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Here's a Sneak Peek at Double Cross, part of the Smuggle Life series set inside the Athena Lee Universe!


The ships alarms blared as Stephen rinsed his face in his quarters. “Just one morning of peace and quiet is all I want,” Steve said to himself.

The alarms continued to blare as Steve did his best to ignore them. He knew that made him a bad Marine. Not that he was one anymore and hadn’t for a while. But, still, it pained him just a little to ignore them. For the most part, on the Rossi, alarms meant little. Not like his days as a Marine. He was a smuggler now, and warnings were an everyday occurrence.

Doing his best to ignore them, Steve went about his regular routine. Even though he wasn’t a Marine, he kept to the standards. The Marine was in great shape and had just finished his morning workout. Now, he was just finishing up his shave, his face smooth and fresh.

The one good thing about being a smuggler versus a Marine was that he got to pick his own uniform. Not that he didn’t like the one that was chosen for him, but it got old wearing the same thing over and over. On the Rossi, Steve’s uniform consisted of cargo pants that let him move easily and a t-shirt. It allowed for ease of movement.

“Kane,” sounded through his room. Steve didn’t like it when the captain of the crew used his last name. She did it to annoy him.

Steve hit his own communications in the room. “Yes, Rea.”

That was her first name, and she hated it when Steve used that. Like him, she was the only other member of the crew who had served. She had been in the Navy for several years but didn’t get the shaft like Steve.

“Kane, you know I don’t like that.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Steve continued to dress. “What do you want, Dodge?”

“We have a ship inbound, and it’s flagging us.”

Steve groaned. This wasn’t something they needed him for. It wasn’t like they didn’t have ships inbound all the time. That was the life on this vessel, always running scared and avoiding both pirates and the Navy.

“You don’t need me.” Steve ran his fingers through his short hair. The last thing he wanted to do was deal with a ship, though it might be a nice break from the boredom on the ship recently. The last real action, Steve missed. That angered him, and it had cost them a ship mate. It had only been a month, but it was a long month since Taylor went missing, since the kidnapping.

“Get up here,” Captain Dodge said.

“Fine. In five.” Steve shut off the communications. He would make it up to the bridge in no time but didn’t see the need. She and the others could handle it.

Out in the hallway, the alarms continued. It wasn’t like every person on the ship didn’t already know. The crew wasn’t large. Including Steve and Rea, there were seven, and that was including the CATT and droid.

Speaking of the CATT, a robotic cat walked down the hall. Steve turned to it. “Nicole.”

The CATT stopped. “Yes?”

“Can you tell me what is going on?”

Nicole stopped and started to lick her tail. Steve gave up trying to understand Nicole a long time ago. She never could tell him why she did that. It was just so strange to see a robotic cat doing things a real one would do. Nicole reminded Steve of a Turkish Angora.

Once done, she looked back up at him. “I know but can’t tell you.”

Steve groaned. She was loyal to the captain and someone or something else. Steve was sure about it. He’d tried once to get it out of her. That ended badly for him. His alarm in the room had gone off at all hours of the night for a month.

Making his way through the ship, Steve ran into another of the crew members. She barely noticed his and his hulking frame. Parker was the youngest member. At first, it troubled Steve that she was here since she was so young, just seventeen, but he had grown used to her. Her blonde hair was short. She was petite and able to fit into small paces. That made her extremely useful. Today, the kid wore jeans and a sweatshirt. Her wardrobe constantly shifted, never the same for long.

“Oh, sorry,” she said as she nearly ran into him.

“No worries.”

She continued on. Now, Steve was intrigued. What could be going on?


  1. I am looking for Shades of Learning sequel. A while back as I recall you said it would e out soon. Please advise if/when.

  2. TS Paul responded to the same question from me in a different thread. At that time he said he was looking for another author to work with on that sequel. As to DoubleCross, I love the idea of other series in the Athena Lee universe. Also, the CATTs add a bit of AI fun. I didn't buy it for 2 reasons: $2.99 seemed too much for 104 pages and I prefer longer books (285-375+ page books). Love your imagination TS and Nathan. Please keep writing


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