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Desert Flame

By JC Hay

From Pets in Space 7

Desert Flame

Cerridwen Lewis has spent the best years of her life chasing xeno-archeological glory, with no regrets. Now she’s close to a breakthrough discovery, something that will prove the theories she’s been researching for her whole career. Or would, but the planet itself seems dead set on stopping her. And if that wasn’t dangerous enough, the dig’s security team is headed up by a Malebrank soldier whose easy smile worms its way under her skin with surprising ease.

Kalthosk should be happy to babysit a team of scientists on a mostly uninhabited backwater planet. With no local fauna, and plenty of wide-open space for his pet scythewing to fly,  it’s the perfect job to unwind and let the credits roll in. Trouble is, the lead professor is a grumpy, beautiful Terran who fires all his thrusters and makes him reconsider his life choices.

Suddenly, everything’s going wrong, and a sandstorm has cut his team and the scientists off from the main base. Worse, the reports about a lack of wildlife appear to be woefully incorrect.

Now he and Cerri must rely on each other to trudge across a rocky waste, survive brutal storms, evade hungry predators, and find a way to get help. And the hardest challenge of all—they have to survive the ordeal with their hearts intact.

Originally published in the Pets in Space 7 Anthology.

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