Posted in #Book, Author, Bewitching Book Tours, blog, Book, Fiction, Syfi, Uncategorized, Writer

MOM by Collin Piprell – Book Tour

07/04/17

 

 

MOM
Magic Circles Series
Book 1
Collin Piprell
Genre: Sci Fi
Publisher: Common Deer Press
Date of Publication: April 5, 2017
ISBN: 9780995072961
ASIN: B01MZJ09T4
Number of pages: 373 pages
Word Count: 100k
Cover Artist: Common Deer Press
Tagline: A mystery thriller set in the second half of the twenty-first century, MOM is the first novel in Collin Piprell’s darkly comic and always thought-provoking MAGIC CIRCLES science-fiction series.

Book Description:

A GOD IS BORN!
TOO BAD ABOUT THE PERSONALITY DISORDER
So reads the graffito.
MOM is the mall operations manager — the greatest intelligence in history, a machine awakened to self-awareness at a time when the last few human survivors have withdrawn to the last two remaining refuges on Earth. Quarantined from the global nanobot superorganism outside the malls and from each other inside, the mallsters are utterly dependent on MOM for everything — including the ever-more suspect information they’re getting about the world Outside.
Now the malls are crumbling.

Amazon     Common Deer Press    BN


Excerpt:

 

TOOT HAS SCUTTLED ahead into the dark
passage. Dee Zu follows far behind in the dark. She has stopped to gently smear
more of the soothing muck over herself. Try to avoid infection, her WalkAbout
is telling her. She laughs.
 Part of the flushed feeling could
be medibots at work, but the damage is too general to be sure. Whatever. This
might be too big a job for the in-house crew. But there’s good news,
compliments of the WalkAbout: she hurts so much that these must be only second-degree
burns; third-degree burns destroy the pain receptors. She stops, manages to
focus. She opens herself to a swell of anxiety, letting it dissipate before it
can erupt into full-blown panic. At the same time she relegates the pain to a
bearable distance.
It’s hard to judge, but she thinks they
must have already penetrated at least two hundred meters into this limestone
labyrinth. So far they have simply kept to their right. She must remember this,
which choices they have made, in case they have to retrace their route. This
particular tunnel has tapered to the point that, should they decide to return
to their start, Dee Zu, at least, will have to back out.
Another choice presents itself. Which
way to go, which fork to take? This time, Dee Zu’s ears tell her, Toot has
trotted off down the leftward tunnel. Dee Zu feels the faintest of breezes
issuing from that direction, which means it might offer a way out. Anyway, the
return would be right, left, left, left. Dee Zu repeats it to herself. No
problem.
She humps along on elbows and knees, taking care not
to bang her head, trying to spare her scorched skin, conscious of Toot somewhere in the dark ahead. The passage continues to narrow. Finally she can nolonger hear her companion. She calls
out, “Toot. I don’t think I can go this way. Toot?” But there’s
noanswer.
Now she encounters broken ground, a
fresh fall. The rocks are slime-free, and sharp edges tear at her. With much
painful contortion she makes her way over and around it; then she finds she can
go no farther. The passage is too narrow.
 “Toot!” she calls. Again there’s
no response. Deciding it’s better not to wait, she starts inching backwards
towards the last junction. She has just started when there’s a great thud. More
than a thud. The concussion pounds at her from all directions, pummels her
innards. The very earth groans; this is followed by a quick rumble. Dee Zu lies
still for a good five minutes. She thinks of times past with Cisco, she thinks
about Tor, and she tells herself to relax. Eventually, she resumes her backward
journey out of this dead end. She proceeds only a few meters before her feet
kick against broken ground. She feels all around with her toes for the passage,
but there is no passage. Only the fresh rockfall. She also senses that she’s
missing toes, two or three digits. Was it the satrays or the blurs that took
them? If it had been blurs, they wouldn’t have left her the remaining toes, or
anything else either.
Dee Zu weighs this option, then she
weighs that one and she realizes that they are both the same: lie here in the
dark and wait to die.
*
A scrabble to the end of the road, and
Dee Zu is left alone with the sound of her own breathing. She feels a faint
breeze against her face coming from the dark ahead, cruel suggestion of an
escape route. She never did find her water. Her skin is tightening. Maybe it’s
the muck drying in the breeze. She’s thirsty. And light-headed. She hears an
occasional grate and clack where the rocks behind her shift to a more stable
configuration. Water drips, tantalizingly, but the acoustics are bad and she can’t
tell whether it’s ahead, the way Toot went, or behind. And that’s it. That’s
her world. No bail button.
 Without much hope, but lacking
anything better to do, Dee Zu tries wiggling through. She dislocates her
shoulder joints. Normally this would be easy, but in this confined space it
isn’t. It feels like her skin is tearing. There’s no chance.
One of her shoulders refuses to pop back
into joint. Dee Zu shifts into shutdown mode, reducing both metabolism and
cognition to minimum maintenance levels. Her last thoughts are of Cisco.

About the Author:

Collin Piprell is a Canadian writer and editor resident in Thailand. He is the author of four previous novels and a collection of humorous stories, now out of print, as well as four books on national parks, diving, and coral reefs, which are also out of print. *MOM* is the first novel of Magic Circles, a science-fiction trilogy in progress. Visit http://www.collinpiprell.com to learn more.
*
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Posted in #Book, Author, Bewitching Book Tours, blog, Book, Fiction, Military, Romance, SciFic, Story, Writer

GenTech Rebellion Series by Ann Gimpel – Book Tour

07/04/17

 

GenTech Rebellion Series Backstory

Sometime between the interminable
wars in the Middle East and 9/11, the United States moved forward breeding a
race of super humans. Clandestine labs formed, armed with eager scientists
who’d always yearned to manipulate human DNA. At first the clones looked
promising, growing to fighting size in as little as a dozen years, but V1 had
design flaws.
Seven years ago, a rogue group
turned on their creators, blew up the lab, and hit all the other breeding
farms, freeing whomever they could find. In the intervening time, they’ve
retreated to hidden compounds and created a society run by men. Women are kept
on a tight leash because the men fear if they discover their innate power,
they’d launch their own rebellion. 
Winning
Glory
GenTech
Rebellion
Book
1
Ann
Gimpel
Genre: Military Romance with a
Science Fiction Edge
The
line between hunter and hunted thins, blurs, and finally shatters.

