Tag Archives: Military

Release Blitz: Rescuing Kyle by Lynn Michaels

Rescuing Kyle | Lynn Michaels

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Release Date: 14.01.20

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/Rescuing_Kyle

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/Rescuing-Kyle

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Blurb

Kyle Blyss lives to tear up the track on his motorcycle, and touring across Europe is unbelievable. Meeting up with his cousin, an Army Ranger, who he looks a lot like, only adds to his adventure. When he meets his cousin’s friends, Kyle is excited by the lust that pulses between him and the sexy CIA agent, and he’s eager to explore the connection.

Steve Dixon always wanted to be a superspy, so he joined the CIA. His current assignment is a counterterrorist joint task force, headquartered in Germany. When he meets his co-worker’s motorcycle riding cousin, he’s overwhelmed at their mutual attraction.

Then everything goes south.

A mistaken identity, the Delta Team rescue, and a bag of gummies lead Kyle and Steve to re-examine their careers, their love…and their lives.

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Excerpt

Steve tagged along with Warren to pick Kyle up, whether Warren wanted him there or not. Frankfurt airport was a big wide open space with masses of people all going in their own separate directions—a riot of color against a silver backdrop. Steve followed after Warren as he made his way through the hoards. They only stopped moving to check the huge board announcing the flights. “Well?” Steve asked. “Which one?”

“There. On time.”

Steve couldn’t figure out the flights listed, but Warren picked it out and then moved again without waiting for Steve. He darted after Warren. His heart pounded in his chest as they maneuvered the crowds toward his gate, but that beating had more to do with seeing Kyle, than the exertion of speed walking through the airport. It didn’t matter. He swallowed hard when Warren came to a stop.

“He should be coming from there.” Warren stopped at the farthest point they could go. Steve could have pulled some strings to get them behind the security line, but he felt that needed to be reserved for something special, not simply picking up his boyfriend.

Boyfriend?

Steve stuffed that thought down. He couldn’t afford to think that way.

He scanned the people coming out of the large tiled hallway and walking past them. All the different faces, different sizes, shapes, and colors, but none of them were Kyle. Steve hated the waiting.

“Stop fidgeting. He’ll be here in a sec,” Warren grumbled.

“I know.”

“Hey, let me ask you something.”

“Sure.” Steve refocused on Warren. His eyebrows crinkled over his nose, making him appear serious. “What is it?” He feared a lecture about screwing around with Warren’s cousin.

Warren took a deep breath and looked away before asking, “Are you like, uh, attracted to me?”

“What?”

“You know? I look like Kyle, so…”

Steve snorted out a laugh. “No. It does not work that way, man. I’m not attracted to you. At. All.”

Warren glared at him. “How is that possible? We look like twins.”

“Come on, Warren. You can’t be serious. Stop yanking my chain.” Steve crossed his arms. “Attraction is more than looks. It’s that zing you get.”

“Fine. Don’t be attracted to me then.”

Warren was probably playing it off as not serious after being told no. “Warren?”

“Oh, look. There he is.”

Kyle came running at them. He dropped his bag and leaped into Steve’s arms. Steve grabbed him, holding him tight. That kind of greeting surprised Steve, but he loved it.

“Steve, you’re here!” Kyle peppered Steve’s face with kisses.

“Oh, wow. Now you don’t like me, either. Jerks.” Warren picked up Kyle’s bag. “Feet back on the floor, Romeo. You have any other luggage to collect?”

Kyle put his feet down and pulled away from Steve, then he grabbed Warren in a bear hug. “Missed you too, bro.”

“Bags, Kyle?” Warren choked out the words as if Kyle were strangling him.

“Yeah. I have one coming out. Let’s get to baggage claim.” Kyle grabbed Steve’s hand and tugged him over. He pecked him on the lips, but Steve wanted more. He grabbed Kyle’s face and pulled him into a deeper kiss.

