Release Day Blitz for Oops Caught by Alli Reshi (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Oops, Caught

Series: Expanding Horizon

Author: Alli Reshi

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 2nd

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 16500

Genre: Romance, sci-fi, aliens, captivity, action/adventure, shoot-out/gunfire, PTSD/post-traumatic stress, hurt/comfort

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Synopsis

Mark Noland can’t figure out how he got into such a fix. How does an ex-mercenary (okay, an almost-reformed mercenary) get himself caught, stuck in a holding cell, on a hostile alien planet? Held captive by strange bug-like creatures who’d just as soon eat him as look at him. How can a simple mission go so awry? To make matters worse, Noland’s not alone. His fellow prisoner, a certain high-ranking, elite Stella officer holds him responsible for their failed plan. Yeah, it was supposed to be a quick in and quick out sort of mission. But no… Officer Gavnson just can’t let it go.

It’s not so easy trying to plan an escape when Noland keeps getting distracted by how his mission partner so very nicely fills out his uniform. And he suspects Gavnson is hiding something, too. As tensions run high, secrets are revealed that will change the both of them. There’s nothing like gunfights and running for your life to make that special bond.

Excerpt

I sat against a wall, watching as my companion paced the length of the cell. Groaning, I leaned my head against the concrete, bored now that we had been caught and taken out of the main action.

At least I had an excellent view to keep me occupied. I could finally appreciate what everyone liked about a man in uniform. My cellmate’s pants were very complimentary to certain areas of his anatomy. With his hands clasped at his lower back as he paced the room, I had the pleasure of an alternating view of his broad back and the strong frame of his chest.

The stern look almost marred his handsome face as he stared at the locked door, set into a row of bars. But his strong jaw, highlighted by a twitching muscle, somehow added to his appeal. Men usually didn’t interest me as much, but having a galaxy of choice opened one’s view of preferences, and to be honest, I had admired worse.

I wondered what his thoughts on a tall, broad-chested, human man were. Would there be any interest on his part, or did he only prefer his own kind? Maybe he had someone back home. A slim-waisted Resconian woman who cooked him warm dinners. Would that be more to his taste? Then again, maybe being an elite Everian-ranked officer in the Stella Corps galactic military didn’t leave much time for romance. I pushed the thoughts away before I could get too involved in them.

“So, Gavnson. Found our way out of here yet?” I asked, watching him make another pass in front of me as he headed for the left side of the jail cell. He ignored that question, like he’d ignored all the others I’d asked.

Our part of the mission had been a distraction tactic that hadn’t worked as well as I had hoped. In any case, it should have given enough time for the rest of our team to break into the other side of the compound where the data center was located so we could take back the information the Awoknains had stolen. Lists of undercover agents and stealth plans weren’t something you wanted up for grabs among enemies. I knew it would be a matter of time until Ken, my master mechanic and sometimes arsonist, broke us out. Though it seemed Gavnson wasn’t content to be patient.

He reached for one of the hinges at the top of the door. Bolting forward, I wrapped my arms around his waist and pulled Gavnson back before he could touch the knot of metal. We slipped off balance, and I tried to take a step back to regain my footing, but it was useless; we tumbled to the floor in a heap. The wind was knocked out of me, and I gasped for air. Gavnson was heavier than he looked.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Noland?” Gavnson yelled. He rolled off me effortlessly and sat up, directing a harsh look at me.

“Saving your ass. Don’t touch those; they’re electrified. Not enough to kill you, but it’s a hell of a shock that’ll give you nasty burns,” I said, wheezing as I sat up. I didn’t miss his flinch, though he tried to hide it. I was instantly curious, but ignored the itch to question. Starting a fight with Gavnson wouldn’t help us break out.

He was silent after his near miss with the electrified hinge. I was glad he was finally sitting still. The constant nervous motion wore on my nerves. No matter how fine an ass he had.

The silence that followed made my skin crawl; it was the quiet before the storm hit. I was tempted to ask Gavnson any random question, but if the tension in his body was anything to go by, he obviously wasn’t much in the mood for conversation.

I stared at the far wall through the bars on the door, hoping Ken would hurry his blue ass up and break us out so we could be done with the job. He had been part of the retrieval team. Footsteps echoed down the hall, headed in our direction, but I didn’t recognize them. There were more corpsmen as part of Gavnson’s team; hopefully, that would be some of them. Luck was not on our side, though. Our insect-like captors now stood in front of our cell, their green skin and horns gleaming.

“You. Up now. Come.” The raspy demands issued from mouths that didn’t move. That would never not be creepy. I didn’t have time to think on that, though; the guards motioned at Gavnson to get up.

“No, you can’t,” I said. I grabbed Gavnson’s shoulder to stop him from moving.

“Why?” The attention of the two guards flicked to me. A simple question with complex implications. Think fast, Noland.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Alli has always had a love for just about any story she can get her hands on. Be it from books, TV, or even video games—if there’s a good story, she will love it. Given that, it’s easy to see how Alli moved on to making stories of her own.

Raised in a small Colorado town, Alli also has a love of the outdoors and enjoys hiking. Nowadays she lives in a bigger city and fits in fine there too, liking how close and comfy everything is. Often at home with her two cats, Alli is never far from her computer, whether for work or for play. She believes the truth is a multifaceted thing and always works to write the world, and subsequently the truth of the world, as she sees it.

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A Free Dreamer Review:O/s by Jane Davitt and Alexa Snow

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

os-coverContains non-con elements and scenes of violence.

