SFRB Showcase: Survival Race #3

SFRB-ShowcaseBannerHi everyone! It’s been a while <cough> November <cough> since my last blog post. After writing an alien romance novella (which I LOVE) for an anthology call and then having the publisher cancel said anthology, I stopped writing for a few months. 🙁

But it’s a new year and according to a shaman woman I met in Okinawa, Japan last fall, the Year of the Rooster is supposed to be a good year for me, so I’m rejuvenated and back to work on book 3 in the Survival Race series. I’m also expanding that novella I loved so much into a novel. Oh, and changing it to a YA (Young Adult), which I haven’t written before but the story fits this genre better.

Anyway, the SFR Brigade Showcase is the chance for Science Fiction Romance authors to showcase excerpts from their latest releases, snippets from a work-in-progress (WIP), a new cover for their book or just have fun with something silly, like a character interview.

Here’s a peek into my WIP from book 3 of the Survival Race in which we meet our hero, Griffin. Though we technically met him in book 2, FEARLESS, we now get to see his POV. I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think either way. And be sure to check out more from all the awesome SFR Brigade authors here!!

SURVIVAL RACE: Book 3 Excerpt

How could anyone love a gladiator?

More specifically, how could a sweet spiritual healer like Myia love a brainless gladiator warlord instead of a scientist?

Inside cramped castle walls, Griffin slowed his steps and quieted his breaths at the secret entrance to the king’s bedchamber. If Lord Stone-for-Brains found him sneaking through the tunnel system on his mating night, he’d hang Griffin from a tree outside the refuge until taken by wild animals, poachers, or a slow death. Suspension was not how Griffin envisioned departing this world.

He intended to leave by spaceship.

Disgusted by the muffled lovemaking sounds, Griffin continued on his mission.

Navigating the tunnels was as easy as it had been as a boy. He had spent countless hours creeping around the castle playing spy, sneaking midnight snacks, and avoiding his father’s wrath. But Father had built these escape routes and always knew where to corner him and then the beatings had been worse.

Shoulder braced against the back of a bookcase, Griffin held in a grunt as he shoved it open into the king’s private office. Hopefully no one heard the bookcase scraping over the floor. He squeezed through the tight opening and then went to work rummaging through desk drawers searching for his confiscated tech-ring.

It was the only device capable of synthetic telepathy. He couldn’t communicate with the hyborean and get the answers he needed without it.

A key rattling the door sent him sprinting back to the bookcase. There would be no time to squeeze back through and close it from the other side before someone entered so he pushed it shut, cutting off his only escape.

Behind him the door opened and the cold metallic ring of a long blade unsheathed from its scabbard sent chills down his back.

“Don’t move,” said a deep, steely voice.

Of all the soldiers on guard, why did it have to be General Max?

“Drop the lightstick and put your hands on your head.”

Griffin did as instructed. This was not a gladiator to piss off. Having recently escaped from the Human Breeding and Research Center, Max oscillated a fine line between man and beast. He played by his own rules especially when it came to family and friends, and unfortunately Lord Stone-for-Brains was both.

“Inform Lord Kedric,” Max said to someone.

Yeah. That wasn’t going to go over well. Deciding not to turn around, he spoke over his shoulder. “Don’t you think it unwise to interrupt the Lord’s mating night? Why not tell him in the morning when his mood is more agreeable? I’ll wait in the dungeon. Or, preferably, my home.”

“You’ll wait here and you’ll tell me how you got in.”

From the sound of it, Max had crossed the room to the window, probably looking for a ladder or rope since they were on the third floor. Perhaps he didn’t know about the secret passage. Did Kedric?

“Surely Lord Kedric won’t leave his bride tonight. Not on my account. I wouldn’t dream of it.”

“I appreciate your concern.” The familiar derision in Kedric’s unmistakable voice sliced through his nerves.

The fool was too stupid to stay in bed and make love to his bride. Shaking his head in disbelief, he turned to face Kedric, barefoot, red hair disheveled, and wearing only pants. A sheen of sweat covered his body.

Apparently gladiators lacked stamina when it came to pleasing their women.

Griffin didn’t dare lower his arms. Fists and blades were gladiator weapons, words and patience were his. If he wanted to wound Kedric, he merely had to threaten his reign or speak suggestively about Myia. He didn’t like using her as his sword, but it always cut Kedric the deepest. “I didn’t think I could pity you more. Your bloodlust for me eclipses your lust for our sweet little shaman girl.”

Gray eyes blazing, Kedric lunged. A meaty hand caught Griffin’s throat and the bookcase rammed into his back. “You are to speak of the Highland queen with reverence and honor. Is that clear?”

Angry heat flushed Griffin’s cheeks. There hadn’t been a highland queen since his mother’s death eighteen years ago. He had nothing against Myia, but not even a woman as kind and beautiful as she was could ever replace his mother.

