Snippet Saturday – Fireworks!


Snippet Saturday is a brilliant collaboration by Lauren Dane and a fabulous group of authors that she’s invited to join her in posting book goodies every Saturday, of which I am thrilled to be a part of. This week’s Snippet Saturday theme is—FIREWORKS, meaning an action scene or a love scene. I chose an action scene this go-round.

This is a scene from Death and Roses, a sci-fi erotic romance starring an awesome Gen8 Super Soldier named Scharsi and our hero, Tanil.

Now every girl needs to get her shopping in every now and again, right? Well, Scharsi is at the spaceport market trying to get her fix when she has to remind a person why you don’t ever, EVER want to mess with a Gen8. Check her out, then enjoy the rest of the Snippet Saturday authors via the links at the bottom of the post. Tally ho!

Today’s outfit, a gift from Princess Cerise, was a wholly feminine affair. Well, almost. Cerise had revealed that the bottoms were made of a synthsilk fabric so light that it would practically float against her skin as she moved. The cut was such that it looked like an elegant skirt, but the panel in the front actually hid the true design—a pair of wide-legged pants to give her the ability to move quickly and fight, if needed.

The top was a finely knit material, soft and clingy and just thick enough to keep the chill off her arms. It fit like a second skin, showing off her breasts, the muscular set of her shoulders and back, clear down to the flare of her waist. Where the top ended was where the pants began.

Both were done in a jewel-toned green that reminded Scharsi of precious stones. But she still sported tactical boots. After all, comfort was comfort.

“Hey, beautiful, how ‘bout joining me and my friends here for a drank?”

Drank? Did the man actually say “drank”? Good grief. Guess it took all kinds to make a rebellion work. And these men sported baggy overall suits that, regardless of the oversizing, still didn’t quite fit. These guys were simply…big. Not muscular, but tall and wide with bellies that could probably use a few jack-knife sit-ups. They sported various splotches of what looked like crystolium dust and engine grease. Hmmm. Scharsi wondered what use engine grease could possibly be in one’s hair.

“No thanks. Appreciate the offer.”

“Aw come on, darlin’. We’re about the only ones here that ain’t a-scared of you. Take your pleasure where you can git it.”

“I will say this once and once only. Go. Away.”

With that, Scharsi turned her back on the man and his dumb-as-volcanic-ash friends and went back to choosing a gift for Tanil. It was a hard thing. She wasn’t really sure what he liked. Today was an open market of sorts. Those who wanted to sell or trade brought their wares to the Bay, a large empty central space in the main hangar. Luckily there was plenty to choose from.

Idiot Number One stepped into her path.

“Word has it you’re some big bad Super Soldier bitch. But we know better.”

“Yeah, we know better,” said Idiot One’s sidekick. “Everybody knows that no Super Soldier leaves the corps. Only ones ever done it is the consorts of the princess.”

Scharsi smiled as she recalled Carl getting a friend to hack into the IMF security files. What she’d read about her generation of SS blew her away. It happened years ago, but just the thought of what they’d found in that file made her chest swell with pride. Why? Because it was the truth, probably the only truth she’d ever seen come out of the IMF.

CONFIDENTIAL—Conclusion of Gen 8 Testing: Ability to heal has increased significantly compared to a typical human. E.g. A bullet wound to a human’s deep muscle tissue of the shoulder would require 840 hours, or 35 standard days, of intense physical therapy and rehabilitation. For the same wound, Gen 8 requires approximately 210 hours, or 9 days with no intense therapy. Gen 8 is vulnerable to fatality by puncturing the heart, intestines or brain. However, the increased bone density in the skull makes it difficult. If a Gen 8 soldier decided to turn on the IMF there would be little we could do to stop them, other than track them down and kill them. Quelling a rebellion could only be accomplished by breeding a more advanced soldier.

“Why don’t you show us how badass you are? Come on back to our room. Bet you taste like real chocolate with all that pretty dark skin.”

Scharsi looked down at the fingers now dirtying up the sleeve of her new outfit. Asshole.

“Take your hand off me. I won’t tell you again.”

He didn’t. Bad choice.

“Well, you just look like a big-assed dike, to me. And a dike ain’t nothin’ but a wannabe man.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Scharsi saw a familiar shape on the edge of the growing crowd. Tanil. He simply shook his head with an expression of pity. She knew it wasn’t for her, but for the mouth breather who threw back his head and laughed like he’d told the biggest joke of the century. What the oversized, engine-grease-wearing IQ-deficient backward acting human didn’t realize was that he was the joke. If he pushed her hard enough, took one more step, he would learn that some jokes had terrible punch lines.

