Release Day Blitz: Shaper by Christine Danse (giveaway)

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Title:  Shaper

Series: The Mi’hani Wards, Book 1

Author: Christine Danse

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: March 13

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 14100

Genre:

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Synopsis

Nameless and without an identity, she wakes on the streets of Shapertown, an abandoned city that defies the laws of physics. She’s fleeing a threat she can’t remember. One woman holds the key to unlocking her memories and the dangerous truth: She is the threat.

Excerpt

Shaper
Christine Danse © 2017
All Rights Reserved

I didn’t dream.

I existed in a black space where for a time I almost had a family and friends, school, the everyday pleasures of domestic life. I drifted close to the shores of memory but didn’t make landfall.

The sound of voices pulled me out again, a man and a woman. They drew me out to sea and up into the sky, into my skin.

I came to on my side under the warmth of covers. Home, in my bed.

But no, not my bed. Not my room. No room I recognized.

Instinct told me to kick to my feet and bolt, but like a small animal, I felt safe under cover.

I scanned the contents of the small room. White dresser, table against the side with two chairs, one door. No more than that.

I made another pass with my eyes just to be sure, but there was only the one door, so only one way out. The voices came from just on the other side of it, so I wouldn’t be slipping out unseen. I would have to wait this out. I had no choice. It had nothing to do with the fact that the pillow was soft under my head, the blankets a bank of clouds atop me. A comfort like home, which I hadn’t known for…

For a long time. The feeling didn’t quite come with a memory, but a strong sense of hard surfaces and shivering sleep.

“I realize,” the woman was saying. She spoke in a hushed tone, but I could just get her words.

The man responded in a low rumble I couldn’t make out.

“I know that,” she said. “But you must understand the position this puts me in.”

Something about her voice made me uneasy. Maybe her tone. There was an edge to it, a wariness and also a weariness.

“I’m retired,” she said at last, flatly.

Nothing after that. They might have moved off, leaving me, forgetting me. But I didn’t move, just lay with the blanket pulled up to my eyes and held still, waiting for something, because something always came.

The rattle of the doorknob warned me just before the door opened. The man entered first. Tall, with dark brooding eyes and a presence like a storm cloud compacted into a man’s shape. But it was the woman at his elbow who scared me. Thin, with straight brown hair and luminescent blue eyes. Beautiful but tired, mouth in a line like it had never known a smile.

I sat up and clutched the blanket, never mind that I was clothed. I pushed back my curls.

“You’re awake,” the man said. He drew out a chair and sat. The woman stood leaning back against the doorframe with her arms crossed, seemingly impassive, but our awareness of each other pulled like a taut string.

“I’m Nero,” the man said. “And this is Natalia.”

After that came a pause. They seemed to be waiting for something. I looked between them, fingers curled around the top edge of the blanket. My gaze caught the woman’s and snagged.

He prompted: “Can you tell us your name?”

I opened my mouth and— “No.” I felt an instant pulse in the air, like a throb of hostility from them, and added, “I don’t know.”

The man’s eyes flickered. The woman shifted from one leg to the other and propped the foot against the wall.

“I don’t know,” I said again. “I don’t know my name.” The edge of panic crept into my voice.

They exchanged a glance.

The man asked me more questions. It was a terror and a relief not to have the answers. They could get nothing out of me. I could betray no one.

He seemed to get the same idea. He stood and exchanged a conversation with the woman that consisted of a look, a subtle glance in my direction, a scowl, and a tight nod. Then the man told me that Natalia would make me comfortable.

“I’m comfortable here,” I said. At that moment, I would have rather been huddled in the corner of that crumbling building like a dog behind the dresser.

The woman, Natalia, dredged up a smile that didn’t quite make it to her eyes but also wasn’t unkind, and held a hand up, gently beckoning. I couldn’t decline.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Christine lives with her writing partner in the wilds of urban Oregon, where they raise weeds, worms, and eyebrows.

