Young Adult Book Review – THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME (Morriston Superheroes) by Danielle Banas

THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME Blog Tour

THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME (Morriston Superheroes #1) by Danielle Banas

THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME (Morriston Superheroes #1) by Danielle Banas

Synopsis
As witty as it is heartpounding, this fresh take on the beloved superhero genre is all about finding your own way to shine even when it seems everyone else around you is, well… super.

Never trust a guy in spandex.

In Abby Hamilton’s world, superheroes do more than just stop crime and save cats stuck in trees―they also drink milk straight from the carton and hog the television remote. Abby’s older brother moonlights as the famous Red Comet, but without powers of her own, following in his footsteps has never crossed her mind.

That is, until the city’s newest vigilante comes bursting into her life.

After saving Abby from an attempted mugging, Morriston’s fledgling supervillain Iron Phantom convinces her that he’s not as evil as everyone says, and that their city is under a vicious new threat. As Abby follows him deeper into their city’s darkest secrets, she comes to learn that heroes can’t always be trusted, and sometimes it’s the good guys who wear black.

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Supervillain and Me is a hilarious, sweet, and action-packed novel by debut author Danielle Banas that proves no one is perfect, not even superheroes..

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My Review
I absolutely loved THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME! What a great twist on the teenage superhero genre. Seventeen-year-old Abby is the daughter of the town mayor and sister of Morriston’s superstar superhero, Red Comet. Still reeling from the death of her mother three years ago, she struggles with life in general, but also keeping her brother’s secret and accepting that her father has withdrawn himself over the death of his wife. Morriston is a crime-ridden town that even Red Comet can’t clean up. At least not on his own. With the help of Fish Boy, he does what he can. However, a new super has arrived, known as Iron Phantom. He’s captured on video destroying City Hall, and the level of crime only escalates from that point, making him the city’s first supervillain. But everything is not as it seems. After Iron Phantom saves Abby from a mugger, he visits her regularly and the two build a tenuous friendship at first, before sparks ignite. Seeking Abby’s help, he hopes to figure out who is framing him for the crime wave and what those funny little chips are he found in the mayor’s office.

Plot
The plot centers around the mysterious chips, but there’s a strong romance subplot between Abby and the Iron Phantom as well as the real identity of Iron Phantom. All three are incredibly well done. I waffled a lot on  Iron Phantom’s alter ego, going back and forth between a couple of characters, before wondering if it was someone else entirely. The romance was cute and I was rooting for these two the entire time. There weren’t any major plot twists and nothing that really made me go, “no way,” but it was a fun story that moves at a solid pace.

The Characters
The characters are the star of this story. Abby is infinitely likeable as is Iron Phantom. Both have solid backstories that bring their characters to life in colorful ways. Connor is the perfect older brother/foil to his sister, and the rest of the cast is a mix that seemed almost stereotypical at first, only to surprise me a little more every time they showed up on the page.

Top Five Things I Loved About THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME
1. Iron Phantom. He’s witty, charming, and oh yeah, he has super powers!

2. Abby. She’s fiercely loyal, deeply wounded, and brave as hell.

3. Superheroes. What can I say — when you mix super powers with hormones, things are bound to go just about anywhere.

4. SciFi Lite. I love the use of science fiction throughout the book without it consuming the story. I was able to appreciate the technology and science without leaving Earth.

5. Humor. While there were no laugh-out-loud moments, humor was woven throughout the story, which kept what could have been a dark tale, much lighter.

Bottom Line
A wonderful debut by Danielle Banas! I’ll be reading more by this author.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME
Series: Morriston Superheroes #1
Author: Danielle Banas
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | AmazonAmazon UKAmazon CABarnes & NobleiTunesKobo

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Author Danielle Banas

Author Danielle Banas

About the Author
Danielle Banas, a Pittsburgh native, earned a degree in communication from Robert Morris University. After years spent dreaming up characters instead of paying attention in class, Danielle joined the storytelling platform Wattpad, where her work has received millions of views online. When she isn’t writing, she can be found loudly singing show tunes, spouting off Walt Disney World trivia, and snuggling with her puppy. THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME is her debut novel.

Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @daniellebanas

 

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Where to find Danielle Banas
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – RIVAL (Fate of the Stars) by Arwen Paris

RIVAL Cover Reveal

Welcome to the book blitz for RIVAL, the second book in the young adult science fiction/urban fantasy series, Fate of the Stars, by Arwen Paris, releasing November 1, 2018. See below for the information the book and series, pre-order links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

RIVAL (Fate of the Stars #2) by Arwen Paris

RIVAL (Fate of the Stars #2) by Arwen Paris

About the Book
Title: RIVAL
Series: Fate of the Stars #2
Author: Arwen Paris
Release Date: July, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy
Links: Goodreads | Barnes & NobleiBooks | Kobo | !ndigo | Angus & Robertson

Synopsis
It’s a role she didn’t want…

One deadly week has passed since seventeen year old Allison Delaney realized she must save Earth from the parasitic race of Ma’tiok. But the task is even more complicated than Allison feared, and she’s being set up to fail. Blamed for a fatal blow to the Alliance fleet that killed dozens of soldiers, Allison must face judgment for their deaths. The High Priestess Kiobaan is Allison’s only hope. Kiobaan sees the warrior spirit in Allison, along with her potential both politically and physically and agrees to train her.

And a game she can’t afford to lose.

Meanwhile, though Allison is the human host of Eenoki, protector of life, she’s not yet ready to harness their combined energy. Their bond is unpredictable at best—volatile at worst. Time is running out for Eenoki and Allison to trust each other—all or nothing—or she’ll never gain the power she needs to defeat the Ma’tiok and save Earth. When Allison is marked for death by an unknown enemy, the High Priestess Kiobaan must step-up and fight. But in return Kiobaan extracts a pledge from Allison, one that will compromise her new status and make her a target.

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Excerpt
Staring out of the tinted bulletproof windows of the limo, I can’t tell for sure how gray the clouds are that gather above us. I hope it doesn’t rain again. It’s unsettling to come back here. To see the complete destruction of the California ocean side town that I once called home—Avilene Beach. It’s a ghost-like cemetery of charred, crumbling homes and palm trees turned askew and broken apart. Just like me.

This is the direct result of my decisions.

Wind skitters across the surface of black puddles racing by, reminding me of the oily blood of the Ma’tiok. It’s been just one week since my old life, my human life, ended and this new one exploded into existence. Acid rises in the back of my throat, burning hot, and I crush my jaw together hard until my lips press into a thin line. Why did Eenoki pick me?

“Priestess, do you understand what I said?”

Katok’s sharp telepathic tone startles me out of my immersive guilt. “Stick to the speech the High Priestess provided. Yes. I got it.” I swallow hard against the rising bile being pressed there by the trembling in my gut. What if this press conference makes things worse?

“Allison, don’t worry so much. You’ll be safe.” Stephen reaches out to me and Katok snatches his hand midair, crushing it in his huge taloned palm.

“Ow! Dammit, Katok!” Stephen clutches his wounded limb.

I swear, that’s almost a smirk on the massive Vongjar commander’s leopard-like face. Katok’s lips curl back menacingly to reveal his white fangs and piercing resolve.  Stephen knows better than to try and touch me.

I sigh, and can’t help but glare at Stephen who sits across from me. His dark muscular arms are crossed hard against his white Navy button up shirt. Even with the blotchy purple and yellow bruises healing across his tense neck and face, he’s still handsome. But his haircut, shaved in military style, makes me miss his longer tawny surfer hair.  

“Stephen, if I can’t be the bridge between the Alliance and Earth, our world won’t survive the Ma’tiok. You understand that, right?”

His angry blue eyes lock on me, softening, and he smiles. 

I look away and clench my fists on the cold, empty, black leather seats beside me. We can never make it work. He’ll never understand what I am, or what I have to do. I have to serve the Alliance to have any chance of getting them to fight the Ma’tiok on the ground, instead of glassing the Earth like they have so many other infected worlds.

The blue tint to the air thickens as we get closer to our destination. What if I had just gone with Z’iram and left Earth behind? Maybe he would have spared those who died here.

No. If we left, there would be no hope of the Alliance helping this world fight back. Any other choice would have meant the total destruction of Earth without any chance of survival.

I know Eenoki is right, but the truth still hurts.

The High Priestess will arrive soon, aboard the planet killer Star Fire, to judge and test me. This speech is another test, one that I can’t afford to mess up. If Kiobaan doesn’t publicly declare me a Priestess, of Earth, then there will be no ambassador to the Alliance or protection for our world.

I take a deep breath and straighten the pale gown Tarem made me wear, irritated at how ridiculous I look. Not that I own any clothes besides what the Alliance has provided me. Before we left, my reflection shocked me. The way they pinned up my long auburn waves under a small crystalline hairpiece that stands a few inches high, reminded me of my vision of Aakina. The memory Eenoki shared with me from her last day alive, before she and her world were wiped out by the Ma’tiok. 

“How much longer Katok, until there are too many Ma’tiok for your troops to handle”

His golden eyes widen. “They multiply too quick. The ground troops struggle to do more than contain them. Our current calculations project ten Earth days at most. We need Alliance support to do any more.” Katok shakes his head.

Ten days left? It’s only been twenty one since the Ma’tiok arrived!

Stephen leans closer. “He’s not telling you the whole story. Admiral Hurst says that there are over ten thousand Ma’tiok and infected humans on the ground, and that combined kills between Katok’s troops and the US military don’t even equal the rate that they’re multiplying at. We are losing every day.”

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Get Caught Up on the Series

Book 1: FATE OF THE STARS
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Author Arwen Paris

Author Arwen Paris

About the Author
Arwen Paris is the author of young adult fiction. Her debut YA Sci-fi Urban Fantasy novel FATE OF THE STARS releases September 1, 2017. The actions packed pages of her novels are filled with characters that are forced to face fears they never expected. When she’s not writing, you can see posts of her (too many) vacations that keep her sane. Arwen lives in Washington, has a big crazy family & after the day job, she writes Fiction For the Fearless – #F3Fanatic.

 

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Where to Find Arwen Paris
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Blog Tour – Guest Post + Giveaway – STRICKEN by C.K. Kelly Martin

STRICKEN Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for STRICKEN, a stand-alone middle grade/young adult dystopian adventure with a scifi twist, by C.K. Kelly Martin. See below for information the book, buy links, an exclusive guest post by the author, and details on her giveaway.

STRICKEN by C.K. Kelly Martin

STRICKEN by C.K. Kelly Martin

About the Book
Title: STRICKEN
Author: C.K. Kelly Martin
Publisher: CBD
Release Date: January 27, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Dystopian Adventure/SciFi
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | !ndigo | BAM! | IndieBound | The Book Depository

Synopsis
Naomi doesn’t expect anything unusual from her annual family trip to visit her grandparents in Ireland. What she expects is to celebrate her thirteenth birthday, hang out with her friends Ciara and Shehan, and deal with her gran’s Alzheimer’s. What she finds is a country hit by an unexpected virus that rapidly infects the majority of the Irish population over the age of twenty-one.

Amnestic-Delirium Syndrome (ADS) starts off with memory loss, but the virus soon turns its victims aggravated, blank, or violent. Naomi and her friends must survive on their own, without lucid adults, cut off from the rest of the world, until a cure is found.

But there are whispers that ADS is not terrestrial, and soon Naomi and her friends learn the frightening truth: we are not alone.

 

 

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Guest Post – Cover Love
Seeing a new book cover for the first time is always exciting for an author– it’s a visual representation of your work that will (hopefully!) have an immediate impact on whoever sees it.  Stricken is my first middle grade book and my first book cover that wasn’t a photograph. Those things alone made me giddy. An original cover illustration!

The first I saw of the Stricken cover art was a black and white sketch that I instantly fell head over heels in love with. Canadian visual artist Nick Craine adapted Bruce McDonald’s, Dance Me Outside and Hard Core Logo into graphic novels and his illustrations have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Republic.

To me it’s no small thing that Nick Craine also designed the best book cover I’ve ever had. I’m in absolute awe of main character Naomi’s defiant posture atop an overturned car. Seeing Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street (a place central to the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish Civil War of 1922) pictured behind her gives me a thrill every time I see Stricken. If you ever go to Dublin, there’s no way you’ll visit the place without seeing O’Connell Street and O’Connell Bridge, which spans the River Liffey. The Stricken cover vividly portrays more than a familiar city street though; it shows a place in trouble, a place where life has been turned upside down.  It makes me want to snatch up the book and find out what happens within the pages, even though I’ve already read it. It’s a cover that sets up delicious expectations, which I dearly hope I meet.