“I said is that clear?” Kedric’s grip tightened, coercing etiquette from him.

“Yes. My lord.” He ground out the last word through a constricted throat and clenched teeth. His head slammed into the bookcase once more before Kedric let go. Cool air rushed into his trachea. He refused to rub the pain from his neck. He wouldn’t give the barbarian that satisfaction.

“Now then,” Kedric said. “What the hell are you doing in my castle?”

His castle? It would have been Griffin’s if his Father hadn’t bequeathed the throne to this knuckle-dragging prick instead of his own son.

Griffin shot him his best look-at-me-I’m-clever grin. Oh yeah, he was about to get decked hard. “I apologize, my Lord. I wouldn’t have come here if I’d known you couldn’t satisfy sweet Myia, I’d be in her bed–.”

The fist to his face came fast and furious. And so did the floor.

The uncontrolled anger flushing Kedric’s expression had been more than worth the throbbing ache and bloody nose.

“Throw him in the dungeon,” Kedric said. “I’ll interrogate him tomorrow.”

“Get up.” Max’s fingers dug into his arm as he yanked him up onto his feet. He shackled his hands behind his back before shoving him toward the door.

Fighting back wasn’t an option. He’d rather spend the rest of their numbered days in the dungeon than stoop to violence.

On the bright side, if he couldn’t escape the planet before the hyboreans retaliated, at least he’d die at home in the castle.

Well, technically under it.

*

I hope this excerpt piqued your interest to learn more. If not, let me know what I can do to improve. As always, leave me your thoughts in the comments. If you enjoyed this excerpt, you might like to read the first chapter of book 1: CAPTIVE for free here and the first chapter of book 2: FEARLESS here.

~KM Fawcett

 

 

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THE PAIN SEASON by Libby Doyle

the-pain-season-3dThe Pain Season

By Libby Doyle, author of the Covalent Series

The Covalent Series is a sexy urban fantasy that features a murder investigation, battles with demons, and political intrigue on an alien world. At its heart, though, it is a love story between Alexandra “Zan” O’Gara, an intrepid FBI agent, and Rainer Barakiel, a superhuman warrior from another dimension. In Book I, The Passion Season, they meet and fall in love. In Book II, The Pain Season, let’s just say the title is evocative of their states of mind.

In The Passion Season, Book I of the Covalent Series, FBI Agent Alexandra “Zan” O’Gara met Rainer Barakiel when he offered to help the FBI solve a gruesome crime. They fell madly in love, but he didn’t tell her that he’s an exiled alien warrior. Even as he made her feel more connected to life than she’d ever felt, she knew he was hiding things from her. This excerpt is from the beginning of Book II in the series, The Pain Season. Rainer plans to reveal his true nature, but before he has the chance, she is attacked. He has just called her to warn her that his enemies are coming for her.

*** This excerpt from THE PAIN SEASON contains violence and foul language ***

Alexandra O’Gara sat on the couch flipping the pages of a magazine, too nervous to focus on reading. Normally, she liked it when Rainer asked her to wait for him at his place. Compared to her crappy little apartment, the ultra-modern space was an oasis of serenity, its sleek lines warmed by the rich wood of the furniture, the colorful rugs and the bright, abstract paintings. She had started a fire in the massive concrete fireplace despite the warmth of the night. She gazed into the flames.

Her phone buzzed. It was Rainer, talking rapidly, panic in his voice. When the call was over, she put the phone in her lap and stared at the floor.

What the hell?

Rainer’s tone led her to believe she should do as he said. Explanation or no, he wasn’t joking.

So much for my instincts. He must be involved in some criminal enterprise.

She suppressed tears as she pulled her service pistol from her bag. A 9mm Sig Sauer. Rainer had said there would be five assailants. She sent a prayer of thanks out to her FBI partner, Mel, who had insisted she get the Sig that took extra-capacity magazines.

Two twenty-round clips. That should do me.

Zan readied her firearm then ran to the front door. Before she opened it, she heard a vehicle drive into the compound. She looked through the peephole. A box truck.

I’ll never make it to my car. Should I call the police? Do I want to do that to Rainer? Have to explain this to my boss? I can slip out the back.

She remembered what Rainer had said about a defensive position. She decided on the weapons room. Its double doors were sturdy and it had an exit to the back balcony. She ran up the stairs. Once inside the room, she grabbed a pike off the wall and slid it through the handles to prevent the doors from opening. She waited. If they seemed like they could bust through, she would exit to the balcony, jump to the ground and hightail it to her car.

All I can do is hope they don’t leave someone outside to cut off my escape.

Zan opened the south-side window. She heard faint voices, doors slamming, the truck pulling away. She also heard sounds like rabid dogs would make if they were as big as grizzlies. Zan had not been afraid before, operating in some state of unreality, but the sounds brought fear screaming to her mind.