Jax has the perfect job on the perfect world, looking after subs while their owners are away. But Brysen’s no ordinary sub and his owner Layne is a threat to the safety of every sub on the planet.

Dealing with the heartbreak of a failed relationship, Jax is slow to realize Brysen’s adoration for his stern owner passes all reason, and breaks every rule. By the time he does, there may be time to save Brysen, but in the process, Jax stands to lose everything from his job to his chance at love. Will the protective instincts that guide his actions hold steady or will the darkness Layne wakes within him prove stronger?

First of all: Do take those warning seriously. This story does get pretty dark.

I absolutely loved “O/s”. The concept was interesting. BDSM relationships are not only perfectly acceptable in this universe, the government has even installed a system to provide couples with a safety net. Every sub wears a collar that flashes in warning, if their vitals do something unusual. The collar is the substitute for safe words here. The collar is monitored by the police, so if such a warning is ignored, they immediately take action. This system provides subs and Owners alike with a safe environment to play in. You can’t mess with the collar without it giving off an alert.

Jax is a professional subsitter. If an Owner has to leave their sub alone for whatever reason, they hire Jax to look after them during their absence. Jax provides the sub with whatever they need, even if a lot of things aren’t what he would usually prefer. But he’s a pro and he loves his job. I really liked seeing him work with all kinds of subs and Owners. He takes his job seriously and takes very good care of every sub in his charge.

Brysen is in a relationship with Layne. He loves Layne. He loves everything Layne does to him. And he absolutely deserves all the harsh punishments Layne deals out. He tries so hard to be perfect for Layne, but he keeps failing. Brysen’s struggle was breathtaking. Everything was such a giant mind fuck, I was never quite sure about Brysen’s real feelings.

Actually, the whole book was one giant mind fuck. And that’s what made “O/s” so brilliant in my eyes. You’re always wondering, doubting, questioning and yet you’ll never guess the truth. It’s all so very twisted and fucked up and I absolutely loved it for that very reason.

Brysen wasn’t a whiny, needy thing that needed an Owner to survive. Layne fucked him up good, but he’s a strong man. I really admired Brysen. And Jax was wonderful as well. He always takes care of everybody and strictly sticks to what the Owners tell him about their subs. But Brysen is different and I loved Jax for picking up on that and taking care of him, without being patronizing. He doesn’t have a superhero complex, he really struggled with what he was seeing in Brysen, what he knows about the system and what Layne told him about Brysen.

The BDSM is fairly hardcore. So if you have mixed feelings about BDSM, “O/s” probably isn’t the book for you. I loved how obviously different Jax and Layne were. While Layne never shows any tenderness toward Brysen, Jax is strict but loving. The difference was vast.

The authors created a perfect balance between plot and world building. The explanations about the system were perfectly interwoven with the plot and felt absolutely natural.

Long story short: If you like violence, mind fuck and dub-con in your books and you’re not opposed to a BDSM sci-fi setting, then this is the book for you. If, however, you’re a bit dubious about BDSM and prefer your MCs to have a bit of kinky fun, then you probably won’t like “O/s”.

Personally, I absolutely loved it. Definitely won’t be the last book by these two for me!

Cover: The cover by April Martinez is very simplistic. I quite like it, though. Definitely better than your average BDSM cover with a sub in chains or something. An eye-catcher.

Sales Links

Loose id LLC

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Book details: ebook, 299 pages

Published August 2nd 2016 by Loose ID

In the Spotlight: “Accused” by Leona Windwalker (excerpt and giveaway)

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Accused (The Talani Trade Alliance Book 1) by Leona Windwalker
R
une Tree Press

Buy (https://www.amzn.com/B01N2U1HOZ)

December 27, 2016

Blurb:

Matthias Reynolds loves his life. He’s starting to make it as a graphic artist at last and has a job he really likes at a local café that pays the bills. When a night out clubbing leads to an awkward morning after, he’s embarrassed and more than ready to forget  all about it. When Talani Enforcers show up at the café, he doesn’t know what to make of it all as he’s led away in restraints.

Standing accused of crimes he struggles to understand, he finds he has an unexpected champion: the Talani warrior and war hero J’nah Quislin. J’nah knows that Matty is his. All J’nah has to do is keep Matty safe from those who engineered Matty’s charges and sentencing. That, and get Matty to accept that the universe always intended them to be together as one. All it requires is for Matty to return J’nah’s devotion and offer his willing submission. Can Matty do it, with all that it will mean for his future?

Excerpt:

He carried his clothes and shoes over to the waste receptacle as instructed, wincing at the thought of how much he’d paid for those shoes just three weeks ago. He finished just in time, as he could hear doors opening and closing. His door opened moments later, another burly Talani warrior entering with a bowl of food. He took it as it was offered and thanked the warrior, who gave a curt nod and carefully backed out of the cell, quickly shutting the door behind him before pushing a cart to the next cell.

The food looked unappetizing, being some sort of purple mush with strings of some unidentified meat and vegetables he knew no name for. He’d not eaten all day since the two bites of toast on that seemingly far away morning. He gingerly tried a taste.

Okay, so not revolting despite the looks of it. Not great either, but I’ve had worse things.

He polished off the bowl and pondered what to do with it.

Are they going to come back for it or do I throw it away or what?

He decided to place it upon the floor until someone came to tell him what to do. He waited until his thirst made him go to the sink and take a drink from his cupped hands. He scrubbed at his teeth with his finger, wishing he at least had some toothpaste. Exhausted from his harrowing day, he was relieved when the lights began to dim, slowly going out. He climbed onto his bed and curled up on it before the light was completely gone. He was asleep before he knew it.

