The Assassin’s Salvation Available at Amazon (and first chapter excerpt)

Posted by on November 14th, 2014 in Excerpts / Freebies, News | 17 Comments

The Assassin’s Salvation, the third novel in the Mandrake Company series is now available at Amazon. It’s spending a quarter in the KDP Select program, but will be up in other stores in February, 2015.

Blurb

AssassinsSalvationWebMedWhen Jamie Flipkens signed on as a pilot and engineer for a small medical research company, she never expected to end up on a mercenary ship full of hulking soldiers who want to make her their latest conquest. The captain has been good to her—it doesn’t hurt that he’s her boss’s new beau—but she’s on the verge of quitting when a strange man shows up at her shuttle door.

Sergei Zharkov claims to be an old friend of the captain’s. He neglects to mention that he’s also an assassin, a dangerous man who even the hardened mercenaries avoid. Jamie should avoid him, too, but she’s drawn to the charm that sometimes escapes from beneath his grim facade. She finds herself wanting to give him a reason to smile—and maybe a little more than that.

The problem? There’s a fresh bounty on the captain’s head, and it’s possible Sergei is there to collect it.

Chapter 1

The shuttlecraft was pink. Sergei Zharkov scratched his jaw as he crouched twenty feet atop stacked shipping crates, hugging the shadows, so the freighter crews wouldn’t notice him. It was a combat shuttle, the same model Captain Mandrake had owned the last time Sergei had worked for him, but no self-respecting mercenary would possess a pink spaceship. He knew he hadn’t gotten the dock number wrong, but maybe Mandrake Company had been delayed and some opportunist had taken the open slot?

Marinth was one of the smaller cloud cities, and it didn’t claim a huge loading area. Freighters occupied all of the other docking spots, their crews out loading or unloading cargo, assisted by hover cranes. There was only one person working outside of the shuttle, a woman who seemed… not particularly suited to a pink spacecraft.

Perhaps it was the tools that clanked in the pockets of her coveralls as she moved about, poking into the vessel’s exterior panels, or maybe it was the grease smudge on her cheek and the matching one streaked across the back of one hand. This was not to say the woman wasn’t feminine. No, Sergei had been admiring the sway of her hips for the last five minutes. She was tall, with a pair of thick blonde braids that swung about her shoulders as she worked, and she had an appealing face with a cute, button nose and gray-blue eyes. A young and innocent face, he reminded himself, having already dismissed her as someone who shouldn’t have to be bothered by a man with as much blood on his hands and baggage in his mind as he.

Sergei snorted softly. Who did appreciate his blood and baggage? Captain Mandrake possibly. At the least, Mandrake knew about Sergei’s occupation and his past and wasn’t bothered by it.

Thunder rumbled in the gray clouds lurking overhead. Marinth might be a city that floated in the sky, but that didn’t keep it from being rained on, as the large puddles dotting the loading dock attested.

Sergei stood, intending to go inside and call Mandrake before the clouds soaked him. But two men from the grungy, ill-maintained freighter next to the shuttle were ambling toward the blonde woman. She wasn’t armed with anything other the tools; he had noticed that immediately. He always noticed people’s weapons. The men wore daggers on their belts, as well as laser pistols, though from the way they swaggered and smirked at each other, Sergei doubted they had robbery on their minds.

He crouched again, this time on the edge of his perch. He could jump to a ledge provided by a shipping container sticking out a couple of inches further than his current one, then leap the rest of the way to the ground without hurting himself. He could do so in a second, if need be.

Mandrake would have laughed at the notion of him running to some woman’s rescue. Of all the people who might play the role of chivalrous knight in shining armor from Old Earth, Sergei was surely not on the list. Or maybe Mandrake would have understood. Despite a fearsome reputation, one Sergei knew was well deserved, the Crimson Ops soldier-turned-mercenary had been known to offer assistance even when pay wasn’t on the line.

“You look lonely over here, girl,” one of the men said.

The blonde woman had been watching them approach out of the corner of her eye, and she put her back to the shuttle to face them, an electric multitool in her hand. She didn’t stand in the bent-kneed ready stance of someone with combat experience, but she had the sense to know there might be trouble here.

