Hot autumn nights… when the weather is cool enough for sweaters and hot cups of cocoa. They make me think of wind-pinkened cheeks, carved pumpkins, warm embraces.
Autumn is my favorite time of year for many reasons, but the most special part of the season for me is celebrating the love of my life: I was married on an October night under the falling leaves, and to me, the season is forever tied to romance, love, and my handsome hubs!
Join us as we celebrate hot autumn nights with a blog hop! I will give away to one commenter on this post a copy of my upcoming release “Fight or Flight” from Liquid Silver Books! (Please note, this book is an erotic romance and intended for adult readers only). Just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing!
All commenters on this and the other blogs in the hop will be entered to win the grand prize, a $155 gift card to either Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com!
To get back to the hop and see the complete list of participating blogs, please click on the image at the top of this post!
Given a choice between fight or flight, Tirzah Simonian has always been a fighter, but when she turns to flight to escape her disastrous marriage, her life comes crashing down around her in a stolen transport. Now she’s to be tried by court-martial, and an acquittal is her only chance to save her career and get her life back on track.
Advocate-Commander Zeke Lucassen has no love for women who abandon their spouses. He’s under pressure from the fleet to close the case hard and imprison Tirzah in the workcamps, but the evidence he’s been given doesn’t add up. He has to choose between believing the evidence provided by the investigator, or the growing conviction that the pilot may have been acting in self-defense.
Given the horrors in their pasts, neither one has any reason to trust the other, but both their futures depend on finding common ground.
Tirzah tried not to fidget as she sat at the table with Josiah at her side. His hand slipped under the table and closed over her knee, stilling the foot she hadn’t realized she tapped. A Court Officer stood by to issue orders once the plea had been entered. She glanced over as the door opened and a huge man walked into the conference room. Her breath caught a little as he nodded in her direction. Broad shoulders filled his advocate uniform, narrowing down to a trim waist and powerful thighs. Sharp green eyes bored into her, startling in their lightness from a dark-complexioned face. His hair was braided into tight rows, close to his scalp. He looked rigid, unyielding. Terrifying. Every bit of him looked sharp and dangerous.
There had been a time in her life when the appeal of a dangerous man had been as seductive as the appeal of steering a fighter through space. Her body still, on some level, reacted to the raw power of a big, strong man, even though the man she married had eventually turned on her, terrorized her.
This man in front of her seemed to see right through her. Her heartbeat grew frantic—she knew now how small creatures felt under the gaze of a bird of prey.
Fight or flight.
She’d fought Walter and she’d lost. She’d flown and she’d fallen.
Now another big, terrifying man had her pinned to the wall and there was nowhere to go, no escape possible.
“I’m Advocate-Commander Zeke Lucassen, the prosecutor assigned to the case of Captain Tirzah Simonian. This is an informal hearing that will serve as your arraignment. Are you prepared to proceed?”
“We are.” Josiah’s voice rang out clearly in the small room.
The officer of the court looked at Tirzah. “We will enter your plea on the first count of murder now.”
The prosecutor sat across the table from her, his eyes still piercing into her. She swallowed, trying to force her eyes away, to still her rapid heartbeat before the treacherous organ imploded.
“Tirz, you need to enter your own plea, I can’t do it for you.” Josiah reminded her, giving her leg another squeeze.
“N-n-not guilty,” she stammered, looking down at the table.
“We will enter your plea on the second count of murder now.”
Second count of murder. They were charging her for the man that Walter had killed, the warden who had helped her escape.
“Not guilty.” Her chin lifted in defiance as she looked back at the prosecutor.
“We will enter your plea on the charge of taking a star-transport without prior requisition and approval.”
“Oh, I’m guilty of that one.” Tirzah turned to the officer of the court. “I knew my commanding officer would not approve the requisition so I took it.”
“Please note, Captain Simonian has already paid the fine, paid repairs, and served two weeks in the brig for that misdemeanor,” Josiah said, looking from the prosecutor to the court officer.
“I see.” The prosecutor looked down at his reader, and then back up at Tirzah. “Prosecution agrees to drop the charge of taking the star-transport and accept time and monies already rendered in lieu of further punishment on that charge.”
He made a note on his reader and then continued. “We will seek a trial by court martial on the murder charges before the Solomon Tribunal. Captain Simonian, as a citizen of Earth, and a member of the Fleet, you have the right to be tried before a panel of your fellow officers, unless you waive that right.”
“I do not waive my rights.”
“So ordered.” The court officer banged a gavel. “You will be informed of the trial date. Until such a time as the trial is held, unless otherwise ordered by this court, you are grounded, Captain Simonian. Please turn in your wings to this court.”
She tried to keep her hands from shaking as she unpinned the silver—not gold, she’d lost fight command status when Walter had first thrown her in the brig and she’d missed the qualifying exam renewal—wings from her uniform. Of course, she hadn’t flown since the crash, but her wings, a symbol of her status as a pilot, had remained pinned to her uniform, giving her hope. She nodded, forcing the lump in her throat back down.
Disgraced. Humiliated. Grounded.
“When the mighty fall, they fall hard.” A nasal voice sounded from the doorway. Tirzah looked up into the red face of the investigating commandant. He’d had a hard-on for her wings since the day he’d taken the case. Snarling, she leaped to her feet, ripping her elbow out of Josiah’s grasp, her only thought to get out of this room where the walls seemed too close and the stares too pointed.