Today we thought it would be a nice change of pace to host an ebook giveaway and post an excerpt from the book PARALLEL TRIANGLE by SANDY HYATT-JAMES, published by PENUMBRA PUBLISHING.
Sandy's a British author currently residing in beautiful Bulgaria. PARALLEL TRIANGLE is Sandy's second novel to be published, a unique and emotional science fiction romance featuring a love triangle spanning parallel worlds.
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INTRO: Earth and Earthzad (name meaning 'behind Earth') are parallel worlds, alike in many ways, but also different. Earthzad is aware of Earth but doesn't want Earth to become aware of Earthzad for security reasons. Things that happen on Earth occasionally affect Earthzad - sometimes disastrously. To help 'guide' events on Earth, a group of sensitive female scientists on Earthzad have developed a very limited method to monitor goings-on on Earth and to send telepathic visions to specially selected women on Earth via the Sight. Until recently, this was the only contact with Earth available to Earthzadians. However, a top science group has developed an experimental device to allow one person to transport to Earth for approximately three hours. Orion is the first Earthzadian man to try out this device, and his assignment is to monitor an Englishwoman, Elizabeth, who has recently been given the Sight.
A somewhat vain glory hound and lady's man in the beginning, Orion has eyes for Jacosta, the beautiful ruler of his region on Earthzad. But as he spends more time on Earth, he comes to appreciate and admire plucky Elizabeth. His association with her allows him to grow as a person and become a better man - a man that Jacosta finally sees as a worthy love interest. As the situation progresses, Orion finds himself unexpectedly in the middle of a long-distance love triangle involving these two very different women. Amid kidnapping and confinement on Earth, and treason and war on Earthzad, the three of them are forced to make some very difficult choices...
Jacosta’s private secretary greeted Orion upon entering the Krestan’s office. Rasane, an attractive woman but one who, as far as he was concerned, had the deadest eyes he’d ever encountered, stood in front of the adjoining door leading to Jacosta’s office. “It’s late,” she said. “The Krestan is about to go home. You need to make an appointment and come back another time.”
Her imperious glare amused him. “I want to see her this evening,” he said, and strode to the lounge area. “Will you please tell her that Orion has come to see her? If she doesn’t know who I am, just say I’m the one who risked his life this morning to go through the Barrier.”
Rasane, who’d obviously heard of Orion’s conquests with women, looked as if she wanted to slap the sarcasm right off his face. But she remained cool. “Of course she knows who you are.”
“Oh really? I thought she had better things to do than take up her precious time with the making of history. Tell her that, after my efforts today, and in consideration of the fact that she couldn’t be bothered to greet me personally upon my return home, seeing me now is the least she could do.” He sat and folded his arms.
Rasane threw another dead-eyed stare. Her expression turned to blatant dislike when she saw his lips twitch into a smile at her disapproval. She disappeared into Jacosta’s office and, moments later, returned with an even stronger scowl. “You can go in, but don’t keep her any longer than ten minutes.”
He swept past the woman and entered the Krestan’s office.
Jacosta sat at her desk at the end of a long room. Upon seeing him, she stood up and smiled.
He shook her outstretched hand and saw, for the first time, her violet-coloured eyes.
She gestured for him to sit opposite her. “So, you are Orion. I believe I’ve seen you at the FitnessCom before?”
“I ... fence there.”
“That’s right. I go there to do the cardio-vascular training.”
He didn’t answer.
“I’m told that you’re very good at fencing; a champion even.”
Then followed an awkward pause during which she again waited for him to speak. When he didn’t, she said, “Kelmin said one of the reasons you’d been chosen to be the first Earthzadian to go to the Earth world was because fencing has made you both physically fit and mentally sharp.”
He gazed at her, stunned at how such a fragile-looking thing could hold down a tough office and do a good job of it. But she did. Everybody said that she was the best Krestan that Mardak had seen for half a century.
Seemingly unperturbed by his apparent rudeness, she leaned back in her chair and said, “According to Mostilon’s plan, you should be at the MedCom now, undergoing checks with Trisk. I’d arranged to meet you at the celebration dance in a few days time, so what brings you here now?”