I was twenty-one the first time I landed in Dublin, but there was something about it that nearly instantly felt like home. That makes this book and its fabulous cover very special to me.   I can’t thank Nick Craine enough.

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Author C.K. Kelly Martin

Author C.K. Kelly Martin

About the Author
Long before I was an author I was a fan of books about Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Madeline, Anne Shirley and anything by Judy Blume. Throughout high school my favourite class was English. No surprise, then, that most of my time spent at York University in Toronto was as an English major—not the traditional way to graduate with a B.A. (Hons) in film studies but a fine way to get a general arts education.

After getting my film studies degree I headed for Dublin, Ireland and spent the majority of the nineties there in forgettable jobs meeting unforgettable people and enjoying the buzz. I always believed I’d get around to writing in earnest eventually, and I began writing my first novel in a flat in Dublin and finished it in a Toronto suburb. By then I’d discovered that fiction about young people felt the freshest and most exciting to me. You have most of your life to be an adult but you only grow up once.

Currently residing near Toronto with my Dub husband, I’m an aunt to twenty-one nieces and nephews, and a great-aunt to two great-nephews. I became an Irish citizen in 2001 and continue to visit Dublin as often as I can while working on novels about young people.

My first young adult book, I Know It’s Over, came out with Random House in September 2008, and was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and sci-fi thriller Yesterday. I released Yesterday’s sequel, Tomorrow, in 2013 and put out my first adult novel, Come See About Me, as an ebook in June 2012. My most recent contemporary YA books, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing and Delicate, were published by Cormorant Books’ Dancing Cat Books imprint in 2014 and 2015.

Where to Find C.K. Kelly Martin
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – BEFORE DAWN by Elizabeth Arroyo

BEFORE DAWN Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for BEFORE DAWN, a stand-alone young adult science fiction dystopian adventure by Elizabeth Arroyo. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

BEFORE DAWN by Elizabeth Arroyo

BEFORE DAWN by Elizabeth Arroyo

About the Book
Title:
BEFORE DAWN
Author: Elizabeth Arroyo
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Dystopian/Adventure
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon FR | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Synopsis
Survival rule number one: eat before being hunted.

In a world infected by violent hybrids, survival comes with its own set of rules. Sixteen-year-old Zoe is an expert at breaking them.

While Zoe has abilities she cannot explain, just getting through another day without being killed is a challenge. She has survived since her mother’s murder with help from an unexpected ally, Morph.

Morph is part of the Arcane, an elite force of teenagers from an Alliance of space stations. After the Arcane are destroyed in an explosion, only Morph and his brother survive. They are sent on a new mission to capture a dangerous hybrid.

Morph is torn between duty and his attraction to Zoe. With threats to the planet from above, Morph knows Zoe’s chances are limited. Trying to save her could be a betrayal to the Alliance.

When Zoe recovers memories of her mother’s death that point straight to the Arcane, she realizes Morph might be the real enemy.

As more mysteries are brought to light, telling friends from foes becomes difficult. For Morph and Zoe, the world is more dangerous than ever. And trusting each other is the key to them living to see another day.

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Excerpt #2
Morph wanted to apologize for leaving her and let her know that Shyla had him by his manhood. He wanted to apologize for Jace. Recently, she’d allowed her emotions to dominate her actions. She’d snap whenever he tried to talk some sense into her. Stubborn to the core. He couldn’t bring out the words before she pissed him off.

Like now.

Slinging the bag over her shoulder, she headed for the exit.

“Don’t,” he warned. “Stone’s pulling sentry duty.” If Stone detected movement it would send a highly volatile cylinder to the perpetrator and exterminate them. Only it probably wouldn’t kill Zoe. It’d destroy itself in the process and he liked the bot.

“Call it off,” she challenged. Her hand already on the doorknob.

“Just relax,” he ordered, but that only sent her edging into the drop off.

“Call it off. It’s the only one you have left.” She turned to meet his eyes and let out a breath just before she opened the door.

Cursing, he pushed the off button on his wristband to keep the bot from committing suicide. “Stay here,” he ordered Glam and sprinted after Zoe.

Being depleted of energy didn’t stop her from charging down the seven flights of stairs. She rushed outside, into the dawn, and abruptly stopped. He slammed into her and quickly drew her into his protective embrace before she lost her balance. This close to her, he lost his words.

She gently pushed him away. Her amber colored eyes did something to him he never wanted to forget. It made him whole.

“Why did you even come back?” she whispered.

He cupped her cheek and she leaned into his touch. All the reasons why he couldn’t tell her how he felt, why he couldn’t wrap her in his arms and kiss her, flooded to the surface. Attachments would get him killed. She was a hybridhe killed her kind. He needed to take her to Mecca, to be tested. She, like Archer, seemed to be a new version of hybrid. She could never join him on the Phoenix, and he had to go back. It was the only way to save Jace. It’d be wrong to explore their feelings when he knew how it would all end.

“I have to go back,” he whispered. He didn’t have to tell her what he meant. She knew. It was written all over her face. She stiffened and pulled away. He almost wanted her to argue with him, to challenge him to stay. She didn’t. She never did. Instead, she sucked in a breath and walked back inside.

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Author Elizabeth Arroyo

Author Elizabeth Arroyo

About the Author
Born and raised in Chicago and the youngest of five, Elizabeth spent most of her younger years as an avid reader with a wild imagination which led her to write her first manuscript at the age of fourteen.

Influenced by the gamers in her household and her love of action adventure, Elizabeth delved into the realm of science fiction and wrote her first full-length science fiction/dystopian YA novel—Before Dawn—acquired by Ellysian Press in 2016.

Elizabeth is the author of the Second Sign and the Second Shadow, a dark YA paranormal romance series, (Sapphire Star Publishing, 2013), and Darkness, a YA paranormal thriller, (Indie-Published, 2014). She has a short story published with SQ Magazine, and advice on her writing journey can be found in The Write Path: A Compilation of Letters, (Amazon Digital Services, Inc.).

Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family, listening to music, and binge watching her favorite shows.

You can reach Elizabeth at her website www.elizabetharroyo.com, Twitter, and Facebook..

Where to find Elizabeth Arroyo
Goodreads | Website | FacebookTwitter

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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE SAME TIME (Time Series) by Brona Mills

THE SAME TIME Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for THE SAME TIME, the second book in the adult science fiction/time travelling series, Time, by Brona Mills. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

THE SAME TIME (Time Series #2) by Brona Mills

THE SAME TIME (Time Series #2) by Brona Mills

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title:
THE SAME TIME
Series: Time Series #2
Author:
Brona Mills
Release Date: April 23, 2018
Genre: Adult Science Fiction/Time Travel
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
How much of the past do you need to change to keep everyone you love alive?

Twenty-one-year-old Stella, faces some tough life battles, and in her moments of need, she is visited and aided by a stranger, David. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll meet him again and again—always when her life is in danger—until one day, she meets him as a much younger man and this time, he doesn’t disappear.

He doesn’t remember her or the many times he’s saved her life, but when Stella learns that his life is in danger, can she do what she must to return the favour? Can she keep secrets from the man she loves in her own timeline, knowing it might destroy their relationship? Or change the biggest mistake in her life she has yet to make? What good is having a time traveller as your best friend, if nothing ever really changes?

 

 

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Excerpt #1
I see David across the street through the boutique window. Even from a distance, and despite the annoying reflection off the glass, I recognise his walk. He commands attention in the way he carries himself, from the sway of his hips and the confidence of what he must carry between them.

Shit, don’t look at his junk, Stella.

His head is high, not intimidated walking down one of the richest streets in America. The expensive clothes he wears are more subtle than other guys our age. He’s not wearing designer labels to show off his money. He focuses on the store and he doesn’t react when two girls pause behind him and giggle, staring at his ass as he crosses the street to the store. He’s coming to see me. Please, be coming to see me.

I wait at the door, ready to greet him, like I would any customer. Hell, if the store were empty, I’d probably dart outside, shake him, and scream at him for not remembering me, for not being my David. I pull the door open gently as he pushes from the other side.

He grins when he sees me. He’s probably flashed that pantie-dropping expression at a million girls, but this smile doesn’t have any bullshit about it—I can spot the bull shitters—he looks happy to see me, or to be here—I’m not sure which.

‘Hi.’ He slides his sunglasses on top of his head.

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Author Brona Mills

Author Brona Mills

About the Author
Brona Mills has defied the odds of overcoming dyslexia and failing High School English to become an author. Her first book, A Time for Everything, has been met with great reviews from both the romance readers and the sci-fi time travel lovers, that Brona kept the series going. Book two in the connected series, The Same Time is out 23rd April, and Brona’s not stopping there. She is currently working on two other projects, a novella in the connected Time Series, and a new stand alone time travel novel with a dystopian element.

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Where to find Brona Mills
Goodreads | Facebook | Amazon

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – GIFTED (Awakening) by John R. Sankovich

GIFTED (Awakening) Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for GIFTED (Awakening), a young adult scifi/paranormal novel by John R. Sankovich. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on his giveaway.

GIFTED (Awakening) by John R. Sankovich

GIFTED (Awakening) by John R. Sankovich

About the Book
Title:
GIFTED: Awakening
Author:
John R. Sankovich
Release Date: April 20, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Paranormal
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
The supernaturally-gifted Followers will kill anyone unwilling to use their powers to find their leader. The self-righteous Trinity, led by a man named Ulysses, won’t stop until all supernaturally-gifted people are dead. Sixteen year old telekinetic Rebecca Stevens is stuck in the middle of their war. 

When her mother dies in a Follower attack and her father mysteriously disappears, Rebecca is left with only the guilt that, had she known how to safely use her swelling telekinetic ability, she might have saved them. Staying hidden is impossible once her brother, who hides his power, pledges his loyalty to Trinity. With both sides knowing of her power, she must navigate the battlefield between the two groups. As Ulysses’ power expands, The Follower’s numbers grow, and violent clashes threaten to tear apart the city. Rebecca’s only hope to stop them both is to master her ability before it’s too late to save anyone.

 

 

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Excerpt
Rebecca Stevens stared at the crate twenty yards away; the breeze blew her hair across her eyes. The weight of the railroad spike hovering nearby rested on her mind. The sensation of a foreign object inside her head quickened her pulse like always. At her command the spike spun. Her skill had improved over the past months, during her very limited practice time, but one thing remained constant; if she didn’t manage her emotions she lost any sort of accuracy. Perfect concentration was required, and she hardly ever achieved that.

With her energy focused, sweat ran down her back and neck. A stiff wind chilled her cheek and rattled the nearby trees. A twig snapped and she glanced toward the sound. A dog stood in the clearing, its brown eyes studying her. At least he wouldn’t give away her secret.

A tingle intensified in her fingertips to the point of triggering an adrenaline rush, and she flung the spike toward the target. With a whoosh, the spike nailed the target a bit to the left. The wood box splintered, the crack of the wood echoed, and birds scattered from the nearby trees and the dog barked once before his escape. The spike drove into the ground, out of sight, behind a puff of dirt, as the force propelled it deep. Someone shouted in the distance, and she bolted toward the cover of the trees. She hid in the shadows of the trees like a criminal. Her body shook from the telekinetic exertion and with someone hearing the sound, they would come investigate. She needed to get out of here.

Her hands quivered and she knelt on the hard soil to calm her twitchy nerves. She hated the weakness in her stomach after every use of her power, but her instincts nagged her to practice. The control would get easier. It had to.

She dug into her backpack slung over a tree branch, and pulled out her cell phone. She had two text messages from her dad, both telling her to get home for dinner. She replied she was at the library and hurried through the forest as the sun set behind her. Her dad, they mayor of Peakside, would never understand what she was doing. He had been under constant pressure to do something about the growing voice of the public about people with powers. Her father kept to himself, but she knew he felt the burden. She hoped he would do the right thing; whatever that was. Maybe someday she would trust someone with her secret, but so far she couldn’t. The world wouldn’t allow her to.