What the hell is that?

She ran to peer through the crack between the weapons room doors. She saw them crash through the front. Five huge, scaly, slobbering monsters with double-sided axes in their hands pushed the heavy wooden doors aside like they were paper.

The Monster with his hand raised isolated from the background

Oh my god, oh my god. I have gone crazy.

Closing her eyes, Zan tried to breathe, to fight her terror.

Think, soldier. These doors won’t stop them. I’ve got this fucking pea shooter. I need a fucking assault rifle. I need help.

Hands shaking, she dialed 911. The beasts stood near the kitchen table, making guttural noises and sniffing the air before they turned their yellow eyes toward the weapons room. She had to get out of there.

“Hello, 911, what is your emergency?”

Zan spoke as she ran toward the balcony door. “I’m being attacked. Bridge and Richmond streets in Bridesburg.”

“Are you injured, ma’am?”

“No. But I will be if you don’t send a squad car now! Send every squad car in the area! I’m being attacked by monsters!”

“Monsters, ma’am?”

Fucking hell. Why did I say that? She thinks I’m a crank.

“Please. Bad people. Monstrous people.” Zan’s voice was weak with fear. “I have to hang up. I have to hide. Please send help.”

She went onto the balcony, climbed over the railing, hung from the ledge and dropped to the ground. She paused with one hand held over her mouth, the gun clutched in the other.

The response time is ten minutes if I’m lucky. I can’t run. I can’t. Who knows how many people those things would kill? I have to stop them.

Zan took a position behind a nearby tree. From inside she heard a crashing sound. The hideous things burst through the balcony door a few seconds later. She ran towards them, pumping bullets into every monster near the railing, outlined as they were by the light from inside. They howled and batted at their chests, but they did not fall. Zan returned to the tree, taking gulps of air as she reloaded.

I’m a dead woman.

***

The Pain Season is available now at Amazon   iBooks   Barnes & Noble  &  Kobo.   Although not a cliffhanger, The Pain Season is not a stand-alone novel. The story begins in The Passion Season and will continue in The Vengeance Season coming in 2017.

libby-doyle

 

Libby Doyle is an attorney and former journalist who took a walk around the corporate world and didn’t like it. She escapes the mundane by writing extravagant yarns, filled with sex and violence. She loves absurd humor, travel, punk rock, and her husband. You can discover more about Libby’s world at http://www.libbydoyle.com

 

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The MIND Series by Jenn Nixon

Fan Favorite, Baldwin Bates, finally gets his own story and HEA in book three MIND: The Reckoning. To celebrate the new release, books 1 & 2 are both on sale for the rest of the week! You can find all three books here: www.amazon.com/Jenn-Nixon/e/B002BLNBBQ MIND: The Beginning .99c, MIND: The Emergence $1.99

mind33

Baldwin Bates has only wanted one thing since joining MIND, to take care of his friends and keep them all safe. While the Meta-Alien Investigation and Neutralization Department is busy monitoring an emergence of human psychic and alien activity, Bates takes his first solo assignment searching for a woman who claims to see the future, only to botch it up and let her get away.

After helping to destroy an alien device called the Transcender, Lexa Quinn wakes from a two-week coma a very different person than she was before. While her abilities grow stronger, her feelings for Bates begin to interfere with the MIND team’s mission, putting everyone at risk. Secrets from her past threaten the present and future, forcing Lexa to decide who she is and where she belongs.

When a powerful, ancient enemy lays claim to the Earth and brings his judgment upon the population, Bates, Lexa, and the entire MIND team must do whatever it takes to save the human race before the reckoning is complete.

mindthereckoningMIND: The Reckoning Excerpt:

As Bates bypassed the crafters and artists, the scent of Asian BBQ wafted through the air. He grumbled along with his stomach and hoped a few of them stuck around so he could pick something up on his way out.

“How’s it going?” Dina Ranger asked via his earcomm, jolting him.

“Shit! Forgot I had this bloody thing in,” he replied, taking a breath and shutting his eyes for a second.

“Have to get used to it if you want to be in the field…alone.”

“Unlike your brother, I need some me time, Sherlock.” This time, he chuckled when he felt her brush his mind with calming thoughts. “How’s Lexa? Any change?”

“No, nothing. Never changes. I…just don’t get it.”

“Me either,” he said with a sigh, quickly putting it out of his mind to maintain his focus. “I just got to the park. I’ll check in before I leave.”

“Okay. And whatever has you so hungry bring some back. Talk to ya.”

Shaking his head, Bates waited for the static of the comm to fade before pushing farther into the park, eyeing the tables and tents, but mostly their occupants, searching for a face. Miss Takashi had a pretty face, although older now, since the photo from the collective Meta-alien Investigation and Neutralization Department database was almost one hundred years old.