At that moment, the awful thought dawned on him that he didn’t really have a good enough reason to barge in on her as he had. His initial intention, to speak of his disappointment at not being met by her, seemed so feeble. And the last thing he wanted was for her to ever think that he could be petulant and childish. An inspiration came to him, a clever lie he could use to impress her. “I’ve come about the Earth woman, Elizabeth the Seer, whom I was assigned to check on today.” He got up, walked to the window, and turned to face her. “I think Dorta and the Disseminators are handling their transmissions to her clumsily, so much so that it appears they’re ruining her life in the process. I witnessed her reaction today, when she saw that photograph altered only in her mind. She looked so scared. In my opinion, it would be far better to withdraw the seeing power from her and find somebody less sensitive.”
Jacosta gazed directly at him without a flicker of reaction. However, pink patches appeared on her neck. “What do you know about this Seer?” she asked quietly.
“Ah, well she’s twenty-seven.” Realising that he hadn’t taken the trouble to find out about her, he paused while trying to think of further details. “She’s a ... I think she’s a writer. And she’s been given the Sight by your people. Um...”
“She’s a freelance illustrator. A good one, according to the Detectors.”
“What? Oh, yes, of course.”
“She’s also tenacious and intelligent. Despite living in Warwickshire for five years, she still speaks with an Earth northern accent. We know this, because the Detectors picked up that she teases herself about it. When she was ten, we facilitated her seeing an apparition, just to check if the Sight we’d just given her was going to work. It did. By the way, do you know what the Sight is?”
Embarrassed and all but defeated, he shot her a look conveying that he knew he should – but didn’t. “No, not really.”
“It’s a matrix which we impart to receptive Earth women. The rudiments of the matrix are secret, but I can tell you that with it, our Seers are able to pick up our messages and premonitions.”
Wanting to appear more knowledgeable, he jumped in with, “And only a Seer could see and hear me.”
“Right about the seeing, but wrong about the hearing. “Any Earth person would be able to hear you, unfortunately. It’s a discrepancy in the technology that we’re still trying to iron out.” She looked curiously at him. “As the first person to test out the Varat, I would have thought you’d have known much more about the technology than you appear to.”
Knowing that saying anything else would confirm his ignorance even further, he stood and listened to her, feeling both miserable and furious at the same time.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it, that we – er – incompetent women, working on Detecting and Disseminating from and to the Earth world, know so much about our Seers and their backgrounds? I could tell you more, if you like. Let me do so. Elizabeth worked her way through university and has such a good job now because she’s an exceptionally talented artist. Her mother, who’s still alive, had the Sight. We gave her a premonition about a man whom we knew intended to beat his wife to death for adultery. She failed to act upon our warning, so we tried to take the Sight back from her. For some reason, she proved resistant to the withdrawal process and still holds ten percent of it. This is enough to cross wires with Dorta’s women and be a source of irritation to them sometimes. Elizabeth, of course, knows nothing of this.”
The sun came in from the window behind her and shot its light onto her hair. He couldn’t think of anything else right then but wanting to release her hair from the severe grip in which she’d entwined it. He wanted to feel its texture and watch it tumble over her shoulders.
“My answer to your request,” she continued, “Is that the Seer is a resourceful young woman who may not like having the Sight, but nevertheless has all the necessary qualities to carry it well.”
He tried leaning against the wall to display indifference. He hoped that this would mask his actually feeling expertly wrung out and hung up to dry.
She sat forward a little. “These factors being as they are, why should we withdraw the Seeing power from her?”
He glanced across again, feeling that he ought to keep up the pretence, lest his credibility in her eyes be dashed forever. “I ... understand that you only have the best intentions at heart. It’s just that I wonder whether the effort that you all put in will be worth the result.”
Jacosta sat back again, folded her arms, and noted his chestnut brown hair, longish nose and dark brow eyes. So, she thought, this is the legendary Orion: the one who has all the women dancing to his tune. Hmm, I wonder why?
