Monday, June 12, 2017

Scions of the Star Empire Book 1: Scandal by Athena Grayson Blog Tour Stop Excerpt & Giveaway!





This is my stop during the blog tour for Scandal by Athena Grayson. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 12 till 25 June. See the tour schedule here.
Today I will be sharing an excerpt from Scandal.







ScandalScandal (Scions of the Star Empire #1)

By Athena Grayson

Genre: Sci-fi dystopian with romantic elements

Age category: New Adult/ Adult

Release Date: 23 March 2017



Blurb:

They can have anything they want...except a future.



Nothing infuriates Princess Ione Ra more than having someone else take control of her reputation from her, and her old nemesis--gossip journalist Jaris Pulne--is poised to do just that with pilfered pics of her caught in a compromising position with her power-couple partner. As someone who's no stranger to manipulating the markets on her own social life, Ione knows the wrong scandal means social suicide.



For the other half of the power couple, Den Hades, his survival has depended on staying in his powerful father's shadow in order to protect his secrets. But on the very night of his one chance to earn a shot at becoming a Scion--and freedom from his father's ambitions, scandal threatens to tear him from Ione, or worse--force them together before their time.



Damage control turns into danger when their attempts to retrieve the images lead them both into the dark underbelly of the glittering city-planet, exposing secrets of both friends and foes that could lead to more than just social suicide.


 ~~~~~~~ 

Excerpt Fool’s Gambit
©2016 Athena Grayson


Denaat Hades held his blade extended, his arm outstretched. He held the lunge on one burning thigh muscle while he stood in near-complete darkness, waiting for the spectacle to begin. The landscape of the party had given way to the evening’s main event—an exhibition duel and bladework demonstration between himself and the Academy’s Blademaster with a twenty-five year record.
Gone were the ornamental topiary plantings that created nooks and alcoves for socializing, and gone was the impressive display of fine foods and the waterfall made from champ-ale bubbling and fizzing over cut-crystal held under pressurized glass until it burst out of the pursed lips of a crystal nymph into glasses for guests. They’d been discreetly cleared away for anti-gravity pods holding comfortable seating for up to a dozen guests. The pods jockeyed for position along x, y, and z axes based on the credit amounts donated by their occupants, except for the single, stationary pod holding his instructors and closest classmates, fixed to the floor at the edge of the ring of drones generating the light field for the dueling area.
Gone also was his shiny, holo-patterned suit and the starsilk shirt beneath it, and the ornamental lights in his hair. His finery—picked out by his class’s style consultant to display his status and wealth—was stuffed into a storage container in favor of light, form-fitting carbon-fiber armor, with a matching face mask. Gauntlets secured to his wrists generated power for the sensors emitting an electro-mesh shield around his body that shifted with the movements of his off hand. His weapon, an elegant blade of wire and light, derived its power from his main hand gauntlet and the glove that protected his hand. Tuned to full, the blade could melt steel or puncture the transparent alloy that made up the dome above his head.
Thankfully, this was an exhibition duel. The blades would sting, but not incapacitate or kill.
He waited, holding his ready position, as the banners came down, displaying his family’s banner, with the twinkling ribbons of support from classmates and other interested parties, and the Academy banner, under which Master Kenndar dueled. Tradition kept the Academy banner free of ribbons, but his neural interface told him the odds of his loss were just under fifty percent. The markets were calling this a close thing and the players in the markets were nothing, if not savvy odds-players.