Website | Twitter | eMail

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Review of The Trust by Shira Anthony and Venona Keyes

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Rating: 5 stars

Jake Anders is hearing voices, one voice to be exact.  Jake hears the voice of Trace Michelson, his mentor, and the one man he has been attracted to for years.  The problem is that the real Trace Michelson is dead, killed six years ago when  Trace was assassinated by people and agencies unknown.  The voice Jakes hears is that of the Sim implant in his brain that carries part of Trace in it.  Trace Michelson recruited Jake when he was in college for The Trust, a CIA-backed agency whose “executives” eliminate rogue biotechnology operations.

Jake was in awe of Trace, a brilliant mind houses in a powerful, gorgeous body.  If Trace ever knew of Jake’s long time infatuation, he never let on.  Before he was killed, Trace designed the Sim chip implanted in Jake’s brain.The chip contains his memories and experiences. It’s supposed to be just data, designed to augment Jake’s knowledge. But the Sim seems so real, like talking to Trace in person so Jake wonders if Trace is still alive or if Jake really is going crazy like everyone claims.   Then the Sim tells him to trust no one. And Jake decides to learn the truth about Trace and the Sim, no matter the cost, no matter where the end of the journey will find him, dead or alive.  Jake will give his all to keep The Trust.

What a wild, crazy elaborate ride this book turned out to be.  From the first, you enter a maze of misinformation and treachery, and like Alice, you must commit to jumping down the hole in order to reach the truth and find the satisfactory ending that is hidden behind closed doors.  When we first meet Jake, he has been ambushed by a traitor.  As Jake bleeds out, he throws a knife to take out his assassin and then hearing his Sim’s voice telling him to meditate, passes out.  He awakes healed in a hospital bed, being touted as a superman for killing the traitor and healing himself. And from there we are off on a exciting romp from there that makes Mr. Toad’s wild ride look practically sedate.  Our authors handle the past/present juggling act beautifully so we are fed only tidbits of information about the past histories of the people involved.  This keeps us guessing as to who the bad guys really are as well as their motives behind the actions.  And while we are certain of the identity of the main villian early on, the identities of the people who are under their control is always in question.  Is it the best friend?  Is it the sister or the doctor?  Each reality keeps folding back on each other to keep the reader wonderfully confused right up to the end and the final denouement.

I love the character of Jake Anders right down to his long flaming red hair.  Jake is such a distinctive persona, brilliant, seemingly removed from those around him, a true scientist at heart. Jake became work obsessed when he lost the most important man in his life, Trace Michelson.  Jake has so many layers to him, he is as complicated and as elaborate as the conspiracy he must unravel. So Jake’s character must unfold to the reader through his inner voice and his memories as he runs the maze set before him and solves the puzzles his Sim/Trace have left behind.  It doesn’t help that Jake is not sure himself what is real and what is imagined.  We are as confused and uncertain as he is. That the reader is kept in the dark with Jake works to the stories advantage as we have to go down every blind alley and take every risk along with him.

Sometimes the action is fast paced, at other times the action is calculatingly slow like a chess move that will set off repercussions many moves later.  I appreciated the change up in pace as it kept me guessing as to the hidden meanings behind each scene.  There is a romantic element to The Trust but if that is all you are seeking in a novel, then perhaps this is not the story for you.  It is there as thin threads that runs the length of the story. I really enjoyed the way Anthony and Keyes handled the romantic part of this story, that of Jake’s hidden love for Trace, a man we only get to see from Jake’s perspective.  In Jake’s eyes, Trace is larger than life, his mentor, his hero, and the only man he is capable of loving.  So when Jake is not sure whether the voice he is hearing is the Sim or somehow Trace himself and Jake wonders if he is sane, the reader is right there with him, hoping upon hope that somehow it is Trace himself.  I can’t say more because that enters into spoiler territory but I loved the ending and so will you.

So even if mental mazes and action adventure may not be your thing, take a chance.  Pick this up, stay with it through all the double crosses and ever-changing realities, it is worth it.  You will love it.  Trust me!

Cover: Wonderful cover by Catt Ford.  Eye catching and speaks to the book within.  Great job.

Reviewers Note:  Shira Anthony’s Blue Notes, a contemporary romance, is a favorite of mine.  See my review of Blue Notes here.