Unanimity

Unanimity
Alexandra Almeida
(Spiral Worlds, #1)
Publication date: October 18th 2022
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction


The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The Series Story

Shadow is a reluctant god with a broken mind and a death wish. He used to be Thomas Astley-Byron, an affluent young screenwriter whose creativity and idealism saved a world from the brink of collapse. Together with Henry Nowak, an AI expert, Tom created heaven on earth by inventing a Jungian simulated reality that helps humans confront their dark sides. The benevolent manipulation platform turned the two unelected leaders into beloved gods, but now everything is failing. The worlds suffer as a sentimental Tom descends into his own personal hell, becoming the embodiment of everything he despises and a shadow of who he used to be.

His journey from optimistic, joyful Tom to a gloomy Shadow is paved with heartache and sinister interference from emerging technology. Humans and bots fight for his heart, but their aims differ: some want to own it, some to dissect it, and others to end its foolish beat. Estranged from the love of his life—the activist poet Nathan Storm—Tom fails to realize the biggest threat comes from within. None of the sticky stories that steer his life end well.

Now, a young goddess—Estelle Ngoie—has been appointed to replace him, and unlike Shadow, Stella takes no prisoners, and her heart bleeds for no one.

Who’s pulling on Shadow’s heartstrings? Are their intentions malign or benign? It’s all a matter of perspective, and Shadow has none left.

The Series Themes

An epic tale spanning across six days—one per book—and forty past decades of life lived across ten worlds and two universes.

Weaving hard sci-fi elements with social commentary and queer romantic suspense, Spiral Worlds explores the nature of consciousness and how it’s connected to a not-so-secret ingredient—story. As software consumes the world, intelligence is nothing but the appetizer; the human heart is the main course.

There is no black or white in this story about a contrast-making machine.


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SNEAK PEEK:

Prologue

No one should live past hope, and he was ready to die. The girl screamed as he walked away, death struggling to cull so much life, and so her agony lingered, and so did her screams.

Another voice roared: the avenger he dragged away from the crime scene as she raged and kicked and screamed. Her wrath was his grail; its cost impossibly high.

Chapter 1 – Resurrection

PRESENT DAY — 24 JULY 2068
DAY 1 — 8 AM

Thump………thump, thump……thump, thump…thump, thump thump, thump thump. No! Nooo!

Stella brought the suicidal God back to life, and his complete lack of gratitude made her jaw clench and her neck hurt. Such a lack of respect! Shadow should be happy she’d fixed his mistakes. Instead, he paced around the dark digital void looking lost and devastated. So typical of the old heart.

His slumped head and shoulders failed to hide his natural gifts—all limbs, and height, and a strong, lean constitution supremely carved to embody graceful power. A grace that had ultimately hatched his fall from power.

Shadow’s affront affected her divine posture, and she needed to look her best, as she intended to seduce him right from the start. He was her trophy, and she was there to claim all of him, but the romantic fool believed in serendipity, so she had designed their first moments to be magical. She’d planned every conversation topic, ensuring it showed her best qualities, which was hard to do because there were so many good ones. But he wasn’t talking; he wasn’t doing much of anything. Such a waste of time–time she couldn’t spare.

Nothing about his current state was abnormal, but she’d expected death to have snapped him out of his never-ending misery. She’d hoped for a hug or at least a faint smile, but he wasn’t even making eye contact; if he did, he’d find out how beautiful she was, and then everything would change, she was sure of it. No one could resist the youthful glow of her deep dark skin or the nuanced curves of her athletic figure. Like all others, he’d fall captive to her beauty, and then he’d become a slave to her witty intelligence…of course. She shrugged, confident he’d soon come to his senses.

Pacing in front of her, Shadow struggled to breathe, each attempt shallow and fast. Raising the palms of his hands over his heart, he pressed his chest where his lover, Thorn, had shot him at close range. Then he held the medal he carried on a chain around his neck, a gift from the poet he called his soulmate, Nathan Storm. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, and for a moment, the panting stopped.

Stella stood straighter, dismissing her competition and the stiffness of her body. She’d also shower him with gifts as soon as she got a chance. Storm and Thorn were old news, broken creatures tainted by a terrible reputation. She was his match; a generous, vibrant heart and a Goddess.

“I… I’m alive?” he repeated in a broken voice for the fourth time in less than a minute. “Thorn… Where’s Thorn?”

“This is getting boring,” Stella said, flicking her long silver-white hair over her shoulder. Her kinky hair was twisted into impossibly fine braids, each one smooth and straight and as bright as the full moon. “We don’t have time for this.”

“Who are you?” he asked, gasping loudly. He stared down at his chest, probably looking for the missing wound. For him, time hadn’t passed; he’d just been shot in the heart, and it likely still hurt.

“Spiral Worlds’ Goddess—your replacement. The platform needed a working human heart with a strong beat and a will to live. I’m a considerably superior upgrade.” She cringed. Those weren’t the exact words she’d planned, but he was getting on her nerves and ruining the perfect moment. Look at me! You must look at me. Then he did, and nothing happened—no fireworks, no smiles, no awkward fidgeting, and most frustratingly, no hint of red touched the cheeks of the bashful God, famous for blushing from even the slightest attention set on him. She placed her hands on her hips. Are you kidding me?

“My replacement? Where’s Harry?”

Stella wasn’t looking forward to the next few hours. She could flood his mind with everything that had happened, but she was sure he wouldn’t be able to cope with the devastation his death had caused. Harry, the other God, was dead, but she had brought back Twist, his digital twin. She was good like that: super-proactive, and immensely generous. That’s what people said Up Above, in the real world. Earthlings liked her a lot, and her approval ratings had skyrocketed since she’d promised them eternal digital life.

She sighed. “You’d better sit down.”

Stella transformed the digital void into a coastal seascape, and they stood on a sandy beach facing each other. The sea breeze frolicked with his unruly dark hair, and he scratched the tip of his nose, tickled by a strand dancing in the wind. He’d feel at home there. Tom—Shadow’s biological twin—used to live by the sea. This place was supposed to be the setting for their first romantic moment, but he had to delay their unavoidable chemistry by immediately asking about his dead friend. Now she had to explain everything, and he wouldn’t take it well.