Book Description:

After years as a black ops CIA
agent, nothing surprises Roy Kincaid, yet his current assignment is close to a
bust. How could his target—renegade genetic freaks—drop off the radar as if
they never existed? Burnt out and discouraged, he hunches over a meal in a
backwater diner when a half-frozen woman with the look of an abused runaway
staggers through the door. On his feet in an instant, Roy kicks himself. His first
instinct is to help her, make certain she stays long enough for the bluish cast
to leave her lips. His second is to finish his meal and leave. The world is
full of broken women. It’s not his job to fix them, but he can’t take his eyes
off her.
Glory’s telepathic ability blares
a harsh warning. Roy hunts those like her, but damn if he didn’t buy her
dinner. Maybe she can fool him, just for tonight. Add a dry motel room to the
meal. If she plays it very cool, he’ll never find out she’s on the run from the
same group he’s targeted for death.
Enhanced genetics only go so far.
A roadblock and her face on a Most Wanted flyer shatter her fragile truce with
Roy. If her Handlers find her, they’ll kill her. If Roy finds out what she is,
she’ll be worse than dead.
Amazon    BN     Google
Play
    iBooks    Kobo     Audio

Excerpt
Winning Glory:

…“Dessert, hon?”
The waitress sidled back over to him, and Roy realized he was her only
customer.
“Sure. What do
you have?”
She rattled off
a series of pies and cakes. He chose apple pie with a scoop of ice cream, and
she left with his dinner plate. Roy slumped against the chair. He had to keep
going. No choice. Not really. A good night’s sleep, coupled with the first
adequate meal he’d had in a couple days might make a big difference in his
attitude. At least he hoped they would.
He’d just begun
on the pie, which had a surprisingly flaky crust, when a rush of cold air
yanked his attention toward the door. A tall woman walked in. Long, dark hair
caked with snow swirled around her, and she held her body tightly as if she
were really cold. Roy glanced at her feet and was shocked to see a pair of
tennis shoes with holes in them. Good God, had she been outside with such
inadequate footwear? Didn’t she understand she could freeze to death? Even his
stout boots didn’t do much to divert the cold.
Keeping her gaze
downcast, she made her way to the counter and sat.
“Coffee, hon?”
The waitress asked.
“How much is
it?” the woman inquired.
“Two bucks.”
“Oh.” The
woman’s shoulders drooped, and she swiveled the stool around, getting ready to
go back out into the storm.
“No, you don’t.”
The waitress’s voice sharpened. “I’ll stand you a coffee. You look about done
in.”
The woman’s even
features melted into what looked like relief before she turned back to face the
counter. “Thank you. That’s really kind and I appreciate it. My wallet was
stolen, and—”
“Never you
mind.” The waitress patted the woman’s shoulder. “Bet you’re hungry too.” She
poured hot coffee into a mug and handed it to the woman, who drew the steaming
liquid to her lips.
 “Maybe a little,” the woman ventured. She
clasped the cup with fingers white from cold.
By now, Roy knew
he was staring, but he couldn’t make himself turn away. There was something
waiflike and alluring about the tall woman with long, black hair. Snow dripped
off her, creating puddles around her stool. All she wore against the winter
weather was a thick, gray sweater and worn jeans. No scarf. No gloves. No hat.
He was close to certain her wallet hadn’t been stolen. She looked more like an
abuse victim on the run to him. Maybe he could help her get to her intended
destination, if it wasn’t too far out of his way.
He pushed his
chair back and made his way to the counter. “Say—” he began, but she started
and drew away as if she expected him to hit her.
I was right.
Abuse victim for sure.
“I’m not going
to hurt you.” He kept his voice low, soothing. “Order whatever you want, and
I’ll pay for it.”
She kept her
gaze on her hands clutching the coffee cup. “I can’t let you do that, sir. I’m
all right. Truly I am.”
Without waiting
for an invitation, he took the stool next to hers and called to the waitress.
“Bring her the same meal I just had.”
“You got it,
hon,” rang from the direction of the kitchen.
“You are not all
right,” Roy said. “You’re thin as a rail, and you were shivering when you came
in here. In fact, you still are. I’ll bet your shoes are wet clear through.”
When she didn’t respond, he ploughed on. “Let me help you.”
She shook her
head. “Don’t want your kind of help. It always comes with strings.”
“Mine doesn’t.”
He pushed a little
with his enhanced mental ability to get her to look at him. If she did, maybe
she’d see truth in his eyes. A shudder ran down her thin frame, but she dragged
her gaze upward reluctantly. Roy felt bad for forcing her, but he didn’t have
time to soothe her wounded places, which he suspected ran deep.
Eyes a shade of
green he’d never seen inspected him. Long, thick lashes framed those eyes, and
they were set in a face with high cheekbones, a high forehead, and black
eyebrows winging a track over porcelain skin.
“Who are you?”
The words tore from him. He hadn’t meant to say them. She was nervous as a
feral cat as it was.
She shook her
head sadly. “No one. I’m no one. You’ll forget all about me when you leave
here.”
Something
shifted in his mind, but he fought it. Before he could determine if something
real had just happened or if he were imagining things, the waitress showed up
with the woman’s dinner.
“Here you go,
hon. Hope medium’s okay for that steak?”
“Fine, thank
you.” Before the words were out, the woman picked up the fork and knife and
shoveled food into her mouth.
Roy
congratulated himself on a good call. Even though she’d been reluctant to admit
it, she really was starving. He had no idea what she’d do tomorrow or the next
day, but it wasn’t his problem. While she ate, he observed her from the corner
of his eyes. In addition to being hungry and underdressed, she looked young.
Maybe twenty. He’d be surprised if she were much more than that.
He shook a
mental finger at himself. The country was full of abused women running from the
men who used them as punching bags before they raped them. It was one part of
law enforcement work he’d never understood: why the women kept going back for
more.
“There are safe
houses for girls like you,” he said, and could’ve kicked himself. What the hell
was wrong with his mouth tonight? He couldn’t seem to keep words on the other
side of it.
She stopped
chewing long enough to glance at him. “What’s a safe house?”
“A place where
women like you can go so whoever’s after you can’t get to you.”
“What makes you
think someone’s after me?” Color splotched across her white cheeks.
Roy took a deep
breath. “I was a cop for a long time.”
Her entire body
tightened, and he wondered if he’d been wrong about why she was out in the
storm. “You said was.” She swiped a paper napkin over her lips. “Are you
still?”
“No. Not
anymore.”
She took another
bite, clearly thinking about what he’d said. “These people you think are after
me. Could they still find me in a safe house?”
He wanted to lie
to her, but didn’t. “Sure. Anyone can find anybody with the Internet and all,
but the people who run the safe houses won’t let anyone who might hurt you
inside.”
She drew her
arched brows together and drank some coffee. “I’d have to go outside sometime.
Work. Earn my way.”
He nodded. Those
things were all true. He scratched his head and pushed too-long hair out of his
eyes. “Sometimes, when a man is really persistent, there are ways of setting
you up with a different identity in a different part of the country.”
Interest lit her
features, and she cut up the last of her steak. “Where would I go to have that
happen?”
“I’m not sure,
but we could check with local agencies in the morning.”
A blank
expression washed over her face, as if someone had shut out a light. She shot
him a look she might have given yesterday’s overripe trash. “Morning, huh?
You’re just like all the rest of them, mister. Means I’d have to spend the
night with you.”
Roy winced. He
hadn’t been thinking. Of course she’d make that connection. “No.” He shook his
head emphatically. “I’d buy you your own room for the night. You can clean up,
get some sleep, and we’ll regroup in the morning after breakfast.”
She narrowed her
eyes, and he felt himself drawn into their depths. “My own room with a locked
door?”
He nodded
solemnly, willing her to believe him. If he could just do one decent deed, it
would make up for the last two weeks of beating his head into a brick wall.
Maybe it would give him enough juice to keep hunting for the scientists who
were a bunch of Houdini fuckers.
“Mmph.” She
started on her potato, taking large bites. In between them, she said. “I’m
trying to figure out your angle. If I’ve worked my way around to believing you
won’t hurt me by the time I’m done eating, I’ll accept your offer.”
It was the best
he was likely to get. Roy stood. “Fair enough. I’m going to finish my pie.” It
was sitting in a pool of melted ice cream, but he didn’t mind. “If you’d care
to accept my help, just stop by my table on your way out. If you walk past, I
give you my word I won’t bother you.”
“Deal.” She said
around a mouthful of food. Swallowing, she twisted to look at him.
It felt as if
she were staring straight through him, but Roy held his ground even after he
identified a zing of power withdrawing from his mind. What the hell was she,
anyway? When she returned to her dinner, he retreated to his pie, thoughts
racing a mile a minute. What the fuck was he doing? If he were smart, he’d
forget his offer, throw enough money on the table to cover both meals, and run
like hell for his car.
There was
something about the woman, though, an appeal that drew him, snared him, and
wouldn’t leave him be. He ate mindlessly, not tasting the pie. He knew the feel
of freak mind control. Was that it? Had he inadvertently stumbled onto one of
them?
Impossible.
They’re never by themselves, and whatever she examined me with didn’t feel
quite right.
Plus, she didn’t
resemble the ones he’d killed before. They had dark hair, but animal eyes.
Amber, not green like hers. Of course they’d been men, but simple genetics
argued they’d all look much the same if they came out of the same petri dishes.
Were there other
augmented humans beyond those he already knew about? The thought fascinated and
chilled him at the same time.
He scraped his
fork over the plate and realized it was empty. Slugging back long-since-cold
coffee, he dug for his wallet and extracted what he was certain would cover
dinner, laying bills on the table and placing his empty mug atop them.
The woman looked
almost done with her meal. What would she do?
What would he do
if she walked by him and out the door? Would he be able to keep his promise and
not go after her?…
Honor
Bound
GenTech
Rebellion
Book
2
Ann
Gimpel
Dream Shadow Press
Genre: Military romance
with a Science Fiction edge
We
have to trust to fight side by side, but love’s so unexpected—and so
irresistible —it trumps everything.
Book Description:
Honor takes a huge chance and
flees her compound one wintry night. A genetically altered woman, she has no
memories from before her kin staged a rebellion seven years before. Because of
her enhanced physiology, she finds a home working for the CIA alongside four
other women just like her. There are still plenty of rules, but they’re
different, and she’s figuring out how to blend in.
Milton Reins burns through women
and marriages. After the third one implodes, he swears off hunting for a
replacement. Running the CIA is a more than fulltime job. There’s no time for
anything else in his life, which is fine until Honor comes along. Training in
the gym throws their bodies together and makes him remember the feel of a woman
in his arms. Milton aches for her, but she’s a freak—the CIA term for test tube
humans designed by scientists.
Honor wants Milton with every
bone in her body, but it’s a terrible idea, especially after she delves into
his head and sees his ambivalence toward her kind. Need drives them together,
but their differences create roadblocks every step of the way. Fueled by anger
and fear, she shuts him out. So what if the sex was great, she’s done.
Or is she?
Amazon    BN     Google
Play
    iBooks    Kobo     Print

