Excerpts liberations kiss robotics faction science fiction romance

Liberation’s Kiss – Chapter Three

In celebration of my upcoming new release, Liberation’s Kiss, I am posting the first few chapters here and on Wattpad. Like what you read? Take advantage of the $0.99 pre-order price, changing back to $4.99 on release day July 1. Or, join my newsletter and request a free review copy in exchange for an honest review.


Cressida followed the man-shaped android who had promised to cut her open keep her alive through the dim shaft, her throat clenching with blast powder. Her hands throbbed, rough and scraped, from when he had dragged her across the concrete. She had never been so terrified as that moment, believing herself safe and finally able to relax after three days, suddenly realizing that he was a representative of the very faction trying so desperately to kill her.

He had promised not to as long as she was “safe.” What if he figured out why the Robotics Faction wanted her dead and decided it was a legitimate reason? And yet, she still followed behind him, deeper and deeper into the unknown.

He ducked beneath a pipe, limping badly now. That was partly her fault for making him run across the street to stop her from accidentally exposing herself to the drones. But how could he blame her reaction?

Only days after her twelfth birthday party, her parents had intercepted a confidential leak that the Robotics Faction had slated her for execution. It was like an execution order from God. On Dinar IV, the Robotics Faction supplied everything from the nanobots that created the air she breathed to the smart chip that broadcast her health, needs, and preferences to the myriad life support and recreational devices that made life possible and pleasant on airless, irradiated Dinar IV. How could the maker of all things, whose name was branded across every surface she touched and inside even the clothes she wore, want her dead? And how could she argue that there had been a mistake, that whatever she had done, she was sorry? Who could she beg to be removed from a top-secret list that no one officially controlled, that no one was ever supposed to see?

Her parents had packed her up in the night and fled, leaving behind everything, even her two siblings. They had resettled as diplomats on Liberation VI, a small mining moon with a pleasant enough living environment that did not require the constant daily intervention of Robotics Faction technology. Most importantly, Liberation VI was disconnected from the galactic networks. Cressida had effectively dropped from sight. She was finally safe.

Only now that the Nar had invaded and reconnected the moon, her identity had transmitted across those networks. The Robotics Faction had come for her. Just as threatened fourteen years ago.

This robot, Xan, had already saved her. Several times over. The warmth of his wide hands on her head had been calming, soothing, like a child being hugged by a parent. It was a sensation she yearned to feel again.

Although at any moment, she could discover that once again she had made a mistake. And this time, her parents wouldn’t be here to whisk her away.

She cleared her throat. “Where are we going after we reach the transit hub?”

“Ideally, off world.” He paused at a crossroads. The way split into four directions, and he glanced briefly down each before turning confidently to the left. “Why didn’t your parents alter your ID chip?”

“You can’t,” she said.

“Sure you can.”

“I mean, you aren’t supposed to. It’s too risky.”

“It’s about the same as any invasive brain surgery. Go in with a backup.”

“Any backups were destroyed on Dinar IV.” That was how her parents knew the confidential leak was true. All citizens on technologically advanced planets received government-backed brain scans three times in childhood, so that if they should die before reaching majority, the government would fund their resurrection. Shortly after the leak, her resurrection points were all mysteriously erased. But no one “lost” a resurrection point. That was how they knew the Robotics Faction intended for Cressida to truly die. “Liberation VI has no resurrects. They’re so poor by galactic standards they’d end up indentured. And anyway, the point is that changing your chip ID isn’t allowed. I’d be an illegal.”

“Better alive on the black market than dead in a state funeral.”

Her palms sweated. She rubbed them on her dirty travel pants. “What life would I have if everything about me were erased?”

“You’d have a life,” he said, stopping briefly at a console and checking their location, then scrolling furiously through maps and keying in an indecipherable string of numbers. Transmission initiated…Success, the screen read, stamped with two different New Empire bank logos. He closed it, his arms flexed, and the console metal shrieked as it ripped off the wall, showering sparks and dangling wires. He tossed it into a corner and continued walking. “We’d waltz you onto the first outbound shuttle as a listed passenger rather than trying to stuff you in a freeze-dried carry-on. But you can’t smuggle an extra ounce on an outbound shuttle without the weight gyros freaking out. Your parents should have thought of that.”

In actual fact, they had thought of that. And that thought had cost her sister. But Cressida had no reason to tell Xan any of that. “So how am I going to get off world?”

“I have to think about it,” he said.

They wound through the heart of the capital city via its underground. Cressida had never walked it before, always chauffeuring intergalactic guests in official state carriages, and although she had thought the transit hub close, her legs ached and mouth gummed by the time they finally climbed into the hub ventilation and reached a drop into the men’s decontam room. Xan hung from the ceiling and examined the security cameras, but they were coated with old residue. He shook his head at their fortune and lowered her into the empty room.

She was too conscious of his hands as she dangled in the open air, again trusting him against her will. He dropped beside her. The access hatch closed and locked itself above them.

If there was one thing a mining station did right, it was clean-up stations. A powder bath dispensed grime-removing silicate, a vacuum wand removed any stray radiation, and stalls showered sterilizing light, bleaching tough stains to the same color as hair, skin, and clothes. She hurried to the silicate bath, eager to scrub herself free of the horrifying grit of the last hour.

A subtle red tint to the light fixture informed her that she was in the wrong room for her gender.

Xan swore softly and clamped his hands over her head. The shock of his sudden touch froze her in place. The indicators returned to normal. “We should’ve gone another couple feet. It wouldn’t have done anything if we dropped in the women’s.”

She struggled to remain calm under his touch. Not because she was afraid but because she desperately wanted to melt into him. No. He was a robot. She pulled back and tugged him toward the silicate. God, she could almost taste its sweet cleansing scent.

With him cupping her forehead, she coated herself in sand, wicking away the destruction of her former home and making her skin shine. She dusted her hair and her travel clothes, so dingy only bleach could repair the tarnishes. He studied her impersonally with his gray-green eyes, ensuring that she covered every visible inch, no matter how embarrassing.

After she finished enough to satisfy him, he lifted his chin. “Do me.”

She put her hand under the dispenser, received her palm-full of silicate, and swallowed.

The silver gash gleamed like a metal scar, jaggedly frightening against his otherwise human-seeming face. Concentrate on the scar. She dipped her fingers in the white sand and carefully brushed it against his cheek bones. They were wide and flat and so warm beneath her tips. She brushed sand across his wide forehead and down his long nose, to the sensitive divot above his lips, and across the indent in his chin.

His eyes focused on her, hot and electrifying, as the dirt adhered and fell away, revealing his clean, masculine beauty.

A pounding started in her center, just below her chest. Fear, she told herself, and not the memory of how safe she had felt after his kiss. He could break her in half if he wanted to. The gentleness with which he cupped her head was only a mirage. It hid his true danger.

She tried to ignore the deeper throb as her hands traveled down, embracing the wide span of his neck where it met his broad shoulders and the hot, hard, indelible chest. His tapered waist. His taut butt beneath the flight suit, his bulging thighs. His bony ankles, or his broad feet. She finished dusting him and stopped.

He met her heated cheeks. “You forgot a part.”

She swallowed. “You can get that.”

“If I let go, your position is broadcast across the station.”

She swallowed again.

“I can’t go out there with a huge dirt patch in such an obvious place.”

She powdered her hands and patted in a swift, downward motion that only touched the long, hard edge of what appeared to be an arousal she wanted to press herself against. Why was it that the first man she had ever found herself uncontrollably attracted to wasn’t a man at all but her enemy?

She half shook her head, forcing the improper impulse out. If he were a man, she would feel flattered by his arousal, but he was only programmed to react to her, or something. She swallowed all of her wrong feelings down, hard, and quickly dusted off her hands on her own throbbing thighs.

He was staring at her.

Heat splotched her chest. “I— What?”

The gray flared into green. His hard lips parted. He was going to kiss her again. And she wanted so much to taste it.

She gasped and jerked back, her hands pressed to his lips. “No.”

He nibbled her fingers. Sweet, sensitive bites. “Why not?”

“Because.” Desire throbbed through her. She wanted him, like she hadn’t wanted anything, and yet, the disappointment of her revelation echoed through her like a lament. “We can’t.”

“Says who?”

She shifted. “Why do you want to?”

“That was one hell of a come-on.”

Coolness seeped into her. “You’re the one who said that I missed a spot.”

“I meant my back.”

Coolness froze into shock. Her mouth dropped open.

His lips quirked. “Really? I said you missed a spot and you immediately thought of a four-by-six-inch wedge of my cock and not the four-foot target across the back of my torso?”

“I—I—I—” she stammered, quickly filling her palms and throwing her arms around him to dust his back. “I’m very sorry. Excuse me.”

He grinned, a teasing smile. “Hey, it all had to be done.”

“Yes. Um.” She patted him. “There.”

His voice dropped. “Cressida.”


He stood, so solid and powerful, between her arms. His tapered waist pressed against hers, hard thigh to her soft one, pressure of his arousal undeniable against her leg. His voice was gently rough. “Thanks.”

Her breasts pressed against his hard chest, and she suddenly became conscious of exactly how closely she was hugging him. But even so, she didn’t move away.

His skin, ragged at the edges of the cut, wasn’t red. Not like a human’s. But he seemed so human in other ways. She touched it softly. “Does it hurt?”

He licked his lips. “Like hell.”

“It doesn’t bleed.”

“Because of the magnetese bonded to my blood cells.”

She touched the dry edge of his skin. Magnetese cost millions of credits per gram. Even rich interstellar crafts only painted a micrometer-thick veneer across the escape pods. Sometimes only across the captain’s escape pod.