Damn. He took a step. Too bad.

Tanil had just left a meeting with Regan to discuss their next move. A shortcut through the central square brought him up on a scene that he had a feeling would become all too familiar.

He overheard the greaseball who had the nerve to touch Scharsi. All he could do was shake his head in amazement at how stupid some people really were. In fact, Tanil wondered where the man got the brain energy to breathe everyday. Before he could complete the thought, Scharsi was in action.

The woman spun off her weak foot and took down the target so fast Tanil was glad she wasn’t mad at him. Her aim for the soft flesh of the man’s belly had been true and he could tell she hadn’t bothered to temper the force behind her perfectly executed spinning back kick.

To this point, he’d only seen this woman’s purely feminine side. This? This was something else entirely. This was the trained soldier. The woman who could put her fist through a body and pull out a beating heart. The thought made him absently rub the healed laser rifle wound, now nothing more than a fading scar on his chest.

Her opponent, if you could call him that, must have thought Scharsi was through with him. Instead she raised the bawling, writhing mass of “supposed male” off the paved deck and tossed him into one of his buddies who probably thought he was coming to the rescue. Poor suckers.

Snippet Saturday Authors
Rhian Cahill
Shelli Stevens
Anne Rainey
Jody Wallace
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Myla Jackson
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Lauren Dane
Shiloh Walker

Snippet Saturday – Lean on me…hee…heeee


Snippet Saturday is a brilliant collaboration by Lauren Dane and a fabulous group of authors that she’s invited to join her in posting book goodies every Saturday, of which I am thrilled to be a part of. This week’s theme is *drumroll* LEAN ON ME!

We all need somebody to lean on now and then, right? Well, the same can be said of romance novel characters. Enjoy the Snippet and then be sure to visit all the Snippet Saturday authors via the links at the bottom. In fact, even badass Super Soldiers need a shoulder. So enjoy the Snippet from Death and Roses where Scharsi, Gen8 Super Soldier finds comfort in the arms of her lover…the man who was sent to terminate her.

Heart lodged in his throat, Tanil  gathered Scharsi close and spoke what he hoped were soothing words against her  ear, careful to keep his tone low in case her auditory filter was disengaged.

“Tell me what’s wrong. I’m a tough guy and all, but I don’t think I can take too many tears from you. It  breaks my heart.”

“It’s just that…” She stopped short  on a loud slurpy sniff. Completely unladylike and the cutest thing Tanil had ever seen.

“I mean, you’re just so easy to be with. No drama. No weirdness about what I am. No regrets about what you are,  I mean, being a soldier for the fucking Amalgamation and all. You care about  me, Tan. I mean really care. I can tell by the way you touch me. The way you  listen to me when I have something to say. The way you make me laugh to the point my stomach hurts.”

And it was true. He did care about her. In fact, he was far gone in love with the woman. He hadn’t told her because he didn’t want to distract her or take her focus off the hunt. This was dangerous stuff and the last thing Scharsi needed was a man-sized distraction on the way into a life-or-death situation. Yet at the same time, the way her  tears flowed, the expression on her beautiful face all looked a lot like love  too.

With each passing day he found himself craving to be the one constant in Scharsi’s life. Did she love him? Maybe. Maybe not. But he was determined to be the best thing in her life until she decided that she needed, wanted, someone other than him.

This tough-as-nails woman was bred to violence, yet could sit here and cry with him, laugh at his dumb jokes while making a few terribly corny ones herself. She was smart as a whip, wise as an old woman, yet when time allowed, as carefree as a kid who enjoyed candy and a tickle on the tummy. Well rounded should have been her middle name. What more could a man ask for? Well, he could think of one thing.

“Scharsi, please don’t cry.”

“I can’t help it. You just make me so happy. And I know I’ve said it a million times, but you make me comfortable. I was already comfortable in my own skin, but I’ve never been with anyone who made me feel so…normal.”

“Would it make you feel even more normal for me to tell you that I love you?” Damn it. He hadn’t meant to say it. Hadn’t he just finished telling himself she didn’t need such a distraction? But, it just slipped out.

“What? You love me?”

“I do. I love everything about you.”

Tanil was puzzled when she turned away and lowered her lashes. Scharsi didn’t have a shy bone in her body. What was this about?

“Scharsi, look at me.”

She shook her head, ‘no’.

No?

