Thursday, 24 April 2014

A Review for Gold Rush by Jordan Lynde

18660620Posted by Donna
Release Date: April 3rd, 2014
Finished Date: April 4th, 2014
Publishers: RHCP Digital
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance 
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: Unknown
When hot, talented, uber-famous boy band Gold enroll at the prestigious Oakwood Academy, Iris is determined not to get distracted. She's class president and a scholarship student, and she can't let her grades drop. Besides, there are plenty of other girls who are desperate to get close to Gold - including Iris's best friend, Chloe.

But on their first day at Oakwood, Iris is asked to show Gold around - and finds out gorgeous lead singer Rian will be sharing her locker . . .

Surrounded by fans and paparazzi at every turn, Noah, Luke and Rian love that Iris treats them just like normal guys. But being friends with three of the most famous people in the world comes with its problems. And when Iris begins to realize she has feelings for one of them, things get even more complicated . . .

The Review: Full of fun and flirty moments with an enjoyable plot, Gold Rush is entertaining read perfect for any contemporary romance fans.

Everyone and anyone has heard of the band Gold and even more so when the band enrols at Oakwood Academy. Iris is possibly the only girl in her school who isn’t swooning over the boys, even when they befriend her because she acts so cool around them. Iris suddenly finds herself surrounded by the boys and, soon she finds that there’s more to the members of Gold than she once thought – especially the lead singer Rian. Iris finds herself getting closer to him, but could she ever have a serious relationship with a famous rock star, or will she be the one getting hurt?

I liked Gold Rush, in fact there’s nothing not to like about this story. Its fun and a very quick read. It’s one that keeps you entertained throughout, even though it’s slightly predictable at the end, but still thoroughly enjoyable.  The members of Gold are likable and just that little bit swoon-worthy. All the boys had different personalities so it was great getting to know them. Iris and her two best friends, Chloe and Kevin were just as likable as everyone. The whole gang fit together and it was enjoyable listening to the banter they have back and forth. 

Iris’s and Rian’s relationship wasn’t as insta-love, which I really enjoyed. It was a slow one, one where they started off as friends and things moved along from there. It was pretty easy to spot Rian’s feelings for Iris before Iris did, so that was fun too. 

In all, Gold Rush is an enjoyable read – one that will keep you smiling throughout. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#81)

 
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
Jess's WoW
17331828
Talon
by Julie Kagawa
Release Date: October 28th, 2014

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.


Jess's thoughts:

"Its been a long time since I've read a book by Julie. I still have her vampire series to read, but I can't wait for this as ita dragons. And you don't get many books with dragons. Awesome"
 
Donna's WoW
18520398The Bridge from Me to You
by Lisa Schroeder

Release Date: July 29th 2014

Lauren has a secret. Colby has a problem. But when they find each other, everything falls into place. 

Lauren is the new girl in town with a dark secret. Colby is the football hero with a dream of something more.

In alternating chapters, they come together, fall apart, and build something stronger than either of them thought possible--something to truly believe in.

Donna's thoughts: 
  I’ve never read anything by Lisa Schroder but The Bridge of You and Me sounds like a good way to start.

The blurb doesn’t give much away, so I’m hoping it’s going to be full of hidden secrets. I can’t wait!

<What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
Want to participate? 
Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link at Breaking the Spine. 
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A Review for Incubus (Daughters of Lilith #2) by Jennifer Quintenz

15993686 Posted by Melanie
Release Date: June 21st, 2013
Finished Date: April 4th, 2014
Publishers: Secret Tree Press
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance
Source: For Review
Format: Kindle
Pages: 295
Braedyn Murphy used to think nothing important ever happened in her sleepy town of Puerto Escondido. But that was before she learned she was a descendent of Lilith, the mother of all demons. Now Braedyn fights to protect humanity from the Lilitu - the beautiful, souls-stealing daughters of Lilith.

As she fights the Lilitu, Braedyn must also fight her growing love for her boyfriend Lucas - because even a simple kiss could end his life. Their only ray of hope is an angel’s offer to make Braedyn human, but it’s an offer she can’t accept until the world is safe from the Lilitu.

Braedyn knows she’s a key player in this ancient war... but she’s not ready to believe she just might be humanity’s best hope of surviving the final battle for Earth.

The Review: 4.5 Flowers! 

