Exactly a Handful #mfrwhooks

Another hook from Constellation XXI, my latest sci-fi romance.

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 contacted her first-ever incoming ship — which is why she’s a ‘Cherry’ at the job — and it’s piloted by none other than Crispin Hunt, her first and best lover from years ago. Here she discusses him with Marine Sergeant Scheherazade Vallant.

From up close, the sweet, metallic smell of outer space wafted off the marine’s black bio suit. “If you aced all your flying tests, why’d you choose the Tugship Service?”

Sienna had been asked that many times before, though never with such vehemence. “I want to keep my home safe. It’s important work.”

“Gee-damned right. But people like you think it’s boring.”

Sienna’s heartbeat raced and her arm muscles tightened. “People like me?”

“Youngsters at the top of their classes are too plarking stuck up to choose the Service. They want the glamorous jobs. They want adventure, want to see the galaxy.” Vallant made a rude noise. “We’ve sure as Hades never had a Dukelsky grace us with her lofty presence. So I’m going to watch you real close, Cherry. I’ll find out what you’re hiding.”

“That’s Captain Cherry to you,” Sienna said with what she hoped was a disarming smile.

The marine refused to disarm. She pulled open the front of her bio suit, revealing a swath of flesh from neck to navel. An ugly scar zigzagged underneath her breasts as though to underscore their massive maturity compared to Sienna’s petite youth.

Exactly a handful, Crispin had said, as though they were made for me and me alone.

Be sure to check out the hooks by other great writers in the Book Hooks blog hop.

Constellation XXI

Rediscovering Love at the Worst Possible Time

Although Sienna Dukelsky had been the most promising student pilot at Keening AstroSpace Academy, she inexplicably settles for a routine, unglamorous job guiding incoming spaceships to safe berths at Farflung Space Station. Rumors blamed her startling decision on heartbreak after Crispin Hunt, the love of her life, got expelled.

Approaching Farflung years several later, Crispin’s freighter is met by Sienna’s tugship. Love rekindles, though dampened by old betrayals. And when her ship loses power while aimed straight at the space station, Sienna must confront astonishing secrets about Crispin and his cargo—secrets that make hers the most important job in the galaxy.



  1. Enjoyed the excerpt. Enjoyed the book

    1. Music to my ears!

  2. Hywela Lyn · · Reply

    Tantalising excerpt as always!

    1. Glad you liked it.

  3. Space is not going to have a smell, Ed…!

    However, I like the interaction. Very tight.

  4. Cara Hartley · · Reply

    Well, I reckon that flashing him is one way to shut him up for a while!
    I wouldn’t have guessed that space would have a smell. I love it when I learn something new!
    Sound wouldn’t travel in space, as far as I know, but the scene where the Nostromo exploded in Alien wouldn’t have been nearly as cool without the rumbling explosion.

    1. Needless to say, if you were to try to sniff space’s vacuum, you wouldn’t smell anything, but when astronauts come in from extra-vehicular activity, their suits have a peculiar smell that’s been noted from the earliest days of space travel.

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