A Free Dreamer Review: Bane (Strain #2) by Amelia C. Gormley

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The weapon that nearly destroyed humanity may be their only salvation. 

Rhys Cooper once thought he was a dead man. Instead, he’s proven immune to the virus that nearly wiped out humanity.

Now the Clean Zone’s scientists want to know why. Summoned for testing, Rhys is about to learn first-hand why his Juggernaut partner, Sergeant Darius Murrell, and the rest of his superhuman comrades in Delta Company don’t trust the uninfected survivors in the Clean Zone–or the remnants of the government that unleashed the epidemic in the first place.

For a decade, Zach Houtman has yearned for his lover, Nico Fernández, but fear of infection has kept them apart. Separately they keep tabs on the last vestiges of the corrupt government, particularly the head of the Clean Zone’s virus research division. Secretary Littlewood seeks to unlock the secrets of the Bane virus. But Nico knows how dangerous Littlewood will be if that ever happens.

Zach and Nico now have the perfect bait to draw Littlewood out: Rhys. But Delta Company isn’t about to let Rhys walk into hell alone. They’ll take Littlewood down together, or not at all. Even if they succeed, however, for Zach and Nico one question remains: can infected and uninfected people ever be together safely?

Bane is the second and final installment in the Strain series. As such, it really doesn’t work as a stand-alone. I would recommend you to read the prequel “Juggernaut” as well. Both couples from book 0.5 and book one are back in “Bane” and I think you really need to get to know all four of them to really enjoy this book.

It’s been years since I read “Strain” but it’s a very memorable book and I absolutely loved it. It’s very, very different. “Bane” is much more mainstream. It’s still dark, but there’s no dubious consent. The sex scenes between Rhys and Darius are fewer and not as explicit as in book one. While I’m glad that Rhys has found his peace and is starting to feel more self-confident, I just kind of missed the spark I remember from book one.

Zach made me really angry at times. I kind of understood why he didn’t want to infect himself with the Alpha strain all those years ago. The whole “it’s God’s will” pissed me off. I thought it was really cruel of him to do this to Nico.

The author definitely knows how to write sex scenes. And while it is far tamer than book one, the sex was still really hot.

Once again, the book was incredibly addicting. I just could not put it down and it really had me emotionally invested. While I did have my issues with Zach, it’s always a good sign when I get so emotional over a character’s choices.

There were so many twists and turns and intrigues and secrets, it really had my head spinning. I really did not expect some of these things. I’m actually quite satisfied with the ending. I often have issues with how books end, but this really worked. It’s not exactly a HEA but it does leave you hopeful.

Overall, “Bane” is a great read. While it’s not quite as good as the first two books, I still really enjoyed it. It’s tamer and more mainstream, but still pretty good. If you liked the first two books, I’m sure you’ll like this one too.

The cover matches the other two in the series perfectly. It’s just as dark and creepy and gorgeous.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 2 edition, 240 pages

Published April 20th 2018 (first published September 19th 2015)

A Free Dreamer Review: Strain (Strain #1) by Amelia C. Gormley

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

In a world with little hope and no rules, the only thing they have to lose is themselves.

Rhys Cooper is a dead man. He’s spent years hiding from the virus that wiped out most of the human race, but an act of futile heroism has him counting down his remaining days. The timely arrival of superhuman soldiers offers some feeble hope–but only if Rhys can reconcile himself to doing what is necessary to take advantage of it.

Sergeant Darius Murrell has seen too much death and too little tenderness. His job is seeking out the infected to put them out of their misery, or sending the uninfected survivors to a safe haven where he and his fellow Juggernaut troops will never be welcomed. Rhys’s situation is different, though. Not only is there an improbable chance that Darius won’t have to put a bullet in Rhys’s head, but he has somehow managed to get under Darius’s skin.

The virus Rhys must infect himself with in order to survive is sexually transmitted, and optimizing his chance of exposure requires him to submit as often as possible to Darius–and the other soldiers. Though the boundaries of morality have shifted in this harsh new world, Darius and Rhys question whether their humanity is too high a price to pay for Rhys’s survival.

