Thanks, Nick, for having me on your blog. I'm excited to share my new release, Trust. This is the first book in my new space opera series, The Narvan.
You think you know someone, how the universe works, how your own government works, for that matter. But when Vayen takes a new job as a bodyguard for a woman from his past, he quickly discovers everything he's known is a lie.
Anastassia Kazan came from nowhere really, brought home by his brother years before as a consultant to help with Artor's war against their Jalvian neighbors. She'd been a spy, a soldier on a planet far from Artor. Those were things Vayen thought he understood. But she manages to end the war, brokering deals beyond his imagining, and then she works her way into a position only a select few in the population even know exist, advisor to the entire Narvan star system. And now he's working for her. Beside her, even, as she goes out her days of meetings on various worlds. Many of those meetings aren't the sit around the table type. They involve blackmail, heavy threats, and sometimes, blood.
She's got backers. Mysterious ones, with seemingly unlimited funds. Anastassia is only middle management and while she's set on keeping the Narvan at peace, her bosses want to expand their holdings in the known universe. The Narvan's now mostly idle military forces shouldn't be wasting their time rebuilding broken worlds, they should be out conquering.
If Anastassia puts up too much resistance her bosses might find a new advisor and who knows what allegiances they might have. If any one of those people she's threatened gets in a lucky shot, the order she's created in the Narvan will quickly unravel. Vayen has compromised his conscience too much to see his people fall back into war. How much more is he willing to give to keep his people at peace?
I stepped into a plain room with a mosaic tiled floor depicting a night sky full of stars. Two armed men nodded to Kazan and took note of me as we passed by.
“What is this place?” I asked.
“One of the Ka’opul strongholds on Merchess. They’re the largest of the three operations here. At last count, they had thirty thousand slaves and a solid hold on the drug market throughout the Narvan, the non-Fragian colonies in the Rakon Nebula and into the Verian Cluster. They also control various other lucrative black market dealings.”
“And you’re fine with slavery?”
She cast me a sideways glance. “Not in the Narvan, but out here, that’s how things are done. I’m not about to upset the balance of an already precarious arrangement by liberating the workforce. The families provide me with an abundant income from my cut of their profits. Usually.”
“Where do those profits go that makes this excusable?”
“They keep people paid off, fund the research the High Council demands from your people, and finance the extra weaponry upgrades on the Jalvian fleets.” She came to a halt. “And you can quit looking at me with that disgusted glare and be grateful the Narvan is happy and quiet and that the Jalvians are equipped to keep it that way. That was part of the deal I cut with them to get them off Artor’s back.”
I shoved my distaste down my throat and followed close behind as she made her way past closed doors and others that stood open, revealing small conference rooms. A woman, bearing a red slave-star tattoo on her neck, passed by with downcast eyes, a tray of half-eaten food in her hands.
Kazan came to a halt. “Here we are.”
Though Atashi's Ka'opul's name hinted at Artorian roots, this man was of a descent so mixed that I couldn’t begin to guess at the components. He sat at a rectangular table with two chairs opposite him. He stood up and offered us a tight smile.
“Save the welcome, Atashi. Where are my credits?”
“Perhaps we could sit and discuss the matter?” He indicated the empty chairs and planted himself back in his seat.
“Oh, by all means, let’s.” Kazan sat on the table right in front of him and pulled out her knife. “So, now that we are seated, where are my credits?”
Science Fiction / Space Opera
Released April 2019 • Published by Caffeinated Press
War has torn Vayen Ta'set's homeworld apart. It took away his parents and then his brother, leaving him alone. He's spent his life training to join the fight, to do his part, to bring peace to Artor. But the war ends before he's able to join in, quietly brought about by a human, Anastassia Kazan. When she offers him a job as her bodyguard, he's sure he's finally found his place.
He's wrong. She's not who he thought she was. The peace she brought to Artor, to his entire star system, comes with a cost. One he's now helping her pay. There are bigger enemies out in the known universe than he ever imagined. Without Kazan, deals and truces will crumble. War is just a death away.
Neck deep in Kazan’s world of bribes, blackmail, and assassins, Vayen must eliminate the threats to his boss and his homeworld without becoming a target himself. It’s hard to make your mark on the universe if you’re dead.
Add it on Goodreads
Follow her here: Blog / Amazon / Facebook