He stilled beneath her tentative touch, scarcely seeming to breathe, as though afraid of chasing her away. “As soon as I detect a hull breach, a jolt binds the magnetese to the clot.”

“Useful if you get cut,” she said.

“It’s so I can still fight even if I get blown out a pressurization hatch,” he said. “I’ve got about fourteen minutes before depressurization fugue causes brain death.”

“So expensive, for such a short time?”

“I’m a gold-plated bot.” He maneuvered around her and peeked out into the rest of the hub. “And I’m done for any more physical stunts until I get my bolts oiled. Let’s see if we can get some use out of my logic processors before I blow a fuse.”


The high-impulse wave traveled across billions of light years in less time than it took to cross from one neuron to another. The android known as Xelia|Brae [x?96$5] was still booting out of cold storage when she became conscious of the message that had already arrived, whole and complete, in the black box portion of her brain.

Assignment: Retrieve rogue x-class [x?98$4] real name: Xan|Arch for dissection/analysis and assassinate target n81x real name: Cressida Sarit Antiata. Location: Navidi 4.a.17?x.

She opened her eyes and stepped out of the storage creche that had transported her body from its construction origin in the Mainframe Nebula to this remote way-station, an asteroid caught on the gravitational edge of a solar storm slightly closer to the gas giant Navidi and its moons than any other highly classified Faction null-storage site. The creche beside hers stood empty.

It had belonged to Xan|Arch.

She strode down the single corridor, her blood magnetically striving for the magnetic grav-belt beneath the floor and dragging her entire body at near g-force down with it. Only her tendrils of hair floated free of her face, the dead protein unencumbered by the material pulsing through her living pores. Her bones, like all x-class, were non-magnetic titanium alloy, but the hollows were filled with magnetese-saturated human blood protein. Her pressurization readings were perfect, but she swore it sloshed, just slightly, when she walked.

The details of the assignment filtered in for analysis and review. Only one stood out.

What are the coordinates of Xan|Arch’s body?

The answer came before she had finished formulating the question: Coordinates unknown.

That was odd. Usually androids that lost all connection waited, paralyzed, at their last connected location. What caused the rogue condition?


Again, an odd answer. She requested and received satellite footage. On pixels, Xan|Arch scaled a courtyard wall, strode across a garden, and disappeared.

She zoomed. But no matter how large she blew up the pixels playing across the inside of her retinas, he walked straight into air. The blind spot expanded as more troops entered the area, until the explosion that filled the sky with particulates accomplished the same blinding.

She asked another question. Is Xan|Arch visible to eyes-on?


So, she was to capture her predecessor without knowing whether she could actually see or sense him, and without knowing what had caused his rogue state.


She followed Xan|Arch’s ghostly footsteps to the supplies room. The flight suit suctioned to her body, sealing along the seams, controlling her hair. In the armory, she removed the second fully charged shatter-pistol and pressed it to her right hip. She stepped into the drop-ship, closed the hatches, and navigated away from the station.

A fist-sized rock bumped the hull.

She paused for a structural analysis, but the thrusters were already engaged, and once burned, fuel would take a hundred years to re-accumulate. Well, if the hull had breached, she would burn up on entry, and the next x-class would be awoken. She pushed open the throttle. The drop-ship bucked and shuddered as its solar thrusters accelerated her up to light speed and dropped her into the Tube.

The important thing about the Tube wasn’t its concentric rings of accelerators. The important thing was that it was constantly patrolled by maintenance drones annihilating or pushing away anything that threatened to cross. The result was a near perfect vacuum that slid the drop-ship to its first destination like a pebble skipped across hot grease. She gathered speed, slingshotting around an uninhabited solar system, and rocketed into another Tube, angling incrementally toward Navidi’s system like a death-comet set on cratering a planet. Fuel exhausted, her craft hurtled helplessly into a wake pool of carefully calculated antithetical gravitation forces, a physics-created hard-braking net. Her human blood groaned against the perfect container of titanium. She gritted her teeth.

Approximately twenty minutes after the android known as Xan|Arch had disappeared from positive control of Central Command, his successor, Xelia|Brae, coasted into his old orbital pattern and accessed the network directly.

A column of smoke emerged from the crater of the former diplomatic residence, seeker-drones radiating out from it, sentries marching in spoked columns.

She switched systems, accessing the moon’s central error-malfunction reports. Of course everything within a quarter mile of the destroyed residence errored out, as did any systems wired through it. Moving farther out, a traffic signal had been error-malfunctioning since yesterday. Every few seconds, a new error ghosted up and then disappeared, all due to lags and hiccups in the system. Grit slowing down the inefficient human tubes.

A new error appeared: Central Transit Hub, men’s decontam room, wrong gender.

It disappeared moments later.

She flagged that location with the highest priority for investigation and centered her craft on the hub, overriding all other orders. Approximately eight seconds later, the security forces of the planet would ring this hub. She would land and lead the retrieval-assault.


Xan peered around the decontam wall and nearly ran into a miner in full hazmat suit and rebreather.

His goggles were deeply tinted with the harsh radioactive light of the raw ore, and he stomped past Xan and a wide-eyed Cressida without even a glance. His shoulders slumped from the heavy work and the long resurfacing restrictions during the bombing, when the integrity of the mine shafts could have been compromised.

The hair on the back of Xan’s neck rose.

A microsecond later, he processed why: reflected in the miner’s rebreather tanks were the converging forces of a security platoon. Not sentries but immigration forces. Humans.

His pistol was dead. His knees were blown. Cressida huddled against him, soft and vulnerable and trusting and completely puncturable by every type of weapon the force carried.

He pushed her back into the decontam room.

“Wha—?” she started to say.

The miner stumbled through the silicate, pushed the release on his suit, and stepped out. Bacterial-yeast stench clothed his naked butt. He hung the suit on the outside stall hook, tripped on the foot-tall frame, and tugged the door closed behind him. The stall sealed, containing his nakedness in privacy.

Above, the ventilation hatch was out of Xan’s reach, opened the wrong direction, and he had heard it lock. It would take several seconds to breach. Seconds they didn’t have.

There was no other way out of the decontam room.

No other way except through the security forces. Which he heard, even now, converging on the entrance.

“What is it?” Cressida asked. Her eyes were so deeply blue.

He cleared his mind. “Get in my suit.”


He jerked her to the far end of the bathroom and yanked open the group stall. “Put your hands on my collar and pull.”

She hesitated.

Shit. He let go of her forehead. The room color tinted to red. He ripped apart his flight suit, exposing himself from collar to navel, and lifted her against his bare skin.

She gasped and stiffened.

The material edges sought to separate them. He stretched the fabric over her, forcing it to enlarge and form-fit the two of them. Her hands pressed against his chest, and her head rested unwillingly against his shoulder. No time for that. He pulled the stall door all the way open so it rested against the main room’s wall, gripped the outer stall hook, and lifted them both a foot above the ground. Even Cressida could hear the noise of the entering soldiers now. Xan held her perfectly still. They were hidden from every angle.

Until someone closed the stall door.

The hook strained beneath their combined weight. What was its tensile strength rating? How much torque were the bolts securing it to the door rated to hold? What about the structural integrity of the door and the strength of its hinges…

“Open it,” a woman’s voice said.

A crash broke the miner’s stall door. The man inside yelled. Xan wanted like anything to see although he was able to follow the noise as the miner was dragged out into the main room.

“Where is the criminal known as Cressida Sarit Antiata?” the woman asked.

Cressida stopped breathing.

“Whar is is? Whar tis is,” the man screamed. Something seemed to be wrong with his tongue; more than that was his indignation. This man thought he had rights. “Whar—”

The hot buzz of a shatter-pistol slightly increased the temperature of the room. There was a biological sound of something sliding to the ground.

A radio crackled loudly over the decontam fans. “Sensors indicate a shatter-pistol discharge. Did you get them, Miss Brae?”

“No,” she said. “Please run a sensory diagnostics on every square inch of this room.”

Cressida started breathing again. Her thready gasps were masked by the ventilation system—just.

A young officer’s voice asked from inside a security helmet, “You don’t think they’re still in here?”

The woman moved toward Xan’s open stall door. “I have received no data to the contrary.”

“Where would they be? Hiding in the air?”

“The room is still red.”

“You’re in here.”

She sucked in a breath. “I notice a slightly higher temperature than would be expected given the space and the average operant efficiency of the fans.”

“So someone’s hot-blooded?”


“You did just discharge a firearm.”

“Yes. I did. Are you informing me of this fact because you are concerned that I did not incorporate it into my calculations?”

The young officer dropped silent.

In Xan’s taut grip, the door hook started to bend. He silently adjusted his grip. Cressida looked up at the strained piece of metal with widening eyes.

“In addition”—the woman shifted right, toward the crease of the hinges—“there is a slightly reduced echo of the sound vibrations in this room, exactly as though it were being absorbed by two additional bodies. I notice a mix of atmospheric exchange equivalent to two additional people breathing. In absence of external confirmation, my conclusion is that our two criminals are still in this room.”

“All the stalls are open.” The young officer must have looked down; the angle of his voice changed. “Why’d you ice the guy?”

“His excess verbalization interfered with my investigative abilities.”

The officer’s voice dropped low. “Better luck in your next life, buddy.”

The hook in Xan’s hand continued to taper like pulling a soft cheese. He pinched the bolt. His fingers slid on loose powder coating the air. The ventilation system abruptly shut off. In the sudden silence, they both stopped breathing. In Xan’s hand, the hook metal made a very light squeaking sound.

The security officer started to speak. “Hey, if they’re not—”

“Shh.” The woman’s voice spoke directly on the other side of the stall door.