A warning before we begin: “Strain” is definitely not for the faint of heart. Aside from lots of explicit BDSM sex with dubious consent and big age gaps, you also find lots of explicit violence and gore and some scenes that would be considered rape under different circumstances.

At first I wasn’t sure if I would like this book. A disease that can only be cured by lots and lots of sex – that sounds a bit like an awfully cheap excuse for heaps and heaps of mindless sex, doesn’t it? Well, “Strain” was a big surprise in that regard. Sure, there’s heaps and heaps of sex. But the author did a great job at explaining everything and once you start, it all makes perfect sense. The whole thing is a clever part of world building that seemed very logical to me – not that I know all that much about medicine.

The world building was excellent and full of interesting details. It’s easy to get caught in this dark, dark future. Since the events of “Strain” aren’t too far into the future, you get a really good explanation for how we went from the world we know now to the world Amelia Gormley created. I’m a sucker for good world building and the author easily satisfied my curiosity.

Rhys’ reactions seemed very genuine to me. While he’s always been attracted to men, he’s never had the chance to explore his sexuality. He spent most of his life isolated from the rest of the world and years of homophobia from the extremely religious preacher and his power hungry son don’t exactly help him feel confident in his sexuality. So when he is forced to lose his virginity to a much older man that only has sex with him out of a sense of duty, he’s less than thrilled. But it’s his only chance at survival, so he doesn’t exactly have a choice. Rhys always remained true to himself; he didn’t just suddenly turn into a mindless sex maniac. The author painted a very convincing picture of his inner struggle and I found myself liking the boy from the start.

Darius was just as interesting. The whole thing isn’t exactly easy on him either. He tends to enjoy very kinky sex, but how could he do that to such a clueless boy? Not to mention he could easily hurt Rhys with his superior strength. He ends up feeling guilty because he just can’t keep his dominant side in check around the boy. And actually forming a real emotional connection terrifies him – if their wild plan doesn’t work out, he’ll be the one that will have to end his misery with a bullet.

The side characters were very well developed as well, with unique backstories and interesting behaviour.

Once Rhys actually started to accept his kinky side, the sex scenes got really hot. The author was very creative in that regard, coming up with lots of interesting little games.

The ending was a little predictable. My suspicions started around the middle of the book, but that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy every single page till the end. There was plenty of other plot to keep you occupied.

“Strain” is different. It’s dark, it’s kinky, there are some real concerns about consent and it is utterly brilliant and extremely addicting. If you’re in the mood for something dark and kinky with a brilliant plot, then go for it. Just beware of potential triggers.

The cover fits the story perfectly. It’s kind of creepy and makes you curious about the world.

Book details: Kindle Edition, 2. edition, 322 pages

Published April 20th 2018 first published February 15th 2014)

A Free Dreamer Review: Juggernaut (Strain #0.5) by Amelia Gormley

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

They helped destroy the world. Now they have to survive the new one.

For rentboy Nico Fernández, it’s a simple job: seduce a presidential advisor to help cement approval to launch Project Juggernaut. He’s done similar work for General Logan McClosky before, and manipulating people for his favorite client beats the hell out of being trafficked for slave wages in some corporate brothel.

Zach Houtman feels called to work with the most vulnerable outcasts of society. But his father, the Reverend Maurice Houtman, insists that Zach work for him instead as he runs for Senate. Zach reluctantly agrees, but is horrified to see his father leave behind Christ’s mandate of love and mercy to preach malicious zealotry and violence instead. Zach even starts to suspect his father is working with fundamentalist terrorists.

When Project Juggernaut accidentally unleashes a deadly plague that claims billions of lives, Nico and Zach are thrown together, each bearing a burden of guilt. With only each other for safety and solace, they must make their way through a new world, one where the handful of people left alive are willing to do anything—and kill anyone—to survive.

It’s no secret that I have a thing for dark, creepy and apocalyptic books. Juggernaut promised all that and more. And I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed in the least. In fact, I absolutely loved this book. It was brilliant.

I liked Nico from the start. He’s not the kind of poor, helpless rentboy in desperate need of a saviour we usually see in this genre. He’s in the business out of his own free will and he knows how to defend himself when the need arises.