At the edge of the woods, she scanned the adjacent street. Night crept in as the sun fell behind the horizon. Shadows reached forward like prying fingers as gloom surrounded her. A familiar loneliness fell upon her. A few porch lights dotted the neighborhood. In the distance, a dog howled. She hiked up her backpack and ran. Darkness scared her; she didn’t know why, but every time she was alone in the dark her nerves twisted into knots.

A pair of young men sat in a dark car near the forest. Smoke billowed up from the driver’s side when one of them opened his door. Did she see a flicker of fire on his arm? She looked away.

“Hey, girlie, you seen my dog?” the man called out. His voice had a raspy sound to it like he suffered from smokers’ cough. “It’s a small puppy.”

Rebecca glanced back at him, but didn’t offer an answer. In the pocket of her sweatshirt, she clenched her fists; a faint energy pulsed in her arms.

“You too good to answer me?” the man yelled.

The car door slammed and the engine revved. They were after her. Fear shot through her veins, and she didn’t have time to give it a second thought. With them already in the car, she didn’t want to risk her life to stop them. She didn’t even know if she could stop them if she tried.  She knew she could move small objects like her laptop and the railroad spike, but the heaviest thing she had moved with her mind was the washing machine, but a car, she couldn’t fathom doing that while she escaped.

Rebecca bolted toward the corner and hooked around. She hoped to put some distance between them. Her sneakers slapped against the pavement, still three blocks away from her house. Tired from her telekinetic training session, her body revolted–cramps hit her legs and she almost collapsed. She couldn’t outrun them, so she frantically searched the neighborhood for a place to hide. The first fence she came to, she scrambled over, and landed next to a tree. Her throat burned. Her chest heaved.

Rebecca peered through the thin slats in the fence, but no one came by. Maybe she’d overreacted. She lowered her sweaty head. The cool night sent a chill down her back. Her telekinesis curled around her like a scarf and she closed her eyes, comforted.

Her breath caught, at the squeak of a door. Behind her, a man stood on the porch in a white tank top. A cigarette dangled from his lip, the embers illuminated his face in orange shadows. She clenched the edge of the fence, ready to bolt again.

The porch light came alive. “Rebecca, what are you doing in my yard? Is everything okay?”

Relief swelled in her. Her science teacher, Mr. Randolph, greeted her with a smile. He was a nice guy who always joked with the class and one of the few people who had chosen neutrality in the whole gifted person versus civilian debate.

“I thought some guys were after me, but I think I’ve lost them.” Rebecca fought back a tremble.

“Really?” His plump face squished with concern. He scanned the street beyond his fence. “Come inside. We’ll call your parents.”

“Thank you.” She brushed away some of the twigs caught between the strands of her hair.

Mr. Randolph smashed his cigarette under his foot. “Sorry, bad habit.”

She followed him inside and stole a quick glance back into the street beyond his fence and didn’t see any sign of her pursuers. The warmth of the house soaked into her bones and the fear vanished. She trusted the teacher as much as she could trust anyone. Luck was on her side tonight.

“The phone’s on the counter.” He locked the door behind him.

She dialed her house. Her father picked up right away. “Dad, I’m sorry.”

“Rebecca, where the hell are you? I thought I told you to be home before dark,” her father said.

She knew this was coming. “I’m three blocks down the street. I thought someone was chasing me.”

“Chasing you? Are you okay? What happened? I’ll call Patrick.”

“No I’m fine, and I’m not sure I could tell Patrick much as it’s dark and I couldn’t see them that well. I’m at Mr. Randolph’s house, you know, my science teacher you met him last semester.”

“Let me talk to Mr. Randolph.”

“He wants to talk to you,” Rebecca said. She mouthed her apology and Mr. Randolph smiled.

She handed the phone to Mr. Randolph, who finished pouring himself a cup of coffee before taking the receiver. She slumped against the doorway and examined her ragged nails.

“Yes, she’s fine. I found her in my yard.” Mr. Randolph took a sip. A smile creased his lips. “I understand. Would you like me to bring her home?” He nodded. “No, of course. She won’t leave here until he arrives. You have my word.” Mr. Randolph hung up the phone. “Someone will be here soon.”

“Sorry about that.”

“No problem. He’s concerned you were hurt. I was the same way with my daughter when she was your age. Make yourself comfortable while you’re here.”

She didn’t recall him mentioning his daughter ever before. She strolled into the living room and examined the pictures hung along the walls. His daughter sat on a younger Mr. Randolph’s lap in a family portrait. The living room furniture seemed old, but still in good shape. The lack of a television surprised her.

He carried a satchel into the room and tossed it on the coffee table. It slapped against the wood and she jumped. Rubbing her hands up and down her arms seemed to help calm her frayed nerves a little. “You’re father seems like a good man.”

“Yeah, he has his moments,” she said.

He took another sip from his mug before he unsnapped the satchel. “You can have a seat while you wait. I’m just grading some papers.”

A car horn honked and she headed for the door. “That’s him. Thank you again. I don’t know what I would’ve done if they’d caught me.”

He flashed a genuine smile. “You’re a smart girl. You would’ve thought of something.”

He stood to let her out, but she’d already opened the door. “I’ll see you Tuesday. Enjoy the three day weekend.”

She hurried to the car and stopped at the sight of her father’s head of security, Eric. He frowned at her. “We need to talk.”

“I’m sorry.” She slid onto the passenger seat. “I lost track of time.”

“I thought we made a deal that you would call me to pick you up when you were ready,” he said and backed out of the driveway. Eric had worked for her father for over a decade—he was family.

“I thought I’d make it before dark.” She slumped down in the seat.

“Let’s not do this again. You know since the kid with those water powers was murdered, things have gotten a bit crazy around here. Your father needs to know you’re safe.”

She cringed and shook her head; she loved her father and felt bad because of her secret. With the way she heard him talk to the other politicians, things were going to get worse for gifted people. She feared the idea she’d overheard; they were trying to figure out a way to track people with powers. She imagined a barcode or something embedded in her skin. The thought made her squirm.

“I promise I’ll never do it again.” A promise she didn’t intend to keep, but if Eric told her father that, it would make him feel better, which put her mind at ease a little bit.

“There was another attack tonight. The rumor is it’s the group of people who follow the Collector guy again,” he said. “Twelve people dead. Nine of them kids.” This wasn’t a scare tactic. He wanted her to know what sort of situation her father dealt with tonight.

Eric always kept Rebecca updated on current happenings. The knowledge made her feel better, even though it was primarily violent news.

Rebecca lowered her head to hide her frustration. Things were worse for people like her, all because of some fruitcake who lead a bunch of gifted people on a crime spree. Her telekinesis tingled in her stomach at the change of her mood. She swallowed the anger and gazed out the window. She didn’t have anyone to talk to because everyone in her family was normal, unless her father’s way to deal with stress was a super power. Despite how dire things had gotten, he always remained calm and collected, except when it came to her. That was a surefire way for him to lose it. She didn’t enjoy the special attention when it came to her. Alex, her brother, got away with everything. Suppressing her guilt, she let out a shaky groan.

As Eric pulled into the driveway, Tony, her father’s other security guard, awaited them in front of the two story Victorian house. News vans lined the street outside and as they pulled up, the reporters mobbed the car. Their words blurred into one large rumble. Over the years she grew accustomed to ignore their inquiries, but lately, their questions about people with powers were hard to avoid. Each one stung like a dagger of accusation.

“Sorry about this,” Eric didn’t have to apologize; she knew it came with the territory of the mayor’s daughter, after all. She’d been around it for the past five years.

Tony, a monster of a man, shoved his way through to the passenger door and opened it for her. Tony pulled Rebecca inside the house where the reporter’s questions were snipped off by the stark slam of the door.

Inside the foyer, her father sat in his overstuffed chair, a large pile of papers stacked on his lap. Natilee, his personal assistant, came from the back room. Her black pants suit was well pressed and her brown hair was tied up in a tight bun that made the throbbing veins at her temple more visible. She didn’t handle stress nearly as well as her father. Rebecca learned quickly how to tell what sort of mood Natilee was in by a glance at her temple. If it fluttered like a hummingbird, keep your conversation short; if it was steady then she was approachable. She smiled at Rebecca and then turned back to her father.

“I’m sorry, Dad.” She swallowed and focused on remaining calm. She needed to keep the blaze of emotions in check, so no surprises with her gift would happen.

“These are signed.” Her father handed the papers to Natilee and she hurried toward the back of the house. He made his intentions clear, time with his family was more important than work and Natilee’s respect for the rule allowed her to keep her job longer than any of the other assistants.

“Becca, come here.” Her father removed his glasses and leaned forward in his chair. His brow creased as he rubbed his temples. “It’s okay. I’m sorry I flipped out. Things are a bit out of control as you can see.” Her father waved his hand toward the window absentmindedly.

Her mother rushed into the living room. “Honey, are you all right? Your dad said you were chased.” She pulled Rebecca into an embrace. Having her close was comforting. She gave her mother a quick squeeze back and pulled away. The scent of strawberries filled her head and she smiled.

Eric, who had escorted Rebecca’s mother in from the kitchen, went to his post by the front door.

“I’ve called Patrick. He’ll stop by after dinner. You don’t need to worry. He understands,” her mother said. A buzzer went off from the kitchen and her mother hesitated. She frowned. “Dinner’s in the oven.” She zipped off without another word.

Rebecca set her backpack on the couch and sat next to it. She leaned forward on the plush couch positioned directly across from her father. The idea of revealing her ability to him crossed her mind, but she sighed instead. There was no way he would understand. The oak table sat between them, and the reflection of the few red embers in the fireplace glowed with occasional pops of life. She fidgeted with the strings of her sweatshirt as his brown-eyed glare bore into her until she finally met his stare. Her mother was always there for her, but her father was the one she respected.

“Where were you?” His voice remained calm and inviting, which was never a good sign. Always under control, the tone of his voice made it clear that he meant business. The world could collapse around him and he would keep everyone else composed. She admired his ability to remain calm, while she felt like insects crawled around inside her at the first sign of chaos.

“At the library, studying.” She kept her eyes up. No backing down from his gaze, it would only give him a reason to think she lied.

“No, you weren’t. I checked there when the attack at the after school center happened. Want to try again?” He searched her face.

“Um…” She cracked and he noticed. His eyebrows rose briefly. She should have never tried to get one over on him. Too late to backtrack now, she needed to keep up her facade.

“I’m going to love you no matter where you were, so tell me, where were you?” He moved from the chair and sat next to her. He rested his hand on top of her fidgeting hands and they came to a stop. His warmth spread through her like a storm front and she blinked back the anguish. She wanted to tell him everything, but her mouth refused to spit out the words.

“I went for a walk through the forest. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but…“ Rebecca stopped. He held her hands tight as she twitched to break free.

“It’s okay. You’re sixteen, and going through a lot of teenage stuff. Please don’t lie to me. I can’t protect you if you do.” He pulled her closer and kissed her forehead. “I love you.”

The stubble on his chin scratched her nose. “I love you too, Dad.”

“Now get upstairs and wash up for dinner.” He stood. “Natilee?”

Natilee appeared from another room a moment later, a cell phone in one hand and another pile of paperwork under her other arm. Rebecca stood to leave.

“The press wants a statement.” Natilee said, as Rebecca brushed by. The vein at her temple was calm, finally, and her hazel eyes glimmered a bit like she had recently been crying. Had she heard their conversation? Why would she care?

Her father glanced out the window. “I’ll tell them what I know, which isn’t much.”

“Dad?”

“Yes, dear?” He faced Rebecca and for the first time, he seemed to be beaten down by the way things were going.

“Where’s Alex?”

“Upstairs, probably on the phone with Yasmine.” He turned back to the window. Natilee handed him the phone.

“It’s the national media.” Natilee’s eyes glimmered for a moment, which stopped Rebecca short, but then she told herself what she had seen was nothing more than the reflection of the fire.

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Author John R. Sankovich

Author John R. Sankovich

About the Author
Even as a young child I was always conjuring up stories and filling them with colorful characters, sharing them with anyone and everyone who would listen. Since then, I’ve progressed quite a bit to formulating longer and more complex stories and sharing them with much larger audiences.

When I’m not writing, I’m an avid Carolina Panther fan, video game player, and a Walking Dead aficionado.