When he neared the end of the first row of vendor tents, he took in the sight of the city across the river, and then found the second and final row of vendors left to search.

He politely declined several offers to purchase various items like candles and potholders, wondering why his ‘blah face’—a term his new friend Kim called his usual stern façade—wasn’t working.

Toward the middle of the second row, Bates slowed, eyeing a colorful booth, shrouded in light purple curtains, and a sign that screamed for attention. When a face-painted toddler, followed by a frantic parent, came running out of the booth, he barely sidestepped out of the way. The parent offered Bates a weary shrug. He nodded politely and carried onward, finally seeing a sign for “Madam Takashi” two booths down.

***

Author Bio: Jenn Nixon’s love of writing started the year she received her first diary and Nancy Drew novel. Throughout her teenage years, she kept a diary of her personal thoughts and feelings but graduated from Nancy Drew to other mystery suspense novels.

Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey.

Visit Jenn at her Website, Facebook, BlogTwitter and on Amazon.

 

 

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New Release: Scavenger’s Mission by Liza O’Connor

banner-1Making Friends

When Alisha was a wealthy debutante she had no friends. She had lots of debutantes who would attend her parties, just as she attended theirs, but they weren’t her friends. They were just obligations to be met. Smile, kiss checks, compliment new dress…Big Yawn!

When she escaped her parents and arrived in Capital, where her Gramps was said to live, at first she was terrified. The people in Capital were nothing but thieves and murderers. As she stood on a street corner, pondering how to even begin the search to find her gramps, a sassy hooker stormed over and threatened to take her down if she didn’t leave her customers alone.

Alisha assured her she didn’t want Betty’s customers; she was just trying to find her gramps. By the end of her sad story, Betty had her gathered in her arms and promised she knew someone who could find her gramps. She then left her corner and led Alisha to Denny, a thin small fellow with wicked computer skills. He found her gramps in less than ten minutes and took her to his apartment complex.

Since it was the least safe apartment complex in Capital, he escorted her to her gramps’ apartment. He even opened the door when no one answered. She found gramps nearly incoherent, lying in his own waste on the bed. Denny found a better mattress in the basement while she cleaned up her gramps. The young boy then bought food and gave her a supply of medicine that cost a bloody fortune, but would help him get better.

Then he called another friend, Carol, to help care for Gramps while Alisha taught herself to fly a wind-catcher so she could become a scavenger. Then she could afford the medicine her Gramps needed.

So on her first day in Capital, Alisha acquired three fabulous friends. That was three more than she’d ever known before. Life had never looked better!

SCAVENGER’S MISSION By Liza O’Connor

savengers-mission-400x640Meet Alisha: A young woman who refuses to live the life her parents want.

In a single month, Alisha Kane has gone from a wealthy debutante to street girl to scavenger. While testing her new flying skills in the Cully Canyon, Alisha incurs a near-death crash landing. She’s “rescued” by a colonel of the SkyRyders and her life changes forever.

Meet Logan: A SkyRyder colonel in charge of a sleepy fort with little to do other than arrest the occasional scavenger.

For the first time in his life, Logan’s attracted to a young woman, only she’s probably a scavenger and he’ll have to arrest her. But first he offers her a shower and food while he checks on his crew. His videographer has captured her extraordinary flight through the Cully and her flying is astounding!

He forgoes arresting her and puts his career at risk by asking MAC to assess her skills and integrity as a potential SkyRyder. If he can get Alisha into the SkyRyders, it will be his greatest contribution to the Corps.

Meet MAC: The Artificial Intelligence that runs the SkyRyders Corps.

Upon seeing her arrival, MAC upgrades Alisha’s test. Her flying skills are not just excellent; they exceed what was previously thought possible. MAC classifies her as its top asset and soon she proves her value.

But…the SkyRyders remain a male dominated Corps where Alisha’s sense of right and wrong often clashes with her superiors. How long can a rebellious young woman survive in a regimented Corps?

Scavenger’s Mission Excerpt:

Alisha almost told the colonel she didn’t want to become a SkyRyder if it meant reporting to his captain. She recognized the creep as the guy who’d raped and killed her best friend, Betty. Only one look at the bastard’s eyes told her running away would be exactly what he wanted, and unless she went back to Flatland, he would hunt her down and make her pay for her showoff landing today.

No, at least here she would have some protection. He couldn’t rape and beat her to death under the watchful eyes of the colonel. Plus, her gramps’ chance of survival was far greater if he had better healthcare.

Thus, with determination and hope, she began the grueling four hours of psych tests to determine whether she could be a SkyRyder. Her success was more important than ever, with DC lurking like a gargoyle in her future.

Purchase

Scavenger’s Mission: The SkyRyder’s Series, Book 1

at AMAZON

 

About the Author

Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.

