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Authors: Bianca D'Arc

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Shy Talent (StarLords Book 3)

BOOK: Shy Talent (StarLords Book 3)
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StarLords

SHY TALENT

by

BIANCA D’ARC

 

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

Copyright © 2015
Bianca D’Arc

Cover Art by Valerie Tibbs

 

All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

 

 

StarLords Book 3

Promoted to StarLord and Captain of his own ship, Agnor hand-picks his crew for the mission of a lifetime behind enemy lines and straight into the fire…

Betsua isn’t used to being noticed. Her Talent is a little wild sometimes and just lately, her telekinesis has been ranging off the charts. She doesn’t want anyone to know, but Agnor notices and asks her to join his crew. She jumps at the chance to get away from home, but Agnor has more in mind than merely helping her with her wayward Talent.

The new StarLord sees something in Betsua that attracts him in ways he has never experienced before. On a desperate mission to discover how the enemy collective holds the minds of so many people enslaved, will Ag and Bet be able to keep their minds on business and their hands off each other long enough to learn the secret of the blue crystals?

* Warning: Agnor’s ship is a training ground for Talent, battle skills, and the art of love. The lessons he teaches sometimes involve multiple partners and wild situations, not for the faint of heart.

 

 

 

DEDICATION

 

With my deepest thanks to Jess Bimberg, my once and future editor, Peggy McChesney, who is a marvelous sounding board and cheerleader, and Valerie Tibbs for making such lovely covers for these books. You guys are awesome!

And as always, special thanks to my family – especially my dad who instilled a love of science and science fiction in me from an early age. Most kids can’t say their dads are rocket scientists. I’m one of the lucky ones who can say that for a fact. You rock, Dad!

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Excerpt – Hara’s Legacy

Excerpt – King of Swords

About the Author

Other Books by Bianca D’Arc

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

“Bettsua! I’m talking to you. Now pay attention.”

The scolding voice was one Bet was well familiar with. Even though she was officially a Specitar now, her aunt still had a way of making her feel about two years old.

“Yes, Aunt Petra. I heard you. I’ll be sure to take my warm sweater with me on my new assignment.”

It was the ugliest sweater in creation, but her aunt had bought it for her, so Bet had to wear it, and let the old woman see her in it. Too bad other people had to see her in it too. The drab color and baggy fit only made her more of an oddball than she already was. Even among Specitars, she was considered strange, and that was saying something.

Immense telekinetic power and not much else to call her own, that’s what she had. At least, nothing she could claim publicly. If others knew what else she could do, her life would probably be even more difficult than it already was.

Bet sighed, packing the ugly sweater, along with others like it, in the small valise she would take on board with her when she left on her first offworld mission. He aunt didn’t allow the more stylish clothing that might show off some of Bet’s curves—if she’d had any curves, that is. Bet was too tall. She didn’t have hips to speak of, though she felt a little overdeveloped in the chest area. Shy about the huge breasts and above average height that had always made her feel like a freak, she habitually slouched, hiding behind baggy, concealing clothes and thick glasses she didn’t really need.

Oh, as a child she’d been too young for the simple corrective surgery on her eyes, but she’d had the procedure done a few years ago with complete success. She wore lenses now only out of habit and a desire to maintain the status quo.

People had gotten used to seeing her in her old-fashioned glasses and baggy clothes. To take them off now might give people the impression she was trying to look sexy or something, and she couldn’t bear to hear the inner commentary such a thought might inspire in the catty women she worked with.

For that was the other major Talent Bet had, though she dearly wished at times it had never developed. She could hear other people’s thoughts. Or, at least, she could hear those of non-Talented and lesser-Talented people relatively easily. Those with stronger Talents than her own were harder to hear because higher-level Talents usually had stronger shielding, making it a pleasure for her to be around them.

Which was why she’d jumped at the chance to work for the Council. Mages were always well shielded, and even though just lately she’d been picking up on more and more of their thoughts too, the job she’d been doing for them, while not too exciting, had kept her away from lesser-Talents as much as possible.

But her Talent had recently jumped up another notch, and she feared soon even the haven of the Mage’s Council would be denied her as those Mages’ shields became inadequate to protect her from hearing their thoughts. The offworld trip aboard the newly christened research vessel
Calypso
had been offered to her at just the right time, and she’d been thrilled by the idea that she might be able to get away for a while and sort out her enhanced abilities.

Plus, she’d get to work with Lord Agnor. Her heart did a little flip when she thought of the tall, quiet man with the kind eyes. He was the most powerful Specitar of the current generation, and new head of the Specitar’s enclave. But he’d also recently been made a StarLord and given command of the
Calypso
. He had a great deal of offworld experience, and with all that had been happening—the attacks on Council worlds and the renewed threat from the Wizards’ collective and their allies—the Mage Council had asked him to assemble a crew and take to the stars.

She had no idea how or why she’d been chosen to take part in the mission, but she wasn’t about to ask. She wanted off this planet and away from the people she could all too easily read. No one knew yet about this jump in her power. She’d been careful to hide it, lest they make her undergo more testing.

