Junk Mage by Elliot Cooper
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: July 4, 2016
I want to thank Elliott for joining us today on Just Love Romance. We have a very special exclusive excerpt from Elliott’s new book Junk Mage to share with you, and don’t forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post!
When technomancer Quillian Defote crash-lands on remote planet Marutuk, he has limited time to repair his ship and get off world. If he fails, he’ll forfeit his position as professor of mechanical transmutation at the prestigious Ivy Arcanarium and ruin his employment prospects in yet another sector.
Hunter, a cyborg guarding a junkyard that holds what Quill needs, is charmed by the wayward mage and wants to help him. But Hunter is bound by honor to dutifully guard his mistress and her possessions, no matter how cruelly she treats him.
Together Quill and Hunter stand a chance of starting a new life together if carnivorous wildlife, a violent necromancer, and stubborn pride don’t keep them apart.
Elliot has brought us an exclusive excerpt from Junk Mage
Elliot Cooper © 2016
All Rights Reserved
Deep in the forest, dodging high underbrush and thick, viny tree trunks, I sped along at a steady hum. My headlights glinted off more than one pair of huge, blue eyes, both on the ground and near rough bark. I wondered what animals they ate besides the invasive human species, since I hadn’t seen any other native lifeforms.
Something plopped onto my bike and touched the back of my leather riding jacket. I made a panicked squawk as all the nerves in my body screamed “Red Alert.” Before I could reach my hand back to swat the thing away, it scurried up my back and clung to my head with thick, dull claws digging into my cheeks.
I screamed. It screamed. The forest chittered in a rising, deafening chorus as we flew out of the trees, skidded over rocks, and careened onto the beach. I hit the brakes and rolled off the jetbike, hands plucking at the narl to get its claws out of my skin.
Wrested free, the narl scrambled around in the moonlit sand. It called out in tiny bleats, stopping to rub sand off its face with its strange hands.
I didn’t waste time. I ran to my bike, pressed the button on it to open the cargo hatch on Lemon, and rode inside. I breathed a sigh of relief as I listened to the door creak closed behind me, hand held to my pounding heart, eyes closed. I wouldn’t have my bones sucked out today!
A tiny yelp echoed off the metal walls.
My eyes flew open, and I turned in time to see the little narl, no bigger than a house cat, rush at me on long, furry limbs. It moved so quickly, I couldn’t do more than fall sideways off my bike and knock the wind out of myself when I hit the metal floor.
The narl leapt over the bike, using its claws for leverage, and landed on my chest. I struggled for air, taking in big gulping breaths, eyes wide behind my goggles. There were a couple guns on the ship, but I had no idea how to use them, even if I could have reached them. I lifted my hands to shove it away, but the chittering, gnashing chorus rose again right outside the ship.
Another little bleat came out of the narl’s mouth, its bulging blue eyes frantic. It flung itself flat onto my chest, clinging. Trembling.
It was terrified of the other narls, not hungry for a magical snack.
Cautiously, I put my arms around it, and for a few minutes, we lay there, breathing, listening to the other narls chant and scrape their claws on poor Lemon. I had no idea what I was going to do with the little narl; it had to be a young one.
“No eating me, okay?” I blinked down at the narl, and it blinked back up at me, its fur still covered in a dusting of sand. We were both filthy, and I was hungry. It didn’t sound like I’d be getting a lot of sleep either. I sat up, narl still clutched to my chest, and lifted up my goggles.
The narl squirmed and gnashed its teeth in its wide mouth, eyes riveted to mine.
I put the goggles back down over my eyes, and the narl settled into my lap. It reached up with its thick, multi-jointed fingers and tapped at my cheeks with blunt claws.
I got up, narl latched to my jacket, and peered into the side mirror of my bike. Like I’d guessed, the goggles magnified my blue eyes somewhat. The little critter thought I was a bigger narl than the ones chasing after it.
There had to be some kind of documentation of Marutuk’s wildlife. The planet had been known to explorers for plenty of decades before it had turned into a criminal oasis. I sat down in front of my vidscreen and called home.
“Hey, son! Everything all right?” My dad looked me over with obvious concern. I was sure I looked like I’d lost a fight. But it was nice to see him sitting in his study, shelves of analog books behind him.
“Sort of!” I couldn’t lie to him; he’d instantly know.
“You haven’t made it to Eternum yet, huh? I’ve been worried about you ever since you set out in that secondhand piece of junk.”
“Oh c’mon, Dad, Lemon’s sturdy. You know I don’t do shoddy work. But it’s not good to draw attention to fancy looking jetships. I haven’t forgot Mom’s warnings about ‘unsavory rogues;’ don’t worry.” I grinned and ignored my growling stomach.
“Well, she’ll be glad to hear that. I’ll tell her when she’s home from work.” He eyed the fur ball on my lap as it shifted and turned its head toward the new voice. “What’ve you got there? A pet?”
“Uh, I’m not sure exactly. The locals call them narls. This one was being chased by bigger ones, and it seems to think I’m parent material.”
Dad laughed and shook his head. “I hope for its sake you’re not planning to keep it.”
Click below for the chance to win a NineStar Press book of your choice!
Contest ends July 7, 2016 and is open to anyone.
Elliot Cooper is a creativity addict who enjoys writing stories that embody adventure, a hint of the taboo, and shadows that are deeper than they appear at first glance. He also enjoys video games and knitting, and lives in the southern US with his human and feline family.
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