by Marteeka Karlandcover art by Bryan Keller
ISBN (13): 978-1-59596-999-6
Genre(s): Futuristic, Sci-Fi
Theme(s): Magic and Mayhem, Spaceport
Series: Spaceport Multi-Author
Starla, a Paralyzer Mage of the Vastus, has been assigned to be bodyguard to, of all people, a rock star. After an attempt on Tygor Gold's life, she finds herself on Spaceport Adana as, in her mind, a glorified babysitter. What she doesn't realize is she is but a pawn in the greater scheme of things.
Tygor has his own magic and reasons for not joining the Vastus as a Mage. When his magic and Starla's collide, the results are more than even the Vastus could have predicted. Driven by something more than magic, more than chemistry, the two must find a way to exist together…
And to survive.
Spaceport: ParalyzerMarteeka KarlandAll rights reserved.Copyright ©2008 Marteeka Karland
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As she rounded the perimeter of The Haze, the bar on Spaceport Adana the band had played for the last three days, Starla had to push her way through the undulating, screaming crowd. The noise beat into her brain, and bodies pressed against her. For a moment, she lost sight of both Tygor and her next checkpoint.
Making her way through the crowd as she set watchful spells proved more difficult than she’d originally thought, but she made steady progress forward. Once she reached the bar, she ignored the bartender and hopped up to sit on the end of the bar, craning her neck to see around the crowd, looking for possible threats. Why in the damned universe this man chose to put himself out in the open if he was so worried about his own safety was beyond her.
Hiring a woman to protect him? It was an image Starla found hard to buy. He was a man who always seemed to be in control. She shrugged. Oh, well. Who was she to complain? Tygor was the hottest man she’d ever seen. Sometimes she had to shake herself to keep from staring. Sometimes, she almost reached out and touched him.
She sighed as her thoughts turned inward, trying to escape the noise. The mind spells she’d set throughout the crowd would alert her if anything were amiss. This was a mentally exhausting mission and once she confronted Tygor Gold and forced him out of the limelight, things would get worse. She didn’t have any choice. Keeping up with the group’s exhaustive schedule for even two weeks had weakened her mentally and physically, though it galled her to admit it. She needed sleep. She needed to get Darkest Knight off the stage and away from places like Spaceport Adana.
As she contemplated exactly how to accomplish this, her thoughts were interrupted when one of her spells exploded in the crowd, forcing everyone away from the stage. Immediately, Starla jumped to her feet on the bar and launched herself in the general direction of the stage. Her heart was pounding, but her training took over, and she blocked out everything but what her spells and her own senses fed her. Her eyes were firmly fixed on Tygor. Her top priority was to get him out of danger.
She hadn’t yet determined where the threat originated from, but her other spells spoke directly to her mind, being her eyes and ears in all directions.
There. Behind one of the speakers.
That he’d made it so far into the bar alarmed Starla greatly, but she’d have to think about that later. He was aiming at Tygor, using the singer’s confusion to his advantage.
Starla focused on getting to Tygor and taking him down. It was imperative she give the gunman another target. She was confident enough in her own magical shields to make herself that target.
Tygor looked all around him, his stance ready for battle. She vaguely registered this as she hit him in the midsection with her shoulder, effectively taking his place in the sniper’s line of fire.
There was a quiet little zing zing as the porcelain projectiles launched from the gun, and Starla felt like someone had thumped her in the shoulder and back with a mining rod. She lost all feeling in her right arm, rendering her gun hand useless. Whipping her head around, she caught sight of the assailant. Their gazes locked. Got you.
The gunman’s eyes widened a fraction before the full effect of her power struck him. His gun fell from his spasming hands before he went completely and utterly still.
Letting the full effect of her spell take hold of the would-be killer for about thirty seconds, Starla knew the terror she had spawned in the man. She was a Paralyzer. A rare and unique talent even among the Vastus. She could stun her prey for a few seconds, or render them completely immobile. She had control of every muscle in their bodies -- voluntary and involuntary muscles alike. This time, she’d paralyzed the man’s respiratory system, but not his heart. She had never stopped someone’s heart, and hoped she never had to use her gift to such extremes. But when she wanted to make an impression on her prey and show them exactly what she was capable of, this was the best way.
Struggling to her feet, she stumbled to the man, never taking her gaze from him. “You aren’t going to die today. Not yet, anyway. I only want you to understand what I can do. If left in your present state, you would expire. Slow and painful though it would be.” She gave him an evil smile, as if she’d enjoy watching just that. “I have the ability to stop your heart, but I would prefer to bring you to the authorities unharmed. You should know, however, that if you give me any grief whatsoever, I have no qualms about simply killing you and being done with it.” She released her hold on him, allowing the now red-faced man to breathe. “Do we understand each other?”
He collapsed on the floor, nodding twice, breathing hard. Satisfied, Starla motioned to two rapidly approaching security officers to take the man away. She turned back to Tygor, her body starting to feel the effects of the gunshots.
When she did, she slammed into a massive, hard chest and cringed at the pain the jarring caused her.
“Your instructions were not to go after my assailant under any circumstances. Can you not follow even the simplest of orders?” He didn’t sound like a man who was grateful she’d just saved his life.