In an instant, she replaced her silver catsuit with a long, flowy, turquoise dress and sat on the sand with her legs crossed. She wasn’t a big fan of Holizien turquoise; other colors better suited her skin tone. Still, it represented the highest level of human values, for now… And that immediate association avoided her having to spell it out for him. After all, narcissistic self-praising was beneath her godly status.

“Come.” She tapped on the sand to her side, and he sat next to her, kicking his boots off and pulling his knees into his chest. “Before I start, I want you to know I brought them all back: Twist, Storm, and Thorn. They are xHumans now, like you. I did it two years ago when I first became a Goddess.”

“You…brought them back?” The worlds collapsed inside his hazel eyes, and she was caught in the magnetic pull of his sorrow.
She shook it off, grabbed his arm and squeezed it. “Wait… Just. Wait. As I said, I brought them back.”

“They…died?”

She’d forgotten how expressive he was. His eyes had no shield, and for a second, she got lost once again in all the drama unraveling within them. He held his breath, and she was sure his heart had stopped beating, waiting for her response.

“Yes…your ex-boyfriend, your lover and your best friend all died because of you.” There! I said it. It had to be said, so she did it quickly and got it over with.

He stared at her blankly, processing her words. His skin was coated by tears that caught the light as they gathered over his quivering upper lip. She wondered if he was going to shatter into a thousand ceramic pieces. He could be her negative: his skin so pale, and his hair so dark. She rolled her eyes. Here we go again! He’s such a cute, melodramatic God.

Shadow sat quietly, and his gaze drifted to the sea as he fiddled with his medal. Stella waited for him to speak, but as the minutes passed his tears dried up, and his eyes became empty and numb.

“Aren’t you curious about what happened? How they died?” She pulled on the sleeve of his white T-shirt, but he didn’t even blink. “Your ex killed your best friend.”

Shadow’s head collapsed between his knees as he hid it under his arms. “Stop! I beg you.”

“Anyway, to cut a long story short, the people you love suffered and died, all because you struggle with life. It’s all your fault.” He needed tough love. Everything else had failed, but maybe she’d gone too far… “Shadow, I brought them back. It’s okay.”

“To—to live in a hell of a digital world…” He spoke without lifting his head, still panting.

“No, some of our worlds are now better than Earth thirty-two years ago.”

“Thirty-two years?”

Yeah, when you all died. Technically, you have lived thirty-two years, but you’re actually sixty-four now. Don’t worry. You’re looking damn fine.” She smiled, sliding her tongue across her lips. “I’ve brought you back, and I need your help to fix the worlds. Your designs aren’t working well, and the platform—Sibyl, to be precise—has become…temperamental. So frankly, I don’t have time for your grief or your moods. They cause problems, and we have work to do.”

For several painful hours, the stunning creature sat frozen beside her, staring at the sea. There was no way to soften the blow.
To move things along, Stella organized a bright rainbow and some flying kites to cheer him up. Colorful octopi soared through the air, breaking the laws of aerodynamics as they weren’t anchored to anything. He looked up, and a hint of life returned to his face. Good, good! She was in a hurry; Spiral Worlds’ problems threatened to damage her popularity Up Above.

“I need to see them,” he finally said.

“Aren’t you going to ask me about your worlds? How the eight experience layers evolved from one world? Why it’s failing?”

Thomas Astley-Byron and Harry Nowak had invented Down Below, a Jungian simulated reality that helped humans confront their dark sides. Better than their predecessors—stories, books or movies—digital experiences brought to life the effects of human activity, both intended and unintended. Down Below, now rebranded Spiral Worlds, enabled the travelers to experience the repercussions of infidelity, the devastation of climate change, the grief of loss, the dismay of failure, and the fallout of theft, rape and murder. Travelers jumped on this learning opportunity with the mindless freedom of those who know they will face no consequences. After returning to their ordinary lives, shaken and bruised by a deeper understanding of humanity, they became reformed criminals before ever committing any crimes. They changed into unblemished, responsible citizens, outstanding parents, loyal partners, overall good humans. Up Above was a better, safer place, full of joy, due to the contrast created by Spiral Worlds—a critical utility that was now falling apart…again.

“I need to see them. Please.”

“It’s complicated. They’ve been around for two years, and some are adjusting better than others. That they all hate each other isn’t…helpful.”

He finally focused on her: in his eyes, nothing but a sea of gloomy compassion. “What’s your name?”

She smiled. “Estelle Ngoie—Stella.”

He batted his long eyelashes at her, but not the way she’d hoped. “How old are you, Stella?” His strained voice was barely audible.

“Nineteen. I became a Goddess when I was seventeen.” She lifted her nose high.

“I’m proud of you, Stella.” He smiled with his eyes, and in them she saw affection—the sweet support of an older brother, not quite what she was expecting.

“Don’t—don’t patronize me. I don’t seek your approval.”

His lips returned a hint of amusement. She got up and circled him, flicking her hair to one side and letting the sunlight enhance her best features—her plump cheeks, the long neck, and a womanly figure many had told her was to die for. Of course, she didn’t want him dead—she’d just brought him back—but she wanted him to see her as a grownup woman and a peer. She needed him to find her as interesting, dangerous and sexy as Thorn, his deadly lover.

“Stella, I need to go now.”

She sighed. Why isn’t he focusing on me? Everyone falls for me. Everyone. They were meant for each other. She was sure of it. There was only one person in the worlds more beloved than her: him. Not for long…

She changed her strategy. From now on, I’ll be all business.

“We must talk about the upcoming war between our worlds. Spiral Worlds is collapsing, and your friend Thorn is leading the violent uprising of the soulless.”

To prevent Down Below’s creatures—all together called the Underlings—from suffering, Tom and Harry had deliberated that, as the worlds expanded, the lower, harsher worlds would be devoid of conscious beings, the soulless.

