An Excerpt from: FALLING STARS
“I shall go get the Sciroccons,” the Maelstrom guide said. Her nerves showed again when she pushed her hair over her shoulder. She was a lovely woman, full of grace and, apparently, determination. The tendrils of her dress floated behind her as she turned to make her way back down the pathway.
She’d barely left the rotunda, however, when she jumped and let out a surprised squeak. The Sciroccons had arrived—just as Rhodie had predicted—via the air.
In the blink of an eye, his team drew their weapons.
The Sciroccon on point didn’t look surprised as she came in for a landing. She’d known the tactical advantage his squad had, but there was no way a flier would be led down a path with covered walkways. Still, it was a dangerous way to approach, and, for that reason, she came in locked and loaded.
When her feet touched solid ground, she retracted her wings.
It was an olive branch, a sign of good faith. When phaser fire didn’t erupt, her team followed, dropping in one by one.
“All clear,” Lieutenant Commander Slate Zhuldyz reported. He’d checked out the sky behind them, just in case.
That didn’t mean there weren’t more Sciroccons out there, lying in wait.
Rhodie locked eyes with the leader of the opposing security detail, the dark-haired female who’d landed first. At her nod, they all stowed their weapons away. Sharp-eyed, the Sciroccons approached and took position on the opposite side of the rotunda. Only then was it obvious who their queen was.
Rhodie checked himself. President. The matriarchal society voted on their leader.
“Always a flaring spectacle,” King Starsun muttered behind him.
Definitely eye-catching. The Sciroccons were known for their beauty and their brains. Delicate, voluptuous, sultry, or refined, they were trained to use their charms. It was a mistake to focus on their appearance and discount them.
Because these were the deadliest Sciroccons of them all, the beautiful assassins known as the Spears.
“Ah, we’ve all arrived,” the Maelstrom leader said. He was in ceremonial dress with a crown of seashells adorning his gray-haired head. He gestured to the circular table before them with three identical chairs. Everything equal. “Let us convene.”
The twitch pulled at Rhodie’s shoulder again. Not so fast. He evaluated the female warriors before him, quickly skimming his gaze over their hands. They were known for weapons of flight, anything they could throw. Yet all he saw were hands poised over phasers, just like his unit.
He sidestepped to let King Starsun approach the table.
Rhodie stopped and moved back into defensive position.
Clasped hands. White knuckles. Atypical for a Sciroccon Spear with nerves of steel.
His gaze snapped up.
And, this time, he was rocked back on his heels.
The female stood across the table from him, but off to the side. It indicated a lower rank, but that meant absolutely nothing. She was heart-stopping. Shorter than her sisters in arms, she had less of an edge—if that was something a person could see.
He was certainly looking hard enough.
She had light brown hair that brushed her shoulders and gray-green eyes that widened the longer he stared at her.
Beside him, Lieutenant Commander Zhuldyz stiffened. His number two sensed something was off.
Rhodie forced his attention back to the woman’s hands. She pulled them apart as he watched, but then squeezed them into fists as if she didn’t know what to do with them.
Oh, yeah. There was something different about this one. Something very different.
“Commander?” Slate said.
Rhodie let the king pass. He didn’t see a weapon on her, but she had his attention.
King Starsun scowled as he looked at the table setting. A centerpiece of water flowing over crystals was probably meant to encourage peace and calm, but Rhodie wasn’t quite sure what the crustacean claws symbolized. He didn’t have the patience to keep up with all the Maelstrom woo-woo stuff.
He was more concerned about the female. When he looked at her again, she stuffed her hands behind her back, which didn’t help anything at all. She was slenderer than Terrene women, but she had curves in all the right places.
And… there it was. That was how the Spears got you.
Rhodie reined himself in quickly. He needed to pay attention to what the female might be holding behind her back, because one thing was certain.
Out of all the femmes fatale standing in front of him, she might be the most dangerous.
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