“Don’t get me wrong, Tan. I love myself, love who I am. It’s just that, well, it’s different to have someone else love me this way. Carl was the only one, and even he didn’t quite love me like this. I don’t know if that makes sense to you but…”

Then it dawned on him—there was a part of herself she held back, a piece that was specific to what she was rather than who she was. Something he hadn’t seen until now, but was of so little consequence Tanil hadn’t given it a second thought. Obviously, Scharsi had given it a second, third and probably a fourth thought. But why? Did the woman think he hadn’t already accepted it? Of course it was a ridiculous notion, but his Scharsi bordered on “emotional wreck” just now, so perhaps he’d let it go, right? No way in hell.

Quietly, in a tone he hoped was sweet, he said, “Let me see you, Scharsi. Please.”

At her hesitation he added, “Scharsi, please look at me, sweetheart. Share that last bit of yourself with me. Besides it’s only fair.”

She turned with a half smile and a questioning tilt of her head.

“Well, you know that my birthmark is just under the curve of my ass. It’s only fair I get to see your birthmark.”

He knew she understood. Super Soldiers might incur a scar from a battle or two, but they were born perfect. No birthmarks or any other physical flaw. Except one that, regardless of the decades of research and DNA manipulation, the Military Sciences Lab couldn’t breed away.

“Come on, baby. Give it to me.”

Lifting her head, she stared him straight in the eye. Like the subtle shifting of dusk to dawn, Scharsi’s honey brown irises began to fade until a silvery white gaze peered boldly back at him. She was still the slightest unsure—he could see it in her body language, the stiffness of her spine, the tightness around her mouth. Tanil couldn’t blame her after all she’d been through, but he was certainly determined to wipe it from her mind.

“Beautiful, Scharsi. They’re beautiful, just like all the rest of you.”

Her expression was dubious at best. He looked closer, could see the iris begin to darken.

“No, don’t. Don’t change them back. I love your eyes.”

Reluctantly she relented and allowed that slight hint of brown to retreat, leaving the most beautiful moonlight-colored eyes Tanil had ever seen. He’d done his share of work with SS, but he couldn’t think of a single one with eyes quite like his Scharsi’s. Deeply expressive, they told of her struggles and her determination to survive. Her zest for life, though she’d spent many years hiding, her loyalty to those she cared for and a bone-deep honor and commitment to doing what was right. But when she tilted her head just so, he caught the glimpse of what he was truly looking for—the passionate, giving lover that reveled in not only her femininity, but her strength as well. Oh, and orgasms. Yes, the woman did love to come, for sure.

Snippet Saturday authors
Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Leah Braemel
Eliza Gayle
Mandy M Roth
Lissa Matthews
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Myla Jackson
Taige Crenshaw
HelenKay Dimon
Lauren Dane
Delilah Devlin
Jody Wallace

Catching Up

Hey all, I’ve been awfully remiss in keeping my Goodreads up to date. I took some time and caught up today and hope I actually remembered all the books I’ve read in the past couple of months!

T.J.’s bookshelf: read

Play of Passion
5 of 5 stars
Believe it or not, this was my first Nalini Singh book and I LOVED IT!
tagged:
paranormal, romance, shape-shifter, vampire, and hot
Bound By Blood
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
paranormal, romance, shape-shifter, and vampire
Night Embrace
3 of 5 stars
tagged:
paranormal, romance, and vampire
Master of Smoke
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
fantasy, paranormal, romance, shape-shifter, and vampire
Master of Fire
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
fantasy, paranormal, romance, vampire, and shape-shifter
Never Cry Wolf
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
paranormal, romance, and hot
Warrior
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
futuristic, hot, and romance
Dark Needs at Night's Edge
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
fantasy, romance, paranormal, shape-shifter, and vampire
No Rest for the Wicked
5 of 5 stars
OMG this was a kickazz book! ‘Nuff said.
tagged:
paranormal, hot, romance, shape-shifter, vampire, and fantasy
Master of Dragons
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
fantasy, paranormal, romance, shape-shifter, and vampire
The Legend of Michael
5 of 5 stars
tagged:
futuristic, romance, and hot
Snaring the Huntress
4 of 5 stars
tagged:
futuristic, romance, sci-fi, and hot




goodreads.com

 

Snippet Saturday – Travel

Now THIS is something I know a little bit about ;D Travel is something I do often for the day job. This year I’ve been to four or five different countries and all over the danged states, too. As a matter of fact, as I type this post, I’m 3000 miles away from home.

So let’s do something a bit different, eh? Let’s go intergalactic!

In this snippet from Death and Roses, our heroine and hero are headed for a very important meeting…on another planet…that’s a bitch to get to. And one of our peeps would rather make use of the little white bag in the seat pocket in front of him. What made me think of this? My most recent trip to the East coast where I just knew I was gonna blow chunks as a result of the turbulence – gah!

