NEW RELEASE: The Dreadnoughts Box Set by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #reverseharem #rh #rhromance #whychoose #eroticromance #superheroes #superpowers

This critically-acclaimed series is now available in a box set, where you can get all three books for the price of two!

Binge this completed reverse harem series now. Find out why Nitty Gritty Book Blog said “so different than anything else I’ve seen”.

📚Universal link: https://books2read.com/dreadnoughtsboxset

Blurb:

Can Kim and her gang of ex-military men win a dangerous race against time in order to deliver a project that could prevent a climate catastrophe? Find out in The Dreadnoughts box set.

Contains the complete series, all three books for the price of two—Search and Rescue, Cut and Run, and Safe and Sound.

Book 1, Search and Rescue

Kim’s trying to save the world—but is she actually going to make things worse?

Kim Medhurst is an ex-British military intelligence officer turned scientist and climate activist. A thrilling, potentially world-changing discovery leads her to a cave on a remote island off the Scottish coast. But before she can return to the mainland, a natural disaster traps her in the cave with limited food and water. Fortunately, she is an intelligent and resourceful woman who made a backup plan even before she stepped out of her own front door.

Enter Jason Chastain—owner and operator of a private security firm—and his friends Aidan Smith and twins Taylor and Joshua Greig. The foursome are also ex-military, so rescuing Kim should be a walk in the park for them. However, her discovery is so top secret she hasn’t even told Chastain and his buddies precisely what their mission is—instead relying on money and intrigue to get them to do the job. It works, until a series of events turn the rescue mission into an escape mission. Throw in a further revelation that will change all of their lives irrevocably and Kim begins to wonder if she’s bitten off more than she can chew.

Should she have left things well alone, or can this colossal mess be turned into something positive? This is about so much more than just five human beings, after all.

 

Book 2, Cut and Run

Kim’s on track to save the world—but will she pay with her life?

Kim Medhurst, ex-British military intelligence officer turned scientist and climate activist, has a vitally important project on her hands. The mysterious object she set out to retrieve from the remote Scottish island has the potential to power the entire planet. All she needs to do is figure out exactly how to make it happen, and the Scottish Highlands seems the perfect place to complete her research in peace—as well as enjoy the company of the gorgeous Greig twins.

Unfortunately, things aren’t that simple. Someone knows what Kim’s up to and wants to get their hands on her and the object she now calls the ygrene. As if that wasn’t concerning enough, Chastain goes missing, spurring Kim and the others into action. The team’s newfound abilities come in handy as they attempt to find their friend and navigate the murky underworld of dirty energy and those who profit from it.

But, even with their powers, will they be a match for a greedy megalomaniac with no morals?

 

Book 3, Safe and Sound

Kim is within touching distance of her goal – but is it already too late?

Kim Medhurst, ex-British military intelligence officer turned scientist and climate activist, is in a race against time. With help from her four men, she’s researching how to make the ygrene – the mysterious power source she retrieved from a remote Scottish island – a viable alternative to fossil fuel. An unexpected visitor recently bought them a little extra breathing space, but they’re painfully aware it won’t last forever.

Despite their hard work, the whole thing looks set to crash down around their ears when the greedy megalomaniac they’ve been desperate to avoid shows up on the Greig twins’ doorstep. While Kim and the gang would happily lay down their lives to stop the ygrene getting into the wrong hands, Kim would prefer to steer clear of violence. Their latest visitor claims he only wants to talk, but he’s brought goons carrying hardware, and Kim wouldn’t be Kim without a backup plan.

Will good prevail against evil, or have all the gang’s efforts and sacrifices been for nothing?

📚Universal link: https://books2read.com/dreadnoughtsboxset

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award), The Persecution of the Wolves, Hiding in Plain Sight, and The Heiress’s Harem and The Dreadnoughts series. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 170 publications to her name. Find out more about her and her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/linktree

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Dragon Ascending Part 25: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday, everyone! Time for another episode of Dragon Ascending.  Last week Len reflected on the implications and the dangers of staying with an amnesiac SNT ship. This week Ascent steals a glimpse into Len’s past and makes a decision that will change everything for both of them. For the next couple of weeks, I will be posting slightly longer episodes of Dragon because I feel it will be better for the flow and enhance your reading pleasure by allowing these posts the extra length necessary to complete the scene. I hope you’re enjoying Dragon Ascending, the sequel to Piloting Fury, as much as I’m enjoying sharing it with you. As always, I love it when you share my work with your reading friends, so feel free. In the meantime, enjoy!

If you missed the previous episode of Dragon Ascending follow the link for a catch-up. If you wish to start from the beginning, of Dragon Ascending. Follow the link.  

