Valuable Cargo
© Paige Tyler, 2009
To her surprise, the derelict ship hadn’t been
stripped at all. There were two old looking satellites
in the hold, as well as dozens of containers. They
were all marked with a series of numbers and letters
that didn’t mean anything to her, so there was no
way to tell what was in them.

Taking out her radiac, Tanna scanned the hold for
radiation. If there had been anything really
dangerous, the sensors on her ship would have
picked it up, but she wanted to be sure. There was a
little bit of reading around the satellites, but
nothing significant. The containers were completely

“This looks like old test equipment of some type,” Vi
said from behind her.
Tanna turned to see that Vi had opened one of the containers and was looking at a
collection of metal instruments. Tanna didn’t have a clue what any of it was, but it was
ancient, which meant it was going to be worth some money.

Curious, Tanna made her way over to the box Vi had opened while the other girl and Leala
went off to explore the control room. She had barely started investigating when Leala’s voice
came through the speaker in her headset.

“Um, Captain, I think you should see this.”

Her brow furrowing at the odd tone in her engineer’s voice, Tanna immediately set down
the piece of equipment she’d been holding and headed for the control room. Seeing Vi
standing just inside a doorway on the opposite side of the room, she quickly made her way
over to the woman.

Letting the light from her torch play about the inner room, Tanna saw that it was a joint
galley and med-bay.

“What did you find?” she asked as she stepped into the room. “Something valuable?”

Leala was standing in front of a glass-enclosed container of some sort. From her vantage
point, Tanna couldn’t see what was inside it, but there was a series of brightly colored
blinking lights at the bottom of the unit.

The engineer turned to her with a smile. “Oh, yeah.”

Frowning at the woman’s cryptic answer, Tanna walked over to where her engineer stood,
only to stare at the pod in stunned silence. Leala had wiped off the light coating of frost from
the upper portion of the pod, and through the glass, Tanna saw that there was a man inside.
A completely gorgeous – and from the parts she could see – very well-built man who,
shockingly, appeared to be in perfect health. The pod container must be some type of
hypersleep chamber, she thought. She had heard of those, but no one had used them in over
five-hundred years, not since the invention of the faster-than-light Tachyon drive. That
meant the ship was even older than they had thought, back from the days of sub-light space

The fact that the man was still alive after so long wasn’t the only thing that made him
unusual. Not only was he all beautifully sculpted muscle, but he was also unusually tall as
well. The hypersleep chamber was at least seven feet long and the guy did a pretty good job
of filling it up. That meant he was at least six-four or six-five. At five-ten, Tanna was as tall
as any man she’d ever met, and taller than some, but this guy would clearly tower over her.
She let her gaze run over his broad shoulders and muscular chest appreciatively. Damn, the
guy was built. The hypersleep chamber must be equipped with some type of electro-
stimulation to keep him in such great shape for so long, she thought.

Her gaze went to his face. She had been so distracted by his body that she hadn’t really
spent much time looking at it before, but as she took in his square jaw and chiseled
features, she decided he had to be the most attractive man she’d ever seen. She stared at his
dark-blond hair, fascinated by the color. She hadn’t seen that many people with blond hair
in her life. And most of the people she had seen had artificially colored it. She had no doubt
his was the real deal. All at once, she found herself wondering what color his eyes were.
They had to be blue, she thought. That would match his hair perfectly.

Glancing at the other two women, Tanna saw they were equally entranced by him, and she
watched breathlessly as Vi began to wipe more frost off the front of the glass to reveal a
washboard stomach and lean hips.

“Vi, that’s enough,” Tanna ordered abruptly, pushing the other woman’s hand away when
she started to move lower.

Vi frowned. “I just wanted to see if he’s built like that everywhere.”

Tanna wouldn’t have minded seeing more of him herself, especially since the only men she
had seen naked in a while had been the computer-generated ones conjured up in the holo-
chamber on their ship. And they definitely hadn’t looked anything like him. But ogling a
man while he was in a hypersleep pod just seemed wrong.

“Try to control yourself.” She glanced at Leala. “Do you think he can be revived?”

Leala chewed on her lip as she eyed the equipment. After a moment, she shrugged. “The
chamber’s really old, but everything seems to be functioning properly. Sela would probably
know more, though.”

Sela Fanaday was the salvage ship’s resident bio-system engineer, but she also served as
their med-tech when they needed one.

Tanna turned her gaze back to the handsome man asleep inside the pod. “Is this ship safe
enough to bring on board?” she asked Leala.

The girl shrugged. “I don’t see why not, Captain. The sensors didn’t pick up any hazardous
cargo and I haven’t seen anything dangerous. There’s isn’t even any fuel left.”

Still gazing at the man, Tanna flipped over to the ship’s frequency on her radio and spoke
into the headset. “Malana, we’re bringing the ship aboard.”

“Did you find anything valuable?” the first officer asked.

Tanna only smiled. Oh yeah, they had definitely found something valuable.

* * * *

Dear God, he was absolutely perfect, Tanna thought as she gazed down at the sleeping man
an hour later. The blanket that Sela had carefully tucked around him left his chest and
shoulders exposed to her appreciative gaze, and she had to fight off the almost irresistible
urge to reach out and run her hands over his smoothly sculpted muscles. How many hours
a day would a guy have to work out to look like this?

