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Safety is an illusion… Final Protocol

Like sci-fi romance?  Here ya go!  Final Protcol, science fiction with a erotical, romantical sort of twist.  But be warned, it’s a little dark.  That warning about questionable consent?  It is not tongue in cheek.

FP

Tip #1: Don’t get on her bad side. Tip #2: There’s no good side.

Her name is Silence. If she was ever known by any other name, she doesn’t remember.

She is a killer. If she was ever anything else, she doesn’t remember.

She has an owner. If she was ever free…well, that she does remember. She was free and then somebody gave her to a madman to pay a debt that wasn’t hers. She’s his toy, his pet…and his trained killer. She kills at his whim or she dies.

She has a target. Her so-called owner…the man who makes her life a living hell. If she could kill anybody in the universe, it would be him. But he holds her life in his hands.

And she has a wish—to find a man she barely remembers. A man she knows she once loved. The man who betrayed her and stole away her freedom.

With one final target between her and the tantalizing promise of freedom, she moves in for the kill. There’s one problem. There’s something strangely familiar about her mark. Something that echoes in the void where love used to live.

Warning: One woman with a mission, one evil bastard who lies as often as he breathes, and a man who’ll stop at nothing to find what he lost. Be warned…some questionable consent lies within.

“You failed me, Silence,” he murmured. He reached up and stroked a finger down my cheek.

“I explained the circumstances,” I said, keeping my voice steady.

“Hmmm.” He slid a hand around, his fingers idly probing the spot at the nape of my neck. To some, it might look like a lazy caress. To me, it was a dire threat. The bioseal was buried there, inside my brain matter, locked within me.

His hand fell away and he looked over my shoulder.

And even though he’d done this more than once, even though I’d suspected he’d do it again, there was no time to brace myself.

The biotronic system was too fast to evade, and in a heartbeat, I was trapped in what looked like a gossamer web but felt like bonds of ’stene. As it tightened around me, I sucked in as much air as I could, expanding my rib cage. Once, he’d done this and it had wrapped around me so tightly, I’d thought I’d smother.

But that wasn’t his torture today. It stopped when it had me restrained, and Gold went about stripping my weapons away.

Biotronic arms slid out from behind me, grabbing the weapons from him and whisking them away. He found every last one, including the garrote I’d tucked inside my collar, dart I carried on me and the stunners. There was a small glass vial of poison and he took that, holding it up to the light and studying it before turning it over to the biotronic arms. In moments, he was done and I felt stripped bare.

I’d rather have weapons and be naked when I had to deal with him than have no weapons and face him like this. Bound and trapped.

“One might think you didn’t feel safe coming to see me,” he said, studying me from under the thick fringe of his lashes.

“Safety is an illusion with you.” I clenched my hands into fists. If I could get free, I could kill him with my bare hands. I knew how. He’d seen to that.

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sci fi romance

Final Protocol is up on Netgalley!

Like science fiction?  I’ve got a new JC Daniels book coming out.  Final Protocol is up on Netgalley.  Please note, I have no control over acceptance, etc.

Find it here

Final protocol JC Daniels

 

Tip #1: Don’t get on her bad side. Tip #2: There’s no good side.

 

Her name is Silence. If she was ever known by any other name, she doesn’t remember.She is a killer. If she was ever anything else, she doesn’t remember.

She has an owner. If she was ever free…well, that she does remember. She was free and then somebody gave her to a madman to pay a debt that wasn’t hers. She’s his toy, his pet… and his trained killer. She kills at his whim or she dies.

She has a target. Her so-called owner…the man who makes her life a living hell. If she could kill anybody in the universe, it would be him. But he holds her life in his hands.

And she has a wish—to find a man she barely remembers. A man she knows she once loved. The man who betrayed her and stole away her freedom.

With one final target between her and the tantalizing promise of freedom, she movesin for the kill. There’s one problem. There’s something strangely familiar about her mark. Something that echoes in the void where love used to live.

Warning: One woman with a mission, one evil bastard who lies as often as he breathes, and a man who’ll stop at nothing to find what he lost. Be warned…some questionable consent lies within.

Final Protocol is up for Pre-order

My first straight SF in…well…ever.  There is a romantic sub-plot, so for those who need some romance, and for those who think…ewww…yuck, romance…

FP

“If you’re in the mood to watch, he might let you. After he’s done.”

I looked away from the couple to find Garner staring at me with his dark, dead eyes. “Watching isn’t really my thing, Garner.”