The lights came up around the ring, plunging the shifting observation cars into darkness as Master Kenndar entered from the other side of the oval. He took his cue to step forward, meeting his opponent in the center of the ring. He executed the formal bow, hand-grip, and blade salute deserving of a worthy opponent and prayed his master’s teachings weren’t wasted. He returned to his ready position to await the chime beginning the match, but not before he glanced towards the stationary box and spotted her in the front row, the lights in her hair twinkling in time with the flashes of crystal on her dress.
Ione wore a small smile of bored amusement, echoing the expressions of probably everyone in the audience, and he knew their thoughts. Yet another Academy student, ready to show off for status and praise, as if the privileges of his born position didn’t already come with their own accolades. His gaze flicked to the VIP box and he saw another bored, slightly amused expression, only he knew this one masked keen interest. As if the man sensed his scrutiny, Invicti Hades lifted one eyebrow and Den heard the words as surely as if they’d been broadcast for all to hear. What new way have you found to disappoint me?
The lurking paranoia he’d lived with for ten years summoned itself to the forefront of his awareness as the lights in the arena changed to a soft blue. The chimes sounded for Ready and Arm, and his blade flared to golden life. Across the ring, Master Kenndar assumed his own ready position. Den felt the eyes of the spectators crawling over him, adding weight to his protective gear. Waiting for him to fail.
The last chime sounded. Engage!
He leapt forward, his awareness extended out to the blade’s end, as he’d been taught and trained by Kenndar to do for ten years. And knew he’d made a mistake.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~






You can find Scandal on Goodreads



You can buy Scandal here:

- Amazon

- B&N

- Kobo

- iTunes

- Google Play

- Smashwords

- Books2Read



You can also find all the buy links for this book here on the author's website.





About the Author:

Athena Grayson likes kickass heroines, big-brained and sexy beta heroes who aren't afraid of strong women or their own feelings, and stories that turn the genre tropes sideways. If you're looking for something a little unexpected, a little more, and a lot of fun...this is your kinda place.



You can find and contact Athena here:

- Website

- Facebook

- Twitter

- Amazon

- Goodreads

- Bookbub



Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Scandal. These are the prizes you can win:

- 2 paperback copies of Scandal by Athena Grayson (US Only)

- 2 $10 Amazon Gift Cards (International)



For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Destiny of the Queen Blog Tour 5/29-6/11 ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Destiny of the Queen banner


This is my stop during the blog tour for Destiny of the Queen by Jacqueline Patricks. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 29 May till 11 June. See the tour schedule here.



Destiny of the QueenDestiny of the Queen (The Brajj #3)

By Jacqueline Patricks

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Age category: Adult

Release Date: 6 May, 2017









Blurb:

Can a goddess find redemption? Can a soldier find purpose?



When you think all is lost,

When you believe life is meaningless,

Sometimes your destiny is revealed.



If you’re willing to see the signs,

And brave enough to fight,

Sometimes you can change worlds.



Rejoin Cass, Jeamon, Lewis, and Ta'mat as they deal with the ramifications of Ta'mat's insanity and General Neville's betrayal. The few Brajj remaining with Cass and Jeamon are now under Dr. Saniya's control.



Meanwhile, a world away, Captain Lewis and Ta'mat struggle with their strange bond inside his mind as they unravel the mystery of their new circumstances. Where did Ta'mat's wormhole transport them? Why? Is there some greater destiny unfolding? Where does freewill end and destiny begin?



The stunning conclusion to the Brajj trilogy!


Excerpt:

 “You lost him?” Cass jumped from her chair and accidentally hit the round melamine table, tipping her paper cup of coffee on its edge.
“Lewis!” Jeamon smacked the table as he stood, finishing off the cup’s precarious balance. A river of brown liquid spilled over the edge of the table, splashing onto the floor.
Lars threw his full cup across the room. Coffee exploded against the vending machines and the ubiquitous white wall behind it.
Mathews sulked in her chair, arms crossed, and chin to her chest. “Figures.”