I wouldn’t be able to do this with the support of my family, wife, two daughters, and son. Along with our zoo at home with 3 dogs, 3 frogs, a turtle, leopard gecko, sugar glider, a cat, and numerous fish. You might be surprised that with all these possible distractions, I still manage to write on a daily basis..

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Where to find John R. Sankovich
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Cover Reveal – SECOND STAR (Neverland Transmissions) by J.M. Sullivan

SECOND STAR Cover Reveal

Bleeding Ink Publishing and author J.M. Sullivan are revealing the cover to SECOND STAR, the first book in the young adult science fiction/fantasy series, Neverland Transmissions, releasing March 5, 2019. See below for the cover, information the book, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.

SECOND STAR (Neverland Transmissions #1) by J.M. Sullivan

SECOND STAR (Neverland Transmissions #1) by J.M. Sullivan

About the Book
Title: SECOND STAR
Series: Neverland Transmissions #1
Author: J.M. Sullivan
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy
Links: Goodreads

Synopsis
Peter Pan has never been one to follow the rules. Abandoned as a child, he was adopted by the renowned Captain Hooke to join the crew of the starship Jolly Roger. But when Peter finds out that the elegant Captain is not as upstanding as everyone believes, he has no choice but to sabotage the ship, alienating him from the crew, the fleet, and the only family he’s ever known.

Wendy Darling has worked her entire life to rise through the ranks of the prestigious Londonierre Brigade. Now as a Captain, she has everything she’s always wanted, including a ship and crew of her own. But when the Brigade receives a strange transmission from the legendary James Hooke, lost a hundred years earlier in uncharted space and presumed dead, Wendy is willing to risk it all to rescue her hero from the planet known only as Neverland.

But there is more to Neverland than meets the eye, and more to Hooke than what was written in history books. When Wendy crash lands on the ominous planet, she quickly discovers Neverland’s dark secret; a malevolent being known as The Shadow that’s looking for a host body to escape its eternal prison. To fulfill her mission, Wendy must decide whether to trust the dashing Hooke or the mysterious Fleet mechanic who goes by the name of Pan–and she has to decide quickly…

Before the darkness consumes them all.

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Author J.M. Sullivan

Author J.M. Sullivan

About the Author
An avid reader and hopeless fangirl, J.M. Sullivan shamelessly fantasized that this was, in fact, her AUROR bio, but has since determined AUTHOR bio to be the next best thing. An almost Arizona native, she was raised in Phoenix, but when asked, she will tell you her formative years were really spent in the land of make-believe, where she passed countless hours with her favorite characters in their own worlds, Wonderland included.

Eventually, society informed her that she had to grow up, so she experimented in retail, music, and business careers before realizing her passion for kids. She now works in Abu Dhabi as a middle school science teacher who fosters a love of science, literature, and learning in her students.

Although known to dabble in adulting, J.M. is a big kid at heart who still believes in true love, magic, and most of all, the power of coffee. When she isn’t busy writing or caught in a daydream, she spends her time at home with her husband, their two cats, three kids, and a whole lot of madness. And she wouldn’t have it any other way..

Where to Find J.M. Sullivan
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – HANDS OF THE COLOSSUS (Holly Drake Job) by Nicole Grotepas

HANDS OF THE COLOSSUS Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for HANDS OF THE COLOSSUS, the second book in the adult science fiction/steampunk series, Holly Drake Job, by Nicole Grotepas. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

HANDS OF THE COLOSSUS (Holly Drake Job #2) by Nicole Grotepas

HANDS OF THE COLOSSUS (Holly Drake Job #2) by Nicole Grotepas

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: HANDS OF THE COLOSSUS
Series: Holly Drake Job #2
Author: Nicole Grotepas
Release Date: May 31, 2018
Genre: Adult Science Fiction/Steampunk
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
One massive shadow organization. One bad ass heroine.

Holly Drake just wants a simple thing–to destroy the Shadow Coalition and the evil at the heart of their business. Using tip-offs from the secretive government official pulling her strings, Holly and her crew swoop in, break up the cash drops and steal the money. If one or two baddies die on accident, no big loss. Right? Holly could do this forever, picking the Coalition apart till not even bones remain.

Until someone goes missing. In that moment, everything changes.

To save the victim, Holly and her team will put everything on the line to penetrate the mysterious Shadow Coalition and stab at their enigmatic leadership: the Hands who protect the Heart. Treacherous journeys across the 6-moon system in space-zeppelins, dangerous infiltrations of the Coalition, bartering with thieves, and relying on the seedy underbelly of the 6-moons. Anything it takes.

But … is the whole set up a trap? How many snares will Holly and her crew have to spring to the save just one victim?

This is Holly Drake and her crew of thieves. If they have to, they’ll go into the hornet’s nest to get the job done. But will it be their final job? 

The Hands of the Colossus features a snarky, strong, bad ass heroine fighting against the odds to save the helpless.

If you don’t like seeing a woman experience self-doubt, overcome obstacles, and then dominate, this book is not for you.

Love strong female leads, an entertaining cast of characters, and adventure? Then grab your copy today!

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Excerpt #2
They’d been planning for a trap. It was something Holly thought would always be wise—knowing that your plan might come up against a carefully executed snare that was so subtle, it couldn’t be seen.

And still, her guts roiled and boiled as they waited for the drop to begin. Charly and Odeon had scouted the exterior of the warehouse, which was carved from the rock just like everything else. But unlike the hotels and the canyon towers of commerce, the warehouse had multiple entries along the tall building where flying ships landed and loaded cargo in or out. The drop was set to happen on the top level of the tower. Charly and Odeon had set up two entry points for them, one from the north side and the other from the south side. The thought was that the suppliers who were coming for their money would enter through the canyon facing entrance.

Shiro and Holly crouched out of sight on the balcony of the tower top facing the warehouse. Their timer counted down to the moment the drop was scheduled.

“Should be happening now,” Charly’s scratchy voice said in Holly’s ear. “You guys all ready for this? It’s gonna be a fucking party.”

“Get on your ziplines now,” Odeon said. They’d set the system up to cross the gap between the buildings.

“Ok, Shiro, you go first,” Holly muttered, feeling her stomach plummet at the thought of crossing the gap.

“Ladies first,” Shiro said. “You’re not afraid are you, Ms. Drake?”

Those were the magic words. She had been afraid. But now that Shiro caught her, she couldn’t very well admit that.

“Hardly. I wanted to make sure you got across without a problem. It’s fine. I’ll go first.”

“When a lady says, ‘it’s fine,’ it never is.”

“But it is. Look I’m going.”

“Masks on,” Shiro said.

Holly yanked hers down over her eyes, nose, and mouth, and then jumped onto the zipline, taking it in one movement so that she couldn’t change her mind. The winds ripped through her hair. She lifted her legs and traversed the distance. Though it was rather narrow, it seemed to take forever. Her abdomen muscles burned. Her shoulders ached, and then she was there, on the platform. She dropped and pulled the zip tool off. Shiro landed beside her, holding his cane between his teeth.

“Ow.” He pulled it out as he landed. “This cane was not made to hold in my mouth.”

He flexed his jaw repeatedly.

“Oh believe me, I know what you mean,” Holly said drily. There it was—his blush. She’d wanted that. Had worked hard for it. She laughed.

“Lead the way, Ms. Drake.”

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Get caught up on the series:

Book 1: EYE OF COLOSSUS
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Author Nicole Grotepas

Author Nicole Grotepas

About the Author
I’m passionate about human rights, animal rights, and living life with no regrets. I love how becoming a parent has deepened my devotion to making the world a better place. I do that best by crafting stories that attempt to answer hard questions–the ones I think about most–while also being entertaining and fun. I live in a landscape that reminds me of my place in the universe, under an endless sky and towering mountains that are older than human memory, and I love it here.

 

 

 

Where to Find Nicole Grotepas
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Cover Reveal – RIVAL (Fate of the Stars) by Arwen Paris

RIVAL Cover Reveal

Author Arwen Paris is revealing the cover to RIVAL, the second book in her young adult science fiction/urban fantasy series, Fate of the Stars, releasing July, 2018. See below for the cover, information the book and series, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.

RIVAL (Fate of the Stars #2) by Arwen Paris

RIVAL (Fate of the Stars #2) by Arwen Paris

About the Book
Title: RIVAL
Series: Fate of the Stars #2
Author: Arwen Paris
Release Date: July, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy
Links: Goodreads

Synopsis
It’s a role she didn’t want…

One deadly week has passed since seventeen year old Allison Delaney realized she must save Earth from the parasitic race of Ma’tiok. But the task is even more complicated than Allison feared, and she’s being set up to fail. Blamed for a fatal blow to the Alliance fleet that killed dozens of soldiers, Allison must face judgment for their deaths. The High Priestess Kiobaan is Allison’s only hope. Kiobaan sees the warrior spirit in Allison, along with her potential both politically and physically and agrees to train her.

And a game she can’t afford to lose.

Meanwhile, though Allison is the human host of Eenoki, protector of life, she’s not yet ready to harness their combined energy. Their bond is unpredictable at best—volatile at worst. Time is running out for Eenoki and Allison to trust each other—all or nothing—or she’ll never gain the power she needs to defeat the Ma’tiok and save Earth. When Allison is marked for death by an unknown enemy, the High Priestess Kiobaan must step-up and fight. But in return Kiobaan extracts a pledge from Allison, one that will compromise her new status and make her a target.

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Get Caught Up on the Series

Book 1: FATE OF THE STARS
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Author Arwen Paris

Author Arwen Paris

About the Author
Arwen Paris is the author of young adult fiction. Her debut YA Sci-fi Urban Fantasy novel FATE OF THE STARS releases September 1, 2017. The actions packed pages of her novels are filled with characters that are forced to face fears they never expected. When she’s not writing, you can see posts of her (too many) vacations that keep her sane. Arwen lives in Washington, has a big crazy family & after the day job, she writes Fiction For the Fearless – #F3Fanatic.

 

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Where to Find Arwen Paris
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter
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Blog Tour – Excerpt – THE CROSSOVER (Crossover) by Heather Horst

THE CROSSOVER Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for THE CROSSOVER, the first book in the new adult science fiction romance series, Crossover, by Heather HorstSee below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt. For a limited time, you can pick up the eBook for just $0.99.

THE CROSSOVER (Crossover #1) by Heather Horst

THE CROSSOVER (Crossover #1) by Heather Horst

About the Book – $0.99 for a Limited Time
Title: THE CROSSOVER (Crossover #1) by Heather Horst
Series: Crossover #1
Author: Heather Horst
Release Date: March 3, 2018
Genre:
 New Adult Science Fiction Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
It’s been 12 years since Ella has buried her brother Weston, today she buries her Father. Tomorrow she begins her life as an average University student. Unfortunately, much like Ella’s childhood, things do not go as expected. Before the semester can even begin Ella finds herself intertwined with eccentric peers, family ties, and an alternate universe.

Now Ella is thrust into the responsibility of keeping her personal life in order while saving another Earth from their impending doom, and potentially her own.

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt
The creature is pinned to the ground. The seven harpoons are plunged into its body, but I can still see it squirming.

“Is it dead?” I whimper.

The boy approaches it, his blade pointed forward. I stay behind, I don’t want to get anywhere near that thing. The creature flails trying to free itself. The boy stands over top of it and slashes his sword right into the mid-section of the creature. It lets out one final cry and stops moving. The boy pulls out a harpoon, it’s made of the same material as his sword, and he plunges it into the creature’s skull.

“What the hell was that?” I see the same black liquid I saw before leaking from its limp body. I realize its blood. Black blood is dripping from the creature and onto the ground. A team of people in biohazard suits crash through the door and push toward the creature. Before I can see what they are doing the boy gently places his hands on my shoulders and turns me around.

“You won’t want to see this.” He says.

“Tell me what’s going on.” I demand.

“I wish I could but I’m really not the right person for that.”

“Who the hell are you anyways? What is this place? What was-”

I gasp for air and my eyes begin to grow blurry. There’s the same feeling in my chest and stomach as before when I left the lecture hall. My legs crumple like tissue paper beneath me. I tumble to the ground. I see the boy crouch down and he’s saying something, but my ears fail to work. I can see that the he is trying to hold me up but I can’t feel him. My ears start to pick up some noise.

“It’s going to be okay. I’m sorry that you had to do this.” He tries to comfort me, but he sounds like he’s so far away.