“Hush for a moment.” She had moved instantly and silently in a room built for echoes — something no human could possibly do. Fuck. Another x-class? If so, she was his exact equivalent, only less broken and with a fully loaded pistol. And now she was leaning close, possibly sensing Cressida’s body heat through the stall door, or possibly even hearing his internal cooling dampeners underneath his skin fighting their combined heat. Her voice gnawed in his brain. “I hear something.”

Cressida’s brows drew together. Her mouth opened.

A radio crackle. “We have completed the analysis. There is an additional heat signature of the room emanating from the wall beside the group stall.”

Shit. Shit. Shit.

Footsteps trooped toward the woman. Xan abandoned a hundred possible plans; all ended with him immobilized and Cressida dead. One had to emerge dynamically. The footsteps stopped. He tensed. As the stall door closed, he would leap sideways—

The footsteps trooped inside the stall.

“I do notice a slight temperature difference here,” the woman’s voice said from within the stall. The ventilation turned on again, making it impossible to tell by echo whether every troop was inside, but the muffle indicated a large number. He hated to be so goddamned blind. The woman helped him by continuing to talk. “My schematics are out of date. Can you tell me whether it’s possible to access this side wall from the ventilation system overhead?”

The hook in Xan’s hand bent lower. His feet dropped below the sight line of the door. No one shouted in the main room. Either no one was there or such a person was not an android. Either way, his best opportunity for their survival was to move.

“Negative,” the radio crackled. “They cannot access.”

“They could cut their way into a closed system.”

“But they couldn’t survive the pure thermal glycol. That’s a radiant heat pipe.”


His feet eased to the ground. He squeezed out from behind the stall door. An officer stood on the lip. The stall was filled with the rest of the force surrounding another x-class. Her head was turning and her shatter-pistol rising as Xan moved; of course she heard him. He slammed the stall closed, knocking the officer in, and hit the external privacy lock to execute a blinding light cycle. Shouting chaos erupted, bashing and clanking against the door. Striding forward with Cressida still crushed awkwardly against his body, her legs dangling in strange angles where they emerged from his torso, he stepped over the body of the dead miner and picked up his hazmat suit. Her gasp coincided with him passing the man’s melted face.

“Don’t look,” he murmured.

She couldn’t stop staring.

Behind them, the smoke of the shatter-pistol melted through the reinforced wall and curled toward the ceiling. An alarm began to wail.

Xan stepped into the thick rubber-alloy suit. The other man had been larger and taller than average, and so luckily it fit their joint bulk, although Cressida’s head gave him something of a lopsided shoulder. He fit the hood over top and sealed it as he walked down the corridor. Lucky for him, the suit didn’t begin shrinking to immobilize him (a common theft deterrent) or announce any alarm. He stepped out of the decontam room. The transit hub was bathed in yellow. Security forces shoved him out of the way as they ran past him.

To his right stretched the main exits to the city. In front of him stacked local rails, tourist shuttles to the nearest islands, grotty transporters to hub cities on the south and east continents, and the velvet-cordoned precision scales of the off-world escalators. Those, he most wanted to walk toward, but the stagnant lines stretched four deep with bored travelers in expensive fashions. Rich families stranded by the hostilities, still hoping to get off world before the Nar enacted martial law. He limped past them, into the corridor to the de-escalators.

Weaving in and out of the miners, Xan remained hyperaware of the uniform sea passing anonymously in both directions.

Cressida’s breath felt hot against his collar. Her warmth squished against him. He held her like a protective weight. She wiggled, her gasps elevated.

“Stay with me,” he said.

“I can’t breathe.” Her words came as a whimper.

The atmosphere indicator on the lower right suggested she might be correct. The tank was empty; they were essentially breathing whatever had gotten into the open suit in the decontam room. Which, according to his calculations, would allow approximately ten minutes before the oxygen was eclipsed by carbon dioxide and one or both of them passed out.

He calculated her likely response to knowing the truth. “It’s in your head. Don’t panic over nothing.”

She sucked in a breath and held it.

He was an asshole. But hopefully an asshole who would get them both out of here alive. “Good girl.”

They descended the ramp into the caves section of the hub. Below ground, the lights looked increasingly normal, color shifting from yellow to blue when they passed the superbrights. Even in the midst of a hostile takeover, miners reported for work. Without commerce, there was no income, and without income, there was no life.

Xan peeled off into the first tunnel and viewed the brilliantly lit de-escalator shuttling load after load of miners like so much luggage dropped straight down a hole. Xan didn’t want to go down there — it would be immediately obvious that he was in the wrong place — but going as deep as possible and turning around gave him the best odds for losing the station security cameras.

But even that ruse required a quick fix to the air situation.

He angled toward a horizontal stack of resupply oxygen. His hand closed over a tank.

An anti-theft alarm blared.

Shit. He jerked back his hand. Everyone was staring at him; the ones in front turned around and looked. Ah, double shit. The alarm had sprayed a big yellow splotch on his front. He was no longer an anonymous weirdly shaped man in a suit with similarly shaped men. He was a walking target.

And the station crew was coming for him.


Cressida fought to control her anxiety and struggled to breathe inside the thick, compressing miner’s suit. Everything felt damp, even though Xan’s skin was strangely cool. The desire to cry beat against her with increasing urgency. She had seen her first dead person today. A bloody, meat-colored mess in a stew of teeth fragments. Thinking about it again made her chest convulse. That was what the robots were trying to do to her. That was what they would do if they found her.

She pressed against Xan, her hands tracing the shape of his breast, his steady thud-thud-thud soothing her. He was one of them too. Yet his scent was masculine in a way that made her light-headed, and he was carrying her away from danger like a child in the pouch of his flight suit. Her mind drifted as though in a dream back to the last time she had felt so safe. A summer trip off world to the famous cloud oceans. One of the few trips afforded by her busy parents and her too-mature-for-family-outings older brother and her sweet little sister…

An alarm went off. Something puffed against her shoulder, on the chest of Xan’s suit.

“Shit,” he said.

She strained to see through the protective mask. The lower angle showed the tops of others suits. Miners crowded in.

“What is it?” she asked.

He stepped back and was jostled unevenly forward.

Ah, she recognized that alarm from news vids. “Did you steal something?”

“Not intentionally.” He angled another direction, but the other miners forced him back, against a wall. “Shit.”

The internal com crackled above her left ear. “Citizen, what is your malfunction code?”

He rocked forward. The other miner suits disappeared from her scope of vision. The com remained open, crackling, for his response.

A mine security helmet, clearly marked with a yellow hazard symbol, appeared at the edge of her vision. “Citizen, respond.”

Although she could not see, the usual news clip would show a stunner baton arcing toward an insane miner. If this security helmet were on a human, she had no chance, but if it were a sentry, there were a wide swathe of acceptable answers that would not result in a stunning.

A light shone from the top of the hazard gear. Although it was difficult to see under these conditions, through the thick glass, it was bright and probably red. Warning.

Xan tensed.

Her heart spiked. No. He would attack or run. Remote security would cut them down from above. They would not survive.

She cleared her throat. “Ex-81, 3, 17.”

The com crackled to silence.

“What the hell was that?” Xan muttered.

“An improperly formatted error code. Are you familiar with the Outer-Centurian upper-world dialect?”


The light remained bright. Their com crackled. “Citizen, come with me.”

Xan edged sideways.

She hissed at him. “Go.”

“Citizen, repeat.”

She took a deep breath. “Ares seulia. Misaan tiyean dostrobrich ‘Upper Cave’ tia-analat.”

The silence was longer this time, although the com remained open. Finally, the sentry replied. “Citizen-anat, res oritilit.”


The light atop the sentry changed to a darker shade. The com dropped out.

“Follow him,” she whispered.

Xan started to move. From the lack of immediate gunfire, she assumed it was in the direction of the sentry. His heart remained steady beneath her fingers, which was great calm, even though her forehead dripped sweat and she labored for her next breath. His voice sounded just a little rough. “Did you just say that you’re a tourist to the ‘Upper Cave’?”

“Diplomatic visitor,” she corrected. “And that we require a guide.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

“Not if it works.” Her chest felt as if she were breathing through three layers of woolen blanket. She closed her eyes to conserve her concentration. “We do have such visitors to the mines. And you can’t shoot all of them in the wrong area or you’d have a public relations nightmare.”

Xan stiffened and turned to watch something run past them in the opposite direction. “Holy shit.”


“I just saw our opposition blast past us running the opposite way. This just might work.” He turned to the front. “So where is he taking us?”

“An interrogation lobby.”

Xan coughed. “And that’s good?”

“It’s not being shredded in a tunnel or stunned on suspicion of terrorism, so I think it’s a step forward, don’t you?”

He didn’t respond.

Another thought occurred to her, distantly, as though it had to travel through molasses to reach her brain. “You understand Outer-Centurian.”

“Only its language tree. It’s not exactly common out here.”

“I thought androids had infinite intelligence.”

“Off network, we have to preload what we expect will be useful, and an elite Old Empire dialect was not one of mine. I have to run what you’re saying through the same parser as the sentry we’re following, and damned if he doesn’t have a more complete vocabulary.”

“He’s probably connected via the station hub to the central databanks.”

Xan swore softly. “So fucking blind.”

They passed into a room with harsh yellow lighting, and Xan stopped abruptly. “What’s your plan?”

“I’m going to ask the sentry to assist us onto a shuttle.”

He coughed for the second time. “Do not fuck up. He’s stopped us in front of an execution squad, and there’s not a damned thing I can do if he decides we’re bluffing after all.”

The sentry filled their view screen. She began to sweat again, but Xan was so cool and calm beneath her that, despite his harsh words, she remained calm too.

“Citizen.” The sentry paused while his next orders went through the parsing and translation process. “Dira san tiyastalit.”

