Cover, Excerpt & Trailer
by Laurel Richards
Sometimes the heart leads and the mind must follow.
Ardra has no idea why she’s been abducted and thrown into a Roimiran interrogation room. She is simply a Tetch botanist on her way to a distant planet, not an enemy spy. She’s scared of the piercing eyes of the mind-reading precept assigned to uncover whatever secrets her mind might be holding. But even more worrying is the strange soul-deep connection between her and her captor.
Jackson Deimos excels at slipping in and out of someone’s memories to retrieve military intelligence deliberately hidden away—even from an unwitting carrier. But Ardra’s brain is a labyrinth of defenses he’s never encountered before. Plus, her beauty shouldn’t be this much of a distraction.
As their battle of wits and wills wears on, their emotions are the first to betray them. But if Jack can’t break through Ardra’s barriers, his superiors will turn her over to someone who will—by force. Leaving Jack having to choose between doing his duty or following his heart.
Product Warning: Contains a plant expert whose brain is carrying around the seeds of rebellion, and a mind reader whose heart gives him a case of psychic dyslexia.
Genre: Sci Fi Romance
Content/Theme(s): Futuristic, Psychics, War, Espionage, Interplanetary war, Space, Spies, Paranormal, Military intelligence
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Excerpt & More
Time was definitely on Jack’s mind when he met Ardra again two days later. He pushed her hard, hoping for results, but she proved she could be stubborn.
“Name a childhood friend,” he demanded.
“I am not carrying military intelligence.”
“Real or imaginary. It doesn’t matter.”
“I’m not a carrier,” she insisted.
“Come on.” He used a more coaxing tone of voice. “I’m just asking you to name one of your childhood friends.”
Jack watched her muscles slacken a little, but she still kept fighting him.
“I didn’t have any,” she said. “We moved around a lot when I was a kid. I guess I never got the chance.”
“Okay,” he said. “How about at school then? Girlfriends? Boyfriends?”
If he had harbored any doubts before, Jack was now certain. Ardra was a carrier. Somewhere in her mind was the intel he needed, probably enveloped by whatever trauma she had gone through when the Tetch had downloaded it into her brain. The truth was there. It was just buried beneath her confusion and a lot of false memories about a life that wasn’t really hers. He had to challenge those lies. He had to make her see. Although she tried not to let it show, he could tell he was starting to get through to her. He could practically feel the little storm in her brain.
Tetch programming had to be a straightforward history in order to stick, and only so much information could be forced on an unwilling mind. Too many memories were like glaring lies waiting to be disproved, so the result was a story with a lot of holes. It only worked because the mind—remarkable instrument that it was—tended to fill in the gaps by itself. That’s exactly what was happening now. Ardra’s mind was racing to patch the holes and smooth out the incongruities. It was a way of preserving her equilibrium, but her psyche was defending a fantasy at great cost. He had to rip that false foothold out from under her.
“I was too busy studying in school to make friends,” she finally replied.
“Classmates then. Name one of your classmates.”
“Look, I didn’t care that much when—”
“Name one,” he insisted. Come on, Ardra. Accept what has happened to you and let me help.
“I’m not good with names,” she retorted.
He scoffed. “Oh, come on. You’re not that many years out of school. Surely you can give me one name.”
“Leave me alone,” she snapped. “This has nothing to do with anything. I don’t care.”
“Don’t care?” he asked. “You’ll have to come up with something better than that. You’re not brain damaged, are you? You still remember your own name, right?”
“Of course!” She was shaking now, but it was with more than one emotion.
Accept it, Ardra, he thought. It’s okay to get upset, but let yourself see the truth.
“You don’t remember your classmates or your friends or any boyfriends,” he said. “You probably don’t remember a single one of the apartments you lived in with your parents—only a few flash images at best. You can’t recall the smell of your mother and father or the feel of their touch. Am I right? Just mental pictures and a colorful little story, but no sensations. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? You know it doesn’t add up. It only makes sense if none of it is real. It’s all a bunch of lies the Tetch fed into your brain.”
This last shot finally told, and she lost her temper.
“Shut up!” She jumped to her feet, anger and desperation rolling off her in waves.
Jack looked into her eyes and saw twin cobalt flames glaring back at him.
“You don’t know anything about me,” she said.
“I know as much as you do. We can learn the rest together if you’d let me help.”
She hesitated for a moment, and something in the way she looked at him made his heart turn over. Then she crossed her arms. “Leave me alone.”
Jack resisted the urge to take her in his arms. Right now, part of her—some stoic, logical fiber—was processing all of this, but the rest of her rejected the truth.
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