Today’s 25% excerpt is from BEST POLICY, the third novella in my Other Worlds series from Amber Allure, involving stories of adventure in an SF/futuristic setting.
He looked around again as it occurred to him he hadn’t seen the rest of his team. Frowning at Rafe, he asked, “Are Lieutenant Davis and the sergeant still surveying or something?”
“Afraid not. They’re not here any longer, Adam.”
“What?” That was the last thing he expected to hear.
“Like I was saying, the lieutenant was very pleased with his results. He’d already found lots of very useful minerals and then he discovered something he’s never seen before. Apparently its properties were way off the charts–just don’t ask me what charts ’cause I have no idea, but he was in raptures about all the possibilities. He wanted to go back early with his results, run some tests and stuff, but you wanted to stay longer to study the temple markings. Not for the first time, you two almost came to blows.” Rafe smiled as Adam ducked his head.
“I can imagine,” Adam admitted, smiling up from under his lashes.
Rafe’s heart was still slamming against his ribs from that unintentionally seductive glance Adam had given him from under his lashes. He was then forced to cough to clear the sudden lump which had formed in his throat. Belatedly realizing his hand was moving to caress Adam’s cheek, he diverted it to squeeze his shoulder instead. “You look and sound better.”
“Yeah, I feel a bit better,” Adam agreed. Then, he asked, “So, what did you do?”
“Do?” Rafe queried, distracted by the abrupt sadness in Adam’s eyes, wondering what had caused the look.
“To solve the presumably good-natured disagreement between Chris Davis and I?”
“Ah, I spoke to the general and he agreed they could take the ship back to base early and check over the samples in the lab.”
“The general didn’t want us all to go back right away?”
Rafe shrugged. “Well, sure, he did make the suggestion, but I argued it would be unfair to you because you’d just begun your investigation, and your work was at least comparably important as the lieutenant’s, so the general agreed to let us stay for a few more days and he’d send the ship back for us.” Rafe remembered how grateful Adam had been and he guiltily kept the fact to himself he had done it just to see that smile on Adam’s lips. The same rather sweet smile Rafe had single-handedly wiped from Adam’s face some months earlier when he’d started being a bastard to his best friend.
“He knew I’d be safe with you.”
“That was the theory,” Rafe muttered under his breath.
Adam smiled. “I bet I was very happy with you about then.”
Rafe was embarrassed to feel an unaccustomed flush creep up his cheeks and hoped Adam hadn’t noticed. Odds were Adam would be naive enough to ask what caused it. Rafe plastered a grin on his face for a second and then it faded as he went on, “Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan.”
“Do they ever?” Adam shrugged. “So, tell me what exactly happened. I still can’t remember anything about a landslide.”
“Do you remember the layout of the area?”
Adam frowned, thinking, but after a few moments he said, “Not very well. There’s a mountain, right?”
“Kind of. It’s more accurate to call it a really big hill. Halfway up it was a large plateau, which you thought might be man-made, dug out of the hillside. The temple sits on the plateau. The survey ship had landed on a flat meadow just to the west of the hill and we set up our camp at the base on the hill on the western side. After the general gave permission for the lieutenant to leave early, the sergeant piloted the ship out. That was a couple of days before the landslide.”
“Which happened twelve hours ago?”
“Yeah. You’d been having the time of your life. You were working on a stele just inside the rear exit of the temple, and I was just on my way back from our campsite with your notebook. You’d left it in the tent instead of packing it in your backpack and, of course, you needed it urgently to check on some notes you’d made the day before.”
If you want to know the rest of the story, you can purchase it here
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