Morning came quickly, the lights slowly brightening up almost as if they were approximating sunrise. Another warrior appeared, bringing more food and a plastic tumbler of some type of juice. He eyed the dirty bowl and utensil on the floor pointedly, then pointed to the trash receptacle.

“Okay, sorry, I wasn’t sure,” Matty said contritely.

The warrior gave a curt nod and handed him his breakfast. It too did not look like much and was on the bland side. He found the juice sweet with a tart edge to it that he found hard to define. Whatever it was, it was refreshing and not only slaked his thirst, but left his mouth feeling clean. When he finished, he placed all the dishes in the trash, taking a moment to wonder where it all disappeared to when he closed the lid.

He’d splashed his face with some water from the sink and dampened his hair finger combing it to try to tame the bedhead he couldn’t see but knew was there. He was just finishing his efforts when guards came, opening the cell doors and ushering the prisoners out into the hall. Exiting into the branch corridor, they continued on until they came to the main corridor, then made their way to yet another branch. This one ended in a large area that had a stage of some sort set up, with a large overhead screen set up. There were chairs filled with Talani as well as a few other humanoids he couldn’t identify.

Other Trade members, no doubt. I suppose only those of us who make it off-world get to meet them until Earth makes full membership. Though maybe some of the higher ranked employees back at the Trade Confederation Headquarters back on Earth might’ve too, I suppose. Not like I can ask Duane, he thought with a mixture of sarcasm, anger, and sadness.

The group of prisoners were ushered through a door at the rear of the stage and the door shut. Sound from the other room was abruptly cut off and the prisoners were urged to sit down, being re-cuffed as they did so.

One of the warriors tilted his head as if listening to instructions, alerting Matty that he was wearing an earpiece of some sort. The instructions seemed to involve taking the prisoners one by one to the outside room, returning a few minutes later to retrieve another. Soon it was Matty’s turn and he found himself onstage, made larger on the viewing screen that hung over head. Information written in Talani scrolled  on one side of the screen and the seated audience seemed to be busy glancing up at it and idly tapping away on their data pads or staring off into space. A chime sounded, apparently serving as an alarm as all movements ceased. His image vanished from the screen and characters flashed up on the screen for several moments. He was escorted offstage and met by yet another official, this time a Talani woman with short-cropped hair.

“This way, please, Matthias.” She continued speaking to him as they walked along. “You’ve successfully been matched and now we are beginning your out-processing. First stop is Medical, where they will give you an exam and prepare you as needed for where you are going.”

“You mean like immunizations?”

She hesitated before answering. “Immunizations, well, yes, that is definitely something they’ll tend to.”

Makes sense. Not like I’d have any natural defenses against some exotic hemorrhagic fever or anything like that. Matty shuddered at the thought. “So, can you tell me who employed me?”

“J’nah Quislin.  He’s a warrior of great renown, a hero of the Expansion Wars.”

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Author Bio:

Leona is a longtime staunch supporter of human rights and environmental causes. Her favourite genre to read is M/M fiction and she particularly enjoys science fiction, fantasy, and action/suspense sub-genres—especially if they have a nice seasoning of romance. She has far too many books on her Kindle, has overloaded her phone with even more and, when not reading, writing, being driven to distraction by her children, or being overlorded by her three cats, can be found trying to locate the portal that the sock monster uses to steal socks from her dryer.

Recent head-reeling news for her included her novel Jared:Urban Wolves #1 being nominated for an Indie Award from Metamorph and placing as a finalist in the 2016 Rainbow Awards, earning an Honorable Mention. She’s still suspicious that it’s all been a dream, but as long as her readers are happy and she can find at least one of the missing socks, she’s happy.

You’ll find her books on Amazon (universal link is http://author.to/LeonaWindwalker), including on Kindle Unlimited. You’ll also find her on Facebook at Leona Windwalker, where you can keep up on news regarding current, new, and upcoming releases.

Don’t forget to put it on your Goodreads shelf! (Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33414912-accused)

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Cover Reveal for Regeneration by Louise Lyons

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Regeneration by Louise Lyons
Expected publication: January 15th 2017

Pre-Order Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAL4NJ8

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01NAL4NJ8

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/688822

Blurb

In the 23rd Century in the galaxy of Sigma Kappa, Kim Fortune was the first surviving experimental enhanced human—a regenerate. Aged fifteen, he escaped the lab and years later, his failings as a regenerate and the suspicion of regular humans, leave him lonely and lacking in self-worth. Stranded on an abandoned planet, the arrival of a stricken ship and its crew give him hope that he may finally find what he always longed for—love.

Christian Novak is a successful regenerate with all the intended attributes—including lack of human emotion. Despite their immediate attraction to each other, Kim’s failing confidence, and Christian’s inability to empathize are a recipe for disaster. But war, imprisonment, and danger throw them together, and after each saves the other’s life, their feelings begin to change.

Can a seemingly unsuitable pair ever find love, or is a future together destined to fail?

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Author Bio

Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

Social Media

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/louiselyonsauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/louiselyons013

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/louiselyons013

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/louiselyons013

Blog: http://www.louiselyonsauthor.com

Email: louiselyons013@gmail.com

In the Syfy Spotlight: Murder Once Seen (The Oddities #1) by J.T. Hall (giveaway)

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Murder Once Seen (The Oddities #1) by J.T. Hall
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: Kanaxa

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

 

About Murder Once Seen

In the city of Nis, things often aren’t what they seem.

