Promo: Bombshell by Xyla Turner @DiverseBkTours

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book coverISBN: B00WZYKQ62

Publisher: Azina Media Publications

Pages: 271

Format: ebook

Genre(s): Interracial Erotic Romance

Date of Publication: July 15th 2015

Find It: Goodreads | Amazon

Tired of dealing with the sexist, dominant men at her corporate job, Samantha Wilde started her own company. After hearing some life-altering news, she literally bumps into a man who knows what he wants regardless of her situation and is willing to pursue her no matter the costs.
Joshua Kelly is a successful business man. He has Samantha in his sights for not only business, but pleasure! He makes her a business proposition that she tries to refuse, then he moves in for the kill with a relationship proposal. She is almost helpless to stay away from him, because he represents the type of dominant man that she wants to avoid but his touch is addictive. Maybe this kind of dominant isn’t so bad.

This story is about the realities of sexual encounters and how to move on from what you cannot change. Based loosely on a many true stories.


EXCERPT

I whipped around and almost hit him with my head because he was so close. He was leaning over me to pay the barista for the drinks.

What the hell?

Here’s the thing, I’m 5’9 and I had on 3” heeled boots, so I’m a pretty tall lady. This guy was leaning over me, so he had to be around 6’5 or taller. When he stood up to his full height, I saw it was the guy from the elevator.

What the hell?

“Sir, what are you doing?” I was annoyed.

His eyes slid down to mine. “Treating a beautiful lady,” he smoothly responded.

“I didn’t ask for this,” I shook my head at the barista and went to hand her my card.

She looked confused, but went to grab my card. He snatched the card out of my hands and commanded, “I got this.”

Well, I’ll be.

At that point, the barista took his twenty dollar bill and deposited it in the register, gave him his change and asked, “Your name?”

“Joshua,” he replied.

I could play this one of a few ways, I thought as I stared at him with my mouth open.

Option 1: I could be a total bitch and tell him where he can go, how I can pay for my own coffee and how dare he have the nerve to try and bend me to his will.

Option 2: I could thank him politely, get my coffee and go home.

Option 3: I could smile and say thank you.

I couldn’t tell if he was good looking or not because I was now thoroughly pissed. He no longer had the scowl on his face, but a smirk. I felt like he walked over me and disregarded my wishes, but that didn’t mean I needed to act on that feeling. I didn’t want to make a scene at the Starbucks because I frequently came here as many of my clients were in this area. However, I did want to make it clear to him who he was dealing with. As I was preparing myself to go with Option 1, but a more civilized and modified version, he reached his hand up to my mouth and closed my lips with his thumb and index finger. Then he slipped my card back in my purse with his other hand.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

turner_headshotXyla Turner was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She has always been a writer, even as a teenager, she wrote short stories and essays that won awards and nationwide competitions. Xyla is an avid reader of romance novels and a sucker for sassy females and dominant males. She is a lifelong learner, High School Vice-Principal and a pretty good Auntie. Outside of reading, Xyla likes to spend time with her family and friends, experiment with dangerous adventures and travel. She writes different genres, but her favorite is romance.

Xyla has her Bachelor’s degree in Education and Masters in Education Administration. She is also a web designer and a Life Coach. She will forever be an educator, innovator and entrepreneur.

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Promo: Pre-Order Outpost by F.T. McKinstry @ftmckinstry #OutpostPromo

 

The god they serve is as fickle as a crow…
To Be Published: November 1, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Fylking, Book One
 
Pre-Order NOW on Amazon!
 