Excerpt
Honor Bound
:

…“How about
this?” Honor finished her drink and twirled the glass between her hands. “The
other women and I are on top of things. We’ll make sure nothing…unexpected
happens.”
“What if I pull
rank and order Charity to stay here?” he demanded, not liking her answer.
Honor shook her
head. “That’d be a bad idea.” After a pause, she added hastily, “Sir. With all
due respect.”
Milton chortled.
“You’re learning. Why is it a bad idea?”
Honor closed her
teeth over her lower lip. “Like all of us, she’s finding her way. Figuring out
where she fits in here. Even though we lived in the western United States, we
may as well have been in Bangladesh for all the differences between living here
and where we were after the rebellion.”
“You still
haven’t told me why it’s a bad idea.”
“She needs to
trust you. If you ride herd on her, treat her like the Nameless Ones treated
us, she never will, and this…problem of hers will just get worse.”
Desperation
flared, a glowing nimbus she nipped quickly, but he’d been paying close
attention, plus he’d been inside her mind. Milton pushed forward with a
combination of intuition and his augmented ability. “You’re worried it will get
worse anyway.”
Her gaze
skittered away. “Yes. No. Possibly. These things are hard to predict. Please.”
She leaned forward this time and placed a hand over his where it lay atop his
leg. “Let us handle it our way. I give you my word we’ll ask for help before it
gets out of control.”
Her touch was
warm, electric. Before he could stop himself, he set his other hand over hers,
and turned the bottom hand upward, capturing her flesh between his. His mouth
was suddenly dry, and his groin tightened with a rush of sexual energy so
intense it stole his breath.
Words became a
struggle, but he forced them out anyway. “Doesn’t sound very smart to me. Is
there any chance she’ll switch allegiance?”
Honor’s eyes
widened. “Oh hell, no. You mean fight for the Nameless Ones?” When Milton
nodded, she was even more emphatic. “No. That’d never happen. She hates them
just as much as we do.”
It was the main
thing that had worried him: that he’d been playing host to a double
agent—again. Some of the tension drained out of him, and he rubbed his fingers
over Honor’s where they lay clasped between his.
“I really should
go, sir.” She tried to pull her hand back, but he didn’t let go.
“Do you always
do what you should?”
Honor looked
away. “Not a fair question, sir.”
“Stop calling me
that!”
“But you are my
commanding officer.” Honor kept her voice soft, but the meaning in her words
slapped Milton squarely across his forehead.
He released her
hand. “Sorry.” He spoke stiffly. “I forgot myself. You’re free to go.”
The sadness he’d
sensed earlier was back in spades. It flowed from her in slow, tired waves. He
pushed, surprised when she let him inside her mind. Not far, but enough for him
to view the loneliness she’d lived with all her life. Her only safety zone had
been the dozen women in her dorm at the compound, and seven of them were dead.
No wonder she needed to do everything possible to protect Charity.
Milton got to
his feet and offered her a hand. She took it and stood too. “Thanks for helping
me understand you a little,” he said.
“You’re welcome.
Sometimes that way is easier than talking. Thank you for not insisting Charity
stay here.”
“She’s important
to you,” he said. “I didn’t fully appreciate how much you depend on each other
until you allowed me into your thoughts.”
Milton didn’t
know if he moved toward her, she toward him, or both of them simultaneously,
but Honor ended up in his arms. He tightened his hold, enjoying the feel of her
sleekly muscled body against his. She matched his six-foot height and fit
perfectly in his arms. His cock hardened against her belly, and her eyes widened
in surprise.
“Of course you’d
be a virgin,” he murmured, stroking his hands down her back.
“We were
off-limits to the Nameless Ones, but we talked about sex among ourselves.”
Arousal flashed
deep inside him. Even though he knew he shouldn’t, he asked, “What did you talk
about?” He cupped his hands around her high, firm buttocks and snugged her
against his erection.
Desire
apparently trumped discomfort, and she pushed against him. “Men. We talked
about how penises get hard, and how one might feel inside us.” She licked her
lips, and heat flickered in her eyes. “Sometimes we’d touch ourselves and mind
link, so we could feel each other come.”
He’d never
considered that possible use for his enhanced senses. The feedback loop from
feeling what his partner felt right along with his own arousal intrigued him
and made him hotter than hell. Honor pressed closer against him and kneaded his
back.
Milton traced
her full lower lip with his thumb. “Has anyone told you what a devilishly
attractive woman you are?”
She shook her
head.
He couldn’t
resist the siren call of those lips. Milton angled his head and closed his
mouth over hers. He kept the kiss tentative in case he wasn’t reading her
signals right, but she ran her tongue over his mouth, tasting him. He licked,
nibbled, sucked, and she kissed him back with growing fervor as her body
radiated need. Her nipples hardened where they pressed into his chest, and she
rubbed against his ridiculously erect cock.
About the time
she pushed her tongue into his mouth, and he sparred with it, loving the taste
of her, common sense intruded. He pulled back, his breath coming unevenly. He
wanted to strip her clothes off, unwrap her, worship the amazing body he’d
scuffled with in the gym, but tonight wasn’t the time. Not before a major offensive,
and not with her in a direct line of command, with him functioning as her team
leader. The women ended up his responsibility to remove Glory from reporting to
Roy, but here was the same problem all over again.
Reluctantly, he
placed his hands on either side of her head. “Honor, we can’t do this.”
“I know it’s
wrong, but I’ve never been kissed before, and I…” She looked away. “…didn’t
want it to end. I’m sorry, sir. I’ll do a better job of—”
“Goddammit,
Honor. You’re not listening.” Frustration vied with desire and feeling like a
shit for letting the situation get out of hand in the first place.
“Yes I am. You
said what we did was wrong.”
“No, I didn’t,
but the timing’s bad.” He paused a beat. “And you work for me, which means—”
“I know exactly
what it means. I may have been sequestered in that compound, but I’m far from
stupid.” She wrenched away from him and stumbled toward the door.
“Honor, please.”
She spun to face
him. “This was a mistake.” Hurt carved furrows around her eyes. “I’m used to
being by myself. Taking care of myself. Don’t worry. I won’t be a burden on
you.”
“That’s not what
I—”
She turned and
fled out the door. Milton considered going after her, but recognized it was a
bad idea. The attraction between them was so strong, there’d be no way to have
a rational conversation.
Until they’d
shared an orgasm or two…
Claiming
Charity
GenTech
Rebellion
Book
3
Ann
Gimpel
 