Incubus is the exciting sequel to Thrall (Duaghters of Lillith #1) and carried on just where we left off.
Following the events of Thrall, Braedyn is given a glimmer of hope by an angel, if she can keep herself from doing wrong, there is a chance she can be made human. This is great news for Braedyn and also for her loved ones, giving hope that she can be with Lucas properly, never guarding her love for him, being able to kiss him, have a normal life with him but at the minute Braedyn knows she is needed in her Lilitu form to give the Guard the upper hand in the war that’s brewing. During a field trip in which Braedyn and Lucas are attacked by a Thrall, they uncover some symbols similar to that which adorns the guards weaponry and when they take this news to the Guards, realise it is a huge discovery but as they look into it they discover that there is more to it than meets the eye and a could infact end the war before it starts - giving hope to all involved and none more so than Braedyn because if there is no war, then there is no need for her to stay a Lilitu…. They do discover that the Thrall that attacked them was female and as such could only come from one source…. The rare and elusive Incubus, so when the threats become more apparent, Braedyn is faced with a tough choice which might just lose her everyone she loves.
I really enjoyed this book and think it was better than the first now we know what’s happening and about the world of Lilitu. It followed the same vein as book one in respect of the training aspect, we see Braedyn and Lucas train more as they painstakingly prepare for what they know will come to pass. We can see both improve and we see the inner warrior desperate for some escape as Braedyns powers start to manifest. Even though the romance aspect can’t be too full on because of what could happen if Braedyn loses control, there are still some super charged moments between our lovebirds to get the heart racing and they will always have their dreams. I thought that even though Braedyn had made the decision to stay in her current form that when she got that glimpse of hope, she got carried away and became desperate, forsaking what her rational self would have done and risking a lot on a possibility, they do say that the path of evil is paved with good intentions and Braedyn should really heed that…. it remains to be seen what damage she will do to those relationships she has. I liked the introduction of the Incubus, in book one it was all about the Lilitu who are a form of Succubae so it’s a perfectly natural progression to be dealing with the opposite too and even though they are rare, that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. I thought it brought something a bit different to the story and I liked why it was introduced. I thought that the threat was more underhanded this time, quite subtle but sneaky and I liked how misdirection was used. The Guards seem to be banding together because something big is brewing but they can be frustrating in the way they view Braedyn & Lucas and how much information they are allowed which in turn, allows them to make huge mistakes. I won’t say that the story kept me guessing until the end, I knew who it was pretty early on but that did not spoil my enjoyment of the book at all, in fact…. It added to the tension because I could see it coming, I knew what was going to happen and I loved it all. As I said, it was very exciting and filled with secrets, misdirection, hope, faith and a little bit of divine intervention which made for a great read and I will be definitely reading more!. 

Monday, 21 April 2014

Release Week Blog Hop for Before the Storm by Claire Ashgrove; Review, Excerpt Q&A+ INT Giveaway


21522445Posted by Melanie
Release Date: April 21st, 2014
Finished Date: March 21st, 2014
Publishers: Untamed Spirit
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review 
Format: eARC
Pages: 304
Halle Rhoads has a terrifying gift--she can kill with the fury of the storm.

She should have known that kind of power wouldn't go unnoticed. Thrust into a world full of dark magic with a handsome stranger who claims he can teach her, she struggles to master her abilities and stumbles onto a dangerous truth. She's a windwalker, the chosen vessel of the ancient dragons who once ruled the world. Many will stop at nothing to possess the power in her blood, should they discover her secret. With necromancers hunting her and Halle's closest allies guarding secrets, mastering her magic becomes a matter of necessity.