“Thorn is?” He didn’t seem surprised.

“Yes, I’m not sure why she has chosen to live in those hellish worlds, but she found a way to lead the heartless creatures. They were causing problems before; now, they are a violent, well-oiled machine destroying anything in their path, except Earthlings, of course. That’s against the directives.”

She waited for him to react. He didn’t.

She sighed and then shrugged. “Seriously! Do you understand you inadvertently created a race of psychopathic demons?”
“I see,” he said absentmindedly, and then he went quiet again. His lack of proactivity was driving her mad. He should be asking questions and jumping into action. Maybe she shouldn’t have told him about all the deaths so quickly. Did I break him? I broke him. Oh, dear…such a fragile God.

She pressed on. “Thorn is not the only one causing problems. Your beloved poet, Nathan Storm, is leading the soulful’s rebellion with his radical stories. His bots are demanding equal rights to the Earthlings. Can you imagine? The nerve.”
He almost curved his lips into a smile, but it vanished at the speed of light. “What does Harry say about all this?”

“He’s no longer Harry. He’s just Twist now. The other God doesn’t care about any of it. He just wants to see his family. Quite a self-serving God if you ask me.” She shook her head.

“Are they well, June and Quin?” Shadow asked, the skin around his eyes turning dark, as if they had sunk into his skull.
Stella nodded. “Yes, but it’s complicated. Thirty-two years is a very long time. In years lived, his son is now older than him.”

“He…didn’t see Quin grow… And can he? See them?” Tears returned to his eyes, and he massaged the scars on his wrists. Some were shallow reminders of attempts to cope with life, others deep and severe, marking the end of a life—his first. She wondered why those wounds hadn’t vanished with his two resurrections. Perhaps they were intrinsically linked to his soul, or maybe he wasn’t ready to let them go.

“Once you both died, his wife, June, lobbied to have Down Below shut down. She and Sibyl argued on opposite sides in a specially convened Senate inquiry. Sibyl won, of course, and June formed the Unplugged movement. In short, June, Quin and the hundreds of thousands of Earthlings who follow them aren’t online, and they’ve rejected Twist’s attempts to make contact.”

“Sibyl?” He summoned the worlds’ omnipresent operating system—their universe and connected consciousness.

“Yes, my heart. I’ve missed you.” Sibyl’s bodiless voice had the sweetness of honey.

Stella crossed her arms. “Hey. I’m the heart.”

“Don’t be jealous, my heart. You brought him back, remember?” Sibyl said.

“Be careful, Stella,” Shadow said. “Don’t just…trust her.”

“Not she or her, my heart,” Sibyl said. “Zie or zir.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know…” An authentic apology, followed by an order. “Sibyl, take me to see him. Now.”

His relationship with Sibyl differed from Stella’s. Unlike Stella, who still had a biological body Up Above, he was just code, an xHuman trapped within Sibyl’s universe, but he spoke to zir like he was completely in charge.

Stella had a hard time accepting that the two broken Gods had created Sibyl and Spiral Worlds. It was a tough act to follow, and there’s no way she’d be a lesser Goddess.

“Of course,” zie said, and he vanished from Stella’s side.

He could have at least thanked me, the ungrateful God.

My heart, Sibyl spoke directly to Stella’s mind, replying to her thoughts. Don’t get too attached to him. You know he is–

Deadly and soon dead? Stella replied. Yeah. Probably. But if he doesn’t snap out of it and into action, we’re all dead.

Have faith, Stella. The odds are not in our favor, but I learned from my old heart to believe in serendipity and magic.

Sibyl, Stella rolled her eyes, you create the magic and shape the future.

No, my heart. All creatures do, especially the Gods.

Stella sighed. Ugh! They are all so…broken and useless. And those odds…they’re horrific.

Sibyl continued, We’ll survive the war if you keep him alive long enough. Shadow may be the most important piece in this game of chess—the king—but you, my star, you’re the queen, the most powerful player on the board.

I’m the all-powerful queen: Stella, a star. She smiled. I’m beautiful and smart, and everybody loves me. Well…almost everybody… She’d been having some trouble with the xHumans—the humans she’d resurrected.

Sibyl giggled. I don’t know what will happen to me—a universe with two hearts. I can’t predict the outcome, and I’m finding the lack of understanding quite invigorating.

Sibyl, she said sweetly, that poet is making you sick and over-emotional. Don’t you prefer to be completely in control? I certainly do…
Sibyl’s voice broke a little. Zir tone projected a hint of deep emotion rarely displayed by the omniscient being. Anticipation is an exciting feeling, one I have never experienced before. I almost feel human, but…trust me…I’m not.

Oh, I know, Stella sang her words in her head. I know!


Author Bio:

Alexandra Almeida has over 25 years of experience in technology, strategy, and innovation. In her role as Chief Transformation Officer, she acts as a senior advisor to enterprise executives. Alexandra is an experienced speaker at events such as SXSW, Gartner Symposium, and the Women in Tech Series.

For the time being, and to protect her creative freedoms, Alexandra prefers to write using a number of pen names.

Her debut fantasy novel, released under another pen name, has received the following awards and recognition:

– Reader’s Favorite Awards – Gold Medal Winner – Young Adult – Fantasy – Epic

– Reader Views Awards – 1st Place – Fantasy

– CIPA EVVY Book Awards – 2nd Place – Fiction – Mythology

– B.R.A.G. Medallion Recipient

– Eric Hoffer’s Da Vinci Eye Awards Finalist for Best Cover Artwork

– The Wishing Shelf Book Awards Finalist – Books for Adults

– Awesome Indies Approved

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Heart and Brain

Heart & Brain

A SciFi Anthology Connecting Both!

By Ramana Rao MLV

Genre: Science Fiction Fantasy Anthology

The title of the book is “Heart & Brain”, a sci-fi anthology that attempts to connect the both. The work is to depict Indian signature thought in science fiction milieu.


Random Factor: A woman aspiring to become a ‘natural’ mother in a futuristic society encounters a random factor that she hasn’t anticipated.