Dream Shadow Press
Genre: Military Romance
with a Science Fiction edge
What
does it take to move past a lifetime of hating?

Book Description:

Charity’s luck never ran strong
because her original configuration was unstable. Her handlers designed
experiments to fix the problem, but only made it worse.
Sick to death of living under
their thumb, she jumps at a chance to escape her compound. She’s no sooner
settled in as a CIA special operative—a role where she can put her augmented
mind and body to use—when her wobbly genetics escalate.
Tony’s a freak—a genetically
altered human waging war against the government. He snaps up an offer of
amnesty, walking away from his role as a genetic researcher to work for the
CIA. When Charity collapses in a severe seizure, he labors to save her life,
but nothing’s working. In a last ditch effort, he joins his mind to hers and
discovers he wants her more than he’s ever wanted anything. Only problem is she
hates every single male freak for how they treated women in the compounds.
Charity recovers from her medical
crisis, but all she can think about is Tony. Furious, determined to never let
anyone like him near her, she blocks him from her mind, but he seeps back in
anyway. Loving someone like Tony is a huge risk, a gamble that could throw her
already precarious genes into a tailspin.
Knowing all that, why the hell is
she considering it?
Amazon    BN     Google
Play
    iBooks    Kobo     Print

Excerpt
Claiming Charity:

…Tony dialed his
night vision up another notch and paced Frank as they ran hard around Langley’s
perimeter. After being cooped up for hours in a plane, both men needed to burn
off some steam. As Tony ran, scenes from his computer-like brain flashed before
him.
After his petri
dish birth on one of the breeding farms set up by the U.S. government, he’d
been groomed from adolescence to work as a genetic researcher. None of them
attended school; their knowledge was downloaded directly from huge mainframes
operated by government scientists. He lived a comfortable life at his breeding
farm near Portland, Oregon, but it blew up in his face seven years ago. He was
twenty-two then and knee-deep in research to perfect those like him. Each successive
strain was a bit better than the last, but problems still cropped up.
He’d been close
to a major breakthrough—at least he thought he was, but it could’ve been a dead
end like so much of his research—when a cadre of renegade freaks, genetically engineered
humans just like him, staged a rebellion. They hadn’t cared for the decision to
scrap the earlier prototypes, so they blew up every breeding farm they could
find. After that, they created hidden compounds, like the one in Keyser, West
Virginia where Tony ended up.
He hadn’t bought
into the violence, but there wasn’t a hell of a lot of choice once it began.
Normal humans shot them on sight after the rebellion, so he went along with the
program and moved his genetic research to his assigned compound. He didn’t have
nearly the access to materials he’d had prior to the rebellion, but at least he
was still alive.
“You’re pretty
quiet, buddy,” Frank observed.
“Sorry. I was
thinking.”
The other man
snorted. “Always dangerous. About what? Did you come up with something we
missed on those hard drives Milton swiped from our headquarters?”
“Nah. Wish it
were that straightforward.”
Frank slugged
him in the arm. “Watch that esoteric stuff. Our programming’s not designed for
it.”
“Maybe not, but
do you ever wonder what will become of us?”
“The probability
of that line of thought producing something of value is—”
“Not what I
asked,” Tony snapped. “We’ve thrown in our lot with normal humans, V0 as it
were. We can’t undo it.”
“So? You and I
discussed this before we showed ourselves and requested amnesty. We could’ve
remained hidden. They would have found Charity without our help, and then
they’d have left. We didn’t take that route. Are you having second thoughts?”
“Not really. We
didn’t fit in with the other Nameless Ones—except it was a ridiculous moniker,
since we had names, we just didn’t tell them to the women.” Tony slowed when
they came to a perimeter fence and turned to face the other man. Because of the
physical strength built into his genetics, he wasn’t even slightly winded.
Frank stopped
and tossed his hood back. Shaggy black hair fell to his shoulders, and he
examined Tony through his amber, animal-like eyes with vertical slit pupils.
All the men looked very much the same due to shared genetics. Tall, rangy,
muscled. Both of them wore regulation issue CIA field gear they hadn’t changed
out of yet.
“What aren’t you
saying?” Frank asked.
“Not sure.
Except I’m feeling like a man without a country. We didn’t fit in there, but we
don’t fit in here, either. They don’t trust us. I saw it in Milton’s eyes that
night you and I saved Charity’s life.”
Frank grimaced.
“Shit, bro. We’re machines. We’re not supposed to have feelings. Who cares if
they trust us, so long as they continue to offer us a place to work and live?
When did you fall off the wagon?”
Should I?
Tony weighed the
advisability of confiding in Frank, but if not him, then whom?
“Talk, or I’m
going back to my apartment. I’m fine when we’re moving, but I’m getting cold.
Can’t be much more than fifteen degrees out here. In fact,” Frank sent a short
blurt of power outward, “it’s eighteen point three Fahrenheit, but there’s a
five knot wind, which brings the ambient temperature to—”
“Never mind
that. I know it’s cold without a weather report. I have a problem that runs
deeper than the humans not trusting us. They made a commitment to us, same as
we did to them. The odds of them welching on the deal—so long as we don’t fuck
them over—is under twelve percent.”
Frank furled his
brows. “Okay. So you have a problem. Is it something we could hash out inside
where it’s warm?”
“I think better
when I’m cold.”
“Fine.” Frank
gestured with a gloved hand. “Whatever it is, get it out, so we can chase down
something to eat and find our beds.”
Tony unclenched
his jaw. It was either spit it out or shut up. Running probabilities about
Frank’s reaction wouldn’t alter his choices. He squared his shoulders and began
to talk. “I spent a long time—hours—linked to Charity when she was so
compromised. I was the one who sent my energy into her.”
“I haven’t
forgotten. So?”
“I developed a
fondness for her during that time.” Very unmachine-like feelings tightened
Tony’s gut.
Frank’s eyes
widened. “Oh ho! You want to fuck her. I’m not seeing where that’s a problem.
The women were off limits to us at the compounds, but the CIA doesn’t have
those kind of rules.”
The
unmachine-like feelings intensified, and Tony felt his face grow warm. “Yeah, I
want her that way, but it’s more than that. I like her. She’s a bitch, sure,
but she’s fresh and funny and spunky. We drummed the spirit out of so many of
the women, but not her.”
“Have you talked
with her about any of this?”
Tony shook his
head. “No.”
“Why not? Seems
to me that’d be the logical place to start.”
A snort blew
past Tony’s lips. “Yeah, huh? Problem is I got a pretty good look inside her
head. She hates us.”
Frank drew back.
“Why? She never even met us before she and her group attacked our compound.”
Tony shook his
head again. “It runs deeper than that. She hates all of us men—for how we
treated her and the other women. Even if that weren’t there, it must’ve been
appalling for her when she discovered the V4s slaughtered the females in our
compound. Her team planned to rescue them. The V4s figured it out and beat them
to the punch.”
“Yeah, but none
of that was personal—” Frank began.
“Try telling her
that. I’m sure it felt goddamned personal. Christ! The women’s bodies weren’t
even cold when Charity stumbled onto them.”
“I’m not sure
Charity found them, but the women who did certainly told her about it.” Frank
jerked his chin in the general direction of their apartment building. “Let’s
get moving.” When Tony fell into step with him, he went on. “Seems to me you’ve
really only got two choices. One. You suck it up and keep quiet. We weren’t
exactly designed to have mates. All our babies were created in test tubes—even
after the breeding farms.”
“That was
because we were afraid the women would pick our brains during sex, discover how
powerful they were, and demand equality.”
“It doesn’t
matter why,” Frank replied. “Even though I was a minority, I never believed it
would’ve been the end of the world if the women discovered their innate power,
but they didn’t. Regardless, over time, we got away from intercourse as a
primary source of procreation.”
“We’re getting
off course. What’s my second option?”
“Sit down and
talk to her. Tell her how you feel.”
Tony rolled the
probabilities of how that would go through his brain. “Less than an eighteen
percent chance she’d be open to it,” he muttered.
Frank didn’t
respond, and they ran the rest of the way to their building in silence. Once
they were inside, Tony said, “Thanks.”
“For what? I
didn’t help much. See you tomorrow at zero seven hundred.” Frank turned down
the hallway that led to his apartment.
Tony climbed a flight
of stairs to his quarters and let himself in. If getting something going with
Charity was such a crapshoot, why couldn’t he let go of the idea?
When the answer
came, he didn’t like it much. He’d broken protocol to save her, blending his
energy with hers in an intimate pattern that wasn’t in any of the manuals.
Apparently she’d gotten under his skin during the process, and now he was
stuck. When he wasn’t busy, she was all he thought about.
He stripped out
of his heavy field coat and tossed it over a chair. The rest of his clothes
ended up in a heap on the floor. Everything could stand a tour through the
washing machine, but not tonight. He headed for the bathroom and a shower with
his cock standing out like a ship’s prow. He was hard almost all the time now,
despite jacking off two or three times a day. Hard because he wanted her.
Crap!
He pulled the
shower curtain aside. Once he got the water going, he stepped over the high rim
of the tub. Even though he tried not to, his hands found their way to his engorged
flesh, and somewhere between the soap and hot water, he made himself come with
visions of what he thought Charity’s perfect, naked body would look like
plastered behind his eyes…
Loving
Hope
GenTech
Rebellion
Book
4
Ann
Gimpel
Dream Shadow Press
Genre: Military Romance
with a Science Fiction edge
Trust
is fragile. Hard to come by and easily broken.

Book Description:

Hope’s had her eye on Charlie for
a long time, for all the good it’s done her. He’s not even aware of her
existence—other than as a fellow agent working Black Ops for the CIA. Her
friends, Glory, Honor, and Charity, found men to love, so Hope knows it’s
possible. But the odds aren’t in her favor. Not in a world of normal humans
where she’s a genetically modified aberration. Hell, even she refers to her
kind as freaks. What man in his right mind would want one of those in his bed?
Charlie swore off women after his
last marriage went down in drama-tipped flames fifteen years ago. His first
mistress is danger. He fell in love with the adrenaline rush when he signed on
as a Navy Seal right out of college, and he never got over the thrill of
pitting himself against the impossible.
Hope caught his eye the night she
escaped her compound, but years of ignoring anything resembling a feeling made
it easy to ignore the attraction—until they’re paired on a mission. Her
intelligence and resourcefulness impress the hell out of him, but her
half-naked body, exposed after an animal attack, forces him to face feelings he
was certain he’d buried for good.
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Excerpt
Loving Hope:

Hope blinked
dirt out of her eyes and stifled a groan. She didn’t want to risk an energy
flare looking for the others. Doing anything other than keeping her resources
muffled was an enormous risk.
She took a
mouthful of water from the canteen hanging off her field belt and swished it
around her mouth. Time had passed since a blast hit her helicopter, knocking it
out of the air. Maybe as much as an hour. Things happened fast after the bird
was hit, and her team leader, Charlie McClaren, folded her hand around the
ripcord on her parachute.
He’d all but
pushed her out the open chopper door with exhortations to, “Watch out for the
rotor, goddammit.”
A few other
choice instructions were lost in the slipstream as she plummeted from the dying
aircraft, her pounding heart stenciling fear from her head to her toes.
What was
supposed to be a simple out-and-back mission had turned into something much
more complex, never mind much more dangerous. She’d been expecting Charlie or
Frank to materialize ever since she cut herself out of the tree her chute got
tangled in, but neither man showed up.
She didn’t
understand why. They couldn’t have landed very far away after the
crash—assuming they made it out of the chopper intact. Too rattled by her first
actual parachute jump, she’d neglected to watch for the other chutes, which
would’ve told her the location of her teammates.
Were they dead?
Or tripped up by the old growth forest?
She’d been
careful chopping her way out of a particularly tall tree. Her caution ate up
well over half an hour while she freed herself from where she swung thirty feet
above the ground. She picked splinters out of her hands as she considered what
to do next.
According to the
GPS in her augmented brain, she was in a wooded corridor in north central
Maine. She, Charlie, and Frank had been on a routine mission to pick up
Cortexiphan, an experimental drug banned by the FDA, from a freak compound near
Bangor. Not that they’d expected the freaks—a renegade group of genetically
modified humans who wanted to take down the U.S. government—to just hand over
the drug, but military planes had annihilated the settlement. No one expected
it would be difficult to waltz in and locate the chemical.
Hope shook her
head. Underestimating her people was always a mistake. The genetically modified
were smarter, stronger, faster, and more capable of pivoting in response to
adverse conditions than normal humans ever dreamed of being.
She sheltered in
a thick grove of some sort of deciduous tree and leaned against one of them.
Could she risk her communicator? Would telepathy be safer? Hope grimaced.
Freaks had to be behind the attack on her chopper, which meant nothing was
safe. Who else would shoot down a CIA chopper over U.S. soil?
She bit hard on
her lower lip. She understood freaks—how they thought, what made them
tick—because she was one. She’d escaped the compounds, though, and left that
life behind.
“What do I do
now?”
She started at
the sound of her voice, not realizing she’d spoken aloud until she heard the
words. A quick glance at the sky told her she didn’t have much daylight left to
work with. Not that it mattered. She could always dial in her night vision, but
it held a particular energy signature.
The flash of
warmth in Charlie’s hazel eyes as he’d covered her hand with his, instructing
her how to yank the ripcord, filled her mind. She liked him. A lot. But he
barely knew she existed beyond her working under him. She’d made a few pathetic
attempts at flirting, but he’d ignored her. Maybe her shy smiles were so subtle
he hadn’t interpreted them the way she hoped, but that probably wasn’t it. She
was a freak. He was a normal human, and a goddamned good-looking one at that.
He could have his pick of women. No reason on earth to look twice at her.
Much like the
genetically altered men she’d spent her life with, Charlie was tall and rangy,
with dark hair and hazel eyes. He was addicted to danger the same as all CIA
operatives. When twin fires burned in the backs of his eyes, it was all she
could do not to throw herself into his arms and beg him to take her.
Here.
Now.
In front of
everyone.
She tossed her
head, muffling a snort. She knew next to nothing about men, sex, or love. Her
entire primer on all things human was derived from hours of television and the
Internet. Her other source of information came from pumping Honor, Glory, and
Charity, three of her closest friends, about their relationships with CIA
agents they’d hooked up with.
A branch
crackled behind her. Hope lunged for her sidearm, thought better of it, and
focused her mental kinetics. She didn’t loose anything—not yet. Power ran
through her in high voltage jolts. Holding it in abeyance wasn’t easy, but she
needed to know what she faced. The minute she targeted someone, her ability
would glow like a beacon, alerting any genetically modified human in the area
to both her presence and precise location.
“Hope! I’ve been
hunting for you ever since the chopper crashed.”
Frank limped
from behind a bush. He was well over six feet tall with heavy slabs of muscle
providing superior physical abilities. Genetically modified like her, his
shaggy dark hair brushed his shoulders, and his amber animal-like eyes with
vertical slit pupils came close to radiating joy. Given Frank’s taciturn ways,
that said a lot.
She siphoned off
the lethal force dancing through her body an electron at a time. “Fuck!” She
trotted to his side. “I almost killed you.”
A crooked grin
lent him a boyish appearance. “I felt the energy build. Figured I needed to say
something.”
Hope took a
closer look. A wicked looking gash ran from below Frank’s right eye to his
cheekbone, and his hands were abraded and bleeding. She ran a hand down his
body, scanning for injuries.
Before she was
done, he batted it away. “I twisted my ankle when I landed in a bramble
thicket. It’s how I got so banged up—fighting my way out of thorns as long as
my thumb. I’ve instituted a healing program. Should be better than new in a few
hours.” Breath hissed from between his teeth. “Shit! After my last impromptu
exit from a chopper, I promised myself I’d practice parachuting, but somehow I
never freed up the time.”
“Yeah, well,
I’ve never even come close to doing anything like jumping out of a helicopter.
Didn’t like it much. Any idea where Charlie is?”
Frank shook his
head. “I was hoping he’d be with you.”
“We may not have
had all that fancy commando training, but I never would’ve guessed how easy it
is to lose someone between an auto-rotating helicopter and the ground.”
“We have to
locate him.” Frank narrowed his eyes, or he might have winced, she couldn’t
tell. “You haven’t expended any power, or I’d have found you sooner. Charlie
certainly hasn’t used any.”
“It’s not safe.
Charlie must’ve figured that out.” She crossed her arms under her breasts.
“Freaks did this, huh?”
He cocked his
head to one side. “Who else? I’m surprised you asked. Their signature is all
over it.”
Hope shrugged,
feeling uncomfortable for missing something obvious. “Maybe it is. Once the
chopper started going nuts, I kind of stopped thinking.”
He looked at her
then. Really looked and ran his own scan of her systems before she could move
out of range.
“I’m all right.”
She took a few steps away. “If I weren’t, I’d have told you.”
“Needed to check
for myself,” he said gruffly. “We have more latitude with two of us—but only if
we’re able to tap into all of our abilities.”
“What’s that
supposed to mean?” She frowned, still not feeling a hundred percent.
His face settled
into the patronizing lines she associated with Nameless Ones, genetically
modified men who’d made her life hell when they lived in compounds. All of
them—men and women alike—were products of genetic research originally hatched
up by the U.S. government. Appalled by how they were treated, they staged a
rebellion, and blew up the breeding farms. While women had been an integral
part of the rebellion, they’d been relegated to second-class citizenry after a
few years of living in hidden compounds. Their abilities were superior to the
men’s, and the men had been frightened of losing the upper hand—
“It means we
need to risk exposure to find Charlie. We can’t leave without him.” Frank’s
words broke into her thoughts, and she shelved her foray into the past.
Hope set her jaw
in determination and moved back to Frank’s side, so she could join her mental
energy with his more easily. “Ready.”
“Before we do
something that’s certain to compromise us, have you looked for him?”
Keeping
Faith
GenTech
Rebellion
Book
5
Ann
Gimpel
Dream Shadow Press
Genre: Military Romance
with a Science Fiction edge
The
bigger the secret and the longer it’s been hidden, the harder it is to reveal.
Book Description:
Faith fled her compound one
wintry night with four other genetically modified women. Glory, Honor, Charity,
and Hope have all found men who adore them. Faith is happy for her sisters, but
it’s lonely on her own. A man piqued her interest, but she ran the
probabilities, and the odds of him ever being interested in her are thin. Tough
and forbidding, Reginald was a field surgeon in the Middle East. He eats and
breathes medicine. Besides, he’s married to the CIA. No wives in his past.
Faith hacked into the personnel database to check.
Reginald Thomas agreed to run the
CIA’s infirmary after a bullet nailed him in Afghanistan. He’s one of a handful
of scientists who produced the original batches of genetically modified humans,
and he’s laid low since their rebellion. The catastrophe rankles, but he hasn’t
given up finding a fix for their genome problems.
A permanent bachelor for a host
of feeble reasons, he’s substituted immersion in medicine and science for a
personal life. Easier that way. And a whole lot cleaner.
The status quo might be sterile,
but at least it’s trouble free. When Faith catches his eye, he fights his
attraction to her, but it’s a losing battle. Loving her fulfills him, and he
can’t walk away. What will happen if she discovers he helped create those like
her? In a radical departure from his normal forthright manner, he buries that
fact deep. If she never finds out, it can’t ever come back to bite him.
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Excerpt
Keeping Faith:

Faith walked
slowly across the CIA’s extensive grounds. She’d just seen Hope and Charlie off
at the terminal building next to the airstrip. They’d looked deliriously happy,
and Faith was grateful Charlie’s near miss with death hadn’t left lasting
problems. She stuffed her hands into her pockets, wishing she’d brought gloves.
For once it wasn’t raining, but it was almost dark, and the wind had a bite to
it.
Milton Reins,
head of the CIA, had been there to wish Hope and Charlie well too. He’d also
been chockful of instructions about the Gulfstream business class jet until
Charlie reminded his boss he was qualified to fly it.
Not quite ready
to return to her apartment building and all the new women who’d been assigned
housing there, Faith wandered aimlessly. Glory, Honor, Charity, and Hope—women
who were like sisters to her—had hooked up with men they loved dearly. It
seemed like an impossible fantasy come true.
A few months
back, they’d lived at a compound in Washington State, sharing a dormitory with
seven more genetically modified women just like them. Glory’s bravery freed the
five of them who’d been willing to trust her, and Faith blessed the CIA every
single day for taking a chance on them as agents.
More women had
joined their ranks during a raid they’d just completed in Maine. Twenty to be
precise. It made her heart glad the women had been able to lay their
reservations aside and take a chance on a new life. One where they’d be treated
like human beings rather than slaves.
She really
should hustle back to the apartment building and see if any of them wanted to
go to dinner. Faith remembered her first days on the sprawling CIA campus. How
lost and overwhelmed she’d felt. It had helped that Glory was already there.
The least she could do was pass on the goodwill to the new gals.
“Faith. Hold
up.”
She glanced over
her shoulder at the sound of Frank’s voice, but kept walking. Frank was
genetically modified too, but he’d been one of the Nameless Ones, men who’d
made the women’s lives holy hell in the compounds. He was also a genetic
researcher. Her friend Charity had fallen in love with Tony, the scientist
Frank defected with, but Faith didn’t harbor fond feelings for any of the
genetically modified men.
During the seven
years the CIA had hunted those like her, they’d labeled them freaks. The tag
stuck, and she still thought of men like Frank as freaks, but not necessarily
her or the women.
How’s that for
hypocrisy? She smothered a snorting laugh.
“What’s so
funny?” Frank caught up with her.
Faith shrugged.
“I was thinking about how the CIA calls us freaks, and I’m good when it means
you. Less good when it means me.”
“Doesn’t matter
what they call us,” Frank countered. “They took us in. Gave us homes and work.
They didn’t have to. How’d Charlie look? I’d meant to check him over one last
time before he left, but didn’t get there in time.”
“Like the old
Charlie. None the worse for wear. Dr. Thomas was there. I’m pretty sure he had
some of the same concerns you do, but Milton told him to go back to his
infirmary.”
Frank hooted
laughter. “Bet that didn’t go over very well.”
“No. It didn’t.
The doc stayed until Charlie and Hope headed out onto the tarmac.” Faith
narrowed her eyes. “You’ve gotten to know him pretty well, huh?”
“Who?”
“The doctor.”
“In a manner of
speaking, yeah. After Tony and I pulled a rabbit out of a black hole and saved
Charlie, the guy decided we weren’t just a bunch of uninformed quacks
pretending we knew something about physiology.”
“You’re mixing
your metaphors.”
“So?” Frank
angled his unusual amber eyes with their vertical slit pupils her way. Like all
the genetically modified men, he was tall and broad-shouldered with a rangy
build. Unevenly cut jet-black hair hung to his shoulders.
“So, nothing.
Just pointing it out. Um, did you want something? I really should get back to
the apartment building. We have all those new women, and—”
“Yeah I did,” he
interrupted in true Nameless One fashion.
Faith shook off
irritation. “Whatever it is, hurry up.”
He tucked a hand
beneath her elbow in a distressingly familiar gesture. “How about joining me in
the cafeteria for dinner? Tony and I got done early tonight, and he’s spending
the evening with Charity.”
Faith jerked
away from his touch. “The new women are my first responsibility,” she said
stiffly, wishing Frank would take the hint and leave. If he were human, he
might’ve, but subtlety and picking up on social cues weren’t part of how any of
them had been programmed.
“Bring ’em
along.” He grinned rakishly. “You may not like me, but one of them might.”
Faith stopped
walking and stared at him. “What the hell, Frank? Any woman in a storm?”
“Now who’s
mixing metaphors?” He looked down his nose at her.
Faith felt her
face heat. “I’ll be in the dining hall in half an hour or so. If you want to
sit with us, that’s fine—so long as none of the women object. They’re much
fresher from a compound than me, so they may well run screaming from the room
if you get too close.”
Frank closed a
hand around one wrist, effectively trapping her. “Get real, Faith. I wasn’t in
your compound, but it wasn’t as if we flogged the women. You make it sound as
if we were the devil incarnate.”
“To us, you
were. You rationed everything from food to blankets to when we had to show up
to have our eggs harvested.” She angled her head to one side. “The men in my
compound ate what they wanted. They weren’t half-starved like us. I bet they
had more than one blanket. And they had private rooms; they weren’t stuffed
twelve to a dorm like we were—”
“You can stop
now.” Frank held up his other hand. “I’m sorry. I felt bad I didn’t do more at
the time, and I still do, but you living in the past and hanging onto hostility
and bitterness isn’t wise.”
“Why not?” she
demanded. “What’s the phrase? He who forgets history is doomed to repeat it.”
“George
Santayana said that, but you’re living in a different world now. The odds are
better than seventy percent the CIA will effectively quell the rebellion
sometime in the next six months. V4 has proven unstable. God only knows how
many freaks were made with that configuration, but they’ll implode, which will
further thin their ranks.”
“Fascinating,”
she muttered, “but I need to get moving.”
Frank released
her wrist. “I’d like to get to know you better, Faith, but I won’t be
heavy-handed about it. Give it some thought, and let me know.”
She took a step
backward. “What about wanting to give the women a thrill by having dinner with
them?”
“Eh, I just said
that to see if you’d react. Be jealous or something.” He actually looked mildly
uncomfortable when he twisted his mouth into a frown. “You weren’t, and I’m
crushed, but I’ll get over it.”
Without waiting
for a response from her, he spun and took off at a quick lope.
Faith ran hard
the other way, heading for her apartment building. Her thoughts were a roiling
mess. Charity may have managed to square hooking up with a nameless one, but
Faith didn’t have it in her to overlook their years of horrific treatment. The
women may not have been beaten, but they’d endured every other type of abuse.
Except sexual.
Intimacy was
forbidden in the compounds. The reason Glory had run away was because a
Nameless One tried to rape her. She’d used her kinetics to kill him, been
scared half to death, and gone out a window in the thick of winter with only a
worn pair of tennis shoes and a threadbare sweater. It was hard enough in
Washington, but by the time she’d hitchhiked halfway across the country to
Minnesota, the cold had almost killed her.
Frank was a hunk
of a man. All the Nameless Ones were, but Faith couldn’t see herself letting
her guard down long enough to allow him inside her hopes and dreams, let alone
sleeping with him. The thought of physical intimacy with someone like him made
her vaguely ill.
She reached her
building and tipped her chin so the retinal scanner could trip the lock and let
her in. She was capable of employing kinetics to spring any lock, but so long
as she was here, she’d do things the CIA way. After she nodded to the security
guard patrolling the lobby, she pulled open a stairwell door and headed for the
third floor.
Faith employed
telepathy as she hastened up the stairs to see which women might be interested
in joining her for dinner in the cafeteria. By the time she got to her floor,
seven of the new recruits waited for her, milling about in the hallway. Faith
recognized three of them since they were part of a group assigned specifically
to her for weapons and martial arts practice.
A thought struck
Faith. “I never asked, and we mostly communicate via telepathy when we train,
but did you ever swap out your identification numbers from the compounds for
names?”
A woman from
Faith’s group squared her shoulders. Like all the genetically modified women,
she had long, thick dark hair and clear green eyes. The women had sleekly
muscled bodies, and were both tall and strong. “Some of us did,” she replied.
Faith smiled
grimly. “That was one of the concessions we insisted on in my compound. We got
sick of numbers, so we named ourselves and refused to respond when Nameless
Ones called us by our numbers. Tell you what. Before we’re done eating tonight,
at least the seven of you will have picked names.”
“Sounds like a plan,”
another of the women said.
“Tell us about
Hope and Charlie.” Another pressed forward and clasped her hands together. “It
seems like such a fairytale romance. Everything went well? They’re off on a
honeymoon?”
“Well, they’re
not exactly married, so honeymoon isn’t the correct word,” Faith replied. “But
I watched their plane take off, and they did look happy.”
A collective
ahhhhh surged through the group, and seven pairs of green eyes shone with
delight for one of their kind who’d found happiness.
Faith could
relate, and it made her both sad and angry. Up until she’d fled the compound,
the thought of falling in love was just a fantasy. Something that happened in
movies she watched on the Internet, but nothing that would ever happen to her.
Frank’s invitation—and his obvious interest—nagged at the back of her mind.
No. I’d rather
be dead than hook up with a Nameless One. Charity may have, but I’m not her.
“Dinner?” Faith
urged to quell her churning thoughts and trotted back down the stairway. If
they got there after eight, the steam tables would be closed. Snacks were
always available, but they weren’t as satisfying as a hot meal.
The women
trailed after her, chatting among themselves. They sounded carefree, another
emotion that had eluded them in the compounds where they’d had to watch their
backs every single minute.
“What do you
think about goddess warrior names?” One of the women joined Faith.
“It doesn’t
matter what I think,” Faith offered. “A name is important. It symbolizes who
you are. Humans don’t get to pick their own names, but some of the research
I’ve read indicates that people grow into their given names—for good or for
ill.”
“So I should
pick a name where I have an affinity for the woman, right?”
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About
the Author:

Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at
heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers
many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls,
but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn
of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle
moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It
was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who
see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann
prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys,
sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her
fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip
and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel
emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a
lot between writing that novel and its sequel.
Around that time, a friend of
hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before
that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty
regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her
tales often have a green twist.
In addition to writing, Ann
enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her
backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten
percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry
the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a
very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their
family.

Find Ann At:

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Posted in #Book, #Giveaway, Author, blog, Book, Fiction, Silver Dagger Scriptorium Tours, Story, suspense, Thriller, Tour, Writer

Cleaver by Sue Coletta – Book Tour + #Giveaway

07/04/17

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Cleaved
Grafton County Series, Book 2
by Sue Coletta
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
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Author Sage Quintano writes about crime. Her husband Niko investigates it.
Together they make an unstoppable team. But no one counted on a
twisted serial killer, who stalks their sleepy community, uproots
their happy home, and splits the threads that bonds their family
unit.
Darkness swallows the Quintanos whole—ensnared by a ruthless killer out for
blood. Why he focused on Sage remains a mystery, but he won’t stop
till she dies like the others.
Women impaled by deer antlers, bodies encased in oil drums, nursery rhymes,
and the Suicide King. What connects these cryptic clues? For Sage and
Niko, the truth may be more terrifying than they ever imagined.
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Marred
Grafton County Series, Book 1
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When a serial killer breaks into the home of bestselling author, Sage
Quintano, she barely escapes with her life. Her husband, Niko, a
homicide detective, insists they move to rural New Hampshire, where
he accepts a position as Grafton County Sheriff. Sage buries secrets
from that night—secrets she swears to take to her deathbed.
Three years of anguish and painful memories pass, and a grisly murder case
lands on Niko’s desk. A strange caller begins tormenting Sage—she
can’t outrun the past.
When Sage’s twin sister suddenly goes missing, Sage searches Niko’s
case files and discovers similarities to the Boston killer. A
sadistic psychopath is preying on innocent women, marring their
bodies in unspeakable ways. And now, he has her sister.
Cryptic clues. Hidden messages. Is the killer hinting at his identity? Or is
he trying to lure Sage into a deadly trap to end his reign of terror
with a matching set of corpses?
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Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International
Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is an award-winning, multi-published
author in numerous anthologies and her forensics articles have
appeared in InSinC Quarterly. In addition to her popular crime
resource blog, Sue co-hosts the radio show “Partners In Crime”
on Writestream Radio Network every third Tuesday of the month from 1
– 3 p.m. EDT/EST (see details at
www.suecoletta.com).
She’s also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project
and Forensic Science, and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter.
She runs a popular crime website and blog, where she shares crime tips,
police jargon, the mind of serial killers, and anything and
everything in between. If you search her achieves, you’ll find posts
from guests that work in law enforcement, forensics, coroner,
undercover operatives, firearm experts…crime, crime, and more
crime.
For readers, she has the Crime Lover’s Lounge, where subscribers will be
the first to know about free giveaways, contests, and have inside
access to deleted scenes. As an added bonus, members get to play in
the lounge. Your secret code will unlock the virtual door. Inside,
like-minded folks discuss their favorite crime novels, solve
mindbender and mystery puzzles, and/or relax and chat. Most
importantly, everyone has a lot of fun.
Sue lives in northern New Hampshire with her husband, where her house is
surrounded by wildlife…bear, moose, deer, even mountain lions have
been spotted. Course, Sue would love to snuggle with them, but her
husband frowns on the idea.
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