The Empress Capsule | The Audacity Saga: Book 1
PRODIGY. DESERTER. COMMANDER.
At 22, Commander Ellen Ryu is a little young to be “retired.” Yet she’s planned—and bled in—more battles than veterans twice her age. And, well, she didn’t exactly retire so much as desert. Betrayed by her superiors, turned into a science experiment, and nearly driven insane, Ellen seized the chance for freedom when a shadowy organization offered her a ship of her own and an elite, all-female crew. She’s got a new mission now: get revenge on the scientist who almost destroyed her. Nobody is going to get in her way this time. Especially not the merc who’s just shown up at her cargo hatch, looking to hitch a ride.
MERCENARY. CONVICT. RENEGADE.
In the middle of an op gone wrong, cyborg mercenary Kael Sidassian gets stuck with a mission he can’t refuse: carry a capsule to safety, the contents of which would bring the galaxy down on his head if anyone knew what was inside. But he’s also got damaged hardware in his head and a plan to escape from the barbaric merc company that forcibly conscripted him over a decade ago. So when a humanitarian ship grants him passage, he thanks his lucky stars for a job that’ll solve all his problems at once. That is, if the attachment he’s forming to the ship’s commander—one that goes way beyond duty and loyalty—doesn’t get in the way.
As a new threat rises, the prodigy and the renegade discover far more in common than they ever thought possible. Now both their missions will have to wait, because if they aren’t audacious enough to work together, they’ll never survive what’s coming for them. For lovers of romantic space opera, Lois McMaster Bujold, and David Weber, THE EMPRESS CAPSULE is the first volume in the new Audacity series.
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“Y ou’re the captain of this ship?” he blurted before he could think better of it.
“Rank’s commander, actually,” she said coolly. She stood, revealing an athletic form clad in black lightweight armor and a navy flight vest. A stripe of green ran down an arm, and now he could see commander’s tabs along her collar, in spite of her young features. “And if you have a problem with that, turn around now and save us both the trouble.”
“No, ma’am,” he muttered, quick as he could. He gave another slight bow. “Just surprised is all. Forgive me. Salam and greetings to you.” As his eyes returned to her, another startling wave of burning, long-repressed desire stirred in him, joining the flood of anxious acid in his veins. He was going to drown in emotions and foreign chemicals at this rate. He hated himself for it, but even as he kept his eyes locked on her face, his mind and his peripheral vision rebelled, hungrily taking stock of her curves, the lithe way she stood. This was a distraction to his mission. And the very reason the emotion-suppression chips
were installed in Theroki in the first place.
“Peace be upon you as well—although the irony of that coming from a merc is not lost on me. You got a name, Theroki?” Her strong voice was gruff, steeped in the power of command. A good voice. A sexy voice. He immediately wanted to hear a lot more of it. Was that the chemicals talking or an actual thought? And what exactly was the difference? What he needed was a bucket of cold water on his head.
“Kael Sidassian. And you, ma’am?” He made sure to add the ma’am as he held out his hand. She eyed it a moment before shaking it. He decided not to pull some idiot move like trying to crush her armored hand with his, and he was glad when she didn’t pull a stupid stunt either.
“Have a seat.”
“If you don’t mind, ma’am, I’d prefer to stand.” His armor’s size—and weight—was likely to destroy the elegant black chair she gestured at with an open hand. She probably knew that too—a test? He leaned against the back wall of the office instead. Near the door.
“Suit yourself. That will be all, Mo.”
“Want me to stay, Commander?” Mo eyed him warily, gesturing at him with her fancy sight.
“Between you two, I’m beginning to think I look a little green today.” She scowled back and forth between the two of them. “Is it the vest?”
“I’d say you’re more of a jaded color, ma’am,” Mo replied, a twinkle in her eye.
Kael remembered just in time not to laugh, but he was already smiling.
The commander glared harder, then pointed at the cargo hatch. “I’ve handled much worse than one fool Theroki, Mo, and you damn well know that. Go on, back to watching out for more passengers please. Perhaps less rusty ones.”