Dr. Saniya sighed and bowed her head. “I understand how distressing this must be for all of you.”
Lars and Mathews exchanged pissed off looks while Cass sputtered and Jeamon growled.
Lunging at Dr. Saniya, Lars said, “No, doc, I really don’t think you do. We’ve been stuck in here for hours, then you come tell us you lost our captain?”
Cass circled the table, stepping over the puddle of her coffee, her bare feet padding on the highly-waxed, industrial tile. Sometime during the earlier conflict, she’d lost the slippers Ta’mat favored and had yet to acquire a new pair of shoes. Not that she cared about shoes when Lewis’ life was in danger. Taking a deep breath, she waved the others back and approached Dr. Saniya as a colleague rather than an enemy.
“Dr. Saniya,” Cass said, “exactly what do you mean when you say, ‘you lost him’?”
Although Dr. Saniya’s expression eased, her eyes darted around the room. “Well, Dr. Baros, that’s difficult to say.”
Cass sensed the frustrated energy of her friends and felt, rather than saw, Jeamon, Lars, and Mathews march from the far side of the break room to stand next to her. She wrinkled her nose at the pungency of everyone’s clothes arriving a second before them. Dirt caked Lars and Mathews’ uniforms, Cass’ gauzy blue dress hung in tatters, and Jeamon’s iridescent black Brajj tunic and pants were torn and ragged. Blood matted his long pale hair, which hung unbraided and tangled. All of them looked like they’d survived a life and death fight—an accurate assessment.
Cass feigned a smile. “Try.”
Dr. Saniya adjusted the collar of her lab coat. “Dr. Umi and I were assessing Captain Lewis and the entity known as Ta’mat within his psyche, when he became extremely agitated.”
Lars snorted and shuffled his feet. “I bet.”
Dr. Saniya glared at Lars but continued in a dispassionate voice, “He escaped the exam room and made it into the main passageway. During the recapture,” she wrung her hands, “he, well…”
“What?” Mathews asked.
“He jumped through a wormhole.”
“My God. What’ve you done?” Cass closed her eyes and covered her mouth with her hand.
Jeamon wrapped her in a hug. “Lewis is strong. He will survive.”
Cass pressed her face to Jeamon’s chest, shaking her head. “You don’t understand.”
Dr. Saniya moved closer, one hand reaching out before she stopped and lowered her arm. “What do you mean?”
“I mean if he was,” she gave Dr. Saniya a pointed look, “extremely agitated when Ta’mat created the wormhole then there’s no telling where they are, or if they’re still alive.”
“You can’t be serious!”
“I’m very serious, Sergeant.” Cass slipped from Jeamon’s embrace but remained at his side, her hand clasped in his. “From what I learned while Ta’mat was a part of me, dark energy is very unstable when it’s used to manipulate strings. If Ta’mat was not completely focused at the time, then likely she was unable to select where the wormhole ended.”
“Hang on.” Mathews massaged her temples and grimaced. “Dark energy? Strings?”
Dr. Saniya touched Cass’ forearm. “You’re certain of this?”
“Absolutely.”
“What does this mean? Manipulate strings?” Jeamon asked.
Cass squeezed his hand and gave him a gentle look. “She’s able to change the frequency and vibration of the fabric of the universe, which means, in most cases, she can change the universe to her desires. Any universe.”
“This is how she became a goddess?” Jeamon asked.
Cass frowned. “She’s not a goddess. She’s what’s left of a twisted human being. It took a tremendous amount of skill for Ta’mat to gain her powers because they go against the very nature of the cosmos. She shouldn't be able to do these things, but she's attained a higher state of non-physical existence.”
“I wondered how she was able to do such amazing feats.” Dr. Saniya’s gaze intensified. “You must tell me more!”
“No one should possess such power.” Cass crossed her arms and jutted a leg. “What about you telling us what you’ve done with Jeamon’s people?”
“Now, Dr. Baros...”
Growling, Jeamon moved closer to Dr. Saniya.
“Yeah, doc,” Lars said. “What’s up with them?”
Dr. Saniya moved back. “You don’t have the authority–”
Cass gasped. “Authority?”
“Who the hell do you think you are?” Mathews said.
Lars and Mathews closed ranks with Cass and Jeamon.
“I only meant, that is...” Dr. Saniya pressed something clipped to her pants’ waistband.
Lars snagged her wrist, twisting it away from her torso. “Whatcha got there, doc?”