“Was this real?” My breath is faint.

“Yes.” I look into his sea blue eyes and try to focus. They look so familiar to me.

“My name is Weston by the way, Weston Brandt.”

CLAP

I feel like I am being pushed to the point of breaking. My stomach is being stretched out like elastic, letting go and snapping back into place, over and over. But then it stops.

I swallow the air like I might never be able to do it again and my eyes snap open. I paw around my surroundings. The sheets of the nurses bed soothe my fear. The stupid cat poster is a welcomed sight. I am back.

Was that a dream? Did I die and come back to life? Weston… my brother was there. That’s impossible. He’s dead.

I sit up on the bed, my head is pounding. That must have been a dream. I haven’t gone anywhere. I’ve been in this room the whole time… I think. My black dress is still covered in dirt.

“No, no, no.” This must just be from today. There’s dirt everywhere but it could’ve gotten on me from walking or taking the bus or something. This doesn’t mean anything. I try wiping off the dirt stuck to my dress and I notice my hand. I turn it over and see the black smudges on my fingers. I smell my hands hoping that it’s not what I think it is.

It’s spray paint. The same spray paint from the message that was sprawled on the ground from wherever I was. That means that whole thing was real. That means my brother is alive.

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Author Heather Horst

Author Heather Horst

About the Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where to find Heather Horst
Goodreads | Twitter

 

Blog Tour – Guest Post + Giveaway – FRACTIONS OF EXISTENCE (The Existence) by J. Lenni Dorner

FRACTIONS OF EXISTENCE Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for FRACTIONS OF EXISTENCE, the first book in the new adult scifi/fantasy romance series, The Existence, by J. Lenni Dorner. See below for information the book, buy links, a deleted from the book, and details on her giveaway.

FRACTIONS OF EXISTENCE (Existence #1) by J. Lenni Dorner

FRACTIONS OF EXISTENCE (Existence #1) by J. Lenni Dorner

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: FRACTIONS OF EXISTENCE
Series: Existence #1
Author: J. Lenni Dorner
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Genre: New Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
Once they were humanity’s exalted protectors— now they are being hunted.

Xavier will weigh all human life against Gwendolyn’s ignorant happiness. The good news is that her choice can blow his away.

Omnipotent beings find each other while playing an online game. Xavier has been searching for Gwendolyn, his true mate and the missing member of the Existence. Only if reunited can the group regain the rest of their memories and access all of their powers. Hidden in plain sight, disguised as humans, they help who they can, as best they can, when they can.

The Eyes in the Shadows, a religious sect, has been trying to free humans from the “prison” of life on Earth for millenniums. The Existence has always been able to thwart them… until now. They’ve discovered a way to end the world that no one will see coming.

Gwendolyn has her future all laid out. There is a plan. She knows what her parents want for her and how to get it. Then Xavier, a friend from a virtual game, makes her question everything. He’s full of secrets, one being an understanding of her fear of the wind.

She tries to suppress her intense attraction to the mysterious and frustrating Xavier. She’s engaged, after all, and the thoughts she’s having aren’t proper. Gwendolyn is swept into a whirlwind of secrets, danger, and a forbidden attraction. She’ll drive across the country in her beat-up old car, not knowing if he is genuinely interested or just being polite. (He refuses to kiss her!) Gwendolyn’s journey is full of self-doubt, sacrifice, and dark visions that invade her sleep. Will she uncover the truth about herself?

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Deleted Scene
The following scene was once part of the opening of Fractions of Existence. It was cut because it puts the reader into the head of a minor character who does not appear again in Book One of the series. There is also a paragraph from the narrator. And it felt too much like an info dump about Xavier. The editing eventually came down to cutting it out.

However, I love the way she describes Xavier as, “one shaken-not-stirred martini away from being a legend.” #LaughingAtMyOwnJoke

Fingers played in the chilled water of the elaborate fountain. Many had speculated, but none had correctly guessed, how this indoor oasis came to be and functioned without a power supply or attachment to the city’s water system. Echoes of the splashes bounced throughout the cavernous three-story-high lobby. Ophelia, the security guard, turned a blind eye. She opened her rumpled copy of the New York Times to scan the same stories she had perused during her lunch break.

Earlier in the day, Ophelia scolded a child for playing in the fountain; but the fingers now dipping belonged to the luscious man who owned this high-rise building and the business headquartered within. Ophelia wasn’t daft enough to yell at the boss.     

Besides, Xavier Doyen was a rare sort. His lucrative acquisitions company could amass enough money to propel him to the ranks of the ten wealthiest citizens of the world; but it probably never would, since every week another check was written out to a different charity. Many thought the wealthy twenty-two-year old was mad, allowing benevolence to rule rather than greed. Ophelia thought it much more peculiar that her boss daily greeted nearly every employee, by name, and put so much effort into taking care of the entire staff. Nowhere else in this city was there a boss who cared so much. So what if Mr. Doyen wanted to be the eccentric sort who splashed his hands in a fountain?

Xavier was known for his smile (not this odd childish behavior). Sometimes it served as a diplomatic tension breaker; other times it was a perfect tool to charm the ladies. It was at its finest when it appeared because of consummate love. Sadly, that particular smile was stricken from his being for far more years than Ophelia could have possibly guessed.

Peering around the edge of her newspaper, Ophelia imagined what it would be like to be the object of his affection. Such a fine man should not have to accept the solitude of bachelorhood. Her boss was one shaken-not-stirred martini away from being a legend. Yet, Mr. Doyen seemed disenchanted with the fine women he dated. Ophelia had come across more than one of those ladies in the pages of magazines. If her boss could so easily acquire women of such enviable beauty, yet continue to wear such a lonesome expression when no one (except the security cameras) was looking, what chance would she have with him? A woman of substance, Ophelia thought, perhaps that’s what he desires.

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FRACTIONS OF EXISTENCE Teaser

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Author J. Lenni Dorner

Author J. Lenni Dorner

About the Author
J. competed in Write Club 2014 & 2016. The Creative Writing Institute held writing contests that resulted in J Lenni Dorner being published in “WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014” and LOST!: A themed anthology 2017. J self-published “Preparing to Write Settings That Feel Like Characters,” in 2015. Winner of the Write Edit Publish Now flash fiction “Youthful Frights versus Adult Fears” Halloween challenge 2015. Signum University’s Mythgard Institute held a creative writing contest in the autumn of 2015 called “Almost an Inkling” in which J Lenni Dorner was the Popular Vote Winner of week 6, resulting in publication in The Soul of Wit. The Operation Awesome Flash Fiction Contest 12 win in April 2016 went to J Lenni Dorner.

A to Z Challenge co-host as of 2017.

When not reading or writing, J enjoys video games, laughing at funny cat videos, finding drawings of dragons on Pinterest, and watching movies.

Where to Find J. Lenni Dorner
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – EVOLVED by N.R. Walker

EVOLVED Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for EVOLVED, a stand-alone adult science fiction LGBTQ romance, by N.R. Walker. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

EVOLVED by N.R. Walker

EVOLVED by N.R. Walker

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: EVOLVED
Author: N.R. Walker
Release Date: April 23, 2018
Genre: Adult Science Fiction LGBTQ Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
In 2068, androids are an integrated part of human life. Big Brother no longer just watches from the shadows. It’s in every household.

Lloyd Salter has OCD issues with noise, mess, and he’s uncomfortable with human interaction. When his ex claimed the only thing perfect enough to live up to his standards was an android, Lloyd dismissed it. But two years later, after much self-assessment, Lloyd thinks he may have been right.

SATinc is the largest manufacturer of androids in Australia, including the Fully Compatible Units known as an A-Class 10. Their latest design is the Synthetic Human Android UNit, otherwise known as SHAUN.

Shaun is compatible with Lloyd’s every need; the perfect fit on an intellectual and physical basis. But Lloyd soon realises Shaun’s not like other A-Class androids. He learns. He adapts. Sure that SATinc is aware Shaun functions outside of his programmed parameters, Lloyd must find a way to keep Shaun safe.

No one can know how special Shaun is. No one can know he’s evolved..

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Excerpt #2
I studied Shaun for a second. He was completely still, powered down, and he looked peaceful. I reached out and almost touched his cheek, but it felt wrong to do so without his consent.

I took a step back, took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. “Shaun, Power Up.”

He opened his eyes and lifted his head. When his gaze met mine, he smiled. “Hello, Lloyd.”

“Hello, Shaun.” I wasn’t sure what to say next. I looked around the room.

“Are you nervous?” Shaun asked. “Your heart rate is elevated and your pupils are dilated.”

“You can see that?”

“Of course. I am designed to be attuned to you.”

Oh boy. Breathe Lloyd. “Uh, yes. I’m a little nervous. I’ve been waiting for you for a while, and I’m very happy you’re here.”

Shaun smiled. “I am happy to be here.”

He was happy? Was he really happy, as in emotionally uplifted, or was it just a phrase?

I realised then I was still holding the control panel. I walked over to the cabinet and slid it on top. When I turned around, Shaun had turned and was watching me. “Would you like me to show you your new home?”

“Yes, please.”

“This is the main living area,” I said. Waving my hand at the sofas and the dining table. “Kitchen is through there.” The truth was, the kitchen was sleek and state of the art with views overlooking the Yarra River and Southbank, Melbourne, but would he appreciate that? I didn’t think so. “This way is the private quarters.” I slid back a recessed door to reveal a hall. I didn’t often close the door, but given I was expecting the delivery people, I didn’t want them seeing my personal space. Not that I had anything to hide. I just liked my privacy. I needed it. It was my sanctuary, my peace of mind from the chaos, mess, and noise of the outside world. I opened the first door. “This is your room.”

He moved fluidly, humanly. God, he looked so real. “Will I not be staying in your room with you?”

I blinked. “Oh, um. Well, uh… I just thought you might like your own space.”

“If you do not wish me to join you in your room, you only have to say.”

I studied him for a second. God, did he look sad or was that just my imagination?

I opened the door to the walk-in robe. “I bought you some clothes,” I said. “I thought you might like to choose what you wear each day.”

He looked at the clothes hanging, neat rows of sweaters, shirts, and pants. “You bought these for me?”

I hadn’t anticipated he would stand so close to me so he could see inside the closet. It made my heart rate take off. “Yes.”

He shot me a look. “Your heart rate is elevated.” Then he straightened, but he didn’t move back an inch. His voice was deep but quiet, soothing even. “You like me being close to you.”

Oh boy. I stepped away and ignored his statement. If he was going to voice my every reaction… “There’s an en suite bathroom also,” I said, opening the other door. “You can use anything in this house at any time. You don’t need to ask.”

Then I walked back to the hall and showed him the main bathroom. “This is the bathroom guests use,” I explained.

“Do we have guests often?”

We. He said we.

My heart galloped again, but he thankfully didn’t comment. I could only assume he picked up on my earlier discomfort. God, it was bad enough I was awkward with humans, but now I was awkward with androids as well.

“Uh, no. I haven’t had many guests in the past, and not for some time. I like my privacy, and I like things… a certain way.” That was probably putting my OCD mildly. “I prefer things in order and I enjoy quiet.”

I’d said that line a hundred times in my life. To work associates, friends, therapists, and my ex-boyfriend, and they all judged or responded as if I was broken and they could offer advice to fix me. But Shaun smiled at me. “I like those things too.”

My heart raced again, but this time it was from relief, gratitude, fondness even. His quiet, peaceful demeanour was so utterly perfect for me. I blinked a few times to clear my thoughts and showed him to my bedroom. I opened the door and almost reluctantly stepped inside. “This is my room.”

He walked in, taking in his surroundings. My room was quite large, with polished concrete floors, white walls, and white bedding, and charcoal grey artworks above the bed. Shaun did a slow 360, then stopped when he was facing me.

“Do you like it?” I asked, perplexed by his reaction. Did the white and grey bother one of his sensors? Or did he think it was cold and detached.

“It’s very peaceful,” he said.

It felt like the air was sucked out of the room, and I struggled to catch my breath, in a head-rush, remarkable kind of way. No one had understood that. Certainly not Ian. My ex had hated this room. I’d always said it made me calm, but he said he felt like he was in a museum, and that was not a compliment. But Shaun got it. Programmed to like what I liked or not, the relief I felt was unprecedented.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

Shaun studied me for a moment, tilting his head just so. Then, in two very humanlike steps, he stood in front of me. “Do you wish to have sex with me?” he asked.