She feared that, if the Council knew she could sometimes hear some of their thoughts, they’d terminate her employment, and she had no idea what she’d do then. She needed the job. She was the only breadwinner in her family, and she had to support her aunt and the small dwelling they rented.

Going offworld for a bit sounded like the perfect solution. The advance on salary alone would pay their rent for a year. And being near Lord Agnor didn’t hurt either.

The man probably didn’t even know she existed, but she’d watched him from afar for many months. Since he’d come back from that mission with the newly made Shas, Lord Micah and his wife, Jeri, Bet had watched their friend Agnor. He had come back from that voyage changed in a way that made even the other Specitars look at him with new respect.

It was said he had used his incredibly strong telepathic Talent to communicate all the way from Liata, an agricultural planet on the fringes of Council space. She’d heard the stories about how the ship he’d been on then, the
Circe
, had been hit by a powerful psi wave and all aboard had been changed. The captain and his mate, Lord Micah and Lady Jeri, had been gifted with Sha level power—the highest of all the Talent rankings—and all the rest of the crew had jumped up in rank from what they’d been.

The current captain of the
Circe
, Lord Darak, had risen from a high-level Dominar to Master Mage in a heartbeat, skipping right over the rank of Mage to Master Mage. The younger crewmen had also jumped one or two ranks overnight. But what had happened to Lord Agnor was something the enclave was still trying to figure out.

It appeared no one knew how to classify Lord Agnor’s immense leap in power. Specitars didn’t really have a lot of further delineation of their ranks. They were all just really, really good at one particular thing, and that made them a Specitar. Lord Agnor’s primary Talent was telepathy. Bet’s was telekinesis. She could lift huge loads with just a thought, and that was pretty nifty, even she had to admit, but the other thing—the hearing people’s thoughts thing—that had been more a curse than a gift.

With this new ability, she could hear what they really thought about her. Oh, some people were kind, but most were pitying, and many were just plain mean. Her aunt didn’t love her at all, she knew. The old woman viewed Bet as a responsibility she’d had to take on when her brother and sister-in-law had died. She also saw Bet as a sort of safety net for when she grew too old to take care of herself, but there was no real love there. Her aunt hadn’t cared for her brother’s wife, and Bet apparently looked just like her.

The men she worked with were kind but often thought of her clothing with unkind amusement and, in a few cases, pity. She heard their unkind thoughts as she struggled to hide her feelings. And the women she worked with—two, in particular—were just downright mean. Alis and Nanci made cutting remarks to her face about her clothes while, in their minds, they ripped her to shreds at just about every encounter. They were jealous of her power, which was stronger and more useful than theirs. In a way, the jealousy was flattering, but they were really catty about it, and their thoughts and remarks about her appearance hurt her terribly.

Not that she’d ever let them realize it. Those two probably wouldn’t care if they learned she could hear their thoughts, but Bet hoped other people would be ashamed at knowing that she heard every unkind thought they had about her. Even her supervisor, old Dominar Reginalt, had thought some unkind things about the way she looked and had even questioned why she would be selected for such a plum offworld assignment when he’d come to tell her about it. Outwardly happy for her, inside, he was thinking that she’d mess up somehow and that there were other candidates better suited for the position.

She didn’t let her disappointment in his true thoughts show on her face. She knew he was making an effort to be kind outwardly, and that he’d feel really bad if he knew she knew what he was really thinking. That’s why this so-called gift was more of a curse. She didn’t want to know people’s innermost thoughts. She just wanted to be left alone.

 

* * *

 

Agnor looked over the crew lists as he took his command chair for the very first time. The
Calypso
was a brand new ship, ostensibly a science and exploration vessel, but with a dual purpose. He’d spent too many years aboard the
Circe
, a merchanter that did double duty as a spy ship, not to look forward to his own foray into the dark world of secret plots and plans.

Few people realized he’d specifically chosen every member of the crew himself. When you were going to be cooped up in a relatively small ship with the same people for months on end, you wanted to make sure they were people you could get along with. Sharing pleasure among the crew was a given, so he’d tried to pick a good complement of males and females who were reasonably compatible. That meant finding people of similar Talent rankings—or as close as he could manage. He’d probably have to oversee a few first joinings to make sure nobody got hurt, but he didn’t mind that in the least.

In fact, he was looking forward to it. Especially when his eyes settled on one particular name on his crew list.

Bettsua Malkin.

He’d seen her in action, though she probably didn’t realize it. A few months ago, there’d been a terrible accident on the roadway just outside the Council compound. Agnor had just sent for help telepathically when he felt a huge surge of psi power from the other side of the wide road. And there stood little Bettsua, guiding the huge freight hauler off the smaller vehicle, tossing them around in the air as if they were toys and placing them gently on the roadway, safely apart and right side up. She hadn’t even broken a sweat, and then, she’d left quickly, not sticking around to see what would happen next.

BOOK: Shy Talent (StarLords Book 3)
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