Here's Veronica to tell you more about DARIK and the series.
DARIK: A BADARI WARRIORS SCIFI ROMANCE NOVEL (SECTORS NEW ALLIES SERIES BOOK 4) by Veronica Scott
Thrilled to announce the next book in my Badari Warriors series, DARIK! The cover is another gem from the talented Fiona Jayde.
Thanks for having me as your guest to talk a bit about the book and share an excerpt. Always a pleasure to be on your blog!
I’m definitely having fun with this series set in the far future about genetically engineered warriors and the human women who love them. I try to make each book as different as possible within the overall series framework, so each set of fated mates has somewhat new challenges to face. And of course I have to advance the series arc as well as tell the story of each new couple.
Darik is kind of a lone wolf, enjoying his first assignment ever without any pack members nearby. He does, however, have a small Artificial Intelligence unit as a companion and the two of them don’t exactly agree on how to proceed. I enjoyed contrasting the Badari with wolflike components in his DNA with the alien and highly logical thinking of the AL unit. Eventually they reach a compromise.
Nicolle is a strong human woman stuck in a very bad situation, held captive by the alien Khagrish scientists. She does her best to resist and to encourage the others and it turns out she has some attributes she didn’t know she possessed, which play a big role in the eventual plot resolution.
I had fun with the challenges of the book and getting my characters to the Happy Ever After despite the many problems and obstacles I’d created for them!
Nicolle James is far from her home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments. Her only hope might be a mysterious soldier she’d glimpsed outside the laboratory fence. She’d managed to sneak a few words of conversation with him when her captors weren’t watching but now the aliens were taking her inside the lab to begin the experiments.
Darik, a warrior of the genetically engineered Badari pack, is on a solo recon mission to check out a mysterious new lab high in the mountains. His orders are strict – do not engage. But when he has a chance meeting with the woman who might be his mate, he vows not to abandon her, orders or no orders.
Can he get inside an underground lab, find Nicolle and rescue her without getting captured himself? And when he learns the lab’s deadly secrets, can he get word to his pack about the new dangers?
Because the ruthless alien scientist running the experiments wants to get her hands on him too and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.
The excerpt: (Darik and Nicolle have their second meeting, separated by the Khagrish force barrier.)
But ‘While there’s life, there’s hope’ was Nicolle’s motto. She found herself wandering towards the stream again and paused. Was it really a great idea to venture into the territory of the bearbeast that had almost eaten her?
But I might meet the soldier, and if I’m not frightened out of my mind this time, I could ask him useful questions. The risk seemed worth taking to her so she lengthened her stride. Soon she was at the picturesque creek. After drinking a few handfuls of the frigid water, she settled on a boulder, munching the berries she’d grabbed along the way and surveyed the meadow for any sign of the bearbeast, as she now thought of the predator. The berries tasted good, tangy and juicy and frankly she didn’t care if the fruit could be poisonous. She’d seen small mammals harvesting them, so she felt fairly confident she wasn’t running much of a risk.
Beyond the force barrier, the terrain gradually sloped upward, rising toward the mountains in the distance, snowcapped and forbidding. Other than birds and small winged insects, her immediate vicinity was empty of other living creatures.
She’d no idea how long she sat there, but the sun climbed quite a way into the sky. She’d decided to leave and was dusting off her jumpsuit when she heard her name whispered. Turning with care on the slick mossy surface, she stared into the forest beyond the barrier, unable to see anything but trees. Then a glint of pale color attracted her attention, and the soldier stepped into view, the strangely glowing ovoid floating by his side.
Pulse racing, she blinked. He moved so silently she suspected at first he might be a hallucination, because she’d wanted to see him again so desperately. “I was hoping you’d come,” she said, getting as close to the force barrier as she could without receiving a paralyzing shock. “Thanks again for saving me the other day.” What can I say to influence him to help us?
“I wish I could have done more.” He stayed at the edge of the trees, about six feet away from the barrier. His demeanor was calm and he didn’t act particularly concerned about being seen. His rifle was slung on his shoulder, easy to grab if needed but not as if expecting trouble. He checked her over from head to toe. “How are you?”
“More or less okay.” She shrugged. “It’s tense waiting for the Khagrish to do something horrible to us. A few of my companions are talking about a murder-suicide pact, rather than being taken inside the facility and tortured. But, of course, we haven’t got access to any weapons or drugs.” Nicolle studied her hands, trying to imagine herself killing anyone or herself. Shaking her head, she said, “I’m an optimist myself, although it’s getting harder and harder to have hope, the longer I’m in this place.”
“I can’t honestly argue against your friends’ intention, although it’s not a course of action I’d take myself,” he said. “My people prefer to die fighting, take a few of the enemy with us if we can. You didn’t mention me to your companions?”
Nicolle shook her head. “You said you can’t help us, so why raise their hopes for nothing?” She sounded bitter to her own ears, but it was hard to see him standing there in freedom, able to escape the Khagrish and unable—or unwilling—to help her and the others. “Do you have a name?”
“Darik.” His voice was low and furious, his fists clenched. “I’m sorrier than you know that I can’t intercede. Maybe if enough time passes before the Khagrish act I can organize a rescue.”
Hardly the ringing declaration I want to hear, about help coming. “Why are you even here, if all you can do is watch?” She resumed her seat on the boulder and plunked a few loose pebbles into the stream. Anger at him and her situation made her hand shake and she hurled the rest of the stones as far away as she could. “How can you stand by and let us be experimented on by these alien bastards?”
“I’m here on a solo mission studying this installation, trying to learn more about it,” he said. “We had no reports of human prisoners. I have no backup, no way to call for reinforcements for at least a few more days. Believe me, I would if I could.” He took a few steps toward her. “Leaving you and the others inside the barrier goes against everything I believe in and fight for but I’m powerless to help.” His voice was low, tense, and most fascinating of all, his eyes glowed golden in the shadow of the trees. “I’ve been where you are, imprisoned by the Khagrish. I know all about despair.”
Author Bio and Links:
USA Today Best Selling Author
“SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog
Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!
She read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”