Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Excerpt - The The Victor Go The Spoils

Available on November 23rd at Ellora's Cave:

Devon Maertissa is on the run. Her abbreviated time as a resistance fighter resulted in a botched hijacking of an arms shipment in which the arms dealer died. Unjustly accused of being the direct cause of his death, she takes a chance to attend her sister's wedding, even knowing bounty hunters are after her. The one man she's most concerned about is a cyborg named Bane Carradoc.

Bane's determined to do his job and bring in another fugitive. He's not prepared for Devon . The longer he's with her, the more he begins to believe she may not be guilty of the charges. When another bounty hunter shows up, Bane has to save her and then make a decision.

Does he complete the mission as he always has? Or does he let his conscience be his guide? And...what then?

~ * ~

Bane Carradoc leaned one shoulder against a corner column at the rear of the small chapel on the K4 Space Station. Hidden from most of the guests--they'd have to look over their shoulders to see him--his vantage point enabled him to view the entire room. He crossed his arms and rested the toe of one of his shit-kickers on the floor. As he stared around the chapel, a scowl covered his face. The ceiling had been draped in light blue material, strands of flowers curled along the walls, and the sound of chirping birds filled the little room.

Much too fru-fru for him. Give him the plain gray metal walls of his ship any day.

With a soft snort, he shook his head and looked out over the crowd. Approximately forty people--an eclectic gathering of humans and aliens--were seated in straight-backed chairs. Two Regalians with their tufts of feathers towered above the group while a lone Marchan stood directly opposite Bane. The Marchan's reptilian eyes met Bane's, and the lizard-man brought two clawed fingers to his temple in a haphazard salute.

One bounty hunter acknowledging another.

Bane held the other creature's gaze for another moment or two, then continued his perusal of the crowd. He hoped the fugitive didn't get snagged by the Marchan--the lizards weren't known for their mercy.

Movement to his right caught his attention. An elderly woman hobbled into the small room on the arm of one of the groomsmen. As the young man led her to a seat in the last row on the groom's side, she patted his arm and brought a lacy pink handkerchief to her eyes and dabbed. Then she slowly lowered herself onto her chair, holding onto the young man's arm until she was all the way down.

The groomsman glanced at the front, where the groom stood off to the side, waiting for the ceremony to begin. A look passed between the two, and the groom gave a brief nod. The groomsman turned and pulled the chapel doors closed and then walked up front. The two men took their places as the small orchestra began playing the bridal march.

Bane scowled. What was it with spring and weddings? As far as he was concerned, June was just another month. Nothing more or less romantic about it than any other month of the year.

Activating the computer implant in his prosthetic eye, he scanned the assembled guests, the wedding party, and the small orchestra. His implant read body temperatures, heart rates and other physiological reactions of the various people gathered for the wedding. Although no one appeared overly anxious or nervous--well, except for the groom, and he knew the groom wasn't the person he sought--it was only a matter of time before Bane narrowed in on his quarry.

Nearly eight years as a bounty hunter had honed his senses, and the addition of his cybernetic implant enhanced his own natural abilities. The fugitive was here, he knew it. His senses were on high alert. He'd learned the hard way to listen to his gut.

And his gut told him he was close. After two solid months of following leads, talking to what seemed like every low-life scum in the galaxy, he was damned close. So close and yet his quarry continued to elude his grasp. He was starting to get a little irritated, especially after he just missed the renegade at Darva Station two days ago. If he'd only been five minutes earlier…

Hell. No use crying over spilled whiskey. This time, the damned resistance fighter wouldn't get away. If Bane had to wade through every single wedding guest, he'd get his man.

Or, in this case, his woman.

Copyright ©2007 Sherrill Quinn. All Rights Reserved.

To the Victor Go the Spoils
- available November 23rd at Ellora's Cave

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