At first, I was a bit concerned about whether I’d like Zach. I’m an atheist and I tend to dislike very religious characters in my books. I just find it very hard to relate to somebody whose main purpose in life seems to be in their faith. But Zach was a pleasant surprise. While his faith is very important to him, it’s not his defining character trait. He never judges people based on their faith or lack thereof. He never tries to play missionary. He just quietly tries to help in whichever way he can. If somebody finds solace in praying together, he’s happy to do so. If somebody doesn’t want to pray, then that’s fine too. I really liked his approach to religion.

Many m/m books that deal with religion in one way or another tend to portray it negatively: Bigots, zealots and generally unpleasant people. “Juggernaut” had both the negative example (Zach’s father is a real jerk) and positively (Zach’s approach is very tolerant). It was very interesting to see the conflict between Zach and his father and their different ideas of what being a good Christian means. It made for an interesting subplot.

The main plot focuses on survival. At times, it gets pretty violent and a bit gory. The tone is very dark. This is not a happy story, at all. The story is incredibly addicting and it was next to impossible to put the book down. There’s lots of action, but the romance is rather slow to unfold. Personally, I liked that. And it fit the circumstances. Zach led a very sheltered life so far and there’s just so much else going on in the lives of our MCs, there just isn’t all that much time for them to develop really romantic feelings for each other.

Nico is a Latino and he’s very conscious of what that means. So racism and inequality added another interesting layer to the plot.

The ending is rather open, but again, that just fit the whole story. I really want to know what happens next. In Nico’s and Zach’s lives and in the entire world.

Long story short, “Juggernaut” is utterly brilliant. If you like dark, apocalyptic stories with a bit of romance thrown in, then this book is a must.

I really like the cover. It’s delightfully dark and violent and fits the mood of the book perfectly.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2 edition, 320 pages
Published April 20th 2018 (first published August 8th 2015)
Original TitleJuggernaut, A Strain Novel
ASINB07CJQBVFF
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStrain 0.5
CharactersNico Fernández, Zach Houtman

Series Blitz and Giveaway – Strain Series by Amelia Gormley

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Buy Links


Juggernaut (Book #0.5)
Strain (Book #1)
Bane (Book #2)


Juggernaut 


They helped destroy the world. Now they have to survive the new one.

Nico Fernández has a charmed life. Working as a high-end escort in his mother’s agency beats the hell out of being trafficked for slave wages in some corporate brothel. And no one needs to know about his occasional side jobs, like seducing political and military dignitaries, and “nudging” them with mind-altering agents to swing their votes to favor his longest-standing client.

Zach Houtman’s life should be charmed, but isn’t. His father, the Reverend Maurice Houtman, in pursuit of political aspirations, insists Zach act as his advisor rather than indulging in his true calling: ministering to the most vulnerable outcasts of society. Politics, however, gradually turn Zach’s father away from Christ and toward malicious zealotry, and Zach discovers his campaign is courting violent fundamentalists.

When one of Nico’s “special jobs” results in military approval for a weaponized virus that mutates, unleashing a deadly plague to claim billions of lives, Nico and Zach are thrown together. Each burdened by terrible guilt for their unwitting roles in the calamity, they find safety and solace in each other. But the new world is a dangerous, violent place, where the handful of survivors are willing to do anything, and kill anyone, to get by.

Strain
 

In a world with little hope and no rules, the only thing they have to lose is themselves.

Rhys Cooper is a dead man. He’s spent years hiding from the virus that wiped out most of the human race, but an act of futile heroism has him counting down his remaining days. The timely arrival of superhuman soldiers offers some feeble hope–but only if Rhys can reconcile himself to doing what is necessary to take advantage of it.

Sergeant Darius Murrell has seen too much death and too little tenderness. His job is seeking out the infected to put them out of their misery, or sending the uninfected survivors to a safe haven where he and his fellow Juggernaut troops will never be welcomed. Rhys’s situation is different, though. Not only is there an improbable chance that Darius won’t have to put a bullet in Rhys’s head, but he has somehow managed to get under Darius’s skin.