“Oh, no. Knock that shit off.” Warren shoved Kyle, who laughed at him. “Save it for later, boys.”

“Jealous?” Kyle asked with a wink.

Warren flipped him the bird and walked off to find the belt that would soon spit out Kyle’s bag.

About The Author

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Lynn Michaels lives and writes in Tampa, Florida where the sun is hot and the Sangria is cold. When she’s not writing she’s kayaking, hanging with her husband, or reading by the pool.

She writes Male/Male romance because she believes everyone deserves a happy ending and the dynamics of male characters can be intriguing, vulnerable, and exciting. She has both contemporary and paranormal titles and has been writing since 2014.

Her stories don’t follow any set guidelines or ideas, but come from her heart and contain love in many forms.

Social Media

Website: https://rubiconwriting.com/lynn-michaels/

Lynn’s Loonie Bin – Facebook Readers Group: http://bit.ly/LooneyBinonFacebook

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sljasble

Amazon: http://bit.ly/LynnOnAmazon

Bookbub: http://bit.ly/LynnMichaelsonBB

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lynnmichaels69/

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Release Blitz: Soul On Fire by Tal Bauer

Soul On Fire | Tal Bauer

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Length: 75,000 words

Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/30YOB7u

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2Y8OgCh

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/SoulOnFire

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47327356-soul-on-fire

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Blurb

A deadly virus burns through the jungle, leaving nothing but corpses in its wake. Everyone flees from the outbreak—except for the terrorists intent on weaponizing the catastrophe.

Lieutenant Elliot Davis, US Navy SEAL, is sent to rescue CIA officers from their clandestine base in Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and evacuate them out of the country. What they’ve uncovered sends Elliot back to the Congo, trying to prevent an attack that could spark a global pandemic.

Dr. Ikolo Ngondu runs a refugee hospital caught between the advancing rebels intent on slaughtering everyone in their path and Elliot’s mission to find and capture their leader. In the chaos of a surprise attack, Elliot’s target slips away, and the only way to find him is to plunge into the Congo’s dark, dangerous, and fevered forest with Ikolo as his guide.

Together they track a burning shadow through Africa’s broken heart, and Elliot struggles to reconcile the world he finds with the life he’s lived as a black man in the West. He looks to Ikolo for answers and finds a man with a core so bright and fierce he scorches Elliot’s soul.

Even as they race against time, Elliot and Ikolo have no idea what’s been set in motion with their mission: a dark secret lies at the center, one that leaves billions of lives hovering between life and death.

And through it all, a question burns inside Elliot, one that only Ikolo may hold the answer to.

About The Author

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Tal Bauer is an award-winning and best-selling author of LGBT romantic thrillers. He is happily married and lives with his husband in Texas. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America.

Social Media

Website – www.talbauerwrites.com

Amazon Author – http://amazon.com/author/talbauer

Twitter – @TalBauerWrites

Email: tal@talbauerwrites.com

Newsletter – http://eepurl.com/cs0vsn

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Series Tour: Forbidden In Uniform by W.S. Long

Forbidden In Uniform | W.S. Long

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Length: 91,000 words approx.

Publisher: JMS Books

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

JMS Books | Universal Link

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Blurb

Ask and I’ll Tell

Raised by his aunt, after his mother died, Pad McLaughlin enlisted in the Air Force to see the world and save money for college, but he didn’t expect to fall in love with his supervisor, RJ Davis, a handsome, dashing officer.

Rather than return home right away after his tour of duty in Saudi Arabia, Pad gambles on love by joining RJ in Bangkok, despite the government’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” When Pad realizes RJ doesn’t love him, he returns home broken-hearted only to be distracted by Wayne, another hunky airman, who keeps secrets from Pad.

When RJ finally realizes after Pad’s gone what Pad means to him, is he too late? Will Pad choose the officer or the airman?

