Congratulations to D. Martin on your new scifi/fantasy release!
Survival and finding love isn’t easy for a vulnerable young woman in an isolated Human colony on a distant planet….
Magical stones, barley, unrequited love, and a young woman on an isolated Human colony lead to the unthinkable….
Corissa Danvins lives alone on Torben’s only Human colony that’s enclosed by an impenetrable force-field placed there by the planet’s mysterious nonhuman overlords. They’re the powerful, unseen First Dwellers. Corissa has survived family upsets, tragedy, and a broken heart. She has a rare talent and thinks it can keep the Alliance government from snatching her landholding.
She plans on using her ability to spark life in a mysterious gemstone found only on Torben—until the planet’s overlords, political events beyond her control, and a complex musician friend with a questionable mental condition—all interfere. She’ll need courage to face Torben’s secrets. Doing so might save colonists and help her find love again.
Her mouth fell open. An actual exposed terrina stratum—and not hidden inside heavy rock geodes?
Excitement brewed within Corissa, and she dared to hope again. No additional deadweight from the thick limestone shells in her bounty when she lugged it away! She quickly calculated how many large, raw crystal nuggets she could hew out then and there using a small pick axe and chisel. The haul would have to fit inside her small belt pouch. Not expecting to find much of anything, she’d left both her backpack and a much sturdier carrying sack at the ATV.
She stretched out a hand and stroked her gloved fingers along the ragged groove. Her eyes prickled at the thought that Jeremy Danvins had last touched that spot….
A brilliant golden glow flared to her right.
Someone else is here! How? A startled gasp escaped Corissa’s throat. Her heart squeezed with shock as she spun toward the light. Surely she should have heard the warning sounds of their approach from the echoing cavern walls.
Her eyes watered, squinted against the light’s intensity. She strove for a glimpse behind it. Who, or what? She carried no weapons, except the small hammer and chisel, opting to leave the cumbersome wave-rifle tucked away in the ATV. She hoped her fists and boot-clad feet would give her additional defense if the intruder proved hostile.
The light’s brilliance intensified as it advanced closer. Corissa thought she’d detected a tall shape silhouetted beyond the glare.
Then a deep, decidedly male voice spoke.
“Go back. It is not safe here for you,” it sharply commanded. The words were in Allied Basic, a universal language across the Human-occupied worlds, but they sounded stilted and strangely accented enough that it took moments before she understood. “Get out! You are in danger.”
Corissa stumbled back, her heart knocking hard and all her instincts screaming at her to run. Then she realized she’d heard that voice before in recent, troubled dreams. “Who are you?” she choked out, tamping down rampant fear long enough to stand her ground.
The blinding glare vanished, leaving her blinking at an area dimly illuminated by only her lamp. No one else was visible. Corissa swallowed and sidled backward two hesitant steps toward where she thought the narrow shaft’s opening lay. Something large and warm touched her face, and she sprung away with a startled cry.
Corissa stared frantically around. The headlamp’s beam revealed nothing. No one stood beside her. She didn’t believe in ghosts, but she spun and dove for the tunnel opening that she’d emerged from scant minutes ago. Before she could hit the ground or scamper through, a strong arm locked around her waist and snatched her up. She struggled, kicking out, but the unyielding pressure held her immobile, suspended in midair.
Corissa opened her mouth to scream, but instead clamped her lips tight and remained silent. Who would hear? She stopped fighting—however, she held herself stiff and tense.
“You will not be harmed by me, but there are others coming who would do so. I tried warning you to stay away, and despite it all, you came here. Do you remember?”
Corissa drew shuddery breaths. Her quavery reply came out raspy. “It was you in my dreams all these past nights…. It was you speaking to me—right?” She held her breath, waiting.
The unseen presence set her down gently upon her feet, but the arm didn’t withdraw. It tightened on her midsection and drew her back against a warm, hard body she still couldn’t see, although she angled her head around to stare behind at where someone should have been standing.
“That is correct. Will you trust me?”
“Why?” The single whispered word encompassed swirling, chaotic thoughts. Why me? How did he know about my intention to explore here? Why can’t I see him? Who is he? Was he one of Torben’s mysterious overlords?
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About the author
D. Martin likes science and finding out how things work. She was one of those exasperating kids who drove her mom and teachers nuts with unending questions of “Why?” Her career in science gave her the opportunity to play in labs, operate strange equipment, and avoid blowing the place up while creating some pretty neat stuff—and maybe advancing technology a little. She’s passionate about coffee, books, and fashion boots. But not necessarily in that order.
She believes a person can never have too many books. She reads everything, but is fond of science fiction, fantasy, and romance. World cultures fascinate her. She once wanted to be an astronomer to find out what’s ‘out there’. She lives in the Midwest with her family when she’s not off the planet chasing down wild stories