Circle of Light

  • Publisher: Orange Grove Press
  • Series: The Light-Years Series , 1
  • Release Date: Sept. 8, 2020
  • Genre: Science Fiction Romance
  • Available Formats: eBook
  • Digital: 9781952886065

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Attorney Sarina Bretton is kidnapped from Earth to become the legendary Great Healer and save the galaxy from a devastating plague.

A reluctant bride… A dispassionate groom… A gallant starship captain. Can they combine forces to save the galaxy?

Attorney Sarina Bretton believes in facts, not fantasy, at least until Captain Teir Reylock of the Coalition Defense League kidnaps her from Earth. His mission is to deliver her to the High Council for her marriage to Lord Cam’brii, a member of the ruling council. It is through this union that she will become the legendary Great Healer and save the galaxy from a devastating plague.

At the capital city of Bimordus Two, Sarina discovers the wonders of an advanced civilization. She also awakens to her desire for Captain Reylock, who has been assigned as her personal bodyguard. Meanwhile, danger follows the betrothed couple as enemies try to prevent their marriage from taking place.

Teir admires the feisty Earth woman, but he is sworn to duty. Not only must he protect Sarina from the Coalition’s enemies, but he must guard his heart against her charms. Drawn together by passion but torn apart by destiny, these star-crossed lovers must overcome their obstacles until the final shocking revelations expose the legend’s truth.

Winner of the HOLT Medallion Award

“Nancy Cohen sparks your imagination and melts your heart with her wonderful tale of galactic adventure and star-crossed lovers.” Marilyn Campbell, award-winning author of Lovers in Time and The Innerworld Affairs series

Circle of Light was originally published by Dorchester and reprinted by iUniverse under the pseudonym Nancy Cane. It was reissued by Belgrave House under Nancy J. Cohen. This Author’s Edition has been updated with added bonus materials. Cover Design by The Killion Group, Inc.

Awards & Accolades:

Winner of the 1995 HOLT Medallion Award

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“Nancy Cohen sparks your imagination and melts your heart with her wonderful tale of galactic adventure and star-crossed lovers.” Marilyn Campbell, award-winning author of Lovers in Time and The Innerworld Affairs series

“Nancy J. Cohen is a shining light in the futuristic galaxy, a writer whose amazing talent propels readers into a universe filled with strange new worlds, amazing technologies, and unusual species that would have made George Lucas sit up and take notice. Circle of Light glows with a radiance that few writers can ever achieve.”  Affaire de Coeur

“Political intrigue, greed, and the machinations of the Return to Origins faction make for a complex, inventive story…A great debut for this first-time author.” Sun-Sentinel

“Ms. Cohen captures your imagination with her explicitly described characters and innovative conflicts and settings. Circle of Light is an extraordinary reading adventure you cannot pass up.” Rendezvous

“The heavens will shine quite a bit brighter with the futuristic romance debut of the talented Nancy J. Cohen. Her adventurous and exciting imagination is an appealing guarantee of reading enjoyment.” RT Book Reviews

Circle of Light is a well-constructed futuristic romance that will appeal even to die-hard Star Trek and general Science Fiction readers. Great plot, believable aliens, and interesting locations all make Nancy J. Cohen an author to keep your eyes on.” The Paperback Trader

Circle of Light is a luminescent futuristic romance filled with fabulous characters. The action-packed novel will excite and satiate fans of science fiction and romance works alike. Nancy Cohen is a tremendous talent whose novel will remind readers of the Star Wars trilogy.” The Talisman

“In this first entry in the Light Year trilogy, author Nancy J Cohen delights with futuristic setting details and worlds at war. The legend of the Great Healer revives and an Earth woman is presumed to be able to save civilization across the universe. The catch? Sarina Bretton has to marry a man of a certain lineage, and she has no interest at all in her proscribed mate. Instead, she’s interested in the rakish starship captain, Tier Reylock…This story of star-crossed lovers dazzled me. In fact, I blew through all three books of the trilogy in one short week—they were that good!” Muddy Rose Reviews 

