(International Sensory Assassin Network, #1)
Publication date: May 1st 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
THE WORLD HAS CHANGED.
SCIENTISTS WARNED IT WOULD HAPPEN.
Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.
Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum, Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.
While on a mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out.
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“With Helix, your senses become heightened. You’ll experience an increase in ability—especially the five senses. Images will be sharper, colors brighter, and you’ll see farther. You’ll be stronger. Your reflexes will be faster, and you’ll be able to hear from longer distances. However, your senses will tame a speaking voice not to boom in your ear. The reason why it doesn’t sound like I’m yelling at you.”
“Incredible.” The word barely left my mouth.
“Some lucky ones have more. We call that extrasensory perception. Based on the blood test, I think you might be one of the lucky ones.”
Something flashed. I caught it with my right hand, then another projectile with my left. Again, my reflexes had taken over and when I looked down, I’d caught two golf balls. I gawked, trembling. The hair on my arms rose.
“Like I said, fast reflexes.” His lips spread in satisfaction.
I clenched my jaw and stiffened. “You could’ve hurt me.”
“No, Ava. Helix doesn’t wear off quickly. I’d never hurt you. I bet you feel pretty powerful right now. Pretty special. What if you can do something good with that? What do you say?”
“Are there side effects?”
I rolled the golf balls over my fingertips. I imagined the balls colliding with my face. The thrill of what I had done—there was no denying it made me feel amazing.
Russ slowly curled his lips to a grin. “I like the way you think. It’s been thoroughly tested and we’ve seen no side effects in all the years of the program. We give you just enough to do a job, and then it’s out of your system.”
“So … Will you be joining ISAN today?”
I shivered, not just from the cool draft from the vent, but the thought of being an assassin, even if my victims were criminals. Could I really do it? Trained or no.
My mother’s last words echoed in my mind. When life shoves you down, you get right back up. Be strong. Be brave, Ava. Be someone important.
Oh, Mom, what do I do? I feel so alone and I’m so scared.
My chest caved in. I wanted to burst into a sob, but I slammed it back down. As tears pooled, thoughts of my mother twisted the dagger in my heart. My heart leaked, bleeding from the mountainous pain of missing her, needing her guidance.
I wouldn’t be in juvie, desperate to get out and resort to being an assassin if she were alive. Having no choice, I succumbed to the reality of my life and the cards I had been dealt. I pushed back my shoulders and held up my chin. Boring my eyes into his, I gave him an answer that would change my life forever.
I will be brave, Mother. I will become someone important.
International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, and swoon worthy stories. Her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.
Mary was born in Seoul Korea and resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two dogs—Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Becoming an author was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, she retired from teaching after twenty years.
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Picture-perfect Phoebe Powell is anything but. Her ex-fiancé’s betrayal four years ago left her broken inside and now love has no place in her hardened heart. Her greatest burden is a secret that haunts her and keeps men at arm’s length. But in spite of that, Phoebe relishes her work—and she’s damn good at her job. As Reporter of the Year her focus is on her career. Phoebe will do anything to get the promotion that’s waiting in the wings, even if it means putting her life at risk.
Dylan Marshall, former Navy SEAL turned special-ops agent, has had his eye on Phoebe Powell for the last year. She’s sexy, confident, and all-around feisty. His kind of woman. But she’s off-limits. They’re just friends. Dylan isn’t afraid to test boundaries, but this is one line he will not cross. That is, until Phoebe’s life is threatened. Now he’ll do anything to keep her safe, even as their connection draws them closer, and their attraction becomes more difficult to deny.
