Smashwords (all ebook formats)
Print copies will be available very soon on Amazon and Createspace. I'm just waiting on the final proof.
Check out the full series at www.altairanempire.com
Here's a teaser for you:
"You're headed for the border?" The freighter captain shook his head. "No one wants to get close to the border, especially not near Tebros. My advice is to find a berth and work the Federation territories. Don't mess with the Empire at all. It's not a good place for a spacer right now."
Tayvis pasted a smile on his face. The man was drunk, true, but he was only repeating what Tayvis had heard in every bar on the last six worlds. The Empire was crumbling at the edges and rotten at the center. The Federation grew exponentially as it drew in discontented frontier and fringe worlds. But Dace was somewhere in the Empire, too close to Lowell. "Thanks for the advice. I still need to get to Tebros."
"You'd be better off heading out farther. Lots of new territories opening up. I heard about one not long ago. Trythia, I think? Big Patrol action, but they ran back across the border with their tails between their legs."
Tayvis squelched the urge to pummel the man as he let the crowd pull him away from the bar. It wasn't the first rumor he'd heard about Trythia, told by those with no real knowledge or experience. The memories still hurt. Lowell had pulled the Patrol and run, taking Dace with him. And leaving Tayvis behind. He still wondered why.
He stepped outside the bar into the planet's night. A sultry breeze ruffled his hair. He studied the ships on the landing field, wondering if any of them were headed closer to Tebros and the border. Maybe he should have stuck with Will and the ragged assortment of ships that constituted the Federation fleet. It would have added months to his travel time, though.
He shoved his hands into the pockets of his shipsuit as he wove through the late-night crowds around the port bars. One of the ships had to be headed the direction he wanted to go. Time was passing and the situation in the Empire would only get worse.
Lowell had Dace. Who knew what he'd sent her into this time.
I shifted a bale of cargo, shoving it onto the trolley which I pushed across the landing field towards the warehouse. It was raining, a thin drizzle I remembered all too well from winters growing up in the orphanage. I was back on Tivor.
Six weeks hadn't been near long enough to dull the pain. Tayvis, the one man I really loved, the person I knew better than any other, the anchor in my life for the last three and a half years, was gone. The pain helped in some ways. I didn't care if I died on this assignment.
Lowell had sent me here. He said he needed me, and no one else. I was the only one who could do what needed to be done. I still wasn't sure why. What had my mother done that only I could undo?
The wheels squeaked on the trolley squeaked as I shoved it across the cracked plascrete. The plan was for me to hide in the warehouse until everyone from the ship had left. Lowell had a contact in the capital city, he hoped. He hadn't heard from the man for several months. If his contact was there, he would let me out and hide me until I had the right papers and could start looking for the secrets my mother had left behind.
I had three months to push things over the edge into chaos. I wondered again if Lowell really knew what he was asking me to do.
I'd done it before, in less time, with less support. Lowell was confident I could do it here. He tried to tell me not to die doing it. I told him I wouldn't care if I did, right before I walked out of his ship to board the freighter that brought me back to Tivor.