For those of you who would like to read the complete novel, Piloting Fury, book one of the Sentient Ships series, follow the link to the first instalment.

 

 

Dragon Ascending: Book 2 of the Sentient Ships Series

On a desolate junkyard of a planetoid, scavenger Lenore Felik, disturbs something slumbering in a remote salvage dump and uncovers secrets of a tragic past and of the surprising role she must play in the terrifying present she now faces.

Robbed of her inheritance after her tyrannical father’s death, Tenad Fallon is out for revenge on her half-brothers, one who happens to be the sentient ship, Fury. Fury, with his human companions, Richard Manning and Diana McAllister, has his own agenda – finding the lost sentient ships and ending the scourge of indentured servitude in Authority space.

 

 

 

Dragon Ascending Part 25: We Could Go Together

I was resolved that I must find a way to return to my slumber. Lenore asked too many questions, and I felt each of those questions like the reopening of critical wounds I wished not to feel again. If I allowed her to stay, her very presence would force those wounds open again and again. Had it not been the longing for, the hoping for my companion that had awoken me to Lenore’s presence to begin with? She was no substitute for the one, which I would never have again, and that I had allowed her to entice me from my slumber was a mistake.

Still I could not send her away until I could safely return her to Sandstorm Outpost. It was as I dwelt upon these thoughts that I heard her cry out in her dreams, crying out for her mother in such pain that I felt it in my own heart, a pain I wished not to feel, but I could not separate myself from it, I could not leave her in such agony. It was then that I violated her. Oh not intentionally, and not in the way that the beasts from the Dart had, but it was the connection forged by my blood that now lay open and unprotected between us that revealed her dreams to me as clearly as if they had been my own.

There was ice and snow everywhere and Lenore hid half suffocating half freezing in the recesses or a tiny ice shelter. I saw through her eyes, her thoughts were my own, even as I recovered the data that would have allowed me to close the connection between us enough for her to maintain her privacy, I did not.

Helplessly she watched the man from the ship shove her mother into the snow. “Mama!” I felt the wind freeze the words to ice in her throat, her cry swallowed up by the howl. “Mama!” She cried out bursting from the drift of snow, sounding so much the child that she must have been on Taklamakan Minor. Her pain, her pain! It was not physical, but it was a pain I understood to be so very much worse. I felt it with no shield, I felt as though this moment I lived it, as though this moment I lived it for her. But her pain was nothing to her fear, cold terror in the pit of her stomach, my stomach, clenching her heart, my heart. I was cold, I was terrified and I could not get to my mother. I was not fast enough. I was not fast enough! Pain! Cold, icy cold! Fear beyond what a child should endure, beyond what anyone should endure as I tried to run to my mother. Then the dreamscape slowed to an agonizing pace, like the dragging quick sands my sensors told me had limited the growth of my salvage dump to the south. I did not want the moments to drag out, I wanted only to wake up. I did not want to hear my mother yell for me to run, to hide. I did not want to see the knife brighter, than the cold sun slip up into my mother’s heart. And the man turned away without looking back, leaving me to die. Leaving me alone in this horrible place, for I knew beyond knowing that my mama was dead, and no one would come for me.

It was then that Lenore burst up out of sleep sat up in her bed and sobbed into her hands, and I … I left her to suffer alone, severing the connection, but not before the wave of her own anguish broke over me to join with my own.

 

Len had no desire to sleep after the dream. Instead she wondered the limited space that was lit for her access. There were tantalizing passageways that disappeared into deep darkness, there were ladders that disappeared up into rising tunnels. The lift took her to multiple floors, but all of them were darkened, all of them were frightening, forbidding, leading who knew where into the inner recesses of an SNT ship whose mental stability she was unsure of. Had Ascent killed his own compliment? So little was known about what had actually happened during the SNT Uprising, what was truth and what was rumor. All she could really do was speculate. What she did know for certain, deep in her gut, was that whatever had happened to the SNTs, the Authority had been to blame, as they had with her mother’s death. She wrapped her arms around herself and fought back the memories she didn’t want to revisit. It had been a long time since she dreamed that dream. She hated it above all the nightmares that had visited her since her mother and she arrived on Tak Minor. It was the one she could never escape, the one that she had actually lived in the waking world, and she could no more stop the dream when it happened than she’d been able to stop the events in the real world.