But accepting her destiny is altogether different. For doing so means she must sacrifice everything.
The Review: 4.5 flowers! 
Before the Storm is the exciting new book in the new Windwalker series from Claire Ashgrove, many of you may know her for the equally awesome The Curse of the Templar series that I adore but now she takes a dip into the Urban Fantasy/PNR genre.
I really liked the story to this and it opens up a very promising world for the reader to discover. I definitely connected with our main character – Halle Rhoads- it’s hard not to when you get her story and you see a girl brimming with unbridled power, who has lost everything at a young age but covers her insecurities with her attitude…. she is driven, driven to protect the sister -who doesn’t even know she lives- from a tyrannical uncle and it’s whilst putting her plan into action that she is accosted by a mysterious man who knows far too much about her…considering she’s meant to be dead! He promises her lessons in controlling her erratic magic, if she will accompany him back to his home… but what does he want in return? Halle doesn’t trust anyone and has learned there is always a price to be paid. What ensues between the two will make you laugh, make you smile, make you gasp and definitely pull on those heart strings as a battle of wills turns into something deeper. I liked the pairing, I thought they complimented each other and I liked that Kale could see through Halle’s defence mechanisms, it gave their relationship that extra depth with him understanding her on all levels and how she should be treat & educated, she pretty much ‘gets’ him too and it has a fated feel to the blossoming relationship, I also love that through this we get a few glimpses into both of their insecurities & fears, endearing them more to me.
As I mentioned, the story line opens up a very promising world filled with magical people who can control elements, nature, power, illusions, the physical form & even the dead which is all displayed very well throughout the book and as all good fantasy style books should…. I want to see it, I can picture it in my head through the great descriptions but to actually see it visually would be amazing because the battles, the fights and even the training using the magic available would be stunning! The introduction into this world really got my interest and I loved learning it alongside Halle, we already know that there is a firm enemy and a lot of people share Halle’s goal but there is so much more to be explored through the different ‘clans’ and their areas of magic, so many secrets to uncover, magic to be unravelled and learnt, goals to be achieved, alliances to be made and battles to be won, even the hint of a prophecy…. But this is just the start and whilst it was great to get to know the basics, the next book promises so much more…. Can’t wait! 

EXCERPT of BEFORE THE STORM 
Chapter One Continued – Read Previous at Under the Covers

“It—I—we…” Faye stammered.

“You what? You can’t deny it, can you?” Allen straightened. He threw Faye’s cell phone at her feet and whirled on his heel, his hands clenched at his thighs. In the dim grey twilight, his formidable expression took on deeper, darker shadows. “I should have known when I took you in, you’d disappoint me. Your own father wanted nothing to do with you.”

I ground my teeth together, choking down fury. Daddy dearest had wanted too much to do with Faye. Just as he had with me. Overhead, lightning crackled through the clouds.

“You’re nothing but a good for nothing tramp!” Allen bellowed. “You’re going to respect the privileges you’ve been given, if I have to beat it into you. I swear to God, girl, you won’t embarrass me. Not with my re-election in another month.” He whipped around to face her once more, his arm cocking to his shoulder in the same angry whirl.

I glanced up. Felt that rage, that helplessness, the same instinctual desperation to protect Faye fill my veins. A deep roll of thunder sounded in the heavens, as ominous and foreboding as the telltale way my fingertips prickled with power I didn’t quite know how to control. All I knew was it happened when I felt. And I’d come here because Allen could provoke feeling inside of me. Now he’d regret ever disturbing the perpetual numbness.

Closing my eyes, I breathed deeply. Now. Let the storm come now. Let it be as horrible and deadly as the wrath I unleashed years ago.

A feeling of disassociation slipped over me, and distantly I felt a strange smile pull at my mouth. I remembered that odd sensation. Recalled all too well how it veiled over me and offered me protection from the flying debris even as it created an emotional barrier.
This was it. It would happen now.

As another bellow of thunder echoed overhead and the darkening sky filtered out the sun, I sucked in a deep breath and opened my eyes. My gaze focused on Allen; the stirring winds churned more violently. He uncoiled his arm, the back of his knuckles arcing toward Faye’s delicate cheek.

Something heavy hit me from the left. I toppled with the force of impact, barreled sideways into the fallen leaves and thick carpet of weeds and overgrowth. Knocked senseless, I barely comprehended a boulder of a weight pinning me to the musty ground. Gasping, I pushed to my knees to crawl away.

“No, you don’t,” a masculine voice whispered near my ear. Strong arms wrapped around my torso, anchoring my arms to my side as he rolled off me.
 
Hop today to read more at Reading Between the Wines!
Claire AshgroveQuestions for Claire Ashgrove & Before the Storm
   Tell us how you came up with the idea behind this series?
Of all the times to ask me this, through all the books I’ve written, this would be probably the one time I don’t’ have an answer.  I heard a song, it gave me the root of an idea, (Blown Away, Carrie Underwood), and I started writing words.  I pantsed the whole thing.  About halfway through I said, “Oooh.  I could do this and it can become that and voila, I have a series that is going to do all this.”
   Why did you choose this topic/genre?
My roots are in fantasy and I absolutely love to world build.  I’ve piddled with several ideas, have a couple truly epic fantasy works in the pool, but this one is the one I’ve managed to finish.
  