Derwin is a bounty hunter gifted with the Oddity of superhuman strength and agility—perfect for hunting down fugitives and demons who roam the streets. One killed his boyfriend two years ago, and Derwin won’t stop until he finds out who. Police suspect it was someone he sent to prison, but he can’t shake the idea that they’re missing something.

Elliot is a rentboy who’s been living on the streets since his parents disowned him. He mistrusts everyone and, given his uncontrolled ability to Read Objects and a client list that includes a major gang boss, despairs of ever having a normal life.

Derwin and Elliot meet in a storm of lust. Derwin’s Oddity is fed by the pain of others, but he only wants what’s freely given. Elliot loves pain, but needs safety and a way off the streets before he can allow it. They may be able to solve each other’s problems . . . if they can survive long enough to work together.

Available now at Riptide Publishing. http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/murder-once-seen

About JT Hall

J.T. Hall has been writing for many years under this name and others, and has appeared in magazines, anthologies, and online books. She earned her BA in creative writing from the University of Arizona, her master’s in education from Argosy University, and works as an independent technical writer for state and federal programs. In her free time, she volunteers for the LGBT community and is active in the leather scene. She has a teenage daughter and a partner of over ten years. They live in sunny Arizona with three adorably cute dogs, three black cats, and a hamster who loves peanuts.

Connect with J.T.:

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Murder Once Seen, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 17, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Victoria Sue on Writing Paranormal and ‘Five Minutes Longer’ (Dreamspinner Press Author Guest Blog, excerpt and giveaway)

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Five Minutes Longer by Victoria Sue
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Victoria Sue (Sirius Wolves series, Pure series) here today to talk about writing and her latest release, Five Minutes Longer.  Welcome, Victoria!

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“I tried to write a contemporary but it grew four legs and a tail.”

Victoria Sue.

I didn’t get the idea for Five Minutes Longer and then write the characters. I started out with Finlay Mayer and wrote him a story.

All about Finn and making him a hero or why a B-average student gets a job with the FBI.

Finlay “Finn” Mayer is 24 years old. He comes from a small town and at fourteen his dyslexia is quickly turning him off school. He’d already started missing days. Homework deadlines fell by the wayside and his excuses were a bigger work of fiction than the stories he’d been asked to write in the first place.

The senior college uptake rate at his high school is abysmal and the graduation levels weren’t all that impressive so the new principal arranges for people with “cool” jobs to come in and talk to the Freshman year. A bored – well on his way to a life of crime –14-year-old Finn walks into the school hall to listen to two FBI agents come to talk about their careers. He walks out a different person. His dream of joining the FBI starts at that moment and he starts his ten-year-long battle to make it happen.

His dad had come home from the Vietnam war in a wheelchair and battled depression every single day.

His mom was only ever concerned with appearances. Her hair. Her nails. Her committees.

His brother Deke – 37 years – lazy. Homophobic and convinced that Finn needs to forget his insane idea of going to college and come and work for him in his insurance business.

For personal reasons Dyslexia and its challenges are important to me so it was something Finn was going to have. It’s quite common for bright kids to only start struggling in middle school or above, and Finn has two huge obstacles to his dreams by this time. He knows that less than 7% of applicants actually get chosen for the FBI and a lot of forums say that number is actually much lower. He is convinced a diagnosis of dyslexia would make his tiny chance completely disappear so he keeps under the teacher’s radar. Assignments are always diligently carried out. Never a missed deadline. Never a missed class.

It’s just his test scores that are crap, and nothing he ever does will bring his averaged out grades any higher.

By fifteen he knows he is gay. He has also read that while the FBI don’t actually discriminate against it, apparently it’s something people might get blackmailed over, so Finn buries that as well. He even takes a girl to prom.

Then we have the FBI interview and selection process.

After the four-year college degree and a minimum age of twenty-three for applicants there are only five areas of experience/expertise that the FBI take from.

Language, Law, Accounting, Computer Science, or a mix of them.

Back to the undiagnosed dyslexia – computer science, Law and languages were huge obstacles. I originally had Finn’s brother a deputy sheriff and him joining him, but then I decided that was too convenient and the Finn that I now knew wouldn’t do that.

Dyslexia and being clever with numbers aren’t mutually exclusive, and are often quite common. Different sides of the brain tackle these two areas, so I make Finn clever because Dyslexia isn’t a synonym for stupid – often the reverse, and Finn becomes good at Math. His four-year degree and experience qualify him for the FBI.

So, my shy lovable geek gets his dream job in a very roundabout way – and why not?

The excerpt below is on Finn’s first day:

Gregory nodded and turned off the screen. “To summarize, you’ve all met Finn. We have four weeks to prove this can work. I expect your cooperation and your assistance, but that starts tomorrow. Finn has some short profile tests to sit this morning, and later you will all be in the gym.” Gregory smiled and walked out as a few of the others got up. One or two murmured something pleasant to Finn, but he didn’t hear a word of anything after the word “test.”

His heart pounded, and his earlier breakfast suddenly threatened to make an appearance. Fuck. What if he messed up? How important was this test? Was it written, or maybe physical? He swallowed.

“S’up, kid?” Talon stood, frowning at him.

Finn licked his lips. “What, umm, sort of test is it?”

