Posted by Lexxie Couper on Friday, October 10th, 2008
Yep, it’s here. My favourite book to date. I fell in love with Sabain Talano. I hope you do too.
“Target acquired. Registered name, Sabian Talano.”
“What have you got on him?”
“Registered name, Sabian Talano.”
“That’s it? No history of any kind?”
“No other information is available at this time.”
No one on Spaceport Adana knows who Sabian Talano really is. Everything about Talano, the head bouncer at the spaceport’s most popular bar, Haze, is shrouded in absolute mystery. All that’s known is this: Don’t piss him off if you want to stay in one piece. Don’t mess with Emylie, his equally mysterious companion, if you want to stay alive. No one knows who Sabian Talano is, and that’s exactly the way he wants it to stay.
So who is the woman in skin-tight red leather called Falynn Mavek who suddenly appears on the spaceport? Who is the massive man with her, she calls Forty-Two? What is she doing on ’Port Adana asking questions about the secretive head bouncer? And why do her eyes burn with hunger when she finally finds him?
Sabian Talano’s dark chilling past is about to catch up with him. And it couldn’t be more dangerous. Or erotic.
Spaceport: Hidden Phase
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2008 Lexxie Couper
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Haze, Spaceport Adana
“Who’s goin’t make me?”
Sabian Talano suppressed a sigh, his stare fixed firmly on the inebriated, slightly swaying Mendovian waving a broken bottle in his face. Every time a new ship docked, every time a new smuggler, illegal trader or bounty hunter landed on ’Port Adana, Sabian had to deal with at least one idiot too intoxicated to realize they were about to get their nose/muzzle/snout broken.
Tonight was no exception. The Mendovian with the broken bottle and twitching eye stalks had spent the better part of the evening — and a shitload of credits — pouring ale after ale down his throat, boasting to anyone who cared to listen about the haul of Ezelian Dream Spice he’d just snatched from under the IAC’s nose. Mauling the ropki girls, groping the bar staff and hurling insults at K’Mere’s latest rendition of the Zondorian classic “Whip Me” on karaoke.
As far as Sabian was concerned, the drunken imbecile should have been ejected from the bar after his second drink, but Hazel — being a big fan of pissing off the IAC — had given the smuggler a little more slack than usual.
That was, at least, until he’d tried to stick one of his tongues down her throat.
“So?” the Mendovian snarled, growing less inebriated and more controlled with each wavering jab of the broken bottle. “Ya goin’t answer me? Who’s goin’t make me leave? You?”
Sabian nodded. Once. “Yes.” He moved.
At that exact second the Mendovian lunged at him.
Mendovians are fast. Sabian was faster. He always was. His fist smashed into the smuggler’s ample gut, his knuckles punching into a thick layer of winter fat and a wall of solid muscle. The Mendovian let out a choked oomph, the sound both hurt and surprised. He doubled over, doing what looked like a hasty and painful attempt to smack his own forehead against his knees.
Sabian jerked his fist back, ready to deliver another blow if needed. It rarely was. Once an opponent realized how quick he was, they usually scurried out of the bar, tattered pride dragging behind them. Something about this opponent, however, kept Sabian more on guard. Alert.
The bar fell silent, all eyes on the stooped smuggler. A thick air of dread and excitement thrummed through the gawking crowd. The regulars shuffled their feet, casting Sabian knowing looks. They’d seen him fold more than one difficult patron in half. Were they going to see it again? K’Mere skittered off the stage, tail swishing, ears flat, deserting her beloved karaoke for the safety of wherever it was the Kitali escaped to when things in Haze got ugly.
Sabian stared at the back of the Mendovian’s head, muscles coiled. Ready. “Don’t do it,” he said. Calm. Composed.
Twin eyestalks twitched. Wide shoulders bunched under the Mendovian’s heavy flight jacket.
Sabian ground his teeth — ah, fuck — and swung his fist, connecting with the smuggler’s jaw the precise moment the Mendovian leapt up from his stoop to charge him.
A loud gasp filled the bar. A blinding light swept across the room, somewhere to his left. Sabian bit back a curse. Fuck! Holly Barberossa and her smartcam. His image would be in the Adana Observer for a week!
The Mendovian’s limp body arced backward, eyestalks flapping, arms flailing. He hit the floor with a thud, the impact sending a shock wave of dull vibrations up Sabian’s legs. Some SOP foolishly burst into applause a way back in the crowd, Barberossa’s smartcam flashed on again, and the crooning tones of K’Mere wafted from the karaoke stage once more.
Sabian shook his head, giving the still and decidedly unconscious Mendovian an indifferent look. Lifting his head, he ignored the sight of the petite but determined Barberossa cutting a path through the crowd toward him and nodded at one of his crew. The Rellian detached himself from the writhing mass of patrons on the dance floor and hurried over.
“Get rid of him,” Sabian said, not looking at the motionless Mendovian on the floor. “Put him back on his vessel and arrange a doc to mend his ribs. I’m pretty certain I broke at least five.”
Diirch smirked. “Only five? You feeling soft t’night, Boss?”
Sabian gave the Rellian, one of the bar’s more witty bouncers, a level stare.
Diirch grinned. “Gotcha, Boss. Doing it now. Charging the doc’s bill to the usual account?”
Sabian nodded, turning back to the bar. It was late, and he wanted to –
“Another patron reluctant to leave, Talano?” Holly Barberossa blocked his path, smartcam zeroing in on his face like a striking serpent. “You dealt with him harder than normal. And faster. Care to offer a quote for the story?”
Sabian met the woman’s intense stare. Holly Barberossa had been after his story since the moment he’d arrived on the station. The fact she’d been unable to dig up anything annoyed the shit out of her. It was almost enough to make Sabian smile — if he didn’t know just how good at her job she was. As it was, she’d made him wary. Thankfully, she’d stayed away from Emylie. So far.
She licked her lips, a dogged light in her brilliant blue eyes. “Haze Bouncer or Haze Brutalizer? It’s a catchy title, don’t you think?”
Sabian clenched his fists. Fuck. He didn’t need this right now. He just wanted to finish his shift and –
“Or maybe I should run with Sabian Talano. The Man with No Past Strikes Again?”
“Holly.” ’Port Security Commander Kala Decoltéir suddenly appeared beside the reporter, towering over her. “I’ve been meaning to ask you about the Nil Raja article in last week’s Observer.”
Barberossa turned to Decoltéir, irritation mingled with suspicion crossing her face.
The security commander flicked Sabian a quick look — You owe me — before she took Holly’s elbow in her grip and turned the reporter away from him.
Sabian ground his teeth harder. Kala Decoltéir was a brilliant security officer. She knew just as little about him as Barberossa did, but until recently didn’t seem bothered by the fact. Apart from offering him a job on her team when he’d first arrived, an offer he’d refused, she’d left him alone. He knew she kept an eye on him. Someone his size with his obvious skills was never going to pass under her radar, but that was it — a professional eye. If he’d known she was in Haze tonight he would have been a bit slower dealing with the Mendovian. ’Port Security Commander Kala Decoltéir would not have missed how preternaturally fast his strikes were tonight. This is what he got for losing his focus.
And if you lose your focus, Emylie could end up dead.