Blog Tour: #Giveaway #Win Shadow Call ( Kaitan Chronicles #2 ) by AdriAnne Strickland ~ Excerpt and Photo
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Title: SHADOW CALL (Kaitan Chronicles #2)
Author: AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller
Pub. Date: April 17, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD, Goodreads
His throne. Her rebellion. Their war.
Qole is the youngest starship captain in living memory on her homeworld of Alaxak and has spent her life hunting a dangerous energy source called Shadow. Alaxans distrust and evade the galaxy’s royalty as a rule, but Qole is now harboring the exiled Prince Nevarian Dracorte, along with some very conflicting feelings about it—and him.
Nev’s feelings are just as complicated, but not towards her. When it comes to Qole, he knows one thing: he’d do anything to stay with her. But when Alaxak is attacked and Nev finds himself framed for murder, he realizes the only way to help Qole and her people is to fight for the throne that should be his. To become the royal she might hate.
As for Qole, she would never have imagined herself as the leader of a rebellion. Despite that, she soon realizes that hiding from her power is no longer an option. It’s time to answer the call, even if it kills her.
I looked away as his eyes grew more intense again. Unlike him, I didn’t magically have the right words for these types of situations. “Nev, I think it’s safe to say we know each other.”
He shrugged. “I know what you sound like when you’re afraid. I know what you look like when you think you’re about to die.” Before everything could get too serious, he added, “What I don’t know is what your favorite color is.”
I was about to answer something teasing, until I thought about it for a second. “You know, I’m not entirely sure. Wait, yes, I am. It’s the cloudy silvery-blue of glacial runoff. You?”
“Somewhat similar to yours, actually: aquamarine, because it reminds me of Luvos’s sky and oceans.” At the mention of his home planet—the home he could never see again—my smile dropped away. Nev noticed, and his own smile quickly filled in for mine. “Moving on. Hm, you’ll probably throw me off this log if I ask what your favorite flower is.”
“Hey, don’t assume I don’t like flowers,” I said with mock indignation, then seized his shoulders and threw him off the log. Unfortunately, Nev was too fast and dragged me with him. We both went tumbling in sand that was part windblown snow and crusty ice.
Nev took advantage of our tumble and pinned my shoulders to the ground, leaning on top of me while he was at it. The stars sparkled in his hair. My breath caught, and not just because of his weight on my chest. It didn’t matter that his eyes were dull, his nose was a bit crooked, and his jaw, cheekbones, and brow looked off. Whatever it was inside that made him shone out like a sun and drew me in like nothing else could.
“This is where I’m supposed to compliment your beauty and try to kiss you,” he said, his words warm, foggy caresses on my cheeks. “But because you’re you and I’m me . . .” He sprinkled snow on my neck, where it trickled down the back of my fur hood.
I squeaked and threw him off me. He sat up, but he was laughing so hard he couldn’t stand.
“Now I know what you sound like when you squeak,” he said, gasping. “See, learning new things.”
I tossed a handful of snow at his face. While he was busy trying to block, then spitting and wiping his eyes, I rolled to my feet and stuck out a hand, for him this time.
“Mr. Dracorte,” I said in the finest courtly tone I could muster, which was probably laughable. Instead of laughing, he blinked at me in surprise. Mr. sounded so strange with Dracorte, but I wasn’t about to call him Prince or Your Highness. I didn’t think he would want me to, either. “Might you escort me to the bonfire?”
He grinned and took my hand. After I pulled him to his feet, he kept hold of it. I looked at him, feeling suddenly shy. “It’s a snow-whisper. My favorite flower. They don’t look like much, just these tiny, pale pink blossoms, but they actually bloom on snow. You can even find them in Gamut in early spring.”
His voice was low. “I would very much like to find some with you, when the time comes. But for now . . .”
The bonfire was a massive orange beacon, beckoning us through the darkness between the waves and the shore. I could hear the thrumming of music even at a distance. Some bonfires were the quieter kind, with mingling and conversation. Some, like this one, were for only one purpose. The silhouettes of heavily clad figures leapt and spun—so different from the confined forms of the royal dances that I’d suffered through on Luvos, but no less skillful. Pounding, whipping feet kicked up sand in time to a powerful drumbeat backed by a half-dozen other instruments and a singer with a lovely, smoky voice.
Nev leaned close, his breath a husky murmur in my ear that made me buzz. “I want to dance with you.”
I didn’t—couldn’t—resist as we drew near and the music took hold of us. Nev swept me up in his arms, sending us into something like a skipping waltz, but looser, freer. I was still terrible at it, but I threw my head back and laughed, my hair spilling out of my hood. Fire and the shadows of other dancers spun in the night. I couldn’t tell who they were, and I didn’t care. Mostly, all I could see was Nev’s flame-glowing face, which didn’t even look strange to me anymore.
He bent his head and kissed my cheek, then neck, trying to nuzzle deeper into the layers. His lips were chilly, but I’d never felt so warm. Definitely different from how we’d danced before. Even here, in the darkness, I was suddenly conscious of who might be watching us. Sure enough, somebody whooped, but it didn’t matter.
Nev pulled away for a second, his eyes glowing even behind his contacts in the firelight. Then, finally, he kissed me on the lips, first softly, then deeply, his tongue joining mine and carrying on the dance. My heart, my body, and the very air pounded with the beat. My head spun, but it felt like the entire planet was shifting around us.
The motion of his lips paused, his mouth alongside my face, his breath panting. “Qole.” He swallowed, started again, and my pulse leapt, as if attached to his words by a string. “Qole, I think I lo—”
A harsh beeping shredded what he was about to say, wrenching both our eyes open. It was coming from our comms, from Nev’s on his wrist and mine clipped to the inside of my coat.
Nev opened the line before I could.
“What?” he snapped.
“Sorry to disturb you, Your Highness.” My older brother’s tone made me wince. “But Basra has just informed me that there’s a spike in Shadow activity. I know working for a living might be an unfamiliar concept for you, but it’s time to fish.”
I cut in before Nev could say something to irritate Arjan further. “Thanks for letting us know. Prep the ship. We’ll be right there.”
Death was headed straight for us once again.
“Arjan, look out!” I shouted into the comm.
I could see his skiff against the bright, rainbow hues of the molecular clouds through the viewport ringing my captain’s station on the much bigger Kaitan. My brother was towing a glowing net between his ship and ours while banking around other asteroids and debris. Except he hadn’t seen the giant rock whirling straight for our net.
The net was only meant to hold Shadow, the energy source we were trying to harvest. Not asteroids. Never mind the damage that would cause to our new net—but the tension of the impact would draw Arjan’s skiff and the Kaitan together, as if we were weights at the end of a string, flinging us into each other.
Arjan cursed and barrel-rolled, twisting the cables around each other and collapsing the surface area of the shimmering mag-field. But not fast enough. The cables still glanced off the asteroid. The Kaitan shuddered, and his skiff lurched violently.
Want more? Go to Books At Dawn on 4/25 for the next part!
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About Adrianne & Michael:
ADRIANNE STRICKLAND and MICHAEL MILLER met in their hometown of Palmer, Alaska, where they agreed on 99% of book taste and thus decided to write together. Adri spends her summers as a commercial fisherwoman in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and the rest of the year writing. Michael grew up off the grid in a homestead in Alaska and now works in IT and tech. This is their second book together.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of SHADOW CALL, US Only.
Ends on May 4th at Midnight EST!
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