In this sequel to Sinbad's Last Voyage, former smuggler Sinbad sh'en Singh and his beloved Andrea are married at last, but happily ever after doesn't appear to be in their future since Sin immediately succumbs to the same illness which killed his father. Fortunately, there's a surgeon who can save him; unfortunately, he obviously didn't read the Hippocratic Oath too closely, especially the part that says: "I will keep myself from seduction of my patient's womenfolk."

THE EXCERPT:

"I completed my exam last night. I've studied everything on your husband, and find there's not much case history. If he's been treated elsewhere, it would appear that the doctor didn't want the information available."

Andi didn't answer and that made him frown. So she wasn't going to volunteer anything.

"The surgery will take twelve hours. It can't be rushed. Recovery time's about eight months. As I said, he'll be sedated all that time. After one lung's healed and he can breathe by himself, we'll do the other. Of course, this is going to be very expensive."

"How expensive?" She looked panic-stricken.

"The surgery will cost about half a million Credits."

"Half…" Andi's voice trailed away. "And the hospital expenses and medicines?"

"Probably twice that much." He allowed her to think about that.

"He's got to have this surgery. I can't lose him if there's a way…"

"There may be a way your husband can have his surgery," he said it, slowly, as if hesitating to make a suggestion, "without it costing you anything."

"How?" She leaned forward, gripping the edge of the desk. "I love my husband, Dr. DuPont. I'll do anything to save him."

"I'm a man who loves women, Madame McAllister. Needs them, in fact. My first wife divorced me when I left New France. Recently, I shed a second, and at present I'm between maitresses." He shrugged. "I'm not someone to remain celebataire."

Andi's frown deepened. "That's very personal information. Why are you telling me this?"

"Because the moment I saw you, I wanted you, Madame McAllister. I want you to be my maitress. Do this and I'll help your husband. Gratis."

"You want me to go to bed with you in exchange for saving my husband's life? You really are a piece of work. You expect me to trade sex for my husband's life? My God, what a hypocrite you are."

"Please, don't make it sound so vulgaire." He looked pained. "You'll be a long time without your husband, Madame. I find you attractive, and I want you. It's as simple as that."

"What you're suggesting is unethical, you know," she said. "Suppose I report you to the hospital authorities?"

"That would be most foolish." He smiled triumphantly. "You see, I was curious about a Felidan with a Terran name, especially since you don't call him by that name. And this disease of his. They call it prison lung, did you know that?"

She shook her head.

"I didn't think so." The triumph was now gloating. "Because the prisoners in the Toxic Zone die of it, you see. Last night, I had our hospital computer connect with the terminal in the Fed's Section Office, requesting information and cross-referencing on the two names Andrew McAllister and Sin. It gave me some very interesting facts."

Andi looked away. "W-what facts?" she whispered, mouth barely moving. Her lower lip began to tremble and she put one hand over it, so he wouldn't see the quiver.

"A Felidan hybrid named Andrew McAllister escaped from Fort Joy Penal Reservation fifteen years ago, and two years later a Felidan smuggler named Sinbad sh'en Singh became very active running the blockades from Terra to Bel-Ammon, until last year when he disappeared." He paused, waiting for Andi's reaction. Her fingers clutched the arms of the chair, knuckles white with strain.

She swallowed several times. "W-what are you going to do?"

"If you cooperate, my dear Madame, nothing." He spread his hands. "However, if you insist on going to the hospital board I'll be forced to be a good citizen, and notify the Fed that their escaped prisoner and a most-wanted smuggler are both in this hospital, and you know what will happen then. They'll take him off that respirator. And if he doesn't die, he'll be sent back to Fort Joy, and he won't escape a second time."

(Sinbad's Wife has been released as an e-book from Double Dragon Press and will be out in print in 2009. Sinbad's Last Voyage is also available as an e-book, in print, and as an audio book. Trailers can be viewed at www.YouTube.com/tvsweeney.)

4 comments

  1. Scarlet Pumpernickel // January 17, 2009 at 2:05 PM  

    Wow Toni, you sure know how to put a girl between a rock and a hard place, don't ya? Excellant excerpt, definitely an attention grabber.

    Scarlet

  2. Mary Ricksen // January 17, 2009 at 3:11 PM  

    You are a heck of a good writer, and I am impressed.

  3. Mary Marvella // January 17, 2009 at 3:18 PM  

    What a hook! Who wouldn't want to see how she handles this situation? Damned if she does and damned if she doesn't!

  4. Joanne // January 18, 2009 at 8:50 AM  

    Wow! Love this excerpt, Toni. Thanks for sharing.