Talon shrugged. “Basic behavioral insight, so they can see what you might spot automatically. Or more importantly what assumptions you have that you have to unlearn fast.” He looked assessingly at Finn. “It’s no big deal. I think you just read the questions and pick an answer. It’s timed, but it’s not like you get graded or anything.”

Finn felt sick. It was timed. He’d expected there to be tests at Quantico, but not on his first day, and not when every single person on his team wanted him to fail.

“You okay, kid?”

Finn looked up at Talon, who was looking puzzled, and gulped. He needed to calm down. “Yeah.”

“Good. Come on. Let’s get this over with, then.” Talon led him into yet another room and gestured to a chair next to a desk.

Finn could already feel his palms sweating and his heart pounding, and he tried to breathe slowly. He’d done all sorts of breathing exercises to prepare for his SATs and at one of his interviews. He knew to start with the questions that had the most marks attached. When he was younger, he made the mistake of always starting at the beginning, and because it took him longer to read the questions, he always ran out of time. It just seemed harder now that he knew the stakes and knew everyone wanted him to fail.

Talon didn’t seem to notice his anxiety, however, and picked up a folder from the table and dropped it on the desk. “There’s actually no right or wrong answers. We just need to get a feel for your thought process. So we know your starting point. Don’t forget we’re condensing eight hundred hours of training into four weeks.” Talon shrugged. “Some of the things I may ask you to do will seem difficult to understand.”

Finn looked blankly at the folder. Of course there were right and wrong answers. Even he wasn’t stupid enough to believe this wasn’t something else he could fail at.

Talon sat back down and rubbed his face, trying not to hiss when he caught his lip. He didn’t know how he felt, and it was confusing the hell out of him. He was always convinced having enhanced and regular humans working together wasn’t a good idea. The basic tenet of his team was trust. Knowing each of his guys had his back and wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger to save his life. His first trainee didn’t even make it through the test Finn was currently looking at. Fifteen questions, all designed to see if the trainee would fail to respond as quickly if the victim was regular or enhanced, and not just that straightforward. Sometimes candidates would try to go the other way, be too preferential for enhanced to try to win favors.

That scenario didn’t cut it with any of his team either. None of the questions used the words “regular” or “enhanced.” The clues were more subtle, and someone a lot cleverer than Talon had put the questions together. He glanced at the clock. Twenty minutes for the first round of ten questions. Five pretty simple ones, and five that required a little more thought. Then there were some basic math problems as well.

He stood and wandered over to where Finn was sitting, then stopped in surprise. Finn was looking at the last page. Had he finished it already? Talon narrowed his eyes as he looked at Finn. His hand shook as he turned a page, and Finn hadn’t so much as picked up his pen. What was it? Nerves? Was that the reason Finn hadn’t done so well on his exams in college?

Talon absently filed the thought away. It wasn’t his business, and he wasn’t here to babysit someone he wanted out anyway. Served him right if he did fail the test. Talon leaned back against the wall and stared at the ceiling. He smiled a little as he remembered the vid with Finn’s voice declaring he was a federal agent. Even if he wanted him gone, he was happy to grudgingly admit the kid had balls.

Talon glanced over at Finn again and was suddenly struck by the mask of desperation on his face. What the fuck was wrong with him? He knew he could read. There was no way he would have gotten through high school without that, and Finn had a fucking degree. Talon blinked. He’d read the glowing reports from his tutors. Finn’s dedication. His single-mindedness, almost. What he told him in the café. Why would someone put himself through all that and not study his ass off 24-7 to make sure his grades were good?

Unless there was another reason.

Talon stood. “How are you getting on? Halfway through,” he added in case Finn just needed a kick up the ass to get started. He’d also seen some trainees overthink things to the point that it nearly paralyzed them. No decision because they were frightened of not making the right one. That was sometimes even worse. Being an agent meant split-second choices. Talon looked at the clock. Eight minutes left. Eight minutes and Finn would be gone, and they wouldn’t even need all the scenarios the team would put on for him this afternoon. Eight minutes and the brass might concede to what he’d been telling them for months—that the unit should be enhanced only.

He glanced over to see what Finn was writing and frowned. Absolutely nothing. Talon took a step and fisted his hands. Don’t fucking ask, Talon, he told himself sternly. Then the defiant voice of Finn challenging the bastards who attacked him yesterday came into his head, and he sighed. What the hell? He could ask, right?

Talon sat on the desk and picked up the paper. “Your pen not working, kid?”

Finn pushed himself upright. “I’ll go.” He lowered his eyes, but not before Talon saw the frustration and disgust darkening them. He looked at the question that had gotten Finn so worked up. It was a scenario that subtly lead the trainee to favor the enhanced over the human. Not because it was the right thing to do for the situation, but to weed out reverse favoritism.

Talon read the question out loud and lowered the paper. “Why are you having problems with that?”

Finn jutted his chin out. “I’m not,” he said, and he reeled off the best answer.

Talon narrowed his eyes. “Then why didn’t you put that down?”

Finn shrugged.

Talon took a breath as a thought filtered into his mind. “What about this one?” He read off the next question, and Finn answered it promptly and correctly. Talon nodded to the typed instruction fixed to the bottom of the portable scanner cart. “What does that say?”

Finn looked over, and a dull flush crept over his cheeks. “I can read,” he ground out.

“What does it say?” Talon repeated. “Count to ten in your head and then tell me.”

Finn blinked at him, puzzled.

“Take three deep breaths first,” Talon instructed.

Finn did as he was asked and then calmly read, “Please put the power cable away after use.”