“Do I?” she asked, swinging the tool casually, vapidly one might have thought, but her thumb was fiddling with some setting on the control panel. Sergei couldn’t imagine what; it wasn’t as if a screwdriver could be turned into a laser rifle. “You’re mistaken. I enjoy my own company very much.”

“Aw, but we’d enjoy your company very much too. Why don’t you come on over and we’ll give you a tour of our ship? We’ve got a full bar. Happy to make you a drink, whatever you fancy.”

“No, thanks. I’m on the clock. My employer is just inside.” She gestured toward the shuttle with the tool, her thumb shifting again. Was she disabling something? Sergei was too far away to tell.

“Yeah, we saw her earlier, and some other woman that went inside there. Been speculating on what sort of business you’re running here, as you don’t seem to be loading any cargo.” The speaker nudged his buddy, who snickered back at him. Sergei could guess where their speculation had run. They were spending more time staring at her chest than at her face.

“We run a medical clinic and perform services for clients,” the woman said. “I can get you a card if you’re interested.”

“Medical clinic, sure.”

The men sniggered.

The bigger of the two stepped closer. “Why don’t you come over here, and we’ll show you what services we offer?”

“Yeah,” his buddy said. “We can show you our manly services.”

“I’m not interested, thank you.” Had her voice been harder, colder, her rejection less polite, they might have left her alone, but she came across as sweet, as one who might be taken advantage of without repercussions.

Sergei clenched his jaw. That wouldn’t happen.

The bigger man jerked his head at his buddy, a watch-my-back gesture, then took another step toward the woman, his hand outstretched. “We’ll change your mind. I promise you.”

Sergei jumped to the ledge, then leaped to the ground, the silencers in his boots ensuring he didn’t make a sound as he ran toward the trio, not that he would have, anyway. He had been taught well. His favorite serrated knife was already in hand, a weapon that didn’t set off alarms on bases, not the way laser pistols often did. The bladed weapon was far more than he needed to deal with these two.

But the situation had changed in the second he had been leaping and running. The woman had tossed her tool into the big puddle at the men’s feet. Sparks of electricity flew up from it, and Sergei had the opportunity—the utter pleasure—to witness two idiots being electrocuted.

Oh, they staggered back out of the puddle, their hair sticking out in all directions, before being fried into crisps, but the big one had taken enough of a hit that he tumbled to the ground, his hands clutched to his chest, like he was afraid his heart would leap out if he didn’t hold it in tightly.

The woman turned and ran, her eyes wide with fear, as if she worried she would be punished for her audacity, or maybe she worried they would recover and come after her. No, they wouldn’t be attacking anyone else any time soon.

Sergei had slowed to a trot as the scene played out, but he now found himself in the woman’s escape path. He hadn’t intended to block her or impede her, but she must have seen him as another potential threat; she grabbed another tool out of her pocket, this one a simple pair of pliers, nothing with electrical wiring.

Sergei halted. He had no wish to have anything twisted or pulled. Not wanting to appear threatening, he dropped his head into a bow. A graceful bow, he thought. Maybe he could apply for the position of chivalrous knight, after all. “My apologies, miss. I had intended to come assist you with the removal of the trash that someone left on your dock, but I see you’re quite capable of dealing with refuse disposal on your own.”

She glanced warily toward the men. Her knuckles were white as she gripped the plier handles. She must not electrocute people often. “I just didn’t want anything to do with them.”

“I thought not.” Sergei found it remarkable that she had so easily resolved the situation when she clearly wasn’t a trained combatant. And damned if she wasn’t even more alluring down here, up close. He hadn’t been able to see the freckles from his distant perch. They were delightful, sprinkled across her nose and cheeks.

She turned her wary eyes on him, and he realized that he had been staring at her and also that he was… aroused. How embarrassing. And inappropriate. Some knight. It was a foregone conclusion that she didn’t want anything to do with him, either. She must be wondering if she could trust his words, or if she would need to find a way to electrocute him too. Having observed the other men’s faux pas, he was not foolish enough to stand in a puddle—just in case she could do more with those pliers than he thought.

“Just one quick question if I may,” Sergei said, hoping to distract her with his words before she thought about looking down, not that she looked like the sort of girl who ran around checking out men’s crotches. “I’m looking for a mercenary shuttle that was supposed to be docked here—at least that’s the message I received. You wouldn’t have seen it, by chance? Mandrake Company.”

