Welcome to my first ever Teaser Tuesday post!
I’ve decided to take the next three weeks and give you a little taste of the Sci-Fi Romance Endure series I’ve been obsessively slaving away at for months now. I’m a good chunk of the way through book 3, Progeny, as of this posting, but I can’t give you any of that until books 1 and 2, Maven and Nemesis, are out in the world. Hopefully, I’ll have some sort of timeline on their release very soon, but for now you can get a little taste of what’s coming.
As a reminder, here’s the blurb for Maven:
“At 21, Dr. Lydia Ashley’s dream of becoming a crew member of the Deep Water Research Command Endure has become a reality. For more than six years, she’s dedicated her life to securing a position aboard the underwater lab and UN military command. Her reasons for this goal were many, but Daniel Brewer was one of them.
Daniel, the 22-year-old son of the Endure’s Captain and a technology genius, leads the life of an underachieving, over-privileged playboy. Unmotivated but undeniably brilliant, his life is turned upside down when the driven, highly intelligent, and beautiful Dr. Ashley reports for duty.
As they learn about one another, Lydia and Daniel uncover a plot to infect the waters of the world with a deadly marine bacteria. They are plunged into unknown dangers as they defy the plans of a greedy corporation and a scientist with a score to settle, and anyone could be an enemy. If they can put aside their pride, they might find the people behind it in time and maybe save each other from their loneliness.”
So there’s the setup. This week you get to meet Lydia. Ready for the excerpt?
Your Tuesday Teaser:
Ten minutes out.
Lydia tore her eyes away from the informational display. It had been six years, two months, one week, three days, and eighteen hours since she had set this goal for herself. Surely she could survive the next ten minutes without having a nervous breakdown.
Technically, she could say the moment her application had been accepted was when she could check this accomplishment off her list. It wasn’t enough though. She needed to be there. She needed to feel the steel beneath her feet as she walked the corridors of the Deep Water Research Command Endure.
As the transport submarine shuddered in response to the current, Lydia fought back the urge to chew on her nails again. Today was too important to spoil by offering some of the most respected people in the world a hand that was visibly gnawed on.
“It’s just normal turbulence. No need to worry,” the man next to her said. With his head tipped back against the bulkhead and eyes hidden beneath dark glasses, she had thought he was napping. By the looks of his tanned skin and garish Hawaiian print shirt, her guess would be he was a crewman returning from leave. She arched a suspicious eyebrow at him. He was probably nursing a hangover.
“I’m aware of what normal turbulence feels like,” she said, grimacing. “That’s about the last thing concerning me at the moment, but thanks for the reassurance.”
He chuckled. “The last thing, huh? Must be a lot weighing on you. Can’t be as bad as the pressure some of these folks got on ’em, though.”
“Oh? Such as?” It was an assumptive statement for him to make, given he didn’t know the first thing about her.
He sat up and looked at her over the top of his sunglasses. “I heard that one of these guys,” he jerked his thumb in the direction of the other passengers in the small craft, “won a Nobel Prize. Now that’s pressure.”
She groaned inwardly, sure of where this conversation would lead as it was similar to one she’d had many times before with many other people. “And why would that mean more pressure than what anyone else is under?”
“Think about it. After accomplishing something like that, one of two things happens. One, you’ve hit your peak and there’s nowhere to go but down. Or two, you spend the rest of your life trying to top it and failing. Either way, the outlook ain’t good.” He shook his head sadly.
“Oh, I don’t know.” She shrugged and leaned back. “Maybe it was a side effect, rather than a final goal. Maybe it opened doors otherwise closed. Many people put more importance on their work than public recognition. It’s a great bullet point on a resume, sure, but I hardly think it would be the beginning of the end of a career.”
“So which one of these stuffed shirts do you think it is?” He leaned toward her conspiratorially.
Lydia sighed. She supposed that since the outcome was inevitable, she might as well have a little fun with it.
From her position at the back end, she turned her attention to the eight seats lining the long sides of the submarine, four per side. The occupants faced toward the center space, all doing their best to avoid any precursor to social interaction. Her eyes scanned each passenger for clues to their identities. After thirty seconds, she had all the information she needed.
“Starting from the right side in the front. Mid-fifties, genetic implant hair, collagen filler in every visible surface, very high-end suit. He’s a corporate interest taking advantage of TSaR sponsorship benefits. The nervous blonde woman next to him, clutching the arm rests, is either his personal assistant or mistress, possibly both. Beside her, the man with no measurable difference between his jaw and neck. He’s a security specialist. The suspicious, condescending glare he gives everyone he meets puts them into one of two categories, physical threat, or not. The last man on the right…” she paused, searched her memory, then continued. “I actually recognize him. He’s a hydrologist: an obsessive water researcher. Solvent properties, trace elements, behaviors at various temperatures, and so on. It’s rather ridiculous really. He’s specializing in studying information that’s mostly common knowledge. He did some pioneering work in his early career, but he peaked with a water purification system twenty years ago.”
Not allowing him the chance to interrupt, she continued with the other row of passengers. “Opposite side, first seat. A new academy grad. He’s been studying the Endure schematics since I first saw him on the boarding platform. Classic overachiever. He’s destined to be shattered when he realizes most of his shipmates don’t press their utility uniforms every day. The woman next to him, hair pulled nearly as tight as she is wound. She’s security also, probably subordinate to the hulk across the way. Her hyper-vigilance suggests a burning desire for approval even as she rams the glass ceiling she’s currently stuck under. Typical for women in fields where physical strength is far preferred to any sort of intelligence. The haughty guy to her right is definitely an inspector, either OSHA or UN-employed. His incessant note taking gives him away. The twitchy man on the end is his trainee. That one clearly hates his life and the distant relative who got him this job.”
At last, she turned to face him, absorbing the full brunt of his tacky shirt. “You are returning from shore leave. If you are not the ranking Supply officer, you are near to it. Your service-issued bag in pristine condition says you’ve recently exchanged it, but the careless way you tossed it below your seat and kicked it into place tells me you’re not concerned with having to take care of it like most crewmen would be. Only someone with direct access to the supply source would act that way, as they don’t have to worry about cashing in favors or shelling out money to get a replacement.” She paused, allowing him time to process her assessments. “How did I do?”
He closed his gaping mouth and an appreciative smirk crept across his face. His hand extended in greeting. “Lieutenant Gregory Marks, Supply Officer aboard the DWRC Endure. You missed the Nobel Winner.”
She grasped his hand and returned his smile. “Dr. Lydia Ashley, Marine Biochemistry, newest addition to the Endure crew, and Nobel laureate.”
“What?” He nearly shouted, and several of the other passengers shot him an annoyed glare. He cleared his throat and settled back in. “How is that possible? You’re, what, nineteen?”
And there it was. The inevitable question that every stranger asked. “Twenty-one, actually, as of last week.”
The Lieutenant leaned his head back and blew out a breath. “Well, I certainly stepped in it there, didn’t I?”
Lydia sat back and smiled. “If it makes you feel any better, you aren’t the first one to have that problem.”
End of excerpt.
See you next week for another peek at Maven!