In this scene from Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, Pietas discovers a different sort of trouble. The good kind.
This one is Trouble
Joss unfastened her hair, let it fall around her shoulders and shook it loose. The blond waves caught the fading light and gave her the soft glow of a goddess, as feminine and powerful as if she radiated sunlight. She combed her fingers through it, giving him an odd look.
Pietas coughed. “Um… What’s up?”
She gestured to herself. “You’re asking me ‘what’s up’?”
What had he missed? “Yes. Why?”
“Because I asked you what was up, and you just stared at me.”
“I did? Sorry. I was lost in thought.”
“I see.” Her coy smile said she did indeed. “So, Pietas, what’s up?”
Now she was teasing him with double meanings and ambiguities. He’d love to join her in play, but until he’d learned what he needed, he ignored the temptation.
“Dessy says you’re in charge of camp security.”
“Has my father returned, or attempted to?”
“No. I’ve kept a close watch. The twins reported no sightings. He’s laying low.” She pulled back her hair and fastened it again. “But we’re not the sole source of security. I don’t see him getting past them.”
“Them? Who is ‘them’?”
“I’ll show you.” She motioned for him to follow. “Look over there.”
On a promontory overlooking the pods, a panther sat beside a bare tree, scanning the area.
“You’re referring to the cat?”
“Yes. Now look over there.” She pointed in the other direction. On that side, another cat prowled beneath a tree on the trail leading to the pods. “They’ve been there all day. They switch every few hours. Every time they do, the big one that attacked your father stands on the edge of the caldera where you first saw the pods. After the cats change places, it goes away. It’s the changing of the guard. I can see what they’re doing and I’m grateful for it, but they’re so intelligent it scares me. They bump noses and then take up the position of the cat they’re replacing. I think they might be telepathic, but with each other, not me. I don’t pick up anything.”
“They’ve done this all day?”
“Like clockwork. You know what this means, don’t you?”
“Yes. I can get some sleep tonight.” A yawn overtook him.
“I was going to say we should name them.”
Pietas nudged his chin toward a cat. “We’ll call that one Trouble.”
Forged in Fire…
Love Romances Cafe Best in Science Fiction/Futuristic Nominee
When the immortal Pietas is marooned on a barren world with no food and few survival tools, he knows it could be worse. He could be alone. But that’s the problem.
Half a million of his people sleep in cryostasis, trapped inside their pods and it’s up to Pietas to free them. He can’t release one at a time. It’s all or nothing. He’s facing over five hundred thousand hungry, thirsty, homeless immortals who will call on him for rescue and he has no way to answer.
It’s not all bad. The beautiful telepathic warrior he’s loved for lifetimes is at his side. He’s bonded with a sentient panther. He hates humans but the one dumped on this planet with him has become a trusted friend.
Before Pietas can build shelter, figure out how to grow food, or set up a government, he must take back command from a ruthless enemy he’s fought for centuries. His brutal, merciless father.
Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever…
Warning: Contains angst, humor, sweet romance, betrayal, vengeance… a ginormous, sentient panther who wants to be Pietas’s “kitty,” and a different kind of trouble with the rest of the panther tribe…
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