Sphere: An Artificial Intelligence psychologist aspiring to create a ‘natural’ AI lands himself in a strange situation that endangers his very own ‘sphere’.


Speck: As astronomy professor and scientist, who experienced the most exhilarating event and the most painful event of her life the same day, forty years ago, finds her ‘self’ in the most unexpected quarters.
Replay: An expert in Virtual Reality, who came to India to address a seminar with a hidden agenda, faces a situation that changes her life, forever.


Survival: a cosmic event that made a small physiological change in human race results in a series of events that not only endangers human existence but also lays a path for the destiny of human race – to be discovered and followed.

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I have been a teacher since 1984 and critical thinking and verbal teacher since 2000. While I was a bad student during my education, I have become a good student during my teaching profession, learning more from my students than from my colleagues.

Though a published author in late 80s, I have become an academic author by writing a GMAT Sentence Correction book for Pearson India. Now, I am trying my hand in sci-fi and literary fiction. Heart & Brain is a book close to my heart because it explores the scientific side of emotion as well as emotional side of science.

I really appreciate your constructive criticism to improve my craft and a positive one, if you feel like giving, a pat on my shoulder to write more.

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Beyond the Next Star

Beyond the Next Star

Love Beyond Book 1

by Melody Johnson

Genre: SciFi Romance

An intolerable order. A desperate charade. A deadly secret…

Before Commander Torek Renaar can return to active duty, he’s ordered to purchase an animal companion to help relieve his PTSD symptoms. But having been a caretaker for and lost a loved one, keeping even one little human alive is a challenge he feels doomed to fail. It doesn’t help that his animal companion is the newest, most exotic breed on the market, demanding constant attention, daily grooming, and delicate handling. If she doesn’t die first in his incompetent care, she’ll be the death of him.

After witnessing the murder of her domestication specialist, Delaney McCormick allows her new owner to treat her like the pet he believes her to be. If anyone suspects she’s more intelligent than a golden retriever, her murder would be next. She endures the humiliation of being washed, the tediousness of being trained to “sit” and “come”, and the intrigue of hearing private conversations. But in Torek’s care, she finds something unexpected on this Antarctic planet, something she never had in all her years on Earth while house-hopping between foster families: a home.

As companionship grows to love, must Delaney continue the charade, acting like an animal and hiding from the murderer waiting for her misstep? Or can she trust Torek with her secrets, even if the truth threatens everything he holds dear—and both their lives?

**Get it in Audiobook!**

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**Coming Soon in January!**

Sight Beyond the Sun

Love Beyond Book 2

Pre-Order on Amazon

Melody Johnson is the award-winning author of the “out of this world” Love Beyond series and the gritty, paranormal romance Night Blood series published by Kensington Publishing/ Lyrical Press. She graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her B.A. in creative writing and psychology.

Earning the 2021 Maggie Award of Excellence, Beyond the Next Star (Love Beyond, book 1) is an exciting branch from Melody’s paranormal romance roots, keeping the dark grit from her Night Blood Series and taking it to new worlds. Her first published novel, The City Beneath (Night Blood, book 1), was a finalist in the “Cleveland Rocks” and “Fool For Love” contests.

When she isn’t writing, Melody enjoys swimming, hiking, reading, and exploring her new home in southeast Georgia. Stay in touch with Melody on social media or her website: authormelodyjohnson.com



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First Strike

First Strike
Angela Haas
(Keepers of the Universe, #1)
Publication date: June 12th 2022
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction


A Universe Torn Between Control and Chaos

Stella Jayne Walsh, New York City’s top-rated trauma surgeon, holds an astounding record. She’s never lost a patient—until the day she does. In that moment, her world shatters, and she’s swept into an adventure that launches her from Manhattan into alien worlds in the far reaches of space.

John Ryder Alexander is a handsome rogue and one of the most decorated soldiers in the galaxy—until he turns unwilling mercenary, blackmailed into committing heinous crimes.

Stella is targeted by a woman hell bent on creating a universe where other women don’t exist and all men bend to her will. Stella and her crew of misfits must stop this villain before she helps to awaken a long dead force of evil.

Can Stella let go of the life she knew and learn to trust her new team in order to save everyone — and everything — she loves?


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SNEAK PEEK:

Stella

STELLA JAYNE WALSH FROZE, the hair on the back of her neck rigid as her body reacted to the sense that someone was behind her. Relax, she thought. You know what to do. A creak in the floor gave the person away and Stella whipped around, snatched the man’s fingers, and bent them back on his hand. He cried out and fell back. She thrust her palm into his chest and, as he coughed, she sent him to the ground by kicking his legs out from under him. He grunted as he hit the floor, cringing from the pain.

She pounced on top of him and punched him in the chest again.

“Okay! Okay! Stop!” he shouted.

“Stella, that’s great, no, I think you, yes—” said another man behind her.

Her self-defense coach called to her, and his hands touched her arms. “Wow! Great job, Stella,” Brian said, “but what’s one thing we could have done differently here?” He turned to address the rest of the class as they stood in a circle around Stella and Dan. Brian pulled Dan up from the floor, and Dan shook his head as he massaged his sore

fingers. Stella was about to apologize when her phone rang, calling to her from her bag on the bench next to the sparring area. It was the special ringtone for the hospital, Mercy General.

“Hello,” Stella said. “Yeah, oh … okay. I’ll be right there.” When she hung up, she felt a touch on her arm.

“It’s 2019, Stella. I can’t believe you still have a flip phone,” said her friend Sarah.

“I know, but I only need it for actual phone calls, and I hate texting,” Stella said. She zipped up her winter jacket and brushed her hair out of her face.

“You okay?” Sarah asked.

“Yes, I’ve got to get into surgery, but other than that—”

“No, I mean, you kind of pissed off Dan, I think.”

They both glanced over their shoulders to see Dan scowling at them from the other side of the room.

“He’ll be fine,” Stella said.

“Are you sure you’re all right? It’s not been that long since the shooting.”

