Series: Staying Afloat, Book 1
Author: Isabelle Adler
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: January 30
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, NineStar Press, sci-fi, futuristic, aliens, military, smugglers, pirates, demisexual, pilots, action/adventure, space battle, age-gap, slow-burn
Some jobs are just too good to be true.
Captain Matt Spears learns this the hard way after a mysterious employer hires his ship to hunt down an ancient alien artifact but insists on providing his own pilot. Ryce Faine is handsome and smart, but Matt has rarely met anyone more obnoxious. With tensions running high, it isn’t until they are attacked by the hostile Alraki that Matt grudgingly begins to respect Ryce’s superior skills, respect that transforms into a tentative attraction.
Little did he know that their biggest challenge would be reaching their destination, an abandoned alien base located on a distant moon amid a dense asteroid field. But when Matt learns that Ryce isn’t completely who he says he is and the artifact is more than he bargained for, he is faced with a difficult choice. One that might change the balance of forces in the known galaxy.
Matt doesn’t take well to moral dilemmas; he prefers the easy way out. But that might not be possible anymore, when his past comes back to haunt him at the worst possible moment. When faced with a notorious pirate carrying a personal grudge, the fragile connection Matt has formed with Ryce might be the only thing that he can count on to save them both.
Isabelle Adler © 2017
All Rights Reserved
“Hey, Captain,” Tony said when Matt finally dragged himself up the ramp into Lady Lisa’s welcoming embrace.
Tony was leaning against the wall, arms crossed on her chest and a look of stern disapproval in her eyes. She wore a holstered gun strapped to her hip, though she almost never carried a weapon on board. She had clearly been waiting for a while, and she clearly thought Matt was guilty of something. Annoyingly, she was right. He should have called her right after his little chat with Gentry and made sure she was all right, but he’d been too busy lashing out at Ryce.
“While you were out there getting drunk, Pat Gentry came looking for you. He looked pissed. Hell, even his goons looked pissed.”
Matt halted in the entryway, his head spinning a little. He really, really shouldn’t have had that last drink. The last five drinks. Whatever.
“Yes. Pat. He found me, all right. Luckily, he decided not to bust my kneecaps right there in the bar.”
“I tried to warn you,” Tony said.
“Yeah, sorry about that. Was a little distracted.” He remembered Stella’s enticing smile. Who was he kidding? He wasn’t going to call her later.
Tony gave him a withering look, which indicated she understood perfectly well what was so distracting, and it wasn’t the right sort of excuse.
“He didn’t try to hurt you, did he?” Matt asked, in an attempt to divert her wrath.
“No. I guess he figured it wasn’t worth his time. I’m not the one handling the accounts, after all. Though I wouldn’t count on his benevolence toward any one of us if he doesn’t get what he wants.”
“Shit.” Matt rubbed his face. This was really bad. It wasn’t the first time they had done business with Pat, but up until now they had never gotten on his bad side.
“Did you tell him what happened to the cargo?”
“Well? What did he say?”
“You were right; Pat wasn’t impressed. He figured I’d have to compensate him. Forty thousand Fed-creds.”
There was a moment of silence as Tony digested the number. It was true that she didn’t handle the finances, but she had a pretty good idea of their current situation. Even with Mr. Ari’s advance on this job, there was no way they could scrounge that kind of money in a short amount of time.
“Matt, please tell me you got the money. Somewhere.”
He winced at the shrill note in her voice. “Don’t do that. I’ll talk to Pat again, and we’ll figure something out.”
“Yes, because he’s known as such a reasonable human being!” Tony threw her hands up in frustration. “God, Matt, we’re totally screwed. Pat isn’t the right guy to mess around with.”
“Damn right. I like my guys taller and less prone to racketeering.”
“This is not funny!”
Matt put up his hands, which resulted in him nearly falling on his face. “I know, I know. Sorry. I’ll deal with it. I just need a few hours to sober up.”
She pursed her lips, looking at him uncertainly.
“You could always ask Nora for the money.”
“You’re being irrational,” she insisted. “Look, I’m not telling you to ask her to solve the problem for you, or go after Gentry. You don’t even have to tell her what the money is for. I’m sure she won’t mind lending you some cash…”
He cut her off. “Listen, Tony. You know I love you, but you gotta get it through your head—I’m not asking my family for help, not now, not ever. With those people, everything comes with strings attached, and I’m done groveling for their approval. This is my problem, and my fucking ship, and I’m the one who’s going to figure things out. And that’s the last time I want to hear you mention Nora. Got it?”
Tony stared at him as if he’d suddenly sprouted horns and fangs. She huffed in exasperation and stomped off down the corridor. Matt waited until she was safely out of earshot and then groaned and softly banged his head against the wall. He was having a very, very bad day.
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Meet the Author
A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.
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