“It’s nothing.” She presented opened palms.
Lars unclipped a black square from her pants. A small red light blinked at one end. He shared an irritated look with Cass. “Shit.”
Two guards dressed in black fatigues rushed into the break room, weapons drawn. “Is there a problem, Doctor?”
“Everything is under control.” Dr. Saniya broke her wrist free from Lars’ grip. “Isn’t it, Sergeant Lars?”
Lars turned to Cass, who nodded. “Sure, Doc,” he said as he handed back the personal alarm then carefully moved out of Dr. Saniya’s space. “Things are great.”
The guards lowered their weapons and relaxed. “In that case,” one guard said, “you won’t mind if we stay here.”
“Nope,” Lars waved a hand towards the empty chairs. “Make yourselves comfy.”
Dr. Saniya’s wooden smile never reached her eyes. “We’d all like to stay friendly.”
“Friendly?” Cass said. “Is that what you’re calling locking us in here?”
“Dr. Baros,” Dr. Saniya extended her opened hands, “please remember that all of you insisted on accompanying the captain and the Brajj refugees to my facility against my wishes.”
Mathews tensed. “Damn right!”
Dr. Saniya continued, “I want to help you any way I can, but as I initially informed all of you, security measures must be observed.”
Cass pressed further. “But why keep us separated from Jeamon's people?”
“For your safety.”
Lars spread his arms and looked around. “This is safe?”
“You don’t understand.”
“The hell we don’t. You’re experimenting on them!” Mathews said.
“Of course not!” Dr. Saniya shied, pulling her hands inward.
 Jeamon stepped forward. “We find your explanations difficult to believe. What harm could befall us? Why keep us separated?”
“The Brajj need to be quarantined for at least thirty da–”
“Bullshit!”
“Sergeant,” Cass placed a warning hand on his arm, “she’s not wrong about that.”
“What about Jeamon?” Lars waved at him. “I know he didn’t go through quarantine. And you, Cass?”
“Excellent question, Dr. Saniya,” Cass said.
“True, while you’ve both been here for nearly a week, mixing with the general public, without adverse effects, General Neville should’ve initiated quarantine procedures upon your arrival. Unfortunately, any damage is done, and I can hardly justify quarantine now other than to keep you confined to a limited area in my facility.” Dr. Saniya checked her watch then shoved her hands into her lab coat pockets. “If there’s nothing else…?”
“You’re leaving?” Cass asked.
Dr. Saniya shrugged. “If you’ve nothing further to add than arguments, I’m afraid I have a full schedule of research awaiting me.” She turned and walked to the exit, signaling to the guards, who moved closer to the four of them. “Theywill escort you off site.”
Cass bit her lower lip and exchanged worried looks with Jeamon, Lars, and Mathews. Jeamon rubbed his fingers together and reached for something at his hip, then frowned. Cass recalled a vague memory seen through Ta’mat’s mind. His whip. She destroyed it. Then, feeling suddenly aware of her poverty-striven state, Cass looked down at her shabby, filthy dress and bare feet. Did her bank accounts still exist? Did anyone remember her? Did she have anything she could claim in this version of Earth?
 “So that’s it?” Cass asked.
Dr. Saniya paused in the open doorway. “Pardon?”
“Cass?” Jeamon tugged on her hand.
Cass glanced back at him, winked, then slipped from his grasp and approached Dr. Saniya. “You’ve gotten everything you can from Lewis, so you kick us out and keep Jeamon’s people?”
“Doctor?” The guards tensed and shifted their weapons upwards again.
“It’s alright, Carson.” Dr. Saniya moved past the guards, waving their weapons down. “Dr. Baros, did you have something else in mind?”
“You want information.”
“Go on.”
“You want to know more regarding the Brajj and their technology. Correct?”
Dr. Saniya pursed her lips. “You know this to be true.”
“What if,” Cass looked at her friends once again, seeing comprehension dawn in their eyes before she faced Dr. Saniya again, “what if all of us remained here in exchange for our cooperation with your research?”
“Your,” the doctor gazed at each one of them, “full cooperation?”
Lars crossed his arms over his chest and grunted. “We need full disclosure at every step.”
Cass and the others murmured in agreement. “No secrets,” Cass added.
Dr. Saniya nodded. “Yes, of course. I merely wish to gain a broader understanding of the Brajj and everything you’ve experienced, particularly in regard to this Ta’mat and her abilities.”