“No. You prefer to fuck my brother and try to play cunt-games with him.” He leaned in, the smell of synthetic garlic heavy on his breath. “The games don’t work. But it’s fun to watch you try.”

My gut rolled. Play with his brother. If only I had much choice in it. I’d stay on the other side of the galaxy if I had any say in the matter. But I didn’t mention that. If either of them had any idea just how deep my revulsion ran, it would become a tool, a weapon against me. Instead of showing how I felt, I reached up and touched a finger to his cheek. “You spend an awful lot of time worrying about the games I play with your brother, Garner… What’s the matter?” I leaned in closer and pressed my lips to his ear. “Are you jealous?”

Then I pushed around him and headed for the center of the dance floor.

You might think he’d have his offices in the back. Or down below the floor, in a dungeon, where monsters like him should rot.

But no. He kept his offices high above, and if I wanted in during business hours, I had to take the tube in the middle of the floor. Where he could see me coming.

Garner was right behind me.

I pretended not to notice.

It wasn’t that hard. If he were going to try and hurt me, he’d have had more of his men with him, and he would have done it outside.

That meant I had a bigger fear to concern myself with. I’d rather take pain over his other forms of keeping me in line. Pain was easy. The humiliations… Shudders gripped me, wrenched at me, even as I fought not to let Garner see any sign of what I was feeling.

No matter what he’d said to get me here, my handler wouldn’t just let me walk away from a job like that.

There would be a reckoning.

And if he wouldn’t take it in blood, he’d take it in flesh.

My body was already burning.

My soul was already screaming.

A hand came up behind me and shoved me into the tube and then Garner crowded in around me.

As it sucked us up into the air, I bowed my head, my hands braced on the smooth, clear ’stene surface.

I’d get through this.

I’d done it before.

I’d even do this job, I thought, just because doing it took me away from Jakor. Maybe this would be the last one. Maybe when it was done, I’d guide my transport into the nearest star and end it, swift and easy. Or I could just fuck with the wiring on my transport, dump the oxygen supply—I knew how to do that. I’d killed one of my targets that way once. It wasn’t a pleasant way to die, but I didn’t need pleasant. I just needed it done and final.

Anything to be away from here, forever.

The tube opened up and Garner slid past me.

I stepped outside and slowly lifted my head. Darkness greeted me. This…this wasn’t good. Heart hammering against my ribs, sweat trickling down between my breasts, my shoulder blades, a dull memory worked its way free. It was an old memory; more than a decade had passed since that day. The first time I truly remembered much of anything…including the man who awaited me somewhere in the darkness.

He owed me money. But he was too afraid to face me himself…so I’m taking you instead. You’ll have to serve in his stead…

And here I was. Still serving. Still trapped.

It would end when I made it end.

Twelve years. It was enough.

Yes. I’d do this final job, and then I’d find a way to end this. I’d either find that botanist, or I’d find my own end. Either way, I’d never return here, to this place, ever again.

A shimmer of gold moved in the darkness and I turned my head, saw him.

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I managed to form words.

“Hello, Gold.”

Samhain | ARe | Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | BN

Some news! Final Protocol

I’ll be having at least one more J.C. Daniels book out this year…but it’s not a Kit book.

It’s not urban fantasy, either.

J.C. is trying her hand at science fiction. SF with a splash of romance.

Here’s a snippet of FINAL PROTOCOL, due out from Samhain in July.

~*~

Some people said that this was what Old Earth would be like by now. Well, except for the population thing.  Aris still had a thriving population.  Disease and war had all but decimated Old Earth.  There were rumors that those who had remained behind no longer even resembled anything that we’d consider human.

Personally, I think human is just another word for animal.  None of us are worth much.  Me, included.

The ariste were a different beast altogether. Some of the kindest, most gentle people I’d ever come across resided here, on this hot, desert planet that travelled too close to its sun.  The people made me nervous and I wanted nothing more than to kick the dust of this planet off my shoes and leave it far behind.

Leave these smiling people far behind.

I had very little use for people in general.  If I couldn’t fuck it, then the only time I was likely to come in contact with anybody was when I was sent a contract to kill.

Like this old man, with his round, cheerful face and his silver eyes—ariste eyes, hidden behind the tinted lenses he wore.

I was here to kill him.

And he knew.

A smile creased his face as I moved into the room, not bothering to conceal myself.

He already knew I was there.  Why bother to hide?

Either he’d called for help, which would mean I had to move things along, or he thought he could handle me myself.

