Another hook from Constellation XXI., my just-released sci-fi romance. Today, the meet cute.
Sienna Dukelsky is a tugship pilot whose job is to guide incoming spaceships to a safe harbor at the space station orbiting her home world. She has just spied her first incoming ship — but it doesn’t respond to her calls.
A silent ship might be damaged, in which case she must wait and render assistance. However, given the perilous political situation, silence might also indicate a Proximanian invader. In those cases, she must fire her missiles an instant before she herself was nuked, which she surely would be.
And because each case was different, neither procedures nor checklists could tell her how long to wait before firing. She was on her own.
She readied her weapon systems and targeted six torpedoes on the incoming ship. She stretched her palm over the dreaded purple button, ready to slap down at any provocation. She’d give the ship thirty seconds to respond.
Ten seconds. Her hand didn’t tremble. Very professional.
Fifteen. Sweat ran into her eye.
Twenty. Her thumb started to shake.
“Come on, you plarking jerk. Respond!”
The comm unit crackled to life. “That you, Evening Star?”
Her full name was Sienna Vesper Dukelsky. In one of Earth’s ancient languages, Vesper meant evening star, but nobody had ever called her that, except for—
Oh gods. She’d spoken his name.
“The vastly same man, love,” Crispin Hunt said in a teasing voice that hadn’t changed in six years. Six years in which she’d changed completely. Six years in which she’d yearned never to see him again, while dreaming she would.
“Thought I recognized that voice,” Crispin said. “Glad to see me, Evening Star?”
She balled her fist over the weapons button and slammed down as hard as she could.
Rediscovering Love at the Worst Possible Time
When her tugship inexplicably loses power while aimed straight at her space station home, Sienna Dukelsky tries frantically to get her ship working in time. But can she cooperate with Crispin Hunt, a former lover she’d once betrayed, to find a way to regain control before the ship kills thousands?