I blinked in shock and dry swallowed. It took me a few attempts at speaking, but I finally managed to get my answer out.

“No.”

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Author N.R. Walker

Author N.R. Walker

About the Author
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words. She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

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Where to Find N.R. Walker
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE SAME TIME (Time Series) by Brona Mills

THE SAME TIME Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for THE SAME TIME, the second book in the adult science fiction/time travelling series, Time, by Brona Mills. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

THE SAME TIME (Time Series #2) by Brona Mills

THE SAME TIME (Time Series #2) by Brona Mills

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title:
THE SAME TIME
Series: Time Series #2
Author:
Brona Mills
Release Date: April 23, 2018
Genre: Adult Science Fiction/Time Travel
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
How much of the past do you need to change to keep everyone you love alive?

Twenty-one-year-old Stella, faces some tough life battles, and in her moments of need, she is visited and aided by a stranger, David. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll meet him again and again—always when her life is in danger—until one day, she meets him as a much younger man and this time, he doesn’t disappear.

He doesn’t remember her or the many times he’s saved her life, but when Stella learns that his life is in danger, can she do what she must to return the favour? Can she keep secrets from the man she loves in her own timeline, knowing it might destroy their relationship? Or change the biggest mistake in her life she has yet to make? What good is having a time traveller as your best friend, if nothing ever really changes?

 

 

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Excerpt #3
‘I did all I could for now. One day we’re going to make him leave for good.’ He runs his thumb under my eye and wipes away a tear. ‘I keep going farther into your past, but you’re safe now. I think I got them all.’

‘All of what?’

‘The times you died.’ The light surrounding him gets brighter and a shrill noise fills the space between us. ‘Don’t be scared. You’re an awesome mom, and the strongest little mouse I’ve ever met.’

The light and the noise evaporate, sucking him inside. The contrast with the regular lighting makes the room appear dark until my eyes adjust.

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Author Brona Mills

Author Brona Mills

About the Author
Brona Mills has defied the odds of overcoming dyslexia and failing High School English to become an author. Her first book, A Time for Everything, has been met with great reviews from both the romance readers and the sci-fi time travel lovers, that Brona kept the series going. Book two in the connected series, The Same Time is out 23rd April, and Brona’s not stopping there. She is currently working on two other projects, a novella in the connected Time Series, and a new stand alone time travel novel with a dystopian element.

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Where to find Brona Mills
Goodreads | Facebook | Amazon

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – EYE OF THE COLOSSUS (Holly Drake Job) by Nicole Grotepas

EYE OF THE COLOSSUS Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for EYE OF THE COLOSSUS, the first book in the adult science fiction/steampunk series, Holly Drake Job, by Nicole Grotepas. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

EYE OF THE COLOSSUS (Holly Drake Job #1) by Nicole Grotepas

EYE OF THE COLOSSUS (Holly Drake Job #1) by Nicole Grotepas

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: EYE OF THE COLOSSUS
Series: Holly Drake Job #1
Author: Nicole Grotepas
Release Date: April 19, 2018
Genre: Adult Science Fiction/Steampunk
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
The City of Jade Spires, the biggest in the 6-moons, is a breathtaking symbol of hope and unity for the four races. But it’s also a hub of corruption. Holly Drake is proof of that. Fresh out of prison for a mistake framed to look like cold murder, she’s broke, jobless, and branded with a prison record.

When she lands a gig stealing back the Eye of the Colossus jewels, the chance for a big payout means she won’t have to depend on anyone else. She’s never had that kind of freedom. She’ll do it. Even if the work is only a shade lighter than outright crime.

But soon she finds herself pursued by thugs from the Shadow Coalition, an underworld government that wants her dead. Pulling off the heist without getting killed means putting trust in recruits she hardly knows. The clock is ticking to get the jewels, but a mistake now could be fatal. Chasing across the 6-moons to complete the job will test her grit and determination to succeed when everything is stacked against her. More than that, finding out just what secrets the 6-moons hold will either turn her into the hero the moon system needs, or destroy her…

 

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Excerpt #3
“Come watch the ship unmooring,” Odeon said in that gentle song-like voice. “It’s a magnificent vision.”

“I’ll head to the dining room now. I’d like to get a read on it before Holly arrives. Don’t want any Shadow Coalition thugs surprising us.”

“Great idea. Keep me apprised, Shiro” Holly said, feeling better than ever.

She stood next to Odeon and gazed out the window. Kota was off to one side, while the space port took up much of the other side of the view. Above them, fat Ixion hovered, the borders of its famous stripes a bit less defined. Through the translucent windows of the space platform, she could see the colors of the different races and the bazaar type colors of the tents of the shops. Around the curved edge of the port, another ship loomed, waiting to depart. But departure was imminent for the Emerald Pioneer. The metal arm moorings detached and retracted toward the space-port. Soon, Holly caught sight of the solar sails as they unfurled in the storm of solar radiation and aetheric energy. She sensed a slight movement in the ship as the ground beneath her creaked and shifted. But it was very near the threshold of her ability to sense it, and she suspected that if she hadn’t been watching through the window, she’d not have even noticed. The ship retreated from the port and then caught the current and began to move at a steady clip away from Kota and the port, bound for Itzcap, the true paradise of the 6-moons.

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EYE OF THE COLOSSUS Teaser

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Author Nicole Grotepas

Author Nicole Grotepas

About the Author
I’m passionate about human rights, animal rights, and living life with no regrets. I love how becoming a parent has deepened my devotion to making the world a better place. I do that best by crafting stories that attempt to answer hard questions–the ones I think about most–while also being entertaining and fun. I live in a landscape that reminds me of my place in the universe, under an endless sky and towering mountains that are older than human memory, and I love it here.

 

 

 

Where to Find Nicole Grotepas
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Cover Reveal – WORLD SHIFT (The Eurynome Code) by K. Gorman

WORLD SHIFT Cover Reveal

Author K. Gorman is revealing the cover to WORLD SHIFT, the fourth book in her adult science fiction series, The Eurynome Code, releasing May 30, 2018. See below for the cover, information on the book and series, and buy links.

WORLD SHIFT (The Eurynome Code #4) by K. Gorman

WORLD SHIFT (The Eurynome Code #4) by K. Gorman

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: WORLD SHIFT
Series: The Eurynome Code #4
Author: K. Gorman
Release Date: May 30, 2018
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Links:
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
Some dreams can’t be ignored.

Over a month has passed since Karin Makos settled on Chamak. Together with her sister and the rest of the crew from the Nemina, she is finally able to do something useful in this war—heal the Lost that the Shadows have taken.

But time is not on their side, and more than the Shadow enemy lurks in the wings. Soon Karin finds herself fighting for her life in the forests of Nova Earth, plagued by strange, vivid dreams of her past, and racing hard to prevent the catastrophe that threatens to swallow the planet—because if she fails, it will be more than the planet that is lost.

Made for fans of Firefly, Stargate, and Battlestar Galactica, this fast-paced novel series contains some strong language, a lot of action, and more than its share of snark.

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WORLD SHIFT (The Eurynome Code #4) by K. Gorman (Full Cover)

WORLD SHIFT (The Eurynome Code #4) by K. Gorman (Full Cover)

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The Eurynome Code Series

Get caught up on the series:

Book 1: BLACK DAWN
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Book 2: RENEGADES
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Book 2: BLOOD TIES
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Author K. Gorman

Author K. Gorman

About the Author
An author from western Canada transplanted into western Taiwan, K. Gorman writes a mix of Science Fiction and Fantasy. When not writing or working her day job, one can find her wandering the neighborhoods with her camera, waiting for the next series of Killjoys to drop on Netflix, and scheming with other author friends for bigger, broader, bolder horizons.

 

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Where to find K. Gorman
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Amazon
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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE (Keepers of Xereill Hente Cycle) by Alix Nichols

THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE, the first book in the adult science fiction romance series, Keepers of Xereill, Hente Cycle, by USA Today bestselling author, Alix Nichols. See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.

THE TRAITOR'S BRIDE (Keepers of Xereill Hente Cycle #1) by Alix Nichols

THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE (Keepers of Xereill Hente Cycle #1) by Alix Nichols

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE
Series: Keepers of Xereill, Hente Cycle #1
Author: Alix Nichols
Release Date: March 26, 2018
Genre: Adult Science Fiction Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
On her untamed gift hinges the future of a planet—and her lover’s life…

A month ago, ex-army Major Areg Sebi was thrown into prison. Now he’s on the scaffold, laying his head on the block.  No public trial for the disgraced war hero. No cyborgs from the League of Realms to whisk him away. No help. No escape.

A priestess chants a prayer for the major’s soul, even as a judge cries out, “Death to the traitor!”

In the crowd below, laundry maid Etana Tidryn stares into Areg’s eyes. His lips were hot against hers last night. His hands roamed her body, worshipped her, pleasured her. 

She’s falling for him, hard and fast. She’s still hoping, even if he’s given up…

Can Etana transcend everything she knows—transcend life itself—to save him?

Can she rise to meet her destiny?

 

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THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE Teaser 3

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Excerpt #2
She put her glass down. “Remember what you said about noble blood?”

Areg furrowed his brow.

“You said it didn’t mean much to you.” Etana gave him a sidelong look. “Is that true?”

His face brightened. “Absolutely. I’d say more—it shouldn’t mean much to anyone.”

“How so?”

“Two weeks ago, you found a loophole in Eia’s laws that none of my noble-born, learned friends had seen.”

She blushed, ridiculously pleased with his praise.

“And then a week later,” he continued, “you showed how strong the Ra was in your blood by transfixing thousands of people.”

The heat in Etana’s cheeks reached her ears, setting them on fire.

“And my blood?” Areg shrugged. “For all I know the Sebis are noble because one of our forefathers knew how to please Queen Glendra III.”

Etana giggled. “Why Queen Glendra III in particular?”

“Because she was… erm, voracious.” He gave her a wink. “She rewarded her most talented lovers by giving them titles and lands.”

Her eyes crinkled with mirth. “Are you saying that the first Lord Sebi was a very talented lover?”

He gave her a lopsided smile that made her want to remove all her clothes right there. It struck Etana that Areg was feeling as elated as she was. Gone was the constant crease between his eyebrows and the sadness that tinted his eyes. He looked carefree, happy to be alive, happy to be with her.

He was flirting with her, for Aheya’s sake.

Etana squinted at him. “Um… Are you saying the lovemaking talent runs in the Sebi blood?”

“As we just established, I don’t believe the Sebi blood is special,” Areg said. “So no, I’m not saying that.”

“Right.” She was unable to hide the disappointment in her voice.

“My talents are mine and mine alone. I don’t owe them to my ancestors. I owe them to years of training and arduous practice.”

“Training?” She bunched her brows, confused. “Arduous practice?”

“I was referring to my marksmanship.”

“Oh.”

His lips twitched as he struggled not to laugh. “Why? What were you imagining, Dame Tidryn?”

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THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE Teaser 2

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Author Alix Nichols

Author Alix Nichols

About the Author
Alix Nichols is an unapologetic caffeine addict and a longtime fan of Mr. Darcy, especially in his Colin Firth incarnation. 

She is a USA Today bestselling (April and June 2017) and Kindle Scout winning (December 2015) author of sexy romance novels that readers describe as yummylicious. According to Romantic Times, her books “will keep you hanging off the edge of your seat”. Kirkus Reviews claims they “deliver pure pleasure”. 

At the age of six, Alix released her first romance. It featured highly creative spelling on a dozen pages stitched together and bound in velvet paper. 

Decades later, she still writes. Her spelling has improved (somewhat), and her books have topped the Amazon charts around the world. She lives in France with her family and their almost-human dog.

Sign up for her newsletter to get a free bundle!

Where to Find Alix Nichols
Goodreads | Website | NewsleterFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon | BookBub

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Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Traitor's Bride by Alix Nichols

The Traitor’s Bride

by Alix Nichols

Giveaway ends April 03, 2018.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Excerpt Reveal + Giveaway – TRUE STORM (True Born Trilogy) by L.E. Sterling

True Storm Excerpt Reveal

Entangled Teen and author L.E. Sterling are revealing an excerpt from TRUE STORM, the third book in the young adult science fiction/dystopian trilogy, True Born, releasing May 1, 2018. See below for information on the book and series, pre-order links, and an exclusive excerpt.

