Dark Horizon Series, Book One
by Kris Norris
ORION RISING by Kris Norris is just fun. I like many people loved the original Star Wars movies and the interaction between Han andd Leia ORION RISING brings that image to mind. Sage is wanted by the Coalition because she has information that they want buried. While running for her life she runs into Kell who helps her escape. Kell is a mercenary who used to work for the Coalition but left him when he found out that they were not the good guys they wanted everyone to think they are.
What follows is an adventure through space when Kell and Sage go to reveal the truth about her home planet. I seriously did not want this book to end. From the beginning when you see Sage running to avoid capture to her first encounter with Kell , the scenes between them are hotter then the two suns that hover over Sage’s home planet. Then for even more fun Kell’s friend Linc joins them in the mission.
I am so glad that this is the first in what I hope to be a very long series and like Sage I wouldn’t object to little action of the sexual kind between Sage, Kell and Lincoln. I really hope that Kris Norris’ editor keeps her locked away somewhere to keep writing more of this series.
Ashton Space Station, 2340
“What the hell are you waiting for? Chase the bitch down!”
The captain’s voice bellowed across the room, echoing through the narrow ventilation shaft as Sage dropped to the next floor, keeping her body hidden in the shadows. The abrupt impact sent pain spiraling through her leg, dimming her vision at the edges as she staggered to the side of the corridor, bracing her weight against the wall. Her pulse pounded in her head, the erratic rhythm adding to her light-headedness. She glanced down at her thigh, cursing the bloody gash marring her flesh. She wouldn’t get far if she didn’t stop the bleeding.
Sage clenched her jaw, clamped one hand over the wound and kept moving. It was only a matter of time before they realized where she’d gone, and the steady trail of blood would make tracking her that much easier.
“Fuck!” She should have known it was a trap. A way to get her out in the open and all in the name of peace. She’d fallen for it, and now she was left adapting…again.
She laughed, the rough sound bitter and flat. They had no idea what they were up against, what she was capable of. The rumors, the stories—all true, though she suspected they considered them nothing more than tales spun to put fear in the hearts of her enemies. But she didn’t need fear. She just needed to get close enough to fight.
Footsteps sounded above her, followed by the clanking of metal. She limped along the conduit, counting the connecting tunnels. Three more and it’d be safe to venture into the main corridors. She moved quickly, holding the laceration closed the best she could until a small access vent appeared around the next bend.
Sage removed a knife and pried the grate open, clearing the dark hallway before stepping out. She pressed the vent back in place, though she knew they’d eventually follow her. Blood still dripped from the wound, betraying her every step.
She carried herself down the corridor, glancing at the portholes lining the wall. The station was on its outward orbit of the smaller sun. Once it hit its median, they’d hold off releasing any ships for an hour in order to guard against the increased radiation present with the rising of the larger star. If she was going to escape, she needed to act fast.
She kept moving, hitting a button on her bracelet. A three-dimensional image of parts of the space station flickered to life above her arm. Though the map wasn’t anything close to complete, there was enough information to find her way back to the shuttle deck. She turned the hologram around, lining it up with her current location. A room appeared off to her right, and she headed for it, using an old code she hoped would still open the damn door. The light flashed red, then green, as the doors separated, a cool rush of air swirling around her feet.
She darted inside, leaning against the wall as the doors closed behind her, giving her a moment of reprieve. She took a few deep breaths then pushed off, limping to the back of the deserted room. Layers of dust covered the scattered furniture, indicating this part of the station hadn’t been occupied for a while. She headed for the washroom, rummaging through the few supplies that had been left behind. Not enough to fix her leg, but enough to bind it and hopefully prevent further blood loss.
Sage closed her eyes, holding back a groan as she removed her pants, wincing when the charred material tugged at her open wound. Damn blasters. One lucky shot had torn a path through the side of her thigh, leaving a ragged, ugly lesion as a reminder of her failure.
She sighed. That hurt more than the damn injury. Knowing any hope of regaining control of the colony was gone. Extinguished like a sputtering flame.
“Son of a bitch.”
She slammed her hand down on the counter, embracing the sting that rippled up her arm. Nothing was over. She’d merely lost her chance at a diplomatic solution. There was always plan B.
She laughed, knowing there wouldn’t be any plan if she didn’t wrap up her leg and find a way off this floating hunk of metal. There was no chance she’d be able to leave on her own ship. If the station’s soldiers hadn’t confiscated it after she’d landed, they sure had by now. She’d have to find alternate transportation.
“God, I hate this job.”
She muttered to herself, using some old cloths to tie the wound closed. It wasn’t a great solution, but it’d have to do until she could properly laser the bloody thing. She surveyed her work, testing out a few steps. The pain hadn’t diminished, but at least she wasn’t leaving a trail of blood behind. She limped into the main room and searched through the other storage areas, smiling when she found a few old clothes piled on the floor. They weren’t fashionable, but they’d hide her injury.
She placed her weapons on the floor then tugged off her shirt and vest, slipping the dusty garments over her head. They felt tighter than she’d like, and she grabbed one of the extra pieces and wiped at a section of metal, removing the dirty film so she could see a distorted version of her reflection. The snug fabric hugged every curve of her upper body, accentuating the slope of her breasts and lean muscles throughout her back and arms. She twisted, sighing at the collection of scars along her bared skin and the dark smudges beneath her eyes. War was taking a toll and on more than just her body.
Sage drew a deep breath, shimmying into the pants. At least they’d hide her makeshift bandage, though she might have to cut the damn things off later. Grabbing a jacket, she hid her collection of weapons beneath the fabric and made her way back to the door, praying the entire regiment of soldiers wasn’t waiting for her outside. She palmed one blaster and pressed the button, relieved when nothing but hallway materialized beyond the doorway.