Set in 2008, this love story takes place before the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” when gay men who loved each other were forced to remain in the closet and deny themselves happiness.

Splendidly Ever After

Seven years after they meet, and more than four years since RJ initially proposed, RJ and Pad are back. The wedding invitations have been sent again and the date is set. This time, both men are more committed than ever to each other and willing to make their relationship work.

But old issues surface that cause conflict before their big day. Will RJ’s recent diagnosis of sexual addiction disorder tear them apart? Can they weather the growing disapproval from their families over same-sex marriage before they walk down the aisle?

Will RJ and Pad finally tie the knot?

About the Author

Lawyer by day, writer by night. When I’m not lawyering during the day, I’m often reading or writing gay fiction involving men who desire a happily ever after. I’m happily married to a mild-mannered college professor, who likes to escape to the Orlando theme parks, or to a faraway place.

You can often find me on social media, sometimes talking about books, but many times mouthing about TV, movies and other geeky stuff involving superheroes. Oh, and I use a pen name to protect the innocent.

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Blog Tour Spotlight: Arctic Sun by Annabeth Albert

Arctic Sun | Annabeth Albert

Frozen Hearts #1

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Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): eBook: Monday, April 1, 2019 |Print (mmp): Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook): eBook: approx. 95,000 words| Print: 384 pages

Buy now:
Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488051258_arctic-sun.html
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Arctic-Frozen-Hearts-Annabeth-Albert/dp/1335006885/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-sun-annabeth-albert/1129705419
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/arctic-sun/id1438313132
kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/arctic-sun-1
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Sun?id=G55zDwAAQBAJ
Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Arctic-Sun-Audiobook/1488206201

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Blurb

He’s built a quiet life for himself in Alaska. But it doesn’t stand a chance against the unrelenting pull of a man who’s everything he shouldn’t want.

Ex-military mountain man Griffin Barrett likes his solitude. It keeps him from falling back into old habits. Bad habits. He’s fought too hard for his sobriety to lose control now. However, his gig as a wildlife guide presents a new kind of temptation in superhot supermodel River Vale. Nothing the Alaskan wilderness has to offer has ever called to Griffin so badly. And that can only lead to trouble…

River has his own methods for coping. Chasing adventure means always moving forward. Nobody’s ever made him want to stand still—until Griffin. The rugged bush pilot is the very best kind of distraction, but the emotions he stirs up in River feel anything but casual, and he’s in no position to stay put.

With temptation lurking in close quarters, keeping even a shred of distance is a challenge neither’s willing to meet. And the closer Griffin gets to River, the easier it is to ignore every last reason he should run.

Warnings: Publisher’s Note: Arctic Sun deals with topics some readers may find difficult, including sobriety and eating disorders.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with a HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

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Excerpt

The mountain man scowled at River. The older guy next to him was the one splashed all over the website— well-known photographer Roger Barrett—with the sort of craggy features that suggested a long life lived in the sun.

He smiled at River, shaking his hand, and telling him what a fan his sister-in-law and nieces were of his book. But it wasn’t the old guy who held River’s attention at all. No, that was all reserved for Mr. Tall, Dark, and Cranky, who clearly didn’t share Roger’s good opinion of River, but good heavens, the man certainly made all those rumors about mountains and fresh air resulting in larger-than-average humans seem true.

He totally looked the mountain man part too— shaggy brown hair, the sort of tan that River’s friends would pay good money to emulate, hazel eyes that re- minded River of the greenish brown stone of a mosque he’d visited in Istanbul. And muscles for days.

Big, broad shoulders stretching the fabric of a denim shirt, thighs like tree trunks, and that scowl. This was a guy who would be at home playing the sheriff in some old west drama. Or maybe a gunslinger…

About The Author

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Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify!

Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Social Media

Website: http://annabethalbert.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert

Twitter: https://twitter.com/annabethalbert?lang=en

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

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

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Nb9yv

Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels/


Giveaway

Enter to win 1 of 2 paperback copies of Arctic Sun + a fun-filled swag pack!