She walked the confines of the space Ascent had lit for her again and again until she was tired, but she still didn’t want to return to her quarters and risk more dreams. She found a place at the edge of the light where the passage disappeared into the black and settled on the floor against the wall. She was angry at Ascent for having left her vulnerable to the dream after all these years. It had always been her ambition to get off Tak Major and find out what happened to her uncle and Quetzalcoatl, she had never been able to manage it, always barely surviving, always on step ahead of dehydration and hunger. It had never entered her mind that she’d connect with another SNT, and in this way, nor had she thought what might happen when she did, what memories and nightmares would resurface. And now what? Would she spend the rest of her life here, effectively a prisoner, walking on eggshells just in case an enraged Ascent turned violent? Well, she’d lived her whole life on eggshells anyway, hadn’t she? Every ship that visited Tak Major caused her to hide in the salvage dumps until she knew for certain it wasn’t a rogue Authority ship. No one on Tak Major was fond of the rare Authority visitor, and ultimately everyone feared the shackle, but no on had reason to fear like she did. Even with Abriad Fallon’s strange death, indentureds were inherited wealth, so the indentureds would never be free. And she would never be out of the shadow of the shackle until she could get off this rock and safely out beyond the Rim. Tak Major was all the shackle she wanted. It certainly felt like she was indentured to it.

 

 

It was the smell of breakfast that woke her from a doze. A table spread with bacon and eggs and scones had been placed next to her. The growl of her stomach was a reminder that she had not finished her dinner last night. After Ascent’s unintentional revelation, and his abrupt exit, she had lost what little was left of her appetite.

“You were not in your room. Is it not satisfactory?” Once again Ascent sounded more like a ship’s computer.

“It’s fine. I just couldn’t sleep,” she lied, rubbing her eyes. Then she shoved to her feet and settled at the table. “I would have come back for breakfast if you had called me. I didn’t mean to cause you extra trouble.”

“It was no more trouble than any other meal I have set before you. Sustenance for humanoids is a part of my programming.”

SNTs were not programmed, she nearly let slip, but instead she buttered a scone and said politely, “thank you.”

She ate a few bites in silence, enjoying the flavor of some blend of black tea, something she’d not had since her early childhood. All the while she sensed him waiting expectantly. She swallowed and set aside her cutlery. “What is it, Ascent? What is it you want to say?”

“I wish to return to my slumber,” he all but blurted. This he most definitely did not sound like a ship’s computer.

“I understand,” she said, around the hammering of her heart. This was no surprise, and perhaps it was best this way when she didn’t know if she could trust him. “You know I can’t go back to Sandstorm without your help.”

“Of course I know. I have begun plans for a mode of transport that will return you to your home.”

She nearly blurted that she had no home, only a series of differing prisons, but she said. “Thank you.”

“I do not know how long it will take me, but I shall work as swiftly as I can, and I shall be too busy to socialize with you unless I am in need of your input.”

“I understand. I won’t disturb you.”

“All your needs shall be met, as always, and if I have overlooked anything you only need ask.”

“I can’t sit around my little space and do nothing during that time.”

“I understand,” came the reply. “You shall have supplies and access to the salvage yard. I only ask that you do not go beyond your supply and that you do not ration your water, as there is no need.”

“I won’t. And inside?”

“I shall open up a little more of myself so that you may have more space and comfort. You may access my library of literature and science. That I do know how to access, and I shall make it available to you. What I can open to you I shall, but I ask that you do not go into the areas that remain unlit, for it may be very dangerous in the darkness.”

“Thank you. I won’t.” Once again, she found her appetite lacking, but she forced herself to eat anyway, knowing that she would most definitely need her strength for the return journey to Sandstorm. “I would like to explore as much as possible outside. That’s why I risked coming in the first place. Perhaps I may find something of value that will help me buy space on a ship going to the Outer Rim.”

For a moment the corridor filled with the crackling static of Ascent’s silence and she froze. Finally he spoke, and she realized she had been holding her breath. “That is a very long way from here,” he commented.

“Not far enough.” The bitterness bled through in her voice as she recalled her escape from Authority space with her mother, and then … and then she slammed the door of unwanted memories shut.

The static of silence returned. This time her own bitterness made her less fearful. Maybe he’d just kill her and get it over with. Anything was better than living this half life.

“Lenore,” this time he did not sound like a ship at all, but like the Ascent who had held her close in the darkness. “I will not hurt you. You do not need to fear me.” There was pain in his voice that felt like a strange lump in her chest.

She let out a tight breath and looked down at her hands clenched on the table. “I know.”

“It is only that I believe it is best for both of us if you return to Sandstorm Outpost and I to my slumber. But I will do what I may to help you find salvage of enough value that you may buy your passage away from here.”

“You could take me,” she blurted out without thinking. “This place can’t be good for you either. We could go together.”

It was almost as though the whole of the corridor drew in a sharp breath. “I cannot,” he said. And then he was gone.

