Sneak Peek – Coming Soon – The Swords of Gregara – RIZA

This is a Sneak Peek of book 2 in The Swords of Gregara series, RIZA.  The first book was The Swords of Gregara – JENALA.  I hope you enjoy this little peek into my newest book.   If you leave me a comment I’ll put your name in a drawing for a paperback copy of Centauri Dawn.  The first book in my Centauri Series – Cynthia Woolf


“Ow!  Are you trying to kill me, Doc?”

The man was understandably nervous, but he had to allow her to set his leg.  She knew he was in a lot of pain.  The bone stuck out through the skin and he had lost a lot of blood, but he needed to relax so she could set the leg.

“I haven’t even started yet.  Stop being a baby.  Here we go.  You’ll feel a little pinch in your neck, then count backwards from one hundred.”

“Ouch!  Little pinch!”

“Count, now!”

“One hundred, ninety-nine, ninety-eight, ninety-seven, ninety….”

“Finally.”  Riza worked quickly, not sure just how long he would stay out.  She opened his leg, surgically implanted two kalcion rods and several screws to secure them to the bones.  It would have been so much easier with a med-tech unit.  But there were none on Gregara.  They weren’t allowed.  There were many things on the other civilized planets that weren’t allowed here, like blasters, but for some reason blasters always seemed to make it through the customs process.  In Ruciem it seemed that as many people carried blasters as carried the traditional kalcion sword.

Most of the planet preferred to keep their customs, barbaric as they were.  They used swords, not blasters and preferred the body to heal itself without help from technology.  It made her work much more difficult.  A broken leg like this one could have been healed in a few hours in a med-tech unit.

She stitched everything closed.  Doing surgeries like this one allowed her to keep her skills sharp.  It may not be necessary, but this man would have the smallest stitches ever put on a leg repair.  Her skills as a plastic surgeon might not be usable here, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t keep her stitching up to par.

With her patient now awake and groggy, Riza went to talk to the next of kin.  There was only one man in the waiting room.  An extremely attractive man, if you liked handsome in a rugged sort of way.  He hadn’t shaved recently and his inky black hair was on the long side, tied back with a leather strap.  It suited him.

He stood as she approached.  Well over six feet tall, he towered over her own five feet, ten inch height.

“Mr. Remaul?” she said holding out her hand.

“Yes.”   His hand engulfed hers.

“I’m Riza Lamrona.”

“Doctor.  How is Tarin?”

“He’ll be fine, but he’s going to have to stay in bed for a week or so before he’s ready to travel.  I want to make sure the bones start to mend properly.  Can you arrange that?”

“Of course.  We have rooms at Wardson’s Bedstay.”

She nodded.  “I wish there was a hospital here.  A med-tech unit would be even better but….”

“I guess they don’t think they need one.”

“Well, he will heal fine, but it could be so much faster and better.  You’re not from around here, are you?”

“No.  I came from Alerkan a couple of years ago.  And you, where are you from?”

“I’m from many places.  Alerkan is one of them.”  Riza retreated to her work.  She didn’t want to make small talk.  Her secrets were too dangerous.  “Here are some pills to help with the pain.  Have Tarin take them.  Don’t let him try to ‘tough’ it out.  Sarina Wardson is used to my sending her patients to care for.  I’ll check on him in the morning.”

“What time do you want him here?”

“Oh, I’m staying with Sarina myself until I find a place of my own.  I’ll come by before I head to work.”


“Yes.  Um. Well.  It was nice to meet you.”  Riza wasn’t usually tongue-tied but she seemed to be with this man.

“You, too.  Perhaps, since you are staying at Wardson’s, I’ll see you at dinner tonight.”

“Unless I get an emergency call, you can count on it.”

Darick was struck with the seemingly plain woman with the amazing blue eyes.  The little doctor thought she could hide behind her tight braid and glasses.  She was wrong.  There was no hiding her soft brown hair or clear blue eyes.  Eyes so pale a blue you could see the black rim around the iris.  Hair with natural blond and red highlights, so it looked like a flash of fire running through it.

Or her sexy body.  He shouldn’t be interested.  Should let her keep her secrets.  He had secrets of his own, but his past kicked in and suddenly he was the Star Patrol lead detective again, digging into the past of a suspect.

There was something about the doctor that was familiar, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.  Dr. Riza Lamrona was in hiding.  And not doing a very good job at it.  Perhaps at dinner, the picture would become clearer.


