First of all, thanks to everyone who is checking out these excerpts--your interest is always appreciated! I'm not sure whether people are actually able to access the chapter descriptions, so I'll just preface new chapters in this manner. At this point in the story, Mara Elliot has been introduced to David Christenson--captain of the United Earth Force flagship Heavy Cruiser the Horizon.
This Interim(I usually place Interims in my books as a sort of small pause to delve into little important side-bars within the story...info which readers need to be aware of, but which the main character�might never know) deals with a conversation between David and his good friend Malcolm "Panther" Edwards, a former co-pilot in Her Majesty's Royal Star Force. Upon revealing to Panther his feelings for Mara, David's old friend chooses to dispense some advice...
���� "So you're in love now, is it? Absolute bollocks," Malcolm "Panther" Edwards said with a sad, bewildered shake of his head. He sat back in his long recliner chair at his poolside and took another sip of brandy as he cautiously regarded his friend David on the vid-com, fearing for the man's very sanity.
���� On the screen, David's shoulders bunched up a bit and Panther could hear him tapping his fingers on his own console a moment before he answered, "Panther, that's the third time you've said that, and I'm growing quite annoyed. You say it one more time, and I swear I'm going to fly straightaway to your home and box your bloody ears!"
����� Panther smiled slyly and took another nip from his snifter. He always knew how to get under his old friend's skin, and loved doing it. "Absolute...fucking... bollocks." He could tell in David's movement that he was about to sever the line, and Panther swung his legs over the side of the recliner to sit up straight. "C'mon, David! This is me, fucking Panther you're talking to! Now I'm not maligning this lass, I'm sure she's a sweet girl. And knowing you, she's one hell of a great-looking lay--"
����� "We haven't--"
����� "Lay-to-be," Panther corrected, interrupting his friend's angry reply. "But you and I both know you've been here before! What about Susan? What about Lena? What about that Japanese chick, Nitalla...what the hell was her name?" He nodded to a pretty blonde who was just climbing out of the swimming pool. "Hey, Crissy! What in hell was the name of that Japanese bird David knocked around with on the East End?"
����� "Nitalla something," the blonde said with a shrug, then picked a towel up from the marble bench and began to dry her hair.
����� "Bloody useless, that one," Panther told David as he nodded toward Crissy. David shook his head and couldn't stifle a small chuckle in spite of himself. "You and Crissy back together again?"
����� Panther shrugged. "As of last night. If she's learned how to cook finally, it may last 'til tomorrow." He then waved Crissy over in a rushed manner. With an annoyed huff, she walked over and leaned on Panther's shoulder. Her eyes lit up at the sight of David and she waved enthusiastically. "Hello, David! How are you?"
����� "Fine, Crissy. Long time."
����� "True, true. When you boppin' back this way?"
����� "Don't know. Got missions and such."
����� "Crissy...what did I call you this morning, after we woke up?" Panther asked.
����� "The hottest piece of ass this side of Enfield."
����� "Thank you, love. You're dripping on me."
����� Crissy huffed and smacked him on the shoulder. "Pleasure talking to you, David," she said, then headed off to the marble bench once more. Panther sucked in an appreciative breath as he watched her derriere recede, then looked back to David once more. "There, you see? That's what it's all about, mate. Don't give me this love, flowers, stars-in-the-eyes, Valentine's card crap. No matter all the lovey-dovey reasons you can conjure up, the fact is that we're beasts at heart, bred to it. It's all pheromones, my friend. Your brain wants to reason everything out because that's what it's for...but the truth is, you just want to get your dick wet, because that's what it's for."
����� "Malcolm, I swear...I sometimes wonder why we're friends to this day."
����� Panther could tell the tone in David's voice was not altogether joking. He ran a hand through his prematurely silvering hair. "'Cause I'm the cold light of reason you've always been missing in your life."
����� David rolled his eyes. "Oh yes, that's it exactly."
����� Panther emptied the snifter in one last gulp. "I still remember those other women, David."
����� David sighed lightly. "We were young, all of us, Malcolm. Susan was passion on the battlefield. Lena, well we know why that didn't work out. And as for Natalla Kikukawa--"
����� "Kikukawa! Yah, that was it!"
����� David smiled, somewhat abashedly. "Well, we always did say Japanese women were the wave of the future."
����� The two friends shared a small laugh over this, but David quickly turned serious once more. "But this is different, Malcolm, I assure you. This woman...I've never known anyone like her. Only a few hours in her company, and I swear, I felt as if I could spend my whole life with her."
����� Malcolm "Panther" Edwards sat forward just a bit more, studying his old friend's features carefully. "She must be something special, if she's actually managed to snag the heart of Earth's greatest hero." There was no ribbing this time, nor was there any bitterness in this statement. Over the years, Malcolm had grown accustomed to the fact that David would always be the more well-known of the two of them. It was just the way the world worked, and there was no going around it. "The Calvorians have a term, you know. 'Dushalla'. It means 'undying love'."
����� David considered it. "I don't know if we're there just yet. But I would say that for now, it certainly is a passion uncontested."
����� Panther nodded soberly. "Well, then...I want to meet this girl, David. Anyone hoping to tie up more of your time than I do has to meet with my approval first."
����� David chuckled lightly. "You will, my friend. I promise. But I also promise that if you mistreat her, even by accident, you'd best be prepared for a long furlough in the hospital."
����� "I wouldn't dream of it, my brother," he replied in all earnestness. "I wouldn't dream of it."