After the post, enjoy all the Snippet Saturday authors via the links at the bottom of the page.

Tanil literally jumped into his clothes while moving toward the door. Scharsi didn’t bother. It would take her almost two minutes to get all the way back to the bridge. She had no time for modesty. It was the one disadvantage to having a large med ship. It had been converted into a fighting machine, but that didn’t change the size of the damn thing.

“What’s going on? What’s happening?” Tanil ran right behind her.

“The ship’s computer can’t handle getting us on the ground. Have you ever been to Mimnet?”

“Once. I don’t remember much of it. I got so airsick from all the turbul…ah shit!”

“Exactly. The turbulence. Mimnet is bad enough, but the computer said we’re coming up on Quantinium Moon. Landing on Mimnet itself might be a rocky proposition, but Quantinium is ten times as tricky.”

“Well at least I get a nice view of your ass while you run to save the ship.”

“Perv.”

“Definitely.”

Scharsi settled into the captain’s chair. Tanil ran back to her bunk, grabbed some clothes, then held tightly to the controls as she hopped up and dressed at record speed. Seated again, Scharsi thanked the Gods for her unusual strength. Piloting this craft through to the moon was a fucking fighting match—her against the atmosphere.

Tanil took the co-chair and brought up the topography grid. “Good Gods. Is there really something in this place? Scanners are coming up empty.”

“Must be or Vonner wouldn’t have sent us here.”

“Trust him that much, do you?”

“Actually, I do,” Scharsi said. “Men like him have their own code of conduct. Once they bring you into the fold, people like Ulric Vonner will treat you like family. Once we became BHI good guys, we became part of his crew.”

“Well, I don’t know about you, but you don’t send family into this kind of shit without warning.” Tanil grimaced as he held onto the arms of his chair for dear life.

“Yeah, but think about it this way, Tan, the people he’s sending us to hook up with are part of that family. He’s not going to out them just to make it easier for us to get to them. He has to protect them just as he would protect us. Period.”

“Makes sense. So now explain why it feels like my teeth are being rattled around in my head by this Gods-awful turbulence? If it keeps up, I’ll be painting the bridge floor with all kinds of new smelly colors.”

“The ice storms are bad enough, but the ground isn’t much better. Computer, magnify distance to thirty percent.”

“Yes, Commander.”

After a wicked drop in altitude, Scharsi pulled back on the controls to level them out. “See, look there. This place is one big mountain range covered with nothing but jagged peaks and a hell of a lot of snow and ice. One wrong move and we not only risk a nasty crash, but also being spotted by one of a bazillion sensors floating around in the black.”

“And we’re going there on purpose?”

“Looks like. Computer, disengage autopilot on my mark.”

“What? Disengage?” Yep, he was definitely going to blow chunks.

“There’s no choice but to pilot without the benefit of the computer’s quick calculations. Computer, five, four, three, two. Mark.”

“Autopilot disengaged, Commander.”

“Oh lord, we’re gonna die.”

“Oh stop,” Scharsi said playfully. “Thankfully this is an agile craft with good maneuverability.”

“Yeah, but she sure has a big ass,” Tanil grumbled.

“I thought you liked big asses.”

What could he say to that? It was beyond the truth, and Scharsi’s was a spankable piece of art that was permanently framed in his mind. He was a happy man. A nauseated one, but happy none the less.

Jody Wallace
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
Lacey Savage
Sasha White
Shelli Stevens

Snippet Saturday – Dreams

Now there are different types of dreams. Dreams that you have when you’re asleep, and dreams that you have when you’re awake such as what you’d like your life to be like when you grow up. Actually, I want to be a wealthy full-time writer when I grow up *snark* or perhaps an adopted daughter of J.K. Rowling.

In this excerpt from Death and Roses, our heroine, Scharsi, a genetically modified Generation8 Super Soldier…just wants to be loved. That’s her one and only dream…and it’s just come true.

After the excerpt don’t forget to visit the other Snippet Saturday authors!

The scent of their loving filled the air. It reminded Scharsi of sweet summer fields on Trescalane just as the red coffee and tropical fruits were harvested for the season’s production of strong javé and potent liqueur. And he was just so comfortable in his skin, comfortable with her. He gave her his trust, which is something she’d never received from another person in all her life, save one.

Tanil wrapped himself around her and buried his nose in her hair, as was his habit.

“You were a knockout before, but this new short and sassy hairdo of yours is off the charts in the sexy department.”

It would have been completely dry by now if not for the new drenching of sweat—all his fault of course. Not that she was complaining. Instead of a comment, Scharsi yawned big and so unladylike she almost snorted as she snuggled closer.