Must be 18 to enter and win, open internationally.

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Series Tour: Memory of Scorpions by Aleksandr Voinov 

Memory of Scorpions | Aleksandr Voinov

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Series Blurb

Memory of Scorpions series is a gritty military fantasy featuring a very diverse, very queer cast of characters.

Political drama, court intrigue, love, loyalty, betrayal and a plot-driven storyline that will keep you guessing right up to the very end. The beautiful covers were created by Anna Sikorska.

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Scorpion | Aleksandr Voinov

Memory of Scorpions #1

You learn your wisest lessons from your enemies. Assuming, of course, you survive the encounter.

Kendras is a casualty of war: injured, penniless, and quite possibly the last surviving member of the only family he’s ever known—the elite fighting force known as the Scorpions.

When a steel-eyed stranger offers him medicine and shelter in exchange for submission and a secret task, Kendras has no choice but to accept. He is a Scorpion; he’ll do whatever it takes to survive.

But his true goal is to rebuild the Scorpions. Neither Steel’s possessive nature nor Kendras’s shattered foot can keep him from finding the last of his brothers… or the mysterious leader of the Scorpions, a man who held Kendras’s heart long before Steel tried to take it for himself.

The goal is simple, the situation anything but. To rescue his leader and escape from Steel for good, Kendras must fight through a morass of politics and intrigue, where enemies are allies and even allies have hidden agendas.

Goodreads | Amazon | Books2Read

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Lying with Scorpions |Aleksandr Voinov

Memory of Scorpions #2

If you lie with scorpions, you’d better have a taste for poison.

Now that Kendras’s lover Adrastes has claimed the throne of Dalman, Kendras is tangled deeper than ever in politics and intrigue. As the new leader of the Scorpions and Adrastes’s one true friend, he and his men stand between Adrastes and those who wish him dead.

And many do. Adrastes openly challenges the ocean priesthood for power while establishing himself at court and brokering with the realm’s various factions. He means for the Scorpions to become a fearsome legion again, but Kendras must first learn how to be a good officer and recruit to replace the fallen.

His choices will determine the future of a group steeped in hundreds of years of history and tradition.

As both Kendras and Adrastes settle old scores, a new enemy arises in Commander Graukar, a war hero loyal to the old order. In his formidable mountain fortress, Graukar may hold the balance of power.

But while Adrastes aims to either rule or destroy Graukar, Kendras finds himself doubting Adrastes for the first time, and sharing more with Graukar than he ever thought possible.

Goodreads | Amazon | Books2Read

A Taste for Poison

A Taste for Poison |Aleksandr Voinov

Memory of Scorpions #3

Even the hand of a king is stung when it reaches for the scorpion.

After barely surviving an assassination attempt, King Adrastes is a changed man—one who mistrusts even his allies and friends. He readies his empire for war against an enigmatic enemy, the Elder of Vededrin, but not everyone approves.

While courtiers dare only to whisper dissent, an outrider called Death foments rebellion in the mountains, aided by a prophecy that promises he’ll stop the Black King.

Kendras—former lover to Adrastes and leader of the Scorpions—is sent with his elite mercenary force to bring Death to justice. But when Kendras learns who’s hiding behind the mask, he must choose between his lover Graukar, newly appointed general to the king—and King Adrastes himself.

With no man to call master, the Scorpions could flee the danger and intrigue. But Kendras cannot abandon the man he once loved—or the man he’s growing to love—without first uncovering the real threat to the Empire.

Goodreads | Amazon | Books2Read

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Meet the Author

Aleksandr Voinov is an emigrant German author living near London, where he works as a financial editor, writing coach, and complementary therapist.

At 43 years of age, Voinov has written more than two dozen novels and published five novels with German publishers. After many years working in the horror, science fiction, cyberpunk and fantasy genres, Voinov is now primarily writing queer fiction.