Talon scowled. “Why the fuck did you not tell any of us you are dyslexic?”

Finn scowled. “I’m not.” He turned to the door.

Talon nodded. “Let me guess. You anticipate. You find some fonts much easier to read. That’s why your course work was so much better than your written tests.”

Finn stood still, feet planted, hands shoved in his pants pockets. He didn’t turn around.

“Text to speech? It’s an allowed resource,” Talon continued.

Finn turned slowly. “How—how do you know all that?”

Talon debated for about ten seconds. He didn’t share, ever. “Because my little brother’s dyslexic. And when I say little, I mean by one year. He’s currently a prosecutor in the Washington DA’s office. A successful prosecutor,” he added.

Talon picked up the test and started reading the questions. Finn rattled off most of the answers, and by the time they were halfway through the last section, he was writing his own.

“You’re actually better than Sam,” Talon said. “He wouldn’t be able to work out the last question even with his breathing techniques.”

Finn looked up, and Talon’s belly squeezed a little at his eagerness. “It only bothers me when I’m timed or under pressure most of the time now. Even then I can anticipate the simple stuff. We had an old computer in the library at college that had a darker screen than the rest. Everyone hated it, but it was the easiest one for me.”

Talon nodded. “It helped Sam if we overlaid the screen with a blue tint.” He sighed. “I don’t get how I missed your diagnosis, though. I read your file and….” Understanding slammed into Talon. “You’ve never been diagnosed, have you?” He shook his head. Of all the stupid, irresponsible….

Finn’s smile faded.

“You could easily have put your teammates’ lives at risk by not declaring this,” Talon ground out. It was incredibly selfish, and as far as Talon was concerned, the last nail in the coffin.

“I thought once I got into Quantico, I could find someone to talk to about it,” Finn mumbled, and Talon opened his mouth to rain down a world of hurt on Finn.

Then he stopped. Because the fact that Finn wasn’t at Quantico wasn’t his fault. He would have had twenty weeks to sort it out. It wasn’t Finn’s fault they only had four.

Fuck.

This was his excuse. This was exactly what he had wanted. The perfect reason to get rid of the regular human and push for a solo team of enhanced. Finn was handing him the reason on a plate.

Sam’s face swam into his head. How Talon found him in their tree house, crying his eyes out because some dick of a kid called him a retard because he couldn’t read when it was his turn at school. But Sam had their family behind him. He had a huge support network, and what did Finn have? His brother sounded like a complete lazy asshole. His mom, on the surface, not too bad, but at the same time, if she’d let Finn go through school without getting any help….

And his dad. His dad who came home from Vietnam in a wheelchair and finally blew his brains out. And Finn found him.

Talon grimaced. He’d give him a week.

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Blurb – Five Minutes Longer

Talon Valdez knew that when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced are viewed as monsters, despised by the public, and never trusted to serve in the military or any law enforcement agency.

Years later he gets a chance to set up a task force of enhanced to serve in the FBI, but with one proviso: each enhanced must partner with a regular human.

Finn Mayer dreamed of joining the FBI since he was fourteen and made every possible sacrifice to make it happen, including living with his selfish mother and bullying homophobic brother and never having a boyfriend. But his undiagnosed dyslexia stopped his aspirations dead in their tracks. His last chance is to partner with Talon, an enhanced with fatal abilities who doesn’t trust regular humans with their secrets and wants Finn to fail.

Four weeks to prove himself to the team. Four weeks for the team to prove itself to the public. And when another group threatens their success—and their lives are at stake—four weeks for them to survive.

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About the Author

Victoria Sue

Wrote her first book on a dare from her hubby two years ago and he says he has regretted it every day since. Loves writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best, and especially with either a paranormal or a historical twist. Had a try at writing contemporary but failed spectacularly when it grew four legs and a tail. Loves her wolves!

Is an English northern lass but is currently serving twenty to life in Florida – unfortunately, she spends more time chained at her computer than on a beach.

Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on facebook.

www.victoriasue.com

@vickysuewrites

https://www.facebook.com/victoriasueauthor/– sign up for my newsletter and download a free story The Wrong Alpha

Giveaway

Victoria Sue is giving away one ebook from her backlist to one lucky reader.  Please leave a comment below along with your email address where you can be contacted if you are chosen by Victoria.  Giveaway ends at midnight, November 30th.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

An Alisa Release Day Review: Five Minutes Longer by Victoria Sue

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

fiveminuteslonger_v2Talon Valdez knew when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced were viewed as monsters, despised by the public, and never trusted to serve in the military or any law enforcement agency.

 

Years later he gets a chance to set up a task force of enhanced to serve in the FBI, but with one proviso: each enhanced must partner with a regular human.

 

Finn Mayer dreamed of joining the FBI from the time he was fourteen and made every possible sacrifice to make it happen, including living with his selfish mother and bullying, homophobic brother and never having a boyfriend. But his undiagnosed dyslexia stopped his aspirations dead in their tracks. His last chance is to partner with Talon, an enhanced with deadly abilities who doesn’t trust regular humans with their secrets and wants Finn to fail.

 

Four weeks to prove himself to the team. Four weeks for the team to prove itself to the public. And when another group threatens their success—and their lives—four weeks for them to survive.

 

This was a wonderful story.  The world that includes the enhanced humans was well thought out and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything when it came to the background of the story.  Talon and his team have continued to stand by the fact that they don’t want regular humans on their team.  And in walks Finn, he breaks down all the walls that Talon has put up without really pushing to which is the most scary thing for Talon.

