It’s Friday, woohoo!
The feedback I’ve had so far from advance reviewers has been very encouraging. Some have said they felt it even stronger than Zero but all reviewers so far agree the Haven is an all-round fun, fast-paced and engaging story. I’m so pleased to have delivered a decent follow-up to Zero, which has been a success in its own right, frequently compared in style to the works of Joss Whedon and enjoyed by fans of SciFi and general fiction alike. It has also been selling out at my conventions and making it into ‘Top Reads’ lists in UK magazines!
If you have not read Zero yet, is available for Kindle or as a paperback from Amazon. Signed paperbacks are also available from me for a paypal payment of £10 including postage (get in touch through Twitter or Facebook if you would like to arrange this) or for £8.99 from me in person from any of my UK events and appearances (including Blackpool Comic Con TOMORROW 12.9.15!).
Haven will also be available for Kindle or as paperback from Amazon from 26th Oct 2015, and paperbacks will also be available alongside copies of Zero from me at Out Of This World Fiction Fest, 7th Nov, Lancaster as a double deal, so be sure to put that event in your diaries.
With all this I felt it was high time for an extract to whet your whistles. So with no further ado and purely for your own enjoyment (and mine, because I do like a tease) here is the opening of Haven. Enjoy!
Haven: Book 2 in the Orbit Series
Habit made Hugo stand to attention as the officers filed out of Colonel Hudson’s office. None of them looked at him as they passed.
Hudson’s aide had to call him twice from the office doorway before he registered he was being summoned. Hugo unclenched his fists and made his body move. The colonel’s office was very ordered. A distant part of his mind remembered that he’d always approved of that. It used to comfort him, but now it only seemed to emphasise the chaos in his head.
Hugo attempted to focus as Hudson started speaking. She was young for a colonel. Younger than him. Better at her job, too. He remembered her as Colonel Luscombe’s aide, sorting the older man’s life in more ways than he even realised before he retired, and knew she was even more of a force to be reckoned with now she was making her own decisions. Good decisions, most of the time.
“Commodore,” she said again after a pause he hadn’t noticed. “Are you listening?”
Hugo didn’t answer. His heart was pounding and his fingernails were digging into his palms.
“Hugo,” Hudson said, standing from behind her desk. “This is serious.”
“What was the outcome?” Hugo’s voice sounded low and distant in his own ears.
Heat flared in Hudson’s face as she visibly controlled her temper. “Suspension. Effective immediately.”
“That’s not acceptable.”
“I don’t care if you think it’s acceptable. You were this close to a formal court martial. I don’t even want to admit to myself the favours I’ve had to call in to stop formal charges being filed.”
“I don’t care about formal charges. I need access to my team and equipment.”
“They’re not your team any more.”
Hugo felt something ripple over his skin, something that was almost feeling. “Ma’am, the culprits are at large.”
“And they will be apprehended by the appropriate teams.”
“They captured and tortured my officer. I can’t – ”
“No, Hugo,” Hudson’s brow clouded. “This is not a negotiation. You are suspended from the Eclipse unit and hereby removed as overseeing officer from all its missions. You are to turn in your pips and weapon and return home to await further instruction.”
“Ma’am…” he managed to keep his voice from shaking, but only just. “I can’t…I can’t leave this.”
“You’re going to have to.”
“Eclipse – ”
“Eclipse should never have taken on that insane mission. You don’t have the resources or the influence to pull off investigating Haven smugglers. It’s no wonder it ended in disaster. It will be passed on to the Analysts.”
“Ma’am,” Hugo said again. “The Analysts can’t follow the trail. They have no jurisdiction on Haven.”
“I am aware of this. But you were reckless, Hugo. You risked too much, too soon. You know Command is looking for any chance to shut Eclipse down. And you gave them a reason.”
Hugo clenched his jaw. “That team have earned their right to revenge.”
“This is exactly what I’m talking about,” Hudson said, voice rising. “We cannot have officers using Eclipse for personal vendettas. You got too close to this. You got cocky, soldier, and Marilyn Harvey paid for it. You’ve lost us this mission. You were lucky you didn’t lose us the unit.”
Hudson’s clouded face swam as he watched everything crumble away. “We’d named him,” he said, not knowing why. He couldn’t see the office any more, just a dark, swirling hole he was ready to fall into and drown in. “She’d chosen a name for our son.”
“I’m sorry,” Hudson said after a pause. She sounded it, too. But Hugo could barely hear anything over the rushing in his ears. “But there’s nothing can be done. Go home, Hugo. Go home and rest.”
He knew he could do neither. He found himself in an express lift in the Medic Centre after a blurred flyer ride from Headquarters. On some level, he knew it felt peculiar to not have the familiar weight of his gun at his hip but he couldn’t summon the energy to care.
Early spring sunshine was streaming through the hospital room window when he walked in, making it seem almost peaceful. The soundproof plexiglass looked out on the crowded skyways and towering buildings of central Sydney but kept the tumultuous noise at bay. The only sound in the room was the soft hush of Harvey’s sleeping breaths and the single monitor she was still hooked to that purred in the corner.
He sat in a plastic chair next to the bed, keeping his hands clasped together in his lap because he was afraid his touch would wake her. His jaw was clenched so tightly that it hurt. He tried to keep his eyes on her face, on the light eyelashes resting on her cheeks, the curl of her yellow hair on the pillow and the calmness that relaxed the new lines in her forehead and around her mouth. But his gaze always slid to the laser burns under her eyebrows where they’d managed to remove some of the scarring, or the bandaging that still swathed her neck and arms, and he’d have to shut his eyes and breathe through another internal assault.
He hadn’t heard the door. He let out his breath and opened his eyes. His brother Giles stood in the doorway, slight frown of concern creasing his lined forehead. Hugo got up and gestured him back out of the room, clicking the door shut behind them.
“Are they still keeping her under?”
“No,” Hugo said. “She’s just sleeping.”
“That’s good,” Giles prompted, searching Hugo’s face.
“What do you want?”
Giles sighed, glanced through the window at the sleeping figure, then took his elbow to steer him away from the door.
“I heard about the decision today,” Giles began. Hugo kept in step, not replying. “Look, Kale…I just…you’re not going to do anything stupid, are you?”