Described as a “workaholic speed-writing freak” by fellow writers, a “creative writing class drill sergeant” by his writing ‘padawans’, Voinov is a self-confessed geek and has enlarged his days by 12 secret hours in return for the sacrifice of ten albino virgin pygmy hippos.

Voinov’s style has been called “dynamic to the point of breathlessness” and “disturbingly poetic” by publishers and literary agents. A recurring theme in his fiction is “the triumph of the human spirit” or an individual rising to challenge the status quo in a world gone bad.

Intellectually, he is drawn to the dark side of human nature and history. As a trained historian, he is fascinated by wars, religion and the conflict between the individual and society.

Interests at the moment include WWII, medieval siege warfare, William Marshall, the Golden Age of Piracy, and whale-hunting. These interests are subject to change from one day to the other, and Voinov single-handedly sustains two bookshops in London.

Public Contact Email: vashtan@gmail.com

Website: http://www.aleksandrvoinov.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aleksandr.voinov.12

Twitter: https://twitter.com/vashtan

Goodreads Author Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3074905.Aleksandr_Voinov

Tumblr: http://aleksandrvoinov.tumblr.com/

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/aleksandrvoinov

Newsletter: https://us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=0648aab5d3675b949f1329b38&id=eae6814f9c


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New Release Blitz: We are the Catalyst by Tash McAdam

We are the Catalyst | Tash McAdam

The Psionics #2

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: February 25, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 106,900

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT, cliffhanger, espionage, spies, military, young adult

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Add to Goodreads

Blurb

Kidnapped and imprisoned, telepathic children are forced to gather military intelligence. Repeatedly stripped of their memories, they live in ignorance of the world above. You can’t tell anyone a secret if you don’t remember it. It’s not child abuse if no one knows you exist.

Epsilon 17 appears to be just another mindless tool, empty of thought. But it’s a lie. The carefully constructed shell she hides behind protects her from their mind wipes. One day she will destroy the Institute. All she needs is a chance.

That chance could be Toby, if he doesn’t die first. He should never have left the safety of the suburbs, but cornered in an alley by a gang, he’s out of options. Of course, if he realized he had superpowers, he probably wouldn’t have been so worried. Unfortunately, they come at the cost of a finger, and his old life. Injured and panicked, he would have stayed on the dirty ground until the Institute came for him, if it wasn’t for Serena. Name-taking, ass-kicking Serena. She can punch through walls and practically fly, surely she can keep him safe…

But the Institute is sending Epsilon 17 to hunt him down, and she’s never lost a trail.

Can ARC, the mysterious group Serena works for, protect him? He has to get his powers in order, fast. It’s time for Toby to stand up for himself. An underground war is raging, and Toby’s just been drafted.

Join NineStar Press Authors Alex Harrow, L. A. Ashton, and Tash McAdam on FACEBOOK for a virtual launch party of their releases, EMPIRE OF LIGHT, ECHOES, and WE ARE THE CATALYST!

Find the party HERE. The event is February 25th from 8-10 PM CST, but feel free to drop by and stay as long as you wish!

For more info on each author and their books, visit:

EMPIRE OF LIGHT by Alex Harrow
ECHOES by L.A. Ashton
WE ARE THE CATALYST by Tash McAdam

Stop by for exclusive snippets, character takeovers, prizes, and swag!

Excerpt

We are the Catalyst
Tash McAdam © 2019
All Rights Reserved

E17

I’m floating, weightless, sensationless. The gel covers my body, every inch of my skin submerged and cushioned. The drowning sounds almost pleasant when I describe it this way, but my eyes are covered, liquid is pressing against my lips. It’s in my ears, filling my nose, dulling my senses. I’m drowning in breathable fluid, oxygenated goop. The sensation of lungs pleading for air lasts the short minutes I can hold my breath…then I have to inhale and my body is flooded.

