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Excerpt: Star Streaker #2

Hey all! Here’s a snippet from the next book. Going through the final stages now.

—–(unedited excerpt from Star Streaker #2)—–

“No sign of any Unity ships, Captain,” James said.

Rance breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank the Founders.”

“I don’t think the Founders had anything to do with it, Captain,” Solaris said dryly.

“Right,” Rance said. “It’s because of my awesomely awesome captain’s abilities.”

“How eloquent,” Solaris said, snorting. “More like growing up in the Outer Colonies taught you a few things about self-preservation. And oh yeah, your pilot deserves some of the credit.”

“I like to think I deserve a lot of the credit,” James said, his voice bursting with pride. Since he was actively flying the ship, he faced the window. All Rance saw of him was his back—and then an excited fist pump. “Did you see the way I flew on Doxor 5?” he asked.

Solaris ignored James and turned his seat toward Rance. He jerked his thumb in James’ direction but kept his eyes on the captain. “Where did he learn to fly like that?”

“My father was a ship-builder on Xanthes,” James said, determined to keep everyone’s attention. “But when I was thirteen, he arranged for me to fly the transports off-planet, to load up with the larger ships heading for Triton.”

“I’m sure your captain appreciated you flying his transport upside down.”

“Nope. He fired me the first time I did it,” James said, grinning. “So I got another job on another transport.”

“And that one?”

“Lasted two months. For some reason, the shipowners never approved of me learning to evade possible attackers.”

“So were you attacked?” Solaris asked, looking amused. He winked at Rance, clearly enjoying himself at James’ expense.

Since James couldn’t see out the back of his head, he continued talking like nothing was going on behind him. “No, I was practicing in case pirates tried to attack us.”

With a click, Tally chimed in over the comm. “Why don’t you stop bragging long enough to land the ship, James Fletcher!”

“When I found him five years ago,” Rance interjected, “James had been on ten ships in six months. Put us down here, James.”

Solaris shook his head. “How did you end up hiring someone who’d had so many jobs? No offense, James.”

“I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t already seen him fly.”

James maneuvered them directly over an empty landing pad. “Nah. It was my dashing good looks, or didn’t she tell you?”

Solaris shot Rance a look of confusion. “Oh. Sorry. So you two . . . I didn’t realize . . .”

Rance chortled. James guffawed, laughing so hard he doubled over his console. Sure, Rance thought James was handsome—in a school-boy, next-door-neighbor kind of way. But she’d always thought of him as the brother she’d never had.

“No,” she said through her snickering. “James already has too many girlfriends.”

“So he’s not your type?”

“Afraid not—no offense, James,” Rance said, borrowing one of Solaris’ phrases. She looked over at Solaris, expecting him to make another joke. Instead, she caught him looking at her. What was that on his face? Relief?

She didn’t know how to react under Solaris’ direct gaze and busied herself with making sure her braid was tidy. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Solaris suddenly become interested in the buttons on a panel near his elbow.

“Speaking of girlfriends,” James said, derailing Rance’s train of thought, “mine’s going to be waiting for me.”

He smoothed down his wavy auburn hair, then ran his fingers through it and fluffed it back up. Rance looked at Solaris again and rolled her eyes.

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©2017 T.M. Catron

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