Collision Course

Collision Course

3.2 11
by Zoe Archer
     
 

In a galaxy torn apart by war…

Mara Skiren is a scavenger, a black-market dealer. Blackmailed into helping Commander Kell Frayne infiltrate a treacherous corner of the galaxy, Mara learns that her biggest danger is from her sexy, by-the-book partner. She's a loner with more than a few battle scars on her heart, but something about

Overview

In a galaxy torn apart by war…

Mara Skiren is a scavenger, a black-market dealer. Blackmailed into helping Commander Kell Frayne infiltrate a treacherous corner of the galaxy, Mara learns that her biggest danger is from her sexy, by-the-book partner. She's a loner with more than a few battle scars on her heart, but something about Commander Frayne stirs up her long-buried need for an intimate connection.

An ace pilot for the elite Black Wraith Squadron, Kell's mission is to rescue a lost pilot and ship. Unable to deny his attraction to the beautiful, rebellious Mara, he decides bedding her would cool his ardor. But one taste is not nearly enough, and he finds himself sharing more of his real self with her than he has with anyone.

With deadly criminals on their heels and an increasingly dangerous assignment to complete, he's starting to wonder…if they survived, could he let her go? And will Mara want to stay?

46,390 words

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426891458
Publisher:
Carina Press
Publication date:
04/04/2011
Sold by:
HARLEQUIN
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
211,900
File size:
518 KB

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt


Mara Skiren knew there was a venerable expression that perfectly captured her current situation: she was screwed. Completely, unreservedly screwed.

Walking down the corridor toward her ship, she should have been headed toward freedom. Instead, she was being forced into a mission she didn't want.

The ranking captain briefed Mara as they headed to the docking bay. His words were clipped, efficient, and combined with his standard-issue severe haircut and his crisp gray 8th Wing uniform, made him exactly the type of person she avoided as much as possible. As they walked, they passed more people in 8th Wing uniforms, all of them staring at Mara with undisguised curiosity. Guess it wasn't every day that scavenging smugglers like her were allowed to roam free through the station.

"Any questions?" the captain asked.

"Just one," she said. "Why me?"

He frowned at her. "Clarify."

"You've got dozens, maybe hundreds, of good pilots. All of them perfectly happy to take on this mission. Why do you need me to carry it out?"

He stopped walking, then glanced around and lowered his voice. "Our missing pilot and her ship disappeared inside the Smoke Quadrant."

Mara couldn't hide her wry smile. "The 8th Wing doesn't know their ass from their nose inside the Smoke."

"We're not familiar with the region, no." The captain pressed his lips together tightly. "Between the natural barriers and the information network in place, the 8th Wing lacks sufficient intel to adequately appraise the situation."

"Meaning, you aren't smugglers, scavengers or pirates, so the whole place is a giant question mark." She chuckled. "That's exactly why us scum like it there. Both the 8th Wing and PRAXIS leave us to drink, brawl and murder in peace."

At the mention of the 8th Wing's old enemy, the captain's mouth tightened. "Even if the PRAXIS Group cannot breach that quadrant, either, it is vitally important that we locate and retrieve our pilot and her ship." He consulted the readout on his digitablet. "Lieutenant Jur's ship was damaged in an ambush. Her last communication indicated she and her ship were being overrun by scavengers. Her ship's tracking device stopped functioning within the Smoke Quadrant. We can only assume she has been taken, but by whom and precisely where in the Smoke Quadrant is unknown."

Mara processed all of this information. It made sense to assume that if the lieutenant and her ship had been seized by scavengers, they would be taken to the Smoke. It was the best place for dealing in black market goods. In the Smoke, no opportunity for profit was ever wasted. Mara never took on human cargo, but an 8th Wing fighter ship would definitely tempt her.

"This rescue mission must be conducted in secrecy," the captain added.

"If the 8th Wing tries to move in force," Mara deduced, "all signs of the good lieutenant will vanish."

The captain nodded. He resumed walking. "At best, Lieutenant Jur will disappear and we won't ever find her. At worst, she'll be killed."

That's why they needed Mara. She knew the Smoke Quadrant better than anyone. That didn't reflect well on her character. Fortunately, she didn't give a damn.

"Your objective," continued the captain, "will be to infiltrate the quadrant, then find Lieutenant Jur and her ship. You have already been apprised of the repercussions if you refuse to cooperate."

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Collision Course 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kell is your typical hotshot pilot commander, Mara is the quintessential inhabitant of life's gray areas as a well-known smuggler in the high seas of space. Throwing the pair together as an unlikely team to rescue a stolen ship and its pilot is where the magic happens. Ms. Archer does a great job demonstrating how easily adversaries could have ended up with their roles reversed. Some foreshadowing was painted on pretty thick, and the story had its predictable moments, but the whole package is anything but stereotypical. I look forward to book II, CHAIN REACTION, which just released. I know it's made of win because it involves a hot nerd and a sassy pilot!
RBtWBC More than 1 year ago
Mara is a tough-as-nails scavenger pilot who likes to be in control, Kell is an elite Black Wraith fighter pilot who fights for what he wants. Put them together and you get a steamy space adventure that takes you through gritty scavenger bars, dangerous energy storms and a war for freedom. Collision Course drew me in immediately and I didn't put it down until the last page. I've had Archer on my TBR list for a long time now and if Collision Course is anything to go by then I am missing out on some great reads! Archer has created a compelling and easy to understand world, providing the perfect balance of romance and action. This is a perfect title because Mara and Kell are definitely on a collision course, and they might not survive with their hearts intact. But once these two crash into each other it's a fiery explosion of sex and trust. I loved the development of Mara and Kell's relationship because they both expected each other to be totally different then what they turned out to be. They feel an instant attraction, Mara is gorgeous and Kell is drop-dead sexy, but the mission comes first and they're from two totally different worlds. They come to find out though that they have more in common then they thought but are trapped by their circumstances, a scavenger and an 8th Wing don't have a future together. Collision Course is a fun and entertaining, and I'm looking forward to more stories from this amazing world Archer has created.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Collision Course is a fun sf romance filled wit interesting, well-developed characters. The world-building is a tad shallow, though; not enough information is provided about the 8th Wing and PRAXIS. Additionally, the story opens abruptly, with the reader dropped into the middle of a scene; a prologue to help orient the reader would have been helpful. Still, this was a fun story. A good distraction for a rainy afternoon.
CurmudgeonEmeritus More than 1 year ago
This isn't science fiction. It's hot romance -- mostly just short of pornography, and at times crossing the line -- with some science fiction trappings. And the author clearly isn't an SF writer; she's a romance writer who wants to get a foothold on the SF shelves next to Linnea Sinclair. As a romance, it's pretty standard. It follows the pattern "sweet savages" have followed since Rosemary Rogers gave birth to the genre. The protagonists are appealing, despite being cliched as supernaturally beautiful and capable. However, the lack of any personal antagonist deprives them of a useful contrast. As an SF adventure, it's pretty standard as well. I read it ticking off the tropes just as they arrived. It could have been written as a Western or a medieval fantasy without distorting any important aspect of the plot line. Nothing new or innovative here. All that having been said, Miss Archer's writing is competent and better. She does take liberties with viewpoint, but they didn't detract significantly from the smoothness of the narrative. I would have preferred a greater ratio of action and outer dialogue to the protagonists' frequent inner monologues. Also, the metaphors and images occasionally seemed a bit overwrought. I did finish it. I did enjoy it. So it's not bad. But it will be more to the taste of a hot-romance reader than to that of a science fiction aficionado.
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