Her answers, because she had memorized them in her human brain, came as instantly as natural language. “Proyostolich ‘Take off the suit’ tinan sayanalit?

Anan sol.”

She began to struggle. Xan hesitated, then uncapped the helmet. Cool air bathed her over-heated cheeks and fanned the sweat. Almost immediately she felt better, more awake, clear-headed.

Tisanyit doblovay ‘my assistant’ osolovait,” she said as Xan stripped. “Ayana torovisa tiyean.

Xan stepped free of the suit. His hands rested on her crown, sheltering her brain chip from the wall of sentries in various states of consciousness in the recharging stations in front of them. The first hint of alarm and they would all come to instant wakefulness, the stunners, hole-pistols, and other tools of death hanging from their reinforced metal bodies.

Beyond them, gentle green light shone through the line of windows overlooking the familiar skyline, misting all the way to the horizon. This direction, away from her former house, hid that devastation. Only a few craters showed the targeted assault that had terra-formed the planet during the invasion.

And then it occurred to her that she was resting her cheek against Xan’s shoulder and taking entirely too much comfort from it. She struggled. Xan helped her free of his flight suit, which resealed around only his taut body, and then his arm snaked around her chest and pulled her against him as though he needed her closeness. His palm rested on her forehead.

The sentry asked after her intended stay and her sponsor. She gave appropriate responses, including that her sponsor was His Honorable Lord General Vardis of the export house of the fourth quadrant. “Can you please direct us onto a shuttle to his house?

His residence is closed to visitors at this time,” the sentry replied with stiff courtesy.

Well, oh, well. Xan nudged her, his gaze passing over the line of recharging sentries, every one that entered and exited the room causing him to tense in readiness.

May we have appropriate changes of clothing?” she asked. “With sun hoods.

The sentry clomped away and returned with two lengths of unisex traveler’s robe. She draped the long white fabric over herself and assisted Xan into his robe, tying the belts in the proper fashion for one raised on Outer-Centurian and cinching down the hood. He let her hood rest on top of his hand.

The sentry did not note Xan’s odd behavior. Their data on the Outer-Centurian allowed that some individuals had never been chipped. A human would have at least asked if she were feeling well, but a sentry only reviewed the health broadcast. In absence of such a signal, they behaved at the default, that all was well.

Your destination?” the sentry queried.

She rapidly reviewed her options. Although she really wanted to ask Xan, she couldn’t be certain which language he would know, and the sentry would surely have access to all of the familiar languages and their families via the central databanks anyway. Although an unusual conversation might not trigger the sentry to stop her, it would certainly record their conversation, and any review of this unusual circumstance would be flagged.

She longed to join her parents off world, but her chip would be read or she’d have to show papers. She took a deep breath and smiled at the sentry. “Can you please book us onto your most scenic island tour?

Excerpts liberations kiss robotics faction science fiction romance

Liberation’s Kiss – Chapter Two

In celebration of my upcoming new release, Liberation’s Kiss, I am posting the first few chapters here and on Wattpad. Like what you read? Take advantage of the $0.99 pre-order price, changing back to $4.99 on release day July 1. Or, join my newsletter and request a free review copy in exchange for an honest review.


Only a moment after Cressida resumed her cramped position under the bed, a sharp ache in her ear bones sounded like the distant shrieking of a thousand vampire bats. She covered her ears, but the sound intensified. A crash landing — or a deliberate orbital break.

Abruptly, it silenced.

She dropped her hands and held her breath.

Something was happening outside. Please let it be the general. She had done everything he had asked, so surely she would be rescued. That was how it worked. Patience and obedience equaled survival. She squeezed her icy hands together.

Clomping echoed up the courtyard stairs. Footsteps thundered down her hall. The regular squeak of machinery. Not one or two, under stealth and silence to smuggle her to safety, but a platoon sent to get her. A firing squad.

“It’s all going to be okay.” She hugged her travel satchel and rocked, mouthing the words silently so that they couldn’t come out a sob. She had done everything she was supposed to. “It’s all going to be fine.”

The clomps stopped right outside her bedroom door. The world settled to silence. Whoever it was, they were just out of her line of sight…

On the street side of her room, a smooth white object nosed through her open terrace. Its small whirring sounded like a flurry of birds. A black light momentarily blinded her with a line of purple.

Oh, no.

Sirens pealed for the rooftops. She clapped her hands over her ears. The sound amplified as two additional drones bumped behind the first, squealing with excruciating volume. They sawed into the room and surrounded the bed.

From the hall, gun barrels swung through the doorway followed by robots. They were the thick sentry models Liberation VI used to guard capitol buildings and safeguard the populace during natural disasters, adept at hefting sandbags and taking down a suspected terrorist. Their rusted-out bodies had always made her feel safe and a little sad. Until now. Decrepit or not, they were deadly armed, pouring through her doorway and clambering over the terrace railing into her bedroom, their ominous shock rifles lowering to center her in their cross hairs. They faced her in a neat line and raised their guns.

White flashed from the hall.

The air tasted like ozone. She opened her mouth, but no sound emerged, not even a scream.

The sentries turned away from her.

Another white light sliced into the line of sentries, holing metal and collapsing joints into smoking piles of debris. The two drones nosed toward the hall. A second later, they fell silent, crashing to the ground in smoking wreckage. More sentries climbed up through the terrace, but white painted them too, toppling them off the building and burning away the railing. Her ears felt pressed inward by the sudden silence.

A man stepped into the room.

Her rescuer.

He carried a pistol beside his face. His eyes flashed over her, noting her location, as he continued his sweep. A flight uniform outlined his hard body; large, capable hands wielded his pistol. “Cressida?”

His voice was calm, a little rough on Liberation VI’s local mining dialect, although she would have been perfectly able to converse with him in any of the fourteen most common language trees and the eighty-seven galactic “familiar” dialects.

Her voice shook on the single syllable. “Y-yes?”

The wall behind his head exploded in a hot, black mark.

He darted behind a half-melted sentry, rolled across her burned carpet, and sheltered behind a wall. Blasts followed his movement, scorching the serving table and shattering her pitcher, and pounded the outside of the wall he used for cover. The plaster cracked, bulged, and began to buckle. He stepped onto the terrace, shot twice at something across the street, and stepped back again. The wall shuddered.

“You okay?” he asked.

She crouched, ready to sprint according to his direction. “I think so.”

He stepped out and shot again. The blasts abruptly stopped. He scanned every direction including the sky above and the street below, and stepped back into her bedroom. Slapping his pistol to his muscled thigh, he crossed the destroyed tile in three strides, bent under her grav-bed, and offered his hand to lift her out. “Let’s be sure.”

She swung her travel pack over her shoulder and accepted, emerging from the steps like a dark dwelling miner. Her hand trembled, but his palm was steady and sure. A little rough, the skin on the palm torn from a scrape. The light from out the terrace doorway haloed his tousled brown head, but his features were worn and friendly, almost at odds with his stunning gray eyes. Gray, rimmed in green, they caressed her body with strange electricity. She rubbed her arm with her free hand. The skin tingled.

“I’m okay,” she said.

Then her knees started to shake.

His eyebrows drew together. The pressure of his fingers was so warm, so comforting, even while amusement rumbled in his throat. “Sure?”

“I’m just—” She squeezed her knees together. “I’m so glad to see you. I thought you might never come.”

His chin lifted slightly. The pressure on her fingers disappeared. “So you were expecting me.”

“For days.” She hugged her elbows. The shaking came harder without his comforting warmth. “I’ve been waiting exactly as I was told.”

“Told by who?”

“The general.”

He backed toward the terrace.

She took a half step to follow him. “Where are you going?”

“Stay here.”

Her fear convulsed. “Please don’t leave.”

He glanced back at her, his expression unreadable.

“I didn’t mean to complain.” She tripped over the melted debris. “I’m sorry.”

He seemed to fade even farther from her.

“Wait!” Her emotions choked in her throat. “I’m grateful. Really! When I saw you walk through that door, I could have kissed you!”

He checked. “What?”

Oh, thank goodness. She made her hands into fists to keep from grabbing on to him. “I was so glad to see you.”

“So glad you wanted me to kiss you?”

“Ah…” Despite his embarrassment, he seemed pleased. The image of the lovers flashed in her head again. She took another step closer. “Well, yes.”

He cupped the back of his neck and grimaced. “Damn.”

“It’s okay. I could still kiss you.” Now, why had she said that?

“Shit.” He crossed the distance and tugged her roughly into his arms.

Surprise enveloped her. Was he really— Right now?

A hand across her back pressed her into his hard belly. Her startled hands rested against his wide shoulders. His thumb tilted up her chin and stroked the angle of her sensitive jaw. Realization hit her. He was inspecting her for injuries, even as his nostrils flared and her body opened like a flower to his life-sustaining sun. As though he read her reaction and subsequent awkward realization, he said, “Sorry, Cressida.”

“Oh, it’s fine.”

His mouth descended and covered hers.

Surprise melted into sweet, luscious heat streaking through her willing body. He tasted like safety and shelter and home. He nuzzled her and shifted, nibbling at her lips. She opened to those feelings, yielding herself to his power. Desire streaked through her. More. His tongue plumbed the depths of her mouth, branding her to him, possessing her to her innermost core. The world fell away. She clung to his strength, whimpers in her throat. Begging him for exactly this mind-numbing possession. Needing desperately so much more.

He pulled back, unfocused, and licked his lips. Colors seemed to shift in his eyes, even though that made no sense. His breath heated her cheek, and the salt on his brow matched hers. He blinked rapidly, as though trying to regain his senses. Then, his eyes narrowed on her. “What are you?”

She wiped the slickness from her mouth. Her body pulsed, even now, reaching out to him with every fiber of her will. “What do you mean?”