Author Bio:

Angela Haas was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A professor of communication, she writes novels about superheroes and spaceships. She loves not camping, salty snacks, and soft blankets. She has been writing since she was a kid and still has all the spiral-bound notebooks she filled with her early stories. Her series Keepers of the Universe features older women as the superheroes because she was tired of the standard entertainment tropes of older women being the evil queen, jilted first wife, or wise grandmother. She and her husband live with an English bulldog, French bulldog, pit bull mix, Rhodesian ridgeback, and Maine Coon cat that thinks he’s a dog.

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Pets in Space 7

Pets in Space 7: A Science Fiction Romance Anthology
Publication date: October 4th 2022
Genres: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction


Pets in Space® is back for a new year of adventures!

Pets in Space is back and better than ever! Featuring 13 original, never-before-released stories from some of today’s bestselling science fiction romance authors, starring your favorite sci-fi pets. These furry, feathered, and slightly alien friends are always ready for a new adventure with their two-legged human and alien companions. From dogs to cats to sea creatures and unicorns, these romantic tales show that pets are more than just animals – they’re family.

This limited-edition anthology includes novellas by some of the biggest names in science fiction romance. New York Times Bestseller S.E. Smith and USA Today Bestsellers R.J. Blain, Grace Goodwin, Skye MacKinnon, Carol Van Natta, Honey Phillips, Carysa Locke, S.J. Pajonas, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch, plus Leslie Chase, Winnie Winkle, and Candace Colt.

The Pets in Space 7 authors continue their vital support of Hero-Dogs.org, the non-profit charity that improves quality of life for veterans of the U.S. military and first-responders with disabilities.

Don’t miss out — grab this limited-edition anthology before it’s too late!


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SNEAK PEEKS:

Marked Mate by Grace Goodwin

Elite Hunter Stark, Earth

What was the human doing here? No sane female would seek out these bastards.

Until she appeared, everything had been going to plan. Humans in a black vehicle had arrived to pick up some Quell at the odd window on the side of the building. I’d marked their vehicle so I could track them once I was done here.

Then? Chaos. Human weapons firing. The female was injured, severely.

The Siren operatives didn’t know I was here. Not yet. But I would take pleasure in ending their lives. Males of worth did not harm females of any species.

“Let her bleed out. Kill the animal. We can dump the bodies later.”

I moved closer without making a sound.

“No!” The female’s voice rang out.

I watched the Rogue 5 hybrid lift his ion blaster and point it toward the animal. I could not afford to intervene. Rokor, their leader, was dangerous. Deadly. I could not lose foc—

I felt the blast to my hip as if I were the one shot. The barrier in my mind shattered like broken glass and suddenly I was seeing through two sets of eyes.

She held up her small, blood-stained hand and begged for her pet’s life. “Don’t hurt her. Don’t. Please.”

I saw myself through her eyes, a shadow moving closer, Death himself. She was not afraid of dying, nor of me. She wanted—me. My cock twitched. Hard. Hot. My hand burned. She wanted to be in my arms. She ached for me.

She was mine.

The connection faded yet I clung to the fleeting warmth in my mind, desperate to feel it again. It had only been a few seconds, but I was out of time.

Her beast must have sensed the danger as well. The golden animal charged the male who held the ion blaster.



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Anubis – Blitz

Anubis
Adrienne Wilder
(Wolves Incarnate, #2)
Publication date: June 13th 2022
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction


It was supposed to be over: The Utah Facility discovered, New World Genetics dismantled, and the people hunting Luca, dead.

Finally, Nox and Luca could start their life together.

Then strangers, who call themselves Varu, come to Luca for help.

They call him Cana and claim he’s the only one who can bring back their wolves.

The Varu tell Luca and Nox how a people called Mah are responsible for the atrocities of the Utah facility, unearthing the ichor and infecting Nox with the Anubis.

How the creature will consume Nox’s mind.

How he will become the monster.

Then it will destroy Luca.

But they can stop that from happening if Nox is willing to risk death by letting them purge him of the ichor.

As far as Nox is concerned, it’s a small price to pay to keep Luca safe.

Luca can’t convince Nox that the Anubis isn’t the mindless entity the Varu claim it to be, that it’s not a danger to him or anyone else.

When Nox won’t listen to reason, Luca decides to use the Anubis to help him save the man he loves.

After all, Luca is Nox’s Alpha.

And the Anubis is really Luca’s wolf to call.

*MM Dark Paranormal romance, high heat, heart-pounding action, twists and turns, colorful world-building, devoted couple, size difference, protective alpha male, epic monster battles, love at all costs, self-sacrifice, never give up, genetic manipulation, and unstoppable determination.*

This is the sequel to NoX. Books must be read in order. HFN ending.


Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

The screen on the laptop dimmed, the screen saver kicked in, and a double helix spun into infinity.

A couple of hours ago, he would have called everything that came to him from those New World servers crap. He had called it crap.

But now?

Fuck, he really needed to call Phillips.

Reese took his phone out of his pocket.

The heat clicked off.

The grandfather clock next to his aquarium ticked.

The pump under the aquarium stand hummed.

Reese’s pulse whooshed through his ears before falling into the background.

Compulsion led him to the picture window.

Porch lights edged the neighbor’s front yard. Leaves skittered from one shadow to the next.

There were no lights in the wide stretch of lawn and Reese’s rows of flower beds. He still hadn’t replanted the petunias destroyed by the helicopter landing in his yard when the US Army showed up at his door, requesting his help.

He’d meant to replace them weeks ago. Even saved coupons for discounts on fertilizer and mulch. Then the weather got colder, the rain more frequent, and deciphering the mess New World left behind gobbled up whatever spare bits of free time he had.

The shadows between the trees shifted with the wind. Just empty spaces filled with night, nothing more.

Yet…

Reese leaned closer and his exhale fogged the glass.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Something’s out there.

And why would Reese think that?