 

 

Dragon Ascending Part 24: Brand New KDG Read!

Happy Friday, everyone! Time for another episode of Dragon Ascending.  Last week Len realised that Ascent is an SNT. This week, she contemplates the implications and the dangers of staying with an amnesiac SNT ship. For the next couple of weeks, I will be posting slightly longer episodes of Dragon because I feel it will be better for the flow and enhance your reading pleasure by allowing these posts the extra length necessary to complete the scene. I hope you’re enjoying Dragon Ascending, the sequel to Piloting Fury, as much as I’m enjoying sharing it with you. As always, I love it when you share my work with your reading friends, so feel free. In the meantime, enjoy!

If you missed the previous episode of Dragon Ascending follow the link for a catch-up. If you wish to start from the beginning, of Dragon Ascending. Follow the link.  

For those of you who would like to read the complete novel, Piloting Fury, book one of the Sentient Ships series, follow the link to the first instalment.

 

 

Dragon Ascending: Book 2 of the Sentient Ships Series

On a desolate junkyard of a planetoid, scavenger Lenore Felik, disturbs something slumbering in a remote salvage dump and uncovers secrets of a tragic past and of the surprising role she must play in the terrifying present she now faces.

Robbed of her inheritance after her tyrannical father’s death, Tenad Fallon is out for revenge on her half-brothers, one who happens to be the sentient ship, Fury. Fury, with his human companions, Richard Manning and Diana McAllister, has his own agenda – finding the lost sentient ships and ending the scourge of indentured servitude in Authority space.

 

 

 

Dragon Ascending Part 24: Not My Memories

Ascent was an SNT!

The thought screamed across her consciousness flashing supernova bright. But she swallowed back the urge to blurt it out as quickly as it had come, hoping they were not so connected that he could read her mind. It should have been obvious to her from the beginning. Thinking back now, hadn’t it been plucking at the back of her mind since she first woke up? How could she not have made the connection considering the household she’d been raised in, with her mother doing what she did and her uncle … ending up like he had? How could she not have seen the signs? And yet under the circumstance it should have been impossible for an SNT to be here buried in a Tak Major salvage dump. It made no sense at all that he should be here. Her skin prickled, and she forced herself to breathe deeply, to calm down. That her uncle’s fate was still unknown unlike so many of the SNTs and their compliments made her hold her tongue. Ascent didn’t remember who he was. Ascent! The strange name suddenly made sense Ascent SNT! Whatever had happened to him had been that traumatic. An SNT with no memories of who he was or what had happened to him or what he had done could be a very dangerous thing. And, sweet Vaticana Jesu, she had his biological soup running through her veins now.

“Ascent,” she sat up on the edge of the bed, then stood to pace feeling him watching her intently, “What do you remember before I woke you from your long sleep?”

“Nothing,” the answer was quick and sharp edged. She stopped pacing and froze, feeling the skin crawl on the back of her neck. Then he added more gently, “I do not know how long I have slept here in this place. Lenore, you are frightened, why?”

“Do you want to know your past,” she asked.

“I wanted very much to know … facts, information, data. When you were dying and I could not help you, I wanted, I tried, I raged to access what I needed to know in order to heal you. I could not. There are other parts of me, however, that I wish never to access again. They make me feel things I do not wish to feel.”

She stopped pacing and sat back down on the edge of the bed. “These memories, the ones you don’t want to access. Is it that you aren’t willing to access them, or is it that you can’t?”

For a moment the stillness in the room was electric. If it had not been for that feel of static and tension she’d felt in his presence before, she would have thought he had left her.

“I have not examined … that part of myself closely enough to ascertain if it is one or the other. I … have slept so that I did not have to remember.”

“Ascent, before you pulled me back from the salvage yard today, I remembered horrible loss, fire swallowing up everything and the wanting nothing more than to sleep. Those weren’t my memories. Could … could your blood give me access to your memories?”

Again the feel of static passed over her skin and he said, “I do not want you accessing my memories. There is no place in them for a humanoid stranger.”

She forced a laugh. “Believe me, I don’t want to access your bad memories. I have enough of my own without yours to keep me company too. I guarantee I didn’t access them on purpose.” When he didn’t respond, she continued. “You said it had been a long time since you embraced a humanoid. That means you have, right? At some point in your life you have embraced a humanoid.”

 

 

“There are no points in my life. I have no life. I am a ship’s computer.” This time the static was cold and nearly painful, and she recalled with a sudden lurch of fear the madness of the SNTs and resolved to ask no more. He gave her no options though even if she had wanted to.