   What was your biggest challenge in creating this series?
That I pantsed the whole thing.  Laugh!  I usually plot to minutia.  This required a lot of thinking on how I could tie in one thing to another and how I could go to the next stage with the least amount of cut words possible.  I despise cutting words.
   How long did it take you to write?
I had other deadlines and obligations, so it’s not a true reflection of length of time to write.  But almost a year. 
 How many books will be in the series?
The entire series will be told in trilogies.  Halle’s journey will have three components.  The next journey will have three components, and so forth.  That way it can somewhat continue indefinitely for my own pleasure of writing and enthusiastic fans, but readers can hop-on / hop-off as they desire. 
   Who would you cast in the movie version of this book? Or who do you see playing them?
Oh my gosh!  I’ve been doing some of this with my Monday Meet the Cast stuff on Facebook!  Eva Gardner for Halle.  Simon Baker for Kale.  I’m totally stumped on someone for Marcus, but he’d have to act like Viggo Mortensen in LOTR.  Alan Rickman for Gerard.  I’m equally stumped on the Yaksini leader, but I’m leaning toward Anthony 
Hopkins.  For Surana?  Famke Janssen with red hair.
Do you have any other books that you’re working on that you could tell us about?
I have a pile of stuff coming down the pipes that I’m working on.  Of course, book two in this series – Tempest Rising.  Two books as Tori St. Claire for Entangled Brazen (one will release this year definitely.)  Three blue-collar Romantic-Era historicals as Sophia Garrett for Entangled (I love, love this series!) and another Immortal Templar book this fall.  Anyone want to clone me?  Listing it out like that has me a little freaked out.
Who is your favourite character from the book?
Rafini – Bet you didn’t expect that, eh?  For those of you who haven’t read yet, Rafini is a mentor of types for Halle.
What can we expect from book two?
Well, Halle’s in a bit of a fix at the end of Before the Storm.  She has a lot to still learn, and book two will see her accomplishing a lot of that.  We’ll learn more about the Noita and the Jadukara, and with the Yaskini aware of her abilities now, there will be regular action as well.  Her personal quest deepens, with more trials and struggles there as well.  And I have a few surprises I am really dying to share, but for the sake of not spoiling the entire book two, will leave them tightly under wraps.  

About Claire Ashgrove.....
Building on a background of fantasy game design, a fascination with history, and a lifetime love of books, award-winning author Claire Ashgrove brings to life action-filled, passionate journeys of the heart. Her paranormal series, The Curse of the Templars, marries the history of the Knights Templar with the chilling aspirations of the most unholy--a must-read for speculative fiction fans. She also writes as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire and historical romance author Sophia Garrett.
In her non-writing time, she’s runs Finish The Story, a full-scale editing house co-founded with Bryan Thomas Schmidt.  She lives in Missouri and enjoys cooking, studying ancient civilizations, and spending downtime with her two sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs.

Keep in Touch via:

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Showcase Sunday (#49)


Showcase Sunday is a new weekly meme hosted by Vicky @ Books Biscuits and Tea. We will now be taking part in Showcase Sunday instead of In My Mailbox. If you'd like to join see HERE for more details.

For Review:
 
eBooks for Review:
21842593

Gifted:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Testing (The Testing #1) by Joelle Charbonneau

Thank you to Piatkus, Simon & Schuster UK, Scholastic, Headline Publishing, Misty @ Bookaholic Book Club & Becky Wicks. 

HAPPY EASTER!
 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

A Review for The Prophecy of Arcadia (Arcadian Wars, #1) by M.H. Soars

21051717Posted by Melanie
Release Date: January 17th, 2014
Finished Date: March 31st, 2014
Publishers: Self Published
Genre: YA, Scifi, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 430
Being a teenager is tough, especially when you have to pretend to be something you’re not, and you’re in love with someone you shouldn’t. 115 years ago, a small planet called Arcadia was invaded by a vicious alien race and nearly destroyed. Cut off from their resources, the Arcadians turned to Earth for help. A group of Arcadian explorers discovered a Prophecy that claimed their salvation lay in the hands of two children from Earth. To ensure their safety, the Arcadian Council sent their most gifted youngsters to Earth to act as protectors. Samantha is one of them.