OTHER BOOKS BY LIZA O’CONNOR

SCIENCE FICTION

The Multiverse Series

Sci-Fi Soap Opera with humor, romance, and science

The Gods of Probabilities

Surviving Outbound

Surviving Terranue

Surviving Sojourn

 

Artificial Intelligence Series

Sci-Fi/Romance

Public Secrets

Birth of Adam

 

The SkyRyders Series

Sci-Fi Romance

Scavenger’s Mission

Scavenger Falters-coming 2017

Scavenger Vanishes-coming 2017

 

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SFRB Showcase: Star-crossed Lovers

SFRB-ShowcaseBannerLast month I shared a snippet from chapter one of my Work In Progress (which still doesn’t have a title even though it’s due to be turned in this weekend. sigh).

This month’s Science Fiction Romance Brigade Showcase snippet comes from chapter two. You’ll notice I changed the heroine’s name from Dynariss Ironslayer (um, yeah, I’m terrible at names) to Rozell Rōnin. You’ll also notice I used silly name holders like [Mother Planet] for the planets I have yet to name. Did I mention this novella is due now and that I’m terrible at names?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this short snippet. If you’re feeling creative, feel free to suggest a name for a moon or two in the comments and maybe it will make it into the book…with credit to you, of course!

For more excerpts and SFRB fun, check out these authors.

***Reminder to my writer and blogger buddies…you only have 1 week left to sign up for the Write Now Writer’s Retreat held at beautiful Old York Cellars Winery & Vineyard. What could be better than writing and wine?

***

Inside the six-seater passenger gallery, Jaxzon retracted the 180 degree stargazer dome, turned off the lights, and lay in the recliner next to Rozell already gazing out into space, her expression a concoction of awe and fear and amazement.

“Which one is mine?”

He leaned his head close enough to smell the lemon scent of her shampoo and pointed it out. “There. The colorful one on the right. The twin grey ones are Acridite and [Destroyed Moon]. Over there–” he pointed across the gallery, “–is [Mother Planet]. And beyond that is–”

“It’s beautiful,” she whispered.

At first he thought she meant their polluted ancestral home [Mother Planet], but then realized she hadn’t taken her eyes off of her moon.

“Like a marble. All blue, green, and brown covered with swirls of white.” Mesmerized, she strolled to the dome and pressed her hands and forehead against the interior pane as if doing so would bring her closer to the rock from which they sped away at thousands of kilometers per hour.

He joined her at the window.

When had he first seen his own planet from space? He must have been very young; probably four or five. Had he marveled at it then like Rozell did now at twenty-two? He couldn’t remember, but something in her wonderment was contagious and he couldn’t relax his smile or the quickening of his pulse.

Seeing the [Mother Planet] System through her eyes, glistening with unshed tears, was like seeing it all for the first time.

How did she do that to him?

“Breathtaking, isn’t it?” she said.

No longer gazing out the window, he leaned closer and lowered his voice. “Yes. It is.”

Wait. What the hell had come over him? He’d end up in a white cell in the tower if anyone caught him flirting with his brother’s betrothed. He stepped to the side creating proper space between them.

Princess Rozell Rōnin was so off limits, she existed in another galaxy.

***

Thank you for taking the time to read my Showcase post! Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, especially if you have a name suggestion! 🙂

 

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Cover Reveal: Salvation by Lea Kirk

Salvation: Book Two of the Prophecy Series

By Lea Kirk

Salvationfinal2

A blessing and a curse…

Seven years ago, a single moment changed the course of Nicholaus Bock’s life forever—the moment his preternatural Gift to heal awakened in him. A gift that made him an invaluable commodity to the known galaxy. Now his mentor’s intriguing and secretive new student goes out of her way to challenge his loyalty to everything he values.

A dark secret…

After facing death and destruction during the Anferthian invasion, Sakura Yamata revels in her new-found Gift to heal. Helping Earth’s survivors keeps her mind off the loss of her family, and the memory of the terrible choices she made. Nick could penetrate her defenses and discover what she’s hiding. She must not let the handsome healer close enough for that to happen.

A race facing annihilation…

When a mysterious disease strikes the hidden sanctuary of the Anferthian dissenters, Nick and Sakura are called in to help. But someone is going to great lengths to ensure the dissenters don’t survive. Nick and Sakura must set aside their differences and work together to save them before the fragile peace between three worlds is shattered.

Coming October 18, 2016

Available for pre-order now at Amazon   B&N   iBooks

 

Author Bio: Lea Kirk loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her science fiction romances. Her fascination with science fiction began at six years old when her dad introduced her to the original Star Trek TV series. She fell in love with the show, and was even known to run through her parents’ house wearing the tunic top of her red knit pantsuit and her white go-go boots pretending to be Lieutenant Uhura.