“Having read all of this author’s Bad Hair Day series and loved them, I had to give this series a shot. I was not disappointed! This is a very interesting futuristic romance story filled with interesting and complex quirky characters. Lots of twists and turns. Very descriptive and I love the characters! I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. A must read!” Charlene’s Reviews

“If you like scifi fiction and romance together this is the book for you. It’s a great book and once you start you don’t want to put it down.” Joan D.’s Reviews

“Sarina has kept her feet on the ground and as a lawyer, she is logical about everything. She does like some space movies, but otherwise, she is really practical. Then one day, it all changes. One minute she is in her office and the next, she is out is space. She has been kidnapped to go to another planet to marry a complete stranger and become the Great Healer. The problem is that she doesn’t want the guy she was supposed to marry, she wants the guy who kidnapped her. She finally reconciles the need to heal the different worlds and to do her duty, but Teir is the man she really wants. Can she be the Great Healer and still have Teir?” Julia D.’s Reviews

“Nancy J. Cohen, my favorite “Bad Hair Day” mysteries author, has sent me into a “galaxy far away” with a tale of destiny and love. She writes with wit and humor and an engaging descriptive language to create an intriguing world and set of compelling characters…The drama was one easily connected to a contemporary story, but off-world to distance it from the headlines. A deadly plague. A prophesy… I’m hooked!” Kathleen C. on BookBub

“I am a big Nancy Cohen fan and when offered the opportunity to read a SCI-FI book of hers, I took it. I am glad that I took a chance on this book, it has a feisty heroine, so pace travel, and adventures. I thought the premise of a earth bound lawyer being kidnapped to be the Great Healer in another world was interesting.  I couldn’t imagine being snatched and then told I was being forced to marry someone I didn’t know.” Kathleen K.’s Reviews

“Nancy J. Cohen skillfully and expertly combines science fiction and romance into a story that has the best of both genres. This book will get your heart racing with “will they/won’t they” moments while at the same time giving you the thrills of a science fiction adventure. It’s full of excitement, danger, suspense, action, reluctant attraction, heartwarming moments – and humor. It will leave you satisfied, oh so glad you read it, and eager to jump right into the next adventure.” Sally’s Reviews

“Dive into this wonderful fantasy and see if these two star-crossed lovers can overcome all that stands in their way! Will love win over duty in the end?” Taryn’s Reviews

“I have read other books by Nancy J Cohen, but not in this genre. I enjoyed this book. It is well-written and is a fast read. This story is set in the future, during a war of worlds. The main character, Sarina is supposed to marry within a certain family, but she isn’t happy with the choice available and is interested in someone else. She might be the person who is supposed to save civilization. I am looking forward to the next book in this series!” Kelly P. on Amazon

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Copyright 1994 by Nancy J. Cohen

Sarina Bretton stared out of her office window at the dazzling cityscape below. The Miami skyline dipped and blended into the pristine blue of Biscayne Bay. Numerous white sailboats plied the glistening sundrenched waters, and far in the distance, a barge chugged out to sea.

Her eyes glazed over, and in her mind she saw another scene from the space adventure film she’d viewed over the weekend. In her imagination, she became the pilot of the starship. With supreme skill, she evaded enemy laser blasts, dodged asteroids, fired photon torpedoes, and soared over new planetary horizons.

Sarina sighed and drew her attention back to the client list on her desk. As an attorney, she dealt in facts, not fantasy. To imagine herself in any other role was a waste of time. Toughen up, girl. Those were Mother’s words, but she was right. Sarina always needed reminding to curb her soft side.

She attempted to focus on the work in front of her, but the viewphone rang before she could accomplish anything.

“Sarina?” Her boss, Hiram Simmons, looked harried as he stared at her from the monitor screen. “I’ve assigned you a new client by the name of Pierce Mitchells. He should be on his way there now. Can you come up to my office when he arrives?”

