TITLE: In Enemy Hands
AUTHOR: M.A. Church
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Anne Cain
LENGTH: 73006 words / 214 Pages
RELEASE DATE: December 30, 2016
BLURB: Two very different civilizations—one bathed in bright sunlight and the other veiled in shadow.
Bad decisions, declining resources, and a king on the brink of madness force Prince Varo Kutchif, third son of the royal family and a starship captain, to attempt the impossible: barter for Black Phospolrock, an energy source the mysterious Helkan Kingdom has in abundance. Varo opens a line of communication with Adlar, an intriguing Helkan who seems to reciprocate Varo’s interest. He hopes so, because if negotiations collapse, Varo has orders to attack.
The Helkans preside over a planet shrouded in perpetual darkness. Several species have tried to exploit its natural resources through trade with them, but all have failed. Adlar Mondur is the older brother to the Helkan ruler. An assassin of the highest order, he’ll do anything to protect his king and his people—including tracking down the Yesri prince who crash-lands on their planet, leaving an ugly scar across its untouched beauty.
Thus begins a journey where two men from disparate civilizations grow from enemies to lovers.
“Frack.” Adlar’s loud snarl echoed through the battle shuttle he piloted toward the Yesri crash site.
The SSN suffered a complete failure, something that hadn’t happened in recent memory. It was pure chance nothing more than a small Yesri shuttle managed to penetrate their defenses. But even that was a danger, as every spacefaring race knew.
Shuttles had warp engines, and when they blew, the damage was massive. Fortunately the SSN had reactivated as the shuttle passed through, shorting out its controls. Still, such an act stamped the intruder as an enemy, and he would be treated as such. Helkan Strategic Command—most soldiers just called it Command—had scanned the shuttle immediately and reported one male life form. Since the shuttle was helpless to wreak whatever destruction planned, they didn’t blow it up.
That wasn’t to say the person inside it was helpless. He wasn’t. He was a Yesri, a species who enjoyed a battle as much as the next race. But it was their superior egotistical attitude that caused some to back away from committing to new trade agreements with them. Then the Yesri had turned their greedy eyes toward Helkan.
They desired mining rights for the Black Phospolrock his people, the Helkans, controlled. The fact the Helkans didn’t allow any species on-planet to mine didn’t seem to matter. He agreed with his brother. Varo had given up much too easily, which was why Omori insisted the starship move farther away.
Which was unfortunate. Adlar would have loved to get his hands on Captain Varo. From the moment Varo’s features appeared on the viewing screen, he was struck. That bright white-blond hair shone like a beacon and drew him in. While he talked with Varo, he had someone out of sight running a facial scan.
He knew Varo was a Yesri prince, thanks to those gorgeous brown eyes— eyes so different from his. Those eyes showed a fierce pride and a hint of vulnerability— an uncertainty he wanted to explore and eradicate. He was willing to bet Varo didn’t know that showed in his eyes. Or was it only him who noticed?
But before the conversation was over, he knew Captain Varo was the youngest prince. He wasn’t surprised Varo was articulate. He expected such. What surprised him were those moments of uncertainty, those brief flashes of innocence Varo tried to hide behind a royal persona.
Innocence wasn’t a characteristic Adlar sought in his companion, so why was it now so attractive? Of all the things he was expecting, this attraction wasn’t one of them. He shook his head in an effort to ward off such thoughts.
Of all the males in the universe, he had to be attracted to that one. The pounding desire that spread through his body made no sense. Fortunately Varo was out of his grasp, so his body would just have to accept defeat.
M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!
When not writing, she’s on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two grown children.
She is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
You can also email the author at - email@example.com
Winner’s Prize: $5 Amazon GC.