Her stomach rumbled and gurgled like an old derelict ship that had run out of fuel. She could still use that snack she’d been headed to before the haircut, shower and being waylaid—boy had she ever been laid—by Tanil. She’d been three kinds of depressed at what seemed
like eons ago, but now that her attitude had been properly adjusted and her muscles all langui-fied, a nap seemed more in order, whether her gut rolled around in protest of its lack of food or not.

So, any idea where we’re going?”

“Not a clue,” she replied on yet another yawn. “All I know is that Vonner said the place we’re going is some
super seekrit resistance hole up.”

“Seekrit?” Tanil laughed so hard her head bounced up and down on his shoulder. “Snark much, Scharsi?”

She smiled. Couldn’t help it. “Well, anyway,” she drawled, “Dex programmed the coordinates and in a few hours we’ll end up wherever it is we’re supposed to be.”

“Sounds easy enough. Aw hell, sorry, be right back.”

A few moments later, Tanil returned, flopping down next to her as if he’d known her forever, like they were truly a couple and not just sleeping together. The warm towel he’d run to the head to get was placed gently between her legs as he cleaned her up. No awkward movements, no weird silence. Just lovely comfort.

The towel sailed across the room toward the pile of towels she’d used on her hair and body. The man dropped a kiss on her shoulder, smiled and wrapped her up in his arms again.

When he let out a contented sigh, Scharsi lost it.

The alarm on Tanil’s face at her first sob would have had her cracking up if not for the soul-deep emotion that bubbled over inside her. If only he knew what he’d done. She hadn’t been so completely exposed, so torn down, yet emotionally built up, and all by his openness, his desire to see to her needs and the willingness to accept her, flaws and all.

Snippet Saturday authors
Jody Wallace
Emma Petersen
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Taige Crenshaw
Sasha White

Snippet Saturday – The male protagonist

A glimpse at the male protagonist from the sci-fi romance, Death and Roses. Be sure to enjoy the other Snippet Saturday authors via the links at the end of this post.

Note for Readers: You must be over eighteen to read this excerpt.


DEATH and ROSES
a Hunter for Hire novel
Ellora’s Cave | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes and Noble

He’d teased her mercilessly during dinner. Having surprised her with the knowledge that he could actually cook more than dehydrated military rations, Tanil was pretty proud of the fresh foods he’d prepared as a result of raiding her cold storage. He’d ended the meal with a shot of fruity Tropicure for the both of them.

And Scharsi was as potent as the liquor he’d served up. And he couldn’t wait to taste her, to see if she was as sweet, whether she would coat his tongue, then burn him on the way down.

Thoughts tumbled around in his head but he kept his mouth closed. After all, he could sense her uncertainty, and the last thing he wanted was to say something stupid and chase her away.

Instead he held her hand in a gentle grip and led her to her quarters in silence. The door slid open with a quiet hiss. She froze at the threshold. Raising his hands slowly so as not to startle her, Tanil let his fingers dip into the tense muscles of her neck and shoulders. A few seconds passed, then he stepped closer.

“Invite me in?”

A slight turn and her gaze locked with his.

For a moment, Tanil was struck by the sheer, raw beauty of the woman. Words stuck in his throat as he moved around her body to stand before her.

“I have to touch you, Shar.” Gently he placed his hands on either side of her head and guided her into his kiss. Just before their lips touched he stilled, looking deeper into the light brown of her muted honey-colored eyes.

And there it was—fear. Stark, barely leashed. Something he doubted she had much experience with. Her facial features gave away nothing. Every muscle in her body appeared relaxed and uncommonly still. Yet her eyes told it all. She was terrified. The question—what was she afraid of? Certainly not him in a physical sense. Scharsi was built like a damn prison hulk—strong enough to contain the meanest, baddest criminal in the ‘verse. If she wanted out, there was nothing he could do to stop her. They both knew that.

Sex? Sure, she could handle that. He was, after all, former Interplanetary Military. He knew all about the SS program. Scharsi would have been trained to be good at it like she was groomed to be good at everything else. But attraction? Now that was another matter altogether. And from what he knew of the rigorous and brutal training that all SS went through, attraction was not something that was allowed. Ever. She would be woefully unprepared to deal with it.

Unable to resist, Tanil drew his thumb over a plump bottom lip, teasing the flesh until she gently bit down. He shook his head and smiled. Not a plastic, perfectly practiced spreading of his lips, but a genuine smile that he felt clear down to the depths of his soul.

He knew exactly what she would do next—attempt to regain control.

