Good morning, all. It’s Saturday. I want to be in bed but sleep has continued to be elusive. So I thought I’d give you a brief snippet of Victory from Ashes. Victory is the seventh entry in the Honor & Duty series and the next to the last in the current story arc. You can pre-order it now. Release date is Sept. 21st.
This is a short snippet (from the rough draft) of the book. That means there may be misspellings, punctuation issues, etc., that will be fixed in the final proofing of the book. Now for the snippet.
“Are you sure you’re ready for this, Ash?” he asked softly enough the guards wouldn’t overhear.
She smiled slightly and nodded. “More than.”
And that had to be the understatement of the year—or longer. For the last two months, she’d looked forward to this moment. Khan knew it, just as he knew how much she wanted this. At least he should. Since taking the prisoners into custody, she had sent regular requests to see them. She needed answers only they could provide. But Khan and the powers-that-be refused each and every request, telling her the Intel specialists still needed time with them.
Part of her understood. It went beyond giving Khan and the members of his team time to interrogate the prisoners. They wanted to protect Ash from herself and from the desire–no, the need–to avenge her fallen.
So what changed?
Had they realized she needed this so she could finally put her dead to rest?
“One question first.” She waited until he dipped his chin before continuing. “Why the change of heart?”
Khan once again glanced down the corridor. Then he motioned for her to come with him. She followed as he led her into the security room next to the lift. Once inside, he ordered the two guards monitoring the bank of screens to give them the room. Their expressions made it clear they didn’t understand and would like an explanation. But they were too well trained to say anything. Instead, they stood and stepped outside, the hatch sliding closed behind them.
Ash waited, giving Khan time to gather his thoughts. Normally, that sort of delay would aggravate her, but not now. Not when it gave her a chance to do the same thing. Soon she would get what she wanted—a few minutes alone with the prisoners. Not that she would get to do what she dreamed of since their capture. But it was enough, for now at least.
Hell, she was lucky not to be sharing the brig with them after the stunt she pulled on Midlothian. Threatening to leave them bound hand and foot and totally helpless if the Callusians released the biotoxin on the capital might not be a court martial offense, but it was more than enough to bust her down a few ranks. It had been worth it, though. The threat—as well as their fear of their former allies—loosened their tongues and gave her the information she needed to locate the real target of her mission: Alexander Watchman.
“Colonel—Ash, I want you to know that I haven’t left anything out of your daily briefing packets about the prisoner interrogations.” He waited until she nodded. “So far, they haven’t told us anything we didn’t already know. They’re still trying to place all the blame on Watchman when it comes to the Callusians. Several have also made noises about trying to charge you and your team with violating their rights as members of the Midlothian government.”
She shrugged. None of that surprised her. To admit they aided the Callusians in the current war was tantamount to signing their own death warrants. She didn’t doubt for a moment they would continue to deny having any part in Watchman’s plan. Let them. Soon enough, however, one or more of them would break and turn on the others. Could that be why Khan finally agreed to let her see them? Was she the level they both knew needed to be wielded if they were to learn anything of substance from the prisoners?
“The admiral and I discussed the matter again last night. We decided it’s time to try something different before we reach the home system.”
She cocked her head to one side as she studied him. “Me.”
She turned away from him, her expression thoughtful. For several long moments, she considered what he said. Once again, the powers-that-be were using her for their own purpose. She didn’t mind this time. Hell, she didn’t mind most of the time. She was a Marine after all. It was her duty to do as ordered, to protect the home system, its people and their allies, even if it meant laying down her life to do so.
Besides, if she managed to scare the piss out of one or more of those prisoners held in the cells along the corridor, it would be worth it.
Victory from Ashes is now available for pre-order. The e-book releases on 9/21 and the print version will hit the shelves shortly afterward. For more information about this and other upcoming projects, sign up for my newsletter. There’s a sign-up link/box on this page.