. I imagine her all alone in her large bed. Mine is larger. She’d be more comfortable there. I can already imagine her there, her wild hair fanned out on my pillow.
“Are you okay, captain? Your heart rate has increased.”
Clearing my throat, I say, “I’m fine, Blue.”
I will not go to her.
I will not go to her.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath.
I will not go to her.
My inner beast laughs. He knows the truth. There’s no way we’re going to be able to keep our distance.
We don’t want to.
Claimed By The Succubus will be available April 22nd. Preorder price is only 0.99 cents.
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