Together, Sahnassa de Orturu and Vanarra de Gonari brought about one of the most spectacular rescues in the history of planet Thuria – saving almost fifteen hundred from an icy death high in the Yarvea mountains! Upon returning home, they are pulled into a frightening world of family espionage and deception, Sahnassa and Vanarra must discover who is plotting against them, or risk losing everything they have, even their very lives!

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15 Chapters

421 Pages


Together, Sahnassa de Orturu and Vanarra de Gonari brought about one of the most spectacular rescues in the history of planet Thuria – saving almost fifteen hundred from an icy death high in the Yarvea mountains! Upon returning home, they struggle with the consequences of that momentous event and their new status as heroines, loved and adored by thousands.

Not everyone agrees, however. Forces within Sahnassa’s own house move against her while a veiled enemy tries to discredit, dishonor, and ultimately destroy Vanarra. At the same time, the predictions of the mysterious alien Theo are coming true. Records detailing the horrific deeds of house de Caterra have been discovered and stolen, and their exposure threatens to push the whole of Thuria into complete chaos!

Pulled into a frightening world of family espionage and deception, Sahnassa and Vanarra must discover who is plotting against them, or risk losing everything they have, even their very lives!

Chapter 1


Tear-stained fur.

Small drops of suffering landing on an office desk.

Water-filled eyes distorting a viewer’s images into useless blurs.

A heart asunder grieving in lonely silence.

Tender lips quivering to hold back sobs.

A tail limp and lifeless.

Aching in empty loss.

Sahnassa de Orturu

– in misery.

            Her pain and grief were all for Theo de Allarrae.  It didn’t matter that she knew what they had was only to last for a short time.  He was magnificent in her eyes, and he always would be.  He had bestowed upon her a lifetime of love – of all types – in their brief moments together.  Now, he was gone, as he had warned – as he had promised.  She was back in her dull, normal life – alone.

            The young Nephti struggled to reconcile a life that had, before, pleased her more than adequately with that exact same life lived now.  These were the same paths and courses she always travelled – they had not changed.  The desk, the viewer, the LineCom – they were all the same.  It was she – she who had walked paw in paw with him through such danger and adventure and grandeur and love and fantasy.  It was she who had changed.  Knowing that did not help.  Reasoning served as but poor comfort.  Being returned to her old life seemed like a cruel punishment in her heart – a heart left wondering why some magnificent souls fly timeless amongst the stars while others must stay rooted to the ground like withering grass.

            Slowly, she would gather strength and resolve to fulfill her promise to him – to lead a rich and wonderful life with what she now had – a life saved from death.  Her honor would chide her for selfish thoughts.  Her worshipful memory of him demanded that she try to heed his plea that she not ruin her future because of him.  She would restore herself after grief had been wrestled down.  She would again attempt to work, safe for the moments her mind was occupied. 

            Only a small straying of attention – a recollection dropped into her thoughts by a word or picture or action around her – was all that it took to drag her back down again.  Her mind would pull her back into wonderful memories, moments of bliss, moments of contentment, and moments of joy.  Then, she would hear the squeak of her boss Vanarra’s chair in the next room, smell the cleaning solution used by the maintenance staff, or hear the banter of another employee.  Again, the clouds would cover her in dark grief.

            This, her first sol back at “Celebrations by Vanarra,” was proving to be far tougher than she ever thought it would.  Sahnassa wondered if the others, almost fifteen hundred other Thurians rescued during the Meeting Den incident, were having similar problems.  To have gone through a severe quake, a dangerous fire, and a terrifying explosion only to then realize they were all marooned on the top of a bitterly cold mountain in damaged buildings with no escape – these were the experiences that could produce a life-time of nightmares, even though things had worked out and everyone was saved. 

            She wondered if they were all doing what she was:  staring into space, falling apart, and pulling themselves back together, all while trying to appear as if they were getting on with their normal lives.  Many times she would look at the watch around her wrist, read the time, and then remember exactly what she was doing as they feverishly tried to evacuate the isolated resort before it became an icy death trap. 

            Looking at the watch brought back her own pain, too, for it was what Theo had done to it and through it that made it special to her.  After rescuing and restoring Sahnassa and Vanarra, he placed them back on the mountain.  That watch, subtly modified from its original state, was how he had first spoken to her, afterwards.  Theo had to use subtle tricks like that because he had judged Vanarra far too vulnerable to the panic and fear of knowing she had been taken aboard a spacecraft not only from another planet or another galaxy, but from beyond their own universe. 

            Sahni (Vanarra’s pet name for her best friend) had not only been deemed capable of coping with such a jolt to her reality but also capable of being his covert agent as the rescue played itself out.  Warnings about aftershocks from the quake that had caused the tragedy, changes to the rescue plan, or even phrases of encouragement appeared as if projected onto the crystal of the watch.  She remembered the almost playful words flashing across its surface.  Now, there was nothing.  Now, it was just an ordinary watch.  The tears came once again.

            So absorbed was she in the cycles of grief that she didn’t realize her boss had been standing quietly behind her for some time, almost a full pass.  The Faelnar Vulpi female was arguably not just her boss, but her best friend in the world.  On that cold mountain, they had survived together, apart and alone, and by some accounts, they had been the key to saving everyone else.  Vanarra’s paw, reddish brown tinged in gold highlights like much of the rest of her, rested on Sahnassa’s dark purple shoulder, grasping it just enough to send the right messages – love, concern, and support.  Sahnassa looked up with her tear-filled indigo eyes, already knowing who it was.  “Hi,” she said in a sad whisper.