Nine thousand suns ago, a race of immortal warriors came from the stars through a rare alignment and stepped onto the world of Math, a world much like their own, cradled by mountains, cold seas and tall forests. A perfect place for a backwater outpost from which to fight their ancient war. The realm they claimed came to be known as Dyrregin, Gateway of the Gods.
They call themselves the Fylking. Unseen by all save those sensitive to the Otherworld, the Fylking taught seers to build and ward over the Gate, an interdimensional portal spanning the realm like a sigil shining on the surface of the world. The Fylking’s enemies, pitiless beings who think nothing of annihilating a world to gain even a small advantage, are bent on destroying it. They succeeded once, leaving Dyrregin in abandoned desolation for a thousand suns.
Twelve centuries have passed since the Fylking returned. Dyrregin is at war. Seers are disappearing and their immortal guardians are blind, deceived by their own kind. A Gate warden with a tormented past discovers a warlock using Fylking magic to gather an army of warriors that cannot die. A King’s ranger who defends the wilds of the realm with unswerving honor is snared in a political trap that hides a sinister agenda. And a knitter touched by the gods catches the eye of a dark immortal warrior with no name and the power to summon storms.
Bound by synchronicity, forced to find allies in unlikely places, these three mortals are drawn into a maelstrom of murder, treachery, sorcery and war, fertile ground for both their personal demons and those of their immortal masters, who cast long shadows indeed. When they uncover the source of the rising darkness, they must rally to protect the Gate against a plot that will violate the balance of cosmos, destroy the Fylking and leave the world of Math in ruins.
The god they serve is as fickle as a crow.

Pre-Order NOW on Amazon!

Happy Release Day: Stepping Stones by Kacey Vanderkarr

It’s release day for Kacey Vanderkarr’s new book, Stepping Stones! Check out an excerpt and go grab your copy now!

Stepping Stones (The Stone Series, Book 1)

Stepping Stones - FinalRelease Date August 25, 2015

Publisher – Urban Fey Press

Pages – 332

Genre – Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy

b009a-dad13-add-to-goodreads-button3Onnaleigh Moore is part of a plan—and it isn’t hers. When her brother dies in a car accident, Onna is desperate to preserve the tatters of her family. Any hope of finding normalcy vanishes when her mother runs off and her dad turns to booze to numb his pain. Onna’s grief is crippling, but the boy who showed up just when she needed him is helping her cope.

Everett’s presence is comforting, though he knows things—Onna’s name just before they met, where she lives, and sometimes he comments on thoughts she doesn’t say aloud. She pegs him for a stalker, or maybe psychic, but the truth is deadlier than she imagines. As their feelings for one another deepen, Everett confesses a horrifying secret: Onna’s brother is only the beginning of the plan, and some fates are worse than death.

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EXCERPT

Ahead of them, the expressway snaked in each direction. When Caleb lived at home, he and Onna would walk to the overpass at night and watch the cars speed past. Their lights created ribbons of color and the steady roar of rubber against concrete rumbled through the bridge and into their feet.

Once, after Caleb left, she climbed onto the barrier and dangled her bare feet over the edge. She imagined the drivers beneath her in a panic because they thought she’d jump. She sat there for nearly an hour, waiting for someone to call the police or her parents, but no one did. Then she walked home, tears streaming her face, though she couldn’t decide if she was angrier Caleb left or that no one noticed her.

“How did your mother die?” Onna asked, glancing out the window. Sunlight glinted off vehicles and made the road shimmer with heat. A long time ago, Onna thought the mirage of water over the road was a portal to another dimension.

“Car accident.”

Onna nodded, not taking her eyes from the window. There weren’t words to fill a void like that. Instead, she cranked the handle and let early fall air caress her cheeks.

Everett slowed on the overpass and Onna leaned against the door. A shift in traffic below caught her attention. A semi swerved from the outer lane, moving in slow motion, as though the truck waded through sludge. Screaming airbrakes reached her ears as the semi careened into the median and flung itself into oncoming traffic.

“Oh my god,” she yelled, white knuckling the doorframe.

“What is it?” Everett said, steering the Mustang to the shoulder.

Vehicles dodged the impending collision, taking sharp angles and sliding onto the edge of the road. Onna watched near misses, horrified. Most of the traffic cleared the bullet speeding toward them, filling up the sides of the highway and hurtling into the grass like blood clotting in a vein. One remaining silver car had nowhere to go. It swung to the right and spun out of control. From this distance, Onna couldn’t see the driver’s face, but she searched the windshield anyway. In the space of a heartbeat, the truck demolished the silver car.