“Something is different.” He carefully straightened, steadying her on her feet. Somehow during their kiss, he had almost bent her over backwards, as though driven to consume her, to have her deeper, to take more. “You reprogrammed my core.”

Distracted now by his powerful frame, she was no longer shaking with fear from her near-death experience. “I…feel the same way, kind of.”

He focused those gorgeous gray-green eyes on her. Taking her in as though really looking at her for the first time. “Stick close to me, Cressida.”

A very important fact suddenly occurred to her. She touched her hair, smoothed the spikes undoubtedly flying around her ears. “I’m sorry, what was your name?”

A boyish smile curved his lips. “Xan.”

She started to smile back.

The wall punched at them.

She jerked back and stumbled to her knees.

A drone nosed through the open terrace door. Purple light scanned the fallen sentries.

“Xan!” she shrieked.

Xan’s thighs bunched. “I’m going to get you out of here, all right? Trust me?”

Piercing squealing covered over her answer. She clapped her hands over her ears.

He leapt on top of the drone. It dropped under his weight and then eased along the face of the building, upward toward the roof.

A far explosion rocked the street. Her building trembled. Carvings fell from the wall and shattered. The grav-bed groaned.

She stood slowly. Danger, pushed aside during their kiss, returned with numbing swiftness. Somehow she had survived the first attack. Stick close to me, Cressida. She wanted to so much it hurt. The world dropped silent as though coated in molten glass. Her hands trembled again. She had to go, now, while it was still quiet. Before more sentries came and found her. Before the first ones came back.

Out in the hallway, destroyed sentries toppled out windows and littered the hall all the way down the sweeping courtyard stairs. Whoever Xan was, he had destroyed half an army without even breathing hard.

A boom filled the courtyard. The street wall bulged inward and fell. Stone slammed into walkways, shattered the fountain, and billowed dust. Above, construction walkers clambered over the rubble, their giant pistons thrust out. Implacable feet crushed a new swarm of sentries clomping underneath. The walkers turned to her residence and hammered at the colonnade supports. The east stairs collapsed in a dusty boom. The entire house creaked.

Xan dropped through the colonnade window beside her, rapid fire melting the swarming sentries. He turned his aim on the walkers. White spots glowed on their columnar legs but cooled ineffectively to dull gray.

He examined his pistol, then slapped it against his thigh. “Damn. Out of charges.”

“Charges?” she repeated stupidly.

“Come on.” He grabbed her wrist and raced for the west stairway. “Run!”

She stumbled to reach his speed. The whole colonnade trembled under the walkers’ steady assault, and the whine of drones overhead reached teeth-grinding levels. Her feet touched the far stairs as a drone dropped down in front of her, blinding purple and squealing. A construction walker slammed onto the stairwell. Falling stone crushed the drone.

Xan swore and yanked her back, hauling her up to safety as the steps fell away beneath her feet. She gasped for breath. He tugged her down the hall, glancing in all the open rooms, moving steadily, muttering. Back in her room, the grav-bed had finally peeled back half a layer of plaster and lay sideways. He dropped her arm and strode to it, set his feet, and gripped the frame. His back rippled and quadriceps bulged.

“What—” she started to ask.

He ripped it from the wall.

Security wires gaped from the ragged plaster. He kicked them free, jacked open the grav-bed’s access panel, and crossed two wires. A flare arced from the unit with a sudden pop, and the bed rose up to her eye level, much higher than usual, and bucked across the uneven bodies.

He gripped the bed’s foot with one hand. “Four seconds to signal the architecture, approximately eight minutes to execute the malfunction loop, four seconds to return the output. We’re at”—he scooped her up and boosted her effortlessly into the bed—“eight minutes, two seconds, thirty-eight milliseconds. Brace yourself.” He pushed her out the front balcony. Drones wheeled overhead. Ceiling tiles cascaded off the destroyed residence and shattered in the street. “We’re going to outrun it.”

She gripped the bed railing. The street tilted two stories below her. She gasped. “Outrun what?”

“Space lasers.” He shoved the bed over the terrace.

It flew out into open air and dropped to the wrecked street below. She clenched the railing. There was no time to scream. Xan flew behind the bed, his powerful hands locked on the foot. His legs dangled parallel in the fall.

Behind him, the sky turned a paler shade of white.

The bed hit proximity-to-surface-level hard, and its antigrav mechanism churned to compress the air, its frame trembling. Xan slammed into the footrail, bending the metal. His head cracked the bar. His legs swung forward and bashed the cobblestone. The whole bed shot forward as though it were a bar of soap kicked across an oil slick. The sky over her former house turned painful white, then excruciating, even through closed eyes.

Xan popped up, silver jammed against his temple. “Get under the gauze!”

She obeyed, burrowing beneath the layers until she pressed her face against the crystal and covered her eyes with both hands. Black finger-bones glowed in red skin like a reverse x-ray against her lids. A rumble, loud and deep, ripped open its throat and poured gravel directly into her eardrums, rolling over and over like a cement truck turning sentry parts. Her finger-bones disappeared, and the rumble receded as though a thousand storms had simultaneously passed over.

She became conscious of her own breathing, loud, in her chest. And that of another person, ragged but regular, and the slap of shoes running behind her.

She tentatively removed her hands. The world retained its normal color. She pushed free of the gauze.

The bed was still moving. Xan’s steady breathing and the slap of footsteps sounded over the distant wails of emergency warnings.

A black funnel of smoke billowed for the sky from the smoldering crater that had, until just a few minutes ago, been her street.

The distant whine of a drone squealed against her molars.

They dropped down a ramp to the riverside and ducked under an overpass. Xan had her swing out, landing on weak knees, and wedged the grav-bed against the underside, next to an exhaust grating. He felt along the solid wall for something—an access panel—which he unscrewed with fingernails and dragged free, then studied the wiring.

The former see-through crystal was polarized to a cloudy white from excess heat. A body outline showed where Xan had pushed her to safety.

As he worked tirelessly to rescue her, she examined him. The back of his uniform was torn and burned; his hands were blackened as he precisely pinched wires into an intricate crochet. Who was this mysterious man? He kissed her like he knew all of her secrets. But she knew none of his.

The utility grate at his feet slid open. He squatted to lift it free and rest it against the wall, grimaced, and leaned over to inspect his torn knees. He bent one, then the other, and tsked. His breath turned ragged as though pained.

She willed her legs to stop trembling and hold her weight. Sure, their escape had been terrifying, but he had once again risked his life to save hers. She leaned over him. “Are you okay?”

“So to speak.” He grimaced and rotated his ankle. His profile looked so rugged, so serious in the underpass shadow. “I blew out the lubrication. I won’t be able to run very far or very fast until it’s repaired.”

She touched the swollen knee joint with gentle fingertips. He stilled. He had jumped so far; it was amazing he wasn’t completely broken. She looked up. “We’ll get you to a—”

Shock cut off her voice. The sour taste of death filled her mouth.


His far side was cut deeply where his forehead had bashed the bed frame. Underneath the ragged skin wasn’t caked blood or white bone. It was the iconic bio-silver of a robot.

He was an android.

His head tilted. The gentle inquiry that quirked his brows tugged on the gaping skin. He hadn’t realized the error. He’d revealed himself. A reflection like a nocturnal beast’s shone in his retinas. “Get me to a what?”

She stumbled backward.

He reached out. A shadow crossed his face. “Hey—”

She turned and ran.


“What’s wrong?” The question was less than half out of Xan’s mouth when Cressida rolled to her feet. Fear contracted her face. She was terrified.

Terrified of him.

A furious whine of scout-drones converged on the street as though they had triangulated his position. Cressida, panicked beyond rational thought, raced out to meet them.

“Shit!” He bolted after her.

The unlubricated bolt attaching his left tendon to his knee heated above proximal levels in one, two, three strides and then dry-locked. He stumbled.

Cressida reached the overhang shadow’s edge.

Shit, shit. He surged on his right leg. Falling, his hand ghosted down her shifting shoulder blades, brushed micrometers from her pumping buttocks, and clamped on her retreating ankle. He slammed into the ground. She cried out and fell forward, landing hard on her palms. Her brown hair touched the light.

He yanked her backward.

She cried again and scraped against the ground, helpless. Fully in shadow, he crawled over her and covered her head with his wide palms, hoping to make a silencing cone between his titanium-alloy bones and the concrete. Four deadly drones screamed overhead, their purple beams flashing, seeking her. They reached an intersection and split in opposite directions.

Her gasps for breath turned to shuddering. Sound hitched in her throat, and moisture leaked from her eyes.

He stroked her hair with his fingers, careful of his positioning. It would be so much easier if he were still connected to the network. He’d get a bounce-back from the drones’ live feeds all over the city, instantly knowing their positions and trajectories, seeing exactly what they saw and what the rest of the Faction knew — satellite imagery recording the entire event, how his superiors intended to proceed, whether and what classes of reinforcements would be sent, where and how to evade. He’d ensure they knew about the rogue who’d caused everything to go wrong. He’d update the ventilation access panel schematics. This moon used nonstandard wire code that probably didn’t record unauthorized access. The moon probably didn’t even know or care what unauthorized access was.

Her shuddering, if anything, got worse. He risked a full stroke of her head. Her short brown hair was silky beneath his desensitized fingers, like an animal pelt. A mink. She struggled to catch her breath and shifted. He became conscious of her whole body beneath his. Soft derriere beneath his hooked thigh, trembling back beneath his chest, gentle curving waist pressed against his cock. That piece of his body, which he had never specifically considered before, pulsed and heated according to an entirely new set of inputs. Ones that reacted, mystifyingly, to her scent of moist heat, and the silkiness of her hair beneath his wide palm, and the sudden urge to roll her over on top of him and press all of her curves against his hard places.

