Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wolf Hunt 3: Galactic Wolf by Marie Treanor

Wolf Hunt 3: Galactic Wolf

by Marie Treanor

cover art by Karen Fox

ISBN: 978-1-60521-278-4
Genre(s): Futuristic, Paranormal, Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Theme(s): Werewolves
Series: Wolf Hunt
Length: Novella

As the Earth wolves are freed and the truth revealed, the Gardenians panic and bring forward their invasion. They send a fleet of star ships, led by the troublesome young Senator Cereza.

Cereza, mindful of her career as well as her duty, takes her responsibilities seriously. But she lets herself be distracted for long enough to capture the mysterious space pirate Captain who's been terrorizing Gardenians on the frontier for months.

Yuri doesn't even know his own name when he first meets her, but from the beginning, she confuses his instinctive mission to eliminate Gardenians. Taking her hostage to ensure the safety of his crew is necessary. Educating her in what he's learned of Earth's situation seems sensible. Seducing her isn't part of his plan, not when his wolf is liable to tear her apart. But their lust is powerful and has consequences that go far beyond their own emotions. The fate of two peoples is balanced in their hands.

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"Commander Krysant of patrol ship three-one-seven," Azale announced.

Cereza blinked. "That was quick."

"I used your name and rank to good effect," Azale said wryly. "Will that be all?"

"Yes, of course. If we've got them all, let's resume course."

As Azale departed, she indicated the seat on the opposite side of her desk. "Please, sit. Are you hurt at all?"

"Only in my professional pride, letting my ship be seized by trickery," snarled Krysant, easing himself into the chair. His eyes and hair had a soft pinkish tinge that contrasted almost alarmingly with his craggy, angry face.

"What happened? Who did it?"

"The captain!"

"Captain who?"

"How the..." Krysant started to fume before forcing himself with obvious difficulty to calm down. He contented himself with a glare. "You don't know what's been going on out here, do you?"

"Not exactly. It's not my area of responsibility."

Krysant frowned. "Then you haven't come to nail the bastard?"

"Sorry. We have a larger mission than one space pirate. But I will report the incident to all the relevant authorities on Gardenia..."

Krysant snorted. "Hope you've better luck than I did. Does nobody on Gardenia know about this guy?"

"I'm sure the appropriate authorities do," she soothed. "But no, it's not general knowledge. You'd better tell me."

Krysant sighed, drumming his fingers on the desk as he reported in words he'd clearly used before. "He sprang to life here from nowhere just a few months ago. Alien ship, not as fast as ours but nimbler, very precise weapons-targeting. He recruited a few frontier scumbags on the shady side of the law to crew it, and began attacking every vessel he passed. Boards them all, personally. Some he lets go -- which contributes to his hero status -- others are seized, plundered --"

"He has hero status?" Cereza interrupted. "How come?"

"Because he steals so sodding much! He pays his crew, repairs his ship and gives the rest to the scaff and raff of the frontier planets. As a result, they hide him and his crew, deny all knowledge of their whereabouts. Meanwhile the captain goes on seizing Gardenian ships --"

"He only seizes Gardenian ships?" Cereza interrupted again.

"No, but it's largely the Gardenians he sticks in the local prisons. The ones he doesn't kill, that is."

Cereza closed her mouth. "He's killed Gardenians?"

"Several. Some who've survived say he's a wild animal. I can see why. It all contributes to the legend." He snorted.

The commander's anger began to seem very understandable, because it went well beyond his own humiliating experience. "And you've heard nothing from Gardenia? No support in dealing with this?"

"Not a hoot."

"Madness! Your communications can't be getting through!"

"They're through." Krysant stared at her with barely concealed insolence. "Sitting under some senator's silver cup."

Her frown deepened, because she couldn't dispute his belief with any conviction. Inefficiency was rife in Gardenian government -- officials dealt only with the matters which would bring them wealth or glory. Frontier space pirates were less interesting than the possible assimilation of a new planet.

And Earth was certainly more important in the bigger picture for overcrowded Gardenia. But leaving her compatriots to die was not just callous in Cereza's mind, it was impossible.

She stood abruptly. "I want everything you have on this pirate. Presumably he's not stupid enough to attack a military convoy of this size, so we'll have to lay ourselves out as bait. I want you to liaise with Commander Azale."

Krysant stumbled to his feet, staring at her with mingled hope and suspicion in his tired eyes.

"You're going to get him?"

"Yes," said Cereza with conviction. "I'm going to get him."

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