Tag Archives: spies

Top class romp through the spy catalogue!

Killer Bond (Ward Security #5)Killer Bond by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another five-star romp through the adventure catalogue with this spy entry in the Ward Security series.

I know I keep saying it, but these books would make brilliant TV and this one’s no exception as it trips around the world from Bermuda to mainland Europe.

Abe and Dom remain my favourite pairing from the Ward boys but I have to say Daniel and his CIA agent came close to lifting the crown.

The pacing is superb, the plot an interesting one which certainly wouldn’t be out of place as a James Bond and the two men have an amazing connection which leaps from the page.

***Spoiler***

A guest appearance by everyone’s favourite cat burglar come porn star Angelo was just the icing on the cake.

#ARC kindly received from the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Book Blast: Last Loose End by K R Allen

Last Loose End | K R Allen

Kindle jpeg (1)

Cover Artist: Fiverr

Release Date: May 6, 2018

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 122,917 words/ 296 pages

Buy Links

Smashwords

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

Australian secret agent Cole Pearson never could stay out of it.

Now he is AWOL and on the run with Sean Trammel, analyst for mining giant ARBUS dodging killers and cut off from help as he never is overseas.

As they try to uncover the reasons behind the attack on Sean, Cole unexpectedly realises that he has reasons purely personal and increasingly physical for wanting to keep this man safe.

And as they discover the stakes for their hunters they know that it is going to take more than Cole’s charm, guns and wits to keep Sean alive and out of their clutches.

LAST LOOSE END

Excerpt

It was the skulking action that first caught his eye. Even without the dark grey fatigues, not couture de rigueur for urban Brisbane, the light step and hurried, almost sneaking motion was deeply suspicious. Cole sat up straighter in his car, the boredom from sitting for five straight hours disappearing in an instant. The skulker slid along the side of the office building heading towards the back. Any legitimate visitor to the building would go through the front door, check in at the counter maybe. It wasn’t the building Cole was supposed to be watching and it was extremely unlikely that the skulker was the Indonesian intelligence officer he was looking out for but he was intrigued nonetheless.

“Now what are you up to buddy?” he muttered. A moment later he saw the man wasn’t alone. Two more men dressed in similar dark grey fatigues followed his path. Cole looked up and down the Spring Hill street. People were coming and going and not paying the slightest attention to him or the men moving into the building across the road from him.

Cole tapped his fingers against the vinyl of the steering wheel. He knew he should mind his own business. It wasn’t what he was there for and he knew he’d only been given this surveillance detail as punishment for his latest misdemeanour. He didn’t think his career could stand many more infractions. Anyway, it was warm in the car and while it was a sunny day out and midday, outside the air was chilly in typical Brisbane May weather. Still…he caught sight of another two figures and pursed his lips. Someone’s day was about to go to crap, he thought reasoning with himself. And really he could do with some movement. For an hour he had sketched passersby and played license plate poker on and off but mental stimulation didn’t keep the blood pumping. A moment more of internal debate and he grabbed his gun from under his jacket on the passenger seat and slipped out of the car. He was just going to take a look he told himself.

On this street the buildings were actually accessed at road level half way up the building with at least four floors below due to the way a hill had been cut into years before. The skulkers had wound their way from street level up the maintenance gangways which wrapped around the sides and presumably the back of the building like a mesh exoskeleton, up two floors so Cole followed at a distance. He saw the lead man jimmy open a door and the whole string of them, bar one who stayed by the door as look out, slipped inside pulling on ski masks as they did so.

‘Just taking a look’ would end now, Cole thought. No matter how he spun it. He’d clearly seen them go into a building he wasn’t supposed to be monitoring. At most he should call the Police. Instead, he double checked the magazine in his pistol and set to finding another way into the building.

Cole went back down one floor and used a fire extinguisher to break open a door and found himself in a back hallway near a couple of storerooms and the toilets. He slipped his gun into the back of his pants pulling the buttoned shirt free of his waistband so it could hang over the top to hide the gun. Following the hallway he entered an open area with a kitchenette along one wall and an open eating area with a floor to ceiling window looking out onto a courtyard type arrangement. When he encountered a couple of people, he adopted his best ‘yep, I’m meant to be here’ countenance and kept steadily on. He’d had a lot of practice blending in and it did not fail him here. Pretty much everyone ignored him. Just beyond the kitchen was a void through at least five levels with stairs to the next level up and down. The timber stairs squeaked slightly at his steps but still no one gave him a second glance. It was the usual thing, he thought. If you were in everyone just assumed that you were supposed to be.

