The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!
10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.
Guest Post by Author Veronica Scott
Thanks for having me as your guest today to talk about Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2!
My co-organizer Pauline B. Jones and I thought the idea of an anthology with heroic pets set into scifi romance stories would be so much fun, and it’s been great to see what different authors do with the same story prompt. This is our second year with a slightly different lineup of authors than year one, just to change things up a bit for the readers.
Last year I wrote a starship’s cat and an alien pet that’s sort of a cross between a tribble, a red panda, and a cat, with her own special qualities. This year for some reason I was inspired by the idea of a telepathic alien eagle, and a Special Forcers soldier who was bonded with him. My original inspiration for the character of Valkyr was a parrot I met many years ago, who’d lived through the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and been handed down in the same family from his original sea captain owner! Talk about salty language – wow. My Valkyr is much more refined and only ‘speaks’ mind to mind with Grant, his current owner.
The other thing was, I had my heart set on writing a rock star romance. I love that genre so much but never thought I’d write one, since anything I write turns into science fiction. I know there have been singers in scifi before (think of the Diva Plavalaguna in “The Fifth Element,” a movie I love, although my rock star is nothing like her). The key for me was reading an article about rock stars here on Earth who had been booking special cruises on ocean liners, where they mingled with their fans and gave special concerts. I thought that was a perfect setup for my luxury interstellar cruise liner, the Nebula Zephyr.
My military hero became a security officer on the ship, which works as I’ve previously established the cruise line is veteran-owned and has many ex-Special Forces men working in security for them.
I’m usually bad with titles but I knew this story had to be about a songbird – the literal rock star and then an actual songbird that my eagle could protect. You’ll have to read the story though to see how the songbird figures into the plot.
I had so much fun writing the novella and I hope the readers will enjoy the story!
Blurb for Star Cruise: Songbird
Grant Barton, a Security Officer on the Nebula Zephyr, is less than thrilled with his current assignment to guard an Interstellar singing sensation while she’s on board the ship. It doesn’t help that he and his military war bird Valkyr are dealing with their recent separation from the Sectors Special Forces and uncertainty over their future, with their own planet in ruins.
Karissa Dawnstar is on top of the charts and seemingly has it all – talent, fame, fortune and devoted fans, but behind her brave smile and upbeat lyrics she hides an aching heart. When a publicity stunt goes wrong, Karissa finds herself in the arms of the security officer assigned to protect her – and discovers a mutual attraction she can’t ignore.
Trouble continues to plague the pair, driving a wedge between them and leaving Grant certain that Karissa is in more danger than she realizes, from overzealous fans and her own management. Grant is determined to protect Karissa whether she wants his help or not. Can he discover the truth behind what’s going on before he loses Karissa or is there someone else plotting to keep them apart – permanently?
Star Cruise: Songbird excerpt, where the singer meets the alien eagle:
“Wow,” said Karissa, coming closer. “His claws are like knives. How can you hold him without getting hurt?”
“The glove and the shoulder of my shirt are made from woven cartefl fibers, strongest material in the Sectors,” Grant said. “In the old days, a handler had to wear bulky leather gloves and thick padding but modern tech makes things much easier. Shall we go?”
Karissa moved toward the door but gave him a dubious look. “You just carry him through the ship? What if he gets spooked and flies away?”
“Valkyr is a highly trained military asset,” he said, entering the corridor behind her. “And a registered sentient. He knows how to behave in a noncombat situation. This way.”
“So the two of you were in the war?”
He really didn’t want to talk about his past or explain himself to this pop star. “Yes. We were in the Special Forces Z Unit until recently. Z for zoological.”
“I saw a documentary on them once,” Karissa said as they entered the gravlift.
Valkyr liked antigrav and flared his wings to the full 8’ span, posing dramatically as they drifted downward toward the hangar deck.
Don’t show off for her too much. Grant chuckled a bit as Karissa gasped at the display his companion was making.
“How can you keep him on a spaceship?” Karissa asked, her voice full of reproach. “How can that possibly be good for him?”
They stepped off at the hangar deck, Valkyr folding his wings obligingly so Grant could get through the portal. “This a temporary job for me. I needed a place to land after the military, while I figured out our next steps.”
The hangar deck was the single largest space on the Nebula Zephyr, as big as the two cargo decks combined, and ran the entire length and breadth of the ship. Currently the three shuttles, the captain’s flitter and two small exterior maintenance vehicles were parked neatly in their assigned spaces, with plenty of room left over for incoming shuttles when the liner was in orbit above a planet.
A crewman greeted them, staring at Karissa so hard it was amazing to Grant that the man managed any coherent words. “Deck’s clear, as ordered. You have an hour.”
“Thanks.” Grant watched the man leave as Karissa gave him a wave and threw him a kiss. The crew member stumbled and all but fell into the gravlift.
“What now?” she asked.
“Now he flies.” Grant lifted his arm in a rapid motion and Valkyr launched himself into the air, flying low across the deck at first and then beating his wings to gain height. He was soon lost to view in the far end of the deck.
About Author Veronica Scott
Best Selling Science Fiction, Fantasy & Paranormal Romance author, as well as the “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
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