After bringing his ship aboard, they had transferred his hypersleep chamber to their own
med-bay so Sela could examine him, which the woman had done once she had gotten over
her shock at seeing their cargo. Since no one used stasis chambers like his anymore, Sela
had to do some research in the computer archives to figure out how to revive him. Following
the procedure she had found on the computer, Sela had slowly brought him out of
hypersleep. Tanna had expected him to come awake right away, but the other girl had told
her that wasn’t how it worked. It could take hours for him to wake up. According to the med-
tech, though, his vitals were strong, which was a good sign. That didn’t stop Tanna from
worrying, though.

Getting her crew to focus on anything but the man laying in the med-bay had been almost
impossible since then. Especially after Sela had hurried to the shuttle bay and briefed
everyone in great detail about her patient and those parts of his anatomy they hadn’t seen
yet. Her description had brought the rest of the crew running to the med-bay so they could
take a look for themselves. Sela was just about to pull the blanket down for a little show-and-
tell when Tanna finally pulled rank and tossed the other women out of the med-bay,
sending them back down to the shuttle bay to take a closer look at his ship and the salvage
it contained. Anything to distract them.

A few minutes ago, Malana had called on the ship’s intercom to let her know they had
located the class and ident-number of his ship. According to the database, it had
disappeared in the year 2104. Other than that, the computer didn’t know a lot about it. Or
him. Malana had found some uniforms in a storage locker, though, with the name Carlisle
on them. There was a shoulder patch of a flag with red and white stripes and stars in the
corner on one sleeve. There was another patch underneath that, this one with the letters
ISEA. A search of that acronym had turned up the name International Space Exploration
Administration, an Earth-based government agency that had conducted space research in
the early part of the twenty-second century. Tanna shook her head. Well, whoever he was,
he was going to be in for one hell of a shock when he woke up. If he woke up.

Tanna was just wondering if she should call Sela so the other girl could check on him again
when the man’s eyelids suddenly fluttered open and she found herself gazing into the most
incredible pair of blue eyes that she had ever seen. She’d been right about the color, she
realized a little breathlessly. And they did go perfectly with his blond hair.
Available from Liquid Silver Books!
Scroll down the page to see
what reviewers are saying!
4 Steaming Cups of Coffee from Coffee Time Romance!

"I really enjoyed Valuable Cargo very much. Garrick is your quintessential
man from the twenty-second century, and the fact that they just don’t make
them that way anymore comes through very clearly. I also loved the idea of an
all female ship, that was very cool. Ms. Tyler does a fantastic job of building up
the tension and then letting it explode, and of course a little Neanderthal
behavior on Garrick’s part did not hurt either. The sex is positively explosive,
but the emotions running through it make the story very enjoyable to read.
While Garrick is very much an alpha male, he does do his best to rein in his
Neanderthal tendencies enough that he does not drive Tanna too batty with
them. The world building is very well done, and I also liked how the secondary
characters really fit into and helped drive the storyline. If you love scifi and
romance, you do not want to miss this one!"

                                                                                 - Regina
To read the complete review click
Mrs. Giggles Gives Valuable Cargo an 83!

"I initially thought Valuable Cargo would be a sleazy smutty sex romp, but
I'm quite pleasantly surprised to find that this one has actual plot and
credible romance. The story does follow many of the formulaic tropes typical
of futuristic romances right down to the fundamental premise, but the
author takes the effort and time to show me that the main characters are
connecting on an emotional as well as physical level. I really appreciate that.
Garrick and Tanna are likable, intelligent, and capable characters. When
they do have sex, it seems like a natural progression of their relationship
instead of some eye-rolling "Look, readers! Sex scenes! Isn't this story hot?"
gratuitous titillation moment.

In the meantime, the pacing is good, the secondary characters aren't
intrusive, and the author manages to sneak in some exposition without
making the whole thing seems too obvious or too much like a dry lecture.

I initially began reading this with one foot at the exit, so to speak, because I
was expecting this to be some tawdry orgy-in-space story. How wonderful
that this one turns out to be quite a solid read."

Rating: 83
5 Angels from FAR!

"Valuable Cargo is an out-and-out WINNER! From the very first page, this well
written and plotted sci/fi romance seized my attention, tugging me eagerly
along in a wild roller coaster ride of passion, intrigue, swashbuckling action
and simmering jealousy. I've read several of Ms. Tyler's books now, and this
one is her best yet!"

4 Hearts from Night Owl Romance!

"A refreshing change that the man is the one who is on unfamiliar ground.
Full of action, romance, a good spanking, erotic encounters and a happy
ending, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Valuable Cargo!"

                                           - Chris
JERR Gives Valuable Cargo 4.5 Stars!

"Paige Tyler has offered the reader a highly enjoyable and believable look
into the future. Valuable Cargo is chock full of excitement, drama and
seduction. What I enjoyed the most is that Garrick wasn't thrown 700
years into the future and then given some kind of implant or magic pill
that makes him understand everything in no time. Instead he has to slowly
learn to adjust. That aspect, coupled with the comic relief provided by the
younger crew members in turn, made all the characters and the plot more
believable and easier to relate to. It warmed my heart watching the bond
created between the shipmates grow. As the book goes on they feel more
like a close knit family than people who just happen to work together.
Tanna is very much her own woman and aware of how the decisions she
makes affects others. I couldn't help but respect and like her. The
mentality of both lead characters is a perfect match. If you want to read a
book that will leave you rooting for the hero and heroine at every stop, that
will steal a place in your heart, pick up Valuable Cargo the next time you
go online!"

                                                                 - T.S. Peters