BOOK BLAST SCHEDULE

About the Author

Kathryn Allen is an Australian cross-genre author of magic realism romance Ever Man and male/male action thriller Last Loose End along with a frankly ridiculous number of in-the-works fantasy, action and drama novels.

For added confusion, she also writes under the names K R Allen and Kathryn R Allen. She enjoys writing about characters taller, bolder, quicker with the comebacks and infinitely better shots than she is.

Find out more about Kathryn at: https://www.kathrynallen.com.au/

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I am so in love with this setting and these characters

Midnight Flit (The Carstairs Affairs, #2)Midnight Flit by Elin Gregory

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Simply brilliant. This is everything I want in a historical novel. It draws you into the time period perfectly, bringing a real sense of the start of the madness leading up to the Second World War.

Here we’re only just into the 1930s but there’re enough tensions for a modern reader to see where this time period is eventually going and Elin lays it all down with a deft touch.

I cannot wax lyrical enough about how much I love Millie Carstairs, the alter ego of cypher clerk Miles Siward, and here she’s on top form as a rescue mission to bring Miles’ beloved mother home to Blighty goes wrong from the moment they leave the Embassy in Bucharest.

This series needs to be turned into a TV show, its utterly compelling and superb settings just lend themselves to be adapted.

It’s daring do of the highest quality and reminds me a great deal of the wonderful Tommy and Tuppence Beresford from that master craftswoman Agatha Christie.

I’m intrigued by Falk, the German assassin who keeps popping up in the series, he needs his own book!

And Elin really threw me for a loop with one of the things which happened in this book. I wasn’t expecting it at all and was made very sad but it works so well to bring a real sense of the dangers of the world that Briers and Miles move in 😦

There’re some delicious plot elements left open for book three and another new character introduced who isn’t all he seems to be either.

Reading this just took me right back to the Saturday morning black & white weekly adventure shows of my childhood and I can’t wait for more.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Fabulous Jazz Age historical romance

Eleventh HourEleventh Hour by Elin Gregory

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Any book which references the 1897 St Helens Challenge Cup team’s front row as inspiration for the name of one of the characters is a winner in my book.

Rugby League is often overlooked by its posher big brother so this made me very happy.

That it comes along with a superbly plotted historical romance set against the backdrop of anarchist plots in London in the late 1920s can only be a bonus.

Everything about this book just worked for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

View all my Goodreads reviews

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

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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!)

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New Release Blitz: I Am The Storm by Tash McAdam

I Am The Storm | Tash McAdam

The Psionics #1

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 17, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 64,500

Genre: Science Fiction, espionage, spies, military, young adult, lesbian, pansexual, trans

Purchase

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

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Keep your head down. Don’t look anyone in the eye. Never even think about technology if one of those ghostly, grey cars is sliding silently down the road. They’ll see the thoughts inside you, if you let them.

Sam’s a technopath, able to control electronic signals and manipulate technology with his mind. And so, ever since childhood, his life has been a carefully constructed web of lies, meant to keep his Talent hidden, his powers a secret. But the Institute wants those unusual powers, and will do anything to get a hold of him and turn him into one of their mindless slaves.

Sam slips up once. Just once, but that’s enough. Now the Institute is after him in full force. Soldiers, telekinetics, and mind readers, all gunning just for him.

Newly qualified soldier, Serena, doesn’t even know she’s chasing a person, all she knows is that she has to find whatever the Institute is after before they do. But tracking an unknown entity through an unfamiliar city, with inaccurate intelligence, unexpected storms, and Gav Belias, people’s hero of the Watch, on the prowl, will she even survive? Will she get to Sam before the Institute does? His special skills could provide the rebellion with an incredible advantage, but not if they can’t get out of the city, and over the huge wall that stands between them and freedom.

Excerpt

I Am the Storm
Tash McAdam © 2018
All Rights Reserved

I didn’t ask to be Talented, but I am, and because of that, I endanger everyone around me. Every day. The government wants people like me under their control, or dead. So we hide the best we can out here in the shadowy and factory district. It’s hot, same as always, even in the shade. Out here isn’t much to look at—especially compared to the inner city, which sparkles like diamonds. Around me, buildings in grays and browns loom into the blue sky, blocking the vicious sun and removing the need for the transparent aluminum shields guarding the open spaces from the UV. Those are for the rich.

This area is always in the darkness. We’re part of the City, but only just. Pressed up against the inside of the Wall, this end of town really isn’t much better than the slums. Nah, shit, I take it back. At least I’ve always had a roof over my head and food in my belly, even if it tastes pretty bland. My mom made sure of that.

