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. Her first-ever incoming ship is piloted by none other than Crispin Hunt, her first and best lover from years ago. But she carries a dark secret about him. He is her deepest shame, her most powerful guilt.
But as his ship approaches hers, she tries not to think of all that. Tries to remain professional.
The star-like dot that was Crispin grew larger with scary urgency. But she wasn’t scared, surprisingly. This marvelous piece of machinery made her feel powerful enough to deal with Crispin Hunt, no matter how much he hated her.
Well, almost powerful enough.
For several hours, she ran through the steps flawlessly, anchoring Constellation XXI alongside at a distance of three-hundred yards and attaching a boarding snake to its airlock. Perfect.
“Step thirty one,” she said to herself. “Test to ensure the snake between ships is airtight.”
On Constellation XXI, Crispin — no, she should think of him as Captain Hunt; more impersonal — would be performing similar tests, unless spacing the border planets had made him forget the academy’s rigorous training.
Better yet, don’t think about him at all.
The snake was airtight, check and double-check. Think about that, instead. “Step thirty-two: populate the snake with air.” She waited, imagining the hiss of air and the smell of ozone. The timer on her visor ticked off the seconds.
And then there was nothing more to do. Nothing, except wait for her airlock to open for the traditional salute to the other ship’s captain.
Who happened to be Crispin. Chip. Her Chip. Her greatest guilt. Greatest regret.
No, no, no. Not Chip, Captain Hunt.
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.