Monday, July 27, 2015

The Australian Ladies of Sci-Fi Romance: Yolanda Sfetsos

[This week, The Galaxy Express is profiling a number of Australian sci-fi romance authors. I'm pleased to welcome aboard Ros Baxter, Amanda Bridgeman, S.E. Gilchrist, Donna Maree Hanson, Anna Hackett, Shona Husk, Nicole Murphy, and Yolanda Sfetsos.

Each informational post will focus on one of the authors and will feature a cover and blurb. Social media links will be at your fingertips so you can learn more about these lovely ladies and their work. Enjoy!]

DASH (Recast #4) by Yolanda Sfetsos

She escaped the arena of death, but trusting him might be the death of her.

Taylor may be the Clash Arena’s most dominant—and only—female gladiator, but today she just can’t catch a break. After winning yet another brutal fight, with the arena inexplicably falling down around her ears, she jumps at the chance to escape the prison of her subterranean pit.

Instead, she finds herself knocked unconscious more times than she can count, and pursued over the edge of a sea cliff by an AI enforcer she can’t shake off her heels.

Walsh has been living a double life, masquerading as a tyrant’s enforcer while hiding his true agenda. When the despicable arena falls, there’s only one thing on his mind—saving the savage blonde who doesn’t trust him as far as she can throw him. Which is a considerable distance.

Once he convinces her he’s not out to kill her but help her survive, they form an uneasy alliance. But Taylor senses he’s keeping a secret, not just from her, but about her. And the truth will show them exactly what it is to be human.

Warning: This book contains some girl-on-girl action, a kick-ass gladiator who takes no crap, an AI who puts it all on the line, a band of misfits who aren’t as merry as they seem, cute tadpoles with sharp teeth, and grip-you-by-the-hair kisses. Strap in, interstellar turbulence is a bitch.


As she was about to step back into the chaos, she spotted a familiar face. She didn’t know his name, but the tall, lean man was an enforcer and frequented the dungeons when he thought no one was awake. She hardly slept, so she’d seen him plenty of times. He would give medicine to the wounded, or euthanized the ones who were too far gone. Sometimes he even took gladiators and they never returned. No one knew who he was or why he frequented the Pit, but Taylor suspected he was Jenks’s personal angel of death. Yet why would someone as callous as Jenks bother to send anyone to put his prisoners out of their misery?
Now the henchman stood tall beside a pretty, long-haired blonde. The woman seemed to be leading him and a pack of girls toward an adjoining corridor.
Please don’t see me. Please don’t see me.
As if he’d heard her thoughts, Enforcer swiveled his head at an unnatural angle and glared right at her. Those penetrating light eyes were so intense they shone in the gloomily lit area as they zeroed in on her. Rumor had it there was at least one Y-123 freak living here. She’d never said anything to anyone, but knew this guy was one of them.
“Hey, stop!”
Taylor turned on her heel and ran the other way. She was fast and knew she could evade him long enough to follow this tunnel to safety. Once she disappeared into the outside world he wouldn’t be able to catch her.
“Walsh, wait!” someone else yelled.
Taylor didn’t look back, instead rushed along the corridor so fast the walls blurred. She didn’t miss a step, managed to avoid every obstacle in her way. There were chunks of fallen rock, crevices on the ground, bodies lying motionless—but she leaped over everything. Her vision had faded to black so she could move along these corridors as if she were playing a game inside the blueprint of this place. She gained a lot of ground and, according to her estimation, would hit freedom in minutes.
Enforcer stayed right on her tail. She could hear his pounding steps echoing hers. No matter how hard she pushed to outrun him, she couldn’t evade him.
How do I lose this freak?
In her haste, Taylor’s concentration slid for an instant and she missed a step. Her foot caught in a crevice and sent her sprawling. The blueprint faded and she found herself back in the rocky underground. A heavy weight pressed against her spine when she hit the ground. She ate dirt and bit her tongue, tasting blood.
The asshole had caught her, and she was trapped beneath him like a useless lump.
“I told you to stop,” he shouted near her ear.
“Get the hell off me.”
“I can’t do that.”
The ground rumbled beneath her belly, like a hungry beast ready to swallow her whole.
“Get. Off.”
“I can’t do that,” he repeated, pushing his hips against her rump. “I know what you are—”
Taylor slammed her head back hard enough to smash his face. It hurt like hell but Enforcer grunted and gave her some room. She pressed both hands against the dirt so hard that her fingers broke through the earth. She used the ground as leverage to pull her legs out from underneath his, and was standing before he could respond.
She started to run but he grabbed her right arm, sending a shock through her. She cried out, ashamed to have given away any weakness to an opponent.
Arena Code 101: don’t let any asshole know you have a damn weakness or they’ll use it against you.
As predicted, Enforcer yanked on her arm hard enough to stop her from propelling forward. But she wasn’t going to let him defeat her, so she spun in a circular motion and slammed her left fist into his jaw.
The strike made him falter a few steps and free her arm, but she didn’t run. Not when he would keep trying to reel her back. She was going to treat him like she did everyone else in this gods-forsaken Pit. She dropped low and swept a leg under both of his. He lost his balance and landed flat on his back.
She kicked him in the ribs before jumping on top of him. She straddled his hips and wrapped both hands around his neck, squeezing hard. Enforcer kept his eyes pinned on hers. When she felt the erection lengthen between them, her hands loosened enough for him to react.
Ah, hell. She should’ve known. This wasn’t the first time one of her opponents had gotten hard during a fight. Some people were so screwed up, herself included. 

About the author

Wife. Mother. Writer. Bibliophile. Dreamer. Animal lover. Intrigued by the supernatural. Horror freak. Zombie enthusiast. Movie & music fan. Slave to her muse.

Yolanda lives in Sydney, Australia with her awesome husband, lovely daughter, and cheeky cat.