The virus Rhys must infect himself with in order to survive is sexually transmitted, and optimizing his chance of exposure requires him to submit as often as possible to Darius–and the other soldiers. Though the boundaries of morality have shifted in this harsh new world, Darius and Rhys question whether their humanity is too high a price to pay for Rhys’s survival.

 
Bane
 

The weapon that nearly destroyed humanity may be their only salvation.

Rhys Cooper once thought he was a dead man. Instead, he’s proven immune to the virus that nearly wiped out humanity.

Now the Clean Zone’s scientists want to know why. Summoned for testing, Rhys is about to learn first-hand why his Juggernaut partner, Sergeant Darius Murrell, and the rest of his superhuman comrades in Delta Company don’t trust the uninfected survivors in the Clean Zone–or the remnants of the government that unleashed the epidemic in the first place.

For a decade, Zach Houtman has yearned for his lover, Nico Fernández, but fear of infection has kept them apart. Separately they keep tabs on the last vestiges of the corrupt government, particularly the head of the Clean Zone’s virus research division. Secretary Littlewood seeks to unlock the secrets of the Bane virus. But Nico knows how dangerous Littlewood will be if that ever happens.

Zach and Nico now have the perfect bait to draw Littlewood out: Rhys. But Delta Company isn’t about to let Rhys walk into hell alone. They’ll take Littlewood down together, or not at all. Even if they succeed, however, for Zach and Nico one question remains: can infected and uninfected people ever be together safely?

Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4thgrade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice issues, and pretty men.

When her husband and son aren’t interacting with the back of her head as she stares at the computer, they rely on her to feed them, maintain their domicile, and keep some semblance of order in their lives (all very, very bad ideas—they really should know better by now.) She can also be found playing video games and ranting on Tumblr, seeing as how she’s one of those horrid social justice warriors out to destroy free speech, gaming, geek culture, and everything else that’s fun everywhere.

You can contact Amelia on Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads

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A Stella Review: Risk Aware by Amelia C Gormley

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RATING:  4,25 out of 5 stars

RiskAware_600x900Tattoo artist Geoff Gilchrest is convinced his life is some sort of cosmic joke. Why else would a hemophiliac also be a masochist? He’s given himself more than one elbow bleed since puberty just doing what guys do when alone and bored, so forget about whips and chains. How many partners would contemplate playing with someone even a mild flogging could kill?

Gallery owner Robin Brady knows he can deliver what Geoff needs: to be taken to the edge of danger but never beyond. But Robin came to Saugatuck to get away from the leather scene and heal from a betrayal by his former sub, so he’s not sure he should get involved with Geoff. His ambivalence isn’t helped by the fact that Geoff’s unwillingness to communicate about his well-being hits Robin in some very raw places.

Geoff’s hemophilia isn’t the obstacle he thinks it is. Instead, a lack of trust—on both their parts—is what could end them before they have a chance to begin.

Risk Aware was the first book I read by Amelia C Gormley and from the beginning, it revealed as a lovely surprise. I found it to be easy to read, especially for the great writing style, but it hides a lot.

Geoff and his sister have just lost their mum, he decides to move to Chicago and leave L.A. and its bad experiences behind.  He is ready to start a new life but first a little holiday in Saugatuck with his bestfriend is required. Here at the Mr Michigan Leather event, he meets Robin and a new unthinkable world opens before Geoff and his hemophilia.

Robin spent 5 years in NY. He now lives in Saugatuck where he is working on opening his own gallery. He is looking for a new life too and  his Dom side is soon attracted to Geoff. But when the connection between them will become to hard to ignore they need to try and give it a chance after the holiday ends. And then the struggles with Geoff’s hemophilia and Robin’s trust issue will play a huge rolein the story.

I have to admit, although I already knew what hemophilia is, I never met anyone who has it and seeing and reading all the little and meaningless (to us) things Geoff needed to be careful with, like a simple blowjob for example, was hard and tiring. It gave me some anxiety too, because each time Robin and Geoff played together I was very concerned about his health. But Robin is always caring and mindful of each limit in their BDSM scenes.

