Erica Hayes - Dragonfly
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DRAGONFLY is my first sci-fi/futuristic novel. Rebels in space! I thought. Interstellar secret agents! Evil empires! Sexy scientists! Mayhem! Destruction! Moral ambiguity! And here we are, with this cool romantic space adventure tale. My heroine, Carrie, is an Imperial secret agent, chasing the terrorist who murdered her fiancé. Of course, he isn't what he seems. Nothing is.
Some of you might be familiar with my other books, like the Seven Signs series… no? Well, they're dark sexy paranormals, not sci-fi. So what prompted me to abandon my usual haunts?
Well, I didn't, not really. DRAGONFLY is just urban fantasy in space. Complete with kick-ass law-enforcement heroine, factional power struggles, and hot romantic entanglements with dangerous men.
Only rather than wielding magic spells, Carrie shoots rayguns and pilots spaceships and goes undercover to crack computer codes. She's a master spy, a female James Bond in space. And the hot guys aren't vampires or angels or werewolves – they're terrorists, rebels, insane rival agents. She's in her element. Only nothing turns out like she expects.
The world of DRAGONFLY is like a fantasy world, too. Arthur C. Clarke said that 'any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic', and to our 21st century eye, spaceships and faster-than-light travel look like sorcery. Bring it on, I say. How the tech works isn't that important. If you can run with the kind of technobabble you see on Stargate or Firefly, you'll be fine with DRAGONFLY. Never mind the physics – who doesn't love a good space battle?
And of course, we need a juicy Evil Empire! The catch is that Carrie works for them. Think of Aeryn Sun in Farscape: a true believer, thrust into a world of rebel mayhem. That's kind of what happens to Carrie, when she poses undercover as a rebel cyber-thief to catch a terrorist. She gets to know the rebels first-hand, and the line between truth and lies – between good and evil – gets blurred. Has she been on the wrong side all this time? Is she the victim of sneaky rebel lies? Are her own superiors toying with her for nefarious purposes? Head exploding now.
Of course, it doesn't help that the murdering terrorist turns out to be dead sexy. Curse these hot bad guys! He might not be a vampire or a soul-sucking demon, but he's just as dangerous. Wanting him is death. Believing him, as far as Carrie's concerned, is damnation.
Ready for an excerpt? Here’s Carrie, who like any cool secret agent goes undercover in a casino, on a glitzy space station, to stalk her rebel quarry and figure out how he’s planning to rob the casino vault:
When Dragonfly led the last trick with the king of cups, I tossed my queen of coins on top, my fingers damp. His gaze came to rest on mine, and heat crept over my skin from somewhere below my waist. I’d been certain he held that king. We’d just won nearly eight hundred thousand sols.
Most of it was Dragonfly’s, of course, since he’d made the chancy bet. But etiquette demanded he award a portion to me. I didn’t want his money. I didn’t want anything his bloodstained hands had touched. I averted my eyes, feigning modesty, hoping the color hadn’t reached my face.
The cashier collected the bets and measured chips into four stacks without needing to look.
Dragonfly flipped my tricks over, totaling the points at a glance. “Twenty-four for the lady, and another martini, if you please.”
Before I could protest, the cashier slid nearly a quarter of Dragonfly’s chips across to me, and the waiter whisked away my glass and placed a fourth shimmering blue drink before me with a flourish. I swallowed half in a single gulp. I’d need it to spend much more time in this murdering bastard’s company without punching in his sweet choirboy face.
The fat Espan to my right was broke and leaving the game. As the cashier collected, Dragonfly watched me, flipping a chip over his knuckles. He was lefthanded, a thick platinum chain gleaming on his wrist.“A clever game, miss.”
I smiled at him over my glass’s rim, my vision refusing to focus. Four Lvovs in twenty minutes was probably a bad idea. So he’d caught me off guard with his cute-and-harmless act, but I was wise to him now. I could handle him. “A dangerous one, if you give away too much. Do you always twirl that chip before you bluff?”
“Only when the stakes are so enticing.” He showed me his smile for the first time, charming, confident, attractive.
I just wanted to punch him harder. “What a pity. Your winnings must so rarely live up to your expectations.”
“But tonight I’ve already won what I desire.”
I eyed his pile of chips with disdain. “Eight hundred new? How dull of you.”
“Your curiosity, miss. That’s a different game entirely.”
His candid gaze fixed on mine, and I flushed. Damn him for being right. I ached to know what he was up to, who and where his people were, why he sat here playing tarocchi and flirting with me when the vault lay seventeen stories below us. Why a man who had everything he could ever want—money, looks, brains, lifestyle—was an insurrectionist at all.
“You should stick to cards, then,” I said coldly. “It’s what you’re good at.”
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3. Ends - 12/28/2012
Erica Hayes was a law student, an air force officer, an editorial assistant and a musician, before finally landing her dream job: fantasy and romance writer. She writes dark paranormal and urban fantasy romance, and her books feature tough, smart heroines and colourful heroes with dark secrets. She hails from Australia, where she drifts from city to city, leaving a trail of chaos behind her. Currently, she's terrorizing the wilds of Northumberland.