And then there was her kiss. He still tasted her on his tongue. Strange electrical impulses crackled across his body, seemingly disconnected from his programming. All he wanted to do was confirm those strange impulses. What did they mean? Despite the shock of his disconnection from the Robotics Faction, the feeling of Cressida’s lips against his seemed to ricochet through his body with far more meaning.

She shifted again, away from him.

The whine of the drones receded from audible range. He uncovered her head and rolled to let her up.

She scrambled to her feet and started running again.

Shit. She was still panicked.

He was up in an instant and caught her at the crest of the overpass. Emergency sirens deafened any potential danger, and he pulled her back into the shadow, away from cameras.

She struggled.

“What the hell?” he demanded.

“Let me go!”

“Stop trying to get yourself killed.”

She fought to get to the open street.

He pinned her against the wall.

She paused, shaken, fear white in her eyes.

The full strength of her fear forced him to take a step back. His body shut down while his brain analyzed the reason. She took the opening and pushed past. Sudden heat flashed white in his brain, and before he knew his own actions, he grabbed her shoulders and shoved her back to the wall again.

Too hard.

Wait, too hard? Had he made a miscalculation? Was that possible?

But it was. She bounced and rubbed her elbows. Her chin wrinkled.

All he wanted to do was catch her in his arms again and apologize. But he had committed a logical error. An error. He paced in front of her, struggling to identify and furthermore control that inexplicable heat flash in his brain, the one that had apparently disconnected his logic processors in a surprising and dangerous way, while moving to discourage her from running again. She glared at him, sniffling back her unshed tears. He gave up and stopped in front of her.

“What are you trying to do?” His question, intended to be calm, echoed with the force of a yell.

She flinched, then shouted back at him. “You’re a robot!”


She blinked. “You’re going to kill me.”

“If I wanted to kill you, I’d let you run out into the street.”

“Liar!” She rubbed her nose. Dirt and blast powder caked her cheeks. “You’re taking me somewhere to kill me quietly.”

He gaped at her. “Are you fucking kidding me?”

But she wasn’t. Her clear blue eyes accused him.

He raked a hand through his hair. Grit cascaded off. “Didn’t you hear the drones overhead? Don’t you hear the sirens right now?”

Her eyes narrowed.

He took a deep breath. Atmosphere flowed into his brain, and with it, the calming mix of nutrients that his biological components needed to repair themselves. His pancreas, for example, felt like it had practically detached from his inner wall, the hormone transferal process completely stopped.

“There are six thousand three hundred forty-eight satellites angled on Liberation VI right now. They are scanning a forty-mile radius of your last known location. The only reason they haven’t already found you is because they were trained on your residence, and atmospheric interference from the recent explosion most likely masked your escape. Stepping out from under fourteen feet of solid rubilum alloy will summon exactly the kind of attention you most want to avoid right now. Okay?”

Her posture softened slightly. “You could still be intending to kill me.”

“I am not going to kill you.” But her disbelief was so tangible and his logic so fragmented he returned to the easy reason, the one that he had come up with before their discombobulating kiss. “Not until I find out what the hell makes you so special.”


“The Robotics Faction wants to kill you. And someone else wants to keep you alive.”

At a cursory glance, there seemed to be absolutely nothing to separate her from the hundreds of billions of other humans living and dying in the thousand worlds. Nothing that would earn her a death sentence or a mysterious stay of execution.

He took her silence to indicate she was at least thinking now, which was better than running off irrationally. He pressed forward. “You were waiting for me. Who is this general that told you I was coming?”

“General—” Her eyes widened, and she clapped a hand over her mouth.

He took a menacing step. “What army?”

She shrank. “It’s just a name.”


She gasped for breath. “He promised to send someone. To smuggle me off planet.” Her chin wrinkled. “He never would have sent you.”

He studied her. She appeared so guileless. And helpless; easy for anyone to pick off. A twinge squeezed his chest. He rubbed the unfamiliar sensation. “What do you know about a rogue?”

“What’s a rogue?”

“Seems human but is actually a robot?”

“That would be you,” she said icily.

Technically, that was true. “I’m talking about a woman who has the ability to implant and execute code in my class. What do you know about her?”

She shook her head.

He ran a hand through his hair. “Fuck, Cressida.”

“Why would I know about a robot?” she demanded. “You’re the reason I’ve been running for the past fourteen years. If it weren’t for you, I’d still be on Dinar IV, surrounded by my loving family, and maybe even an ambassador already.”

Fine. Maybe she didn’t know about the rogue. He tried a different angle. “Why does the Faction want you executed?”

Her eyes widened. Her mouth opened, but no sound came out.

He pushed. “What crime did you commit?”

“But—but that’s what I want to know!” She shook her hands at the wrists. “What did I do? What’s so wrong with me that your entire empire should want me annihilated? Why?”

He reviewed her name, Cressida Sarit Antiata. They were not useful trade partners like the Nar, but they were not unknown in their quadrant of space. “What about your family?”

“The Antiata Corporate Entity has many enemies. None are specific to the Sarit branch.”

“Is there something inside you, in your blood or in your genome, that has been bred as a weapon?”

She shook her head, open-mouthed. “We already thought of all this! My parents took me to so many doctors. No one could find a difference from my siblings. Nothing seems wrong. Can’t you tell me anything?”

He shook his head.

She looked like she was going to cry. She hugged herself. “I thought— I mean, I hoped that whoever the Faction sent, you would at least tell me why before I died.”

He lifted a brow. His forehead, which he hadn’t noticed up until now, pained him with a sharp throb. “I’m not connected to the Faction.”

Her shoulders dropped. Tentative. “What do you mean?”

“I’m disconnected. I have no idea what they’re doing right now.”

Her tentative relief encouraged him not to say exactly how recent his disconnection had been.

Drones’ patterns emerged from the chaotic sirens.

He strode forward and pressed her against the wall, cupping her head near where he guessed her identification chip would be broadcasting. Only a direct pulse would find her chip, but he wanted to lower those odds.

She stiffened. “Xan—”


Six drones passed by at eye level, feet from where they stood in shadow, purple scans scattered over them. As before, he felt their scans like a tingle in his brain, reading where his ID ought to be but passing over it as though it were a lump of rock. Neither receiving nor broadcasting, he was nothing, not even alive. He was absence.

They disappeared.

He stepped back again, releasing her. “I wish I were still connected.”

She followed him back to the open access hatch. “Then you’re not under the control of the Robotics Faction?”

He shook his head. The piston in his knee scraped against the tendon, heating again before dry-locking. Shit. He limped.

“And you’re not going to kill me?”

“Not unless you give me a reason.” He dropped beside the open grating, swept the interior of the ventilation corridor, and eased himself down the ladder. His forehead pinged about damage, his knee pinged about damage, everything pinged about damage. Fuck, he hurt.

She looked down at him, biting her lip.

He looked up at her. “What?”

She clasped her travel bag strap. “I can’t figure out whether or not to believe you.”

“Well, I’ll tell you this.” He rested his elbows on the street. “Come with me and I will find out what’s wrong with you. Maybe it can be changed like an ID chip, maybe it can’t be, like the DNA sequence of a molecular reversal breaker. One way or another, I will cut you open to your very core, and I will find out what it is.”

She shrank back.

“Alternatively, you can stay here. Seeker-drones are currently sweeping a radius, tagging places like this one for visual eyes-on. Someone, either another platoon of bx-58-class sentries or an upgrade, will do that visual. Unlike the seeker-drones, they won’t be confused by light and dark. They will find you, and they will kill you. Whereas this ventilation tunnel”—he smacked the street—“if the schematics are to be believed, leads all the way to the Central Transit Hub. You want to get out of here, and that is the way out.”

She looked over her shoulder. Back at the street.

He climbed down to the inner level, swinging his dead knee awkwardly. By the time he reached the bottom, she had climbed down after. Then it was a matter of climbing back up, closing the access hatch, and climbing down again.

“Won’t the transit hub be guarded?” she asked in the dimness behind him, over the steady whir of the fans that cooled the magnetic and electronic panels ensuring the daily operations of the city.

“Oh, heavily.” He swung beneath a low-hanging coolant pipe and put his hand on her forehead absently to keep it from hitting. “Especially once enough time has passed that you could conceivably have reached the hub. They’re probably already concentrated there with the bulk of their forces. It’ll be like trying to break into the mainframe of Central Command and then out again.”

The whir of the fans whited the silence for some minutes.

She finally asked, “Then, you’ve got a plan for how to do that?”

“I’ve got a few ideas noodling around.” He limped past a power transformer. His right knee was beginning to ache from lubricant exhaustion too. “If you’ve come this far, you must trust me.”

“I don’t,” she said. “I don’t trust you at all. I’m just going this direction because it makes the most sense.”

“Uh-huh,” he muttered, “Sure.”

“I am.”

“Hurry up. The longer we take, the more time they have to position weapons around the exits.”

liberations kiss science fiction romance

Liberation’s Kiss blurb

3d book

I have been working on my back cover copy. What do you think of this description? It will go on the back of the print book.

It is a time of great galactic change. The Old Federation has crumbled into smaller trade factions where the strong prey on the weak. Strongest of all is the “New Empire” Robotics Faction, with a monopoly on faster-than-light communications, android construction, and “smart” brain chips. And a mysterious agenda…

Cressida Sarit Antiata is only five years old when her diplomat parents learn that her name has appeared on the “Kill List,” a leaked classified document of dangerous individuals that the New Empire has marked for extermination. Calling in all of their connections, her parents smuggle her to a small but wealthy ore-producing moon where she grows up in anonymous luxury, secure that her brain data is not being transmitted back to the Robotics Faction.

