Bil’Tross, the epic conclusion to the Jazz Healy, Reunion Saga, will drop on November 2nd, 2021. Yep, that’s only 4 weeks away! Are you excited? Of course you are, what a silly question to ask.
To get you even more hyped, here’s the cover art, courtesy of the most excellent L.E. Badillo. It’s been a real pleasure watching L.E. bring my cover visions to life across this series. In this cover, we get to see Jazz’s face for the very first time.
Now that you’ve reveled in the cover, how’s about reading a blurb? Yeah? Yeah!
Ride the space-lanes beside Jazz Healy in this epic conclusion to the Reunion saga. Accompanied by Rainbow Ninja, Eisner, Xandra, and the Four-One-One, Jazz will battle pirates, crooked information brokers, planetary blockades, familiar faces, and more as she draws ever closer to being reunited with her father.
Will the trials and tribulations, the heartache and the joy, all be worth it in the end? Find out today!
So, it’s a lot shorter than my other blurbs (and I’m not totally sold on the second paragraph yet) but I figure if you’ve made it this far you just want a quick summary to assure you there’s gonna be plenty of what you’ve enjoyed from the first three books in this one. Right? Right! What a silly question to ask 😋
That brings us to… dun, dun, dun… brace for impact… The Excerpt…
Hmm, that sounded way more dramatic in my head.
Bil’Tross Chapter 1, Scene 1
Jazz Healy yanked aside the tattered grey curtain to find her path blocked by an overturned crate. She suppressed a sigh. She was deep within He-san Station, picking her way through a seemingly endless maze of shops and homes. Eisner crowded into the makeshift room beside her and tugged the curtain closed, shutting off a tiny yet exorbitantly-priced tech store.
A mound of grubby blankets beside the crate obscured a snoring, gaunt-faced man. Jazz coughed. With a start, the man opened his eyes and heaved himself upright. One of his pupils was cloudy and a ragged scar stretched across his bare torso, running from his left shoulder to the right of his belly button.
“Giggs?” Jazz asked him.
He inclined his head towards the yellow curtain on his other side.
Jazz nodded. “Thanks.”
“Got any spare cash?” the man croaked.
Jazz did, though not in local currency. “Only a couple Commonwealth coins.”
“They’ll do.” A hand holding a chipped plate appeared from within the blankets.
Jazz dug two coins out of a pocket in her cargos and flicked them across. Both bounced off the plate but the man made no move to retrieve them.
“Thank you, kind lady,” he said.
The scent of charred meat and spices tickled Jazz’s nostrils. She edged around the man, left hand resting on the butt of her holstered gun, and dragged the next curtain out of the way. A woman squatted in front of a giant, steaming pot, scraping food into it from a chopping board. Beside the woman, a man in a sweat-stained singlet worked a grill, watched by a pair of spacers in greasy coveralls. They both wore guns on each hip, their caps pulled low over their eyes.
This was a more open area of the station, the ceilings high, the hot air not so close and heavy. Apart from being a neutral zone for all the criminal enterprises in this part of the Independent Fringes, He-san Station also orbited very close to its star. The powers that be didn’t have to keep the temperature quite so warm, of course, but perhaps they liked to remind everybody of the station’s precarious position.
A busy food court operated on Jazz’s left, the center space taken up by benches and tables assembled from leftover pallets and other scraps. Smoky haze made it difficult to take in all the details. Straight ahead and to her right, curtains of varying colors and density covered more passageways, giving no clue as to what lay beyond them.
“I think that guy gave us bum directions,” Eisner said.
Jazz shrugged. “They were about as specific as my request.”
A flash – flashes – of yellow from the crush of people at the far end of the food court caught her attention. The jackets of a group moving through the masses, most everybody giving them space. Jazz squinted, dialed her enhanced optics up a few notches. Each jacket had the same emblem on the upper arm. The outline of a bent-winged fighter, swooping.