“Oh.” The woman blinked and lowered her pliers. “Are you Sergei Zharkov?”

It was his turn to blink in surprise. “Yes… And you are?”

“Me? Jamie Flipkens. We’re with Mandrake Company.” She waved toward the shuttle. “Sergeant Hazel is expecting you.”

Sergei gazed at the pink hull a few feet away from him. “Sergeant Hazel rode down in this… this?” He held back a more derogatory word; for all he knew, this Jamie Flipkens had picked the color. No, probably not. She had said her employer was inside. That was likely the person responsible.

Jamie smirked. “Not happily. We’re not actually a part of Mandrake Company—Ankari, Lauren, and I—but we had some clients down here, and when the captain said he needed someone picked up, we volunteered. Well, Ankari volunteered. She still dotes on him.” Her smirk broadened.

Sergei stepped back, more shocked by the idea of a woman doting on Mandrake than by the idea of a pink shuttle docking in the mercenary ship’s bay. “Does he… dote back?” he asked, morbidly curious.

“Oh, yes. Every time they cross paths, they’re either giving each other puppy eyes or dragging each other off into closets. Or shuttles. You have to be careful to knock if you don’t want to walk in on something. Even on closet doors.” Her smirk faded, her eyes growing self-conscious. “Gosh, I shouldn’t be babbling on about this, should I? I don’t even know who you are. I mean I know your name, but not if you’re old friends or old enemies. Or, uhm.”

He had been quite enjoying her babbling—her defenses had gone down, and she’d had the most lively and tickled eyes as she shared this insider knowledge. “Old friends,” Sergei decided on, even if their relationship had been more complicated than that. She probably wanted the simple version. “We served together in the Fleet. If he’s found a woman who makes him happy, I’m pleased.”

Sergei wondered if he would ever find a woman who would make him happy. If only he could successfully retire and find a second career that was less likely to appall the opposite sex. Oh sure, there were those rare women who were employed in the same field, who had the jaded and cynical outlook on humanity that went with it, but he’d never had much luck making those relationships work. Probably because he was more drawn to innocence. And freckles.

Hearing someone’s approach, Sergei shifted to face the newcomer before she spoke. He should have noticed the approach much earlier, but he had been enjoying making Jamie’s acquaintance.

“Zharkov,” Sergeant Hazel said. “Kill anyone yet today?”

Jamie’s eyes widened at this greeting. Sergei sighed. Hazel respected his abilities, but not the way he used them. She didn’t look like she had changed much in the two years since they had last met. Sturdy and strong with her dark hair pulled back in a bun so tight it wouldn’t dare frizz, she could match most of the mercenaries in the company on the judo mat, and she was an expert marksman with numerous weapons, including throwing knives.

“Not since Thursday,” Sergei said.

Hazel grunted, probably not knowing whether it was a joke or the truth. It was the truth. He had been out of retirement for the last couple of months, hating that the work called to him, but unable to settle for anything less exhilarating.

“Joining the company again?” Hazel didn’t sound thrilled about the idea, but she wouldn’t openly denigrate him; there were few who would.

“It crossed my mind, but for now, I’m just here to warn the captain.”

“About what?”

“The guild sends out a weekly bulletin with new jobs listed on it. Someone is offering fifty thousand aurums for Viktor Mandrake’s head.”

* * *

Jamie glanced at Ankari, amazed her friend, employer, and business partner appeared so calm. “Aren’t you worried?” she whispered, her hands resting lightly on the pilot’s controls.

They had left the dock, with Jamie plotting a course back into orbit, to where the Albatross waited. There wasn’t much on the console that demanded her attention, but it worried her to think of the captain in danger. Sure, he had thrown Jamie and the others into the brig when they had first met, but he had turned out to be a decent man beneath the gruff exterior, and he certainly treated Ankari well.

“I’m worried,” Ankari said from the co-pilot’s seat. She couldn’t fly, but nobody else aboard could, either, so it didn’t matter much who sat up there. “But I assume it’s not the first time someone has ordered his death.”