To succeed in her mission she must learn to control her Arcadian powers and keep her true identity from her best friend, and the girl she swore to protect, Alexia. But Samantha will soon realize that nothing is as it seems. Someone is trying to prevent the Prophecy from taking place and the prophecy boy hasn't been found yet. There is also a new drug circulating at school that is turning students into freakishly strong menaces.

To make matters worse, distractions keep getting in her way. Such as her love/hate relationship with her “cousin” Matthew. Or her confused feelings toward popular and mysterious Julian. She wants nothing more than to be free to live her life. But the survival of Arcadia depends on her and her friends. Free will is not an option.

The Review: 3.5 Flowers! 

The Prophecy of Arcadia is a good read and a nice introduction to the Arcadian Wars series. I’m not going to rehash the blurb because it tells you everything you need to know. We start with a prologue from 115yrs ago when a planet is being invaded and someone is sent to put a plan into action, all hope is placed in this plan and a prophecy is born… fast forward to present day where we meet Alexia, Sam & Matthew and the story will be told from each of their POVs, I enjoyed the different viewpoints throughout the book, it kept the story fresh and helped to know things that were going on in different places etc. which was handy also because Alexia is in the dark about her status in the prophecy, so the only way we knew what was going on about that was by the POVs of the people in the know. I liked all of the characters; not just the three who are voiced, there are quite a few who are charged with protecting Alexia and who all live together in one house with a parental figure. Each of these have certain abilities that help them and make them capable of being a guardian and I found it quite interesting and I’m definitely interested in all of their stories. With this being the first book, it is very much a ‘getting to know you’ book and the vast majority of it focussed on the budding relationships between Alexia and her soul mate and also Sam & Matthew and again this is where I enjoyed the differing POVs because we were getting love from both sides of the fence so to speak where one side shouldn’t fall for someone because a soul mate will put an end to any relationship and another where a romance is inadvisable when you’ve been using the ‘cousin’ card because you are undercover and are duty bound to be focussed on other things. This gave both angles a forbidden love feel and they were both sweet but I have to say that Sam & Matthews relationship hit me a lot more than Alexias. Storyline wise, I liked getting to know all of the characters, I liked learning about the protectors powers and that there were ‘prodigies’, they were touched upon but not in great detail so I’m really curious about these people. I liked that Alexia was in the dark about who she was but I wished that she had been told sooner, I liked what started to emerge in her but again, only an smidge of potential that I need to see more of. I thought the story could have done with a lot more action, we had no specific enemy until at least 80% of the way through and whilst I enjoyed getting to know the characters, I needed some action and not just at the end of the book. It was a promising start though and now the cat is partially out of the bag, I look forward to seeing how Alexia deals with her circumstances, how the relationships develop (I have my eye on at least another two possible couples), how the prophecy is going to play out and having a definite bad guy/girl to battle and bring some action & excitement. 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Blog Tour for The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher; Excerpt + US/CAN giveaway

17910150The Ophelia Prophecy
by Sharon Lynn Fisher
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
Publishers: Tor Books
Genre: Sci-fi, Romance
Pages: 320
New sci-fi romance from the RITA Award nominated author of GHOST PLANET!
* * * 
Our world is no longer our own. We engineered a race of superior fighters -- the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us. In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past. 

Some of us intend to do more than survive.
* * *
Asha and Pax -- strangers and enemies -- find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.

Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource -- information -- viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.

Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.

Neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie. 

With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other's secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.