Riza took extra care before going down to dinner.  Extra care to make sure she looked as plain as possible.  She pulled her hair back into a tight bun.  Put on zero makeup, leaving her complexion pale with no lip color.

She wore her shirt buttoned to the top, with a short brown jacket and baggy brown pants.  It was nothing like the beautiful soft jewel toned jumpsuits and short, skin tight dresses she wore in her previous life.  These baggy nondescript clothes would never have been worn by Dr. Meriza Lonettala.  But she wasn’t that person anymore.

She went to dinner hoping to see Mr. Remaul and at the same time terrified she would.  If Sarina didn’t made such a fuss when she missed dinner, she might have skipped.  Then again, her curiosity was in high gear.  She didn’t want to miss the opportunity to assuage it.

Darick Remaul was the most attractive man she’d met in years and that was saying something.  He was nothing like the men she’d known on Centauri or Alerkan and he was as different as night and day to those she’d met since coming to Gregara a year ago.

He was strong, manly but not oppressive.  It was clear, at least to her, that he was a protector.  It didn’t really matter.  When his friend was cleared for travel, Darick would be gone and she’d never see him again.

Wardson’s was full.  There were ten rooms so it was small enough that Sarina could run it with only two employees.  A maid and the finest chef in all of Ruciem.

Riza arrived downstairs before the rest of the guests.

“Can I help with anything?” she asked Sarina.

Sarina Wardson had become Riza’s friend, not just her landlady.  Riza was her only long term guest and after nearly a year there, Riza didn’t feel like a guest anymore.  This felt more like home than any place she’d been.  Safer.

There were a couple of new guests tonight.  In addition to Darick, Tarin and herself, guests included a couple traveling through on their way to Sepiwa.  and Santro and Jenala Baltin with their baby Kreston.  It was time for his six month check-up.  Lastly, there were two single men, who said they were miners looking for work.

Darick might be able to help them.  Santro and Jenala elected to keep the Delasa Mine a small operation.  They didn’t want their valley over-run with fortune hunters, trespassers or miners looking for work.  The strike at the mine was kept as quiet as possible, no thanks to Zlaten Vandalar.  Not only did he try to kill Jenala, twice, wounding her both times, but he talked to anyone who would listen and told them anything and everything he knew about the mine.

Fortunately, the only ones he could tell were the other inmates and the jailers on the prison planet, Solara, where he was incarcerated.  Unfortunately for Santro and Jenala, some of those guards believed him and came looking for the mine.  They’d had to post guards of their own at the top of the pass to keep people out of the valley.  Those that got through, ran screaming back home as soon as they ran into Lottie, the snarlot.  She was Jenala’s pet and struck fear into everyone, friend and foe alike.

Lottie was eleven feet of snarling, chirping beast.  Dark brown fur covered her from her pointy, tiny eared, beaked head to her hoofed feet.  She had a whip of a tail covered with hair interspersed with quills.  Get too close and she’d shoot a quill, closer still and she’d snap her tail and take a hand off without having to let loose a single quill.

If her tail wasn’t dangerous enough, her beak was filled with razor sharp teeth that could rip an arm off with one bite.   And to top this all off, the damn thing purred. Very few people knew that a snarlot purrs because very few people cared to make friends with one.  Lottie was an exception.  Snarlots don’t generally make good pets.

Riza still couldn’t get near her.  And the first time she saw Santro and Jenala leave Kreston alone with Lottie, it had scared Riza half to death, but it was the only time she’d heard Lottie purr.  The snarlot doted on little Kreston like he was her own baby.  She’d been ‘parked’ outside Riza’s office while Santro and Jenala unloaded the kalcion bags from her to take to the exchange next door.

The large dinner table they sat at seated twenty, though there weren’t that many tonight.  The miners at the table didn’t know one another.  One was very anxious to find work.  “I have a wife and three children to support.  The last mine I worked at closed down.  If I find work, I can send for them.”

“I’m sorry you’ve had to be separated from your family.  It can’t be easy,” said Riza.

“Thank you.  Hopefully it’s a short separation.”

Riza nodded then turned to the second man.  He was looking, no, staring, at her and she didn’t like it at all.  Uncomfortable, she put her brave face on and started to say something.  He beat her to it.

“What do you do?” he asked of Riza.

