This morning, I sent my latest book to my editor! By the end, New Shiny wasn’t exactly an accurate description anymore (more like Die, Book, Die STAB STAB STAB), but now it’s done and sent off! 🎉
I did the world’s fastest reread and edit, since I wrote until Christmas, but I have to say—I love this book. Writing it was really difficult, what with 2020 being *waves hands,* but I think it turned out pretty good! And Mr. M said it was his favorite book so far (replacing Aurora Blazing, lest you think every book is his favorite, lol).
As you can see from the tweet above, the SFR category is rife with fantastic books, but thankfully, in this round you can vote for up to five books! If you feel so inclined, I would love for you to vote for mine. :)
And now, the snippet. The usual disclaimer applies: rough draft, subject to change, etc, etc. If you haven’t read any of the other snippets, then you might want to do that first just to get a little context.
The proximity chime cut off whatever Eli was going to say. “Show me,” I said, moving to the nearest screen.
Torran Fletcher had arrived without so much as a message of warning. As I watched, he climbed the cargo ramp, three Valoffs in full armor behind him, each of them pushing a levcart piled with supplies.
I growled under my breath.
“Problem?” Eli asked, his earlier playful mood wiped away, leaving the hard-faced soldier.
“Our guests have decided to arrive early and make themselves at home.” I waved him off when he would’ve left his breakfast. “I will go say hello. You stay here. If they murder me, avenge my death.”
“Not funny,” he said with a scowl.
“I’m kidding.” Mostly. I looked at Anja. “You okay here?”
When she nodded, I took my leave and used the short walk from the galley to the cargo bay to compose myself. I needed to be calm and cold and professional, even if Torran’s audacity made me furious.
By the time I made it through the hatch into the cargo bay, the Valoffs had the levcarts mostly unloaded. Torran carried boxes beside his soldiers, which surprised me. I expected him to stand and point. They had neatly stacked their supplies out of the way against the starboard wall. I considered making them move everything just for the hell of it, but such pettiness was beneath me.
Torran turned at my approach and inclined his head. “Captain.”
“General. Your comm must have failed to deliver the message that you planned to arrive early and board my ship without permission.”
His eyes narrowed. “We had an agreement.”
“The agreement doesn’t override common curtesy. Would you board a Valovian ship without informing the captain?”
“I apologize,” he said stiffly. “I should have warned you that I would arrive early to give my crew time to make another trip back to our ship. I was going to wait outside with the cargo, but with the ramp down, I thought you expected me.” He looked like the words tasted foul, but I didn’t detect any deceit.
The three soldiers with him finished unloading the levcarts and waited, unmoving. It was creepy as fuck because I couldn’t see their faces. I made an instant decision. “Ship dress code is civilian clothes. If your soldiers don’t have any, have them pick some up.”
Torran straightened, trying to use his height to intimidate me. “They are comfortable in armor.”
The top of my head might only come up to his nose, but I was hard to intimidate. “Good for them. They’ll also be comfortable in civilian clothes. My ship, my rules.”
His mouth firmed into a flat line. When I didn’t budge, he nodded once, sharply. The three soldiers behind him moved at the same time, pushing the carts out of the cargo bay and down the ramp without a word.
“They will return with the rest of the gear and appropriate clothing. It will take them approximately thirty minutes.”
I desperately wanted to leave him standing in the cargo bay for the next half an hour, but he had agreed on the armor. I could also be civil. “Would you like to see your quarters while you wait?”
He stared at me for long enough that I thought he wasn’t going to respond, but finally he inclined his head in agreement. I waved for him to follow. It made me itch to have him at my back, but it was better to find out now if he was going to gut me where I stood.
Snippet copyright Jessie Mihalik, all rights reserved. Coming early 2022 from Harper Voyager.