About Grand Master's Game:
Cracks in the portal web threaten galactic civilization, and suspicions fall on the mysterious Grand Masters with their immense psychic powers. Once, there were twelve Grand Masters, humans and aliens, on the Council. Now there are eleven. One was killed when the young pawn, Violet, rescued her Grand Master, Athanor, from the Red Queen’s dungeon. The Red Queen fled the fight and she lurks out of sight, regenerating her energies.
Athanor devises a risky plan to expose his enemies on the Council and force the Red Queen into the open. His strategy will use Violet’s empathic skills as his secret weapon. She wrestles with her erratic talents and doubts about their unequal partnership. In their search for revenge, they must contend with the portal crisis, psychic traps and hostile aliens. In the inevitable battle of Grand Masters, Violet and Athanor each will face their worst nightmares. What is the sacrifice for victory?
Phineas stood up politely when they entered, and Violet hid her amusement at the contrast between the two men. Even disguised and shielded, Athanor exuded an air of authority tinged with menace, while the Professor was a bright-eyed academic brimming with curiosity. Phineas straightened and stared at his visitors. Usually, he was the authority in his office. He was both disgruntled and curious about the grim man examining his books. He noticed Violet gazing at the picture, and waved a hand at the landscape, saying, “It is a scene from my home planet of Phylox alpha.”
Violet was admiring the picture, while Athanor ran his finger over the spines of the books to read their titles, when they heard quick footsteps in the corridor.
Tessa stepped into the office and cried in her nervous high-pitched voice, “Oh, Phineas, I didn’t realize you had visitors.” Her beautiful face brightened on recognizing her friend, Violet, and Tessa ran to hug her.
Athanor frowned at the interruption and the door slammed shut, leaving an unnatural silence.
Tessa stared intently at his saturnine face, which radiated confident pride despite his disguise. Her eyes widened in shocked insight and she yelped, “Violet, he’s your Grand Master!”
They all stared at Athanor. His figure appeared to grow taller and darker. The room filled with psi pressure and blue rays flared from his unveiled eyes. Simultaneously, the clicks from the box sped up until their volume reached a shattering crescendo. Athanor’s gaze flicked to the box and the clicks halted abruptly.
Tessa gasped and clutched at her chest.
Violet called, “Stop! Mute your power or Tessa will faint!” The psi pressure lessened and his eyes dimmed to a faint blue glow.
The Professor paled beneath his tan. Tessa squeaked and fled to the comforting arms of her fiancé.
“It is all right, Tessa,” Phineas said in a shaky voice. “He does not mean to harm us.”
“You’d be dead!” The Grand Master’s mental snarl reached Violet, and she restrained the urge to give him a mental kick. In her opinion, a friendly approach would serve him better. The two people trembling behind the desk were not the enemies he wished to crush in a blast of power.
The Grand Master pointed a finger at the metal box on the desk and demanded, “What is the purpose of that noisy contraption?”
Phineas gulped, “It’s my invention. An instrument for detecting psychic power.” He patted the shiny top of the box. “Did you break it?”
“You are fortunate. I merely located the off switch,” Athanor said. The blue beams from his eyes played over the box.
“How could you touch the switch from the other side of the office?” Tessa’s voice was shrill.
The Professor gulped again and muttered, “My dear Tessa, he is a Grand Master.”
“Just so. I suggest you keep your detector well away from Council Hall.” The room vibrated with the ominous undertone.
Violet giggled. She caught Athanor’s blue gaze and sent, “Show off!”
He tossed her an image of the box exploding on exposure to the full power of twelve Grand Masters.
About Aurora Springer:
Aurora has published science fiction romances in two series, two novellas and short stories. Her first series, Atrapako on Eden, describes the interactions of humans on the terraformed planet of Eden with scaled aliens from the hostile planet of Vkani. She has published two books in this series: The Lady is Blue and Dragons of Vkani. Her second series is Grand Master’s Trilogy. Book 1, Grand Master’s Pawn, was published in March 2015. Book 2, Grand Master’s Game, is available for pre-order and release on July 17th. Her short story, Gifts of Jangalore, is set in the Grand Masters’ Universe. Her standalone novellas are: A Tale of Two Colonies and Captured by the Hawk.