LR Cafe's Best of 2018 Nominee: Best Book All Around
It’s the story of a lifetime. The kind of story journalist Cal Harper can’t resist.
When the exploration vessel Lightning Girl disappeared almost thirty years ago, Cal followed the story until it unexpectedly returned. He followed it so closely he ended up deeply entwined in the lives of Ash and Trev, the only two survivors of Lightning Girl’s ill-fated voyage.
But now Lightning Girl II is ready to ship out to find the Crimson Star, a star that emits sunlight a vampire can bask in without bursting into flames. The first Lightning Girl discovered the star by accident, and its exact location remains unknown.
Armed with educated guesses and extensively researched star charts, the new expedition sets off with Cal on board to document the voyage. An experienced journalist, Cal’s ready for anything.
Cal has no desire to begin another relationship, especially not with a vampire. His vampire wife, Elena, died in space several years ago, leaving Cal with an empty heart and a promise to himself that he’ll never again get involved with a vampire.
But Triss is different. Yes, he’s a vampire -- or is Triss a she? -- but he’s a type of vampire long thought to be extinct. Literally gender-fluid, his intriguing nature piques Cal’s interest, but he’s not sure if it’s the journalist in him that wants to learn more about this enigmatic vampire or the man who wants to get to know him in every possible way.
In the light of the Crimson Star, they’ll have to come to terms with their boundaries, their secrets, and the ultimate nature of love.
Praise for Lightning Girl (Solar Flare 4)
"Triss is a very special kind of vampire, truly genderfluid while presenting mostly as male, and the story of what exactly he is and how long he has lived had me on the edge of my seat with curiosity. Fantastic worldbuilding! If you like stories about very unusual characters in challenging situations, if you want to find out how a man and an ancient vampire fall in love, and if you’re looking for a read that is suspenseful, emotional, and full of surprises, then you will probably like this novella."
-- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
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Lightning Girl (Solar Flare 4)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2018 Elizabeth Jewell
The sight of Earth from space wasn’t easily forgotten, but the actual real-time experience overshadowed even the most vivid memory. It also wasn’t the kind of thing a journalist got to see on the regular, so Cal Harper made sure to be on Lightning Girl II’s observation deck as soon as the all-clear sounded.
He wasn’t the only one. Even the more experienced and presumably more jaded members of the crew had made their way to the viewport to wrangle for the best vantage point. They would all be able to watch for about fifteen minutes before everyone had to head back to the crew berths to prepare for hyperspace.
They were close enough that Cal had a vague sense of vertigo as he moved into a better viewing position, as if he might tip forward and accidentally swan dive into the wide blue swath of the Pacific Ocean. They were far enough away, though, that he could clearly see the planet’s wide curve framed by the star-speckled infinity of space behind it. The ship was moving fast, using gravity as a slingshot to throw it out into the black, where it would be guided into the hyperspace hotspot. The sight of the receding globe made him momentarily dizzy; he looked away to regain his perspective and stave off what could end up as an embarrassing bout of motion sickness.
The quick, sideways glance met that of another observer standing not far from where Cal had posted himself. The other watcher smiled, then turned his attention back to the viewport. Cal kept staring.
The other man -- woman? -- in all honesty, Cal couldn’t tell -- was tall and slim and very pale. Vampire, Cal was certain. There were several on this expedition aside from the leaders, Ash and Trev. But this person was unlike anyone, human or not, that Cal had ever seen.
He -- she? -- gave Cal another sidelong glance, and the lips curved into a smile. No, more like a smirk. It said, “I know what you’re thinking. I know you’re intrigued. But I’m giving you nothing.”
Cal’s heartbeat suddenly leapt into the back of his throat, as if to vividly remind him he was human, and that he’d sworn a long time ago never to get involved with another vampire. Not after Elena. He couldn’t bear it.
Besides, he preferred women. And this was a man. Maybe. You don’t know that, some part of his brain insisted. That part seemed to be linked directly to his libido, and heat moved through him, unwanted but insistent.
Doesn’t matter. No vampires. No dudes. Never mind the recent experience with Trev and Ash, who qualified both as vampires and dudes. Or maybe because of those experiences. Either way, he pledged to stay on course.
Then the vampire looked him again. This time he tipped his head slightly, and there was a smolder in those pale green eyes.
Cal’s mouth opened slightly. Can’t hurt to say hi, that recalcitrant part of his brain said. But the words never made it out of his mouth, the beginnings of the effort interrupted by a voice over the ship-wide intercom.
“We will be entering hyperspace in approximately twelve minutes. All passengers please return to your berths. Crew members, assume appropriate positions.”
Everyone on the observation deck turned away, heading for the ship’s interior. It was vital to be secured for the hyperspace jump, and everyone knew it. Cal gave one last glance at the mysterious vampire, who smiled at him again, this time friendlier, more inviting...