Palace Ghosts (MM)


Heat Rating: Sizzling
Word Count: 71,866
0 Ratings (0.0)

When evidence emerges hinting that a long lost starship wasn’t destroyed after all, Ishir Jha has to investigate. His father sent the last desperate message from the ship before it was lost in a battle with pirates. Ish must learn the truth, even if he has to do it alone.

But his husband Finn Moran isn’t going to let him run off alone and get killed in the outer system, where the influence of the Li pirate empire is spreading again, this time under the command of the daughter of the warlord who once terrorized the colonies and the ships that plied their trade there. But Li Xhing doesn’t want to terrorize. She wants to rule.

When Finn and Ishir end up as prisoners at Li’s stronghold, The Red Palace, Finn appears ready to accept a recruitment offer to join their captor’s ranks, since the other alternative is a life of slavery. Ishir can only wonder if his husband is losing his mind.

But thanks to Finn, plans are being laid elsewhere, to breach the Red Palace’s impenetrable defensive barrier. One that only a few people can navigate, all of them ready to die before giving up the secret. The plans will change the destiny of the whole outer system and set Finn and Ishir onto a whole new path.

Palace Ghosts (MM)
0 Ratings (0.0)

Palace Ghosts (MM)


Heat Rating: Sizzling
Word Count: 71,866
0 Ratings (0.0)
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Cover Art by Written Ink Designs

Ishir sat on the bunk in his cabin on the passenger transport and pressed the button on the terminal to review the message he’d written to Finn. The one explaining that he was sorry, that he’d be back, that he loved Finn, and a lot of other stuff like that. The CONFIRM SEND? button blinked at the bottom of the screen.

He didn’t have long to think about confirming. In twenty seven standard minutes the just-departed ship would do its first burn and take them far away from the station. If he sent it now, Finn would receive it almost immediately and maybe grab a shuttle out to the ship before it was out of range. So perhaps he should wait.

Yet he hit the CONFIRM SEND? button almost unconsciously. Like part of him was hoping that Finn could make it here before the burn. He wouldn’t put it past the man. His husband had pulled off some pretty impossible seeming missions in his days in the marines.

He sometimes wondered if Finn was bored with the quiet life of a trader. Even when acting as bodyguard for Ishir he wasn’t being challenged in the same way as on a drop behind enemy lines. And those long hauls between stops, with nothing to do but read, exercise, and play with the cats, were hard on him. Well, to be fair, there were other things they did to pass the time ...

He glanced at the screen on the wall that was currently showing the countdown to the burn. Twenty minutes. Time for a stroll to the bar. He walked into the lounge, got a coffee from the counter and went to look for a seat.

Finn was sitting at one of the lounge tables.

Ishir closed his eyes for a second and opened them again, expecting to see a different man. A man roughly the same size and age as Finn, with similar hair color, but who wasn’t actually Finn. That his mind had just filled in the face.

No. It was Finn. He was looking up at Ishir and smiling. He held up his handheld. “Got your message.”

Ishir unfroze and hurried to the table. He didn’t sit. Scowled down at Finn, unaccountably furious at him for being here inexplicably. “I’m not going back.”

“Clearly,” Finn said.

He obviously hadn’t gotten here since Ishir sent the message, so he must have been on board since departure. And probably lying low, in case Ishir spooked and went off to get another ship. He accepted the inevitable and sat.

“How did you know where I was?” Ishir asked.

“It’s a little difficult to hide, when you pay from our joint account, with the transport company name in the transaction record. They only had one two ships set to depart today. One going to Inanna, the other ...” He waved a hand.

“Guess I’m not good at this sneaky business.”

“Really? Because I always thought you were very good at sneaky business. I mean that as a compliment,” he said, with a conciliatory smile. “I never know what you’re going to give me for my birthday.”

“You don’t?” Ishir smirked.

“I meant what you’re going to give me that I can enjoy in front of other people.”

“You’re suggesting that I wanted to be found?” Ishir said, trying to rein in the flirting and be serious again. “That I wanted you to follow me? Or stop me?”

“You knew I couldn’t stop you. You knew I had to follow you. It’s a little manipulative, Ish.”

“I’m sorry. I’m also not sorry. Sorry.”

Finn smiled, shook his head. “I knew who you were when I married you. I should have known better than to try to keep you from going after this lead.”

“What about the ship?”

“I’ve sent the Kuznetsovs back to Ninshubur with the Song. They’re going to tell Markham what we found and where we’ve gone. Maybe we’ll get some help.”

“I should have thought of that myself. I haven’t been thinking very clearly.” He was interrupted by the sound of the alert warning of five minutes to departure. “So, should we get transfers to a double room?” Ishir asked. He wasn’t sure just how mad at him Finn was. He wasn’t the sort of man to start yelling in a public place, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t angry. That didn’t mean he was ready to kiss and make up and play house for the next few weeks.

“Good idea,” Finn said. Ishir sighed with relief, and took his hand.

“I’m still not sorry,” he said. “But I’m also sorry.” He frowned. “That made sense in my head.”

“Makes sense in mine too. A special Ishir Jha kind of sense anyway.”

Ishir smiled. “You knew who I was when you married me.”

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