“Not happening, Shar.”

“What?” she asked. Her tongue now followed his thumb back and forth across her mouth.

“You don’t get to be in charge. Not tonight.” Or any other night. “But I promise I won’t fuck you without your full consent and cooperation. Ever.”

She started to protest, he could feel it in the tightening muscles in the center of her back as he moved a hand to gently stroke up and down her spine.

“You get to be a woman right now. No need to be a soldier. Let me take care of you, even just for a little while. Give me complete control of your release. Promise me.”

Snippet Saturday authors
Emma Petersen
Jody Wallace
Leah Braemel
Lissa Matthews
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Selena Blake
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
Lauren Dane

Review – Mesmerized by Lauren Dane

Mesmerized (A Phantom Corps Novel)Mesmerized by Lauren Dane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had the privilege of reading an ARC of Lauren Dane’s Mesmerized. Of all the Federation Chronicles ‘verse books written by Lauren Dane, Relentless was my favorite…until now.

We met a hottie named Andrei Solace in the previous Phantom Corps novel, Insatiable. Mezmerized is Andrei’s story.

This man is emotionally deep. We already know he’s a bad ass, but there’s so much more to Andrei. I love the way the author peels back the layers and exposes his strengths and vulnerabilities a bit at a time.

The heroine, Piper Roundtree, is a hoot. She’s sassy (not bitchy), stubborn and determined to protect those she loves. Piper is an awesome match for Andrei, both in and out of bed. Actually she reminds me of…me *cough cough*! Snarky, smart, yet willing to learn as her role in Andrei’s life becomes more defined and complicated.

Also, I love that Lauren keeps true to one of the things she does best – showing family ties. The relationships make sense, feel ‘true’, and the boundaries are clear.

The romance is sizzling, not too much, not too little. This book made me laugh out loud (there’s a certain scene where the hero and heroine are talking and Piper is showing out in a good way. I laughed my ass off!). It made me want to cry as I watched the main characters grow, as well as deal with heart wrenching losses. And it pissed me off as I watched all the cast work their way through deadly situations together. I wanted to climb into the book and kick the bad guys myself.

The world is so vibrant and the characters so well written, it engaged my emotions, my senses, even my conscience.

This is a damn good book!

Book 1 – Undercover
Book 2 – Relentless
Book 3 – Insatiable (Federation Chronicles, #3)

View all my reviews

Snippet Saturday – Author’s Choice

This week’s theme is Author’s Choice. I absolutely love the book, Death and Roses. It’s a Hunter’s for Hire story about a Generation 8 Super Soldier named Scharsi. In this scene, her best friend has just been killed and she’s on the trail of those ruthless bastards. Yep, payback is a bitch.

Don’t forget to visit the other snippet authors. Links at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

Order at: Ellora’s Cave | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes and Noble

Back on the bridge, Scharsi put on a pair of over-ear headphones coded to the Space Port frequency she’d hijacked.

Speaking clearly, but quietly, she said, “Computer, give me a status on the uplink to surveillance system CSAB0942.”

“Uplink complete, Commander. Feed will begin in ten seconds.”

Scharsi braced herself as the high pitched hum and click in the earpiece told her the hack into the networked security system Carl had insisted on installing in their home was complete. A list of files displayed across one of the bridge control consoles. She selected one with the timestamp closest to when Carl must have been murdered.

“File loaded. Playback will begin in exactly six seconds, Commander.”

Every muscle in her body went taut as the audio streamed. Carl hadn’t allowed video in case someone else managed to do the same thing she was doing now, and she was glad for it. Why? Because what came through the earpiece would have driven her to recklessness. It was bad enough to hear it all. At the sound of the whir of a laser rifle, her mind conjured the image of it being aimed at Carl. The angry, then shocked cry of her best friend. The quiet squish—a sound she was familiar with—as Carl’s body fell to the floor with a quiet thud-flop as he landed in blobs of his own flesh. Then Tanil’s mouth opened on a yell that had become a garbled scream even as he tried to get the unit to stop firing.

Moments later she heard the group move around the room, then through the house with the exception of the man who’d shot Tanil. He’d taken a stance near the rear door…just beneath the only video bit in the house that was embedded in the halo-lamp above that door. She got a completely clear image of his face, every line, every wrinkle. Every nuance. Then she saw it—a tell that gave away just who this asshole was. His eyes, a pair so like her own there was no mistaking him as anything but a Super Soldier even if he hadn’t been a third of a meter taller than his comrades and just as wide. She’d assumed this was a gang of mercenaries, considering their uniforms were unmarked, but she’d been wrong. This was IMF.