“Go and take a shower,” he said, sounding for the first time since she had known him like a ships computer. “Then rest.” And just like that he was gone.

She had no intention of sleeping after she showered. For the first time since she woke up in the place Ascent had created for her, she wasn’t anxious to linger in the cleansing cascade, her discovery making her hyper vigilant to every sound, though there were few other than the barely audible hum of the life support system. Ascent’s breath breathed out for her, she thought. And then she wondered if he would now end it because she had made him uncomfortable. She stood for a moment, frozen on the floor of the bathroom, towel clenched tightly to her breasts, heart racing, willing herself to be calm. He would know it if she was panicked. She was very young when the SNTs became infected and went on a destructive rampage, but she recalled the details only too well, details that had changed her life forever. The SNT virus had affected the organic CPUs, the brains of the SNTs, driving them into destructive madness. Several of the maddened ships had turned off their life support systems and suffocated their compliments before jettisoning them into the vacuum like so much rubbish. Others had been responsible for the deaths of millions. Had this ship been one of those? And would he suffocate her? Of course she wasn’t in the void. The atmosphere was breathable on Tak Major, if not very nice, but the ship could pump in carbon dioxide and she would die just as surely. All he needed to do, really was just abandon her to the planetoid itself. Without help, without transport, she would never make it back to Sandstorm alive.

Still none of her speculation made any sense when he had worked so hard to bring her back from the dead. Surely he wouldn’t have gone to all that trouble only to kill her again. But she had no idea how long she’d been dead before he revived her, did she? What if she was just the experiment of a demented CPU? The abilities she now had certainly weren’t natural, and then there were the memories that weren’t even hers and with the way they could communicate inside each other’s minds, was she even human at all anymore or had he created for himself a new, Frankenstein’s monster sort of companion to replace the one he’d lost? But she recalled her uncle’s connection to Quetzalcoatl. Hadn’t he said they could share thoughts, and that by being bonded to the SNT, he had abilities he could have never have had as a mere humanoid. But that bonding process had taken ages. There were the immunosuppressant drugs, the transfusions, the other things she’d not understood as a child, and then there was the actual bonding experience between ship and compliment, which was supposedly some sort of secret union that was never shared between anyone but a ship and their bonded compliment, and certainly never spoken of in any detail with anyone outside that bond. She did remember that her uncle seemed different somehow, but it wasn’t something a little girl could easily define or understand. She only knew that he was about to begin a great adventure in the most amazing ship ever. And then she lost him, and she and her mother had to flee the shackle.

By the time she was dressed, her mind was racing. If Ascent was an SNT, then which one could he be? He certainly wasn’t Raven or Ouroboros. They were both females. The sex of a ship was the sex it was born with, just like with infants. And Ascent couldn’t be Quetzalcoatl because that was her uncle’s ship, and when Ascent spoke of his compliment, he spoke of her. The others that had survived were on the far side of Authority space separated to the far corners in distant and abandoned shipyards, their locations kept secret. None of this made sense, and yet she knew as certainly as she knew her own name that Ascent was an SNT who had survived the destruction, the decommissioning and the diaspora. While Ascent had no memories of himself, the real question was had the experience driven him insane, and if so was she in danger. Not that it fucking mattered. She had no way of getting back to Sandstorm, even if she was.

She lay down on the bed, lost in her thoughts, wondering if perhaps Ascent might know something of her uncle’s fate, but for the moment, he didn’t know his own name and she was afraid to ask any more questions. She was certain she would never sleep, certain she should begin trying to plan an escape. But the thought of going back to Sandstorm was far less appealing than staying where she was. As a child, she’d only ever dreamed about growing up to be the companion of an SNT. Well, certainly this wasn’t what she had in mind, and she didn’t fancy suffocating in her sleep or finding out she was some kind of zombie created to serve a demented ship. But it was very hard to get enthusiastic about returning to Sandstorm, where at some point she would have no other choice but to turn Arji down and resign herself to a life alone, or share his bed and resign herself to a life that was a lie. She supposed that said something about her own sanity, but before she could dwell on it, she did sleep.

 

 

Dragon Ascending Part 23: Brand New KDG Read!

Happy Friday, everyone! Time for another episode of Dragon Ascending.  Last week  Tenad Fallon got an unexpected lead on the whereabouts of SNT1 Fury. This week Len discovers a secret even Ascent doesn’t know. I hope you’re enjoying Dragon Ascending, the sequel to Piloting Fury, as much as I’m enjoying sharing it with you. As always, I love it when you share my work with your reading friends, so feel free. In the meantime, enjoy!

If you missed the previous episode of Dragon Ascending follow the link for a catch-up. If you wish to start from the beginning, of Dragon Ascending. Follow the link.  