“Now it’s my turn to speak plainly to you,” she said. “I think the problem of which you speak isn’t actually in Dorta’s corner or mine – it’s yours. Or to put it another way, you are overstepping your brief. You were assigned to prove that getting to the Earth world was possible, not to come back here afterwards and criticize those who devote their lives to helping Earth people.” She thought for a moment, then mumbled to herself, “It’s a thousand pities that we woman are deemed physically unable to go through the Barrier ourselves. Such a glittering distinction had to be given to a male, simply because his body mass is denser and stronger.” She noted his tall athletic build, clicked her tongue and turned her head away.
His mercurial temper rose quickly, and he fought to control it. Feeling the urge to match up to her figurative height, he sat opposite her again and, this time, mirrored her body language. “I can cope with most things. I’m merely asking whether your methods with this Seer could be toned down.”
“And what would you have us do? You know that Mardak women use telepathy to give warning messages to the Earth Seers. She’s a Seer; we need to use her; that’s it! She turned towards her desk tramol, spoke the closing-down command, and turned off her desk lamp.
Aware of the dismissal, he got up to leave. What was the point, he told himself, in pretending that he cared about this Earth Seer anyway? He didn’t. He just wanted Jacosta’s attention. The thought of walking out of her office at that moment was tantamount to failure on his part. And he never failed at anything he’d set out to achieve.
By the time he’d reached the door, another plan had formed in his mind; one which he hoped would keep him in proximity with Jacosta. Not that he was attracted to her, he told himself. He simply needed to facilitate her believing that she should give more of her attention to him, exclusively.
Upon realising that he hadn’t yet left, she shot another disapproving glance at him.
He cleared his throat. “The Earth Seer’s obviously been given these premonitions to warn of an impending catastrophe in the Earth world?”
“Of course. The catastrophe that’s about to happen involves a small Earth child. Dorta’s Detectors got into the thought waves of a deranged woman who intends to kidnap this child. Unfortunately, this type of casual mind eavesdropping is a rarity. If it could be done more often, and under controlled conditions, Dorta’s Detectors could be much more effective in their efforts to curb unsavoury activities.” Sighing, she looked downwards and whispered to herself, “And we’d be able to intervene in far more child abductions than we do.” She gazed back at him. “On the back of that, the Disseminators facilitated the photo phenomenon and a dream to the Seer today.”
For the first time, a flicker of true concern touched him. “So ... you want this Seer to warn the child’s family.”
“That’s about it, yes. And we’re trying all the time to get more information to give her, because we’re all so worried.”
He stepped forward. “But wouldn’t it be so much easier if I could just materialise in front of her. Now that the Varat’s capabilities been proved, why don’t we make use of it? Why don’t you make use of me? I could go and tell the Seer what she needs to know without all this sending these hit-and-miss telepathic messages.”
Jacosta wanted to rail at him about the hit-and-miss bit, but she felt tired and impatient to get home. “You know as well as I do, that’s not possible. As soon as we knew that travelling to the Earth world was only a matter of months away, we Mardakans took an oath never to materialise in front of an Earth Seer!”
He remembered the oath.
She joined him by the door.
“Don’t you think it’s about time that this archaic rule was changed in Earthzad,” he asked. “Here we are, living in a tiny annex to the real Earth world, tip-toeing around, afraid to be discovered by its people. What harm would it do to let them know that we Mardakans spend a lot of our time trying to help them!”
Surely, she thought, you don’t include yourself as one of those. “It would be too dangerous; you know that as well as I. Svelta has a pathological fear of the Earth people. If we let Earth know of our existence, the Sveltans might wage war on us.”
“So be it, then! We have a sophisticated arsenal and a well trained and equipped army and air force ourselves. We could match them at every turn.”
She sighed and turned off the office light and said, “I’d much prefer to know that everybody in Mardak is sleeping peacefully in their beds rather than getting anxious about an enemy virtually on our doorstep! Anyway, I can’t discuss this with you now. I have a Lafia meeting in the morning. And...” She glanced up and met his eyes again. “After that, I have to discuss the final touches for the dinner-dance, to celebrate your – er – bravery and Mardak’s glittering achievement.”
He held the door open, and she swept past him.
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