People in the slums aren’t as lucky. Mom moved us out to the poor end of town because of me—it’s obvious, even if she lies whenever it comes up. She had a good job back before I was born, as a teacher in one of the elite elementary schools, and she loved it. I hear in her voice how much her heart aches when she tells stories about her old students. Now, she pulls levers fifteen hours a day in a plant and can’t stand up straight anymore. It’s my fault.

I’m snapped out of my musing by a warning shout and barely avoid a speeding mini elec-car, piled high with boxes and strips of metal. A second later, I’d have been another smear marring the tarmaxx. No point in putting solar panels here, after all, so the road is far from shiny and clean. I curse at the driver’s back.

Shoving my hands into my pockets, I chew my lip and dawdle down the road. I’m not in a hurry. Medical exams are one of my least favorite pastimes, but if I want to stay in school, and damn straight that’s what I want, I have to go. Being weighed, prodded, and poked isn’t nearly as fun as going home and relaxing with a hacked satellite feed, but we do what we must, right?

Since I have these checkups twice yearly, along with every other Citizen in our glorious metropolis, I know how late I can be—without getting penalized—to the second. Although, I don’t have any idea what the time actually is since I don’t even have my comm unit with me. For once, I don’t have any tech in my pockets, and it makes me feel naked and exposed.

But it’s the only way I can keep from blowing my cover.

I’m a lucky sod, for sure. As a technopath—able to control technology with my mind—I have a unique power, and I’m not noticeable the way telekinetics are. They throw stuff around with their Talent. Obvious stuff right there. Me? Hell, if I get really angry, I can cause a blackout, but it’s doubtful anyone would trace it back to me. Living in an area without electricity helps, though. Thanks, Ma.

Giving up the creature comforts for your only son is a noble thing to do, and it’s kept me under the radar for years. Off the radar and above ground, instead of locked up in a facility designed to destroy any aspect of me deemed not “useful.” So, you know, my memories, my personality, and sense of self, for a start. If the Institute had their way and nabbed me as one of their brainwashed weapons, I’d lose everything making me myself.

I should get a bit of a move on, though. If you’re not there when they call your name a third time, you get bounced off the list and marked as “uncooperative,” which isn’t a good thing. They watch the uncooperative, in case we’re considering a life of rebellion and insurrection.

And I’m exactly the kind of person they’d love to catch. Besides being Talented, I do my fair share of cybercrime. They’d only have to watch me for a few days before I ended up with a hood over my head and a gun in my spine. I might not be tall, strong, or rich, but I’m definitely dangerous.

I pick up the pace a little and, rushing around the next corner, thud right into the broad chest of a watchman. I stumble and lose my balance, and then I’m knocked off my feet by a powerful and unnecessary uppercut to the jaw. I cry out in pain, rebounding off the wall and crumpling in a heap.

Blinking back stinging tears of shock, I clap my palm to my throbbing face. The brute looks down at me, pathetic Sam, crouched on the ground, wearing worn-out clothes. He spits on me, daring me to retaliate so he can arrest me and throw me in the clink. Power tripping. The Watch—military police—are government thugs, but many of them aren’t bad people. Just people with a sucky job.

This one appears to be your standard petty thug in a uniform.

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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Brilliantly detailed spy adventure still keeps the romance alive

Playing in the Dark (Glasgow Lads, #4)Playing in the Dark by Avery Cockburn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This review is spoilery but the short story Avery just released let the cat out of the bag already so.

Wow, just wow. I’ve been waiting for Evan’s story ever since he sent the Captain’s armband and a note saying he was running off to Belgium with his lover and broke Fergus’ heart.

I knew there had to be more to it, running off to Belgium just sounded like it had to be an excuse, not that there’s anything wrong with Belgium, but it’s not the first place you think of when it comes to illicit affairs.

Avery dropped other hints here and there throughout the series that there was more to Evan than him being a callous heartbreaker and I remember mentioning somewhere that I bet he was in MI5.

Now I was joking really when I said it, I honestly was expecting some kind of twist, undercover police or special forces perhaps, rather than the UK secret service.

But with this wonderful narrative, it makes perfect sense and my heart broke for Evan so many times. This is a love story, it is a romance, but it’s like all of the Glasgow Lads series – it’s laced through with so much more.

Set back in 2015 there’s a whole host of things going on here in the UK which are reflected in this book and Evan’s dedication to his country is given the weight it deserves.

I loved Ben, I was fascinated by the background Avery gave him and the insights into a faith I’d only heard about in passing. I loved his passion, his innate sense of justice, his quirks and his growing confidence in himself and his relationship with Evan.

All of this book made me happy, but the scenes in Orkney were among my favourites, where Evan could let go and be the Evan he might have been in a different lifetime.

A triumphant closure, if it is the last of the Lads I think they’ve gone out on a positive note.

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