Authors: Viola Grace
Tags: #sci-fi, paranormal, erotic romance
Table of Contents
Sinder can spread confusion with a touch, but when she is kidnapped, poisoned and given over to the remains of a planet, she needs to re-evaluate her job vector.
Sinderella Baroque is a Retrieval Specialist for the Alliance. She is on a mission to save a seduced woman from an unsuitable marriage when she runs afoul of a race she was completely unaware of. They have an agenda and are taking a woman who meets their laundry list of requirements to their Avatar so that he can introduce her to the last remnant of a world long dead.
When she meets the mind in the stone, it saves her from certain death as it seals her fate. With a living mind inside her own, Sinder is now stuck on the planet Crixox, living in the temple with the Avatar of the planet itself. Geor has wanted a companion for quite some time and Sinder meets all of his needs. Now, he will see if he can meet hers.
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2012 Viola Grace
Cover art by Martine Jardin
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A Terran Times Tale
Sinder waited for the connection to go through and idly checked her nails for nicks and cracks.
She sighed in relief and looked at the monitor. “Yes?”
“We have an addendum to your assignment.”
Sinder looked around her tiny shuttle, its familiar surroundings her only steady home since she finished Citadel training for her twisted talent. Adding to her existing assignments seemed just another familiar touch.
“Do tell.” She found a nick in the nail of her ring finger and proceeded to buff it out.
The officer on the other end of the com looked a little surprised at her lackadaisical attitude. “Um, yes. The original Hunter that we sent out has gone missing, and we suspect that he has been taken prisoner.”
Sinder groaned and ran her newly smoothed hand through her hair. “Send me his info. I am an hour away from running silent.”
“Yes, Agent. Good luck on your hunt.”
She grimaced and inclined her head. “Thank you. I will await the file.”
She flicked the disconnect and groaned. As a Retrieval Specialist, she despised the Hunters. They tended to charge in where they didn’t belong, and their reputation for stealth was overstated in the extreme. They also despised her kind, which didn’t help.
Sinderella Baroque enjoyed her time as a Terran Volunteer. Her family had been all for her leaving to try something new and exciting. It was refreshing. They were actually in favour of one of her nutty schemes, and she took full advantage of it.
Training in the Citadel was the most eye opening of all of the moments that had shocked her to her toes. She knew that she had a penchant for chaos, but the idea of projecting it to have an effect on those around her had never crossed her mind. It had, however, crossed the mind of the recruiter back on earth, and so, she was hustled from basic training to the Citadel without so much as a choice as to her destiny. She was to learn how to fly a shuttle and to use her personality quirk as a weapon. It was a situation she had never imagined but embraced with everything in her.
When no Hunter could pull the target out in one piece within a restricted time frame, they sent a specialist. Today, that specialist was Sinder, and she was on her way to crash a wedding.
The idea of creeping through the bowels of the stone edifice did not appeal to Sinder, but she had little choice. She had to get the Hunter out of wherever they were keeping him and only then could she grab her true target and make a run for it.
Lady Seekua had been taken from her home world of Del Cania, and Sinder had to make sure that Lord Darthian of Nalu was not going to formalize a union between their two worlds.
In theory, melding the two worlds was delightfully romantic, but in reality, the people of Nalu were known to take possession of mineral and agriculturally rich worlds by any means necessary. The innate seduction of the species’ voices made the Nalu lovely and hypnotic to anyone susceptible to their speech. Personally, Sinder thought that they were butt ugly.
She watched the guards pass under her vantage point and held her breath. The implanted mineral in the Hunter’s thigh was giving her a subtle signal, and so, she swung free of the ceiling and made her way to the area that her own implant was directing her to.
Sinder walked with a calm and serene attitude. No furtive movements to draw attention. If she were caught, she would be able to simply claim that she had become separated from her friends in the confusion of the biological checks. The Nalu were on high-security alert for the wedding, but there would be no problem with her slipping in as an honoured guest.
It was a bonus to being one of the more exotic, new species. She was welcome everywhere she went, and it made getting in easier, while escaping became more difficult. That was where her talent kicked in, and she used it to defend herself and her target.
Sinder let the implant in her elbow lead her through the halls, and finally, it warmed, indicating that she was within twenty feet of the Hunter.
It wasn’t a prison cell, merely a guestroom. The door handle opened easily in her grip. She paused and looked into the room where the Hunter in question was settling his formal garb.
“Oh, please excuse me. I seem to have gotten turned around.”
He smiled vaguely. “No problem. Would you like an escort to the ceremony?”
Sinder put a relieved expression on her face. “That would be amazing. Are you a member of the bridal party?”
He approached her and offered her his arm. “I am acting on behalf of the bride’s family. Please, come with me.”
She took his arm and blushed, looking down. Her gown was elegant and appropriate for a Nalu wedding, black and red, lace and pleats. “Thank you.”
“You seem familiar, have we met?”