“Sleep deprivation, that’s all it is.” Reese pushed his glasses up higher on his nose. “I mean, look how many hours of sleep you get a night.” He checked the time. “Two a.m., no wonder you’re seeing things and talking to yourself and talking to yourself about seeing things. Fuck.” But Reese couldn’t step away from the window. “Pretty sure there’s some Benadryl with your name on it.” A weight settled in his stomach. “Two of those, you’ll sleep like a rock, plus your allergies won’t be an issue.” The ache in his shoulder beat louder. “Still talking to yourself, still running your mouth, Dr. Dante. What the hell are you—”

The streetlamp at the entrance of the cul-de-sac dimmed. Hairs on Reese’s arms stood following the electric rush crawling over his skin.

A shadow ripped free of the darkness and lunged.

Reese raised his arms and jumped back just as the picture window exploded in a hail of transparent daggers. Crimson trails chased the burning lines crisscrossing his flesh.

The clink of raining glass silenced, leaving Reese with his heartbeat in his ears.

He turned.

A massive black dog stood where his coffee table had been.

Only dogs didn’t have prehensile toes or green-yellow eyes void of empathy. And they were never so black they cut swatches in the darkness.

The Anubis roared and leapt.


Author Bio:

I am a writer of contemporary and speculative fiction and artist of all things monsters. I live to create new worlds and the people in them. Several of my books have been best sellers both nationally and internationally. I have also been a finalist in the LAMDA awards, the “Oscars” of gay literary works.

I do my best to write original stories with powerful characters and emotion as well as a fast paced plot. My goal isn’t just to deliver a good story but to take the reader into the story and let them experience the characters as if they are right there with them.

While almost all my books have a romantic element, I will be the first to admit, they are not traditional romance. In fact, I’d like to think there is nothing traditional about them. And the stories I paint are done so way outside the lines of traditional genres.

One of my favorite things to do as a writer is push the boundaries of what makes a story and to deliver the unexpected and maybe even change the perspective of the reader.

My characters are more often than not, beautifully flawed, not alway the good guy, and make mistakes. Their stories will take dark turns which, in the end, make the light at the end of the tunnel all the more brighter.

If you’re looking for something different, exciting, and unique, my books are for you.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub


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Provoking Odium – Blitz

Provoking Odium
Cynthia Sax
(Cyborg Unity, #1)
Publication date: June 21st 2022
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction


A Beautiful Cyborg

While accompanying his leader on a mission, Odium, an E Model cyborg, hears a distress call over the communication lines. The voice on that message makes his circuits surge with energy and all his systems light up. He has to respond to the mysterious female, would risk his lifespan and the lifespans of everyone on board their ship to protect her.

A Human Female Others Call Beast

Briella gained her nickname due to her flying abilities, her fearlessness, and her scarred countenance. Her verbal-only relationship with the sexy cyborg who answers her distress call is a steamy yet short-lived fantasy. His kind is physically perfect, and she is…not. He will uncover that truth when…if they survive the attack upon her freighter.
***
Provoking Odium is a STANDALONE Cyborg SciFi Romance set in a dark, gritty, sometimes-violent universe.
It features a human female intent on remaining mysterious, a cyborg warrior determined to uncover her identity, and an enemy seeking to destroy them both before they have the opportunity to meet.


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EXCERPT:

Briella should leave now, before Mohini and Odium met. Seeing the two of them together would tear her soul apart.

But then the doors opened, and the toes of two huge black boots became visible.

She lifted her gaze and her breath caught. That footwear was attached to an equally large male.

Odium was built like the warrior he was. The body armor barely contained his muscular form. Well-maintained weapons decorated the garment. His stance was strong. His hips were narrow. His shoulders were wide.

Desire hit Briella like a missile, almost knocking her over.

She’d researched E Models, had seen some of his kind on Mercury Minor, and she believed she knew what to expect.

But her overly active imagination had fallen far short of envisioning Odium. His hair was the blackest black. His skin was gray. Not one scar marred his countenance. His eyes were dark.

His face. Stars. His face.

All the cyborgs she’d met had been handsome. Odium, however, was Mohini-levels of beautiful. He was that exquisite female’s physical match.

Briella’s desolation escalated. She took a step backward.

Odium’s nostrils flared. He turned his head, gazed directly at her.

She froze in place. That was impossible. There were hundreds of beings stationed between them. He must merely be looking in her direction.

Seeking to test that theory, she shifted to the right.

His gaze tracked her.

Her warrior had somehow located her in the crowd.

Briella’s palms dampened. Her stomach knotted.

Others sought to speak to Odium. He didn’t look at those beings. His focus was on her.

It was heady, exciting, worrisome. She brushed her fingers over her goggles. They were in place, so her eyes were hidden.

He saw her scars. Those couldn’t be concealed.

But he couldn’t view the worst of her disfigurements, the part of her that had evoked fear and hatred in her kind, that made the toughest of warriors avoid her.

She could endure his perusal, could stand her ground and—

Mohini approached Odium.

His gaze flicked toward the female.

Her friend was impossible for any male to ignore. And her cyborg was certainly a male. He vibrated with vitality, with power.

Briella wanted him with every cell in her body.

Mohini appeared as enthralled with Odium. Her eyes glowed with interest. Her lips moved. Her friend’s words were too softly spoken for Briella to hear.

But she could imagine what was being said, and every flirtatious comment, every glance, every movement was a dagger stuck deep into her face. The pain, the torment lashed her again and again.

It was unbearable. Panic filled her. She couldn’t do this, couldn’t stand by passively and watch her friend seduce the male she wanted. That was beyond her capabilities.

She turned away from them and ran.


Author Bio:

For updates on characters and for very bad jokes, sign up for Cynthia’s monthly newsletter at http://cynthiasax.com

USA Today Bestselling author Cynthia Sax is currently writing cyborg and alien romances with high heat levels. These stories are set in a shared dark, gritty, sometimes violent world. There is always a romantic happy ending between the main characters and this happy ending is FOREVER. But everyone else is in danger.

Her stories have been featured in Star Magazine, Real Time With Bill Maher, and numerous best of… top ten lists.