For those of you who would like to read the complete novel, Piloting Fury, book one of the Sentient Ships series, follow the link to the first instalment.

 

 

Dragon Ascending: Book 2 of the Sentient Ships Series

On a desolate junkyard of a planetoid, scavenger Lenore Felik, disturbs something slumbering in a remote salvage dump and uncovers secrets of a tragic past and of the surprising role she must play in the terrifying present she now faces.

Robbed of her inheritance after her tyrannical father’s death, Tenad Fallon is out for revenge on her half-brothers, one who happens to be the sentient ship, Fury. Fury, with his human companions, Richard Manning and Diana McAllister, has his own agenda – finding the lost sentient ships and ending the scourge of indentured servitude in Authority space.

 

 

Dragon Ascending Part 23: A Revelation

Ascent’s patience was infinite, like all computers, she supposed. But unlike all computers he claimed to have brought her back from the dead. He waited while she did her best to let that fact soak in. It was only death. It wasn’t like she hadn’t been there before, and certainly this time was no more traumatic than the first. In fact this was a waltz through the Kingston poppy fields by comparison. Her chest still hurt when she thought about it. Death, sweet New Vaticana Jesu, she’d lived so fucking close to it for so long that she damn near took it for granted like a well-worn pair of shoes. How sick was that?

Finally when she was certain she wouldn’t vomit what she’d just eaten, which would have been a real pity when it was so delicious, she spoke the truth that had always been there inside her head knocking to get out. “Then I was right. I did come here to die. I thought so.”

The computer didn’t answer. There was no needed when she was merely stating facts. At last he spoke. “When you came back to me for refuge I could not let you die when I could be of help, and yet I did. I did let you die.”

“Of course. You were here all along, weren’t you?”

“It is not as though I have anywhere else to go.” He said, and in his words she could almost feel a tinge of bitterness at the back of her throat.

“And you remember me being here the first time?”

“Of course I remember. You were the first humanoid to come to me since my long slumber began, and it was you who awakened me. A fact I still do not understand, nor was I best pleased about at the time.”

“And that’s why you kept silent?”

“You were not who I expected.”

“You were expecting someone?”

“A ghost from a dream. That is all.”

The glass of orange drink had been refilled at some point during their conversation and she ran a finger around the rim, then noticed the dirt beneath her nails and quickly placed her hand back in her lap. “I thought … I dreamed that I wasn’t alone.”

“You were cold. I gave you my warmth. I did not want you catching a chill and having to convalesce in this place.”

She laughed. “I’ve slept in worse conditions, but I appreciate your effort.”

“I believed you would leave and I could return to my slumber. I could not imagine why you would return to this place. I believed it must be some mistake. When you left I believed I would simply return to my deep sleep. But it was imperfect after you left.”

“Sorry I disturbed you. I came here looking for something, but when I found a way through the fence, I had only a tiny bit of time before I had to rendezvous with the ship.”

“And what were you looking for, Lenore? Surely whatever salvage you could find in this place would not be worth the cost of transport here and back.”

“You were worth coming for,” she said. “And anyway, sometimes it’s less about making money and more about discovery. My mom used to say that.”

“And that is why you took such a terrible risk with the crew of the Dart?”

She only nodded her response. “Arji told me I should have waited, but I’m not very patient.”

“If you had listened to this Arji, you would not have died, and I might have eventually returned to my slumber, but when you returned to me so damaged and violated, and I could not remember how to heal you, I did what was necessary to bring you back”

“Is that why when I was outside, I could move like I could in the Shimmer? Is it because of something you did to bring me back?”

“That is correct. I apologize if your sudden abilities have upset you. Had I not let you die, such measures would not have been necessary.”

“It’s all right, Ascent. I’m not afraid to die, but I would just as soon not be dead if there are other options. I don’t even feel like I’ve lived yet, and I’d really like to see the firestorms on Diga Prime before I die for good. I’d like to see almost anything that’s outside the Taklamakan System.” She thought for a moment and absently nibbled her pasta, which had amazingly not gotten cold. “Perhaps Arji is right then. Perhaps I am a cat.”

 

 

“I do not understand.”

She swallowed and drank more water. “There’s an ancient Terran legend that domestic cats had nine lives. It’s not the first time I died.” She hadn’t meant to tell him that. She would never deliberately bring that up even to herself. What was wrong with her?

There was a sudden chill in the room and a rush of goose bumps rose up her spine. A wave of static crackled over the fine hair on her arms. “Who killed you?” Came the voice suddenly gone ominous and threatening, the same voice that had chilled her when he had informed her she would not have to worry about the Dart and its crew ever again.

