Thursday, October 5, 2017

Europa for #SFRB Showcase

Welcome to the SFR Brigade Showcase for October
For this month’s showcase, I’m posting an excerpt from my new novel.

Please remember to check out the posts from the other participants at 

This year, I began writing a new series intended to be science fiction adventures. But, romance slipped into the first story.

What alien creatures lurk under the icy surface of Europa?

Dr. Nikki Bell’s plan to discover intelligent life hits a rocky start when her spaceship crashes on the icy surface of Europa. Seconds before she blacks out, she spies a man’s face in the water beneath the ice. When she wakes on the submarine Station, nobody believes her story. Convinced the mysterious stranger saved her life, Nikki searches for him while she explores the ocean and its alien inhabitants. 
Kiron Arqin Ramis chose exile as a Watcher on a remote outpost to redeem his family’s honor. He never expected to find an attractive Earther woman close to death. He violates the prime policy by rescuing her. Despite suffering the penalty, he strives to warn her about his hostile leaders.
Nikki’s unexpected meeting with Kiron triggers a chain of disasters in Europa’s perilous oceans. Can the daredevil scientist and scarred Watcher forge a new alliance despite their people’s antagonism?   
Science fiction thriller and romance: Book 1 of Taxyon Space, a saga of our journey to the stars.


We meet the hero in this scene. After Nikki’s escape pod crashes on Europa, she falls into a crack in the ice. She sees his face in the water just before she loses consciousness.

Her eyes flicked open and focused on him, blue eyes in a pleasantly contoured face. Her fingers scraped the ice sheet between them, and her mouth opened in a soundless exclamation. He leaned closer and smiled in greeting. Her mirrored smile transformed her pale face with an alien beauty. Within a second, her lovely smile faded and her eyes shut. 
Without making a conscious decision, Kiron punched his fist through the thin ice. The Earth woman slid headfirst into the water.
He pulled her underwater and rotated her body, checking for telltale threads of bubbles. No leaks in the suit, instead he noticed a loose connection to her air cylinder. Glancing up through the shrinking hole in the ice, orange striped Jupiter cut into a crescent. Night was closing in fast. He tapped the gas cylinder strapped to her back. Surely the mechanism for air storage was similar to the oxygen tubes his people used. The cylinder felt light. He feared it was close to empty. She would expire from lack of oxygen. He had to save her.
Kiron considered the options. He could take her to the hidden base of the Watchers, or else he could transport her to the other Earthers. Narrowing his eyes, Kiron stared in the direction of the submarine residence of the Earthers. If he swam warily, he could deposit her near their sensors without being observed and let them retrieve her. The alternative of bringing her into the Warrish Base was less attractive. His people would not welcome an alien female. Some would wish to kill her to prevent disclosure of their existence.
Quickly coming to a decision, he wrapped a strap around the suit and hauled her toward the Earther station. In a dozen lengths, he halted under a depression in the ice, an inverted trough gouged out by the tidal waves. He had often sipped oxygen-enriched air from these oxygen-enriched. He enlarged the cavity and tethered the spacesuit to the ice crust. Holding her head above the water, he quickly deciphered the unfamiliar mechanism and unfastened her helmet. Loose strands of her brown hair clung to his hands as he examined her pale face in the dim glow of his night light. Under the fine arch of her brows, her eyes were shut. Her sweet lips held a hint of a smile as if she hoped he would save her. 
He could not detect her breathing. Taking a gulp of air, he parted her lips and blew oxygen into her lungs. The touch of her soft lips elicited a mixture of embarrassment and desire. He had not touched a woman during the four years he had been a Watcher. He leaned back to observe her face. Her mouth relaxed into a curve and a faint moan percolated to his ears. She still lived. Her eyes were shut. Yet, small motions of her nose and lips indicated breathing. Her pallor lessened, her cheeks darkening to the reddish brown natural to her species.
Shivering in the cold water, he reattached the loose tube to her breathing apparatus. She had oxygen, although he suspected little remained in the cylinder. On impulse, he brushed his lips on hers and whispered a blessing for long life and happiness. She would never know, and nobody could see him. Her smooth skin felt strange, yet pleasant. Finally, he replaced her helmet, carefully tucking damp locks of her hair inside.
Kiron held the Earther against his chest and swam toward the Earther Station.

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  1. Intriguing! You're going to laugh, but as I read your excerpt I started to shiver from the imaginary cold of being in the water under an ice sheet.

    1. I am laughing. That's the aim - to evoke an emotional response.

    2. Excellent! It definitely worked on me, and yesterday was a warm day here. lol

  2. Very descriptive excerpt, and I loved how caring and gentle Kiron is!

    1. He is kind, but he'll get into trouble for helping her.