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When I first got the idea for Dark Horse, one of the first scenes that came to me was the one where Rose and Dav, the heroine and hero, meet. But the way the story unfolded, they meet after quite a few chapters, and by the time I came to write the scene, things had changed from my original idea. Some of the elements of the scene that I was looking forward to were no longer going to work, and didn’t make sense in the larger story arc I was constructing. I ended up writing it that way it needed to be written, and really love it the way it is. I’ll have to save some of those original ideas I had for it for another scene in another book at another time.
Excerpt from Dark Horse:
Dav peered down and saw the two craft, the larger one on its side, the smaller one right-side up, and less damaged. The gang-plank was down, and a figure stood at the bottom of it.
It turned and looked up at him.
They stared at each other for a long moment.
This was an advanced sentience. It——why was he even using that term?——she, wore close-fitting clothes in pleasing shades of dark green, and her long hair was tied back in a complicated braid. It was the color of sunlight, and he had never seen anything like it. It was hard to see the color of her eyes, but the intelligence in them was unmistakable.
She began to raise her arm, as if in greeting, and at that moment, one of Appalʼs team, to the right, got too close to the unstable edge, and the ground beneath him collapsed.
His cry bounced and echoed in the cave, and as he fell, he activated his weapon. The blast didnʼt hit her, but it hit the cave ceiling above her, and rock and soil fell down onto the ramp she was standing on, forcing her to stumble off it, as rubble blocked the entrance to her craft.
The falling soldierʼs automated grapple engaged, found purchase, and stopped his fall, jerking him to a halt. He swayed from side to side as it winched him back up.
It had only lasted a second, two at most, but Dav saw her demeanor change from cautiously friendly, to uncertain and wary.
He swore, and Appalʼs gaze cut to her subordinate. He swung easily back up next to his team
mates, but Dav didnʼt miss the slight hunch of his shoulders.
There was a moment of silence, as everyone settled down.
“Sir. You should have visual on the gryak.” Kilaʼs voice in his ear was urgent, drowned out a second later by an ear-splitting shriek as the gryak burst out of a tunnel on the other side of the underground river to the woman. It rose up on two legs, mouth snarling.
The womanʼs attention swung from Dav and the team to the latest threat, although he didnʼt see much surprise on her face. She knew the gryak was coming, he guessed, using the scanners on the explorer craft, although he saw no remote screen in her hand.
The gryak scrambled to a stop at the sight of them and went down on all fours, a long, rumbling growl coming from deep in its throat.
She called something to it, softly, and remained standing quite still. The sound froze Dav where he stood. He could feel the same reaction from Appal. It was almost music, but with her voice. He could swear it was with her voice.
He wished he could somehow mute the sound of the river running just at her feet, so he could hear her better.
The gryak snarled at her, unappeased. It lowered its head and bared its teeth, and before Dav could react, it leapt into the river, straight at her.