“I’m the town doctor.  Actually, I’m the province doctor.”  She said, glad of her disguise.

“No specialty?”

Riza shook her head.  “General medicine.  That’s the only specialty I need out here.”

“Surely there is something you excel at.  Surgery, maybe?”

“There wasn’t much call for surgical specialties when I was in school.  Not with the med-tech units available.”

“So you aren’t from here?”

He knew.  He knew who Riza was.  She’d have to leave again.  Run again.  “No, I’m from Sepiwa originally.”

Darick noticed Riza’s color rise when the second miner started grilling her.  He was not a miner, of that Darick was sure.  He had no calluses on his hands and was too clean.  Real kalcion miners always had a bit of kalcion under their nails.  It was nearly impossible to get out.  He could see it in Santro’s and Jenala’s nails and in those of the other miner at the table, but not in this man’s.  Whether he was law enforcement or private investigator he didn’t know, but he would bet he was a malitin hunter.  Someone had put a malitin on Riza’s head.  The lady doctor was in trouble.  All his instincts went on high alert.

He should stay out of it but he knew he wouldn’t  She tried to hide her fear as well as she hid her beauty–not at all successfully, yet she thought she was doing a great job, with her plain clothes and pulled back hair and glasses.

“You ask a lot of questions, stranger,” said Darick, coming to her rescue.  “How about answering a few?”

The miner narrowed his eyes.  “What do you want to know?”


Riza went directly from the dining hall to her bedroom.  She packed enough clothes to last a week, including her wheebee fur coat.  It was the softest, warmest thing she owned.  The only remnant of her previous life.  The only necessary item she’d owned.  It would keep her warm in the snow and cold.

She was amazed at how much stuff she’d amassed in such a short time.  From the small things like the earrings from Santro and Jenala, in gratitude for the successful birth of Kreston, to the new wave vision she’d bought just two days ago.  She slid her hand across the top of it.  She’d enjoyed it for the short time she’d owned it.  It was nice to be able to relax in her own room and watch for news on herself.

She’d take the earrings, but the other stuff would be left for Sarina to do with as she wanted.  Maybe her next guests would enjoy it.

She wrote a note to Sarina, thanking her for everything but that her family on Alerkan needed her and she must leave right away.  She left by the back door.

“Going somewhere?” said a deep voice from the shadows.

Riza jumped before she recognized the voice.  “You scared me.  Do you always skulk in the dark waiting for unsuspecting women?”

“No, and you should be scared.  Ragnar Bengat has a 25 million beras malitin on your head.  Why?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about.”

Darick grabbed her by the shoulders forcing her to look at him.  “Do you really think you can escape Bengat without help?  Why is he looking for you?  Were you lovers?”

She pulled away from him.  His touched seared her, as if he’d left actual marks on her skin.  It still radiated through her body.  “No.  We were most certainly not lovers.”

“Then why?  You’re not leaving until you tell me, so you might as well start or we’ll be here all night and I know that isn’t what you want.”

Riza backed away from him.  He followed her, not giving her any distance between them.  She briefly wondered if he felt the attraction that she did.  “It’s really none of your business Mr. Remaul.  Now, if you’d please let me go, I’ll be on my way.”

“I told you doctor.  I know who you are.  I remember seeing you on the wave.  Even under all your baggy clothes and glasses I remember what you looked like.”

“No.  That’s not possible.”

“Not for the average person, no it isn’t.  But I’m not your average person.  My background in law enforcement taught me to look below the surface.  So now,” he backed away a little, giving her some room.  “Do you want to tell me what this is all about?”

Riza held back a sob.  It had been so long since she’d been able to confide in anyone and now was as good a time as any.  With malatin hunters right here, Darick Remaul might be her only hope of escape.  “All right I’ll tell you what you want to know.  It doesn’t matter now.  If you turn me in or the other man does.  Bengat will have what he wants.  Me.”

8 thoughts on “Sneak Peek – Coming Soon – The Swords of Gregara – RIZA

  1. Great start, Cindy! I want to know more about the mysterious Darick and I’m rooting for Riza to escape. I’m intrigued by the universe they live in!
    Stephanie Queen

    • Yes, CJ is one of my wonderful critique partners so she’s seen all of this book and the one before it The Swords of Gregara – Jenala. I’m so glad you like my animals, CJ, I always get a kick out of making you laugh.

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