Jesu Vaticanus, why had she brought it up? “No one killed me. I killed myself.” She shivered and chafed her arms. “It was the only way I could make it to Tak Major.” She spoke quickly hoping that he would not question further.

But he was not ready to let it go. “Why would you want to come to such a desolate place so badly that you had to kill yourself to get here?”

She put down the fork and bit her lower lip, forcing herself to breathe deeply. “It wasn’t that I wanted to come here, but Tak Major was the only place I could get to on a supply drone with any chance at all of being revived if I did die.” She twisted the napkin in her lap, much the same way her stomach felt like it was twisting. “It was dumb luck that it worked and when Arji and Fido opened the drone, Fido knew how to revive me. Anyway it all turned out okay, didn’t it?” She tried to smile, but the corners of her mouth twitched with the unnatural act she did not feel at all like doing.

“Then you came from Taklamakan Minor.” It was not a question. There was no other place she could have gotten from on a drone and survived.

It was what he might say next that she did not want to hear. Computers had databases. He could easily enough access what had happened on Tak Minor, and no doubt he would, but she didn’t have to discuss it. Still mentally kicking herself for bringing it up in the first place, she pushed back from the table slopping electrolyte supplement across the clean white tablecloth. “I need a shower.”

“A shower can wait.” She felt Ascents’s arm around her as surely as physically as she had in the darkness. “You are very distressed, Lenore. Your heart rate is too fast and your respiration is too shallow. Please do not dwell on what has been. The past we cannot change, or surely we would have done so and prevented ourselves all that we have suffered. You are safe beyond the Authority’s reach here. Please do not trouble yourself.”

She had told him nothing of their fleeing the Authority, but his database would have supplied all he would need to know. Gently he settled her onto the bed where she curled onto her side and shivered. Ascent formed a part of himself to embrace her in a spoon position, an embrace that was comforting, not solicitous. When she was sure she wasn’t going to bawl like a baby, she said quietly, “I try not to think about it, but then I died again and memories, they come back.”

“I understand. I also do not want memories to resurface. The past is never a place to revisit if one can avoid it, I think.”

For a moment she lay taking in his comfort. And then she gathered her courage and spoke. “Is that why you couldn’t remember how to save me?”

There was a long pause, and she was almost certain she could feel the body he had created to comfort her stiffen. At last he let out a very convincing breath and said, “it was. I would have, in that moment, given anything to recover the data that could have so easily healed you. Instead I had to resort to a much more risky, much more invasive, procedure of bringing you back.”

Could she hear distress in his voice? “It doesn’t matter, Ascent. The end result is the same and anyway, I was in no condition to know the difference.”

She snuggled down closer to the warmth he generated and closed her eyes. In the darkness of her own head, it was very easy to imagine him completely humanoid, comforting her, embracing her, caring for her. And she was happy to stay in that place for the moment. There had been very few comforting embraces since her mother’s death. She knew that Arji was willing, but she also knew that he wanted more than to offer her comfort, and that was something she couldn’t give him, so she’d always been careful not to give him reason to hope for more, even in those moments when she would have loved a little human comfort.

A large hand brushed the hair away from her face, and she moved her cheek into the touch, finding herself terribly close to tears again. He sensed her longing and continued to gently stroke her cheek and neck. For another long moment she simply lay there breathing deeply until she was more in control. “And what you did to bring me back also the reason I healed so quickly?”

His hand stilled, and again she felt the tightness in the flesh he had created. “Ascent?”

“It was not unexpected, though I had no way of knowing how quickly your body would adjust to the extreme measures and our incompatibility. Certainly I did not expect your recovery to be so rapid. It should not have been possible.”

She turned toward him and rose up on one elbow to look down at what seemed only an empty space next to her, but she knew it wasn’t. “Ascent, what exactly did you do to me.”

“I performed the only procedure I knew to do. I gave you my blood, and you did not reject it, although I do not understand why. You have not been prepared for my blood. You should have needed repeated doses of immunosuppressants in order that your body would adjust to the presence of my genetic material and stop rejecting my blood. Had your body rejected it, then you still would not be fully recovered.”

Ascent was an SNT!

 

 

 

OUT NOW—The Laughbox by Julia Kent (@jkentauthor)

Retailer Description:

The Laughbox contains SIX full-length novels so you can start all of New York Times bestselling romantic comedy author Julia Kent’s series, plus get an ALL NEW NOVELLA you can’t find anywhere else.

Get a taste of billionaires, small towns, rock stars, office romance, secret bosses, second chances, first crushes, enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers, and so much more.

