We’re continuing today with another snippet from Ed’s next book (available now for presale!), The Seven-Foot Cupid.
Both Ember and Tyler are Encroachment Officers, or encros, though for different settlements on this colony world. Encros are the tough people who handle the tough jobs like exploring, dealing with wild animals, and blazing trails through the wilderness.
Here Ember tells him about the accident that has made her self-conscious about her face.
Tyler took a deep breath and let it out slowly. On a fresh planet that was still being explored, everyone knew someone who’d been hurt or killed in an accident. Most people in the Encroachment Service had suffered personally. That made each accident no less tragic or hard to recover from, though.
“Yet you’re back on the job.”
“Yes,” she said simply.
That one word, spoken as though discussing the weather rather than heroism, humbled him.
Some of life’s moments were special. They stayed sharp in the memory, like the smell of fear following the sudden silence of a flitter’s lift rotor, or the feel of the crippled flitter tossing you around as though trying to turn your innards into a milkshake. Those moments struck a chord in your heart and made you want to reach out to someone whose suffering was similar so you could learn how in all the black holy hells they were handling life better than you.
“The most amazing thing is that you’re able to talk about it,” he said. “What’s your secret?”
Her response was as simple as her Yes. She shrugged.
Yet she’d told a stranger about her fall. Was it easier to talk to a stranger?
Something told him she was the one he could open up to. He moved to the middle of the bench. When she didn’t retreat, he lifted his hand toward her face but didn’t touch. Instead, he hovered, giving her time to object or draw back.
He cupped her cheek, so smooth and feminine, and moved slowly to her nose. “No scars.”
Her throat moved as she swallowed. Their eyes met. Maintained contact. “On the outside, no.”
The Seven Foot Cupid
Book One in the Passion Island Trilogy
Ember Dayle prides herself on handling anything her newly colonized planet can throw at her. After an injury, she’s determined to prove herself again. She gets her chance when ordered to explore a mysterious cave on a wilderness mountain. Until that’s done, the last thing she needs is the distraction of a man.
Tyler, an explorer from her town’s fierce rival, is sent to explore the same cave. Like Ember, he’s been in an accident . . . but he was the only survivor. When he meets her, he’s drawn not only to her beauty and toughness, but by her ability to deal openly with her accident.
Booker is a naïve Apprentice Cupid for a secret group that hopes to make the colonists stronger, healthier, and smarter by matching people with compatible genes. His first assignment — Ember and Tyler. His strategy — lock them in an abandoned cabin together.
He doesn’t realize he’s locked them in with the fiercest, most intelligent native beast ever discovered. Can love help them survive?