In January of 2016, she published her well-received debut novel, Prophecy, Book One of the Prophecy Series. She followed that up in April with a short story, All of Me, set in the Prophecy Series universe. Another short story, Space Ranger, will be released October 11, 2016 as part of the Pets in Space Anthology. Salvation, her second full-length novel comes out a week later. The third book in her series, Collision, is scheduled for 2017.

Ms. Kirk lives in Northern California with her wonderful hubby of twenty-six years, their five kids (aka, the nerd herd), and a whole slew of characters just itching to have their stories told!

Visit Lea Kirk at her  Website,  Facebook, and Twitter.

 

Other books by Lea Kirk:

Prophecy, Book One of the Prophecy Series

Amazon Universal Link   B&N   iBooks   Kobo 

 

All of Me, A Prophecy Series Short Story

Amazon Universal Link   B&N   iBooks   Kobo

 

Space Ranger, A Prophecy Series Short Story

(Part of the Pets in Space Anthology)

Release date: October 11, 2016

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Cover Reveal: PETS IN SPACE (an SFR Anthology to benefit Hero Dogs charity)

Pets-in-Space-revealPets in Space

Releases on October 11, 2016 at your favorite e-retailers.(pre-orders begin Oct. 1st)

Even an alien needs a pet…

Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?

New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Bestselling authors have nine original, never-released stories that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!

10% of profits from the first month go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

A MATE FOR MATRIX: CYBORG PROTECTION UNIT

By S.E. Smith (New York Times/USA TODAY Best Selling Author)
Matrix Roma is a member of the elite Zion military Cyborg Protection Unit. Matrix gets more than he bargains for when his cyborg partner, a hybrid Wolfhound named K-Nine, goes missing and ends up finding a mate for Matrix in the middle of a deadly mission on an unknown planet called Earth.

STRAY

By Susan Grant (New York Times Best Selling, USA TODAY, and RITA Award Winning Author)
Interplanetary Marine Lt. Lukas Frank has a lot in common with a street dog named Bang-Bang; they both started off as scrappy orphans fighting to survive—and beat the odds. Things change when Bang-Bang leads Lukas to starpilot Capt. Carlynn Riga. The tough war hero learns what it means to surrender — his heart. Lukas’s struggles with PTSD threaten to tear the three of them apart, but nothing threatens them more than when Carlynn goes missing on a mission. Can a scarred marine and his unlikely canine partner find Carlynn and bring her home, or will he lose everything he’s finally found worth fighting for?

SPARK OF ATTRACTION

By Cara Bristol (USA TODAY Best Selling Author)
Memory: intact. Cognitive function: enhanced. Emotion: erased. After becoming a cyborg, Captain Dante Stone didn’t think he’d ever feel again, until a traumatized young woman and a ball of synthetic fur named Sparky helped him to love.

STAR CRUISE: STOWAWAY

By Veronica Scott
Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come – nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

THE REAL DRAGON

By Pauline Baird Jones
Emma Standish didn’t think her day could get any worse. Her dad is marrying his boss, her dragon suddenly came back talking and typing, and it’s her fault the Earth, or at least ten square miles of Texas, is going to be destroyed. That’s what happens when you forget something very, very important. Luckily for her, she’s got the love of her life that she can’t remember and her dragon by her side. Who needs to worry when you’re having a day like this?

STARDOG

By Laurie A. Green
Navigator Taro Shall has a mission no one wants – find a way to eradicate snakes on a starship. He never expects to find the answer to his problem in a charming street vendor named Adini. His already unusual mission becomes more complicated when he suddenly acquires an adorable StarDog that soon sweeps him and Adini into the maw of a brewing insurrection.

SPIKE

By Alexis Glynn Latner
Young Roboticist Ten Jaxdown has to deploy, and possibly sacrifice, the swarm of investigative robots that he has invented and cares about more than anything else in the star system. It may be the only hope for those depending on him and his robots to save them. Yet, even as frantic preparations for the unprecedented deep-space rescue mission are set in motion, it could all be threatened by sabotage.

Anastasia Steed is an intrepid young mission designer. She steps forward with an idea that can improve the odds of the mission. Neither she nor Ten expect the assistance they receive from a very unusual pet. A pet that will bring together two alienated human beings who didn’t realize they needed each other. Can Ten and Anastasia discover who is behind the sabotage, save the mission, and discover what is evolving between them? With a little bit of unusual help, anything is possible.

SPACE RANGER

By Lea Kirk
Graig Roble is the Senior Commander of security for the Guardian Fleet. His expertise as a weapons specialist and combat master is his world, what he was born to do – or so he thought until he finds his resolve and focus inexplicably wavering. Even returning to his position aboard the Atlantis can’t save him; if anything, it has left him questioning his own motives. He never thought that could happen until he met Simone Campbell.

