Katy Rawls was a witness to the brutal murder of Karel Andrews, her uncle Cyril's business partner. Realizing that the computer disk she was asked to copy is the reason, though as far as she can tell, the information it holds is completely useless, she runs for her life. Taking a shuttle from the nearby terminal, she decided to take the disk to the police but the gunmen are in pursuit.


Through a set of coincidental circumstances, Katy ends up on a ship headed for Tritomis-2 with a group of women being taken there to work off their prison sentences in the households of the settlers of that planet.


As each woman is auctioned off to the highest bidder, Katy's turn comes closer and closer. She's already seen a good man nearly lose his bid to one who just might be murdering the women he buys. But for the aid of a red-haired stranger, her friend Cilla would've gone to Alwin Marsten instead of shy, quiet-spoken Abel. Big, buxom Josie, a former cat burglar, finds herself purchased by Lars de Groot, a good-natured bear of a man who was once a thief himself. As for Katy--Marsten now has his eye on her...and it looks like he might get her...until the red-haired stranger again steps in....


The Excerpt:


The bidding reached five hundred. One of the two remaining bidders dropped out. Marsten and the other battled another hundred and fifty Credits higher. At five hundred and seventy-five, the other bidder gave up. With a triumphant smirk, Marsten started toward St. Clair.


"One pound of angelica and no more bids!"


St. Clair dropped his gavel. It spun around, rolling off the podium top, and he bent to retrieve it.


"Did I hear correctly? One pound of angelica?"


"And the bidding stops," the redhead answered.


St. Clair sighed. "Mr. Marsten--you heard? Your bid?"


Marsten looked at the redhead. "A pound of angelica? Prove you've got that much!"


The other man reached into his pocket and held up a second pouch. Untying the strings, he shook several white rocks onto his palm.


"Well?" St. Clair prompted.


"You know I don't have that kind of money!" Marsten snarled. "Let him have her!" He looked back at the redhead. "You'll be sorry for this! We're not finished!"


Flinging himself through the crowd toward the hitching post, he untied his horse, mounted it and rode away.


St. Clair's gavel sealed the bid.


The redhead led Katy toward the desk, placing the bag on it, waiting patiently as the Pastor asked her, "Do you understand and consent to abide by the rules set forth in this Agreement?" He looked at the redhead. "And you, too, sir?"


They both gave their answers.


Taking the pen handed him, the redhead signed his name in a bold scrawl, then offered it to Katy. She took it, signed, and gave it back to the official who folded the contract and presented it to her. He handed something to the redhead, who lifted Katy's left hand, slipping a gold bracelet over her wrist, tearing off the plastic band and dropping it on the table. They walked through the crowd toward the road into town, the same way Abel and Cilla had gone half an hour before.


Halfway there, Katy paused, looking up at him. "Thank you for saving me from Marsten."


A slight shrug. "I wouldna let a dog be sold to that bastard!"


"I'm flattered."


"Dinna be. I think you'll be knowing you're far prettier than any dog created."


His grip tightened, gently propelling her forward.


"Where's your farm?" She wanted to hear him say something else. She liked the Scottish-like lilt to his voice.


"Station," he corrected. "On the Plain. Near the Taheya."


"Near Abel Parker's station?"


"Farm." She wondered what the difference was. "A few miles beyond it."


"How'll we get there? Do you have a Drone?"


"I do but we'll na be using that. I've brought m'oxen and wagon."


"Wagon? You mean we're going to ride in an ox-drawn wagon?"


"That we are."


"Why? It'll take forever to get there!"


"Day and a half. Not long."


"Long enough! That's the dumbest thing I ever heard!" Not a good thing to say to one's employer, but it was true.


"Na necessarily," he disagreed. "Drones are fast, sure. We'd be home in a couple of hours but they also use fuel which costs Credits and since I just spent all my hard-won wealth on you, Sunshine, I canna be wasting any more on fuel, can I?"


He shrugged.


"Besides, this way will give us more time to get acquainted."


"Where did you get that angelica, anyway?"


"Won it in a poker game at Larkin's two months ago. Thought I'd save it for a rainy day. Guess it poured today." He stopped walking. "Here we are."


Katy looked at the wagon. "Why, it looks like an antique Conestoga!"


"Aye. Designed after them, in fact." He dropped her bag behind the seat. "Has to be big to hold three months of provisions, which is exactly what I have inside. If you'll just climb aboard--"


Hands went around her waist, lifting her to the seat. He swung up beside her, untying the reins. Without so much as a snort, the oxen roused themselves as he released the brake with one foot and called to them.


The animals started forward, throwing massive shoulders against the yoke, and the wagon rolled down the street, bearing Katy and the redheaded man out of town.



And away they go...Katy to a life far different from any she's ever known, and the redheaded man back to Three Moon Station, the place where he's hidden himself for nearly twenty years.


(Three Moon Station will be published by The Wild Rose Press, publication date yet to be announced. It is written by Icy Snow Blackstone, pseudonym of Toni V. Sweeney.)

3 comments

  1. Nightingale // June 1, 2008 at 9:09 PM  

    Can't wait for the release. This would be a wonderful for a visual trailer. The writing is tight but enchants. Toni the fantasy writer scores a hot romance.

  2. Beth Trissel // June 3, 2008 at 11:09 PM  

    Congrats on your upcoming publication with the Wild Rose, Toni! This promises to be a gripping read.

  3. Mary Marvella // June 3, 2008 at 11:23 PM  

    Those two have a lot of adjusting to do!