IGO: Save for Shardae
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by RaeLynn Blue
Category: Erotica/Multicultural-Interracial Erotica/Science Fiction
Description: Book Summary Charged with escorting three traitors to the Titan Penal Outpost, Chief of Security Shardae Simmons doesn't have time for distractions -- and Captain Reyes' son Zander is a big distraction. Labeled a womanizer and a troublemaker, the last thing Zander Reyes needs is to be assigned to a female. The sexy, husky-voiced chief of security Shardae Simmons tests every bit of his self-control. But those three prisoners they're transporting have no interest in going to the Titan Penal Outpost quietly -- or at all. Shardae and Zander don't have time to explore their mutual attraction during this mission -- and falling in love simply isn't an option. The timing couldn't be worse...
eBook Publisher: Changeling Press LLC, 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: December 2010
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [150 KB]
Reading time: 87-122 min.
"At ease, soldier, at ease." Commander Ashe's voice was raw enough to slice skin. "Update me on our progress. We ready to transfer the prisoners?"
"Yes, ma'am!" Shardae set her work pad against her chest. "We've got the A.I. monitoring the configurations for the force fields. We'll rotate every three minutes to avoid someone hacking them. The A.I. will monitor any attempt to access the system by both IGO staff and outsiders."
Commander Ashe nodded. "Sounds good. Did you reconfigure all the IGO fail safes? I don't want anyone overriding my command codes because some techhead forgot to purge the system."
Shardae held back the heated retort pressing against her throat. Of course she'd changed them. These bastards had been IGO. Not only that but they'd been anchored to The Discovery, the same spaceship The Explorer called home. "Yes, ma'am! I've been working on this for a month, ma'am."
"I'm sure you have," Commander Ashe replied, unsmiling. "But none of us are infallible. Check them again."
"Yes, ma'am." Shardae executed a sharp salute, and then headed toward the nearest console.
Halfway there, Commander Ashe called her back. "Simmons." The commander's face seemed distant. "I've just gotten new orders from Captain Reyes." She chewed on her bottom lip. "We're about to get a new driver for our trip to Titan."
Shardae waited silently for the other shoe to drop. Commander Ashe wouldn't speak about IGO business to just anyone -- even her security chief. Not like this --informal with a touch of anxiousness.
"Our new pilot is Zander Reyes."
Zander Reyes! Shardae struggled to keep her expression neutral. Zander was the womanizing pretty boy and spoiled brat of Captain Reyes, Ashe's boss. Having him stationed on their spacecraft meant nothing but drama. Zander being assigned to The Explorer now was horrid timing, but it wasn't a security issue, so Shardae simply nodded.
Commander Ashe's visage had become remarkably unemotional. "And he's going to report directly to you."
Like hell. Pilots were bridge personnel. Shardae battled back a scowl. Feeling the commander's cold green gaze slice through her, she willed herself not to look away.
Commander Ashe waited for her reply. An uneasy quiet rose between them. "Speak freely, Simmons."
"Thank you, ma'am." She did have one question. "Why would you pick me? You have two junior commanders who oversee pilot personnel, ma'am." She didn't have time to babysit the captain's spoiled son. Not with dangerous men to transport to the penal colony.
"Ah." The pulsating blue light on Ashe's earpiece spoke of constant waiting messages, but she ignored them. "We've known each other for a long time. You spent two years under Private Second Class Tate and Sergeant Zigler. You have a stellar record. You're already in charge of the twenty-person security team. You can handle it."
"Yes, ma'am, but it's only going to compromise my time and with the cargo we're carting to the penal colony..."
"I'm a straight shooter," Commander Ashe continued, searching the brightly lit corridor of the force field encased cell, taking in the thin memory-foam bed in each stripped down room. "You're a sharp soldier. I liked how you handled the transport of the prisoners last year. I don't have time to babysit Zander. Neither do my JCs. I'm counting on you to manage him."
Shardae knew she could handle him. She just didn't want to. "Thank you, ma'am," she replied dryly.
"You're one hell of a soldier. Keep Zander on a very close leash," Commander Ashe ordered, with steel back in her words. "Obviously, Captain Reyes saw his son's placement on my ship as something he thinks will -- help." Commander Ashe shook her head. "Just keep Zander out of my hair." Commander Ashe grinned, then caught herself and coughed. "Meet me in my office at 0600 to debrief."