Each series is wildly different from the others, with varying heat levels, different hijinks, but always, always – a heartwarming world you want to live in, with heroes who make you swoon and heroines who make you laugh – and cheer on in their quests for happily-ever-after endings.

This boxed set includes:

Shopping for a Billionaire (a New York Times bestseller)

Fluffy (a USA Today bestseller)

Love You Wrong

Random Acts of Crazy (a New York Times bestseller)

In Your Dreams

Maliciously Obedient (a USA Today bestseller)

and an ALL NEW novella, Shopping for a Billionaire’s Anniversary, featuring Declan and Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, as they celebrate their anniversary with affection, heat, and a hilarious set of awkward mishaps that still manage to be conquered by love.

Sink into seven fun stories that leave you with all the feels, loads of laughs, and strange looks from people around you as you read, giggle, and fall in love.

Note: each of these are series starters. Some are standalones (Fluffy), others end with the main characters together but with more books in the series as I follow their relationship (Shopping for a Billionaire, Random Acts of Crazy), others are prequels (Love You Wrong, In Your Dreams), while Maliciously Obedient has a cliffhanger. Full, up-front transparency for readers.

Buy Links: 

Amazon US:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B2ZFL3BT

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0B2ZFL3BT/

Amazon AU:  https://www.amazon.com.au/Laughbox-Julia-Kent-ebook/dp/B0B2ZFL3BT/

Amazon CA:  https://www.amazon.ca/Laughbox-Julia-Kent-ebook/dp/B0B2ZFL3BT/

Apple Books:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-laughbox/id6442916942

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-laughbox

Nook:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-laughbox-julia-kent/1141587903?ean=2940186582540

Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Julia_Kent_The_Laughbox?id=h4pyEAAAQBAJ&hl=en

Website:  https://jkentauthor.com/books/book-bundles/

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-laughbox-by-julia-kent

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61227788-the-laughbox

*****

Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 2 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 21 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French, German, and Italian, with more titles releasing in the future.

From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire she met in a romantic comedy).

She lives in New England with her husband and three children where she is the only person in the household with the gene required to change empty toilet paper rolls.

She loves to hear from her readers by email at julia@jkentauthor.com, on Twitter @jkentauthor, on Facebook at @jkentauthor, and on Instagram @jkentauthor. Visit her at http://jkentauthor.com

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://jkentauthor.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jkentauthor

Newsletter:  http://bit.ly/2PIBi9n

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jkentauthor/

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/julia-kent

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3238619.Julia_Kent

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Julia-Kent/e/B00A99V268/

*****

Excerpt from all-new Shopping for a Billionaire novella, SHOPPING FOR A BILLIONAIRE’S ANNIVERSARY

Declan

Here.” My executive assistant, Dave, shoves a perfectly wrapped present at me, with a card and a small envelope. We’re in my office, the sun shining on this beautiful spring day, and I am finishing up work before taking a vacation.

Yes–vacation. It’s for one night, but it counts.

“What’s this?”

“Your anniversary gift for Shannon.”

The note card is blank.

He notices me noticing this and his face sours, the corners of his mouth dropping in scorn, pulling his beard down so he looks like an angry leprechaun.

“I draw the line at writing sweet nothings to your wife and signing your name, even if my rendition of your signature is far superior to your own,” he says dryly, reaching down to square a pile of papers on my desk.

“My signature is my signature. No one can best it, Dave.”

He just snorts.

I shake the box lightly. “What’s in here?”

“Leather.”

Leather?

“Ninth-year anniversary gift. Leather is flexible and represents durability.”

“I am well aware of what leather represents. What does it have to do with my marriage?”

He snorts again.

I frown and ask, “Just leather? What is it, a wallet?”

“No! Of course not. The traditional gemstone for ninth anniversaries is lapis. I had a jewelry artist set chunks of lapis in gold, then stitch them onto a leather cuff bracelet.” Dave holds his phone up to me, showing a picture of the piece.

“That’s incredible.”

A short sigh of contentment, then a clipped, “You’re welcome” is how Dave takes a compliment. He doesn’t feed off praise.

He feeds off his own hypercompetence. If efficiency were a drug, Dave would be Al Pacino on Scarface, covered in the fine white powder of his own brutal excellence.

“The lighthouse is reserved for the evening?” I inquire, reaching for my briefcase.

“Yes. Your suit’s in the car already.” Dave eyes me. “Where will you change?”

I’m wearing jeans, hiking boots, and a Lacoste polo shirt, all Shannon’s favorites. The dark green shirt is a nod to my eyes, which she has spent almost a decade raving about.

Release blitz organized by Writer Marketing Services.

 
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