Scharsi rolled it back and watched the communication again from the second the man took position to the
end of the whole fucking nightmare. The one making the link said words that caused her jaw to drop. He believed her dead, and that whatever Tanil was supposed to have had wasn’t found anywhere in the house or on his ship. Then it was over.

That scant sixty seconds was all she needed to learn that the soldiers who’d trashed her house and killed her friend had been after Tanil all along. She and Carl were just expendable targets. Fucking sons of bitches.

She turned away from the vid, then changed her mind. Eyes back on the console, Scharsi’s body went still. The SS creep that’d reported her dead was looking right at her, staring into the hidden surveillance cam as if he knew it was there. But surprisingly, he said nothing to his team. Instead, when one of them approached to report the coast was clear, he’d turned away as if he’d never noticed a cam pointed right at him. Correction, pointed at them.

Even after turning off the vid and walking through the incident in her head, the whole thing remained amazing and highly illogical. Why would the military brass send an entire ops team way out to Ukure to kill one captain? One human captain, at that? It didn’t make sense but it did reveal how desperate the Amalgamation had become in its efforts to stamp out the slightest hint of rebellion among the ranks. Either that or they’d gotten wind of what Tanil knew and was willing to go to any lengths to get rid of him.

Intuition said it was the latter.

Leah Braemel
Lissa Matthews
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
Eliza Gayle
HelenKay Dimon
Lauren Dane
Sasha White
Jody Wallace

Snippet Saturday – A ‘lil help from my friends

Could you imagine a book that only had the hero and heroine in it? No family. No friends. No good or bad guys. Just…them. Perhaps it’s possible, but even movies like The Blue Lagoon where most of the movie was spent with just Emaline and Richard, you still had the scary ‘cut-off-your-head’ people, eventually their baby son, and even the sea creatures added to the backdrop of their lives. A supporting case is needed, whether it’s for a good book, a good movie, even our everyday lives require more than just ‘lil ole us.

Well, you guessed it! Today’s Snippet Saturday theme is secondary characters. ‘Cause we all occasionally need a little help from our friends *sing that Beatles song with me, everybody!* ;D

After this snippet from my newest release, Death and Roses, please be sure to visit the other Snippet Saturday authors whose links are below. Enjoy!

Death and Roses
A Hunter’s for Hire novel
Copyright 2010, TJ Michaels
Published by Ellora’s Cave
All rights reserved

“Okay, here’s what we have. I did a bit of hacking into the IMF communications systems through the central servers on Amalgama,” Tie informed them.

Scharsi felt her brows crawl up her face in astonishment. How the hell had he done such a thing?

“I used the secured housing unit in Sector Two. I figured I’d get more information from the lower ranks chatter than bothering with the upper asses. Also, those asses figure they don’t need much security on the internal systems since the soldiers can only use those channels to talk to each other. And I was right. It seems that the good Captain Tanil’s former unit, Kev, is missing.”

“What? Missing? But Kev is SS,” Tanil said.

“How does a Super Soldier go missing? It’s unheard of. No one just drops out of the corps and no one leaves. We escaped, but we’re the exceptions, not the rule,” Scharsi said.

“True,” Tie responded. “But word is that the job to kill Tanil was botched by a SS. This particular missing SS, to be exact.”

“Bullshit. SS’s don’t botch jobs,” Regan said.

All of them nodded in agreement. So that meant only one thing. Tanil’s jaw clenched in anger as he voiced the length the corps would go through to keep its secret. “It means that Kev didn’t intend to kill me. If he had, I’d be dead. Period. But Vulf would know that just as well as we do. He would have concluded that Kev defied his orders. Then Kev gets “disappeared” or Vulf risks the SS being questioned by his handlers. The SS wouldn’t hesitate to reveal his actions to his handler. After all, he couldn’t be punished for carrying out a kill order, ‘cause an order is an order is an order. Follow it, or else.”

Scharsi added, “But Vulf is a different story. Even he wouldn’t be exempt from punishment for ordering the assassination of a fellow Amalgamation officer.”

“Former Amalgamation officer, thank you very much,” Tanil said.

“Right.” Regan smiled. It was a scary thing to behold, that smile.

“I’m not sure I understand this handler-to-soldier relationship,” Cerise questioned, her pretty brow scrunched into a frown.

“Vulf can give orders to the units under his command, but he can’t order them to keep whatever they see or hear from their handlers. The handlers have the real control, the real authority. Super Soldiers know that much better than the fucktards like Vulf do. It’s pounded into them each and every day.” Scharsi said.