Excerpt from The Ophelia Prophecy
By Sharon Lynn Fisher
  
Water pooled around Asha’s hips, soaking her thin cotton dress. She studied the glimmering surface of the lake, and the rocky hillside looming on the opposite side.
The reservoir. How did I get here?
Closing her eyes, she pressed her fingers to her temples. The last thing she remembered was climbing to the roof of the Archive with her father. It was a beautiful spring evening, and they’d planned to picnic and watch the sunset. She’d stepped off the ladder onto the corrugated, white-washed metal, and then . . .
Sleep, Ophelia.
She grasped at the words as they breezed across her consciousness. They had the ring of command, yet she had no memory of who had spoken them, or why.
A masculine moan sounded, so close she rolled into a crouch and skittered into the shallow water. The lithe movement of her own body surprised her almost as much as the unexpected voice.
Just beyond the depression she’d left on the beach, a naked form stirred. A stranger. His gaze riveted on her. He sat up straight, fists digging into the sand. No, not sand. His body rested on a bed of some soft, fibrous material.
She remembered the flimsy dress—now wet and clinging to her body—and hugged her bent legs, concealing herself as best she could. Her heart pounded against her thighs.
“Who are you?” they both demanded.
So the confusion was mutual.
“You first,” he said. A command, not a courtesy.
She hesitated. The man now seemed familiar—something about the eyes. They curved down at the inside corners, making them appear to slant under his dark, arched eyebrows. But she couldn’t place him.  
He rose to a crouch, eyes moving over her like an extension of his arms, prying at the locked arms that concealed her body from him.
She reached up to release the clip that held her coiled hair to the back of her head, thinking she would cover herself with it. She gasped to discover her heavy tresses were gone.
Tears of confusion welled in her eyes. Fear knotted her stomach.
“What’s your name?” the stranger insisted.
“Asha,” she whispered, uncertain. There’d been another name a moment ago. A name that had seemed to mean something.
Her throat tightened, strangling her words, as she said, “I don’t understand…”
“What are you doing here?”
She raised her eyes to his face, shrinking from the heat of his gaze. “I don’t know.”
His eyes bored into hers, probing for the thoughts behind them. He frowned, brow furrowing with doubt. He doesn’t believe me.  
“Who are you?” she repeated, indignation nudging past the fear that gripped her.
He slid his hands up his shoulders to rub his neck, baring the hard lines of his stomach, revealing pale marks under either side of his ribcage. Scars.
“Paxton,” he said. One hand moved to the back of his head, and he winced. He probed the sore spot with his fingers.
“Why are you here?”
“I don’t know.”
She glanced again at the fibrous nest. “What’s that?”
“Carapace.”
She blinked at him, the meaning of the familiar word eluding her. Before she could question him further, he rose to his feet, scanning the horizon. Her eyes lingered on the marks below his ribs.
He stood so long—motionless and studying the edge of the sky—she began to think he’d forgotten her. His composure was troubling. There was a shared mystery here, clearly, but they were not equal participants.  
“How can you be so calm?” she asked, voice lifting with anxiety. “Do you know something I don’t? Has this kind of thing happened to you before?”
Paxton glanced down at the nest. “Yes.”
She gaped at him, but the low whine of an approaching ship changed the subject. Her heart jumped as the black beetle hummed into view, dragging its own reflection across the surface of the lake.
She sprang to her feet. “That’s an enemy ship!” she cried. “We have to go!”
Technically the war was over. Very little left for the Manti to fight. But they still ruled the air, keeping tabs on the last dregs of humanity. Citizens of Sanctuary were forbidden to wander away from the city, and the reservoir marked the border.
Again his eyes skewered her to the spot. “No, we wait here. That’s my ship.”
“Your ship? I don’t…”
She side-stepped a couple meters down the beach, eyeing him fearfully.
Overhead, the beetle whirred to rest, cupped wings lifting to allow a controlled vertical landing. With a series of loud clicks it nestled into the sand, hover gear lowering and locking back against the hull. The lusterless, black skin of the vessel looked like rubber, but she knew it was a secreted resin. As she stared, frozen to the spot, the hull lightened from jet to blond, until it was almost invisible against the sand.
“Pax, you okay?” a feminine voice sounded from the ship’s external com.
“I’m okay,” called Asha’s companion. “Drop the ramp.”
“Who’s that with you?” 
Paxton frowned at Asha. “I was hoping you could tell me.” 

About Sharon Lynn Fisher: 
A Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist and a three-time RWA Golden Heart Award finalist, SHARON LYNN FISHER lives in the Pacific Northwest. She writes books for the geeky at heart—sci-fi flavored stories full of adventure and romance—and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne. Her works include Ghost Planet (2012), The Ophelia Prophecy (2014), and Echo 8 (2014). You can visit her online at SharonLynnFisher.com.