TRUE STORM (True Born Trilogy #3) by L.E. Sterling

TRUE STORM (True Born Trilogy #3) by L.E. Sterling

About the Book
Title: TRUE STORM
Series: True Born Trilogy #3
Author: L.E. Sterling
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Genre:
Young Adult Science Fiction/Dystopian Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CABarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled Teen

Synopsis
Lucy’s twin sister, Margot, may be safely back with her―but all is not well in Plague-ravaged Dominion City. The Watchers have come out of hiding, spreading chaos and death throughout the city, and suddenly Lucy finds herself under pressure to choose her future: does it lie with her handsome new friend, Alastair; her guardian, the enigmatic True Born leader Nolan Storm; or the man who makes her heart trip, her savage True Born bodyguard Jared Price?

But while Lucy ponders her path, fate has other plans. Betrayal is a cruel lesson, and the Fox sisters can hardly believe who is behind the plot against them. To survive this deadly game of politics, Lucy is forced to agree to a marriage of convenience. But is the DNA of her will stronger than the forces opposing her? Can she turn the tide against the oncoming storm??

As they say in Dominion, can rogue genes ever have a happy ending?

 

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Excerpt
His hands still on my face. “I’m sorry,” I manage to say, trying to control a nervous need to giggle like a hyena. “Are we fighting? Maybe I didn’t notice because it’s all we ever seem to do.”

A wicked grin lights his features. “That’s not all we seem to do,” he whispers, seconds before he replaces his thumb with his lips.

It’s a soft kiss at first, tentative. Like someone asking your name. But it lights me up, sending fire shooting through my body, heat curling through my belly. I must sigh because Jared pulls back for just a moment, a question in his eyes and hunger written all over him. Then he claims my lips again, holding my face in his hands as the earth spins away from me.

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Get caught up on the series:

Book 1: TRUE BORN
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CABarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled Teen

Book 2: TRUE NORTH
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CABarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled Teen

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Author L.E. Sterling

Author L.E. Sterling

About the Author
L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance to which she remained faithful even through an M.A. in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature – where she completed a thesis on magical representation. She is the author of two previous novels, the cult hit Y/A novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick), dubbed “the Catcher in the Rye of a new generation” by one reviewer, and the urban fantasy Pluto’s Gate.

Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van with her father, a hippie musician, her brothers and an occasional stray mutt – inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario. .

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Where to Find L.E. Sterling
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Cover Reveal – EYE OF THE COLOSSUS (Holly Drake Job) by Nicole Grotepas

EYE OF THE COLOSSUS Cover Reveal

Author Nicole Grotepas is unveiling the cover to EYE OF THE COLOSSUS, the first book in her adult steampunk science fiction series, Holly Drake Job, releasing April 19, 2018. See below for the cover, information on the book, and preorder links.

EYE OF THE COLOSSUS (Holly Drake Job #1) by Nicole Grotepas

EYE OF THE COLOSSUS (Holly Drake Job #1) by Nicole Grotepas

About the Book
Title:
EYE OF THE COLOSSUS
Series: Holly Drake Job #1
Author: Nicole Grotepas
Release Date: April 19, 2018
Genre: Adult Steampunk/Science Fiction
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

Synopsis
The City of Jade Spires, the biggest in the 6-moons, is a breathtaking symbol of hope and unity for the four races. But it’s also a hub of corruption. Holly Drake is proof of that. Fresh out of prison for a mistake framed to look like cold murder, she’s broke, jobless, and branded with a prison record.

When she lands a gig stealing back the Eye of the Colossus jewels, the chance for a big payout means she won’t have to depend on anyone else. She’s never had that kind of freedom. She’ll do it. Even if the work is only a shade lighter than outright crime.

But soon she finds herself pursued by thugs from the Shadow Coalition, an underworld government that wants her dead. Pulling off the heist without getting killed means putting trust in recruits she hardly knows. The clock is ticking to get the jewels, but a mistake now could be fatal. Chasing across the 6-moons to complete the job will test her grit and determination to succeed when everything is stacked against her. More than that, finding out just what secrets the 6-moons hold will either turn her into the hero the moon system needs, or destroy her…

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Author Nicole Grotepas

Author Nicole Grotepas

About the Author
I’m passionate about human rights, animal rights, and living life with no regrets. I love how becoming a parent has deepened my devotion to making the world a better place. I do that best by crafting stories that attempt to answer hard questions–the ones I think about most–while also being entertaining and fun. I live in a landscape that reminds me of my place in the universe, under an endless sky and towering mountains that are older than human memory, and I love it here.

 

 

 

Where to find Nicole Grotepas
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – OATH FORGER (Oath Forger ) by Nia Mars

OATH FORGER Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for OATH FORGER, the first book in the adult science fiction romance series, Oath Forger, by Nia MarsSee below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. You can currently pick up the first book for just $0.99.

OATH FORGER (Oath Forger #1 ) by Nia Mars

OATH FORGER (Oath Forger #1 ) by Nia Mars

About the Book
Title: OATH FORGER
Series: Oath Forger #1
Author: Nia Mars
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Genre:
 Adult Science Fiction Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis
I’m a scavenger. So what? With society’s collapse on Earth, I do what I have to for survival. Especially after I’m kidnapped by space pirates. I have no idea why the five most powerful rulers in the universe decide that I’m the Oath Forger, the one foretold to fuse their royal houses together and bring peace. But I’m going to play along. Because, hey, it’s better than probes in uncomfortable places. Now let’s just hope they don’t find out I’m lying.

 

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt #2
I’m learning to read!

When I look at him, his smile is one of encouragement, but the hunger in his gaze says he’d rather be doing other things with me in bed. I snap my gaze back to the screen.

“Moah,” he says.

“Moo.”

He sighs and puts an index finger on each corner of my mouth to tug it wider. “Moah.”

His fingers are on my lips, and he’s incredibly close. I think my heart stops beating. “Meh.”

He laughs, and I laugh with him. He’s shown not one flicker of impatience. His entire demeanor says he wants nothing more in this world than to help me learn his alphabet. I want him to kiss me so much it hurts.

Bad idea. Can’t happen. It simply can’t happen.

“Moah,” I say. “Does it have meaning beyond the name of the letter?”

“It means mine in the old language. It’s a word of claiming.”

Then his lips are on my lips. And then his arms are around me, and I’m somehow straddling him the next second as he’s kissing me, the lesson forgotten.

So this is kissing.

I have never been kissed like this before. I’ve only had a man’s tongue in my mouth. But this is not a let’s-see-what-it-feels-like kind of deal. Kissing Koah is mutual annihilation. My body is burning up with heat and need.

He is not taking this slowly. He is not taking his time. He is not giving me a chance to get used to the idea that he’s somehow the master of my body.

His large hands cover my hips and he’s holding me in place, pressed against his iron rod between my legs. He only stops the ravaging of my lips to say, “Moah,” in a ragged voice, then he is back to kissing me once again.

An elemental connection pounds to life between us, and I forget everything else. I forget where I am. I forget Earth.

His hands slide down to cup my butt cheeks and he drags me along his thick shaft.

Oh. Ah.

I want this. I want him. I want to give in.

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OATH FORGER Series

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Author Nia Mars

Author Nia Mars

About the Author
Books. Reading. Writing. Playing with the dog. That’s my life, in a nutshell. I love discovering new authors and new trends. Hello Reverse Harem novels!!!! Where have you been all my life? I love everything sci-fi, paranormal, and fantasy. I eat enough chocolate that at this point, I’m probably made of chocolate. OK, chocolate and coffee.

WHAT’S NEW: I’ve just published OATH FORGER, a soon-to-be bestselling, post-apocalyptic, reverse harem, sci-fi romance serial. Ha! Say that three times fast. J

WHAT ELSE: If you’d rather try a standalone sci-fi romance from me, grab WARLORD. And make sure you don’t sit near anything flammable while reading it. Because it’s HOT. Whatever level of heat you’re thinking right now? Double it. (Not recommended if you don’t have AC, or at least a ceiling fan.) You’ve been warned.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A DRAGON: Check out DRAGON LORD, my dragon-shifter romance. And be prepared to lose your heart to a sexy, grumpy dragon. The best kind!

MY WISH LIST: (In case my fairy grandmother is reading this.)

For the OATH FORGER series to find readers who love these stories as much as I do. Finishing my Master’s Degree in (what else) Writing Creative Fiction. (When I’m not writing books, I’m doing homework.)

WARRANTY: Your satisfaction is very important to me. If you have a complaint, please write it on a box of 50-piece Assorted Godiva Chocolate Truffles, and mail it to my office. I promise to personally see to all complaints..

Where to Find Nia Mars
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Release Day – THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE (Keepers of Xereill Hente Cycle) by Alix Nichols

THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE Release Day

Today is release day for THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE, the first book in the adult science fiction romance series, Keepers of Xereill, Hente Cycle, by USA Today bestselling author, Alix Nichols. See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.

THE TRAITOR'S BRIDE (Keepers of Xereill Hente Cycle #1) by Alix Nichols

THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE (Keepers of Xereill Hente Cycle #1) by Alix Nichols

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE
Series: Keepers of Xereill, Hente Cycle #1
Author: Alix Nichols
Release Date: March 26, 2018
Genre: Adult Science Fiction Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
On her untamed gift hinges the future of a planet—and her lover’s life…

A month ago, ex-army Major Areg Sebi was thrown into prison. Now he’s on the scaffold, laying his head on the block.  No public trial for the disgraced war hero. No cyborgs from the League of Realms to whisk him away. No help. No escape.

A priestess chants a prayer for the major’s soul, even as a judge cries out, “Death to the traitor!”

In the crowd below, laundry maid Etana Tidryn stares into Areg’s eyes. His lips were hot against hers last night. His hands roamed her body, worshipped her, pleasured her. 

She’s falling for him, hard and fast. She’s still hoping, even if he’s given up…

Can Etana transcend everything she knows—transcend life itself—to save him?

Can she rise to meet her destiny?

 

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Excerpt
The massive lash hit Areg Sebi’s bared back anew.

A gasp rippled through the crowd.

Etana Tidryn had never seen a whip like that before. It had multiple tails with knots at each end.

She looked closer, and gulped. The knots had claws. Every single knot was woven with small shards of glass and metal barbs to make it even nastier than it already was.

Raising his arm high above his head, the flogger struck again, hard.

The man on Etana’s left cheered.

The two women on her right unwrapped their bread rolls, bit into them, and began to chew with a single-minded keenness. Their faces reflected a mixture of horror and fascination.

“Still regret skipping breakfast?” the older of the two asked the younger one.

“You joking?” The younger woman smiled. “This show is absolutely worth it!”

Their gazes never left the scaffold while they talked.

Etana turned away from them.

To her relief, few people in the crowd seemed to share her neighbors’ enthusiasm. Many averted their heads, cringing with pity for Lord Sebi. A few brave souls even dared to hum and drone in defiance, risking jail time if the cops found them out. Clearly, they didn’t believe the charges leveled against their hero.

Everything had happened so fast!

Lord Sebi’s reputation had always been unmarred, as clean as the springs on Mount Crog. An heir to a long line of noble-bloods famous for their integrity, he was destined for a great future in Eia.

Then Teteum invaded the realm.

Lord Sebi joined the army and rose to major. His bravery on the battlefield earned him several decorations, including a Golden Double Serpent Wand—Eia’s highest honor. When his parents and younger sister died in a tragic accident, there was no end to letters of sympathy people sent him from all four corners of the realm. Everyone in Eia looked up to him, hung on his every word, admired, and even worshipped him.

And then, a month ago, Police Chief Zorom Ultek arrested him.

The Orogate Daily revealed “the truth” about Areg Sebi, which Etana didn’t believe for a second. Neither did her parents, or her brother and sister. Nor, apparently, many others here in Iltaqa.

The flogger brandished his freak whip again. It laid a long, ragged line of red into Lord Sebi’s broad back. Etana’s cheeks flamed the instant she realized she was ogling the distinctly masculine shape of his back, despite the grim reason it had been exposed.

Divine Aheya, the shame!

But what with Pa being so straitlaced, and her brother Rhori so hopelessly shy, she’d never seen a grown man’s bare upper body before. And Areg Sebi’s was something to behold.