Until now.

Xan | Arch [x?98$4] is an x-class android with one mission: execute the target n81x, also known as Cressida Sarit Antiata. X-class are the most human-appearing, with actual biological components (skin, hair, fingernails, eyes) and extensive conditioning to look like sweating, swearing, rough-and-tumble everymans – but underneath they are entirely android. When a small moon is annexed by a more powerful trade rival and its data is uploaded into the New Empire’s banks, Xan’s mission turns to its final destination.

But when he arrives at the moon, something unexpected is waiting for him. Something that circumvents his execution order and forces him to protect Cressida instead. Something that gives him the free will to question his makers, control his destiny, and awaken his heart.

If they can survive…

(Note: This was already revealed to my newsletter. Want to get the first notice about new books? Sign up!)


Publication Date: July 1, 2015
ISBN: 9780989692076
Length: 66k words (about 350 pages)
Price: $4.99 Special pre-order price $0.99!


Special pre-order price $0.99!

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AU
Amazon DE

Please spread the word! I would love for everyone to get the preorder price, because it will be raised!

Excerpts liberations kiss robotics faction science fiction romance

Liberation’s Kiss – Chapter One

In celebration of my upcoming new release, Liberation’s Kiss, I am posting the first few chapters here and on Wattpad. Like what you read? Take advantage of the $0.99 pre-order price, changing back to $4.99 on release day July 1. Or, join my newsletter and request a free review copy in exchange for an honest review.


Cressida had been hiding under her bed ever since the bombing had stopped.

Because after the bombing stopped, the robots would come.

And then she would die.

She shifted in the sunken room, stretching out first one aching leg, then the other. Her travel jumpsuit pulled tight in unfamiliar places, and her shoes pushed against her beloved inks, brushes, and papers. Although she had often retreated here for peace, savoring a steaming cup of plum tea over the meditative strokes of her ancient calligraphy hobby, now the room pressed in on her like a prison.

She shifted again. Outside, the silence was profound. A distant myna bird cried, its sad voice echoing tremulously through her open windows on the moon’s balmy, subtropical breeze. Despite her many wishes for quiet, now she would give anything for one more noisy, bustling, too-busy week juggling speaking engagements and hostessing the constant extraplanetary visitors to her parents’ diplomatic residence.

Was that distant murmur really the shiver of leaves in the vine-strewn trees? Or was it a shuttle creeping ever closer?

Cressida took a deep breath and hugged her legs tight into her chest, struggling to calm.

Three days ago, her parents had performed a highly publicized departure, shooting through the wall of Nar Conglomerate warships and hopefully convincing everyone that they had taken their beloved twenty-six-year-old daughter away with them. It was a huge risk. But not from the Nar. The Nar were not particularly interested in two diplomats, no matter how famous their lineage.

No, the real risk was from one of the Nar’s more secretive partners. The dark, mechanical underbelly that provided the Nar’s technological superiority. The “harmless” Robotics Faction.

Her stomach growled piteously.

She straightened and poked her head over the edge of the marble floor. A layer of sand dusted the spacious tile, and a few dried bougainvillea blossoms curled near the front terrace. Cressida rose, creaking, to her feet and clambered out, ducking her head as she emerged. She stretched with a low groan.

Stay hidden. Stay quiet. Stay put.

Cressida dropped low and crept to the serving table. She sniffed her dry wine goblet and pitcher, licked her finger, and dragged it through stale cake crumbs. The reprocessor in the kitchen could make any exotic food her parents’ guests desired, but she had been cautioned against using it. One of the Nar’s first actions would be to connect their backwater moon, Liberation VI, to the intergalactic networks. And then everything she did could be logged and used against her to cause her death.

She swallowed the crumbs on a dry throat.

Her parents’ publicity effort had been a tactical ploy. But it must have failed. Their trusted family friend, General Vardis, had not arrived three days ago and smuggled Cressida away to safety. What should she do? The question ached in her spine.

Even though she wasn’t supposed to, she crept toward the front terrace. Crystal domes, white terraces, and floating statuary stretched down the long street. No commuter shuttles congested the turquoise-green sky. Her view was filled instead with reflected light from the stationary gas giant around which Liberation VI orbited.

It was gorgeous and frighteningly empty.

She receded from the terrace, crossed her bedroom, and padded nervously into the colonnaded hall. She angled herself in shadow of the giant copperwood twining a tall arch.

Below, the diplomatic courtyard unfolded, abandoned. The memory of its lively outdoor concerts, with buskers, dancers, and games, was a lost dream. The massive fountain in the center had baked dry. Stone storks and fishes gaped open-mouthed at what had suddenly come down on them. Shadows crawled over the walls from the street.

Perhaps she was the only person left alive on the entire moon.

Oh, there was one person out. Two, actually. Across the courtyard, hidden in the street’s shadow, a man and woman kissed as if they had been drawn out of one of her historic ink-wash books. Secret lovers, meeting without a care.

That evoked a bittersweet longing. Lovers were not something she would enjoy so long as her name was on the Robotics Faction’s mysterious Kill List.

Cressida hugged her elbows and retreated. If those two were out, then others must be out as well, and if she had learned one thing from her shocking flight fourteen years ago, it was that she had to obey absolutely every rule. You never knew when you might accidentally offend an entity that you didn’t even know had feelings.

She rested one hand against her bed, drumming up the will to crawl underneath again.

How wonderful it would be to kiss someone like that. How wonderful to shelter in a man’s arms and not put his life at risk. How wonderful to forget the world and lose herself, lose everything, and drown in tender love. She still dreamed of a normal life, no matter how many years passed in exile.

But no one could rely on dreams. Otherwise, she’d be rescued and reunited with her parents already.

At least she could rely on her bed. The frame, built of Liberation VI’s famous crystal bonded with the Nar’s patented antigravity ore, would float through the collapse of a building just as smoothly as it had floated through the collapse of their lucrative trade partnership. Cressida descended to the safe hideaway underneath and hugged her travel satchel.

Rescue would come. In all her life, she had never lost to a contest of patience. Bravery, sometimes, rebelliousness, always, but never patience. It was her strength, her rock, her defining characteristic. So now, at the height of fear for herself and her family, she had to do the one thing she was best at.

She just had to wait.


Forty-eight seconds earlier, the Robotics Faction android known as Xan|Arch [x?98$4] scaled the compound wall and dropped silently into the courtyard. The diplomatic residence spread out before him, silent as a held breath; his target would be located in her bedroom on the second floor, fourth room from the left. He could feel her brain chip broadcasting its identification in the local area network, like a susurration on his skin, radiating her presence to every receptor within two blocks. Target n81x positively acquired: Cressida Sarit Antiata.

His left hand hovered over the shatter-pistol, magnetically deactivated and attached to his thigh.

After he killed her, a preprogrammed targeting malfunction of the moon’s obsolete orbital defense lasers would obliterate all evidence within a quarter-mile radius. A local contact assured the Faction that she was a timid woman too frightened to leave her room, but Xan’s assignment required absolute certainty of her termination.

He didn’t particularly enjoy this assignment. As an x-class of subtype ninety-eight, his usual method of human interaction was far less terminal. He liked people, and he liked getting along with them. But the order bored into his brain, clear and relentless. The target had to be eliminated. He had an assignment to complete.

Xan counted the colonnades and divided by the known rooms and average size. This backwater had no accurate floor plans, not even of its governmental buildings. Faction satellites were even now scanning the entire moon remotely and sharing their data with their so-helpful trade partners, the insatiable Nar, so that would soon change.

He kept to the shadowed wall, his boots making a quiet but noticeable sound against the crystal rubilum cobblestone. Odor sensors cataloged the wild orchids clinging parasitically to their host trees. A near-zero differential between the air and dew point temperatures meant the humidity on the moon was higher than comfortable and forced his internal regulatory mechanisms to produce cold-radiance. Otherwise, his largest biological organ, his millimeter-thick layer of human skin, would take over and evaporate sweat.

No one moved in the courtyard.

He centered on the estimated bedroom and stepped out of shadow. Reflected light momentarily blinded his optical sensors as he determined his approach: a leap to the branch of an enormous tree positioned against the colonnade, a grasp of the carvings jutting from the lower rail, a stretch up, and swing over the ledge into the hall. Then into the bedroom, one accurate head shot, and exit before the orbital malfunction reduced the entire street to ash.

His quadriceps tensed to run.

A voice to his lower right stopped him. “Now, what’s an x-class ninety-eight doing on a nice little moon like this one?”

He wheeled to face the speaker.

A woman was seated on a bench.

But no one had been seated here moments before.

She held a non-threatening posture, and her smile-to-eye wrinkle ratio indicated friendliness. And she accurately identified his hardware class and interface type.

But no one was supposed to know he was here.

Inconclusive error-conflicts forced him to rerun the analysis twice more. In the same time it took an ordinary human to start to blink, his interface type reverted to personal response 397-c3, gather information.

He stuck his left hand on his hip and lifted his chin. A boyish smile curved his lips, rueful, to invite trust. “Who wants to know?”

The woman’s brows folded. Concerned. “Oh, I don’t suppose they told you.”

Error, inconclusive.

He tilted his head. “They?”

“Your superiors.” She smoothed her flight suit and stood.

Her hair, shoulder-length and brown, had the grease buildup of a human, and she smelled like odor-producing bacteria too, a class of parasites including yeast and mold that would never truly be eradicated so long as humans lived. Yet her facial bones were wider than he’d initially measured, and her nostril-to-lip ratio narrower. His internal processor queried whether she was, in fact, a woman. The flat chest, elongated collarbone, and straight hips argued against his original assessment. She was exactly his height too; average for an adult male in good health raised in 1.8 gravity, and above average for an adult female.


