Cover & Excerpt
Barren Planet Book Three
Following his brother half way across the galaxy seemed like a good idea at the time, but it hadn’t hit him just how much he was giving up. Stir-crazy after three weeks in space, Kerit, professional surfer turned interstellar colonist, jumps at the chance to get off the ship and onto the new planet’s surface—even if it is a little inhospitable.
He expects searing heat. He expects acid rain. He even expects the sunburn from hell. What he doesn’t expect is to meet Folly—the most prickly, irritating, and fascinating girl he’s ever known. And he needs her help if they want to make this planet their new home.
Determined to find her father's ship and prove he was a brilliant scientist, Folly has no interest in getting to know Kerit. The cute stranger is just a distraction. Unless of course he can help her in her search…
But something sinister lurks in the ruined city, and neither of them realise how much they are going to have to rely on each other if they want to make it out alive.
Genre: SciFi RomancePurchase links: Amazon AmazonUK AmazonAU
Content/Theme(s): Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Release Date: June 25, 2014
Publisher: Rinelle Grey
Excerpt & More
Kerit lay in his bunk, staring at the photo on the wall. The curling wave, with the sunlight glinting off it, was the perfect reminder of all he’d left behind. It almost seemed to be taunting him, yet he couldn’t tear his eyes away.
It had been three weeks since he’d heard the sea. Three weeks since he’d ridden a wave, perfect or otherwise.
What was he doing here? This ship had been named ‘Resolution’, because all the people here had a resolve to find a new home. But in all his twenty-seven years, he’d never been interested in exploring or settling new planets. Yet here he was.
Heaving a sigh, he rolled to the edge of the bed and sat up. He was just feeling cooped up after so long in space. Once Tyris went down to the planet tomorrow and started the terraforming reaction, it would only be a matter of days before they were settling in on Semala and settling in to their new home.
And he’d be able to find the ocean. It wasn’t far from the old city.
It’s not like you can make your living surfing here, his mind taunted him. He ignored it. He’d find something to do. Maybe fishing.
Had any of the ocean life survived the meteor blast that had decimated the planet?
He needed something to eat. It was nearly dinner time and he was hungry. Tyris had been setting the time back by an hour each day to get them all adjusted to the day/night cycle on Semala and it was playing havoc with his body clock. That was all. Things would seem much better after he’d eaten.
He stood up and exited his room, then headed down the empty corridor, his footsteps echoing hollowly. The stale smell of too many people squeezing into this space for too long filled his nose. He tried not to compare it to the fresh, salty smell of the ocean.
Somewhere down the corridor, a baby’s cry pierced the metal walls. He wasn’t the only one sick of being stuck on this ship. The sound stopped suddenly, and the silence pressed in around him.
In the stillness, he heard a quieter sound nearby—a more adult sobbing. Kerit frowned. He was only a few steps from his brother, Tyris’s room. The door was slightly ajar and the sobbing came from inside.
He strode the last few steps and pushed open the door without thinking to knock. “Is everything okay?”
Marlee, his sister-in-law, looked up in surprise, her eyes red from crying. She quickly swiped at her eyes and gave a shaky laugh. “Of course it is. I’m just having a pregnancy hormones moment.” She patted her swollen belly.
Kerit hesitated, but Tyris was absent, and he couldn’t leave Marlee alone here crying. He crossed the room and sat on the edge of the bed beside her. “Anything I can help with?”
When his brother had married the first time, Kerit had felt like he lost him. When he’d married Marlee, he’d felt like he gained a sister. He’d spent so much time with her when Tyris was away that he felt almost as close to her as he did to his brother—and a lot more protective.
“No, it’s nothing really. I’m just going to miss Tyris tomorrow when he goes down to the planet, that’s all.” She fiddled with the handkerchief in her lap.
Kerit didn’t argue. If there was one thing he’d learned in the last three weeks on board a ship full of pregnant women, it was not to argue with them. Nor did he try to comfort her with the fact that Tyris wouldn’t be gone for more than a day. There was obviously something more bothering her. But what?
As he pondered the question, her face tightened and the hand that had been rubbing her belly paused. Her breathing changed to almost panting.
Panic filled Kerit. “The baby isn’t coming now is it?” Not the best timing, with Tyris leaving first thing in the morning.
For a few moments, Marlee didn’t say anything, then the lines on her face eased, and she relaxed. “No, not now. It’s just Braxton Hicks.”
The confusion on his face must have told her he had no idea what she was talking about, so she explained. “False contractions. Practice, I guess. I’ve been having them on and off for a couple of months now.” She grinned and he was glad to see her expression lighten, even though he still wasn’t convinced. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to have the baby right now.”
He stared at her one more time, but she was definitely smiling, so he relaxed a little. “Well, don’t worry. If you did, I would rise to the occasion. I’d run as fast as I could to bring Tyris.”