Once more, the whip cracked against Lord Sebi’s back. The knots bit into his flayed skin, peeling strips of it off.

Etana shuddered and gripped Rhori’s arm.

But she didn’t avert her eyes.

The town of Iltaqa hadn’t seen a public punishment in over a year, ever since the “space conmen” floggings.

In the early months of the Teteum invasion, when things looked bad for Eia, four enterprising individuals set up a daring scam. Over several weeks, they sold hundreds of tickets to a bogus rescue transport. The transport was supposed to arrive from Norbal in the neighboring solar system and take the ticket-holding refugees off Hente. Norbal’s booming economy needed the extra workforce and talent, the conmen had explained.

When no transport materialized, the swindled ticket holders—most of them proficients and noble-bloods—reported the scammers to the police. The authorities caught them, confiscated their booty for the war effort, and had them flogged in Town Hall Square.

In retrospect, that punishment looked like a mother’s spanking next to Lord Sebi’s treatment. The whip came down again on the bloody ruin of his back, making him arch and grunt in pain.

Letting go of Rhori’s arm, Etana scrabbled at her chest through the layers of her work apron, dress and underwear until her fingers found her Serpent Coil pendant. She began to stroke the ouroboros, her lips moving in a silent prayer.

Suddenly, a buzz-like sound invaded her ears.

She scanned her surroundings for its source before realizing it was coming from inside her. There were other sounds, too—sounds she hadn’t noticed until that moment. Sparrows chirped in the distance, squirrels scampered up and down the old oak trees across the square, bugs hummed in the lush flowerbeds, and a dog growled in a yard.

Etana felt dizzy.

The air around her, the very air she breathed, acquired a strangely sticky quality. Something invisible wheeled and eddied in the sky over her head.

Divine Aheya only knew why, a childhood memory flashed in Etana’s mind. She saw herself, her parents and Rhori standing around Mayka’s high chair, watching stern-looking vestals examine her baby sister. But the memory was blurry and, for the life of her, Etana couldn’t recall what had gone down that day or why she was recollecting it now.

Could it have something to do with the sultry, fog-like substance condensing above her?

Whatever it was, it spun faster and faster, the whirlpool descending toward her, inexorable.

Suddenly, she was trembling in its eye.

When it burst into her chest like a gale-force wind, she gasped and fought for breath. Except, there was no room in her lungs for air. They were filled to the brim with the mysterious fog.

Etana coughed, desperately trying to rid herself of it. No luck. Her knees wobbled, and just as she was about to faint, the substance left her body, and dissipated without a trace.

A flurry of lash strokes descended on Lord Sebi’s back in quick succession, the whip leaving deep welts rimmed with blood.

Etana swayed and leaned against Rhori, who wrapped an arm around her shoulders.

“Only a couple dozen more,” he whispered in her ear. “It’ll be over soon.”

A couple dozen more.

Etana dug her nails into her palms when the next stroke landed, adding another crimson groove to Lord Sebi’s back.

A man in gold-rimmed black robes stepped forward from the box on the side of the scaffold where notables sat during major events. He raised his hand, commanding everyone’s attention.

Etana had never seen him before. She gave her brother a quizzical look.

“It’s Lord Mahabmet, the high judge,” Rhori said, surveying the man. “I’ve seen his picture in the Gazette. He almost never leaves the capital.”

Etana knitted her brows. “Haven’t you wondered why Lord Sebi is being flogged here and not in Orogate?”

Rhori nodded. “I have, as have all my friends.”

“Orogate is only an hour’s ride from Iltaqa,” Etana went on. “No more than twenty minutes in a motorized vehicle. Why didn’t they transfer Lord Sebi to Old Kingdom Prison? Why isn’t he being flogged in Republic Square?”

On the scaffold, the high judge cleared his throat. “Silence!”

“It simply doesn’t follow,” Etana said, looking up at Rhori.

He pressed his index finger to his mouth. “Shush. Lord Mahabmet is about to say something.”

Etana dutifully shut her mouth. She was a Tidryn, after all. A menial. Shutting up was what menials did every time a noble-born, a priestess, or a proficient opened their mouth.

Etana never understood why the likes of her were considered so vastly inferior to everyone else. It was said that menials had no Ra spark left in them. Not a drop of the ancient Original Race of Xereill. Their blood was thin, all imported, all human.

Except, where was the proof of that?

Not a single book in the Temple Library supported that belief. Menials, just like everyone else on Hente, were cut from the same Ra-human cloth. True, they had no Ra abilities, or “gifts.” Then again, no one on the entire planet did. But it was menials who’d been pushed to the bottom and told they belonged there.

It bothered her.

What bothered her even more was how pliantly other menials—including her family—accepted their fate. Mother and Father believed that the rigid makeup of Hente’s society was what kept things together, what had saved their civilization from falling apart in the wake of the Cataclysm. Rhori believed that, too. Everyone she knew did…

Except for Lord Sebi.

“Townsfolk of Iltaqa!” the high judge bellowed. “I’ve interrupted Areg Sebi’s punishment because I’ve just received a transmission from Governor Boggond!”

He held up a small device in his hand that Etana had never seen before.

Her breath hitched.

Could it be…?

Could it be that the governor’s transmission exonerated Lord Sebi of the terrible accusations that sleazy Chief Ultek had mounted against him?

She tightened her grip on her ouroboros pendant, her body tensing as if her own fate hung in the balance.

“Governor Boggond, who couldn’t be present due to matters of state,” Judge Mahabmet said, “is asking me to recap Areg Sebi’s charges so that all of you present understand their gravity.”

Etana’s heart sank.

The high judge pointed at Lord Sebi. “The man in front of you is not who you thought he was. He is no hero. He’s a traitor. He had colluded with Teteum at the end of the war in a conspiracy to discredit Eia’s legitimate government and Lord Boggond himself.”

“Prove it!” someone shouted from the middle of the crowd.

“Did he confess?” a second voice joined in.

Chief Ultek jumped up from his seat in the box and shouted to his men, “Find those whoresons! Bring them to me!”

“There’s no need, Chief Ultek,” Judge Mahabmet said, gesturing to the cops to stay put. “Those are legitimate questions.”

The crowd grew quiet.

The high judge forced a smile. “I don’t blame those young men. They only voiced what many in Eia are thinking.”

The silence grew laden.

Judge Mahabmet firmed his jaw. “I am not going to lie to you. We don’t have a confession.”

An “ah” tore through the crowd.

“But we don’t need one.” Judge Mahabmet pointed to Ultek. “Chief Ultek’s investigation has uncovered evidence which proves Areg Sebi’s guilt beyond doubt. We will present it to the citizens of Eia shortly, as soon as it is properly cataloged and recorded.”

Rhori gave Etana a disconcerted look as if he didn’t know what to think after that revelation.

She crossed her arms. No, honestly.

Her deferential brother was prepared to believe empty words just because a high-ranking lord had uttered them. Um… all right, a lord who happened to be a respected judge. And not just any judge, but the high judge of the Realm himself, a paragon of fairness and wisdom.

But then why did she, a laundry maid, doubt his words?

Oh, she knew why. Because of the other words spoken by Lord Sebi a few weeks ago in her employer’s house.

Those words had given her wings.

“Remember Lord Sebi’s talk at the Gokk House?” she whispered to Rhori.

He nodded.

“The wonders he described, the possibilities…”

“The amazing level-two tech,” Rhori said, his expression dreamy.

“Remember how harshly he spoke of the caretaker governor?”

Rhori knitted his brows. “What are you saying? You can’t possibly—”

“Resume the flogging!” Judge Mahabmet cried without taking his eyes off the crowd.

The flogger struck with renewed ferocity. Once, twice, three times… Red stripes erupted on either side of Areg Sebi’s spine, blood oozing down their length. His face became a grimace of pain as he groaned, but kept his jaws pressed together.

On the next stroke, his body surged and then fell limp, his head lolling.

Etana turned to her brother. “This is so wrong! I can’t just stand here and watch.”

“What can we do, Etti?” Rhori whispered softly. “What can anyone do to help the poor soul?”

She surveyed the scaffold. Dozens of heavily armed cops stood all around it. Rhori was right. There was nothing anyone—even the strongest and most agile of men—could do to help Areg Sebi.

Nothing at all.

Then why that feeling that she should do something? That she must do something? Because she could.

She screwed up her eyes. It was ridiculous.

Fancying herself a rich-blood endowed with a gift she could harness to rescue Lord Sebi was a folly. For starters, no gift she could conceive of would overpower the town’s entire police force. Besides, she had no gift. No one on Hente had them anymore.

After the Cataclysm, the air of the planet changed, and the radiation emanating from it suppressed all the existing gifts in the survivors. No rich-bloods were ever recorded since then, not even among noble-borns, with ostensibly more Ra blood than the others.

The loss of gifts was how Divine Aheya had punished Hente for its arrogance.

Everyone knew that.

As did Etana.

And that whirlwind she’d felt earlier? It had been just a panic attack. Or, worse—a figment of her imagination, a childish fantasy that she was special. Like the Gokks’ youngest, Benty, who would cover his eyes with his plump little hands and declare he was invisible.

The grown-ups and his older siblings would humor him. “Where is Benty?” they’d ask. “He’s gone. I can’t see him. Where did he disappear to?” The boy would squeal and clap his hands in delight before opening his eyes. “Bam! I’m back!”

That kind of delusion of power could be forgiven in a young child, even encouraged to an extent. But it was unpardonable in someone like her.

The flogger’s final blow shook Lord Sebi’s dangling body without drawing so much as a twitch from it.

He was unconscious.

The high judge stepped forward once again. “We are done for today. Areg Sebi will receive fifty more lashes here in Town Hall Square in exactly one week, next Firstday, the twenty-sixth of Mid-Summer, Xer-year 701 of the New Ra-human Era.”

The crowd rumbled, appalled.

“The man needs to recover!” someone shouted.

“You can’t do that!” Etana heard herself yell.

Several heads turned toward her, and Rhori gave her a round-eyed look.

“Oh, but we can and, given the gravity of his crime, we certainly will,” Judge Mahabmet said. “Unless he confesses between now and next Firstday.”

He wouldn’t. Etana was sure of it.

“But, confession or no,” the judge added, raising his voice, “my colleagues and I will return with a verdict on Areg Sebi by then. It will be announced here, next Firstday.”

“What do you think it would be?” Etana whispered to Rhori.

“For high treason?” He gave her an apologetic look as if to say, you know what.

“Death,” she said on an exhale.

“They never move this fast.” Rhori knitted his brows. “Even court-martials during the war didn’t move this fast.”

Etana hardly heard him.

Her mind was on fire, scrambling for options, for something, for anything she could do for Areg Sebi.

Perhaps…

She clenched her jaws, determined. 

Tonight, as soon as she finished work at the Gokk House, she’d go to the temple. She’d beg the vestals to let her spend the night, and every night between now and the twenty-sixth, in their library. She’d read every code and custom book, every law, every compilation of decrees and edicts they had in there.

Since rescuing Lord Sebi through an imaginary gift was a nonstarter, perhaps there was a doable way to ease his suffering.

Maybe she’d find a law which forbade convicting a citizen of Eia, no matter his crime, without a proper trial and without a chance to defend himself. Failing that, she might uncover a ruling which prohibited giving anyone—even a convicted traitor—more lashes than the Ra-human body could endure.

Or maybe something else, completely unexpected.

If there was anything at all that could help Lord Areg Sebi, even in a tiny way, she’d find it.

She had to.

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Author Alix Nichols

Author Alix Nichols

About the Author
Alix Nichols is an unapologetic caffeine addict and a longtime fan of Mr. Darcy, especially in his Colin Firth incarnation. 

She is a USA Today bestselling (April and June 2017) and Kindle Scout winning (December 2015) author of sexy romance novels that readers describe as yummylicious. According to Romantic Times, her books “will keep you hanging off the edge of your seat”. Kirkus Reviews claims they “deliver pure pleasure”. 

At the age of six, Alix released her first romance. It featured highly creative spelling on a dozen pages stitched together and bound in velvet paper. 

Decades later, she still writes. Her spelling has improved (somewhat), and her books have topped the Amazon charts around the world. She lives in France with her family and their almost-human dog.

Sign up for her newsletter to get a free bundle!

Where to Find Alix Nichols
Goodreads | Website | NewsleterFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon | BookBub