Hi everyone – I’m very excited to have the brilliant Veronica Scott on the blog this week, talking about STAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER, her story in this year’s Pets In Space anthology. Take it away, Veronica!
STAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER for Pets In Space3: Embrace the Passion
by Veronica Scott
Thanks for having me as your guest to talk about my story for this year’s Pets In Space3: Embrace the Passion anthology!
I love going back to revisit my interstellar cruise liner, the Nebula Dream, for these PISA stories, as the ship cruises through the futuristic human civilization known as The Sectors. I’ve written a number of books and novellas centered on events aboard the ship now and find the whole cruise setup lends itself to telling a good scifi romance adventure tale. Readers new to my world don’t need to know a lot of backstory to enjoy the events, and for those who have read others in the series, it’s a nice return to see some favorite characters (I hope!).
When it came to the central plot of the story, I have to say I love unexplained mysteries and trying to figure out the truth. Since the pet in my story is a kind of alien genie-cat who lives in a beautifully painted black laquer box, that reminded me of the gorgeous boxes and Matryoshka (nesting) doll sets the Russians paint and sell.
The link to Russia in my author brain then reminded me of the whole tragic story of the last Tsar and his family, and how they were murdered but for years rumors persisted one of the children might have survived. Various individuals claimed to be ‘Anastasia’ or another of the siblings, and of course there have been movies and plays written with that theme. I always flash back to the 1950’s movie version with Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman because that movie was one of my mother’s favorites and also left the answer to the question of “Is she or is she not Anastasia?” somewhat open at the end. My daughters loved the animated fantasy version of the tale, with the voices of Meg Ryan and John Cusack, when they were growing up.
When I was growing up there was a lot of sentiment and speculation that one woman in particular actually might have been Anastasia. Nowadays with DNA testing and the like, it’s possible to answer this type of question relatively easily and reveal an imposter but in my far future, I was able to leave the question a bit more mysterious, until the very end of the story. No spoilers from me!
STAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER
Tassia Megg is a woman on the run after the death of her elderly guardian. Her search to get off the planet in a hurry comes when chance directs her to an open dance audition for the luxury cruise liner Nebula Zephyr’s resident troupe. If there is one thing Tassia can do, it is dance!
Security Officer Liam Austin is suspicious of the newest performer to join the Comettes. She shows all the signs of being a woman on the run and seems to fit the Sectors-wide broadcast description of a missing thief, accused of stealing priceless artifacts. As he gets to know Tassia during the cruise, he starts to wonder if she’s something more – a long vanished princess in hiding from deadly political enemies of her family perhaps? And what’s the story with the three-eyed feline companion other crew members swear Tassia brought aboard the ship? Does the animal even exist?
As the ship approaches its next port of call, all the issues come to a boil and Liam must decide if he’ll step in to help Tassia or betray her. Life is about to get very interesting aboard the Nebula Zephyr as Liam tries to uncover the truth. Could F’rrh, the peculiar alien cat he has been hearing about, be the key to the mystery and Tassia’s fate?
Tassia explains part of her story for the first time:
Remembering his previous intuition that she was on the run and hiding secrets, he held her tight. “I need to know the whole story now, sweetheart, so I can protect you. Help you. Before we have to explain anything to Captain Fleming.”
Tassia took a deep breath, set the mug on the table with a thump, and sat straight. “I’ll have to tell the captain so I might as well start by telling you.” She gazed deep into his eyes. “I trust you.”
“Tell me what?” Nothing she could say was going to change his feelings for her but he sensed major trouble might lie ahead. No matter what challenges Tassia had, he’d stand with her and do his best to defend and protect her.
Raising her head as if she wore a crown, she said, “I’m the Imperial Princess Alynnskaya Tassiamilla Oleavna, sole survivor of the mass assassination that sparked the Ruatsar Rebellion.”
He stared at her, not sure he’d heard correctly, waiting for her to clarify the oddly timed joke, and then he realized she was deadly serious. She was the embodiment of the persistent urban legend, whispering through the stars, telling of the mysterious survival of one member of the doomed family.
“It’s a long story, but the RNR forces have been hunting for me almost my entire life.” Her voice was weary and her hands shook. “They’ve also been trying to regain the crown jewels, which the enemy believes I possess, but whatever bits of jewelry I had were sold long ago for food, a roof over our heads, or passage to the next solar system by the woman who was my rescuer and guardian angel.” She watched him. “I’m trying to reach asylum at the court of my great aunt, but it’s been a long and difficult journey through many Sectors.”
USA Today Best Selling Author Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart and thought there needed to be more romance in everything but especially science fiction. Blog: https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/
Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3
Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity. Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!