 

Finn isn’t quite what Talon expects from reading his file and can’t help but be intrigued by the different depths he has.  Finn knows that being on this task force is his last chance to make his dreams come true, but his family, past and Talon’s issues may make it impossible for it to happen.  Both have made some mistakes and make new assumptions that may tear them apart.

 

In this story I can feel how desperate Finn is to make this opportunity work and then his defeat when he knows that it’s never going to happen.  Every time they get close Talon feels he has to push Finn away and keeps playing push and pull with his feelings.  Once Talon gets some sense knocked into him he fully realizes the mistakes he has made and will do anything to get Finn back on the team and in his life.  This is a wonderful beginning to what I hope is a new series and I hope to read more about these two and the other members of the team.

 

Cover art by AngstyG is great and sets the tone for the story well.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages

Published: December 1, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781634779166

Edition Language: English

A Release Special!Thursday Euclid on ‘Built For Pleasure (outtake excerpt)

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Built for Pleasure by Thursday Euclid
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reamspinner Press
Cover art by Aaron Anderson

Release Date: November 21, 2016

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to welcome Thursday Euclid here today to share a little bit about his latest novel, Built for Pleasure. Welcome, Thursday.

~

As I write this post, the book has just been released, and I’ve had the opportunity to see feedback from readers. One lamented never having the opportunity to see Wolf interact with other cyborgs, as it simply didn’t fit within the scope of the story. (Although that will be much of the sequel I’ve planned!)

I won’t spoil any plot points, but here’s a little outtake that shows what it’s like for Wolf when he interacts with others of his kind.

“Wolf’s Watercooler” – A Built for Pleasure Outtake

Sheridan dismissed Wolf, sending it away to be cleaned and maintained. It went automatically, its mind quiet, foggy with chemicals. A liveried servant guided it to the sonic shower and then scrubbed it down with cleansing lotion. Though Sheridan possessed other pleasure cyborgs, Wolf rarely saw them; it was his favorite now, and they were relegated to providing relief to his security force. It was uncommon enough that when another servant herded one in to be cleaned, the surprise startled Wolf from its haze.

It studied the smaller cyborg, noting its feminine build, its androgynous features. Far more beautiful than Wolf, it was delicate and fine-boned, without the visible implants that marked Wolf as a battle build as much as its size. Wolf tried to attract its attention without attracting the notice of its handler, desperate for interaction as an equal after its time with Torvik, who had spoken to it like a person.

Torvik, who had held it, and fed it real food, and let it sleep in his bed.

It missed Torvik as it had never missed anyone or anything.

Disappointing but unsurprising, the other cyborg ignored Wolf’s efforts at communication, forcing Wolf to suffer the indignities of maintenance without distraction. Having its genitals handled in a way at once impersonal and intimate left it craving escape. Rather than sink into solitary thoughts, Wolf struggled to think of a way to excuse conversation with the other cyborg.

Cyborgs rarely spoke to one another, being programmed to communicate only when invited to do so or when certain conditions made it necessary. Cyborg soldiers relayed orders or information—at least, Wolf seemed to remember that from its training, though it was uncertain after the memory wipes—but pleasure slaves had no need to talk to each other unless they were coordinating the service of a sapiens. This one would have nothing to say, no personality to display, and yet Wolf hungered for that interaction.

They were here, two meters apart, naked and vulnerable, being pried open and cleansed, but in the ways that mattered, they could not be farther apart.

The sapiens had a joke, one Wolf had overheard years ago, that seemed to underscore every interaction it had ever had with another of its kind.

“What do cyborgs talk about around the watercooler?“

“Whatever we tell them to.”

About Built for Pleasure

Retired military officer Malcolm Torvik runs a rehabilitation facility for malfunctioning pleasure cyborgs. When WLF-6759—Wolf—arrives at Reboot Camp, the former battle cyborg presents problems Malcolm’s never faced before. Most pleasure cyborgs are sensation junkies, constantly high on the chemicals sex releases into their bloodstream, but Wolf’s faulty refit means it’s spent a decade suffering through unwanted encounters—and sometimes fighting back despite the consequences.

At first Wolf’s rebellion frustrates Malcolm even as Wolf’s undeniable physical perfection draws him. Then Wolf’s unexpected vulnerability and need open a whole new dynamic between them, and Malcolm finds himself feeling far too much for something that isn’t even human. Or is it? Could Homo sapiens technica be just as human as Malcolm is? And if it is, what’s Malcolm supposed to do about it? Malcolm’s been alone for so long…. Is it possible he’s found love with a cyborg? How far will he go to ensure Wolf’s freedom? Malcolm knows what he must do—for both of them—but it might cost him much more than his comfortable life.

Available at:

Dreamspinner Press – https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/built-for-pleasure-by-thursday-euclid-7800-b

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Built-Pleasure-Thursday-Euclid-ebook/dp/B01MG8OHV9/

All Romance – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-builtforpleasure-2165951-145.html

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/built-for-pleasure-thursday-euclid/1125061525

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About the Author

The Thursday Euclid is a strange and elusive creature dwelling in the Texas Gulf Coast region. Frequently mistaken for Bigfoot, Chupacabra, or the monster of the week, he is, in fact, a 30-something black sheep with a penchant for K-pop, geekery, and hot and sour soup. When he’s not playing Dragon Age or SWTOR, he’s probably watching B-movies or talking to his best friend and frequent collaborator Clancy Nacht.

