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He Doesn’t Trust Her – An Excerpt

From Kicking Ashe: Project Enterprise 5

cover art

Continuing the feature of my Project Enterprise series excerpts, this week we’re taking a peek inside Kicking Ashe, the fifth book in the series. First, let’s find out what it is about:

He’s an alien warrior. She fights for time. Can their love hold together a galaxy on the verge of collapse?

Time Agent Ashe fixes temporal emergencies for a living. But when she gets kicked through a time vortex onto an alien planet, she finds herself on the other side of a search and rescue. At her crash site, she finds a wary ally in a warrior with a magnetic energy that tugs on her heartstrings… and the very fabric of history.

Vidor Shan has lost track of time while searching for his missing brother. When a mysterious woman crash-lands into his life, he finds himself wishing for what he can’t have. On a quest to find his brother, Shan can’t afford any distractions, not even those of a beautiful woman. But when time and gravity begins to destabilize in his wake, he realizes only the beautiful Ashe has the power to ground him. 

Deep in strange and deadly territory, the unlikely pair must wrestle control from unseen forces toying with Shan’s timeline to claim their happily ever after.

Kicking Ashe is the fifth standalone book in the enthralling Project Enterprise sci-fi romance series. If you like fast-paced action, snarky sidekicks, and pulse-pounding sexual tension, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ high-spirited adventure. 

Buy Kicking Ashe to jump through the vortex for a sexy alien encounter today!

And now for the excerpt:

Are you out of your freaking mind?

Did she feel hurt that Lurch thought she was crazy, too? She thought about it and decided no. Lurch didn’t elaborate on the theme just let her feel him fulminate like an upset tummy. Look, he needed to know someone is after him. He can’t protect himself if he doesn’t know. Honesty is always the best policy. Had no idea where that came from, so must be from him—a sense confirmed when he harrumphed like a bad burp. And we can’t figure out who is after him without his help.

He does not believe you.

No, but he can’t smell a lie cause I’m not lying. Right now he’s conflicted. Thinks I’m crazy even though he can feel I’m not. And a bit freaked out, but he’ll calm down and then we can get the bad guy and go home. Ashe quelled the stab of dismay, helped by the thought of vivisection if they didn’t manage to get the heck out of this system. Any progress on the repairs to my suit? Okay, so she was trying to distract him, but she also needed to know. It was still her best hope to avoid getting gutted.

I am working on it.

“Someone is gunning for me?” Shan’s hands settled on his hips, his chin thrown up and a bit back, like a pirate on the deck of his ship. Or a commander on his bridge.

“Planning to big time, betray you.”

“You are only one who could try to betray me.”

She felt compelled to point out, “Only someone you trust can betray you.” His gaze narrowed to a knifepoint. “I could try to trick you. Hard to do with the sniffing thing. Attack. Difficult without a weapon.” Though not impossible, since she was also a weapon, but no reason to tell him that if he hadn’t already noticed this for himself.

“Or you are insane.”

“A person needs a little crazy or they never dare cut the rope.” It was a paraphrase. She had more insanity quotes, but she wasn’t sure he could handle them any better than the truths. Or that she should encourage the insanity defense. His lashes flickered. A hit? Maybe there was room for one more. “Or how about this one: Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.” His lashes flickered again. Did he feel locked in a cage? Or out of his place? If she had her time senses, she could see if he was in the wrong time, the wrong place. If, if, if.

We know something is wrong or we wouldn’t be here.

Never assume she shot back at him.

“Why would anyone betray me?”

Ashe sensed uncertainty behind the scorn. She propped a hip against the table. “Is your world so perfect no one ever does anything skanky? No one ever jockeys for a leadership position they don’t deserve? No one stabs anyone in the back to get something they didn’t earn?”

His shoulders rose and fell in a sigh. “Of course not. But I am not—” He stopped, his hard gaze holding her across the short space that separated them.

“What? Not important enough to betray? You’re high strata. In line for that council thing.”

“Bana.”

Ashe shrugged. “Maybe she’s worried.”

“Of what could she worry?”

“Maybe she is afraid you’ll try to be a hero. Save the alien girl.” Did her eyes ask the question they shouldn’t? She wasn’t sure. Her emotions switched so fast around him. One minute she was cool as ice, the next totally girl-with-a-guy lame. The sad part? She didn’t know what she wanted or needed him to do, other than not let people cut her open, of course. She’d missed some key, maturation events by entering the Time Service so young. She knew the facts of life, but didn’t have a clue what to do with them. Boys bored her. No question she’d seen some truly fine men traveling through time, but they’d passed through her life too fast for her to ping on anyone. Until this one. Him she had to notice. This was the first man who didn’t bore her. Were these feelings her just wanting what she couldn’t have? How did she know? She didn’t need a hero, of course, because she was here to fix his time line, and rescue her own self, but it would be nice if he wanted to be a hero. For his sake. It was good to want to be a hero. Meant you weren’t the bad guy. Cause you’re the hero.

He will let you down.

* * *

Be sure to stop back on Friday to dive scope some secrets (like how I painted myself into a writing corner) from behind the scenes of Kicking Ashe. If you aren’t yet, you’ll want to get caught up before Project Enterprise 7 hits the virtual shelves. 

There are a couple of ways you can get breaking news when my new book releases. You can sign up for my newsletter here. Or you can follow me on BookBub (and also score some deals on new books in your favorite genres). Next month I’ll be revealing the title, cover, and blurb for #7!

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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