“And contrary to the myths perpetrated by the feds, Super Soldiers aren’t walking zombies with no minds of their own. They aren’t stupid.”

“Why thank you, Tanil dear,” Tie said sarcastically. Cerise laughed outright. The sound was infectious even as Tie batted his lashes at Tanil with a genuine twinkle in his opaque grayish-whites that declared his modified genes.

After getting her giggling under control, Cerise leaned into Tie and said, “Give them the last, babe.” Tie looked up at the little princess as if she hung the moons. Then again, to this particular male, perhaps she hung every moon in this quadrant.

For a moment, Scharsi was distracted at her own happiness—happiness that she’d found love and that her fellow SS had too. What were the odds?

“And last, we have information from some of our contacts that strange, even unknown illnesses have been reported in some of the resistance camps. Thankfully none of those who’d gotten ill were high up enough on the food chain to spill much to their Amalgamation “doctors”. They did notice, however, that the doctors were awful tightlipped in telling them what they had. Gave ‘em shots that hurt like hell, though.”

“So, where are we going? What’s the plan?” Scharsi asked point-blank.

“Tell us what you think is the best way to go,” Tie said. “After all, you’re the one trained for analytics and reasoning. It only makes sense that you would come up with what makes the most sense, then let us work up the logistics on how to make it happen. While my specialty is computers and technology, I really just like to blow shit up.”

Regan slipped an arm around Tie and said, “Well that makes two of us.”

“Three of us, baby,” Cerise chimed in.

Regan’s lips spread with a grin that made Tanil’s stomach dance and the skin over his spine dampen with a cold sweat. He sent up a silent prayer.

Dear Gods, thank you that these people are on our side, otherwise I’d be shitting in my pants just now. Amen.

He couldn’t help but wince as he rubbed the spot where a crater from Kev’s laser pistol used to be. Nor, even in the levity of the moment, could he suppress the grief that welled up in his soul to know that someone, Kev, had knowingly given his life for him.

SNIPPET SATURDAY AUTHORS:
Mari Carr
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Taige Crenshaw
Vivian Arend
HelenKay Dimon
Lauren Dane
Lissa Matthews
Shelley Munro
Shelli Stevens
Jody Wallace
Ashley Ladd

Snippet Saturday – Villains

Every book has to have a bad guy you love to hate. Meet Vulf from Death and Roses. Even his name sounds nasty. Hope you absolutely hate him ;D Don’t forget that links to the other marvelous authors are after the excerpt!

“Is it done?”

“Yes sir. Captain Tanil has been terminated sir.”

“And the data?”

“It was not recovered, sir. Tanil did not have it on his person or aboard his ship. However, the secondary mission was accomplished. The deserter, Dr. Carl Sabbo, has been terminated. He was alone in the dwelling. Female attire was found in one of the rooms.”

“Was it hers?”

“Doubtful. The clothing was for a much larger female than the SS specimen Dr. Sabbo stole from the labs. The reports that the soldier died in the escape seven years ago may be accurate after all. That SS was known to be meticulous in appearance and surroundings. The room where the female clothes were found was nothing short of chaos, and not of our making. She doesn’t appear to have been here.”“

The man on the other end of the communication winced at the clipped, non-feeling tone in the voice that relayed the information. The soldier reporting the task he’d carried out was beyond calm. It was damn disconcerting. Then the man remembered just what he was dealing with, not bothering to complete the thought of whether the soldier was man or machine. It was a state of the art Gen10 SS. Methodical. Ruthless. Unemotional. Almost fanatical in his need to complete an assignment with as much bloodshed and madness as possible. Just as he’d been bred and trained to do.

“Very well, RE-5512SE. Just arrange for Sabbo’s body, or what’s left of it, to be found by the right people.”

“Yes sir. Over and out.”

“One moment, soldier. Who fired the shot?”

“KE-0V217, sir.”

“Thank you. That is all.” Vulf disconnected the call and practically skipped to the door of his office.

Finally the thorn in his side had been nipped. Too bad Dr. Sabbo had to be the excuse to get Tanil to the farthest reaches of the empire just so the Captain, or former Captain, could be quietly put down. Tanil would be missed. After all, he’d been one of the best tactical specialists the Interplanetary Military Forces had ever produced. Now he was nothing. Killed clean and quick.

Vulf made a mental note to send a condolences vid to Tanil’s parents.

After all, every plan required the perfect touch.

Shelli Stevens
Lauren Dane
Ashley Ladd
Vivian Arend
Taige Crenshaw
Shelley Munro
McKenna Jeffries
Mandy M Roth
Mari Carr
HelenKay Dimon
Jody Wallace