I liked them together, I enjoyed how the plot developed almost exclusively around the MCs’ relationship, I like how they act,  sure of themselves and the desire and love they have discovered for ech other. IMO the story was well thought out and researched, but the writing was so much better. I want to highly recommend Risk Aware, it definitely was worth my time and if you’re a BDSM or Amelia fan, you can’t miss it.

The cover art by LC Chase caught my attention at first sight, well done and colorful and fitting. It’s a winner.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 323 pages
Published May 7th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleRisk Aware
ISBN 1626494126 (ISBN13: 9781626494121)
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/risk-awar

Amelia C. Gormley On Research, Characters and ‘Risk Aware’, her latest Novel (giveaway)

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Risk Aware by Amelia C. Gormley
R
iptide Publishing
Cover Artist L.C. Chase
Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Amelia C. Gormley here today to share her thoughts and inspiration behind her latest novel, Risk Aware.  Welcome, Amelia.

✍✍✍✍✍

Hi, and welcome to the RISK AWARE blog tour!

RISK AWARE is probably the longest single writing project I’ve ever undertaken. I started working on the concept in the spring of 2013, not long after I finished writing SAUGATUCK SUMMER. Geoff and Robin first appeared as minor characters—already in an established relationship—in SAUGATUCK SUMMER and I wanted to pursue their backstory.

Disabled people aren’t generally featured in BDSM fiction, and the sorts of BDSM usually portrayed is largely focused on activities that could be injurious—if not actually fatal—to something with Geoff’s condition. The story concept gave me an opportunity to examine several things we don’t often see in erotic romance. But it also meant I had to step far outside my own personal sphere of knowledge and experience on multiple levels. Which meant research was required.

Lots and lots of research.

The upshot is that the book took me over two years to write. If you’ve followed my posts on other blog tours in the past, you’ll know that’s highly unusual for me. I wrote SAUGATUCK SUMMER—a longer book—in about fifteen days. A lot of this is because I kept setting the manuscript aside to work on other projects and then taking a while to get back into things. But most of it is that getting it right required so much effort. So it’s particularly gratifying to finally get to share it with everyone who has been waiting for Geoff and Robin’s story, and also with people who may just be coming into the Saugatuck universe.

So thank you for being here!

About Risk Aware

Tattoo artist Geoff Gilchrest is convinced his life is some sort of cosmic joke. Why else would a hemophiliac also be a masochist? He’s given himself more than one elbow bleed since puberty just doing what guys do when alone and bored, so forget about whips and chains. How many partners would contemplate playing with someone even a mild flogging could kill?

Gallery owner Robin Brady knows he can deliver what Geoff needs: to be taken to the edge of danger but never beyond. But Robin came to Saugatuck to get away from the leather scene and heal from a betrayal by his former sub, so he’s not sure he should get involved with Geoff. His ambivalence isn’t helped by the fact that Geoff’s unwillingness to communicate about his well-being hits Robin in some very raw places.

Geoff’s hemophilia isn’t the obstacle he thinks it is. Instead, a lack of trust—on both their parts—is what could end them before they have a chance to begin.

About Amelia C. Gormley

Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4th grade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice issues, and pretty men.

When her husband and son aren’t interacting with the back of her head as she stares at the computer, they rely on her to feed them, maintain their domicile, and keep some semblance of order in their lives (all very, very bad ideas—they really should know better by now.) She can also be found playing video games and ranting on Tumblr, seeing as how she’s one of those horrid social justice warriors out to destroy free speech, gaming, geek culture, and everything else that’s fun everywhere.

Connect with Amelia:

RiskAware_TourBanner

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Risk Aware, Amelia is giving away an ebook copy of the Strain series. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 14, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Enter the Dystopian World of Bane by Amelia C. Gormley (Riptide Tour and contest)

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Bane (Strain, #2) by Amelia C. Gormley
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist  Kanaxa

Buy Bane at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to welcome Amelia C. Gormley here today as we step back into her dystopian universe of Strain.  Amelia’s brought not only a contest for Bane, but the rough draft of a new Strain universe novel, Refuge.   On our part of the tour, our readers will get the first look at Chapter 1 (part2) of Refuge, .  Welcome, Amelia, and thanks for the opportunity for this first glimpse at your new story!