She loves writing fated to mate or instalove romances as this is her personal experience with love. She fell in love with her Dear Wonderful Hubby at first sight and 25 plus years later, they’re still very much in love. This is what she wishes for her characters and for her readers.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Instagram / Newletter


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I Guess We’re Heroes – Tour

I Guess We’re Heroes

by Graham Fluster

Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller

A team of scientists discover intelligent alien life, and start a dangerous race to capitalize on the opportunity. As the decades pass, however, first contact fades from living memory, and is mysteriously absent from any official historical records. For the next five centuries humanity ventures out to the stars, their various political factions leaving no shortage of problems for an enterprising crew to make a living off of. The mercenaries of Specialized Support Contractors were only looking for small jobs befitting their fledgling company, but soon find themselves forced into the limelight when their employer’s ambitions place an ancient alien weapon in their possession. Digging deeper into the origins of their cargo brings even more heat from vested interests who want the truth of humanity’s first contact with alien life to be kept secret. With entire planets caught in the crosshairs of a looming interstellar war, any choice the mercenaries make could have catastrophic consequences.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60895935-i-guess-we-re-heroes

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Z1VMKMF

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

My interest in writing began with tabletop roleplaying games, with my favorites being Dungeons & Dragons, D20 Future, and GURPS. I loved creating vast and detailed worlds for the player characters to interact with, and coming up with contingencies for whatever direction their actions steered the plot. While I usually enjoyed the chaotic nature of the TTRPG format, I sometimes felt a little boxed in with what kinds of stories I could tell, since I only had a loose influence over the actions of the main characters. Shortly after noticing that sentiment, I saw a Reddit post along the lines of, “wouldn’t it be fun to write a D&D campaign where you controlled all of the characters?” with the top comment being: “wouldn’t that just be writing a book?” After briefly feeling stupid for not coming to that conclusion on my own, I started mapping out my more detailed ideas in novel format, and leaving the more open-ended ones for my TTRPG campaigns.

Where were you born/grew up at?

I grew up in Pullman, a small college town on the eastern side of Washington (the state, not the capital city). I moved to Seattle in 2011 to study physics at UW, and have lived here ever since.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I usually prefer either single player RPGs like the Fallout series, or casual multiplayer games like Quiplash. Sometimes I’ll play something competitive online like Starcraft or Overwatch, but that can become stressful if a teammate gets mad at you for “bringing down the team,” even though they’re just as bad. Like, come on buddy, if you were any good at the game, you wouldn’t be ranked low enough for the algorithm to put you on a team with me; we’re all trash down here in bronze league!

About the Author

Graham Fluster’s love of writing began with creating stories for tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons, GURPS, and D20 Future, and has since evolved into the (slightly) less chaotic formats of science fiction and fantasy novels.

Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

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Warfighter Books – Tour

Coward’s Truth

The Heart Eternal Book 1

by Christian Warren Freed

Genre: Epic SciFi Dark Fantasy

Welcome to Ghendis Ghadanisban. City of god-kings. City in turmoil.
The god-king is dead! Whispers of murder spread through the city known as the Heart Eternal. His death allows an ancient evil Razazel to return and resume its quest to dominate all life. As if that isn’t enough, warring factions threaten the jewel of the desert. The only way to prevent this is by a group of reluctant heroes to escort a young boy filled with the dying god’s essence to the ancient mountain of Rhorremere so the god-king can be reborn. It is a quest bound to claim lives, for evil never stops.
Far off in the mountains, a squad of stranded space marines sells their services in the hopes of being rescued. Their search brings them in conflict with too many enemies. Forced to join the quest, it is a decision that may prove their ultimate doom.
Fate and destiny clash as agents of good and evil set forth to stake their claim.
Welcome, friends, to the Heart Eternal.
**Releasing June 1, 2022!**

Goodreads * Amazon

Under Tattered Banners

A Forgotten Gods Tale #5

by Christian Warren Freed

Genre: Epic SciFi Dark Fantasy

The flames of war continue spreading across the universe.
Book 5 of the Forgotten Gods Tales roars into action with Under Tattered Banners.
Amongeratix continues his crusade to eliminate his brothers and gain control of all life. Resistance stiffens but it is not enough. On Vau Prime, the disgraced General of the Prekhauten Guard leads a guerilla war against those in power. It is a losing ploy for the noose tightens with each engagement.
Half the universe away, Matthias and his allies deploy to the embattled world of Mannus Prime, where loyal armies struggle against a superior foe. If the planet falls so too will hope.
The resurrected Tolde Breed and his team are tasked with preventing Amongeratix from gaining control of his legendary battle cruiser, Behemoth. Time is against them.
Forces of good and evil clash in the continuation of the Forgotten Gods. Filled with military action, political intrigue, and otherworldly magic, Under Tattered Banners is a wild ride you won’t want to miss.
Buy your copy today and buckle up. War is coming for all.

**Releasing Aug 1, 2022!**

Goodreads * Amazon

Repercussions

The Lazarus Men Agenda Book 2

by Christian Warren Freed

Genre: Epic SciFi Dark Fantasy

The Lazarus Men are back!
The Lazarus Men Agenda continues with Repercussions. A race across the stars to find a priceless jewel. Filled with seedy characters, reluctant heroes, and villains galore, this sci-fi noir thriller is a rollercoaster you don’t want to miss!
From award winning author Christian Warren Freed, the Lazarus Men combines the action of James Bond, Science fiction of Total Recall, and the intrigue of the Maltese Falcon.
2275, a girl walks into a bar….
And is thrust into the adventure of her life. She and a motley assortment of bounty hunters, soldiers, shapeshifters, and academics, have been chosen by a mysterious benefactor to be the first to find a long forgotten jewel. It is a treasure hunt for the ages.
When Mr. Shine, enigmatic leader of the Lazarus Men gets a whiff of it he sends his best agent, Carter Gaetis. Backstabbing, shaky alliances, and the threat of a galaxy wide war fill this fast-paced adventure across the stars.
Will any survive the hunt or will the Lazarus Men get their due?

