Sneak Peek Sunday!
I am so excited to be starting something new every Sunday. I will be putting a sneak peek into my work in progress. If you want to be current and see the newest installment, you’ll have to sign up for my newsletter. In ML Guida’s Scroll, you’ll find out what’s going on not only in the story, but all kinds of tidbits and giveaways.
This is the third book in the Bears of Aria. It’s a scifi romance–Bear Shifters from Outer Space!
“Finbar, this court binds you over for trial. You are charged with abandoning half your crew on the planet Sutois and then erasing the remainder of the crew’s memory with the Telsa Sifter to cover up your crime. Trial will be set one month from today on planet Dryke. A selected representative from different planets will make-up a panel and the panel will decide your fate. ” Judge Turbul’s cruel voice dashed all of Tash’s hopes.
Turbul was a Lion from the planet Dryke, and only believed in hard, cold facts. The Drykains were loyal, just, and regal. Many of them were placed in high positions within the Confederation. If the other panel representatives were like Turbul, Tash’s father was doomed.
The lion narrowed his golden eyes and slammed his mallet down hard on the bench. Tash winced and his heart stopped.
Forget changing Turbul’s decision without hard core evidence. Tash couldn’t believe this was happening. Not to his dad. Finbar wasn’t a cur. He was a hero.
Behind Tash, people murmured, their words echoing off the titanium walls.
“He’s a damn murderer.”
“A damn coward. I hope they fry his ass.”
Tash clenched the wooden chair’s armrests, and he gritted his teeth. His body shook with anger and guilt.
His gut hardened. Six months ago, he had commanded the ship Intrepid and it had crashed on that cursed planet. Most of his crew had suffered the same fate as his father’s. Nightmares still haunted Tash. He should have been able to save his crew. He was the damn captain. Ever since, he’d questioned his ability to command.
His mom, Peigi, sat next to him. She gasped and sniffed, dabbing her teary green eyes with a tissue. Her black hair partially hid her red blotched face and her lower lip trembled. His dad was her whole world. She was a gentle bear, and this blasted trial could kill her.
Tash swore under his breath. Things were getting worse and worse for his dad.
The bailiff motioned toward the audience. “Please, all rise.”
His face grim, Judge Turbul climbed down the wooden bench and headed out of the courtroom. His long shaggy hair flared over his broad shoulders. Above the doorway, there was a golden sign engraved with seven planets that was the symbol of the Confederation. For the first time, Tash questioned the Confederation’s integrity.
His dad wasn’t a coward. He couldn’t be. No captain would have willingly left his crew to die.
Tash patted her shaking hand. “Mom, it’ll be okay.”
He hesitated. How could he make this vow when everything he’d done had been wrong? But he couldn’t deny her. “I promise.”
She glanced away. “You need to work with your brothers. Your dad needs all of you.”
“They’re traitors, Mom.”
She glared. “They’re your blood, Tash. Nothing is stronger between us. We’re family.” She shook her head. “Sometimes I’m not sure if you’re mad at them or yourself. You need to let go of this anger.”
The skin across his chest tightened. He bit back a growl. How could he? Because of him, Arians died on Sutois. He could still hear their screams.
But that didn’t excuse what Vaughn had done or Rye taking his side.
His brothers, Vaughn and Rye, were on the opposite side of the room from him. Tash hadn’t spoken to either one of them since their dad had been handed over to the United Planet Confederation for treason, thanks to Vaughn. He’d found the evidence and had given it to the Confederation. His dad had been stripped of his admiral rank and now was on trial for his life.
Tash vowed not to let his dad be executed. Guilt choked Tash’s dry throat. If they convicted his dad, would he be next?
His shoulders slumped. It was his fault his crew had died. Maybe like his dad, he should be convicted, his rank stripped, branded a traitor.
Tash hurried over to his father before he was led back to his cell. His father’s usual haughtiness was gone. Heavy bags were underneath his green eyes and deep wrinkles had been itched into his face. He looked like he’d lost at least fifty pounds since he’d been imprisoned.
“Dad, I promise I won’t let you down.”
Tash glared at Vaughn, daring him to approach them.
Vaughn and Rye wisely stayed where they were and talked in hush whispers.
Dad clutched Tash’s arm. “Don’t waste your career on me, Tash. It’s not worth it. There’s no way you can prove my innocence. I’ve told you this. There’s no way to bring back the crew’s memories. Let it go.” For once, his voice carried its same arrogance.
“No, I don’t believe that. There’s got to be something I can do to reverse the Telsa Sifter’s effects. I’m not going to let you go down for this, Dad, I swear.”
Two burly security bears stood on either side of Tash’s dad. One of them said, “Time to return to your cell, Finbar.”
Tash dropped his arm.
Mom clasped his father’s hand. “I love you. I believe in you.”
Tears glistened in his dad’s eyes. “Thank you.” He brushed the wetness off her face. “Peigi, I will love you always.” He looked at Tash. “Take care of her for me.”
Mom released a soft sob and closed her eyes.
Tash hardened the sadness and fear threatening to rip insides apart. He put on his stern captain’s face and wrapped his arm around his mom’s shaking shoulders. “I will. You know I will.”
“Good.” He sighed and hung his head.
His father shuffled out of the courtroom, a broken Arian.
“Tash,” the last voice he wanted to hear.
Tash stiffened. Anger bubbled inside him, and his bear threatened to burst out. “I suggest you stay away from me, Vaughn.” He didn’t bother to hide the hate and resentment in his voice.
“We need to talk.”
Tash whirled around, forcing himself to keep his arms pressed to his side. “No, we don’t.”
Vaughn didn’t back down. His green eyes looked tired and his skin was tight as if he’d hadn’t been sleeping well. He had a stubbled beard where usually he kept his chin clean shaven. His brown hair was pulled back into a bun. Something his mate had shown him how to wear.
“Tash, please,” Vaughn pleaded.
Tash went to brush past him, but his younger brother, Rye, blocked his path. He was slightly smaller than Tash and his hair was black like their mother’s, but unlike her gentle nature, he had a red-hot temper.
“You need to listen, Tash.” Determination echoed in Rye’s voice.
Tash’s heart thumped faster. A sensation of increased strength pulsed through him and blood pumped between his ears. His muscles bulked up and he narrowed his eyes. “I suggest you get out of my way little brother.”
Courtroom attendees glanced nervously their way, but no one interfered except for the bailiffs who approached quietly.
Tash moved around him, but Rye slipped in front of him again.
“We found out something that might help Dad.” Rye stretched out his arms as if to cage Tash.
Not a wise thing to do.
Fear flashed in Rye’s eyes, but he held his post.
Vaughn stood on the other side of Tash. “Listen to me, Tash. I think I found a way to retrieve the crew’s memory.” Vaughn spit out his words faster than going into ultra-speed.
Tash stopped and sucked in deep breaths, trying to push his bear back.
Vaughn ran his hand through his hair, messing up his bun. “I’ve been doing research and I’ve found something.”
Tash gritted his teeth. “What?”
“You need a psychic.”
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Until next week.