Simone’s focus is on her home world – Earth. She thought her life was full with her research as a botanist. After all, she always believed that helping the people of her world become self-sufficient should take all of her concentration – except it doesn’t. There is one man that keeps pulling her attention, and her heart, away from her job.

Graig’s gift of a puppy to keep her company does more than that, it keeps him in her dreams. How can such a simple gift bring her comfort and make her long for more? Graig and Simone are about to find out that sometimes love can blossom from the smallest, furriest ties.

ESCAPE RUN

By Carysa Locke
Teegan’s job as a hunter is to track down the Talented, those driven insane by their gifts. She and Ember, her psychically gifted fox, have tracked dozens of people for Cole, the man who works to rehabilitate and recover these troubled souls. When one of Cole’s most dangerous patients escapes, Teegan and Ember are on a hunt that could prove fatal if she doesn’t keep her focus on her mission. Unfortunately, Cole is proving one distraction that might make this her last hunt if she can’t do that.

Can Teegan keep her heart and mind in the game long enough to save an entire planet’s population, or will her distraction lead to heartache – and possibly death for everyone?

For more information, sign up for the Pets in Space Newsletter.

 

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SFR Brigade Showcase: Lancelot & Guinevere in Space

SFRB-ShowcaseBannerWelcome to my blog! Today for Science Fiction Romance Brigade Showcase I’ll be sharing a never before seen excerpt from my Work in Progress (um…that may be a lie. I emailed it to my brother but have no idea if he saw it yet. Haha.) Anyway, this novella presently has no title. It’s somewhere along the lines of Game of Thrones in Space or Lancelot & Guinevere in Space. Enjoy the opening of my new WIP!

Oh, and if you’re a writer and like wine (and what writer doesn’t?) you may want to check out this post.

***

Dynariss Ironslayer struggled for breath in the maddening restraints bound tightly around her ribcage and waist. Across the military compound, she watched the spaceship’s iron wings change shape as it descended upon the hard-packed ground like a giant, ugly insect.

“Your executioner has arrived,” her youngest sister whispered so their father and the surrounding guards wouldn’t hear.

In a few moments, Evizon Blaqule, King of the Dark Moon, would take her from her family and her home planet. Her heart pounded as it normally did when standing battle ready, but her combat days were over now. There would be no more warrior for this warrior princess.

The weight of her sister’s gaze bore into her. Dynariss squeezed Skylar’s hand. “Stop staring.”

“I can’t help it. I like your face. I don’t want him to cut it.”

“It’s a small price to pay for saving our home.” How many times had Dynariss repeated those exact words to reassure herself?

“But it’ll be the end of you.”

“I’m not dying, Sky. I’m getting married.”

“Same thing. You won’t be you anymore. And I hate it.”

Dynariss couldn’t argue. Changing her appearance to appease the Dark Moon King’s vanity wasn’t her idea. Neither was dressing in this lung-crushing corset and ridiculous, delicate gown.

The shimmery pink material fit tightly around her torso while the long sleeves and skirt draped loosely to conceal her muscle-bound body. A sensible people would have trimmed the too-long material, but foolish Dark Moon fashion dictated the difference in length be made up with dainty silver straps on four-inch spiky heels.

Impractical for walking, but useful for impaling someone…should the need arise.

The tailor-made clothing didn’t camouflage much, though, she was still twice as broad as a Dark Moon woman and a foot shorter. It was a matter of gravity. Her moon yielded denser bones and stockier, muscular physiques, while theirs produced thin, sylphlike frames taller than her six-foot-one-inch average height.

Nothing but surgery would transform her appearance, and if doing so helped her planet defeat their enemies, then Dynariss would dutifully dress, act, and alter her body as the Dark Moon King desired.

“At least you get to fly in a real starship.” That had always been her sister’s dream. If most advanced technology wasn’t forbidden on their moon, Skylar would grow up to be a fighter pilot.

Her father chuckled. “This is a small transit shuttle. Only holds a crew of eight. It’s nothing compared to the fleet Blaqule promised me upon your sister’s wedding day. Dynariss stop fidgeting. You must be a proper lady. Our Moon’s fate depends on it.”

Nothing like a little pressure to get the heart rate up.

The rumbling engines shook the ground and reverberated through her nearly masking the pounding of her heart. Before the ship’s door slid opened fully, a man jumped out and ran full speed at them.

She reached for the sword hilt on her hip only to come up empty. Stupid Dark Moon costume. She should be wearing her battle armor.

Father took a step forward, sword in hand. “Stop him!” The guards, already in pursuit, grabbed the man. He hadn’t unholstered his blaster or struggled out of their grasp as they physically escorted him to her father. “What is the meaning of this, Blaqule?”