I scream. The noise vibrates soundlessly in my throat, and then my body goes limp as my insides adjust, and my brain revels in the fresh oxygen. This isn’t new to me, I’ve been here before. I know how the gel works, giving me the oxygen my body requires at the cost of instinctive terror and panic that overrides all logic. It turns out there’s no getting used to suffocation. Even once the lungs realize they can drag oxygen from the fluid, it’s an emotional drowning.

You lose every sense of who you are like this, blurring at the edges until disappearing into nothingness, every sense of self fading as you drift out of your body, into a void. The sensor pads connected to my poor, bald head were itchy when they were applied, now they may as well not be there—except I know they’ll still be doing their jobs. The wireless connections to the computer equipment in the laboratory above me will continue to let the doctors know when I have disappeared, when I can’t think anymore.

It comes too fast. It always does. Without any variation in pressure or sound around me, my mind rebels and flails for anything to hold onto. It takes me hours, maybe. It could be minutes or weeks, I suppose, but I think it takes me hours to calm myself, to drag back the knowledge I have skin, I have a border, and I’m impenetrable and separate from what is around me.

This is the Tank.

In the Tank, there’s no gauge of time, nothing to touch or feel, no sensory hooks to hold onto. Insulated against life, I can’t do anything except hang there, helpless. There’s no one here for me to reach for, this time. Sometimes there will be others—different people, different ages. I reach out to them, feel for them with the telepathic powers that are both the reason I suffer and the only thing saving me from true madness. Even momentary connections with others remind me I’m not alone. I reach out, but they never feel me. They are truly alone, isolated from everything and everyone.

I’m the only one who survives the Tank. And I don’t know why. Of course, the scientists would never tell me anything. I’d be punished if I asked. I’m supposed to come out blank and empty and unknowing, like the others.

Thanks to the Tank, and the loneliness of my life, I spend a lot of time speculating why I’m different. I think it might be the dreams keeping me safe. I dream of a boy, a boy who runs in the sunshine and plays a sport with bats and balls. A boy who lives a blessedly unremarkable life. I think I made him up, to save me from the nothing. Could I have invented a place to go and hide in vibrant experiences and Technicolor feeling? Not like the Tank, where there’s nothing, nothing at all.

I’ve been in fourteen times as far as I remember. Other people have been dipped opposite me, or next to me, ten of those times. I feel their thoughts, their confusion and panic. I can’t see them. I can’t see anything at all except for vague shadows which pass my prison. Once a hand was pressed to my Tank, a black blur against the grey dark. The thoughts buzzing in the person were angry and desperate. They wanted to help me, but they couldn’t. I don’t know who it was.

Today, I’m alone. There’s no one else being wiped. Even if there were others, I can’t Project—send thoughts or feelings out of myself—so there’s no way for me to communicate. It seems to me if we connected, maybe they’d stay.

Instead, I talk to myself all the time, even under the draining numbness of the gel I drown in. It does something to me, to them, to us. As soon as I’m submerged, I can barely sense at all, the techs and other people mere scratching tickles at the surface of my consciousness, not like the normal swirling chaos of the thoughts always spinning around me, every fleeting miniscule flicker of awareness loud and seething for my attention. For the vast majority of my life, I have to block everything, block it all out so I don’t lose myself in the minds of others.

Not in the Tank, though. My powers are muted and tamped down by whatever is happening to me. And the others? Eventually their minds recoil at the endless nothing and they withdraw into the safety of white noise, the illusion of peace.

Then the wipe begins—a skull full of bees buzzing, crawling through memories and erasing the pathways making someone’s self. People fade away as I listen to their mental screams and pleas for mercy. They’re loud, then, as they beg for their memories, but the cries always dissolve into whispers and then nothing, nothing at all.

They cease to exist.