“Certainly, sir.” She straightened her shoulders, feeling uncomfortable under the scrutiny of the gray-haired managing partner of the firm.

“I’ll fill you in on the case once you’re here.”

“Okay, thanks.” She was about to hang up when another call came through. Recognizing the number, she pushed the flash button. “Hello?”

“Hi, babe.” Her fiancé’s face came into view, his solemn brown eyes endearingly familiar.

Robert, one of the partners in the firm, had an office upstairs along with the rest of the upper echelon. Junior lawyers like herself were relegated to the lower floors. She’d been working here for over a year now and didn’t even have her own personal assistant, but hopefully that would change soon enough.

“I got wind of the Goroka case,” Robert said. “How the hell did you get involved in something like that?” 

Uh-oh. She’d known he wouldn’t approve. “I couldn’t help it. The woman was so pitiful. She had nowhere else to go.”

“She can’t pay, for God’s sake.”

“I’m only giving her legal advice, and I’ll work on it in my spare time. Don’t worry, it won’t cost the firm anything.”

“That’s not the issue. If you’re going to be accepted as a full-fledged Associate, you have to stop being a sucker for these hard-luck cases. This isn’t the first time you’ve used your resources unwisely. Simmons won’t like it.”

Sarina’s lips thinned. “Not everyone can afford the high fees he charges, you know.”

“So let them go elsewhere. What do you want, a welfare job or a position that’s going to pay your bills for years to come?”

“Some things are more important than money, Robert.”

“Yeah, like what?” When she didn’t answer, he went on. “You’re up for the big promotion, sweetheart. Don’t screw up now.”

“Why? Are you going to delay our wedding again if I miss out?” Sarina asked. He’d already changed the date twice.

“I’m only interested in your career,” Robert said, his tone sincere. “This week is crucial. Simmons is going to put you to the test.”

“What do you mean?”

“He’ll tell you he’s sending you a client, but it’ll be some wacko. Your reactions are what count. We all have to pass this nutty psych test to move ahead.”

Her heart thumped with excitement. “Robert, Mr. Simmons called right before you did. He said he’s sending in a new client, and we’re to go to his office together.”

Robert sucked in his breath. “This might be it, then. You can do it, babe.”

“What should I expect?” Sarina’s palms grew moist as her anxiety escalated.

“If your test is anything like mine, this ‘client’ will tell you a totally wild story. Simmons will be observing your responses, so act professionally. Go along with it and pretend like you believe every word. He wants to see how you’d handle a difficult situation.”

“But I’m supposed to take the client up to Mr. Simmons’s office. Won’t he admit the ruse then?”

“Only after he’s satisfied you’ve passed the test.” Robert chuckled. “You might not exactly end up in his office either. I was led to a special suite of rooms he uses just for this purpose. It was decorated like a boudoir. The so-called client told me that if I handled his case satisfactorily, I could have my choice of any of the lovely ladies present. Of course, it was clearly a setup, but the women acted their parts convincingly.”

“You never told me about this. So I can expect a really crazy scenario?”

“That’s right. Just act cool and play along, but don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable.”

Sarina couldn’t imagine what might be planned for her, nor could she picture her staid boss getting his kicks out of games like these, but apparently there was a side to him she hadn’t known existed.

“Good luck,” Robert told her. “Call me later and let me know what happened.”

“Wait.” She wanted to ask him how he’d solved his own test situation, but he hung up before she got the chance. Damn the man! Now she’d have to struggle through on her own.

They’d been engaged ever since she graduated from law school and took the position at the firm. Robert’s recommendation had helped her land the spot, and his influence was important in getting her promotion approved. She should be grateful to him, but gratitude wasn’t what she felt. He kept postponing their wedding, saying she should concentrate on getting ahead. His attitude made her wonder which was more important to him—her job status or herself?

