I thought I’d do a sneak peek of a fight scene from MESMERIZED!
PHANTOM CORPS: MESMERIZED by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2011, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
RELEASING APRIL 5
“Uh-oh,” she mumbled, right as Andrei saw them. A conveyance with far too many men in it.
“Are those Imperialist soldiers?” Andrei liked the outrage in her voice.
“Yes. Stay out of range and set down on that plateau to the south. I’d like to keep the upper hand here.”
“I think I’ve kept out of sight a few times. I may be able to manage it.”
He nearly grinned at her, instead taking her comm pad and fiddling, finding their channel and inside he went utterly cold at what he heard.
They spoke the language native to Caelinus. Skorpios. There in a Federation ‘Verse. They spoke openly on an unsecured channel. A boast that they could do whatever they wanted.
She set the zipper down with ease and utter silence. He barely had the chance to be impressed though, as he picked up bits and pieces.
He took his field glasses and the comm, recording the conversation, which he also transmitted back to his people. Vincenz would decode it quickly enough.
Why out there so far? Nowhere near any portals he knew about, private and the sanctioned one in town. The conveyance easily seated a dozen men, and they carried some sort of cargo. Probably the liberiam they’d mined.
“Do you know what they’re saying? I haven’t heard this language before.”
He didn’t startle, not entirely surprised that she’d crept up behind the place in the rocky outcropping where he’d set up a watch on the action below.
They couldn’t be allowed to move that cargo.
He went back to the zipper and pulled a panel free to get at the bag just beyond.
“I want you to take the zipper and get back to the compound immediately.” He didn’t take his attention from the plas-rocket launcher he put together, piece by piece, from the bag.
“Let me call for backup. You can’t handle them all on your own.”
He simply looked at her until she snorted. “Not even you can do that!”
“I can do all sorts of things. If I’m not back by moonrise, dial this contact.” He handed the comm back. “I used it to send the conversation, but I’ve downloaded the data to my comm now as well.”
“You’re out of your mind!”
“Piper, those men down there have a substance that could power the machine I told you about. I cannot allow that to happen. They’re no ordinary troops, they’re Skorpios. Fardelle’s private shock troops. And they have no reason to be here.”
“I’m not arguing with your response. I’m saying you need me to watch your back, and I’m going to. I know how to load one of these. Don’t ask.” She grinned when he sent a questioning glance her way. “Let me help you. Do you think I want them here either? This is my home.”
By the time he put the plas-rocket launcher together and set it to charge, the answer had come back from Daniel to Andrei’s request to neutralize the threat. You are go.
He wanted very much for her to leave, but he knew she wouldn’t. At least if he kept her close he might be able to shield her pretty ass in case things went upside down.
“If you get hurt, I will let your brothers kick your ass, because they’re not blaming me for your inability to know what is best.”
“Well, thank the gods for that. Being a silly woman and all, however would I know what to do unless one of you told me?” She clicked the barrel into place after it charged fully. It shouldn’t make him want to take her to the dirt and fuck her, but the easy way she had with whatever task was before her really turned him on.
“When I fire, use the confusion to take out as many as you can.
They will regroup. We need to kill as many of them as we can with the first strike.” He examined her features carefully, gauging her response, but she nodded, checking her weapon over and moving into a better position.
He didn’t use the finder to lock the target. He had better aim if he followed his gut, which he did. A long breath out, emptying his head of everything but the target and the slow squeeze of the trigger.
Below them, chaos broke out as the plas-burst hit the conveyance, sending shards of glass and metal into the air.
While he waited for it to charge again, he reached for his sniper rifle and began to target those who were left.
Piper tried to remain focused on the scene in the basin, but it was a close thing, given how ridiculously sexy Andrei was just then.
Protective. Fierce as he concentrated on targeting. The burst hit the mark perfectly, and she began to shoot. Squeeze after squeeze, like he’d shown her just the day before.
It only took them a short period of time before the remaining soldiers had taken cover behind the burned-out hulk of the conveyance and had begun to return fire.
“Hold a moment.”
She took cover as he messed with his comm pad. “I’m going to hit them again from over there.” He indicated another outcropping precariously higher than they were.
She wanted so badly to tell him he was totally out of his mind.
But he knew his job, obviously, so she tried not to appear anything less than 100 percent in support of his ridiculous plan.
“I need suppressive fire. Can you do that?”
She nodded, picking her weapon up again. “I’ll head over there.”
She pointed in the opposite direction and scrambled over, careful not to kick up any dust to identify their position.
Below them was bloody, smoking chaos, and she aimed at it and fired over and over, hoping the diversion would help him get into position.
Her question about his situation was answered as another plasrocket hit the group below. She kept shooting, trying to think of her people as she did. Trying to think of the people who needed her to be strong and steadfast in this war. They were on her turf, her ‘Verse, and they wanted to destroy it.
Within minutes, they were all gone. Andrei came down from his perch, very carefully, she happily noted.
“Are you all right?” He looked her over carefully, his face set in that inscrutable mask of his.
Don’t forget to visit today’s other Snippeters!