Metal shrieked as the car and semi became one, twisting around each other like lovers. The immediate silence was deafening.

Onna was out of the Mustang and tearing down the weed-infested hill before the car stopped. Pickers slashed at her calves. Her heels slipped on rocks. Everett yelled for her to come back. She ignored him.

Below her, people climbed from their vehicles. They approached the wreck like cautious animals, circling, scenting for danger.

By the time she reached the road, flames leapt from the debris, hungry yellow fingers that grabbed for smoking remains. Onna tasted gasoline and fear.

The Prius’s driver side disappeared inside the car, a crumpled twist of metal. Nothing remained of the windshield. The deflated passenger airbag hung over remnants of the hood.

Onna’s heart squeezed into her throat next to her stomach.

She propelled herself forward, breaking through a barrier of onlookers. A hand grabbed for her, catching her elbow before she shook it off. There were voices, a constant, babbling stream that she couldn’t separate into words.

Lots of people drive Priuses, she told herself.

It’s not Caleb.

Still, her hands shook as her feet found concrete. A slim white hand hung from the shattered window. There was blood. Onna smelled it before she saw it. Rivulets trickled from the ravaging teeth of the window, mapping out a path to the dangling hand with a huge sparkling engagement ring.

Onna’s heartbeat rushed in her ears, insistent, like the sound of an explosion underwater. She struggled to make sense of the tangled metal, pale skin, and blood. Then, red hair.

“Cora!” she screamed. Adrenaline surged into Onna’s arteries and she hurled herself into the wreckage, mindless of flames and the growing puddle of gasoline. Shouts rose around her. Warnings, pleas. She tried the door handle first, unsurprised when it didn’t budge.

Arms slid around her waist and pulled her backwards. “Stop.”

She struggled against Everett, kicking and punching. “Let me go! That’s Caleb. It’s Caleb.” Her words broke into sobs and she finally wriggled free. Her knees stung when she hit pavement and crawled toward Caleb’s car. This time, Everett followed.

“Help me,” Onna begged, pushing to her feet and sliding her arms into the smoldering car. She caught Cora beneath the armpits, ignoring the startling white of jagged bone protruding from her forearm and shards of glass that remained in the window frame. Cora’s eyes were closed. Blood dripped from a gash in her hairline, from her nose, her ears.

More hands appeared beside Onna’s as onlookers braved the fire. Everett counted to three and they pulled. Black smoke poured from the engine, filling the car and making it impossible to see. Distantly, Onna knew she was coughing, suffocating. Her lungs ached from lack of oxygen.

Undeterred, she rearranged her grip on Cora and Everett counted again. It took four tries, but eventually Cora came free, her weight falling against them like the dead limbs of a ragdoll. Onna climbed toward the spot Cora vacated before they’d even carried Cora to safety.

Hands pulled her back. “You can’t.” Everett’s words ended with a wracking cough that loosened his grip.

She stumbled away and lunged for the opening. Glass tore at her arms and legs and ripped her shirt. Smoke oozed across her vision like poison, scalding her eyes. Gasoline and heat filled her throat. She coughed. “Caleb?” Using her fingertips, she found hot metal, sharp bits of glass, and cottony stuffing spewing from the seat. She tried to call his name again, but no sound came out.

Her head grew heavy.

She was spinning. Dizzying lights flashed in front of her eyes. Onna jammed her hands farther into twisting metal. She felt something warm. Damp. Solid.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey VanderkarrKACEY VANDERKARR has a penchant for fantasy and frequently listens to the voices in her head—most of whom are teenagers. Her favorite place to write is an old salon chair in her kitchen, with coffee in one hand and adoring cats sprawled across her arms. She prefers her music loud and her skeptics quiet. When she’s not writing, Kacey coaches winterguard, works as a sonographer, and hangs out with

other weirdos like her at the Flint Area Writer’s club. In addition to her novels, The Reflection Pond Series, Antithesis, and The Stone Series, Kacey’s short fiction is featured in Sucker Literary Vol III, Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things, and Out of the Green: Tales from Fairyland.

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Blog Tour: Pretty Dark Sacrifice by @HeatherLReid {Promo + Giveaway} @month9books @chapterxchapter

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Pretty-Dark-Sacrifice-CoverTitle: Pretty Dark Sacrifice (Pretty Dark Nothing #2)

Publication date: July 28, 2015

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

Author: Heather L. Reid

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It’s been five weeks, two days, and eight hours since the demons forced Quinn to throw herself into the raging river, since Aaron sacrificed himself to save her, since his body disappeared without a trace.

Everyone wants Quinn to move on, but she can’t, not after a spirit appears to her at Aaron’s memorial, convincing her he’s still alive.

When a mysterious box materializes on the very spot Aaron disappeared, Quinn finds she’s at the center of an ancient prophesy of betrayal, revenge, and sacrifice that takes her to the depths of the underworld to face Lilith—Adam’s first wife.

If Quinn can stop Lilith from unleashing the demon horde Eve, trapped inside the box during the Battle of Eden millennia ago, she will save the human realm and free Aaron from an eternity in torment.

All it will cost is her blood.

Purchase Links:

BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

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Blog Tour: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

 

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating

accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: an ocean

too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother, Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of
solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them…

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*Blog Tour* Vessel by Lisa T. Creswell Spotlight + Giveaway @month9books @chapterxchapter @peach83352

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Vessel-CoverTitle: Vessel

Publication date: May 2015

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

Author: Lisa T. Cresswell

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads

The sun exploded on April 18, 2112. It exploded in a Class X solar storm the likes of which humankind had never seen.

They had nineteen minutes.

Nineteen minutes until the geomagnetic wave washed over the Earth, frying every electrical device created by humans, blacking out entire continents, every satellite in their sky.

Nineteen minutes to say goodbye to the world they knew, forever, and to prepare for a new Earth, a new Sun.

Generations after solar storms have destroyed nearly all human technology on Earth and humans have reverted to a middle ages like existence, all knowledge of the remaining technology is kept hidden by a privileged few called the Reticents and books are burned as heresy.

Alana, a disfigured slave girl, and Recks, a traveling minstrel and sometimes-thief, join forces to bring knowledge and books back to the human race. But when Alana is chosen against her will to be the Vessel, the living repository for all human knowledge, she must find the strength to be what the world needs.

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Blog Tour: Athena’s Ashes by Jamie Grey {Excerpt + Giveaway}

 

Athena’s Ashes (Star Thief Chronicles #2)
Publisher: Clever Crow Press
Release Date: August 26th 2014

 

Synopsis:
It’s Renna’s biggest job yet – convincing MYTH leadership that she’s put away her lock picks and is ready to save the galaxy, despite the dangerous implant in her brain. But with the Athena on the run, she’s working solo and facing her most ruthless enemy, the traitor Pallas, who’ll go to any lengths to destroy the MYTH organization. Including framing Renna for a devastating assault on MYTH HQ that leaves their defenses crippled and hundreds dead.
Now that MYTH believes she’s a dangerous double-agent, Renna escapes their firing squad before they put more holes in her than a pair of fishnet stockings. But the ticking time-bomb in her head is the one thing Pallas needs to complete his master plan and he’s not about to let her get away. Even worse, he’s discovered the only thing that will bring Renna to her knees – threatening Captain Nick Finn.

Out of time and options, Renna’s got one shot to take down the traitor before he annihilates everything she loves, even though winning this battle may cost her everything.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE
For someone who was supposed to be the best thief in the galaxy, Renna had been spending entirely too much time locked up lately.Not that a high-security hospital room in a secret MYTH base was much of a prison for her, but the IV line snaking from her arm might as well have been a pair of Saltani iron handcuffs. She swung her feet over the edge of the lumpy bed and watched the holoscreen on the far wall. Stats scrolled past, red text on the black background. Her vitals were stable; blood pressure was fine. Looking at her chart, she was the picture of health.Except for the cybernetic implant taking over her mind.Renna rubbed the back of her neck where the original incision site had started to throb. It had been doing that a lot lately, thanks to Navang’s depraved experiments and the drugs he’d injected her with. Drugs he’d used to create a whole army of human-robot hybrids.Thana Samil, the MYTH doctor in charge of her case, said it was nothing to worry about, but Renna knew better. In the five days she’d been locked up here in the MYTH facility, the pain in her head had only gotten worse.And then there were the weird side effects. She hadn’t stepped foot outside her room, but she knew a bank of super-servers sat in the northeast corner of the facility, as if she’d drawn the blueprints herself. Communications relays resided on each corner of the roof. She’d even felt the throb of the automated defense cannons guarding the facility.If the doctor and her team didn’t figure out how to slow down the integration between the implant and her nervous system, Renna would be a walking machine before she had the chance to stop the person behind all this.Pallas.If Renna
’s hunch was right, the traitor was close enough to touch. Maybe even inside this facility. But she’d never find him if she was trapped here for the rest of her short life. She slid off the bed to pace the stark room, careful not to disturb the needles in her arm. Six steps to the door. Turn around. Six steps back to the bed.She’d done this to herself. She’d volunteered to be locked away and dissected, just to keep Myka Aldani safe. To keep Finn safe.Her pacing slowed as a pang of longing shot through her. Captain Nick Finn. Former gang member turned MYTH soldier and her first childhood crush. Now, she suspected that she’d fallen in love with him, which worried her. Renna had spent most of her life making sure that didn’t happen. Yet somehow his bright blue eyes, square jaw, and straight-laced moral code had slipped through her defenses.And oh, the way his fingers had tantalizingly stroked her most sensitive places…Renna felt herself go warm as she remembered the last time she’d been with him. She’d escaped from Navang, but not before he’d started the process of taking over her implant. Finn had spent the night in her room, waiting for her to regain consciousness, and she’d practically begged him to make love to her. She could still feel the heat of his skin. She inhaled, half-expecting to smell his scent—sandalwood, gun grease, and something that was inexplicably him.She needed to know what was going on between them, and if that meant more bunk-side exploration, she’d totally take one for the team. But until she knew how to stop Pallas and put an end to these experiments, she wasn’t going anywhere, despite the urge she had to run back to Finn. She’d stay in this facility and let them poke and prod her, just to protect him and Myka. Even if it made her crazy.The lock on her door beeped, and high-heeled shoes clacked across the threshold. Speak of the devil.Renna turned as Dr. Samil entered the room. The young doctor wore a pleasant smile despite the
slightly frazzled appearance of her long blonde hair escaping the messy bun she always wore. Renna leaned back against the edge of her bed. “Do you always have to look so happy at the prospect of stabbing me with those instruments of torture?”Dr. Samil’s blue eyes sparkled. “For someone who’s done her share of killing, I can’t believe you have a needle phobia.”“We all have our weaknesses,” Renna said with a shrug. “Pointy, shiny, metal bloodsuckers just happen to be mine.” Samil set her holopad down on the counter and pressed her thumb to the scanner to unlock the drawer. She pulled out a tray of tools. “I guess it’s time for the torture to begin.” The doctor brushed her bangs back off her forehead, and Renna gritted her teeth as she slid back onto the bed, preparing to be poked.“How’d the last test go? Is the implant fusing normally?” Renna stared pointedly at the far wall as Samil fumbled with the glinting needles on the tray. “Or whatever normal is in this fucked-up situation.”The doctor shook her head, flicking a finger against one of the syringes before pushing the plunger. Pink-tinged liquid squirted from the needle. “I wish I knew. I haven’t seen anything like this before. It’s fascinating.” Her voice was full of that breathless excitement Renna had come to hate. “Whatever Dr. Navang did prompted your ordinarily harmless implant to start fusing directly with your nervous system. If my hunch is right, any other cybernetic implants installed during this time would also fuse to your body. You could even start picking up other electronic signals.”Renna flinched. Not only because of the quick jab of pain as the doctor deftly slid the needle into her arm, but because she was already picking up those electronic signals. Things were progressing faster than the doctor knew.“Relax. I promise this won’t hurt.”“That’s what Navang said.” Renna tilted her head and
fixed Samil with a frown. “And look how that turned out.”The doctor finished injecting Renna with whatever drug cocktail she was trying today, then smiled. “There. Wasn’t so bad, was it? I promise I don’t like torturing you any more than you like being tortured. Unfortunately, I need one more sample to check your antibody levels.”“Of course you do.” Renna grudgingly let the woman extract a vial of blood and then crossed her arms as Samil slipped the vial into her pocket. “So what did you mean about the other implants?”Dr. Samil nodded as she tapped some information into her tablet. “Navang wanted to create an army of hybrids he could control, right? Well, the first step was to keep their bodies from rejecting the modified implants he installed. But it didn’t work. His technique destroyed some of their own tissue and risked the constant rejection of the implants. Hence the need for a steady infusion of the anti-rejection medications.“The new formula he tested on you was a different attempt at the same thing. If he could find a way to make your body fuse with the implant, make it think it was part of itself, eventually technology could overtake biology. Even better, when the process was complete, depending on the type of implant, he could have different types of soldiers. He’d be able to control them all using his neural network. They’d be nothing but mindless robots until he gave them orders.”Samil’s voice rose as she spoke, her gestures growing even more animated, but a dull ache had started in Renna’s stomach. She remembered the expressionless eyes of the minions at Navang’s lab as she’d slaughtered them to ensure Finn and Myka’s escape. Her heart squeezed as she recalled Viktis’s assurance that she would make it. Her skin crawled at the realization that she was nothing more than an experiment to the doctor, a shiny new toy to be studied until the novelty waned.But this was Renna’s life. She wasn’t going to sit here helpless while other people tried to save her. “How long do I have?” she interrupted before Samil could get even more excited. The woman
positively hummed.Samil paused, blinking at Renna. “Of course. Right. My assistant has had some success in creating a new drug to slow the fusion. It’s not exact, but I’m hopeful it will work.” Wispy, flyaway hairs floated around her face like a halo as she shook her head. “I’m confident we’ll have a breakthrough soon. I promise we’ll figure this out.”“Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Doctor. The headaches are getting worse every day.” Renna rubbed at her sore temples, closing her eyes as a wave of pain started to build. She shored up the walls surrounding her heart and refused to even think about losing the connection she’d made with Finn. “On the plus side, if your drugs don’t work and the implant takes over my brain, I hear metal body suits are all the rage this year.”Samil crossed her arms and leaned back against the table, a frown marring her pretty features. “You’re awfully calm about this whole situation.”Renna shrugged. She was ten years younger than the doctor, but she suddenly felt like she was a hundred years older. “I’ve learned to deal with the unexpected in my line of work, doc. If you can’t change something, you figure out how to work around it. It’s the only way to survive.”“That’s a cynical view of life for someone who’s only twenty-three.”“You saw my file. I grew up in the Izan tenements on Earth, with a prostitute for a mother and a background in stealing. I’ve worked hard to move on, but growing up like that leaves a scar. Or two.” Renna forced herself not to touch the physical scar on her neck, the daily reminder of that life and everything she’d worked so hard to forget.Thinking about her mother’s attempt to kill her in a drug-induced rage still made Renna flush with shame and hatred. Still made her wary of trusting anyone. Even Finn.Samil’s expression softened. “I know. And for someone with your past, you’ve come a long way.
You’re now part of an intergalactic organization, doing your part to save the universe. You’ve become something bigger than just a thief. I admire you for that.”“If I had a choice, I would’ve been long gone by now. I’m no hero, and I certainly am not a team player. I don’t need to depend on a galactic organization. I just need myself.” Renna settled back against the pillows and crossed her arms. “MYTH can keep its good deeds. I’m just in this for the dental plan.” And just maybe to make sure she got a shot at happily ever after.Samil chuckled, and Renna felt a responding smile twist her lips. Despite the needles and the fact that the doctor viewed Renna as a science experiment, she liked the woman. Samil was whip-smart, and if anyone could solve this puzzle, it would be her.“What am I going to do with you, dove?” the doctor asked with a shake of her head.“Save me, I hope.” But the doctor could stop using that stupid nickname any time now. Thinking of Renna as a meek little dove was laughable.“I’m doing my best. I do wish Navang’s facility hadn’t been destroyed. If I had access to his drugs and research, it would make all of this so much easier. Or even Myka Aldani. At one time, he was the key to all of this.” Renna’s pulse jumped, and she dropped her gaze to the stark white tiles on the floor. This was exactly why she’d sent Finn on the run with Myka. Destroying the facility had been the only way to stop the human-robot hybrid army Navang and Pallas were building, but it had also signed Renna’s death warrant and put the kid in even more danger.Had she made the right choice? Could she have stopped Navang another way?“Do you know why Captain Finn destroyed the place?” Samil asked. “It doesn’t make sense. The captain doesn’t disobey orders.”“You know Finn?” She clenched her hands in her lap at the unexpected pang of jealousy. The
past seven years had changed Finn into a different person, and those years were wrapped in a protective cloak that seemed to surround his heart. He was different, but that Finn from her childhood still remained. She’d thought they’d have plenty of time to get to know him again, to figure out if there was, in fact, a relationship developing under her nose, but life never worked out the way she planned.Samil nodded. “I was ship doctor for a year on the Athena. He’s a good man. It must have been something big for him to turn his back on MYTH.” Her blue eyes searched Renna’s. “Are you sure he didn’t tell you anything?”A lump formed in her throat, and she had to swallow around it before answering. “Finn and I didn’t exactly get along when I came on board.” Sticking to half-truths was the safest bet for now, until she figured out who she could trust.“Right. I’d heard he was angry that Major Dallas wanted him to work with a thief on the last mission. You, I presume?”“Guilty as charged. He wasn’t likely to confide in me either way.”“Probably not. I know how he felt about people like you.” Samil’s eyes widened. “I mean, people who don’t follow the law.” She shook her head with an apologetic frown. “I’m sorry, this isn’t coming out right. I just mean Finn’s a good man. For him to go on the run from MYTH means something is seriously wrong.”Renna nodded. “I get it. I’m a thief. Untrustworthy. But I was hired to do a job and that’s what I did.”“I didn’t mean anything by it, Renna. I’m sorry.” The doctor glanced at the door. “Now that I’ve put my foot in it, I’m going to go make sure my assistant has your newest sample. Stay positive, Renna, it’s going to be fine.”“I hope you’re right because it feels like my brain is about to ooze out my ears.”Samil
unlocked another drawer with her thumbprint and rummaged inside. She pulled out a small, flesh-colored disk. “Here, put this medipatch on. It should help with the pain.”Renna slapped it on her arm. “Thanks, doc. I’ll see you later. Hopefully much, much later.” Samil smiled as she left. The door swished shut behind her, and the sound of the lock re-engaging echoed through the room..

 


 
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Jamie Grey spent most of her childhood writing stories about princesses who saved the day and pretending to be a daring explorer. It wasn’t until much later that she realized she should combine the two. Now, as a tech-obsessed gamer geek, her novels mix amazing scientific developments, future worlds, and the remarkable characters that live in them.

Jamie lives in Michigan with her boyfriend and their pets, who luckily tolerate her overspending on tea, books, and video games. You can learn more about her at www.jamiegreybooks.com, or follow her on twitter via @jamie_grey.

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