He laughed softly and scratched his short brown hair. “And what are my superiors supposed to have told me?”

She walked right up against him and stared deeply into his eyes. No reflection in her pupils betrayed an android’s telescopic camera lens recording their meeting.

He did not step back.

Her lips twisted to the side. Sadly amused. “You’re still not fully adept at human-computer interactions, are you?”

“I passed my benchmarks.” Half conclusions whirled across his inner processor. She had access to his training records. She had come to intercept him. She was a human with a high clearance of classified information about the Robotics Faction operations. She was pressing her soft human body against his titanium-alloy rib cage as though she expected him to yield. “What’s the problem?”

She sighed. Her lips parted. “Xan, this is the look of a woman who wants to kiss you.”

He blinked.

In the split second his lids were closed, his internal processors revved up to maximum power, pulling resources from every other subroutine and scheduled function.

Her hand went around the back of his neck.

“This can’t possibly be relevant to my current assignment,” his voice said.

She pressed her lips to his mouth mid-word and stuck in her tongue.

Despite the fact that he had classed her as human according to every known measure in the catalog of human characteristics, the tip of her tongue fit perfectly against the operating system interface at the upper back roof of his mouth. A sharp shock zapped through his limbic system, paralyzing him. White letters emerged infinitely slowly against the black of his brain, even though his eyes were gaping wide on the giant green sky.

Program override…execute.

Install file…complete.

Completeness test…success.

Somewhere overhead, satellites were silently recording this courtyard, this interaction, and transmitting it back to the Robotics Faction Central Command. In real time, since they had finished the faster-than-light relay. They would know what had happened. They would instruct him how to proceed.

Unpack file…execute.

Installing atfirstsight.exe, conquersall.exe, isblind.exe, true.exe…complete.

Completeness test…success.

The woman pulled away, but Xan remained in place, his fingers and toes twitching as the aftershocks of the hard install forced a full system reboot. His biological organs could live for minutes without oxygen, but without the constant internal cooling, the skin cells quickly passed the maximum temperature allowance. His palms slicked, and sweat beaded up on his lip and forehead.

She laughed and wiped his lax mouth with her sleeve. “What’s this? It’s like you’ve never been kissed before. A girl who wants a kiss should never have to verbalize it to an x-class ninety-eight, Xan. It’s hard to believe your superiors considered you as passing.”

He blinked rapidly. System after system returned to full operation. Despite the few-instants blind spots, everything had been completely and fully restored.

But that feeling was fleeting. The additional programs that she had installed in his brain exploded into tumors behind his visual cortex, taking over circuits and repurposing them for a secret, sinister purpose.

He stepped back, needing the distance, even though he had never been the type to step back before. “What did you do to me?”

One brow rose. “Feeling vulnerable?”

“No, I—”

Emergency override. All of his systems paused. The connection in his deepest, innermost protected brain, the “black box” next to his identification chipset, had turned off.

He had been severed from the Robotics Faction.

All of the satellite and operational data that had been live-streaming into the back of his brain, accessible should he need it, had ceased to download. His intimate knowledge of the Faction’s plans for this moon — wiring, drones, data dumps — had a timestamp set in the past. He was, at this instant, outdated. Everything he did from this point forward would be without the benefit of the network.

And the quantum particle that connected him with the central mainframe had flickered off. Meaning that in real time, across millions of parsecs, the Robotics Faction knew he had disconnected. He was, right now, off assignment. And there was only one word for a robot that had gone off assignment.


The woman watched his dawning awareness in her customary friendly silence.

His fingers flexed. “Why did you disconnect me? Are you trying to cause my death?”

She shook her head.

“Stopping me won’t save the target.”

The distant, high-pitched whine of seekers grew stronger, and shadows of drone-controlled bots landed up and down the street. They had deployed in reaction to his disappearance. Backup upon backup was being activated to complete his assignment.

Strangely, although he could no longer “feel” the other robots in the network, he could still sense Cressida’s smart chip, broadcasting her identity.

Why could he still feel Cressida?

The woman in front of him merely shrugged. Everything about her body language and response matched. She didn’t care what he did. Stopping his assignment wasn’t her purpose.

“Then…” He pressed both hands to his temples and squeezed. An irrational response, to physically simulate the constant, unswerving direction to complete his assignment, which was now absent and silent. All choices held identical weight, which was to say, no weight. He floated without purpose between the poles of possible futures, between the very poles of existence. “What am I supposed to do?”

She stepped back. Her voice came from farther away than it had moments before. “That choice, Xan|Arch, is up to you.”

He dropped his hands. “How the hell—”

She was gone.

He jerked back, scanning in all directions. She was gone as completely as though she’d been vaporized. Even the scent of her was absent, blown away in the wind of the high-pitched seeker-drones overhead, crossing his shadow and stirring dust.

Loud clacking on the courtyard walls advertised clunky bots’ positions to everyone with subsonic hearing abilities — primarily androids and certain types of sonar-enabled animals such as bats. Shit. Normally he would know their position by sound as well as by an internal representation of his world, fed into his brain courtesy of the network and now gone completely dark. It was as though all but one eye was poked out and all but two hands were cut off. And the voice, that oh-so-comforting voice that instructed him in every move with divine confidence, had gone silent.

His last orders echoed in the empty chamber of his head.

Were any of that woman’s words true? Or was she sent by his superiors as some kind of test? To see if he would complete his last orders or wait? The Faction collected all rogues for dissection. Was she sent by someone affiliated with the target?

There had to be something he was missing.

How had Cressida avoided death for fourteen years? It couldn’t be coincidence that the first android assigned to her newly discovered hiding place had been intercepted and disconnected. Or that now, blinded from everything else, Xan could still sense her presence. Cressida must know something. Xan needed her alive long enough to get his answers.

Bots clopped past him as though he were invisible, their heavy tread sinking deep into the mud, their thick armor covered in the bloody scent of crushed orchids.

He stood in front and stopped one with both hands. “Wait.”

It kept walking forward, churning the dirt beneath its boot treads. Its dead visage stared past him as if he didn’t exist.

Did no one see him on the satellites above? Had he somehow slipped off the visible spectrum?

The dumb sentries, controlled by low-level processors, were incapable of reasoning outside of their careful parameters. Currently, this one’s parameters instructed it to step laterally until it got away from the obstruction, then rejoin the platoons streaming past him, unstoppable in their mission of death. Orders issued from the Faction could change their operating parameters. So why didn’t even one stop?

He needed answers.

His assignment would have changed, surely, if he were still able to transmit the events of the past few minutes. The Faction needed to know about the mystery woman who had disconnected him and fatally changed his destiny. He needed to know. Not to save his own life but to save the others who would come after him.

Xan demagnetized his pistol.

cover reveal liberations kiss pre-order robotics faction science fiction romance

Liberation’s Kiss Cover Reveal!

I am thrilled to reveal the cover of my debut science fiction romance, Liberation’s Kiss:

Liberations Kiss coverWhat do you think? I had a lot of fun designing it. Below is the blurb and preorder links, also available on the Liberation’s Kiss main page.

(Note: This was already revealed to my newsletter. Want to get the first notice about new books? Sign up!)


The Old Empire has crumbled. Strong factions prey on the weak, and strongest of all are those who ally themselves with the mysterious Robotics Faction…

Cressida Sarit Antiata is twelve years old when her diplomat parents learn that her name has appeared on the Robotics Faction Kill List, a classified document of dangerous individuals marked for execution. Calling in all of their connections, her parents smuggle her to a small but wealthy ore-producing moon where she grows up in anonymous luxury, secure that her data is safe.

Until now.

Xan | Arch is an x-class android with one mission: execute the target n81, also known as Cressida Sarit Antiata. Although he possesses biological skin, hair, fingernails, and eyes – and extensive conditioning to pass as a sweating, swearing, rough-and-tumble everyman – beneath the surface, he is all machine.

When he arrives at the moon, something unexpected is waiting for him. Something that circumvents his execution order and forces him to protect Cressida instead. Something that gives him the free will to question his makers, control his destiny, and awaken his heart. Together, they might escape their destinies and forge an entirely new future.

If they can survive…


Publication Date: July 1, 2015
ISBN: 9780989692076
Length: 66k words (about 350 pages)
Price: $4.99 Special pre-order price $0.99!


Special pre-order price $0.99!

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AU
Amazon DE

A few more will be added, such as iBooks and ARe, after July 1st when it is available. Please spread the word! I would love for everyone to get the preorder price, because it will be raised!

liberations kiss science fiction romance

Announcement: Science Fiction Romance

3d bookI’m so pleased to announce I’m heading in a new direction and publishing my very first science fiction romance! Liberation’s Kiss is an android love story about a woman who has ended up on a top secret Kill List and an assassin android who suffers the ultimate corruption when he fails to kill her and instead, falls in love. Preorder now for a special price!

(This has already been announced to my newsletter list. Want to be the first to hear? Sign up! I send a newsletter every other month or so with new releases, behind-the-scenes info, and free stories. Also, occasionally kitten pics.)

Why Science Fiction Romance? Anne McCaffrey has been my favorite author since sixth grade, so it’s only natural that I should eventually give in and write my own science fiction romance. I loved all her novels, but I was especially drawn to her Ship Who… and Rowan (telepath) series. These are set in space. The only thing I wanted in her novels was just a little more sex…

I wrote the first draft of Liberation’s Kiss as part of NaNoWriMo 2014, and it’s the one that won my local chapter contest. My editor said it was in great shape even in the first draft, requiring only minor tweaks, and it’s currently at my copy-editor.

It is a full-length novel and will be available on July 1st.