The universe stilled, the thudding of Jazz’s heart thunder in her ears. In an instant her mind rewound to when she was sixteen and aboard a commercial freighter above a frontier planet, alongside her father in a similarly smoke-filled corridor. They were exchanging gunfire with a trio who’d hired on as crew but now revealed themselves to be something else entirely. Each of the traitors wore a yellow bandana over the lower half of their face, the outline of a bent-winged fighter, swooping, covering their noses and mouths.
“What is it, Jazz?” Eisner said.
She pointed, unable to turn away. “Proof we’re on the right track.”
Eisner shaded his eyes with a hand, the underarm of his suit jacket wet with sweat. “The yellow guys?”
He took a step forward. “We should introduce ourselves.”
The fear of an abandoned child manifested in Jazz’s gut. She swallowed. “No. That’s going too far back in the history books. Probably not even the same people. The lifespan of a pirate isn’t particularly long.”
“Your call,” Eisner said. He turned to the woman by the pot. “Giggs?”
She stopped stirring for a brief moment to point at a faded orange curtain directly ahead.
Jazz took a deep breath. She needed to focus. She had ventured onto He-san to speak to the famed information broker Durl Giggs. If anybody out here in the Fringes could tell her where her father was now it would be Giggs. And that was what she wanted to know. Dad’s current whereabouts. She couldn’t allow herself to be distracted from that objective, even if the faint – it had been thirteen years since the attack, after all – possibility existed that one or two of those yellow-jacketed thugs shopping for chow down the way had been present at Yeoman’s Harvest.
To give herself an extra moment to clear her head, she opened a comms channel via her neural rig to her ship. “You copy, Xandra?”
“Yeah,” the kid’s voice came back. “What’s wrong?”
“Just checking in.”
“Well, don’t worry about us. We’re fine.”
“Okay.” Jazz cut the connection.
Eisner, hooked into the conversation via his own neurals, grinned. “Cocky one, ain’t she?”
Jazz smiled. “She’s all right.”
She had officially left fourteen-year-old Xandra in charge of both the ship and the other kids: Breem, Khasti, Loom and Maria. Really, though, it was Rainbow Ninja – Jazz’s waist-high, muscular, red-and-black striped cat – who would ensure the youngsters didn’t do anything stupid.
Hopefully. The cat had been a lot less responsible since the arrival of the children.
The man laboring over the grill pointed at them with his spatula and said in thickly accented Trade, “You want special? Best deal on station. Two bowl driski noodle and vegetable, ten klait.”
“Maybe later,” Jazz said. That did sound like a good deal. Ten klait was about what the Commonwealth coins she’d given to the man in the room behind were worth. They wouldn’t have bought a pair of noodles back in Commonwealth space, let alone a full meal for two.
“Sure, sure,” the man said. “Don’t forget, okay? Ten klait, big bowl.”
Setting thoughts of food to one side, Jazz strode towards the faded orange curtain and pushed through it. Her neural rig tingled. Scan shield. Very well-disguised but definitely present.
This might be the place, then.
No point engaging in any more preamble, is there? You want the book, I know you want the book, so where can you preorder the book from?
Here you go: https://books2read.com/biltross
As of posting this, only Kindle and Google are live but as Bil’Tross becomes available at other stores the link above will update.
Don’t delay, preorder Bil’Tross today!
Oh, and if somehow you haven’t read the first three books in the series (yeah, I’m confused as to how that could be possible, too), then you probably want to get started right away. Follow this awesome link to acquire Miltan Epsilon, the first book in the series, free from your bookstore of choice. Free. Did I mention that book 1 is free? No. Well, it’s free. Really, really free.
Also, if you support me on Buy Me a Coffee, I’ll gift you Chak’r’Das, book 2, as a show of appreciation. I’ll do the same if you become an S.C. Mae Book Club Member. If you want to learn more about supporting/membership, head on over to my Buy Me a Coffee page and toggle between Membership and Support on the right-hand side to see how you can support me and what perks membership offers.
Catch you all soon, punks, erm, peeps!