“It’s not,” Sergeant Hazel said from the row of passenger seats against the wall. The other combat shuttles in the company had a couple of rows of seats like that, and room in the back for battle armor and racks of guns, but Jamie had helped Ankari remodel this one into more of a medical clinic with thrusters. There was a curtained-off space for procedures to be performed, along with counters full of equipment for Lauren’s research. Lauren was back there now, as usual, ignoring the safety regulations in order to work. Their new passenger preferred to stand, too, and had claimed a corner where he could observe everyone. “He’s had assassins after him numerous times. I’m sure he’ll appreciate the warning though.” Hazel lowered her voice to a mutter, and Jamie almost missed the added, “Assuming Zharkov isn’t here to claim the prize.”

Jamie thought to point out that Sergei had said he and Captain Mandrake were friends, not enemies, but it would be naive to trust his word on that. Hazel obviously knew the man, and Jamie liked and trusted Hazel, even if she was as taciturn and gruff as the captain. Jamie might be wise to take her cues from the sergeant and steer clear of their visitor.

Something about that thought gave her a twinge of chagrin. It was strange, especially given the implications of what he might do for a living, but he had struck her as a man who needed a friend. She had noticed his surface features, of course: curly brown hair that would be a wild tangle if it weren’t cut short; intent, dark brown eyes that seemed to miss nothing; and a few days’ growth of a mustache and goatee. The facial hair accented his strong jaw rather than coming across as the afterthought of someone who couldn’t be bothered with shaving regularly. But it was more the suggestion of what lay beneath the surface that Jamie remembered, a saturnine moroseness that hung about him like a cloak. He needed a friend… and a reason to smile. She imagined he would be quite appealing if he smiled.

“He’ll know how to handle it,” Ankari said firmly.

Jamie nibbled on her lip. She had wanted to discuss something with Ankari during this excursion, but this might not be the time to bring it up. But if not now, when? She kept putting it off, and she was running out of time if she wanted to apply. She had hoped to bring it up while Lauren had been working with the patients and Sergeant Hazel had been off on her errand, but the shield generator had been on the fritz, and then those two louts had distracted her, leering at her every time she bent over, then finally coming over to harass her. She ought to be used to the leers by now; it wasn’t as if the mercenaries were any better, most of them, anyway.

Jamie blew out a breath. Yes, that was one of the reasons she needed to bring this up. If not, she would be stuck on the ship forever.

“Ankari…”

“Yes?”

“I’ve been thinking about… well, I’m not really qualified to be your engineer and pilot, as you’ve doubtlessly noticed.” Jamie flushed to think of all the times she had pulled up technical manuals and instruction guides on her tablet while she was piloting.

Ankari’s mouth drooped open. In surprise? Dismay? Jamie didn’t want her request to cause any hard feelings. Ankari and Lauren were her only real friends outside of her own planet, and the way she had left home… she wasn’t eager to return anytime soon. Her father wouldn’t understand.

“Jamie, you’re doing great,” Ankari said. “You’re barely twenty, and the fact that you already are an engineer and a pilot, that’s amazing. Most people go to school for years for each of those occupations.”

Yes, school, exactly what Jamie wanted to do. “I know. And then they’re prepared for things that come up. They don’t have to look everything up in the middle of an emergency.”

“You’re doing fine. You’ve more than earned your share of the company.” Ankari smiled. “Which is turning profitable now, shockingly enough.”

“Yes, I’d heard that. That’s why—well, I’ve been wondering. I don’t really fit in on the ship.” Jamie scowled at her hands. She was doing a horrible job of this.

“Not many women do.” Ankari smiled again, glancing back at Sergeant Hazel. Fortunately, Hazel was watching or reading something on her tablet and didn’t seem to be paying attention to the conversation. “But I didn’t realize—are you unhappy there? I know I didn’t take a vote before negotiating for the shuttle and our current lab space on the Albatross, but that was born out of desperation.”

“I know.” When Jamie, Ankari, and Lauren had first crossed paths with Mandrake Company, they’d had a bounty on their heads. The captain had meant to turn them in until Ankari had convinced him that the real criminal was the finance lord who had placed the bounty. At some point, she had also managed to hire the mercenaries in a sense, garnering protection and space to work in exchange for a share of the company. Jamie thought it had been smart. It was just her own situation that made things uncomfortable. She didn’t know how to deal with all the male attention she received on board, and she spent a lot of time hiding in the shuttle or in the tiny cabin she shared with Lauren. “The ship is fine. And for you, I’m sure the crew is really nice and, uhm, polite.” Nobody would dare cross the captain, or his girlfriend.