Bane_TourBanner

Hi, and welcome to the Bane blog tour!

I don’t think it’s any secret that a lot of readers, in the wake of reading  Strain, wanted more of Darius and Rhys. Already by that point I was brainstorming the pre- and peri-apocalyptic story that would become  Juggernaut, but the further along I got on that, the more I realized the situation Zach and Nico were in couldn’t be resolved in the timeframe of Juggernaut. They needed developments that would only make sense to happen after the events of Strain. The plot also required Rhys to have matured a great deal since the end of Strain. Altogether, it gave me a beautiful opportunity to bring closure and an HEA ending (or at least as close to one as you get at the end of the world) for both sets of protagonists.

Thus we have Bane.

Over the course of the Bane blog tour, I’ll be sharing a free post-Bane short story, Refuge. How far post-Bane? Well, you’ll have to read and see. Some developments that happen in Bane are referenced, but not in any great detail, which means the reader should only encounter a few very broad, non-specific spoilers. Obviously, though, it will be best enjoyed if you’ve read Bane already (and Bane, of course, is best enjoyed after Juggernaut and Strain.)

Refuge introduces us to three new characters, Kal, Billie, and perhaps my favorite, Zeus. It’s a completely sex-free story, so you’re safe reading it at work. If my nebulous thoughts on how to continue the Strain universe ever take shape, it’s very possible a lot of material in this short story will be folded into a larger plot with Kal and Billie as the protagonists, and if that happens, you’ll find the smut there.

Each day, at least one stop on the blog tour will contain a section of the story. These segments may end or begin a little abruptly or clumsily at times, as I tried to split them in such a way that no one section would be to long and cumbersome for a single stop on the blog tour. In its linear form, it would simply be a five chapter story. By the end of the tour, all the sections will have been posted. If you need to catch up, you can check out the blog tour page (linked above), or my website, or the “Extras” tab on the Bane product page at Riptide for sequential links to all the posts.

Anyone who follows along on the tour will qualify to win store credit at Riptide. To enter the drawing, leave a comment on this post including a way to contact you (email, Twitter, or Facebook.) Each stop along the blog tour that you visit offers you another chance to enter.Be sure to check the Riptide blog tour schedule for a complete list of other stops. The contest will close 9/26/15. Any entries made without a way to contact the winner will be invalidated, so please don’t forget to provide your email, or your Twitter or Facebook address. As always, you must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Good luck, and enjoy Refuge!

*****

*Author’s Note: Refuge is completely unedited and un-proofed. What you’re seeing here is essentially a first draft, and like any first draft, it often may be clumsy to read or contain extraneous world-building and info-dumping that would be trimmed and streamlined during the editing process. Actually, I kind of like sharing it with you this way, if for no other reason than to allow readers to see just how much world-building happens behind the scenes and in my head, but doesn’t ever actually make it onto the page.

And of course, there will be typos. Oh so many typos.

*****

Blurb

The weapon that nearly destroyed humanity may be their only salvation.Bane_600x900

Rhys Cooper’s unique immunity to all three strains of the virus that nearly annihilated humanity has brought him the unwanted attention of Clean Zone scientists. They’ve summoned him for testing—ostensibly in the hopes of finding a vaccine—but Rhys’s partner, Darius Murrell, has good reason not to trust any government. He and his comrades in Delta Company were unwitting test subjects for Project Juggernaut, the military experiment that gave them superhuman abilities and unleashed the pandemic. Doubting the government’s intentions, Delta Company refuses to let Rhys go alone.

Fear of infection has kept Zach Houtman and his lover Nico Fernández apart for a decade. They meet rarely, just long enough to coordinate their spying on the head of the government’s virus research division. Secretary Littlewood is a vicious predator, and they suspect he’s trying to acquire the strain of the virus that would make him superhuman. To stop him, they need the perfect bait: Rhys.

For Rhys, helping them might cost him his relationship with Darius—or his life. For Zach and Nico, even if their plan succeeds, they still face the ultimate question: can infected and uninfected people ever live together safely?