She smiled and shook her head. “I doubt it. I have been living quietly on Feliaki for the last few years.”
“How did you come to be here?” His tone was light, but he was fishing for information, still a Hunter within his stupor.
Sinder smiled, “I came with the party from Feliaki. Since my species is still classified as exotic, it added some cachet to their party. Unfortunately, I got separated while we were going through the bio scans and from there, I ended up here.”
He chuckled. “I see. How is it that you have an Alliance tracking implant?”
She blinked up at him. “A what?”
“The implant that tells me you are an Alliance member.”
She snorted as they approached the groups of guests. “Oh, that. I used to be the assistant to a Nyal Ambassador. I was tagged to keep me from being held hostage, or at least to help them find my body.”
He smiled down at her, “That must have been trying.”
She snickered. “You have no idea. My kind goes into breeding availability every twenty-eight days. Try working with a Nyal under those conditions.”
“I can only imagine. I am so rude. I am Jeroka Savik.” He paused and lifted her hand to his lips.
She blushed, “Akani Smithie. Pleased to meet you.”
“Do you see your friends?”
She looked around and frowned. “I am afraid not. You have your duties to attend to. I will be fine here.”
“There are reserved seats at the front of the hall. Please, come with me.” He placed her hand back on his arm and escorted her to the front of the wedding hall.
Nalu were seated all around her, and a few tried to seduce her with the power of their voices.
She smiled politely and eventually faked interest in them, but all she saw was the harsh goat-like features, square irises and squat bodies. Even their horns did not add any grace to their features. They were the worst example of the human mythological satyrs. They lusted, consumed and discarded people and planets with abandon.
Lord Darthian was at the front of the hall, waiting with the official and a few of his men.
Sinder looked around and checked for the size of confusion she would have to deliver. It was going to take a lot out of her, but she needed to deliver a strong burst to make her getaway.
While she looked around, she noted a group of hooded figures who were causing a wide berth around them. The folk next to them didn’t even seem aware of them, but in a crowded hall, it was obvious to her that something was repelling the people in their vicinity.
She dismissed them and paid attention to the growing excitement in the crowd. To Sinder’s embarrassment, Lady Seekua was wearing a similar-colour dress, and while it was not a Nalu faux pas, it was a Terran one.
Seekua’s soft green skin glowed happily as she approached her groom.
Sinder enjoyed the spectacle until the bride reached her side. The moment that Lady Seekua was next to her, Sinder got to her feet, punched her fist into the air and released confusion.
All hell broke loose, and Sinder earned her pay.
Lady Seekua was as affected by the confusion as everyone else, and having Jeroka next to the bride made it easy to grab them both and haul them out of the hall.
They were disoriented but passive. It allowed her to project another mass of confusion in the hall leading toward the shuttle bays.
Yanking two targets with her made the escape far more awkward than it would have been if only the Lady had been her subject of her rescue. Jeroka seemed to have been struck with a numbing blindness while Seekua was bemused and entertained by everything she saw.
Wave after wave of confusion was deployed until they finally reached her shuttle.
Sinder manacled both of her passengers, tranqued them and strapped them into their seats. When she double-checked that the ship was sealed, a few flicks of her fingers turned the shuttle from mild-mannered transport into armed, small warship.
Sinder whistled under her breath as she fired up her engines and took off with the bride and her best man.
The Nalu defenses consisted of orbital stations that didn’t last under the onslaught of her weaponry.
She accelerated toward her pickup point and hoped that the sedatives wouldn’t wear off before she handed over her cargo.
She really hated to watch Nalu withdrawal. It was never pretty, and both of her passengers were going to be in for a rough time.
Sinder kept up quiet whistling as she keyed in the codes that allowed her contact with her pickup ship.
“This is Agent Baroque calling for Com Officer Reggil.”
“Just a moment.” The com officer waited. “He is off shift. May I redirect your call?”
“Put me through to his private line.” Sinder sighed and waited for the call to be put through.
“I am sorry, Agent. Com Officer Reggil will not take your call.”
Sinder disconnected the call before the trace to her position could be made. She quickly contacted the Hunter station and asked for a drop point for their officer.
Through the secure channels, she was given a position at Cario Station. With a heavy sigh, she changed direction and headed for the jump point that would get her close.
She hoped like hell that there was some sushi at the end of her journey, because she was going to use every last bit of nerve she had to get to the station before her cargo woke up.
Filing a report regarding the corruption of the connection on the Stegreana would have to wait for later. Reggil had just made it onto her personal-visit list and confusion was going to be the least of his worries.
Right now, she wanted nothing more than a glass of wine, a comfortable chair and some sushi. If Cario Station could manage a nice representation of her favourite snack, she would be forever grateful.
Sinder looked back at her unconscious passengers. “Damn, I hate crashing weddings.”
In between her violent fits and seizures, Lady Seekua thanked her for the rescue. Her people were on the station, and they set up a guard of deaf men around her. A Nalu may try to seduce her again, but her guards would be immune.