Ankari’s smile shifted to a scowl. “Is someone bothering you?”

“No one specifically. I wouldn’t want… I mean, it’s nothing that the captain should be bothered about. Nobody’s tried to hurt me or force me to do anything. It’s just that…” She glanced back. Even if Hazel was reading, and Lauren and Sergei were too far back to hear the conversation, this wasn’t something she wanted to talk about in public. This was why she had hoped to catch Ankari alone. “What it’s really about is that I’d like to go to school, to a real university, so I could learn the things I’m just playing at now. Engineering, probably. I like piloting fine, but I like tinkering more, trying to fix things, make things sometimes.”

Ankari leaned back in her chair. “Oh. I hadn’t realized.”

“It’s nothing about you or Lauren or the captain. You’re great. I just feel like I don’t know enough, and that I should fix that, especially when people’s lives might be at stake.” It was a partial truth, but it sounded good, or at least plausible, she thought. In truth, the on-the-job training she was receiving from Lieutenant Sequoia and Lieutenant Chang was probably at least equal to what she would learn in school. They had already taught her a lot about engineering and piloting that wasn’t mentioned in the books.

“Of course,” Ankari said. “I should have realized that might be an aspiration for you. You should go to school, study whatever you like. I’ll miss you, of course, but you are young to being running around with a bunch of grumpy, middle-aged mercenaries, and you certainly don’t have a combative personality.”

No kidding. Someone had finally noticed she would rather shy away from confrontation and avoid trouble with people altogether.

“I won’t hold you back, if that’s what you were worried about,” Ankari added.

That was part of it, but there was also the matter of money. What would Ankari think about Jamie’s plan to sell her share of the company to pay for tuition and board?

“Thank you,” Jamie said. “I also wondered about—”

A bleep came from the control panel.

“Proximity detector,” Sergeant Hazel said.

Jamie bit back a grimace. She would have known that without help. “There’s a ship coming toward us, a one-person fighter. Judging by its trajectory, it originated on the planet and not on one of the cloud cities.”

“The planet?” Hazel asked. “I thought the government made sure they didn’t have spaceflight capability down there. Or even a way to get to the aerial cities. Are they going to pass by us, or is it—”

“An interception course,” Jamie said, watching the monitors. Another warning beep sounded. “His weapons are hot.” She had the presence of mind to flip on the shields, but her heart was trying to pound its way out of her chest. The only other time she had been fired at, their craft had been destroyed. What little she remembered of the crash flashed through her mind. Her breaths sounded in her own ears, too fast and hard. She forced herself to slow them down. Hyperventilating was never good, especially when one was the pilot.

“Do your best to evade them.” Ankari didn’t sound nearly as panicked as Jamie felt. “The Albatross will see that we’re in trouble.”

Evade them. Sure. The shuttle was still in the planet’s gravitational pull, following a higher orbit than that of the new ship, but Jamie didn’t know enough to judge how different pulls would cause the respective ships to react. She turned off the autopilot and took the helm, hoping her instincts would be enough to get them through this, and promising herself that she would start working on the giant file of navigational math problems that Commander Thatcher had sent her, so long as they survived this.

A shudder ran through the shuttle. The fighter had fired its lasers. It was too far back to do any damage, but that might not be the case for long.

A shadow loomed at Jamie’s shoulder. Hazel had unstrapped her harness and stood. She gripped the back of Jamie’s seat. “This is still a combat shuttle, even if it’s pink.”

“Yeah, but I’m not a combat pilot. I’m not even licensed legally yet.”

Ankari glanced at her. “I thought you were licensed on your planet.”

And so her fibs had finally caught up with her; she would have done anything to escape her family’s restrictive rural life, especially after her mom had died. She had spoken fast and lied faster when she had promised Ankari she was qualified to be her pilot and engineer. “I am. To fly crop dusters. You want your cornfield fertilized, I’m your girl.”

“We have bigger engines, more power,” Sergeant Hazel said. “Push us to maximum. You should be able to stay ahead of him. Markovich, you didn’t have the missiles taken out did you?”

“No, all of the weapons are still there,” Ankari said.

