Hello, Readers! Today I’m happily participating in the SFR Brigade Showcase, an opportunity for SFR Brigade members to, yep, showcase their work. *grin* If you’ve come here via a link from the Brigade, you’ll know to keep going. If you’ve come for my blog…I LOVE YOU!…and please use the link at the bottom of the page to head over to the Brigade Showcase central to visit the other very talented Brigaders!
I’m using the showcase opportunity to have a peek at SPARK RISING (of course). The novel releases next week, and early buzz from ARC readers has been positive enough to make my head spin! I hope to have purchase links up here and on my author Facebook page at some point early next week. I should also have a link to an online order form to order a signed paperback copy of your very own, for those of you who’d like one.
In the excerpt below, from the POV of Agent Alex Reyes, he is escorting his partner-in-revolution Thomas and one of their new graduates to meet Lena Gracey. He left Lena in her assigned quarters shortly before, after she realized that the help she dared to accept came with strings attached–and she is now an indefinite guest of the Revolution. Lena’s been cooling off, realizing she needs them to achieve her own goals, and vowing to do what she has to in order to have her chance at vengeance, even if it means she has to cooperate. Being Lena, cooperation is subject to interpretation.
Alex took the lead as they neared her room. He keyed the lock just before he knocked, and waited several moments after it had popped open. She never called out, so he took a breath and slipped inside, waving his hand at the other two men to wait. Leaving the door ajar, he entered a few feet.
Lena sat on the edge of the bed facing him, watching warily.
Alex stopped and lifted his hands to his hips. “Any better?”
She sighed. “Not particularly, but I suppose I owe you an apology anyway.”
He snorted. “That would be great. But I wasn’t really expecting it from you.” Alex winced internally. He’d tried for humor, and it had come out all wrong. She reacted about as expected.
He met a suddenly icy stare.
“About as much as I’d expect you to wait for me to actually let you in, I imagine.” Her sarcastic voice was as hostile as her expression.
And here we go again.
“I did warn you that I was coming in. I did knock first.”
“And what if I had been undressed?”
He sighed. “Then I would have seen you naked twice, I suppose.”
She crossed her arms, eyes narrowed and fists clenched. “You know what? I take it back.”
“You take what back?”
“My apology. I didn’t overreact. You’re just a jerk.”
“You’re taking back your theoretical apology?”
He nodded once. “Duly noted. But try to remember which jerk saved your life.”
“After you placed it in danger in the first place.” If she narrowed her eyes any more, they’d be closed. “Was there a purpose to this invasion?”
“There is, actually. I came to introduce you to my partner, and to your companion. Try to be nice to them.”
Thomas pushed the door open fully and walked a foot into the room. His gaze moved back and forth between them. Two sets of eyes swiveled to him. Her anger still simmered.
“Come on in,” Alex deadpanned. “The water’s fine, really.”
Thomas’s lips twitched with amusement as he approached her and cautiously offered his hand. “Miss Gracey, I’m Thomas Washington, Councilor Five. I run the school. I’ve waited a long time to meet you.”
As soon as the words ‘Councilor Five’ were out of his mouth, Lena jerked her hand back. She darted a look at Alex. “Councilor Five? But…. The Ward School is supposed to be independent of the Zones?”
She didn’t like being at the Ward School. He imagined she liked it even less now that there was a Councilor involved.
Alex couldn’t tell from his vantage point, but he imagined Thomas smiled at her. The look on her face was not reassurance. If anything, she’d just become even more suspicious.
“It is, yes.” Thomas told her. “For the intents and purposes of the Council of Nine, the Ward School is independent of the Zones. But, as I’m sure you can guess by now, there’s more going on here than just the school, and I am more than a Councilor. This is merely a convenient and temporary role used to conduct Zone Five’s business while I take care of our other concerns.”
Alex cleared his throat and ushered Lee in.
She inspected the young man from top to bottom. When she’d finished, she arched a brow at Alex. She was no fool.
Alex couldn’t imagine Thomas would fail to notice the pointed look Lena had given Alex. If he had, Thomas said nothing, merely urging Lee forward with a swinging hand.
“This is Senior Ward Jackson Lee, one of our top students.” Thomas clapped Lee on the shoulder. “And he has volunteered to help you acquaint yourself with the facilities, get you to your appointments and lessons, and generally help us by seeing to your needs.”
“My needs, huh?” She turned those blue-green eyes to Lee and swept them over him again.
He stood mute next to Thomas, overwhelmed by her energy, her bright bloom, and her attitude.
There’s no way this is going to work.
She tossed her hair back, and it slipped free from her ears to fall around her freckled face again. “Hello, Ward Lee.” She flashed a dazzling smile. “Or should I call you Warden Lee?”
Alex snorted softly. Yes, he could see this was going to go exactly as he expected. It was too bad his duties pulled him back to Azcon. The poor kid would need help. Ward Lee couldn’t possibly be ready to handle Lena Gracey.
Poor Jackson. *laugh*
Hope you enjoyed the excerpt! Please continue on to the SFR Brigade Showcase to see what the amazing members have waiting for you this month! And if you liked the excerpt, feel free to like, share, comment. Thank you!
Have a great weekend!