About Smoke: A Dark Masters Story
by Mara Ismine
397 pages / 100150 words
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html, lit, Adobe and Sony optimized pdf, prc, epub
Smoke is happy with his life. He runs his galaxy-wide courier business
without interference, his ship, the Purrsis, is one of the best in her class
and the galaxy is full of interesting and attractive people willing to spend
a night or two with a lonely pilot. Smoke prefers things simple and
uncomplicated. Then he decides to follow a pair of particularly attractive
long legs from a tavern in the hope of a mutually enjoyable night of fun and
Tyrak has nothing more on his mind than completing his mission and leaving
the planet. Getting involved with an opportunistic thief isn't in the
mission parameters. Even if that thief has incredibly soft fur. Life becomes
a whole lot more complicated for them both. Can they balance lies and
secrets with their undeniable attraction? Or will duty and misunderstandings
destroy any chance they have for more than a brief fling?
Mychael Black, author of Arcanum, Vervain, writes: Smoke is a pilot--and
very much a love 'em & leave 'em type. He's quite content with casual
encounters. Then he meets Tyrak. A fellow pilot, Tyrak wants nothing to
do with Smoke, knowing things will only get far more complicated (and
possibly dangerous). Yet neither man can deny the attraction between
them. The trick is getting through all the smoke and mirrors.
Intrigue, danger, and galactic hijinks. Those are the perfect
ingredients to a great sci-fi story. Add in two hot pilots who can't
seem to ignore one another for long, and I'm hooked. I loved the
interactions between them out of bed, as much as I did IN bed!
This is my first Mara Ismine book, and if it's any indication, I'll be
reading many more!
“Damn!” Smoke muttered into his beer, as the most
interesting man in the tavern stood up and pulled on an ankle length leather
coat before striding out into the dark. Smoke pouted into his glass for a
moment. He had been making plans that included that tall, slender body; and
now his prey had left before Smoke could put any of his plans into effect.
One cool glance from an emerald eye was hardly an agreement to a night of
fun, but it had been a step in the right direction. Finding out if there was
another matching eye hidden under the shock of shiny brown hair that had
concealed half of the handsome face had been one of the plans.
Smoke glanced casually around the busy tavern and confirmed his earlier
assessment. There was nobody else here who looked interesting enough to be
bothered with. He drained his glass and dropped a few coins on the table.
There was only one thing to do: follow his prey and try and get the evening
back on track!
Smoke stepped out of the tavern and strolled across the road, drawing in
lungfuls of the cool night air. His nose automatically filtered out the
myriad scents of the portside city, searching for leather and Emerald-eye’s
unique aroma. He sauntered in the direction he was sure the man had taken,
hands tucked loosely into his wide belt. His eyes scanned the street, and he
caught a glimpse of his prey in the distance. He smiled to himself and
followed. A chase would add to the pleasure.
The spot between Tyrak’s shoulder blades was itching. This was all just too
convenient. It was either a trap for him; or a frame for the Ambassador; or
maybe, just maybe, a fairly clever attempt to make it look like a frame. It
couldn't be as simple as it looked. Could it? Tyrak shook his head and
watched the dim red light on the data stick. As soon as it changed to green
he could leave. It wasn't part of his job to speculate about the guilt or
innocence of a suspect. He just had to collect the information for others to
He found himself listening intently, trying to make out any sounds in the
suite or the corridor over the soft whir of the computer. He couldn't hear
anything, but that didn't mean that there was nothing to hear. He caught
himself drumming his fingers on the desktop as he glared at the red light.
He closed his eyes and forced himself to breathe deeply. Just because
everything had gone smoothly so far didn’t mean he could relax or forget his
training. He had to remain alert until he got off this benighted planet.
Once he was safely away, he could give in to the frustration he had been
suppressing. Now he had to remain cool and calm. There was no place for
impatience and hasty actions in this mission.
He opened his eyes and scanned the dark room before he let himself look at
the light again. It flickered to green as he looked, and he couldn’t help
the silent sigh of relief. He pocketed the data stick and waited for the
computer to shut down, before moving through the welcome silence to the
door. He eased the lock slowly, to avoid any sudden click as it disengaged,
and cracked the door open enough to be able to glance either way along the
corridor. It was still deserted. He slipped through the door and locked it
again. He switched off the jammer and headed for the stairs. He would leave
the same way he came in.
“Gamma reporting. West corridor quiet. Proceeding to South.”
The sudden voice, and the replying burst of static, sped Tyrak’s heartbeat.
A security guard was doing rounds; he identified the communication without a
second thought. The voice came from ahead of him, and he was only half-way
to the stairs. He measured the distance to the stairwell with his eyes as
his ears tracked the guard’s muffled footsteps. No time. He would be caught
if he tried to run for the stairs. He slipped into one of the bedrooms just
as he caught a glimpse of movement from the end of the corridor.
He leaned back against the door, and closed his eyes. It was pitch black in
the room after the bright, but tasteful, illumination of the hallway. He
listened carefully. Was the guard just walking the corridor? Or was he
checking each room? Damn! The sound of a door closing followed by a few
footsteps and another door closing gave him the answer he didn’t want. He
needed to hide, and quickly. He opened his eyes and searched the room with
his dark adapted vision. The far side of the bed should do as a hiding
place; the guard was only giving each room a cursory examination. He crossed
the room in three silent strides and threw himself down in the shelter of
the bed just as he heard the door handle rattle.
He landed face down on something that shouldn’t have been there. Or, rather,
someone who shouldn’t have been there. Before he could do more than stiffen
in surprise, arms and legs wrapped around him, and a mouth covered his. The
reflected light of the security guard’s torch beam showed him wide, dark
eyes that seemed to be laughing at him. The light vanished, and the door
closed, but the kiss didn’t end.