Promise The Stars Cover Reveal
This is no April fools’ joke! After many years, the Corwint series is finally making its return with Book 5: PROMISE THE STARS. As part of the Science Fiction Brigade April Showcase, I have an exclusive excerpt and cover reveal! It’s also now available for Pre-Order for $1, with a release date of May 2nd. (See below for links)
New to the series? You can get books 1 & 2 free. Click here to learn more.
About The Book:
To you, my dearest child, I promise the stars…
Nikki’s been to the deepest pit of darkness in the universe and lived to tell about it, barely. But, to move forward with her life, she must first go back to Thetos – where a buried secret and her father’s promise await her return. Despite her independent, defensive nature, she lets Brom into her world and under her skin bit by bit. With her Trexen biology clawing its way into fruition, including unwanted side effects like mind-reading and a deadly temper, she struggles to see herself as worthy of her father’s intellectual legacy. The more she reveals to Brom, the faster she expects him to leave. She quickly learns Orellians don’t give up so easily, and Brom’s as stubborn as they come.
But someone’s been waiting for Nikki’s return and the secret she guards. Its discovery could mean a chance at peace, or lead to all out war. In the wrong hands, even the best intentions can lead to catastrophe, and a promise can decay into regret.
One thing Nikki learned early on: if you act like you know what you’re doing, people tend to believe you do. Most people are gullible. Oblivious. Easy marks for even a novice pickpocket, and Nikki was no novice.
People barely gave her a first glance, much less a second one, as she walked down a crowded sidewalk in Easton’s busy Warren Street business district. It didn’t matter she only had on two of Brom’s t-shirts, a black one and a turquoise one, worn layered, styled and kept together by a belt and a few cleverly hidden clips she’d found in his kitchen. Her own heels and a large pair of sunglasses she’d snagged from Brom’s dresser completed the look. For all these people knew, it was the next fashion trend and not a bunch of stolen property pieced together in fifteen minutes.
Borrowed, Nikki corrected herself as her heels click-clacked over the pavement towards a packed bus terminal. Sure, she’d taken them without permission, but she had every intention of giving them back. Not in person, because that would be awkward, but she’d ship them to his apartment once she got off-world and somewhere less congested.
And less secure. It would be risky obtaining what she needed to get off this rock. Corwint’s networks were fortified strongholds comprised of firewalls, traps, false doors and checkpoints. Not that she couldn’t break through, but it was a damn pain in the ass. And, she was rusty.
Shouldering her short stature through the line at the bus terminal, she entered the bus and began pushing towards the back. Like always, Easton’s mass transit system functioned through organized chaos. No one noticed as she entered the bus, mixed in with a few kids belonging to a frazzled father who looked like he was three steps away from stepping off the ledge at the top of Transway Tower. No one said a thing as she easily dodged the One Pass payment console or methodically pushed her way down the center aisle. Not a single eye blinked her way as she swiped a man’s One Pass right from his jacket pocket before stepping off the back of the bus along with all the others exiting at the exchange terminal.
Too easy, she sighed, her nerves buzzing as her heels click-clacked away from the terminal. The guy had his One Pass right in his pocket, its corner sticking out and practically screaming ‘take me’. Thank the stars for idiots who continued using a physical card instead of a digital one, she smirked, and stars help her if ocular scanning ever caught on. Cards were easy to take; digital versions could be hacked. Even the best thief would have problems swiping an eyeball.
That thought had a small snorted laugh tickling her throat as her nerves continued to tingle. It felt good – being back on the take. Okay, sure, she felt guilty about the hassles that guy probably had in his future once he realized his One Pass was gone – you basically couldn’t function on Corwint, or within most of Alliance space, without one. Identification, travel, banking, network access, you name it; everything required your One Pass. And when you didn’t have one, well, you had to borrow someone else’s.
Stepping onto a side-street, Nikki made her way past cafes, convenience stores and bars serving the business district’s lunch hour crowd. Laughter mingled in with tired faces and trade-talk debating the next quarter’s most lucrative gambles. She did her best to blend in with her t-shirt dress, ignoring everyone while noticing everything. Instead of acting like she wore two t-shirts amongst expensive business suits and overpriced lunch martinis, her chin lifted in feigned confidence, even as the too-large necks of the t-shirts slipped sideways to bare her shoulder to the world.
‘Damn, I’d like to have a piece of that.’
Nikki nearly stumbled on the pavement as the lecherous thought struck her mind like a bad chord. The words crawled up her spine, their repugnant nature strong enough to feel as the man responsible for them stepped into her path. It was the first unwanted thought her mind had let in all morning since starting her little adventure, but it acted like a wedge. Now the door was open, and more thoughts began flooding in. Her eyes winced as the familiar headache set in.
“You okay?” Mr. Lecherous smiled down at her, his manicured hands reaching out.
‘One more drink. One more. One more does not make me an alcoholic.’ The new thought assaulted her from one of the cafe tables set under a large umbrella where a man sat nursing a tumbler glass.
‘Shit, I’m gonna be late again!’ A young man, probably an intern, ran by with tie askew and a half-eaten sandwich stuffed into his mouth.
‘Gods save me; Meira’s got a nice rack.’ Nikki had no idea where that guy was, but it was quickly followed by a woman’s ire.
‘If Kent doesn’t stop staring at my tits, I’m going to report him to HR. Sleazebag.’
The thoughts continued filtering in, growing from a quiet rumble to a loud cacophony within seconds. It was too crowded here; too many people running on too much caffeine and not enough sleep. They were all thinking about stupid, random shit, pumped up on emotions heightened by stressful work environments.
“Lady?” Mr. Lecherous touched her bare shoulder. “Why don’t you let me buy you a drink?”
A growl settled in her throat, her claws digging into the meat of her palms. He shouldn’t be touching me. He has no right to touch me. I should take his hand and break every finger for- The Trexen within her wanted to see blood.
“Lady?” ‘Damn, she must be doped up on Sil. I could take care of her…’
‘Is the conference tomorrow? I don’t think I turned in the numbers to Greg…’
‘This can’t be right… It was a sound investment! I’ll kill Jayna for giving me that bogus tip.’
‘Meira. Meira. Fuck, I’d like to get my cock between those tits and-’
“Shut up!” Nikki’s plea came out as a shouted hiss with bared fangs, the world around her tilting.
“Whoa!” Mr. Lecherous stepped back, hands raised. “Maybe I should call Central Security? Get you a ride to the hospital or…?”
“No, I…” Nikki swallowed hard, her eyes stamping shut. But, the noise wouldn’t stop. If anything, her outburst had drawn more attention, and the crowd’s thoughts focused in on her like rabid, barking dogs.
‘Is she alright?’
‘Is that man assaulting her?’
‘I should call security.’
She needed to get away from them, but her feet refused to move as the dizziness increased. Each breath grew tighter, harder to take. Stars have mercy, she was drowning in the middle of Warren Street.
The showcase continues!
Be sure to check out the other amazing posts on the SFRB April Showcase by clicking HERE
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