But let's start with the short and sweet blurb...
When Sam Keller left the military, she ran to the far end of the galaxy. Now she captains the Bonnie Belle, a spaceship full of courtesans who bring a little pleasure to hard-up men on mining colonies. When one of her girls turns up dead, it's Sam's job to find out who killed her, fast.
Marshal Daniel LeClair is as tough as steel and quick on the draw. But when his vacation gets replaced by an assignment to help find the killer, he can't help angling for a little action with the saucy, hard-charging Sam. She's got brains, attitude and a body he wouldn't mind investigating.
Sam, six months lonely, might just indulge him. But the Guild that owns the Belle wants the case closed yesterday. With pressure coming from all quadrants, Sam and her marshal clash over false leads and who's on top. But when the killer threatens the Belle again, romance will have to wait. It's a captain's job to save her crew, no matter the cost.
“You wanna go?” Sam whispered. “You wanna go?” Her pulse was racing. She felt a bead of sweat run down her back, pooling at the base of her spine.
This wasn't some kid fresh off the boat. This was an old-timer with impressive biceps straining the sleeves of his dirty jumpsuit. That was okay. She had energy
to spare. And it’d been a while since she’d gotten physical with anyone.
It wasn't sex, but it’d do for the moment.
“You feeling lucky?” she said, waiting for him to make the first move. She motioned him forward.
Something shot by her left ear.
The miner watched her with widening eyes, rooted in place. A trickle of drool began rolling out of the left side of his mouth. His eyes rolled up showing only the whites.
He passed out. His arms rose in front of him, giving him a movie monster look. All he needed was to start roaring and goose-stepping forward.
Sam spotted the tiny dart in his chest, the small, dark green tufted needle almost invisible against the dirty oil-stained shirt.
“You seem to have an interesting effect on men.”
The low voice behind her brought Sam back around, automatically assuming a combat stance with her hands up, fingers balled into fists.
He stood there, two fingers on his right hand up to his forehead in a mocking salute. The other hand held the standard law-enforcement weapon of choice, the P-112 pistol. Her mind went through the identification process. Official issue for the military or the Marshal Service, not something handed out to station security.
The lightweight weapon fired either tranqs or bullets, and she’d just seen the tranq side of it.
“He’ll be awake in an hour or so. United Nations Service Marshal Daniel LeClair at your service, ma’am.”
The leather jacket, dotted with UNS patches from various bases and a set of identification pips on the lapels, was snug on his broad shoulders, and tight jeans hung low on his hips. A white T-shirt finished off the informal uniform, matching his short white hair.
He smiled at her, a sheepish twist to his lips. The only thing missing to make the cowboy image complete would be a hat perched at a rakish angle on his head.
“Family trait. My father had a full head of white hair by the time he hit twenty,” he replied to the unasked question. “You must be Sam Keller.”
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she snapped back.
He holstered his weapon and stepped toward her, his smile dissolving into a confused grin. “Helping.”
Sam punched the miner in the ribs, not hard enough to break them but enough to leave a reminder for when he woke up. “This is my ship and those people are under my protection. I don’t need your help to take out the trash. I can deal with these idiots.”
LeClair put up his hands and stopped. “Whoa there. I just figured—”
“You figured you’d save a damsel in distress.” Sam walked up to him and jabbed her index finger into his chest. “First lesson of working with me is that I’m as tough as you are, Marshal.” She eyed him. “Probably tougher. So don’t think I can’t handle myself or get the job done.”
LeClair grinned. “I think I’d like to see you handling yourself.”
The angry words fell away from Sam’s mind, leaving a black hole. She stared at the lawman, uncertain what she’d just heard.
He didn't look away, not giving an inch.
Two could play that game. Not bothering to be subtle, she mentally undressed him, exposing rock-hard abs and a body built for action. All-night action like one of the heroes in those detective novels she’d been devouring.
God, I've lost it. I’m getting hot for a damned cop.
Romantic Times Magazine gave "In the Black" four out of five stars and said it was "a fast-paced tale of murder & mystery in outer space"! Check out their review here!
If you're interested in seeing more of Captain Keller and Marshal LeClair pick up "In the Black" here at Amazon, B&N or Carina Press!