Shardae released a breath. Damn. This was the last thing she needed. She'd seen images of Zander Reyes, had even brushed against him in one of the cafeterias on The Discovery. She was certain he was going to be a big distraction, whether she wanted him or not.
Commander Ashe exited the room.
"Yes?" She turned to face the voice. Heading directly toward her was a tall, solid man in an ivory two-piece uniform. A scar lined the left side of his face. "Ah, Darryl! Uh, sorry, JC Snow!"
When he reached to shake her hand she saw the gold band on his ring finger. "Married?" she gasped. "Wow. Dr. Morgan must be a truly blushing bride as fast as that date was."
Darryl rubbed the long, jagged scar across the bottom of his left eye and nodded. "Dr. Morgan-Snow is a bride, but she says I'm the one who blushes."
Shardae hadn't believed, though she'd never tell him, that the hardened man would ever find love, let alone commit his life to someone. But he had. She shook her head. Wonders never cease.
"What?" He gave her his solemn face, the one he wore when he stared down bad wayward IGO soldiers on The Inquiry.
"Ah, nothing." She shrugged. "You seem so happy. Anyway, what's up? What brings you here to The Explorer?"
He raked his nails across his black bristled hair. His eyes darted around to the men working nearby. Inching closer, he lowered his voice to whisper, "Can we talk someplace?"
She peered at him. "Come with me." If he was here, it couldn't be good.
At the end of the corridor, she headed into the turbolift and waited for Snow to join her. "A.I.: Commons 86."
Still sporting a stoic face, Snow launched into the lecture she knew he couldn't wait to unload. "Listen, we're transferring the motley over to you tomorrow at 1100..."
"I know," she snapped. "I got the orders."
"Look at me, Simmons," Darryl rumbled, "A.I.: halt!"
The lift obeyed -- hell, who wouldn't when Snow commanded?
He leaned close, making her stare at the horrid scar tissue marring his otherwise handsome face. "I'm serious, Simmons. Lee and Rojas nearly killed everyone. Everyone on my spacecraft. I used to be Alpha, so I know Ashe. I know her damn cockiness. These three are dangerous. You're rookie at security whether you want to admit that or not."
"Back off me, Snow. Let me do my job."
"I'm trying to help you."
"I don't want it." She pushed him firmly out of her personal space. "I got this."
Snow crossed his arms. "You got it all right. You need to be smart. Stay alert. Trust no one."
She snorted. "Trust no one?"
Darryl's eyes bored into hers. With slow, deliberate syllables he repeated, "No one."
"That's pretty ominous stuff."
"Alpha, like Delta, has been compromised. Ashe thinks she's got her people scared into obedience, but honestly, she's just like Taylor. He trusted too damn much too."
"Just tell me what you want." She wasn't liking the sickening pit her stomach had become.
"Ready to listen now, eh, rookie?"
"Kill that rookie shit or I'm walking."
"The mine accident happened because I put too much trust in my abilities and the people around me. This scar shows how my carelessness -- trust -- nearly slaughtered what I held dear. Now, that bullshit Lee pulled on The Inquiry got by me -- me, Simmons! -- and I've had a ton of experience."
"And now they're on my watch. You think because I'm inexperienced I'll screw this up?" She couldn't stop the squeak at the end of the question. "Darryl..."
He held up his hand. "No," he said. Then to the computer, "A.I.: brig." Darryl seemed to wrestle with himself. "I don't think you'll fail. I wanted to come over here to warn you."
He swallowed hard, snagging Shardae's attention. She really looked at him. Then it hit her. Guilt. He'd been in charge of security, and again he'd nearly failed.
"Simmons." His strained voice made her flinch. "Cricket could've been killed. My entire crew. Who knows what Lee and Rojas would've done once they got back here -- hell, if they'd come back here. I'm only telling you not to get distracted. Don't trust anyone. That mutiny isn't confined to The Inquiry. They started with the smallest spacecraft for a reason."
"Dry run," Shardae breathed. Her chest was tight with the numerous questions Darryl had stirred inside her.
He nodded. "My point exactly."