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Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance With a Kick

 Blurb   action excerpt |  Romantic excerpt |  Reviews

"A story with plot twists too numerous to list... Alternate Earths... One is an ecological disaster.  The other is a paradise... Zania and Svend fight for their lives... spurned lovers... volcano... Can Zania and Svend find happiness when their world is coming apart ?
Candy - Sensual Reads - Sultry - 4.5 stars
 

"Brimming with action from the first page, this novel starts fast and never relents. It is ripe with hidden agendas, evil villains, toothy tigers, brave heroes, and cowardly sneaks. Oh! And do not forget, exploding volcanoes. A well-scripted adventure, this dystopian novel delivers thrills and chills on each new page. The story is populated with a diverse array of characters endowed with personality and pizzazz. Pick it up and prepare to be swept away in an escapade of intense science fiction excitement."
Laurie, Coffee Time Romance - 4 cups

"I loved this book. It is a great Sci-Fi Romance that is action packed from the very beginning... There are mysteries and surprises everywhere in the story that keep you wanting to continue reading to find out what happens... Even if you do not read much Sci-Fi romance, I would recommend this story because it is filled with characters you love and hate... will leave you satisfied in the end."
Felicia Wright - Paranormal romance Reviews

 Also read the latest 5-star review on Amazon HERE


Snatched from a post-apocalyptic battlefield by galactic traders, Zania is sold to a clandestine ring of fighting Amazons, on a planet lush with green jungles and teeming with deadly felines. She resents the gorgeous and overzealous Viking champion, Svend, who saves her life but too easily accepts slavery. Adulated by a woman who claims to know her, hated by the jealous Amazon queen who fancies Svend, Zania seeks escape...

But Svend knows the price of rebellion, and on this seemingly peaceful planet, ruled and defended by machines, nothing is what it seems, not even Zania herself... Among the rumbles of a volcano threatening to explode, an insurrection is brewing, and no one is safe...

 

Chapter One

            Zania winced at the explosion.

            “By Aries!”

            The first tank in her military convoy burst into flames and came to a rolling stop.  She locked the three wheels of her ATV in a shower of sand.

            “Column, halt!” she screamed in her helmet.  Black smoke rose from the tank.  “DP five!  Move it!”  Old defensive positions often worked best in primitive warfare.

            Swerving her vehicle, Zania raced toward the smoking tank.  When one soldier crawled out of the wreckage, coughing, she jumped off her ATV and pulled him away from the inferno, but she knew another remained trapped inside.

            Holding her breath against the smoke, Zania climbed into the burning tank.  Choking on smoke, ignoring the heat and the flames, she pulled out then dragged the severely burned victim away from the wreckage.

            As she carried the unconscious man, the other soldier stumbled after her and climbed on the back of the ATV.  Zania slung the limp body across the frame in front of her.

            “Hang on!” she yelled as she gunned the engine.  As Humvees, trucks and motorcycles moved to form a protective circle away from the wreckage, Zania positioned her ATV accordingly and eased the wounded men inside the protected zone.

            “Tighten that ring!  On the double!”  She pulled her oversized automatic out of the saddle holder and motioned the medic running toward her to hurry.  If she were right, the enemy would attack anytime now.  “Get down!”

            She dropped to the ground.

            The sand demons surged from under the sand all around, like a swarm of buried locusts taking flight.  Dressed in camouflage rags the color of the dunes, with no protection but their blind bravado, the ragtag human horde rushed downhill in a savage roar.

            Crouched behind her ATV, Zania radioed out.  “Mayday!  Mayday! This is Lieutenant Zania Nolev, of the North American Federation.  Supply convoy ambushed!  Send air support immediately!  Fix on my transmission for coordinates.”

            Zania armed her automatic.  When the sand demons came into range, she shouted, “For freedom!  Fire at will!”

              She grabbed a grenade on her belt, pulled the pin and threw it far outside the ring.  She never knew her days as a pitcher would come in so handy.  The grenade exploded in a flash of bright fire, taking several assailants, but the enemy kept rushing through the black smoke.

            Ignoring the deafening volleys of Zania’s unit, the madmen of the dunes threw incendiary bombs and fired outdated contraband automatics.  They kept advancing although the unit’s superior weapons decimated their ranks.

            Where was air support?

            Amidst the chaos of gunshots and explosions, blazing debris showered the ring.  Scorched sand flew into Zania’s face, clouding her goggles and filling her mouth.  She spit out the grit and wiped her glasses with one sleeve.  Out of the surrounding black smoke, a bright flash surged.  A shot rang, louder than the rest, and explosive pain seared her left hip.

            “I’m hit!” Zania screamed, “Sergeant, get ready to take over!”  She bit her upper lip against the splitting pain as she reloaded, then fired outside at random, unable to focus on the many targets rushing toward the ring of vehicles.

            Warm blood gushed and soaked Zania’s camo pants, but she kept firing blindly in the enemy’s general direction.  For freedom, for her country, for the people she loved... so the children would know peace.

            Was this the end for her? Around Zania the battle raged.  The sand demons had breached the circle and finished off the wounded.  She turned and fired but she’d run out of bullets.  Drawing a knife from her boot, she threw it at a sand demon.  The blade hit the enemy’s chest and he fell forward.

            As Zania reloaded her automatic, her hands shook.  Her strength waned.  The sound of gunfire and the screams of dying soldiers dimmed around her.

            When a large shadow settled above the fighting circle, blotting the sun, Zania looked up.  Air support?  No, the craft was too big.  As the behemoth dropped, hovering fifty feet above ground, its reflective underbelly seemed to stretch for a mile.  What was it?

            Zania must be hallucinating.  She aimed her weapon at the craft, but the automatic slipped from her grip.  Too weak to move, she closed her eyes for an instant.   If air cover didn’t come soon, she’d die here, her blood consumed by the thirsty sand.  They were grossly outnumbered, if not outgunned.

            Her ability to concentrate drifted away.

            “Gods of Mount Olympus, please, save my unit.  Let us live to fight another day.”

            A strange, insistent whine above her made Zania drowsy.  Though she struggled to remain conscious, her surroundings melted into a sea of black.

* * * * *

 

Romantic excerpt
(later in Chapter One)
Girl meets gorgeous Viking

 

"All sexual relations have been abolished in these parts," the synthetic voice volunteered.

"Abolished?" Zania stifled a nervous chuckle as she kept walking. "It doesn’t make much sense."

"The tendencies that bring sexual passions, or passions of any kind, also breed violence, and all violence has been bred out of the citizens of this Earth. It is the price they pay for lasting peace and safety."

The concept sounded so foreign, Zania started to suspect she had wandered into delirium. She must have lost her mind. "Did you say Earth?"

"That’s what the natives call their planet."

The natives? So her captors were from some other place? From space? Zania slowed down but remembered she had to keep walking in order to get answers.

"This Earth is different from yours. It survived. Your native planet is long gone."

"Gone?" How could a planet be gone? "What do you mean?"

"Gone as in destroyed, reduced to interstellar dust, volatilized."

Zania couldn’t accept that. The idea that Earth as she knew it was no more bothered her beyond belief. "When did that happen? How long have I been unconscious?"

"Your battle happened one thousand, three hundred and thirty one Earth years ago," the voice stated with confidence.

"What?" Zania’s legs turned to mush. Something in her gut told her it was the truth. Her father, her brothers, her cheating boyfriend, all dead... They never found her body, declared her MIA. "How is that possible?"

"You were selected and preserved for our specific purpose."
"What purpose?" Zania couldn’t stand not being in control of her own destiny. "Who made that decision for me?"

"We did."

That We again. The corridor ended into a sharp turn. The sound of many voices filtered into the hallway. "What’s this place?"

"The time has come to perform your duty."

Before Zania could protest, she emerged into a brightly lit arena, with people in the bleachers, cheering and yelling her name. They all wore gray robes and hid their faces under a hood, like ghosts. "Why do they all wear gray?"

"Color is not allowed on their Earth. Color breeds passions."

"But I wear blue, and the mat is red."

"This is clandestine entertainment We provide for them. They hide their faces for fear of being recognized."

Stepping on the soft red mat, Zania raised her gaze to the highest levels of the arena and noticed a gigantic projection of herself on the ceiling.

The deep blue veils suited her well, enhancing her dazzling blue eyes and apricot complexion, and revealing much of her body. With the long flowing hair and the eye makeup of an Egyptian queen, Zania hardly recognized herself. She looked more beautiful than she remembered. Of course, she’d never been the pampering type.

The cheering suddenly stopped and Zania realized she no longer stood alone on the mat of the arena. There, in the bright light, walked a tall muscular man, young, his long blond hair framing a tan face with icy gray eyes... The visage of Adonis on Hercules’ body.

Her gaze roamed over the regular lines of his jaw, the full, sensual lips, dimpled chin, down the expanse of his hairless pectorals, and stopped on the leather cod piece embossed with Tor’s hammer. That’s all he wore.

So, he was a Viking. Zania could easily imagine him swinging a sword or a battle axe like his ancestors. He certainly had the biceps for it. His bare thighs bulged with muscles, yet his face held an almost feminine beauty. She couldn’t help a shiver of appreciation for this perfect male specimen.

"Are you Adonis himself?" If he were, Zania would have to prostrate herself.

"No, Zania. My name is Svend." His amused smile told her he enjoyed her surprise. "Who is Adonis?"

"Never mind." How could he not know the gods of the Pantheon?

The synthetic female voice interrupted her thoughts. "This is the mate We selected for you."

"Mate?" Zania realized only she could hear the voice as Svend didn’t react to the outrageous comment.

"You must join with him here, now, for the pleasure of our illustrious clients." The lack of emotion clashed with the loaded words. "In exchange, you will live another day."

"You don’t say." Mating was out of the question.

"Think before you decide. If you delight the crowd, you may be auctioned off to a prosperous patron, or even earn your freedom."

Freedom... That had been Zania’s battle cry. "This is blackmail!" As a soldier, she had no tolerance for such practices. She didn’t risk her life in combat to end up as an unwilling porn star. "I’m not mating with this..." She lacked the words. Viking prince? Golden god?

Svend smiled and walked to her with debonair confidence. "Shall we give them a good show? How long has it been since you were fully satisfied?" The deep voice caressed and enveloped her.

How long indeed! "Don’t touch me!" How dare this stranger think she’d go along with his parody of seduction. "I can only have sex with a man I love." The man she’d loved had cheated on her while she fought on the front. Of course, she’d had casual sex before, and sacred sex at the temple as well, but she wanted to make a point.

 


Award-winning author Vijaya Schartz

 

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