Neither would change the outcome.

He would die, because the alternative was that I would likely die and I didn’t plan on that being the case.

He nodded at the table where he sat.

“Would you join me?”

I paused, my hand on the darts I’d planned to use.  The problem was he hadn’t been on the long, narrow balcony taking his normal walk.  He was ariste, and one of the older ones.  They had a thing about the setting sun.  It was a religious fascination as far as I could tell.  All of the houses had balconies that faced the west, so they could watch as the brutal, burning sun sank below the horizon.  Even the poorest of families would struggle to get a simple opening so the family could face the death of the day.

Cree Ru was far from poor.

Yet he hadn’t taken his sunset walk.

“Come.” He smiled at me.  “Sit.”

I said nothing. I knew better.  My voice could be used to track me, pin me to the crime, if anybody was successful at hunting me down.  I’d evaded capture on a dozen planets in four different systems. This was an amateur’s mistake.

Just like walking in that open door was an amateur’s mistake, I chided myself.

“You will not sit then.” Cree nodded.  “Very well.  I’ll speak a bit.  I’ve time yet.”

He must have sensed something because he slid me a small smile.  “No.  The authorities weren’t alerted.  I sensed you three days ago and had the time since then to decide on the actions I’d take.  First, I had to think about who must have hired you.”

That wasn’t an answer I could give him.

I accepted the money, the job, all from my handler. There were other things I took from him, and some things he forced on me, but he never told me who hired me.  It was essential, he’d once told me, that he protect his clients.  Names were never given.

Cree didn’t let my silence stop him as he leaned back, steepling his fingers together as he looked out into the night.  He had thick, floor to ceiling walls of what the locals called plaris.  It made me think of the pilastene, a manufactured material that was used in almost everything for those who’d settled the New Earth colonies.

The NE colonies weren’t home to me, but many of my tools were NE made.  It was what I was familiar with, what I was used to. Pilastene was nearly unbreakable, safe to manufacture and inexpensive.

Plaris, like ‘stene, was durable, and nearly unbreakable, something that served this volatile planet well, designed to endure quakes that could have leveled cities.  His entire home was made of plaris, and the windows were the clear stuff, the most pricy form of it out there.  Eyes on the night sky, he studied the twin moons and said, “I hated to admit it to myself, but there are only two people who would have done this. Only two who would benefit.  My son and his wife.”

Arching my brows, I edged in closer, searching for weapons.  So far, I’d yet to see a single one.

“I cannot tell if the look on your face is curiosity or merely an attempt to distract me.”  He sighed and then reached out, pushed a plate toward me.  “If you are any good at your job, you’ll recognize this.”

My eyes moved to the plate, a thin disk of what looked like hammered gold.

The sight of the three small berries there made my belly clench, even if I was there to kill him.

Death’s seal, the most poisonous plant in three systems.  Deadly, and outlawed on almost every planet in those three systems.  Just the touch of it on the tongue was enough to kill a child.  Half of a berry could kill a woman my size.  Three berries could kill three men.

“I’m going to make this easy,” he said quietly.  “My son seeks to kill me, thinking he’ll inherit.”

Cree reached for a berry.

“Wait,” I said, the word ripping out of me despite my intention not to speak.  “Why?  If you wish to fight him, then why do this?”

“I don’t wish to fight him.”  He smiled, rolling the berry between his fingers.  “I wish to deny him what he tries to take by betrayal.”  Then he shrugged.  “And I refuse to let him use another in his endless vendetta against me. Do you know…it’s our belief that for every life you take, you must save two more if you want to leave this existence with your soul intact.”

I inclined my head.  “I have no soul left.  You do this for nothing if you try to spare me.”

“If you had no soul, it wouldn’t concern you to see this berry in my hand.”

He smiled at me as he tossed it up in the air.

I don’t know why I did it.

It should mean nothing to me.

I could easily claim his death as my own.  Poison wasn’t unknown to me.  I suspected I even knew who had provided him with those three priceless, deadly berries.

But my hand moved, almost as though it had a mind of its own and the sliver-thin dart stole the berry from the air and I quickly used two more darts to destroy the other two berries.  He could still lick the plate, I supposed, but somehow I didn’t see this regal, elegant man choosing that route.

“Why?” he asked, his voice puzzled.

Staring at the plate, at the thin stalks of the darts, I shook my head.  “I don’t know,” I murmured.  Then I looked at him.  “Do you count now?  As one half of a life?”