Meanwhile, for readers who prefer to stick with
The weekly blog episodes, we will continues
To post chapters until the story is done.
And, now, here is the penultimate chapter.
Be sure to tune in next week for the
Venatora was in an evil mood as she paced the gymnasium, watching her guardswomen go through their paces.
They were her Zabanyans—the best of the best in the entire Himmenops Colony—and they were nearly naked, gloriously so. Heavily muscled but curvaceous. Their skin shone with perspiration.
Trainers took them through one combat position to the next, working with Shaolin whips and canes, edged weapons, and bare fists and feet.
The guardswomen worked with a will, their passions and devotion stoked by Venatora’s pheromonal fires.
Normally, she took great joy at times like these. Working with her women, feeling their love and devotion and—yes—lust. It was normally a delicious feeling. But now she felt hollow and empty.
And, if she were honest with herself, a bit like a fool.
Sten had tricked her yet again. He’d pushed her into double think, then added yet another twist that left her empty-handed. This, after draining her treasury to fund the scheme.
But then Marta was suddenly at her side, trying to get her attention.
“Ma’am,” she said. “Ma’am.”
Venatora nearly snapped, but none of this was Marta’s fault. The blame was on Venatora, no one else.
“What is it, dear?” she asked.
Marta flushed, then handed her a com unit.
“An call, Ma’am,” she said.
Venatora frowned. “A call? Who is it?”
“It’s Bishop Shaklin, Ma’am,” Marta said. “He says it’s urgent.”
And for the first time in many gloomy hours, Venatora smiled.
“I suppose it is,” she said, taking the com unit. “Now, let’s see what our lovely holy man has to say for himself.”
* * * *
Sten perched on the bar stool, a shot of stregg and a narcobeer in front of him. It was a loud bar, a crowded bar—filled with Imperial sailors either going on leave, returning from leave, or in transit to another posting.
Sten had a hand on the stool next to him, saving it for Alex, who had joined the long line waiting to get into the jakes.
“You can usually hold it longer than that,” Sten teased before he left.”
“What ken Ah say,” Kilgour bemoaned. “Me pucker string’s busted.” And off he went.
At the present, Sten wasn’t all that pleased with the State of Things. Sure, Mahoney had said they’d pulled off a big success. There had been promotions all around—Sten was an actual captain, now. With promises of challenging postings.
But, once again, Mahoney had put on things on a “temporary hold.” They might be needed for one more mission.
Sten shrugged. That was life in the military. Ho hum. What else is new? Pointless to complain.
He knew nothing of the fate of the mutineers. Probably all dead, or on their way to that state, he thought. They’d blown any chance for amnesty when they tried to sneak off to the enemy.
Besides, Sten had his doubts that amnesty was ever really on, no matter what Mahoney said. If everything was supposed to be hush-to-the-nth degree—hush, then the only way to guarantee it was to make sure the mutineers never talked.
As for Shaklin, God bless him—if there was a God, which Sten strongly doubted. He hoped he would someday find whatever Promised Land his people believed in.
Location point? What was that all about?
He lifted the shot glass to toss it back when he felt a round, soft haunch nestle into the bar stool next to him. With it came the scent of lemon and honey.
Sten turned, thinking if the perfume looked as good the woman smelled and her thigh felt, then Alex was on his own. He could find another place at the bar.
But before he could turn all the way, he felt a little thrill, heard a faint buzz, and a deliciously warm feeling stole over him.
And then he found himself looking at the ebony beauty that was Venatora.
Her lips moist. Eyes deep and dark and glistening. Breath like a heady wine.
She said, “How’s my poor soldier boy? Got another hundred thousand credits to bet?”
Sten was taken aback. What did she…then he saw that she was looking at him very much like he was looking at her.
The flushed face. The moist, slightly parted lips. The glistening eyes. It was no act. They were all meant for him.
At that moment the world vanished and all he could think or feel was Venatora.
* * * *
And Venatora thought, If only. If only. But what she said was, “I said that the next time I saw you, I’d kill you.” She shrugged. “I guess I lied.”
She reached over and took his shotglass. Hoisted it.
“Cheers,” she said.
Sten lifted his narcobeer mug.
“Cheers,” he replied.
They touched glasses. Then drained them.
“But next time…”
Sten frowned. “Next time—what?”
Instead of answering, Venatora leaned forward until their faces were mere centimeters apart. Her eyes were huge—melting. And he could feel a delicious heat rising up from her body. Enveloping him.
He reached for her. Venatora let him touch one perfect ebony cheek. Her lush lips parted.
And they kissed.
* * * *
It was a long kiss. Sten felt like he was submerged in a warm, dark river of sensations.
He reached with his other hand, meaning to embrace her.
Venatora placed a gentle hand on his chest and firmly pushed him away.
Sten tried to speak. But all he could manage was a strangled croak.
Then, somehow he managed: “Venatora. We must—”
Two fingers touched his lips, silencing him.
And she said, “We shall, Sten. We shall.”
She slid off the stool and stepped away.
Sten tried to follow, but before he could get to his feet she was gone. Lost in the crowd.
He felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned. It was Alex. His friend started to speak, then stopped and looked at him.
“What’s happened, lad?” he asked. “You look like you’ve gone and seen a ghost.”
“I think I just did,” Sten said.