She glanced at the map, figuring the best route down four more floors and into the docking bay. Another set of conduits traveled the length of the station, and she ducked into one of vents, climbing her way through the twisting passages, waiting at the hatch until the corridor beyond looked clear. She wedged the hatch open and slipped out, leaning against the wall until a group of passengers ventured down the hall. She moved in behind them, walking with the same easy gait, doing her best to hide her limp. They headed straight for the docking bay, and she followed them through the corridors, praying they didn’t branch off. More travelers dotted the sides of the hallway, their voices mixing with the steady footfalls. The group had almost reached the bay doors when harsh shouts rang out behind her.
Sage cursed, knowing she only had a few moments before the soldiers rounded the corner, putting her in plain sight. She glanced at the doors, close but too far to make a run for it. Most of the people had stopped and stood staring behind her as the clatter of boots neared. She scanned the hallway, drawn to a man off to her left. He leaned against the wall, a bemused smile tilting his lips as he watched her from beneath a veil of lashes. Something in his eyes made a flutter of need race through her stomach, and she walked toward him, grabbing him by the jacket as she spun him around, changing their places. His eyes widened slightly, but he didn’t resist as she wrapped her arms around his neck and slanted her lips over his.
Warm soft flesh met hers as his mouth molded to her lips, a hint of spice mixing with their breath. She wove one hand through his hair, holding him close when he snaked one arm around her waist and pulled her flush against him. Her breasts crushed into his chest, making her acutely aware of how her nipples had beaded into tight peaks as he twisted his mouth, effectively opening hers. He gave her a second to catch up before his tongue swept inside, tangling with hers as he traced every contour. Her grip softened slightly, the heady flavor of ale and man dimming the surroundings. Voices and footsteps passed by, finally fading into the background. Fire raced through her veins as he slowly eased away, his gaze locked on hers when she dared to look up at him.
Bright eyes stared down at her, the blue color a stark contrast to the black. He didn’t back away, but held her there, his body pinned against hers, his breath feathering over the collar of her jacket. A smug smile curled the left side of his mouth as he placed one hand on the wall beside her head as the other stayed on her waist.
More soldiers marched down the corridor, their steady footfalls sounding loud in the narrow space. The man turned his head slightly as they approached, eyeing the men before glancing back at her. He raised an eyebrow expectantly.
She drew a quick breath, knowing she’d never be able to fight an entire regiment of men—not injured, anyway. She held the man’s stare, more than aware of her limited options.
He leaned in closer, brushing his lips across the shell of her ear. “While I have no doubt your beauty could inspire an entire army of men into action, I have a feeling it’s something less desirable that has them all riled. But if you’re going to convince them we’re lovers, and not the person they’re searching for, you’ll have to kiss me better than that.”
She furrowed her brow, hating that he seemed to read so much from so little.
He chuckled against her skin. “You’re too tense. Relax. Now let’s try that again.”
He moved in, capturing her mouth as she opened it to protest. But the words died as his tongue played with hers, the gentle caress causing a chain reaction throughout her body. Heat ignited low in her belly, ballooning outward as moisture beaded along her cleft. Her painfully hard nipples tightened further, pressing against the confines of her shirt until she was certain they’d tear through the fabric. The muscles in her stomach clenched as he pressed her against the wall, the firm evidence of his arousal digging into her hip.
Sage bit back a moan, giving in slightly to the rush of adrenaline, much stronger than the push she’d gotten from the firefight. Every twitch of his body, every subtle caress of his mouth echoed through her until she felt his heartbeat thrum with hers. Something in the back of her mind twigged, warning her she’d gotten herself into more trouble than the army of soldiers, but she chose to concentrate on his husky rasp as he eased back, his rough breath skirting across her cheek.
She dragged in a much-needed breath, instantly infused with a rich, male scent. It was a combination of spicy cologne and dark musk that seemed to imprint on her senses, making the world feel off-kilter.
“Now that was a kiss.” The hand around her waist shifted, settling on her hip as his fingers brushed her thigh. His head tilted, but he kept his focus on her. “If my guess is right, more soldiers are on the way. There’s an access door directly across the corridor. It’s for engineers and security. But I have the code.”
He leaned in again, whispering a set of numbers in her ear. The soft press of his lips on her skin made her arch against him as his tongue swept a path along her skin.
He hummed. “Once you’re in there, follow the corridor all the way to the end. That’ll take you to the cargo ships. Don’t try to board a passenger freighter. They’ll be searching everything that leaves the station until they find you. Jump on a cargo ship that’s near the bay doors. They’re backlogged, and those are the ones they’ll try and send off before they close down the entire station, and for more than just the solar flares. Once aboard, find a good place to hide and stay there until the ship clears the inner beacons.” He finally moved back enough to look her in the eyes. “I’d also suggest you move slightly slower. It might hide that limp more, not to mention prevent further injury. That wound is starting to bleed through. And the next time you borrow some clothing, try to get something baggy. I can assure you, with an ass like yours, there’s not a chance in hell you’ll simply blend in.”
His words left her speechless for several heartbeats before she gave him a wry smile. “You haven’t seen my ass.”
“Don’t need to, darling. It most certainly matches the rest of you.”
She glanced up the hall then ducked beneath his arm, striding casually over to the doorway. The keypad clicked as she punched in the numbers, and she prayed alarms didn’t sound as the doors whooshed apart, revealing a long corridor. A smile tugged at her mouth as she drew herself up and walked through.