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Blurb: Gina Troisi’s father moved out when she was five years old, but before he left, he insisted on telling her about his various affairs—with prostitutes, with her mother’s friends, and finally, with his secretary, Brenda, whom he had decided to marry. By the time she reached adolescence, on a search for respite from her father’s verbal abuse and Brenda’s psychological torment, Gina spent hours doing Jane Fonda’s workouts, smoked cigarettes instead of eating food, became obsessed with her thinness, and with the notion of fading away. She began to find solace in restlessness—drinking hallucinogenic mushroom tea and inhaling crushed pills and powders—perching herself on the periphery of danger again and again. As an adult, when she finally glimpsed a better life for herself, her grandfather, who had been a surrogate father to her, became terminally ill, and she fell in love with John, a stranger who was utterly familiar, but who was addicted to heroin. She moved from New Hampshire to California, crossing the country in an attempt to alleviate her selfdestructive tendencies, but found herself pulled back to New Hampshire, to John, a man with whom, despite his struggle, she could not deny the sense of home she felt. But what would it cost for a girl to run wildly and recklessly into womanhood, making instant, temporary homes? And would she ever find home within herself?Links: – Goodreads – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Apple – Booktopia – Gumroad – Bookshop About the Author: Gina Troisi’s work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Fourth Genre, The Gettysburg Review, Fugue, Under the Sun, Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment, and elsewhere. Her stories and essays have been recognized as finalists in several national contests, including the 2020 Iron Horse Literary Review Trifecta Award in Fiction, the 2018 New Letters Publication Award in Fiction, American Literary Review’s Creative Nonfiction Contest, 2018, and others. She has taught numerous classes and workshops in both traditional and nontraditional settings, including writing workshops for female adult survivors of sexual assault. She lives in coastal Maine. Author links: – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Instagram – Goodreads
Release Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: Talons of Love By Debbie McQueen
Dragon King Series, Book 3
Two hearts bound together, suddenly torn apart.
When Egan disappears, Prince Raiden will stop at nothing to find him. With his closest friends and an unexpected acquaintance, he leaves the Sixth Realm behind to track down the man he loves. What he sees along the way will stay with him forever.
Egan finds himself face to face with the man who has haunted his dreams since he was a child, only now he brings new nightmares. Egan’s not the only one suffering at the monster’s hand; there are others- others like him. He vows to do whatever he can to stop the monster and protect those around him.
Egan holds on to the hope that the love and connection he has with Raiden will reunite them once again.
Excerpt:I don’t know how long I sat with my arms wrapped around my knees, and my father’s arms around me as I rocked and sobbed. My father, King Rodick, held me, Prince Raiden, heir to the throne, victor in battle, as tears flowed endlessly. I couldn’t form the words to explain what happened, or even why I knew something had happened. Still, my father held me and stayed with me. He whispered reassurances that we would find Egan. I had a vague recollection of yelling Egan’s name, which had brought both him and my brother, Kairn, into my room. I kept rubbing the tender scar over my heart that had been made as part of the ritual that bound myself to Egan. I screamed his name inside of my mind as well as out loud. Worry and fear filled Kairn’s face as he watched me break apart. Everything was fine one minute, then the next, he was gone. I thought about the pain that I had felt in my back and shoulders; it was his pain. What happened to him? Where did he go? The connection was still there, it was faint, but it was there. Egan was still alive, he had to be. The relief that he was alive was short-lived as I wondered what had caused his pain and what kind of state he was in. Egan, the man I loved, he was my everything and I couldn’t handle the thought of something happening to him. “Raiden, my boy, tell me what’s happened.” He had been asking me for a while, but now that I was spent from the sobs and the terror, his pained words finally reached through the fog. I sniffed and breathed in deeply, trying to collect myself. “I…I don’t know exactly.” My voice was hoarse and the words croaked out of me. I kept rubbing the scar above my heart. I could feel my father watching the movement, I hadn’t told him about the bonding, there was no way he could understand why I felt the loss of Egan’s presence bone-deep. “How do you know something happened?” His words were soft and calm, I knew he was trying to keep me level, to keep me from falling over the edge again. “We…we’re connected, Egan and I.” I tugged the collar of my shirt down to show the still red, puckered scar from where Egan had sliced my skin open with a talon.
Check out the rest of the series:
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About the Author
Debbie McQueen has been married to her loving and supportive husband for eighteen years. They have two amazing kids that share her love of musicals, singing, fairies, dragons, and superheroes. Debbie is an avid reader and loves to read YA/NA, PNR, Urban Fantasy, Thrillers, LGBTQ stories, and more.
Debbie is an affirming Christian who is proud to continue learning and serving as an LGBTQ+ ally and advocate. She has learned more about God’s love through the beauty of a diverse creation and strives to support her friends and loved ones, as well as the broader LGBTQ+ community. She proudly gives out Free Hugs at Pride events, and also works with a service organization that helps support LGBTQ youth in Southern California.