Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one weakness. Mark Denaltieri is an ex Special Forces soldier in the Sectors but also a former Imperial Guard in the Outlier Empire. His strength is his determination. He never gives up, always fights for what’s right and to protect Alessandra. His weakness is that he holds onto his anger for far too long about how he was betrayed in Outlier and exiled to the Sectors.
Tell us about your heroine. Give us one strength and one weakness. Alessandra Zhivanov is the heiress to the Outlier Empire but all she wants is to be with the man she loves. Alessandra is very single minded and determined to accomplish her goal of reuniting with Mark. Her weakness is self-doubt about whether she can master the magic of the mirror and what it will mean for them as a couple if she does.
Here’s the story for Lady of the Star Wind:
Are they merely luckless lovers … or a legend come back to life?
Mark Denaltieri, ex-Sector Special Forces, has been hired by the Outlier Empress to rescue her granddaughter, Princess Alessandra, from kidnappers. Since the Empress once had him tortured and banished, she’s the last person Mark wants to work for. But he takes the job. He’ll save Alessandra, his first love, and discover why she didn’t speak for him when he desperately needed her. Then he’ll be on his way, finally free of his past.
Alessandra would rather her rescuer was anyone but Mark–after all, he let her believe he was dead all this time. But when the couple are forced to flee her captors by Traveling via a strange crystal globe, they find themselves in a lovely Oasis on a desert planet, the old attraction sizzling between them again.
They soon discover they are far from alone. The Oasis holds the entrance to another world, one in which the inhabitants are convinced Sandy and Mark are the Lady of the Star Wind and her Warrior, come to free them from an evil Queen.
Mark and Sandy must work together to unearth an ancient mirror, and crown the true king of this land. Can they fulfill the prophecy of the Lady and her Warrior … and this time, will their love survive the test?
Excerpt from an emotional moment after the couple has traveled through the portal and are trying to get reacquainted:
He never talked about himself. He kept those doors in his mind shut, and no good ever came of peeking behind them, in his experience. Yet how could he refuse to answer her questions? She was the cause of all his misfortunes. “I did my twenty in the Sectors Special Forces, got mustered out recently, in fact. The brass decided my skills and resistance to orders I didn’t like made me too spooky for them, too unpredictable. I didn’t know what to do next until your grandmother had me kidnapped. Ekatereen and I had a cozy little reunion – I’d have probably killed the old witch if she hadn’t had half the palace guards in the room. I hope the snatch-and-grab job on me cost her a solar system’s ransom.” Bitterness burned in his throat. He wanted the empress to suffer, even if nothing would ever compensate for all she’d done to him. “She set me up as a mercenary, thanks to your madcap journey with Portuc.”
Dropping her fish, Sandy recoiled. “She paid you to bring me to Throne?”
This discussion was veering perilously close to emotions he’d locked away in order to survive. Hurtful words came to his rescue. “Why else would I have bothered going to Freemarket? She offered more credits than I could spend in a lifetime.” He chewed his fish and hoped his surliness would end the conversation for now.
Sandy pushed away her plate.
“So, most of those years in the Sectors, you knew who you were? But you made no attempt to return to Outlier? To me? Until someone—my grandmother, of all people—paid you?”
Listening to the shock and pain in her voice made him remorseful, so he offered a piece of the truth. “I didn’t even know who the real Mark Denaltieri was until long after I graduated from the academy and commenced active duty, carrying out missions. If the Sectors authorities ever suspected me of being an Outlier soldier, I’d have been thrown in prison and never let out.”
“But you weren’t tempted to come for me before this?” Her voice was tight, and she eyed her dinner away as if the food had suddenly spoiled.
“I didn’t know what your situation was. News doesn’t filter from Outlier into the Sectors, especially not about minor members of the imperial family. You’ve no idea how impossible it is to travel from the Sectors into Outlier. Sectors citizens are expressly forbidden to cross the border. It takes huge piles of credits, connections, and sheer luck. Even if I’d somehow gotten to Throne, what could I have done? Empress Ekatereen would have had me executed the moment I crossed the Outlier border.” Why couldn’t she see he’d had no choices? He’d done what he had to do to survive. How could she blame him for all the things out of his control that blocked him from returning to her? “I made the best of my situation and persevered in the Sectors. At least I had a place there, a purpose.”
“You could have come for me.” Keeping her voice low, Sandy averted her face, contemplating the rising quarter moon, a glowing reddish dot, far over the horizon.
“You were the direct cause of my losing everything.” Mark tried one last time to explain. “My final memory of you was the fight we had because I wouldn’t join your household guard, remember? For all I know, you betrayed me to the empress. The secret police arrested me not two hours after I’d left our secret spot. The empress supervised my torture personally—did she tell you that? And one of the things she threw in my face while her men were doing their damnedest to break me was the information that you’d decided I wasn’t worth risking yourself and your status for any longer.”
“Do you really believe I’d betray the man I loved to her secret police?” A sob caught in her throat. “Why would I do such a thing?”
The video book trailer: