Archive for the ‘Blitz’ Category

Extracted
Sherry D. Ficklin & Tyler Jolley
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: August 15th 2016
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult

Two opposing factions of time travelers vie for control of the future in this thrilling steampunk series opener dubbed “Interesting” and “Unexpected” by Kirkus Reviews.

Lex and Ember—two time travelers with no memories of their lives before being recruited into the time war—are torn between the factions. When Lex accepts a mission that lands him deep within the heart of the Telsa Institute, he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them comes flooding back. Now armed with the truth of who they were, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them once again.

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EXCERPT:

My breath comes in short, shallow bursts. I can feel the warmth of Ethan’s body radiating like a tuning fork against my back. In front of me, there is only darkness. I strain, listening, waiting for the next wave of attack. The leather straps holding up my suede harness dig into the skin of my shoulders, but the ache only sharpens my focus. The urge to turn around is strong, though I know better. Months of training have taught me exactly what happens when I turn my back to the darkness. So I listen, honing my senses until I catch the sound of Ethan taking a small step forward, away from me. My eyes are useless, so I close them. Knowing my attackers are well paid for their ability to move in silence, there is little hope that they will give themselves away. We need another strategy. As if reading my mind, Ethan picks up the conversation we were having earlier.

“All I’m saying is, maybe you need the extra practice,” Ethan says, his tone mocking. Even without being able to see him, I can sense him moving, beginning to circle counterclockwise. I know he’s trying to draw them out, to bring the fight to him. It seems like a sound strategy, so I jump on board.

“Oh, yes, because it isn’t like she turned around and kicked the crap out of you, too.” I’m mimicking his movements now. My voice is flat, free from emotion, and my words are empty. I can’t see him moving, but I can feel him, as if we’re connected by a million invisible threads.

“How am I supposed to just punch a girl?” Ethan asks. “And I was tired from taking the guy out like five seconds earlier.”

“She isn’t a girl. She’s more like a pissed-off kangaroo in a top hat. She has a nasty right hook, I’ll give you that.”

I hear the sharp whip of air as a bamboo pole cuts through the darkness, headed toward my face. Even with our phony argument going on, I’m able to hear it coming before it lands. I bring up my hands and block the blow with my forearms. The impact stings, bruising the bones there, but better my arms than my face. With a movement perfected after one too many blows to the head, I grab the pole and pull it aside, dragging my attacker with it. As he closes in, I drop the pole and lock arms with Ethan. I flip over his back and kick out, knocking my attacker to the mat. As he struggles back to his feet, Ethan spins into my place, delivering a secondary kick that sends the man flying into the wall with a dull thud. “Yeah, but she’s scrappy,” he says.

“Scrappy? Is that boy code for you couldn’t stop staring at her rack?”

Behind me, I feel Ethan duck a blow, and then land one of his own before pressing his back against mine. “I… that’s not… I didn’t even… I mean…” he sputters.

I smirk. Busted.

Footsteps approach, but we keep sparring. I bend over, using my attacker’s own momentum against him as I put my shoulder into his gut and stand, propelling him over my head and onto his back on the mat. I don’t need to see my victory to realize what the maneuver has cost me. A muscle in my lower back seizes, and it’s all I can do not to drop to my knees in agony. I clench my fists until I feel my fingernails cut bloody crescents in my palms. There is no way I’m going to be the weak link—no way I’m going to let Ethan fight alone. Back to back, that’s how Rifters are trained to fight. And Ethan always has my back.

“Don’t feel too bad. She was pretty scrappy after all.”

Ethan mumbles, “It’s a girl thing.”

“Hold up, what’s that supposed to mean?” I ask, stiffly regaining my footing as my back screams in protest.

As usual, Ethan turns to check on me. “Nothing personal, Ember.”

Not wanting him to get slammed for it again, I grab him by the shoulder and pull, revolving us to our starting positions just as the first attacker flips back onto his feet and lunges. He would have taken me in the stomach, but I bring up my knee just in time to block his advance before kicking him in the face. There is a loud crunch that sounds like breaking bone. I hear him hit the mat with a groan. The lights flick back on, and Mistress Catherine blows her whistle.

Normally we spar with off-duty guards, since most of them have military training of some kind. They know how to take a hit and how to deliver one without doing too much damage. We might be lowly recruits, but Rifters are rare, and our lives are precious.

But as the man whose nose I have just broken pulls off his black ski mask, my heart falls into my shoes. Flynn is staring up at me, and his face is covered in blood.

“Nice hit, Ember,” he says as blood drips from his nose and onto his white shirt. Mistress Catherine hands him his horn-rimmed glasses and shoots me an amused smirk. Behind me, Ethan snickers.

Great. And here I was thinking this day couldn’t get any worse.

Reaching down, I offer Flynn a hand up, which he accepts with a smile.

“I’m so sorry,” I mutter, but he waves it off.

“Catherine told me you were really coming along. I wanted to see for myself.”

The others are shuffling out, so I turn to grab a towel and follow them, but Mistress Catherine closes the door behind a worried-looking Ethan, presses her back against it, and narrows her eyes at me. I used to think it was hard to look menacing in a knee-length pencil skirt and beige brocade top, but she radiates power. It might be the stern pucker of her thin lips, or the way her graying hair is knotted tightly at the nape of her neck. She resembles a librarian except for the long, jagged scar that runs from her left temple to the cleft in her chin. Well, that and the spider-shaped, iron shoulder harness permanently affixed to her upper arm.

Not sure what’s going on, I freeze, yellow towel in hand. Before I can say anything, I feel something moving behind me. I manage to move to the side just as a wooden staff comes slamming down against the spot where I’d stood a heartbeat earlier. I turn and see Flynn grinning, blood still dripping off his chin. He spits before whirling the staff like a windmill in front of him. “What I don’t understand,” he says, circling to my left, “is how that Hollow got the best of you. According to Ethan’s report, Kara had no problem with her. And Catherine here tells me that you mat Kara at almost every practice now.”

I have no idea what to say. Does he think I let her beat up on me? Just then, my legs are swept out from under me. I fall to the mat, but, rolling swiftly backward, I bounce up onto my feet. Catherine has a staff, too, and comes toward me from the right. I hold up my hands and back up slowly. In the corner of the room, a vent erupts in a cloud of steam, and Tesla’s image appears but says nothing.

“Look, I didn’t let her get away,” I say. “If that’s what you’re implying. She was strong. And fast.”

Catherine shakes her head. “You are strong. And fast. And clever.”

“I’m sorry!” I blurt out when my back hits the corner and they are still coming at me.

I don’t think Flynn would ever hurt me, not really, but Catherine, well…

Without another word, they both attack. I manage to duck one blow but take another in the ribs before I decide to make a break for it. Jumping as high as possible, I’m able to get a hand on the chain attaching one of the punching bags to the ceiling and hoist myself up. I leap over Flynn and roll as I hit the ground behind him. They’re quick, though, and have me surrounded again in seconds.

It’s easy to forget that they are trained Rifters, too. Catherine doesn’t rift anymore, but Flynn is still active and in really good shape. They aren’t holding anything back either. Flynn lands a blow to my lower back, but when Catherine moves in, I’m able to grab her staff and force it from her bad arm. Suddenly, time is moving in a blur. I’m not thinking about my next move anymore. My body is reacting of its own accord. I’m not sure how it happens, but I blink and Catherine is on her knees. Flynn is standing in front of me, and I have the two staffs crossed at his neck. He’s holding up his hands and saying my name.

I drop the sticks and step back. The muscles in my arms and legs are twitching like I’ve just run ten miles.

“That’s what we mean,” Catherine says, climbing stiffly to her feet. “You could have taken the Hollow girl. So, why did you hesitate?”

I close my eyes, calling the fight to the front of my memory. There was something about the girl. She was beautiful, for sure, but that wasn’t it. There was something else, too. Something I can’t put into words. I look up to find they’re staring at me, waiting for some kind of answer. I can feel Tesla glaring holes into my back, watching me like one of his little science experiments. “I don’t know what you want me to say.”

Flynn sighs and holds his hands out to me. I take them without hesitation. “Ember, I know it’s hard. I know you don’t like hurting people. It’s against your very nature to harm someone or let someone suffer. But you are too important to risk losing. Understand? Sometimes, you have to put someone down, let someone get hurt or even die, to save yourself and your team. You can’t hold anything back.”

I take a deep breath. “And what if someone dies because of me? Because, for some reason, my life is worth more than theirs?”

Flynn lowers his head, looking me in the eye. “That is a burden you will have to learn to carry.”

~~~~~

3 Questions With:

 

Ember

  • What does she love most?

Her family, Ethan, Kara, and Riley, and when she remembers him, Lex. Anyone she considers hers.

  • What is her greatest fear?

Losing her family (again). Fire freaks her out, but losing the little family she’s made in the Institute scares her. The only thing that scares her more is the idea of losing Lex again.

  • What is her Achilles heel?

Sometimes she’s hesitant to stand up for herself. She lets people lead her around. Partly because she doesn’t want to hurt their feelings, partly because she’s afraid they will leave her if she stands her ground.

 

Ethan

  • What does he love most?

He’s in love with Ember. It’s the strongest connection in his life. He has a brotherly bond with Riley, but it’s not as intense.

  • What is his greatest fear?

Not being there for the people who depend on him. Falling short of what he thinks people expect of him.

  • What is his Achilles heel?

His need to push boundaries. To take things just a step too far. Being too impulsive. Not looking before he leaps. It stems from a mixture of overconfidence and a desire to constantly test himself; prove himself.

 

LEX

  1. What does he love most?

He loves his family (EMBER) but lately the Hollows and Steinward. He is loving the idea of revenge and rescue.

  1. What is his greatest fear?

Losing Ember again

  1. What is his Achilles heel?

He is a natural born leader but his cockiness could get in the way.  He can be big headed sometimes.

 

STEIN

  1. What does she love most?

Herself.  She is really into just watching out for herself although she will conform to helping LEX.  She is afraid of falling in love.

  1. What is her greatest fear?

Her past.  She doesn’t know where she is from or how she came to be with the Hollows and this scares her

  1. What is her Achilles heel?

Once she learns about her past, she isn’t sure where she fits in anymore.

~~~~~

 

Author Bio:

Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

Author links:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Tyler H. Jolley is a sci-fi/fantasy author and full-time orthodontist, periodontist (see: Overachiever). He divides his spare time between writing, reading, mountain biking, and camping with his family.

Author links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Under A Million Stars
Rita Branches
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Can a beating heart bleed from the shattered pieces?

Her heart cracked when her best friend walked away; it completely shattered when she lost her family in a tragic accident.

Now orphaned at seventeen, Charlotte Peterson is forced to live with her former best friend, Jacob Parker. Charlie, a talented pianist, desperately wants their loving friendship back, but something is holding Jake back. The more she spirals into the darkness of depression, the more she needs him.

Jacob vowed to stay away from her—no matter how much he still loved her. Armed with secrets that would have destroyed both of their families, he chose to end their friendship and walk away, which nearly killed him. As he watches the girl he once knew begin to fade away, however, he realizes that their relationship is more important than the truth he’s hiding.

Now it’s up to Jacob to put the pieces of Charlie’s broken heart back together—even if it means revealing the secrets he so desperately wants to protect her from.

Will Jacob find a way to bring back the carefree, talented girl he once knew, or is it too late for both of them?

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EXCERPT:

Jacob

These two weeks had been hell for me.

I didn’t know how I was going to pull this off for the eight months I still had left in this hell of a town. My parents didn’t get me, and she was around all the time, suffocating me. My heart skipped a beat every time I heard her voice, and it doubled in speed when she was near me. I wouldn’t be able to stay away, I knew it. She was breaking my heart all over again.

I heard her at night, when she thought everyone was sleeping. I just sat on the floor, resting my head against the wall, and listen to her cry and throw up every other night.

I stayed there like a jerk, as if I didn’t give a crap about her or her feelings, but I cried. I missed her. I wanted to hold her at night and tell her that everything would be alright, but I couldn’t. I promised I would stay away—I couldn’t hurt her, anymore. I pushed my knees to my chest to hold myself together and to keep me from crumbling. Sometimes, I had to place my closed fist against my mouth, so she wouldn’t hear me sob. I wished she would have, though. I wished she would have opened the door and saw me sitting there, caring about her, suffering like she did.

My mom was getting suspicious about me. She knew about her, or at least that something wasn’t right. My face, the permanent dark circles under my eyes, and my lack of appetite wasn’t normal, though. I was okay, before her parents’ accident—I had started to pull myself together.

***

This night was especially bad. She stayed in the bathroom for hours. I had been on the other side, hearing her cry and wishing I could take it all away.

I was starting to get really scared for her. I left before my parents woke up, unable to face them and those disapproving looks, anymore, like I wasn’t doing anything right with my life. They wanted a perfect son and they didn’t have one.

I was in no condition to go to college—I couldn’t even imagine myself being closed behind four walls for another four or five years. I needed something to take my thoughts away—something that would fuel me with adrenaline. They wouldn’t approve of the plans I’d been making. They’d hate them, in fact, but I didn’t care, anymore, I just needed to get away.

 

Author Bio:

Rita Branches is an independent YA (young adult) author who enjoys spending every free moment (when she´s not reading) writing emotional stories. Visit: http://ritabranches.wordpress.com/

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(more…)

(more…)

 

Title: Touch Me #3 by Skye Malone
Series: Touch Me
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Wildflower Isle
Publication Date: February 18, 2015
Cover Designer: Karri Klawiter

Monsters walk among us.


And now they have Ruby.

Best friend. Confidant. Ally when everything in my life felt like hell. There are very few people I trust.

And none of them come close to Ruby.

But now demons have her. House Volgert has taken her, demanding that I serve as their emissary to the equally dangerous and terrifying House Linden. But Linden is after me too.

I’m stuck between two titans of the demon world. I’m running out of options and I’m running out of time. But when I find out what demons do to the humans they capture, the nightmare gets even worse.

If I don’t find Ruby soon, it won’t matter if she escapes the Houses.

I’m still going to lose her forever.

**Touch Me 3 is the third installment of a New Adult paranormal romance serial filled with twists, turns, and dark surprises. This episode is 30,000 words (approximately 125 pages) long.**


**Due to strong language and some sexual situations in this and later installments of the series, it is appropriate for readers 18+.**

 

Purchase
 
***

 

The Touch Me Series
Currently FREE
***

 

______________________________________________________________
About the Author
 
Skye Malone is a
fantasy and paranormal romance author, which means she spends most of her time
not-quite-convinced that the magical things she imagines couldn’t actually
exist.
A Midwestern
girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, she hopes someday to travel the world — though in the meantime she’ll take any story that whisks her off to a place where the fantastic lives inside the everyday. She loves strong and
passionate characters, complex villains, and satisfying endings that stay with
you long after the book is closed. An inveterate writer, she can’t go a day
without getting her hands on a keyboard, and can usually be found typing away
while she listens to all the adventures unfolding in her head.
Skye also writes YA urban fantasy as Megan Joel Peterson and is the author of The
Children and the Blood trilogy.
______________________________________________________________
Excerpt
          Amar is studying me. His hand moves, taking my own carefully
like he’s afraid I’ll pull away. And I freeze. The look in his eyes… it’s like
I’m all he sees. Me, now. Me, then, back in that restroom, alone in the moments
before Ruby walked in. But there’s no pity in his gaze. Just something else,
dark and deep.
          Safety.
          I can’t breathe. My thoughts are trying to catch up to my
impressions, struggling to put words to a man so unfathomable it should be
funny. I don’t know what he wants, though. To kiss me? To have sex? Somewhere
inside, I’m still ready for that, but that part of me feels like it’s drowning
in the nightmare of this evening, the exhaustion of all the hours since, and
the rawness of what I’ve just said.
          He lifts his other hand, taking my cheek, and his thumb
strays across my lips, parting them while his eyes track the motion. My heart
slams into my ribs. Even the simple contact makes my insides start to burn.
Maybe I’m drowning in all this madness.
          Maybe I just need something good to hang onto.
______________________________________________________________
Giveaway
  • You could win a ’DEMONS: Not all of us are evil’ watch, water bottle, and signed bookmarks, plus a $25 Amazon gift card!
  • A second prize winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card.
  • Open Internationally
  • Giveaway ends August 1st

 

 
 

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Crow
Alexa Kim
(Life Tree – Master Trooper #2)
Publication date: July 25th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction

Crow has a lot on his plate as the new head of Sector A. Young and inexperienced as he is in his leading role, he still has to prove himself as a capable Alpha. Especially Strike is challenging him for rank.

Yet Crow is adamant about asserting his position, because only as Alpha can he finally have what has been out of his reach for so long – Leslie, a doctor and former head of Life Tree’s INBREED program.

Unfortunately for him, Leslie herself doesn’t make it any easier. Three years his senior, she still regards him as the young Trooper who qualified for INBREED. In her book, that’s two reasons not to let him into her bed.

When Strike catches on to Crow’s weakness and abducts Leslie, both men are out for blood…

Leslie is traumatized. In the blink of an eye, her world was turned upside down. She has gone from being a self-confident woman and head of INBREED to being property of a Trooper.

Although she likes Crow and feels drawn to him already, she simply cannot forgive him for trying to make her submit only so he can strengthen his position as Alpha and leader. Moreover, there is this secret she keeps… the reason she left Earth. If Crow were to find out, he would certainly cast her aside – a bitter experience Leslie has been through before. No, she’d rather ignore her feelings…

Goodreads / Amazon

Sequel to:
28536109

~~~~~

EXCERPT:

– Crow –

“You enjoyed tonight,” I start, trying to get back the comfortable mood, but it’s not really working.

“Yes. I’m glad Larona lives here now.” Leslie’s eyes shine vividly for the first time since I’ve laid claim to her.

“You feel comfortable in her presence.”

“I do,” Leslie admits guilelessly while we take the remnants of our dinner back to the kitchen. “Larona and I get along well. She’s my friend.”

I feel another stab of jealousy, and then I regrettably say something absolutely moronic, “You’d rather spend time with her than with me.” Leslie turns around and looks at me with a frown that makes me want to bite my tongue off. You idiot. You bloody idiot!

“Well, Larona isn’t smothering me with a compulsive need for control!”

Her words shatter my self-control. A haze of abstruse thoughts clouds my mind, courtesy of my eight percent non-human DNA. Leslie is still challenging my authority. She’s mine, and I know what’s best for her… but she doesn’t take me seriously. She doesn’t admit my claim on her! I have to get her under control! She has to submit! With those thoughts running riot in my mind, adrenaline gets pumped into my blood, putting me into a mood that’s a mixture of aggression and arousal.

Of course, Leslie notices – the ostentatious tent in my pants is hard to miss. However, this time, she’s not afraid. Instead, she seems rather peeved… and aroused, which I’m able to tell from her scent. A part of my heightened emotions is profoundly satisfied by that development – at least physically, there are no issues in our compatibility.

Still, Leslie tries being obstinate. She crosses her arms in front of her chest. Her eyes are ablaze, and her brown hair falls in loose waves down to her shoulders. I notice every detail about her… and her stubbornness only makes me want her even more! Right now!

Leslie is wearing one of her white bodysuits that hardly conceals any of her feminine curves… neither the dip of her waist, nor her long legs, nor her shapely behind. Every inch of her body is sending me a clear message, yet I doubt she’s even aware of it.

“You want to grab me and throw me onto the bed again so you can proof something to yourself?” Her voice is flippant and just a bit husky.

I decide to play along. “There’s no need for that.”

“Great,” she retorts, but now there’s a hint of uncertainty in her voice. “Good night, then.”

Leslie turns to leave, but I’m not letting her off that easy. She hasn’t gone two steps when I grab her from behind, wrapping her in my arms. “I don’t need a bed to show you who you belong to… the kitchen will suffice.”

 

Author Bio:

Alexa Kim is a German author of hot sci-fi and fantasy romance books, usually with a dark touch. She used to be a regular with trade publishers for over ten years before she decided to try and make her own way as an indie author under the pen name Alexa Kim. In 2014, she hit it off with her MASTER TROOPER series, and she’s since been in Germany’s Amazon bestselling list on a regular basis.

When she’s not writing, she’s either indulging her hobby—singing—or spending time with a book and her two cats.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook

 

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