I don’t know why I alone remain “myself” in the Tank; perhaps I’m mad and there is no me. Maybe all I ever do is float here in the numbing absence of everything and tell myself stories. But I don’t believe so. I’m Epsilon 17, and I remember what that means. It is the name they gave me—not one I want, but it defines me, nonetheless. Epsilon is my class; I’m Epsilon Class, number seventeen. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon…there are mostly Beta class here—the lowest, the least gifted. Alpha talents are so low the Institute has no interest in taking them on as students. That is what the Shepherds call them…call us, when they speak to us. Alpha talents get to live their lives away from this.

We are “students,” as though they are our teachers, here to help and educate us. In their heads, they call us sheep. They have no idea I can hear them—hear everything they think. They are trained to hide themselves, as I have taught myself to do, and it never crosses their minds they aren’t as safe as they believe. Because they are wrong about me. They have no idea I can tuck myself into a secret space inside my head and resist the nothingness of the Tank. Maintain my sense of self. Protect my memories. They know I’m special, but they have no idea how strong I really am…and how much stronger I’ll be. Every time they leave me in the Tank, I come back to my memories faster, and I hate a little more.

Soon all there will be left of me is hate.

This is how I stay myself in the Tank. Instead of waiting for it to end and feeling my mind snap when I realize it never, ever will—I have been here forever and will stay here forever—I take all the scraps of me, all the pieces making up who I am, and tuck them away, out of sight, in a private bunker in my mind.

While I’m suspended, I disappear into my dreams, if I’m alone. When there are others, I always wait until they have gone, in case one day one of them stays with me. They never do.

Once I’ve hidden I don’t come out until I’m sure I’m safe. Until I feel a soft, scratchy sensation and smell the faint, fresh bleach of my sheets. The triggers my body remembers. When I’m tucked up in my bed, I come back to reality, I realize I am not the boy-who-runs. And I remember everything they tried to take from me.

The moments before it comes back are the only times I feel safe.

It wasn’t always this way. When I was a child, I didn’t remember at all. They cleaned me the same way they clean everyone, and I became a fresh slate, a new start. You can’t tell anyone a secret if you don’t remember it. It’s not child abuse if no one knows you exist. We are the perfect soldiers in a war most of us repeatedly forget. We are forced to participate and then erased as though we were never there, gifted in a way people don’t expect and can’t plan for.

Mindreaders. Telepaths. Psychics. There are many names, but here at the Institute, they like the scientific terms. We are the Psionics, and they use us without shame.

If you are powerful, The Institute is there, listening to your thoughts, guiding your hands when you are writing, perhaps sending you dreams. Even controlling your every move like a puppet. Assignments can last for years if the Government wants a consistent presence monitoring one individual. You get to know them when they’re your target. I’ve been in heads which haunt my dreams. It makes me wish I did forget, but never enough to let go.

Two years ago, I was assigned to a political leader in Muntgummery, near the East, for eight months. He was a bad man. He liked to hurt women, and I had to watch it so the Institute could blackmail him. The Government knew the city was going to drown in the ravenous coastal waters as they rose and wanted to control who was saved. At the end, I worked with a Projector, who used my knowledge of the target to get into his head and overtake him completely. The city was abandoned to the flooding shortly after. The top Test-scorers were evacuated, and then the tube tunnels were sealed, Citizens, slumdwellers, and refugees alike were left to drown. I remember them screaming as we flew over the rioting streets.

The list of secrets I know is long, and I have nowhere and no way to write it down, so I keep them in my mind. It’s safe there because, though the business we are in is to take secrets, nobody knows I have any, and so nobody even looks. I hide everything under a blank, unmarked surface, and their probes slide over me like I’m invisible, or empty like the others—an untouched piece of paper waiting to be filled with their knowledge and used to affect the course of the world.

I have been aware for five years, give or take. It’s possible I have remembered myself before but didn’t manage to hide it and was wiped so I really did forget again.

But I learned.