“Good, either start shooting them or let me in there to do it.”

Ankari slid out of the seat. “Show us how it’s done.”

Jamie did her best to ignore Hazel and located the Albatross on the sensors. It was coming toward them. Good. She only hoped it would reach them soon enough. That fighter… “He’s gaining on us. I can’t believe how much fuel he’s burning. This is going to be a one-way trip for him. And he must know it.”

“Damned straight it is.” Hazel hammered her palm on a firing button. A soft clang-thunk came from beneath the deck, a missile launching.

Jamie watched the sensor screen with one eye, hoping that would be all it took. The missiles had a guidance system, didn’t they?

The fighter fired its lasers again, not aiming at the shuttle this time, but at the missile. The hot crimson beam cut into the projectile. Jamie winced, expecting a fiery explosion. But the missile must have been armored, because it blasted through the laser without faltering. The fighter threw one of his thrusters into over-burn, and the craft dipped, skimming beneath the missile.

“He’s going to burn out before he even reaches us,” Hazel muttered. “Suicidal bastard.”

“The Albatross is getting closer,” Jamie said, her eyes locked to the sensors.

“Good, but that missile’s not done yet. We’ll get this kamikaze fool.” Hazel tapped the weapons panel.

The small blip on the display that represented their missile curved, its own thrusters firing to bring it back around. But inertia had taken it far, and Jamie didn’t know if it would escape the planet’s gravitational field and get back to the fighter with any fuel to spare.

In space, she couldn’t see the face of the other pilot, not the way she could have in an air battle in the atmosphere, but she wished she could. She wanted to see into the man’s—or woman’s—eyes, to try and figure out whether craziness or a plan motivated the person.

The fighter’s lasers fired again. A bunch of short bursts hammered the shuttle. Less power than she would have expected from the blows, and the shield strength barely dipped.

Hazel fired a second missile. “That’ll give him something to think about besides shooting at us.” She prodded the comm panel. “Lieutenant Frog, are you still on duty over there? Any time you want to swoop in and display some cunning heroics, we’d appreciate it.”

“We are en route,” came Captain Mandrake’s dry reply.

Hazel looked sheepish when he responded personally. Her tone was considerably more respectful when she said, “Appreciate it, sir.”

“You have my cargo?”

“A shifty fellow in black? Yes, sir.”

Though Jamie was trying to focus on the fighter and varying her route so it couldn’t close to fire again, she glanced back at their passenger. She hadn’t thought him shifty. He had been quite polite when he had rushed to her assistance, and unlike so many of the men in the company, he had looked at her face while talking to her.

He was still standing in the back, leaning against the hull casually, watching the situation through calm hooded eyes. He either had a lot of faith in her or had been in a lot of space battles, because he looked like he could doze off at any moment. However, he did give her a slight nod when their eyes met. Ankari gave Jamie a nod, too, maybe thinking the look back was a request for support from the boss.

Jamie nodded back to both of them, but jerked her attention back to the console when more laser fire splashed against the shields.

Hazel growled. At the fighter, Jamie hoped, and not her. She didn’t know what else she should do. Commander Thatcher would doubtlessly flip around to face his opponent and engage in a cockfight, but she didn’t have as much confidence in her abilities.

“Why isn’t he sustaining fire?” Hazel wondered.

“It’s almost like a pattern, isn’t it?” Jamie watched the lasers pitter-patter against the shuttle. A dangerous pattern, she reminded herself, observing the percentage of remaining shield power take another dip. “Is he toying with us? Why would he? He must be aware of the Albatross approaching.”

“Not for long. Our missile’s almost back on his ass.”

On a whim, Jamie checked the flight recorder to make sure the incident was being preserved. What if—

She sat up straight with a start. “Does anyone know Morse code?”

Hazel frowned over at her. “Why would an enemy fighter be trying to send us a message with lasers?” She waved at the console. “The comm channel is open.”

“Would someone from the planet know our frequency?”

“The pilot could blast a message on all of the common frequencies if that was his intent. We would pick it up.”

“And would the cities pick it up too?”

Hazel looked at her sharply. “With the satellites in orbit, yes.”

“I can read it,” spoke a quiet voice from behind Jamie’s seat.

