Jack Renfro lost his leg in a racing accident ten years ago. The cybernetic replacement he received from the Moon techies have increased his strength, stamina, and fortitude making him prime for racing. But the racing dome doctor says no, Jack’s implants are poisoning his blood and his body. If he doesn’t get them fixed racing will be the least of his worries.
Enter moon tech, Shannon Moore, a survivor of the Humans First Terrorist cell purge. She’ s known for her cybernetic work but finds the racers and their philosophies disgusting. Especially since she was born on Mars and is spying on behalf of the MacIntosh gang in exchange for her getting her betting debts paid off.
Too bad close quarters make Shannon realize her and Jack have a connection far deeper then simply saving Jack’s life, and his Full Throttle partners are supporting a town not tearing it apart. When Shannon’ s secret unravels will the newfound relationship she and Jack have survive?
Familiar sights were already assailing her. The rock formations she’d seen any number of times on trips to the checkpoint to sell Zephyr goods and steal from visitors. Yeah, her family and her friends weren’t the most honest.
The direction they had headed in was the right one. Their only problem was they couldn’t drive all night. She was exhausted. The four drinks she’d slung back of that corn mash weren’t helping either.
“A misunderstanding is what happened.” She kept her foot on the accelerator, feeding a steady stream of fuel to the hauler’s engine.
“I think we’re well out of range you can quit speeding across open plains. We don’t need to hit something.”
She let out an uneasy breath. Her heart was still pounding in her chest. If she spoke her true feelings, Jack would think she was crazy, but she’d never felt so alive. “Another reason I’m driving. Auster doesn’t have all the wildlife.”
“Then what about that rock?”
Shannon immediately started to slow down, steering the hauler out of the way of the giant boulder dead center in their path. “Exactly why driving at night isn’t ideal.”
“We can slow down any time you want, and you can explain yourself. Since we just lost almost a week’s worth of supplies and our tent.” The low tone of Jack’s voice and the way he kept his hand locked on the frame of the hauler door were clear signs his patience was waning.
She kept driving, her hands gripping the steering wheel tight. “Like I said, they misunderstood. I went in for a drink and then a couple of the men offered to let me in on their card game. A little friendly betting, drinks and whatnot. I won a few rounds and naturally it made sense to raise the wager.”
“To what? You don’t have anything to trade.”
And she never did. “That’s why I don’t lose.”
“But if they were chasing you…”
“I never said I don’t cheat. I said I don’t lose.” And that was how she’d been found out. “A card slipped out of my sleeve at an inopportune time and those idiots were less forgiving. Even though one of them was pulling a swindle, too. Better to follow the crowd.”
Jack scoffed. “So, then you led them to our campsite.”
“Where else was I supposed to go? I didn’t have any weapons on me. I’m not exactly built to take on four grizzled, beefy men.”
She dared a glance at him, only to see him scowling at her in turn. “If you’re willing to wage a battle, then you need to be prepared to fight it.”
Shannon did her best to keep from smiling, clamping her lips together. But she had to ask. “Who told you this word of wisdom?”
“My father. A good man, with a good heart. He believed you fought the battles you chose.”
Fathers… Shannon’s opinion of them lay firmly within the definition of the word worthless. “Mine believed you steal, stab or cower from them. Let’s just say I’m not a fan of those three, but I do believe in surviving.”
A flash of light in the sky to their left caught her eye, and a glance at the clouds racing toward them had her searching for cover.
She caught sight of a cliff face in the distance, one that might have a cave or two. They just needed somewhere to keep safe. When she compressed the accelerator, the hauler sped up.
“Thought we agreed driving slower would be ideal.”
“No can do, Deputy Jack. There’s a storm headed this way.” She pointed over her shoulder at the mess barreling their direction. She didn’t miss Auster thunderstorms, especially night ones. Being raised a Zephyr, there were always warnings about getting caught above ground after dark.
Though she’d once risked it and gotten a wicked set of bruises on her legs and back from being pelted by the ice crystals raining down.
“It’s a light rainstorm, nothing to be scared of. If anything, we’ll get a free shower.”
Shannon scoffed. “You are definitely a Wespero through and through. Auster region doesn’t get your light showers. Not during this part of the year. The rotation of the planet, relation to the sun…even the terraforming couldn’t have predicted this mess. Night storms here typically involve something we call razors.”
“Razors?” The tone of his voice matched the one-eyebrow-lifted stare he tossed her way.
“Little balls of ice. They cut like the sharpest knife on exposed skin, burn a little too. On covered skin they leave nasty bruises and that’s if you’re lucky. Grown men cry after getting hit with this stuff. If they get big enough, they can even go through metal, wood…anything.”
“Then we need cover, fast.”
Now he’s getting it.
Landra Graf has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the inspiration and joy the written word can bring. Add in her personal mottos of ‘whatever it takes’ and ‘better to be busy than bored’ and she’s two steps from overload.
She writes romance with the goal of granting happily ever afters to everyone, fiction or not.
When not writing, readers can find Landra reviewing books, cooking up a storm, deeply immersed in a mad game of Scrabble or Rummy variation, and searching for moments to laugh and smile through it all.