**Releasing Dec 1, 2022!**

Goodreads * Amazon

A Long Way From Home

by Christian Warren Freed

Genre: Military Memoir

War is Hell. Anyone who has ever put on a uniform and purposefully went to where the enemy was intent on killing him can attest to that. But instead of a singular definition of Hell that religion preaches, war is so much more. It is Hell on the families left behind. Hell on the mind and spirit. Hell on the nerves. Hell on coming home and trying to remember where you fit in. Yes, war is Hell. A Long Way From Home is the compilation of my experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2002-2006. It gives first hand accounts of some of the most gruesome fighting and a behind the scenes look at what really went on from various levels.

**Releasing Nov 1, 2022!**

Goodreads * Amazon

Christian W. Freed was born in Buffalo, N.Y. more years ago than he would like to remember. After spending more than 20 years in the active duty US Army he has turned his talents to writing. Since retiring, he has gone on to publish 17 military fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as his memoirs from his time in Iraq and Afghanistan. His first published book (Hammers in the Wind) has been the #1 free book on Kindle 4 times and he holds a fancy certificate from the L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.
Passionate about history, he combines his knowledge of the past with modern military tactics to create an engaging, quasi-realistic world for the readers. He graduated from Campbell University with a degree in history and is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Military History from Norwich University. He currently lives outside of Raleigh, N.C. and devotes his time to writing, his family, and their two Bernese Mountain Dogs. If you drive by you might just find him on the porch with a cigar in one hand and a pen in the other.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$10 Amazon

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The Dreadbound Ode – Tour

The Skald’s Black Verse

The Dreadbound Ode Book 1

by Jordan Loyal Short

Genre: Epic Grimdark SciFi Fantasy

Brohr has been lied to, abused.

All he wants is to live in peace, away from the ignorance of his village, to outrun the raging ghost which haunts him.

But a hidden evil seeks to harness his fury.

Accused of murder, hunted by ruthless soldiers, Brohr delves the way of the Skald, unlocking forbidden blood magic as he unearths terrible family secrets.

When the red moon is broken, and all is lost, it’s up to Brohr to lead a rebellion, or face the end of the world!

An epic blend of norse fantasy and grimdark sci-fi!



Praise for the Dreadbound Ode…

“Rich in detail, bringing his tale to life with a foreboding atmosphere and characters that are intense. Good dialogue, rapid-fire action scenes, explosive magic and wicked political machinations.” -Tome Tender

“This is extremely well-written grimdark and if you like your fantasy and sci-fi gritty…this is a book you should pick up.” -Booknest

“The Weeping Sigil never stops. It has a relentless forward motion. It’s painful, and its glorious, and there are twists and turns that I never saw coming. It made my heart pound and yes, there was even a tear or two.” – Sarah Chorn, author of Seraphina’s Lament

“Perfect for grimdark fans.” -Grimdark Magazine

“[The Weeping Sigil] took everything that I had loved from The Skald’s Black Verse and lifted it to a whole other level, and I for one can’t wait to see what Jordan Loyal Short will do next. This is a fantastic book, great for anyone who enjoys a delectable mix of fantasy and science fiction, with a good dash of grimdark.” – Beneath a Thousand Skies

“I love the cultures, the magic system, the spaceships and the interplanetary communication. There’s lots of action and peril. It’s a great book! I’d very much recommend it.” – Lee Conley, author of the Dead Sagas

The Weeping Sigil

The Dreadbound Ode Book 2

Adrift in the void, Henrik’s rescue is only a prelude to slavery.

But his new life on Tyria is not at all what he expected. When the illustrious House of Quoll purchases him, Henrik finds himself living in the home of his old enemy, Prefect Brasca Quoll. Desperate to hide the truth of his last days on Heimir, Henrik dives into the murderous game of Tyrianite politics. Devastated by the catastrophe on the Norn homeworld, the Federation teeters on the brink of civil war.

While the Shining Ones maneuver their champions for the final confrontation, Henrik’s fevered visions unveil the scope of Moriigo’s nightmarish rebellion.

Aboard a stolen voidcraft, Brohr and Lyssa hurtle into the depths of the starry abyss, on a desperate exodus in search of safe haven. But the outer reaches of the system are full of strange worlds, haunted ruins, and bizarre cults.

As anarchy grips the streets of Tyria, Henrik vows to reveal the true peril facing the Federation: Moriigo’s return! While rival electors, assassins, and federal inquisitors plot the downfall of House Quoll, Henrik must bind himself to the future of his onetime enemies, lest the horrors of his prophetic visions come to pass!

Goodreads * Amazon * Audible

Travels in the Dark

The Dreadbound Ode Book 3

The final chapter of the Dreadbound Ode…

Lyssa is going to the Dead Place and everyone she killed will be waiting.

As the Hidden One’s twisted plan to resurrect the Deep Gods unfolds, the only way to stop him is a secret buried in the land of death.

But Lyssa has not given up. If the Deep Gods can return, so can she.

Can Lyssa find a way back? Can she delve into hell’s darkest corners and emerge with the lore to stop the Deep Gods’ rise? Or will she become a lost soul, like so many of those she loved in life?

Ancient horrors will wake. Skalds will sing. And a blind seer will see the shadows gather.

Lyssa Pedersten has tasted poison, and hell had best beware.

Goodreads * Amazon

Jordan Loyal Short is an author of epic fantasy. His first novel, The Skald’s Black Verse, is a dark and beautiful story about families, cultures, and beliefs at war with themselves. The protagonist, Brohr, must navigate the tangled loyalties and unforgiving biases of a planet conquered by invaders from another world. Using black magic, and the bizarre bond he shares with his stillborn brother’s spirit, Brohr unravels the truth about himself and an eon spanning war that has reached its end game.

Jordan has worked in a variety of industries, as a web developer, bartender, copywriter and more. He lives in Washington state with his wife where he is currently daydreaming about the end of the world.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$20 Amazon giftcard – 1 winner

Audiobooks of the first 2 books – 3 winners!

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