Sinbad's Wife [The Adventures of Sinbad Book Two]
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by Toni V. Sweeney
Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Description: Former smuggler Sinbad sh'en Singh and his beloved Andrea are married at last, but happily ever after doesn't appear to be in their future. Even before the wedding bells have stopped ringing, a young stranger appears claiming to be Sin's son. While Andi is adjusting to that news, Sin succumbs to the illness that threatens their happiness, and the only surgeon who can save him unscrupulously demands Andi's body as his fee. Reluctantly paying the price, the little Navajo finds herself on a mid-space liner with her lover-by-force while her husband recuperates in the hospital. When the ship is attacked by Blackbirders Andi and the other women passengers are destined for the Slave Pits of Bel-Ammon. Then the slavers' leader decides to keep her for himself, and Andi faces an even worse fate than being a slave, for the man who leads the Blackbirders is someone she never expected to see again.
eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, 2008 Double Dragon Publishing
eBookwise Release Date: December 2008
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [399 KB]
Reading time: 238-333 min.
As Eli Nighthorse carried his mother's delicately-made floral wreaths into the choir room he realized he should be heartbroken. After all, today the woman he loved was marrying another man. Not just heartbroken, but the object of pity by everyone attending the ceremony, for not only was she marrying someone else, but Eli had been asked to be the best man, and, like a fool, he'd agreed.
"It's twenty minutes until the ceremony," Father Brightleaf spoke up, a frown on his usually pleasant face. "Do you really think he'll show up, Eli?"
Eli nodded. "He'll be here, Father. Don't worry."
"I'm afraid you've more faith in that smuggler than I do," the priest answered. "Right now, he's probably headed for some criminal's haven in Old Town as fast as he can."
Eli stifled a laugh. "If Sin says he's going to be here, he'll be here."
"Nevertheless, to put off the wedding for this long. They should have been married before Andrea had her baby."
Eli didn't answer. He was one of the few who knew that Andi was the one who kept postponing the wedding, not Sinbad.
"I suppose I should trust him more." The priest looked thoughtful. "But to delay the wedding like that. I guess we should be thankful he's going to make an honest woman of Andrea and give their child his name." He smiled slightly, and went on, speaking more to himself than Eli. "I admit he's a hard worker, though. He's certainly done his share at the farm and given up his lawless ways, just as he promised Andrea he would. He didn't even argue when she asked him to be married under our Laws."
"Well, then..." Eli began.
"I was surprised to learn that he's a Christian. I'd no idea our religion had spread so far, but do you know what astonishes me even more than that, Eli?"
"That he's a Catholic. To learn that a Felidan's not only a follower of Christos, but of the Mother Religion also. Why, that's truly an amazing thing." He glanced at the clock hanging over the fireplace in the little room. "Fifteen minutes to go! Andrea's already here. I'll take these wreaths into the church and go speak with her, just in case." Hoisting the flowers, he started toward the door, pausing to look back. "Aren't you coming?"
Eli shook his head. "No, Father. I think I'll stay here and wait for Sin."
"That alias of his is a little disturbing. I much prefer his real name. Andrew. Yes, I believe I'll refer to him that way." He brightened. "St. Andrew is the finder of lost objects. I hope he helps our Andrew find his way here."
"He'll be here," Eli assured him.
With a nod, Father Brightleaf walked through the door into the church, leaving Eli to settle into one of the chairs and put his feet up. After assuring himself that the old man wasn't about to return, he leaned back. To think.
Andi and Sin's wedding day.
He'd loved Andrea Talltrees from the first moment he saw her, a frightened two-year-old huddled in Vicente Talltrees' arms, one thumb stuck in her mouth. He'd been dazzled by blond curls and blue eyes as Vicente explained to his friends of his promise to Jonathan Pardee to look after his wife and baby daughter, while his best friend fought in the Terro-Felidan War. By then, Jon was MIA, his gunboat torpedoed by a Felidan battle cruiser, and Shelagh Pardee was dead of pneumonia complicated by a broken heart. Vicente had made the funeral arrangements, attended the service, and whisked Andrea away before some Federation social worker discovered the orphan and dropped her into the governmental maw that swallowed children whole and then forgot about them.
"From now on, she's my daughter," he said to one and all, "as if she was born to me and my wife."
Then and there, Eli lost his heart. He adored the little girl, and as they grew they became playmates, and friends. It was Eli who gave Andi her first kiss behind the Talltrees' barn when she was fourteen, deciding that the following year he'd ask Vicente's permission to court her. An Albegensi hired hand beat him to it. Within the year Andrea became Tran Day-lin's wife, and Eli felt the first fractures in his heart.
When the Albegensian War broke out, Tran was accused of being a spy, and disappeared leaving Andi to face the Fed's justice alone. That was why she'd hired the halfbreed smuggler Sinbad sh'en Singh to find her husband, then went with him in search of Tran. What they discovered was that not only was Tran really a spy, but he had a wife on his home world. They also fell in love, and Andi returned to Terra pregnant with the smuggler's child, a child she decided to abort, then at the last moment changed her mind. Sinbad had appeared a few hours before she gave birth, and they had been together ever since.
He hadn't started out liking the Felidan, and if anyone had told him he'd one day be standing with him at his wedding, he'd have called him a liar. It had been instant enmity between the two men the day they met, each sensing the love the other had for Andi, with his darling Andi--innocent in spite of everything--looking from one to the other in confusion.
"Eli, this is Sinbad sh'en Singh. Allan's father. He's going to be staying here."
At first, Eli hadn't spoken, letting what she wasn't saying sink in, and when he did speak, he managed to twist his words into an insult while making them seem harmless.
"Excuse me for staring. I've never seen a Felidan before." He knew from the way the green eyes narrowed that the smuggler understood.
"That's quite all right," came the calm answer, with a cat's grin, showing pointed eye-teeth. "I've never seen a black Natural, either."
That made Eli flush. He wasn't much darker than the others. His skin color could have been the result of exposure to the sun. His eyes were hazel and his hair soft and curly like his father's, little of his heritage from his mother showing, but the Felidan had sensed his sensitivity and struck the center of a delicate subject with deadly accuracy.
"My mother's from the Martian colony of New Liberia," he heard himself explain stiffly. "She married a Terran."
"Then we have something else in common." The smile became even wider. "My mother married a Terran, too."
Oh, yes, Eli had more than one reason for hating Sinbad sh'en Singh, and none of them mattered at all. Ostracized to some extent by the townspeople because she and the smuggler were living together without the grace of marriage, Andi nevertheless refused to marry Sin, but all that was changed. Within a quarter of an hour, they would be saying the sacred vows and become husband and wife, and Eli could say truthfully that he was happy for both of them.
He wished he knew exactly what Sin had done to convince Andi to change her mind. The smuggler had told him some of it, but as for the rest--he just had to imagine. Closing his eyes, Eli tried to recreate the story that had unfolded in the valley during the past six months...