*****

About the Author

Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4thgrade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice issues, and pretty men.

When her husband and son aren’t interacting with the back of her head as she stares at the computer, they rely on her to feed them, maintain their domicile, and keep some semblance of order in their lives (all very, very bad ideas—they really should know better by now.) She can also be found playing video games and ranting on Tumblr, seeing as how she’s one of those horrid social justice warriors out to destroy free speech, gaming, geek culture, and everything else that’s fun everywhere.

You can find her self-published Impulse trilogy almost anywhere ebooks are sold, and check out her catalog of Riptide Publishing releases at their website.

 

Refuse, A Strain Universe Novel

CHAPTER 1, PART 2

She landed hard, her shoulder and ribs screaming a song of pain at the impact. Billie’s teeth snapped closed on her tongue and the metallic taste of blood filled her mouth. She wasn’t sure if the crack she heard was the house collapsing around her, or her own bones fracturing. The basement was even colder than the house above it had been, filled with the odors of wet and mildew, dirt and animal droppings. It was impossibly dark; even the meager moonlight that had filtered through the dusty windows of the house above was all but gone. Around her, rodents squeaked and squealed and chittered.
That was the sound that broke her.
Weeping with fear and despair, she curled into a ball. Even if it didn’t hurt to move, the chances of her finding the stairs in the pitch black were almost non-existent, and if she did stumble upon them by sheer luck, they were just as rotten as the floor had been. More so, really. She’d ventured to check them when she was exploring the house as a possible shelter, hoping there might be something she could scavenge in the basement. The first one had been mushy beneath her carefully-placed foot and she hadn’t dared put her weight on it. Climbing them now, when she was already injured, would just be impossible.
But sooner or later those rats in the darkness were going to overcome their fear at this loud intrusion and start biting her. Then she would die of infection or disease if the cold didn’t kill her first.
She was tired. Too tired to make the effort to try to survive. She closed her eyes and begged whatever powers that be to help her go to sleep or even freeze to death before the pain began.
Something warm pressed against her, whining softly. The dog. It had gotten into the house and down the stairs she wasn’t brave enough to climb. Its cold wet nose nudged her face, its tongue licking her cheek. It stiffened and growled, and Billie braced herself for it to bite, but a moment later it was nudging her and whining again.
That process repeated itself several times—the curious sniffing and licking, followed by a menacing growl. The growl didn’t seem to be for her, though. Finally she realized it only growled when the rats got louder.
Closer?
Was it driving off them off?
Was it protecting her?
Eventually it snarled and lunged at something. A loud squeal and a lot of movement followed, the scratching and clicking of little feet as they bolted in fear. Then there was silence except for the dog, who returned to press against her and whine reassuringly.
She was still cold where she lay on the concrete of the basement floor, but the warmth of the dog helped offset that. Billie grew braver, wrapping an arm around it and burying her face in its fur. It smelled . . . clean. Not like she imagined a wild dog would smell at all. Maybe this was a domesticated dog that had somehow wandered away from the Clean Zone, or perhaps even one that had gone with someone who had left the Clean Zone for the same sorts of reasons Billie had. Maybe that person had died and now it was alone like her.
Feeling safer than she had since she’d run away, despite the cold and hunger, she fell into an exhausted sleep.
When she woke, the dog was still there, and faint hints of light were filling the hole in the floor over her head. It ran off once she was awake, and it was gone for some time before returning. Consciousness was an elusive thing. Sometimes the dog was gone, and sometimes it was right there, radiating warmth. Sometimes it barked at her, begging her to get up and follow it up the stairs. She even managed to crawl a few feet in that direction before the shaking of her limbs and weariness dragging her down had made it impossible.
The dog charged off again, and in that icy, semi-conscious state, she thought she heard it barking in the distance. No doubt berating her for not following.
All she could do was lay there, too cold even to shiver.

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Strain

In the early 22nd century, the US military created Project Juggernaut. It was meant to solve a hopeless tactical imbalance in overseas wars by providing the US military with supersoldiers while crippling enemy resistance.