He turned back to the bar. God, he needed a drink.
NEXT: THE LAST CHAPTER - AN IMPERIAL DECREE
STEN OMNIBUS TRILOGY
MAKES ITS AMERICAN DEBUT
Well, my American publisher – Wildside Books – was listening and is issuing all three omnibus omnibus volumes on this side of the Atlantic. Sten Omnibus #1 was published
last month. Sten Omnibus #2 debuts this week. Stay tuned for the publication for Volume Three.
THE TIMURA TRILOGY: When The Gods Slept, Wolves Of The Gods and The Gods Awaken. This best selling fantasy series now available as trade paperbacks, e-books (in all varieties) and as audiobooks. Visit The Timura Trilogy page for links to all the editions.
Tales Sometimes Tall, but always true, of Allan Cole's years in Hollywood with his late partner, Chris Bunch. How a naked lady almost became our first agent. How we survived La-La Land with only the loss of half our brain cells. How Bunch & Cole became the ultimate Fix-It Boys. How an alleged Mafia Don was very, very good to us. The guy who cornered the market on movie rocks. Andy Warhol's Fire Extinguisher. The Real Stars Of Hollywood. Why they don't make million dollar movies. See The Seven Pi$$ing Dwarfs. Learn: how to kill a "difficult" actor… And much, much more.
Here's where you can buy it worldwide in both paperback and Kindle editions:
A NATION AT WAR WITH ITSELF: In Book Three Of The Shannon Trilogy, young Patrick Shannon is the heir-apparent to the Shannon fortune, but murder and betrayal at a family gathering send him fleeing into the American frontier, with only the last words of a wise old woman to arm him against what would come. And when the outbreak of the Civil War comes he finds himself fighting on the opposite side of those he loves the most. In The Wars Of The Shannons we see the conflict, both on the battlefield and the homefront, through the eyes of Patrick and the members of his extended Irish-American family as they struggle to survive the conflict that ripped the new nation apart, and yet, offered a dim beacon of hope.
LUCKY IN CYPRUS:
A True Story About A Boy,
A Teacher, And Earthquake,
Some Terrorists And The CIA
LUCKY IN CYPRUS is a coming-of-age story set in the Middle East during the height of the Cold War. An American teenager – son of a CIA operative – is inspired by grand events and a Greek Cypriot teacher.
He witnesses earthquakes and riots and terrorist attacks, but in the end it is his teacher’s gentle lessons that keep him whole.
Here's where to get the paperback & Kindle editions worldwide:
Here's what readers say about Lucky In Cyprus:
- "Bravo, Allan! When I finished Lucky In Cyprus I wept." - Julie Mitchell, Hot Springs, Texas
- "Lucky In Cyprus brought back many memories... A wonderful book. So many shadows blown away!" - Freddy & Maureen Smart, Episkopi,Cyprus.
- "... (Reading) Lucky In Cyprus has been a humbling, haunting, sobering and enlightening experience..." - J.A. Locke, Bookloons.com
NEW: THE AUDIOBOOK VERSION OF
THE HATE PARALLAX
What if the Cold War never ended -- but continued for a thousand years? Best-selling authors Allan Cole (an American) and Nick Perumov (a Russian) spin a mesmerizing "what if?" tale set a thousand years in the future, as an American and a Russian super-soldier -- together with a beautiful American detective working for the United Worlds Police -- must combine forces to defeat a secret cabal ... and prevent a galactic disaster! This is the first - and only - collaboration between American and Russian novelists. Narrated by John Hough. Click the title links below for the trade paperback and kindle editions. (Also available at iTunes.)
THE SPYMASTER'S DAUGHTER:
A novel by Allan and his daughter, Susan
After laboring as a Doctors Without Borders physician in the teaming refugee camps and minefields of South Asia, Dr. Ann Donovan thought she'd seen Hell as close up as you can get. And as a fifth generation CIA brat, she thought she knew all there was to know about corruption and betrayal. But then her father - a legendary spymaster - shows up, with a ten-year-old boy in tow. A brother she never knew existed. Then in a few violent hours, her whole world is shattered, her father killed and she and her kid brother are one the run with hell hounds on their heels. They finally corner her in a clinic in Hawaii and then all the lies and treachery are revealed on one terrible, bloody storm- ravaged night.
BASED ON THE CLASSIC STEN SERIES by Allan Cole & Chris Bunch: Fresh from their mission to pacify the Wolf Worlds, Sten and his Mantis Team encounter a mysterious ship that has been lost among the stars for thousands of years. At first, everyone aboard appears to be long dead. Then a strange Being beckons, pleading for help. More disturbing: the presence of AM2, a strategically vital fuel tightly controlled by their boss - The Eternal Emperor. They are ordered to retrieve the remaining AM2 "at all costs." But once Sten and his heavy worlder sidekick, Alex Kilgour, board the ship they must dare an out of control defense system that attacks without warning as they move through dark warrens filled with unimaginable horrors. When they reach their goal they find that in the midst of all that death are the "seeds" of a lost civilization.
TALES OF THE BLUE MEANIE
NOW AN AUDIOBOOK!
Venice Boardwalk Circa 1969
In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place “Pepperland,” after the Beatles movie, “Yellow Submarine.” Threatening this paradise is "The Blue Meanie," a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself.