Joely Sue Burkhart
A mash-up of Jane Austen and Firefly,
this series puts ladies in charge–in space.
If you love a Regency romp and space opera adventure,
join Lady Wyre on her adventures.
In a universe where ladies reign supreme.
As Queen’s Physician, Charlotte, Duchess of Wyre, has done her job entirely too well. She invented a dangerous technology that not only healed the queen from an incurable fatal illness, but also could be used as the most destructive weapon the universe has ever seen.
Her technology has already been used to ravage an entire planet, and she fears the queen has decided the only witness to her illness must be silenced. Forever.
Lady Wyre is not about to wait for an assassin’s blade. Instead, she hires the galaxy’s most infamous assassin, the dashing Lord Regret, to fake her death and whisk her away to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. All goes perfectly to plan, until a bounty hunter shoots them down and they’re forced to crash land on a rebel colony.
She knew certain sacrfices would be required during this new life on the run. She’s fully prepared to give up her title and position in Society. She’s even willing to lock up her research and live in obscurity. But give up tea? And silks?
Alas, Dear Reader, she may not survive.
This Book is FREE on Joely Sue Burkhart’s Website!
I have to admit it was the subtitle of ‘A Jane Austin Space Opera’ that caught my attention on this one. Since it is also a free title, I decided to give it a try.
Lady Charlotte Wyre, the Queen’s Physician is in trouble, the kind of trouble that gets you sentenced to death. Her technology is going to be used in a way she never intended for it to be, as a weapon. Now she needs to figure out a way to disappear, with all the existing parts and also survive.
Lord Sig Regret is the answer to Lady Wyre’s dilemma. An infamous assassin he is the perfect person to carry out her plans.
This is a favorite scene that includes a mysterious stranger as well.
Dark, gleaming eyes met Sig’s. Even a sardonic wink failed to disguise the man’s silent threat. Instantly, every cell in Sig’s body went on high alert, causing another firestorm of agony to tear through his burning muscles. That kind of lethal grace and unflinching stare meant only one thing.
This man is as good a killer as I am.
“Dying by Shee ale is a hard way to go. I’ve seen men tearing their own skin off, trying to make the burning sensation end. If you really want to die, there are much easier ways to accomplish it.”
The implication that he would certainly be able to accommodate a death wish gave his words a cold, heavy weight. Sig didn’t allow his body to tense with alarm, but he mentally took a quick inventory of the weapons he had on his person.
Perfect for throwing, thin silver blades were strapped to each wrist beneath his coat. He had a longer, heavier dirk tucked down his spine in a back harness, and two more throwing blades in each boot. Not to mention the lazor surely stashed beneath the bar.
Of course, an assassin’s body was his best weapon. While Sig took great pride in his agility and quick-handed strikes, he wouldn’t be able to surprise this man, who undoubtedly outweighed him by at least thirty stone. The man was solid muscle and topped him by another foot yet moved with the silent glide of a predator on the hunt.
Why haven’t I ever heard of him before?
Using his best High Society voice which had made him famous, Sig drawled, “If you can recommend another way to dull painful memories, sir, then I would love to hear it.”
The stranger’s dark gaze flickered over him, so sharp and deep that Sig unconsciously held his breath. “Ah, you have my sympathies. I know what it’s like to be haunted by a living nightmare.”
He gave the barkeeper a short nod and the man brought two steaming mugs. Sig smelled the mug suspiciously. No alcohol. He took a hesitant sip and shuddered at the dark, bitter taste. “What is this, witch’s brew?”
The stranger laughed as though he’d made a fine joke. “Merely a drink to help combat the Shee ale. If we decide to test each other’s knives, I want you to be at your best instead of dulled by drink.”
Since this man obviously cared little for polite Society, Sig forgot niceties. “Who the hell are you?”
“No one you’ve heard of. No one you would or should know.”
“But you know who I am?”
“Of course. Everyone in the galaxy has heard the tales of your marks.”
At least the man hadn’t said his name aloud. Sig wouldn’t mind a drunken brawl or a nice, juicy contract so impossible no other assassin would attempt the mark, but he’d rather not have to kill his way out of the Australis prisons because this fool talked too much.
I’m the bloody fool who decided to risk a drink at the Black Stump when there are countless dives where I could have indulged without a super-secure prison only paces away.
Pain banded his tight chest. It hurt to breathe. Hurt to think. Killing helped dull the pain and keep the nightmares at bay, but he couldn’t…
A loud thwack jerked his head up. The stranger had slammed the tip of his knife into the top of the bar. In size, the blade wasn’t that impressive, only as long as his hand, but that edge gleamed in the light, wicked sharp. The hilt was smooth, aged ivory, darkened over the years by sweat.
Or perhaps blood.
“A word of advice, my friend.” The man’s eyes flickered in the dimness like flames licking red-hot coals. Sig glanced about quickly but didn’t see any fire that would have reflected in the man’s eyes like that. “Never accept a contract on the woman you love.”
Sig couldn’t help the smirk twisting his mouth. “That is something I’ll never have to fret about, for I’ve never met a woman I could ever love more than my work.”
Giving him an equally arrogant grin, the man tugged his blade loose and let the knife roll across his palm, back and forth, effortlessly controlling the knife without even looking at it. “So I thought.”
A vibration in Sig’s pocket made him inhale a quick, hopeful breath. He drew the device out and scanned the incoming message. “Excellent. A new job. I’ve got to go.”
The man nodded and sheathed the blade on his hip as he pushed away from the bar. “Another time, then. I’d enjoy testing your blade.”
“You never told me your name,” Sig said over his shoulder, trying to memorize the man’s appearance so he could search for history on him later. Long dark hair, dark eyes, and nasty blade. That’s all I really know. His accent is strange, but I can’t place it.
“My name doesn’t matter.” The man paused at the door and glanced back, giving him another wink. “I’m Shadow and Death, a killer, like you. We can’t help but find each other again someday.”
“Thank you,” Sig whispered, but the man was gone.
Shaking his head, he stepped out of the main room, searching along the dark hallway until he found a secluded, quiet spot. A supply closet. A quick scan confirmed there were no listening or monitoring devices inside the room.
The sender’s message only included a House sign: the white dove of Wyre. Was that his contact… or the mark? Slipping into Britannia would definitely prove a worthy challenge. Their shields were tighter and more secure than the Australis prisons, keeping the unwashed masses out instead of locking them into their punishment.
He opened a secure channel to the sender. Since he’d just received the offer, hopefully his contact would still be waiting. His curiosity burned, a much better feeling than shortness of breath and desperate panic.
A woman’s face appeared on the screen, and not even the small monitor could diminish her classical grace. The tilted angle of her chin declared her pride and royal breeding. He’d never been introduced to the Duchess of Wyre, but he recognized her. Smooth dark hair, chocolate eyes, in many ways a sister to the man who’d just left. Impossible. If that man was from Britannia, then I’m a Razari lizard.
“Lord Regret, I presume. Your reputation precedes you.”
Her voice matched those dark, chocolate eyes. He inclined his head and allowed his own ancient bloodlines to deepen the pride in his voice. “Your Grace, it’s my great honor to offer my blade in service to you. Who’s your target?”
She smiled. Sig’s eyes flared, his chest aching as though that stranger had buried his blade directly into his heart. “I am.”
Joely Sue Burkhart. Lady Wyre’s Regret: A Jane Austen Space Opera (Kindle Locations 203-254). Joely Sue Burkhart.
It was interesting to see how these plans are made and carried out. The escape into space and then ensuing twists kept me turning the pages.
Some nail-biting action, an interesting look at the ‘US’ in space, and the hint of romance will have you wanting more of these two.
I will definitely be reading the rest of this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Joely!
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Joely Sue Burkhart has always loved heroes who hide behind a mask, the darker and more dangerous the better. Whether cool, sophisticated billionaire, brutal bloodthirsty assassin, or simply a man tortured by his own needs, they all wear masks to protect themselves. Once they finally give you a peek into the passionate, twisted secrets they’re hiding, they always fall hard and fast. Dare to look beneath the mask and find love in the shadows.