Mathews scowled and backed away from the group. “I don’t know about this.”
Dr. Saniya added, “You’ll be compensated as well as given full access to the guest facilities.”
Lars rubbed his scalp as he barked out a short laugh. “So, you can keep a short leash on us.”
Dr. Saniya showed her palms in a gesture of surrender. “Must everything be suspicious to you?”
“Forgive my friend, Doctor,” Jeamon tilted his head toward Lars, “but we have dealt with an enormous amount of difficulties.”
“Difficulties?” Mathews fake coughed into her fist.
Jeamon bowed his head at Mathews, who sighed heavily then shrugged and stared off.
Jeamon continued, “And now you expect us to trust you after telling us of Lewis’ disappearance while in your custody?”
“I do not expect that,” Dr. Saniya said. “I’m hoping to gain your trust, so we can discover how to locate Captain Lewis and return him here.”
“So you can experiment on him?” Cass asked.
“I want to help him.”
Cass faced Jeamon while Lars leaned closer and Mathews hovered farther away. “What do you guys think?” Cass asked.
“I think she’s a fucking liar,” Mathews said in a loud voice as she glared over Cass’ head at the doctor.
Cass suppressed a sharp laugh and resisted turning around to check Dr. Saniya’s expression. Surely it showed further displeasure. “Yes, but do you think it’s worth taking a chance?”
Mathews’ lips twisted. “More than coming here in the first place?”
“Good point, Beth.” Cass ran her hands through her frizzed hair, then scratched her face. Everything itched. A shower would be nice. When was the last time Ta’mat bathed while using her body? Not since leaving the Brajj world at least, and the Brajj didn’t have showers just shallow, freshwater pools. Really not the same. Cass rolled her head, cracking her neck. “God, what I wouldn’t do to feel normal again.”
Jeamon rubbed Cass’ neck with one hand until she groaned and her eyes fluttered shut. “I think we should stay,” he said. “I cannot leave Lewis behind, no matter how long it takes to find him.”
Eyes snapping open, Cass met Jeamon’s intense sidelong gaze. “I agree.”
“Guess we’re staying at the creepy underground government facility, then.” Lars said, grinning.
Mathews yawned, her hand barely covering the excited glint in her eyes. “Looks like.”







~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Liked what you read? 

You can find Destiny of the Queen on Goodreads



You can buy Destiny of the Queen here:

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- Barnes & Noble

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Earlier books in this series!

Dreams of the Queen

Dreams of the Queen (The Brajj #1) by Jacqueline Patricks



Dr. Cass Baros is haunted by dreams of an alien world...

...and will do anything to find it.





Links:

- Goodreads

- Amazon

- B&N

- Kobo

- Smashwords

- Google Play

- iTunes



Nightmares of the Queen

Nightmares of the Queen (The Brajj #2) by Jacqueline Patricks



Their love will be tested by betrayal and deceit.




Links:

- Goodreads

- Amazon

- B&N

- Kobo

- Smashwords

- Google Play

- iTunes


Jacqueline PatricksAbout the Author:

Nominated by The Author Show as Top Female Author 2017, PAN member of the Romance Writers Association, a volunteer with Houston’s Writespace, and a winner of the Seal of Good Writing from the IndiePENdents for her first published novel, Dreams of the Queen, Jacqueline Patricks’ passion for writing began early in life. Before she published, however, Jacqueline traveled a winding path through the U.S. Army, college, over twenty years in 911 as a paramedic, professional teaching, and all the exciting adventures in between. She currently resides with her husband and four parrots and hopes to meet Mark Twain someday since he understands parrot people.



“She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.” – Mark Twain



You can find and contact Jacqueline Patricks here:

- Website

- Facebook

- Twitter

- Goodreads

- Amazon

- Newsletter



Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Destiny of the Queen. One winner will win their choice of an e-copy from one of Jacqueline Patricks's books (INT)



For a chance to win, enter the giveaway below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway





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