I’m always so happy to come and be guest on this blog. Thanks for having me!
Thrilled to announce the next book in my Badari Warriors series, DARIK! The cover is another gem from the talented Fiona Jayde.
For this story, I decided to write a Badari who’s a bit more of a lone wolf than usual, and plunge him right into the whole mate situation, with a woman on the other side of a force barrier he cannot get through. Darik is also saddled with an Artificial Intelligence sidekick who doesn’t take orders well at all. I like to find new angles for the hero and heroine to deal with and I’ve really thrown a few twists at them this time, which I hope you’ll enjoy.
Nicolle James is far from her home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments. Her only hope might be a mysterious soldier she’d glimpsed outside the laboratory fence. She’d managed to sneak a few words of conversation with him when her captors weren’t watching but now the aliens were taking her inside the lab to begin the experiments.
Darik, a warrior of the genetically engineered Badari pack, is on a solo recon mission to check out a mysterious new lab high in the mountains. His orders are strict – do not engage. But when he has a chance meeting with the woman who might be his mate, he vows not to abandon her, orders or no orders.
Can he get inside an underground lab, find Nicolle and rescue her without getting captured himself? And when he learns the lab’s deadly secrets, can he get word to his pack about the new dangers?
Because the ruthless alien scientist running the experiments wants to get her hands on him too and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.
Darik had been dropped off at a higher elevation in the mountains so he wouldn’t be spotted by the enemy based in the foothills. He’d descended thousands of feet since his arrival, taking a circuitous route to his assigned target. Neither he nor his Alpha wanted any hint of a Badari presence in the area to become known. He relished the chance to hike through the old growth forest, alone except for his annoying AI companion.
“The sun will set in thirty two minutes and twelve seconds,” MARL12 announced in a crisp tone with no resemblance to the timbre of either human or Badari voices but was uniquely his own, as if a sizable bird had been given vocal chords.
Darik glanced at the small alien AI dispatched to assist him on this reconnaissance and decided to poke its emotional responses with a little barb. “I can see in the dark perfectly well. It’s a Badari attribute. Can’t you?”
A brief silence descended as the AI floated along on its antigrav cushion, bobbing over bushes and other obstacles. MARL12 might be a miniaturized version of its parent unit but the superior attitude was full scale. “I have complete visual acuity under all circumstances. My concern was for you to have a safe base camp established before dark.”
Pausing, Darik leaned in close.
The AI retreated a foot and hovered.
“I can take care of myself, thanks. I don’t need a minder.” Standing at his full seven foot height, Darik sampled the air again. “There’s no predator in this area capable of taking on a Badari and hoping to win.” He flashed his talons and fangs for the sheer joy of it. Leaping to the flat top of a nearby boulder, he surveyed the vistas ahead and expanded his chest with pleasure. This was the way for a man to live—free, with unlimited nature to explore. Of course, I do have a job to do. Aydarr didn’t send me here to have fun.
Jumping to the ground as easily as he’d first catapulted to the rock’s top, he continued his hike, but kept an eye out for a suitable place to camp. The AI was right—it would be simpler to have his shelter set up before dark. He found a likely place in the lee of several massive trees and built a small fire. For tonight, he was content with the ration bars and water from his canteen, but he vowed tomorrow he’d hunt as he proceeded, and would dine on roasted meat. Darik had grabbed enough berries to fill a pouch as he descended the slopes earlier in the day, and he finished his meal with those for dessert, enjoying the tang of the dark red globes.
He rolled up in his sleeping bag, back to the trunk of the largest tree, and settled in for a night of soldier’s slumber, where he’d be only lightly asleep, ready to respond to any threat.
“I’ll monitor the surroundings,” the AI announced, drifting in a large circle tracing the perimeter of the camp area.
“You do that.” Darik pulled the edge of the sleeping bag tighter over his shoulder and closed his eyes.
“At what hour do you wish to awaken? Sunrise exactly or—”
“AI’s who keep talking and prevent me from sleeping will have a short lifespan,” Darik said, not bothering to open his eyes. “I have an internal clock and wake at the required time for the mission.” Being given a mini MARL for his assignment was an honor, but it was also proving to be more than a slight pain in the ass. Jill, his alpha’s mate, who owned the primary MARL unit, must be a lot more patient than he was.
“Understood. Shutting down interactive operations….now.” A hum echoed across the clearing.
Darik opened his eyes the least little bit and saw the unit was still doing its patrol of the perimeter, but most of the lights had gone dark. We’ll see how long the silence lasts.
About the Author:
USA Today Best Selling Author
“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 read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vscotttheauthorFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Veronica-Scott/177217415659637?ref=hl