She hadn’t noticed Sergei’s approach, but she was quick to lean to the side so he would have a view of the exterior cameras. But the laser fire had stopped. She tapped a couple of buttons, so the flight recorder would repeat the sequence, even as she checked on the fighter’s position.

“His thrusters are finally burning out,” Jamie said.

“Missile’s almost on him,” Hazel said.

“Maybe we should call it off. Until we figure out—”

The sensor display lit up with a burst, and Jamie sagged in her seat. “The missile got him?”

“Actually,” Hazel said, “I think that was—”

“Y’all are welcome over there,” came Lieutenant Frog’s chipper tenor.

Jamie turned to meet Sergei’s dark eyes. “Was it my imagination? Or was there a message?”

“Morse code, yes.”

“And could you tell what it said?” Jamie asked. He might not have had time to decipher it yet. He hadn’t pulled out a tablet to make notes.

Sergei hesitated.

Hazel sighed. “Spit it out, Zharkov. I don’t want to have to run it through the computer.”

“We are in trouble. Your assistance requested. We can pay.”

~

Grab it now from Amazon!

17 responses to “The Assassin’s Salvation Available at Amazon (and first chapter excerpt)”

  1. Jen says:

    Got it! Though I have to say my favorite is still Val and Thatcher. So who’s book is next ? 😉

    • Ruby says:

      Thanks, Jen! I have ideas sketched out for the next few stories, which will include Sgt Hazel getting some action, a novel with Lt. Thomlin as the hero (he was introduced briefly in this one — the guy with allergies, heh heh) that will have Val and Gregor back as side characters, and a novella with a couple of new characters. Is there anyone you’re interested in seeing more of?

  2. Lycia Hall says:

    Loved Assassin’s Salvation, my favorite in the series. You really turned up the heat in this book! Love the characters you’ve created, and becoming fascinated by Lieutenant Frog. Always chuckle with his eagerness to blow things up. Can’t wait for your next book.

    • Ruby says:

      Thank you, Lycia! Hah, I’ll keep Frog in mind for a story. He has quite a reputation already for a guy who’s only been on a few pages so far. 😀

  3. Colleen says:

    Your books are sooooo good! My favorite was book 2. I loved them all but the awkwardness of Gregor had me loving him the most. Please keep writing and do not stop.

  4. Deb says:

    I’ve read all three books back to back and loved each one of them. I do agree that Thatcher is my favorite character of all. In assassin i loved the vulnerability in it. Your humor in all three books was spot on with the characters. I look forward to reading more and your intermingling of the other characters so they are not left behind. Thank you for a great read.

  5. Pat Eastland says:

    Hi Ruby- just wanted to say I’ve read all three of your books in 2 days. I really enjoyed all three & look forward to more of this series! Your portrayal of the characters along with the humor you include make them so likable & interesting. Thanks so much for the great stories!

  6. Dawn Chere says:

    Ruby, thank you I just finished the third book today… actually I read all three today (well the last 18 hours), thank you for writing such compelling and attention grabbing stories. I agree with everyone’s previous comments and I can’t wait to see who else you’re going to write about next. All the story lines you’re fleshing out, Lt. Frog, and don’t forget our deeply focused scientist Lauren as well.

  7. tektrainer says:

    Wonderful story, I have enjoyed reading all three in the series and have enjoyed all of them. I enjoy the sense of humor that you give your characters and how you give them all a past as you bring them into light. I just wonder when you are going to get to the doctor and get her out of her shell. Thanks for keeping the wonders of reading exciting.
    /r

    • Ruby says:

      A couple of other people have asked about Lauren. She’s not the heroine for Book 4, but I may have to set her up with someone in the fifth adventure. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  8. wow says:

    awesome book

  9. tektrainer says:

    Assassin’s Salvation, is the third book from the Mandrake Company series. Ruby’s characters are so brought to life in her writings. It is hard to get enough of them. This one takes us to the two youngest members of the Mandrake Company’s family with Jamie Flipkens the young enerjetic and talented engineer and pilot for the notorious Pink Shuttle and her soon to be willing assassin Sergel Zinarkov, who through all the mischievous deeds plot to save the beloved Captain Mandrake from those who want him dead.

    It would interesting to see if Jamie’s father who was Crimsom Ops soldier (retired) also would know of Mandrake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *