How about a snippet from MESMERIZED?
They call him the Shadow. Andrei Solace delivers death on silent feet as an assassin for the Phantom Corps. The perfect weapon in the fight against the Imperium, he’s sent to the same ‘Verse he left behind as a youth.
Piper Roundtree is a mercenary prepared for anything—except for being rescued from Imperial lackeys by the man she hasn’t laid eyes on in eleven years. While she remembers every mesmerizing sensation he gave her, she thought they were through. And against the backdrop of an impending war, their passion is reignited.
The girl Andrei once loved is now a fierce woman who can pilot a ship through canyons at high speeds, and drive him wild with equal abandon. As much as Andrei tries to protect her from the darkness inside him, Piper admires his skills and the code he lives by. Now the lovers must join forces—in more ways than one—to save the Known Universe before the enemy hurls it into irreversible chaos…
PHANTOM CORPS: MESMERIZED by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2011, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
“He’s embarrassed to be seen as a good guy. You’ll find us, you know. In every few ‘Verses there may be some guy or gal, once on the path to being a professional loser until Andrei came along and helped them be something better than they were before.”
She thought of Aya and Benni and realized they were some of his people, too. If she hadn’t already been in love with him, seeing him through Carey’s eyes would have done it.
Piper left him be, knowing he needed the time alone. She didn’t need to tell him he was being silly. Part of why she loved him was the way he simply did the right thing and never expected to be
thanked or recognized.
The hours passed quickly as the transport hurtled through portal space, bypassing the ‘Verses in between Mirage and Ceres.
“We should be approaching the deceleration lane soon. Here.” Andrei handed her a blast-proof tunic. “Put it on. It won’t show outside your clothes.”
He simply stared at her until she sighed and obeyed. And it was scratchy.
The Imperial mercs waited for them in the nearby field surrounding the portal.
“Andrei, check it.” Piper didn’t look at him when she said it, not wanting to take her gaze from Arge. She hadn’t gotten as far as she had all in one piece without listening to her instincts, and they were very agitated.
“It’s all here,” Andrei called out. “Get them loaded,” he said to Carey.
Piper tossed the bag of credits to Arge, who grabbed it from the air with a leer in her direction. “Nice doing business with you. I could make it nicer.” Again with the leer. She didn’t suppress her
shudder of revulsion.
“Thank you, but no. We need to be on our way.”
He made to reach for, her and she stepped back. “No. Don’t touch me.”
“Fine. If you’re too whipped by your girl-haired keeper over there, it’s your loss.”
She made it a point to stay out of reach as she kept an eye on the loading of the pallets of goods.
“Anything else I can do for you? I’ll be on my way if not.”
He hailed the three with him, and they all turned in unison.
The hair on the back of Andrei’s neck had been up since they took the stairs to leave the transport. This Arge was up to something. There were too many men with him for such a reasonably small transaction. They were carrying, he could tell given the way they moved. Not unusual, they’d have to in their business. But the sum total of it was something overdone.
Carey saw it, too, making a hand sign indicating they not get flanked as they handled the cargo.
And then the man had the audacity to reach for her. She jumped back and told him no. He’d sneered as Andrei imagined breaking his fingers. And then the hail. He knew that hail.
“Get down,” he snarled and in one easy movement, threw one of his knives, which won its goal, landing in Arge’s throat.
“Do you honestly think you can rob us?” Piper, who’d recovered enough to get behind the stairwell, called out.
“No. I think we can rob you and then kill you. Maybe after we get a little taste of you. We’re hungry men.”
Andrei stalked over, blaster shots raining around him. He headed straight for the one who’d told Piper he’d gang rape her and kill them all. “No. You’ll be dead.” Without pulling his weapon, he reached out and snapped the man’s neck.
That’s when he felt the cold, painful slice of a plas-fire to the back.
Piper screamed in the background, but he told her to get in the transport. Soon enough the field would be filled with people alerted by the sounds of the firefight. They didn’t need the exposure.
“Get the bodies in the transport,” he called back to Carey as he rolled, the pain from his back nearly making him bolt his last meal. He blocked it out and, grabbing the dead man’s plas-rifle, hit the
last man who’d been standing.
Piper had started the engines; the hum of the thrusters heating up rumbled through the ground. Andrei grabbed the body of the man he’d just neutralized, tossing him over a shoulder as he scooped the weapons into a pack. Carey came to grab Arge, and they did one last check and got onto the transport and sealed the doors.
“I unlocked the docking clamps. Go.” Andrei slumped into a chair in the back, strapping in right before he was flattened by the gravity of reentry into the portal space.
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