Their wedding was set for December, five months from now, and if Robert put it off one more time, she’d need to reevaluate their relationship. During the past few weeks, she’d felt increasingly dissatisfied. It was difficult to pinpoint the cause. Robert irritated her, but that could be because she felt pressured. She’d applied for Associate after he’d urged her to do so, and yet this job wasn’t fulfilling her expectations.

She couldn’t admit her doubts to Robert without starting an argument. Besides, she felt this problem wasn’t the real issue bothering her. Something else tugged at her from beneath the surface of her mind, but she hadn’t a clue what it meant.

Realizing the new client might walk in at any moment, she patted her French braid at the back of her head. It was still smooth and sleek, so she reached into her handbag to reapply her lipstick before he arrived.

Just as she was putting her mirror away, a loud rapping sounded at the door.“Come in,” Sarina called, her heartbeat accelerating.

The door opened and in strolled the most gorgeous hunk she had ever seen in all of her twenty-six years. The man was tall and powerfully built, but the dominant feature that drew her was the strange color of his eyes. Never had she seen a blue shade so deep, so celestial. It was as though the sky was mirrored in his gaze. His eyes locked on hers as he approached.

“You are Sarina Bretton?” His masculine tone reverberated throughout the room and seemed to touch a chord within her very soul.

“Yes,” Sarina stated as the man strode forward. She lifted her chin, intending to present a professional image.

He stopped directly in front of her and bent his head to examine the identification badge pinned to her crimson dress. Her I.D. picture showed her in a relaxed pose, her wavy blond hair hanging down her back, her gray eyes wide in an oval face. She knew her pink lips parted in a silly grin, but the photographer had been a friend who knew how to make her laugh.

She surveyed the stranger’s thick black hair that grew long in the back, curling at his nape. His features were angular, firm and strong. Her gaze wandered down to the strange metallic silver jumpsuit that he wore. It molded to his powerful body like an animal skin.

“Excuse me—I had to make certain,” the man said.

Sarina glanced at him, startled. He watched her with a flat expression. She searched his eyes for contact lenses but saw no telltale outlines. The intense color fascinated her.

“Certain of what?” she asked, wondering if his weird responses were part of the game set up by her boss.

“Of your identity.” He grasped her right hand and turned it palm up. He touched the round area of pigmentation on her soft flesh. “You see? You have the mark as prophesied.”

A shiver of delight ran through her at his touch. “That’s just a birthmark,” she said, withdrawing her hand. “Look, Mister, uh—”

“You can call me Teir.” 

Teir? She looked down at her desk where she’d scrawled the name Pierce Mitchells on her message pad.

“You are needed. I am to escort you,” Teir explained, a hint of irritation in his tone.

“Escort me? Where?” But then she answered her own question. “Oh, you mean to Mr. Simmons’s office.” Obviously this guy was the test case Robert had mentioned. Remembering her fiancé had advised her to play along, she stuffed a notebook into her handbag.

“You won’t need that where we’re going,” Teir said with a bemused curve of his mouth.

“I may have to take notes. Shall we go?” She stood and smoothed her dress.

A look of astonishment dawned on the man’s face, as though he hadn’t expected her to be so cooperative. Hmm, this test might turn out to be fun, Sarina thought.

Grinning at the idea, she strode from her office and out into the carpeted corridor. Teir followed, his booted footsteps thudding behind her.

She waited until he caught up. “Has the initial data on your case been filed?” she asked as they walked down the hallway. The main bank of elevators was situated at the opposite end.

Teir didn’t respond. Halfway down the hall, he came to an abrupt halt and pointed to a closed door. “This way. You can go first.”

Sarina shot him a sharp glance. “That’s a storage closet.”

Wordlessly, Teir opened the door, and Sarina gasped. Facing them was an elevator car.

“A private lift? I never knew this existed. Where does it go?”

“Up,” Teir said, without a trace of a smile.

It must lead to Mr. Simmons’s penthouse suite. She’d better be on the alert in case her boss was watching them via hidden cameras. This had to be part of the test.

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