Instead, it introduced a deadly pandemic that all but obliterated humanity.

The remaining Juggernaut troops work tirelessly to find and protect the surviving uninfected population—even though they themselves are exiled and despised by those they help. But their efforts are hampered by the vestiges of a dysfunctional government, old prejudices that refuse to die, and those few who would do anything—and sacrifice anyone—to become superhuman too.

– See more at Riptide Publishing’s Strain universe page.

 

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Amelia C. Gormley’s Strain Universe is Back with Juggernaut-Book 2 (contest)

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Juggernaut by  Amelia C. Gormley
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: L. C. Chase

Sales Link:  Riptide Publishing

 

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to welcome Amelia C. Gormley  here today to talk about Juggernaut, the latest release in her Strain universe.  Welcome, Amelia!

Hi, and welcome to the Juggernaut blog tour!

Almost before I was done writing Strain, my mind began trying to fill in the blanks of the world we saw in Strain, trying to piece together what had led up to that point. I decided I wanted to write a story chronicling the apocalyptic pandemic, both the events leading up to it and the immediate aftermath. The result, of course, was Juggernaut.

On the Juggernaut blog tour, I’ll be sharing my thoughts about the world of Juggernaut/Strain/Bane, including several cut scenes from Juggernaut which I felt contained important world-building details that in the end just didn’t fit the flow of the story. I’ll also be sharing a couple sneak previews of the third book in the Strain universe, Bane (coming September 21 from Riptide Publishing) as well as giving away three e-copies of Bane before it hits the shelves!

                                                                            Giveaway

To enter to win, leave a comment on this post including a way to contact you (email, Twitter, or Facebook.) Each stop along the blog tour that you visit offers you another chance to enter.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Riptide Publishing.

Be sure to check the Riptide blog tour schedule for a complete list of other stops. The contest will close Saturday, August 15th, 2015 and the winner will be contacted no later than Monday, August 17th. Any entries made without a way to contact the winner will be invalidated, so please don’t forget to provide your email, or your Twitter or Facebook address. Contest is NOT limited to US entries.
Good luck, and enjoy the tour!
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About Juggernaut

They helped destroy the world. Now they have to survive the new one.Juggernaut_600x900

For rentboy Nico Fernández, it’s a simple job: seduce a presidential advisor to help cement approval to launch Project Juggernaut. He’s done similar work for General Logan McClosky before, and manipulating people for his favorite client beats the hell out of being trafficked for slave wages in some corporate brothel.

Zach Houtman feels called to work with the most vulnerable outcasts of society. But his father, the Reverend Maurice Houtman, insists that Zach work for him instead as he runs for Senate. Zach reluctantly agrees, but is horrified to see his father leave behind Christ’s mandate of love and mercy to preach malicious zealotry and violence instead. Zach even starts to suspect his father is working with fundamentalist terrorists.

When Project Juggernaut accidentally unleashes a deadly plague that claims billions of lives, Nico and Zach are thrown together, each bearing a burden of guilt. With only each other for safety and solace, they must make their way through a new world, one where the handful of people left alive are willing to do anything—and kill anyone—to survive.

*****
About the Author

Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else.

Blog: “http://ameliacgormley.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ACGormley”
Tumblr:  “http://ameliacgormley.tumblr.com/”
Facebook:  “http://www.facebook.com/ameliacgormley”
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6445292.Amelia_C_Gormley

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About the Strain Universe

In the early 22nd century, the US military created Project Juggernaut. It was meant to solve a hopeless tactical imbalance in overseas wars by providing the US military with supersoldiers while crippling enemy resistance.

Instead, it introduced a deadly pandemic that all but obliterated humanity.

The remaining Juggernaut troops work tirelessly to find and protect the surviving uninfected population—even though they themselves are exiled and despised by those they help. But their efforts are hampered by the vestiges of a dysfunctional government, old prejudices that refuse to die, and those few who would do anything—and sacrifice anyone—to become superhuman too.

Strain and Juggernaut can be read independently, in any order. Bane is best enjoyed after reading both Strain and Juggernaut.

For those who wish to read in publication order, that is: Strain, Juggernaut, Bane.

 

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