Blaqule? This brawny, good-looking man was Evizon Blaqule, King of the Dark Moon? Her intended husband was much more handsome than she’d been led to believe. Tall and lanky she’d been told. Over seven feet. But this man couldn’t have been more than an inch or two taller than she was and with a build not unlike her countrymen; not as broad in the shoulders, perhaps, but at least broader than she was.

This was an unexpected plus in the arranged marriage column.

“Your excellency,” Blaqule said in Universal while nodding a quick bow. “Acridite craft have entered the atmosphere. We’ve only minutes before they track my position. Chatter is they want the princess.”

“How many ships?”

“Three.”

“General,” her father bellowed over his shoulder. “Ready the clan for battle and prepare the EMP canons.”

“Aye, my Lord.”

“Now wait a minute.” Blaqule shrugged a guard’s hand off his shoulder. “If you fire them, you’ll fry my ship.”

“Collateral damage can’t be helped.” Her father strode away bellowing commands.

“Can’t be helped? This is the Kingship!” Blaqule shouted as if that should mean something to her moon’s Emperor. He strode after her father and she scrambled behind them as best she could in the stupid gown, killer spikes, and uncomfortable bouncing tits. When she became the Dark Moon Queen, she was introducing breastplates. “This is your planet’s only means of communication with mine. I can’t call for backup if she’s fried.”

“You have–” Father checked his ivory watch, “–eleven minutes before my cannons fire.”
“Plenty of time to send your message,” Dynariss said. “Though little good it will do when it takes two sols to get here.”

Like most students learning a new language, she knew the basic conversational pleasantries plus a few choice curse words. At this moment, King Blaqule was not muttering pleasantries. “I’m not getting stuck on this primitive rock for two minutes never mind two sols. I’ve got a fleet to prepare and mobilize.” His meaty grip bit into her arm just above the elbow as he propelled her, too quickly, toward the shuttle. She tamped down the urge to jerk free and slug him. At least he had the decency to steady her after each stumble.

He tapped the small communication device in his ear. “Prepare for takeoff.”

“But, my family–” Craning to see over her shoulder, she searched the dispersing warriors for her father and sisters. The compound wasn’t that large, where had they gone?

Laser blasts erupted from the east. Instinctively, she ducked, but pain twisted through her ankle and hard-packed ground wracked her left side. Stupid, stupid shoes.

Hefted off the ground, Blaqule tossed her over his shoulder and raced for the King’s ship.

“Put me down! I can run myself.”

“Princesses don’t run.”

“Not even when their lives are at stake?”

Blaqule didn’t have time to answer before a laser blasted the dirt and stone fragments at his heels into her face. As soon as her feet touched ground, he shoved her into a tight space under the ships folded wing, and then returned fire before squeezing in behind her. Mostly shielded, the wing gave good cover, as did her betrothed’s strapping body blocking the small opening.

“How the hell did they find us so fast?” Blaqule touched his ear device and asserted commands with calm confidence in his native tongue. If she could have understood all the words, she’d know whether or not his plan had merit.

She forced herself to remain silent, ladies didn’t offer tactical advice. Besides, he wasn’t fighting alone. Her soldiers would get the job done. All she had to do was sit tight and wait it out. She wiped the debris from her face still stinging from the blast.

Blaqule tapped his ear again. “Cover us. I want the princess back inside the compound before I board the ship.”

“You’re leaving me behind?” Had she done something wrong already? Why had she insisted on running?

“Just until I take to the sky and drop these bastards.”

“You can do that?”

“I’m the best damn fighter pilot on the Eight Moons.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to insult your competence. I meant this isn’t a warship. It’s a small transport shuttle.” Hopefully those were the correct words her father had used.

“It’s more than a transport shuttle, Sweetheart. It’s an alpha class Mimic. Three ships in one. It’s got firepower.”

“Where?”

“There.” He pointed to a modest piece of artillery underneath the wing. “Among other places.”

“That little thing?”

“It’s not the size of a man’s weapon that counts, it’s his mastery in firing it.” By his sly grin, you would have thought he was the first to utter such thinly veiled innuendo. She came from a warrior nation, a day didn’t pass without hearing a weapon as cock metaphor.

“What good is mastery if your weapon isn’t powerful?”

“Hey, my weapon is plenty powerful!” Blaster at the ready, he rotated left to peer around the wing’s edge before rotating back. “And intense. You better hold on to something, Princess.” His roguish grin and those dark eyes gleaming with brazen mischief sent her traitorous heart skipping a beat. She’d always been a sucker for cool confidence especially amid the heat of battle.

Seriously, was there anything sexier?

Perhaps marriage to this alien king wouldn’t be all bad. Assuming they survived this attack.

***

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post! Feel free to leave me comments…good and/or critical comments are always welcome; nasty comments not so much. 😉

And be sure to check out these fun reads by other SFR Brigade Showcase authors!

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