The first time I came back to myself, they tried to wipe me again and again. Three times they put me back in the Tank, until I thought I was lost, gone and mad. But then it happened. I found the way—the way to leave what they were doing behind with my body—and keep my mind safe inside another life. A better life.

I don’t know how many days passed after that dip, but when I came to, I was restrained on a cold, hard table. I felt a grasp at my thoughts, a touch against my mind. I knew what it meant—they would put me back in, drown me again to kill these memories. We’re not supposed to remember the Tank. We’re not supposed to remember who we are. I scampered away inside my head and drew myself into the smallest ball possible, shielding my thoughts. I was small and tight and tucked away in a corner, and I tried so hard to hide and make the man go away. I felt him grope around—a blind man fumbling through my head. He must have been satisfied, accepted the lack he found inside me. He thought I was empty, and they could start again.

This is my story, and I’m putting it away to keep it safe. That way when I disappear again, I can find all the thoughts I’ve had, see the feelings I stored here. I don’t know how it works, but it is enough for me that it does.

Because this is my mind, my secret self, the weapon with which I’ll one day destroy everyone who has a hand in this. I’m Epsilon 17, and I’m going to bring this regime down in flames.

The Tank fades away and I’m gone. The boy’s packing a bag, this time. I think he’s frightened. I wonder what he has to be scared of, this boy with parents who ruffle his hair and friends who shout with laughter.

Meet the Author

Tash is a 30-year-old teacher candidate at UBC in Canada, although they were born and raised in the hilly sheepland of Wales (and have lived in South Korea and Chile before settling down in Vancouver). Tash identifies as trans and queer and uses the neutral pronoun ‘they’.

They’re also an English teacher and fully equipped to defend that grammar! They have a degree in computer science so their nerd chat makes sense and a couple of black belts in karate which are very helpful when it comes to writing fight scenes.

Their novel writing endeavours began at the age of eight and included passing floppy discs back and forth with a friend at swimming lessons. Since then, Tash has spent time falling in streams, out of trees, learning to juggle, dreaming about zombies, dancing, painting, learning and then teaching Karate, running away with the circus, and of course, writing.

They write fast-paced, plot-centric action adventure with diverse casts. They write the books that they wanted to read as a queer kid and young adult (and still do!)

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest


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Release Blitz: Step Up With Me by Kris Jacen

Step Up With Me | Kris Jacen

With Me #5

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | MLR Press

Length: 45,000 words approx.

Publisher: MLR Press

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Blurb

Richard “Tank” Martin was a big boy from the start. Born weighing over 11 pounds, he didn’t stop growing.

When he was in middle school, a football coach took him under his wing and finally explained to him the mystery of calories in, calories out and from then on it was all good for him. At least he thought.

Being called to meet with his platoon sergeant and told that he was now part of the Army’s overweight program, sent him into a spin that only his crews can help him out of.

Dr Jack Dillon thought his life was good and finally settled. Part of an active veterinarian practice, volunteering with a service dog organization, spoiling his sister’s triplets and training in sports jiu-jitsu…the only this missing was a partner.

He never thought that his world could be shattered with just a phone call even after being around his military friends.

Tank and Jack have been dancing around each other for months until Tank takes a chance and kisses Jack at their friends’ wedding, moving their slow dance into a heated bump and grind.

Can these two survive the changes coming their way together or will all the changes break them apart?

With Me Series

Book #1 – Wait For Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 – Explore With Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #3 – Learn With Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #4 – Challenge Me – Amazon US Amazon UK

About the Author

Kris Jacen grew up just north of Boston, Massachusetts, met her soldier in high school but didn’t marry him until almost ten years later. She moved around with him and their daughters (born in two different states thanks to the Army) for the first 19 years of their marriage (they celebrated their silver anniversary in 2018) before settling in western New York.

She has been the Editor in Chief and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints since January of 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl.

She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.

You can find out more about Kris on her website www.krisjacen.com


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