Website: http://www.thursdayeuclid.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thursdayeuclid

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thursdayeuclid

Email: thursdayeuclid at gmail dot com

A Paul B Review: Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2) by Anna Butler

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

heart-scarab-by-anna-butlerIt’s been a year and a year and a half since Bennet returned from T-18.  Eighteen months since he last saw Fleet Lieutenant Flynn.  Things with Joss are just as rocky as ever since his return from that mission.  So Bennet was half relieved when Rosie, his second in command picks up him for his next mission, the evacuation of illegal settlers on the planet Telnos.  The religious sect that settled there believes it is just a government plot to control them.  However, the Maess drones and ships do show up while Bennet and crew are trying to convince one settlement to leave.  Several are killed during the attack, including children, which Bennet sees as a senseless waste of life.  As the Shield team moves the survivors toward the cutter, Bennet is hit in the helmet with a laser blast.  Rosie gets the remaining survivors on board and leaves the planet, unable to retrieve Bennet.

Back on Albion and the Gyrfalcon word spreads of Bennet’s death.  This news hits the family hard, along with Bennet’s partner Joss.  Joss goes into a depression because of the way he has treated his relationship with Bennet over the past nine years.  He regrets the dozens of affairs that he had while Bennet was off on missions.  He makes an ancient sacrifice to the old gods to help guide Bennet’s soul into the afterlife.  Among the pieces he buries is a heart scarab, the symbol of a heart place keeper of a mummy, which Bennet particularly liked.  When the family attends the midnight watch (the equivalent of a memorial service), Rosie suggests to Caeden, Bennet’s father, that they send another mission to rescue whatever survivors were left to honor Bennet.

When his family does not know is that Bennet survived the attack.  He has been living with a group of miners that failed to get off the planet when the Maess attacked.  He and the chief miner Ifan round up what is left of the human population on the planet that they can find and bring them into the mines for safety.  When his comm link buzzes, he realizes that against all normal protocol, Shield has returned and that he will be rescued.  During the rescue however, he suffers a direct laser blast to his knee, once again putting his life in danger.  His family, Joss, Flynn and Rosie must now deal with the consequences of Bennet’s return. 

This second book in Anna Butler’s Taking Shield series deals with the emotional and psychological effects of relationships and war.  Bennet is still trying to process his reunion with his father.  Joss, having used different men to deal with the loneliness of Bennet’s absence, finds that they were all pointless.  When he learns of Bennet’s affair with Flynn, the question becomes if it is worse to have several different affairs that mean nothing or one affair that means something.  Flynn is all confused as to why Caeden is so interested in helping him with Bennet.  After all is said and done, it seems no one escapes this drama without some heartache.

The cover art by Wilde City Press has Bennet superimposed inside a Shield badge against a star filled sky.  I think it is very appropriate for the book.

Sales Links

Wilde City Press

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Book Details

EBook, 396 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  July 22, 2015 by Wilde City Press

ISBN:  978-1-925313-25-3

Series:  Taking Shield

Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1)

Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2)

A Paul B Review: Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1) by Anna Butler

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

gyrfalcon-by-anna-butlerMany centuries have passed since a part of Earth’s population has settled on the planet Albion.  It has only been just over a century since the war with the Maess started.  While the population of Albion deals with fighting the war, the Maess use drones to do their fighting.  In fact, no one has ever seen someone from Maess.  The creepiest thing about the drones is that as the war continues, the drones begin to look more and more humanoid. 

Against this background, Shield Captain Bennett tries to negotiate his life.  As part of the reconnaissance unit of the war effort, his mission is to get in behind enemy lines, find information about the enemy and if possible, destroy outposts to cripple the enemy’s operation.  Not bad for an academic whose family has had a long line of military service.  But the fact he is not in active duty in the military and the fact that Bennett is gay and in a relationship with a man almost twice his age has caused a rift with his father.   Add in that his partner for the last seven years is tired of Bennett going off on dangerous missions and not satisfied with his academic position makes life tense for Bennett.

Called in from his break after his last assignment, Bennett must once again go behind enemy lines.  When his own starship gets called to replace a damaged vessel, Bennett is transferred to the dreadnaught Gyrfalcon.  Not only is the dreadnaught probably the wrong type of ship for his mission, its commanding officer is none other than his father.  His hope is to keep things civil until the end of the mission.  Then there is flight Lieutenant Flynn who captures Bennett’s attention.  Flynn is not only cocky, but has the flight skills to back it up.  A love them and leave them type guy, Flynn sets out to make the Shield captain his next conquest.  That is if this mission doesn’t get them both killed first. 

The world Anna Butler has created is both simple and complex at the same time.  Set several centuries into the future, Albion is made of Earth refugees.  The governmental order has ten national governments and one planetary government.  There is a pantheon of gods that are worshipped but they are not discussed in detail.  What was meant as a simple expression of friendship was taken as an act of war by the drones of the Maess.  Then there is the life of Bennett.  His home life is screwed up in all different ways.  He would like nothing more than do research but knows he needs to contribute to the war effort, even though it’s not the type of help his father expects of him.  He has been with his partner Joss for seven years but he begins to have feelings for Flynn that he hasn’t had for Joss in a long time.  This is a great start to this series.

Cover art by Wilde City Press is outstanding, brands the series and is a eye-catching cover.

Sales Links

Wilde City Press

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Book Details

EBook, 317 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  February 18, 2015 by Wilde City Press

ISBN:  978-1-925180-84-8

Series:  Taking Shield