            “Having a tough time?” Vanarra asked her friend.

            “A bit … (sniff) … I’m just missing someone … really bad.”

            Taking a seat on the corner of Sahnassa’s desk, Vanarra thought for a moment.  “Theo?”

            “Yeah,” Sahni answered, looking away.  “We … we really got close … in a short time.  He was special to me, Van.”

            “He was special; there’s no denying it.  It still bothers me that he left you … just hanging.  He left you with no way to call him, no way to talk to him?” she asked softly.

            “No.  (sniff)  He … he said from the beginning that he couldn’t stay.  I knew that, and I understood it in my head.  I … I guess I didn’t understand it in my heart.  It’s not his fault.”  She hung her head and sighed.  “I don’t think I’ll ever feel the same way about anyone else.”

            Van smiled and ruffled the fur atop Sahni’s head.  “You never do, kit, you never do.  Take it from someone who’s been in more than her fair share of relationships – every time is different.”

            “What do I do, Van?  I can’t stop thinking about him,” she pleaded.

            “Remember the good times, for sure.  Be grateful for the moments you shared.  Learn from the bad times, like now.  Then, go take long walks, get angry, cry, and … wait for awhile.  Later, just be open to something and someone new.  Take some comfort that good things are waiting on the path ahead of you.”  She patted Sahni on the shoulder and looked down on her with the affection of an older sister.  “I know you can make it, kit.  You’re a survivor.”

            “Thanks, Van.  You, too.”

            Van chuckled.  “I guess we proved that together, at least.  You know, when I came over and saw you, I first thought you were looking at some of the TransNet mail we’ve been receiving.  There are a few idiots out there for sure, I’m warning you, but most of what I’ve been reading is simply amazing, very sweet.  I’ve cried a little myself this morning, reading it.”

            Sahni cocked her head to the side as she realized something.  “Oh, I … I’ve been here for intervals and haven’t even looked at my mail!  I—”  She clicked open the program and was stunned.  “Wow!”

            “Yep,” Van agreed, looking over her shoulder at the long list of messages.  “About six hundred was how many I had, too.  So far, I’ve got notes from sixteen dames, five matriarchs, and I’m not even halfway through it all!”

            “What are they about?” Sahnassa asked, scanning the headers and sorting the list with a few deft clicks on the keyboard.  “Thanks, good wishes?”

            “Yes, but way more than that, too.  I was coming to ask you if you’d seen the message from that father in the de Kestrick family.  There was a little kit who was terminally ill and her father was one of the ones at the Meeting Den.  If we hadn’t … if there hadn’t have been a –”  Van swallowed and sniffed, starting to cry.  “She never would have been able to see him again before she – but she did see him, one last time.  It meant the world to both of them.”

            “Oh, Van,” Sahnassa replied in tears, standing up to hug her friend.

            “I know … I know!  I’m … I’m going to print them all,” she said, trying to recover.  “I want to put them in a book or something, just for myself.”

            Sahnassa sat back down and looked through more of the headers.  “Oh, I’m so glad you came in here!  Reading these will help me get some perspective.  Gosh, I can’t believe it!  I’m doing it again!” Sahnassa exclaimed, stunned by a moment of realization, a moment that was an echo of a time earlier.

            “Doing what again?” Van asked, curious.

            It had been a very private, very hard moment in Sahnassa’s past that no one else knew about, when she had chosen to put aside her infatuation with the mysterious Theo and concentrate on saving others.  Sahnassa shook off the spell that remembrance cast over her and answered, “I’m sulking in my own wants and feeling sorry for myself, and stuff like this is happening!  There was so much more to this than just my lost fantasy.  Theo’s not so important that I should lose sight of what everyone else went through.”

            “True, but I think I’ll still give him credit.  He helped with the rescue, too, and he helped me, in ways I don’t think I can fully appreciate yet.”

            “What’s this one?” Sahni asked, crinkling up her nose as if she was smelling something foul.

            “Oh yeah, that’s the stuff Theo warned me about.  Everyone wants our story now, wants us for paid speaking engagements or wants us to endorse their products – useless parasites, scavengers all.  I want nothing to do with them, and you shouldn’t either!  I don’t think I could live with myself if I stooped to that level.”

            “Me neither,” Sahnassa agreed, as she scrolled down to a new grouping of messages.  “Although, it looks like we’re getting a lot more catering inquiries than usual.”

            “Oh,” Vanarra responded brightly, turning her head to the side a little coquettishly.  “Now those are fair game!  I’ll take those with a smile!”  Her PawLink beeped, and as she reached down into her pockets for it, she explained, “It’s probably Tana.  I asked her to call me when she got settled in that lair by the orphanage.  Oh!  It’s Buck!”

            “Go ahead and take it.  I’ll be okay.  Thanks, Van.”


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Star Rating

It's a great chapter in the saga, and leaves the reader wanting to see the next book's events all the sooner.

Reader and Reviewer

This is one of those books that got me completely hooked. I am hooked on everything this author writes and on this entire series of books.

Reader and Reviewer

Massive amounts of character and universe development, but still, like the previous one, the writing is engaging and just couldn't put it down.

Reader and Reviewer

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