She gave a little laugh. But her hands scrunched at the handkerchief in her lap. “As long as he’s here.”
That was the issue. “You’re worried the baby will come tomorrow, while he’s down on the planet?” he guessed.
She shook her head, but her hands didn’t relax. “It’s really not likely. Dr Benton said she thinks it will be another week. But babies are never predictable. Especially first ones.”
Kerit patted her leg absently and stared off into space. His brother should be here, with his wife. She was putting on a brave face, but he could tell she was nervous. This could be their only child, Tyris shouldn’t miss the birth.
But the mission he was going on down to the surface tomorrow was important too. The baby could be born tomorrow, or it could wait for weeks. They couldn’t put the mission off.
Someone had to go. But if it wasn’t Tyris, who then?
He stood up abruptly. “Tyris should be here,” he told Marlee.
She grasped his hand. “No, he has to do this mission. I’m sure it will be fine, and everything will be better when we get down to the planet. I’m okay, really.”
“I know you’re okay. But you’d be better if Ty was here with you. I’m surprised he’s going, knowing you’re worried about the baby coming.”
“He doesn’t know. I said I’d be fine, and Dr Benton said the baby wouldn’t come tomorrow. And I’m sure she’s right.”
Kerit patted her hand. “I’ll sort it out,” he repeated.
“Don’t tell him,” Marlee begged. “Please. He’ll just worry. But he has to go anyway, I know that.”
Kerit looked down at her. It was just like Marlee to try to protect Tyris. She always thought of everyone else’s needs before hers. “I won’t tell him,” he promised.
She relaxed a little. “See, I’m feeling better already. I just needed to remind myself that everything will be fine. You know how everything always seems worse when you’re all alone.”
Kerit gave a wry grin. “I know exactly what you mean. I was just going down to the mess for some dinner because I’d had enough of being alone myself. Do you want to come?” He could talk to Tyris later. After he was sure Marlee was okay on her own.
She shook her head. “I’m okay now. Tyris and I are going to have dinner here later, just the two of us. I might have a nap instead.”
Kerit hesitated, but she genuinely seemed to be feeling better and more relaxed, so he squeezed her hand once and let it go. “If you’re sure? I am rather hungry.”
“Sure. Thanks, Kerit, I feel much better now.”
When he left the room, closing the door softly behind him, it wasn’t in the direction of the mess that Kerit headed. Instead, he walked the opposite way down the hall to the hanger bay where Tyris would be loading his shuttle for tomorrow.
His brother wasn’t alone. “Here, this jacket should protect you from most of the UV rays,” said Imyne Bekkert, head scientist on this project, and also their mother.
Dr Benton was packing lots of smaller packets into a drawstring bag. “I’ve packed a first aid kit for you with lots of burn cream and a couple of extra bottles of water.”
None of them noticed Kerit, standing in the doorway. He cleared his throat and everyone looked in his direction.
“Hi, Ker,” his brother greeted him. “Come to help me pack?”
“No,” Kerit said. “I’ve come to say I don’t think you should go.”
Everyone stopped and stared at him.
His mother’s lips pressed together. “What are you talking about? We’ve come all this way to terraform this planet, this is no time for your jokes.”
“I’m not joking,” Kerit said quietly. He’d promised Marlee he wouldn’t mention that she was worried, but he had the perfect reason to use instead. “I’ve been thinking about it, and it doesn’t make sense for Ty to go. You’ve all said it’s dangerous, with the UV and stuff, and there’s always a risk to climbing, even if this mountain does look easy. And Ty is the only one who can fly the Resolution.”
“Well someone has to go,” his mother said. “If not Tyris, who? You’re not offering, are you?”
“What’s so strange about that?” Kerit said. “I’m as good a climber as Tyris. Better probably. Why not me?”
Everyone was silent for a moment.
“You can’t fly the shuttle for one thing,” Tyris said finally. “There will be plenty of things you can do to help out once we’re down there.”
“He has a point though,” Dr Benton spoke up. “It doesn’t make sense for the only person who can fly the ship to put himself at risk.”
“I’m not going let Kerit put himself at risk either,” Tyris objected. “And anyway, being the only person who can fly is the reason I’m going. The only way to get down to the surface is by shuttle, remember?”
“Flying a shuttle is easier than flying the Resolution though, right?” Kerit said.
“Of course. This type of shuttle practically flies itself, but…” Tyris began.
“Then show me. I’m a quick learner.”
“It’s not that…” Tyris seemed at a loss. “It’s just… It’s my responsibility.”
When did his brother get all sensible and responsible? An image of Marlee, her hand resting on her belly, came to him. Probably about the time he found out he was going to be a father.
“Your responsibilities are here, Ty,” Kerit said softly. “To the people that followed you and are trusting in you. I can handle this.”
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