Happy New Year and Hello to 2020

I’m still not sure where 2019 went, but I *love* the feeling of standing right at the beginning of a new year. All those bright, shiny possibilities.

A huge thank you to all my wonderful readers. As with any year, there are ups and downs, challenges and wins. In 2019, I was so grateful to my long-term readers who’ve been enjoying my action romance for the last few years, and my new readers who discovered my books in so many different ways.

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.Melody Beattie

During 2019, I released 12 short novels and two novellas (one in my novella duo Hunter and one in the Pets in Space 4 anthology). These books were across five different series, and I launched a new spin-off series (Galactic Gladiators – House of Rone).

I also had 24 books come out as audiobooks this year (wow!!) That all adds up to over 540,000 words written and over 120 hours of audio 😀

There is no substitute for hard work. Never give up. Never stop believing. Never stop fighting. – Hope Hicks

I never get tired of writing a new book, of getting a new shiny cover, of sending a new book out to my readers. I love bringing the characters in my head to life, and I never tire of getting emails and messages from readers who’ve enjoyed my books. I love to hear that my stories have brightened someone’s bad day, made someone smile, left someone inspired.

Hello 2020

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. – Melody Beattie

I’m ready for 2020! We recently moved into a new house and I have a new office. I am very excited to break it in and write lots of new stories.

This year, expect to see more books in:

  • Hell Squad (the final two books!)
  • House of Rone
  • Eon Warriors
  • Team 52 (the final two books)
  • Norcross — a new series I’m planning to launch later in the year (pending any other bright, shiny ideas barging in!)
  • More audio – expect to continue to see my books appearing in audiobook format as well

If you’re wondering when these books will be arriving, I try to keep the next few release dates updated on my Coming Soon page.

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. – Rainer Maria Rilke

I hope the new year brings you wonderful things! There will always be ups and downs, but like my characters, it is how we react to those that counts. Celebrate the wins and when the tough times hit, we have to pick ourselves up and keep forging on.

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. – C.S. Lewis

I’m seeing 2020 in with a brand new release! The latest Eon Warriors adventure is here.

Mark of Eon

Eon Warriors #5

Out Now!

Oil and water. Fire and ice. Terran space marine and rugged alien warrior.

Space marine Lieutenant Jamie Park has a reputation as tough as steel…just the way she likes it. A horrible childhood and her marine training have forged her into a strong woman, and she’s never seen a fight she’d back down from. Taking on the voracious insectoid Kantos is her focus, even if that means being assigned to the Eon warship, the Desteron, and working with the one arrogant alien warrior who’s seen her vulnerable and weak.

Medical Commander Aydin Kann-Ath lives to be the perfect warrior and doctor. All his life, he’s worked to restore his family’s tarnished honor. He has no room in his life for anything but his work, and that includes a headstrong, battle-hardened Terran who — even when injured — refuses to follow orders. Yet every minute he spends with Jamie, she ignites both his temper and his desire, and he can’t seem to stay away.

With every interaction, Aydin finds himself fascinated by Jamie’s courage and spirit, and Jamie finds herself consumed by a fiery attraction that terrifies her. On a dangerous hunt to find symbiont lifeforms that have been stolen by the Kantos, the pair can’t ignore their passionate connection. But the evil Kantos threaten not only their lives, but the fate of the galaxy, unless Jamie and Aydin sacrifice it all to stop them.

Amazon US   Amazon Other

Happy New Year!!

Cover Reveal: Mark of Eon and Anna’s BIG Christmas Giveaway

The fierce warriors of the Eon Empire want nothing to do with Earth…but when ravenous insectoid aliens threaten to invade, the humans of Earth need to get the Eon warriors’ attention.

It all started with one kickass woman abducting a powerful Eon war commander. Now, the Eon Empire and Earth have a tenuous and budding alliance, but when fierce Space Corps marine, Lieutenant Jamie Park, is stationed aboard the Eon warship, the Desteron, she finds herself butting heads with the ship’s arrogant, hard-headed medical commander Aydin Kann-Ath.

Watch the sparks fly!

I am thrilled to be showing you the cover for the next Eon Warriors book, Mark of Eon and to celebrate both Mark of Eon and the holiday season, I have my BIG Christmas Giveaway! So don’t miss out.

Mark of Eon
Eon Warriors #5
Release Date: Tuesday December 31st

Cover art by Melody Simmons

Excerpt from Kiss of Eon featuring Jamie and Aydin

“Stevens!” Jamie Park yelled into her comm. “Taro!”

“I see them, Lieutenant,” her space marine answered.

“As do I,” the warrior responded.

Terran and Eon soldiers shot forward, engaging the bugs.

Jamie swung her sword, slicing into one of the aliens. Damn, she loved a good fight. With controlled slashes, she sliced up the bug.

Another arrowed toward her and she raised her weapon. Using her suit’s propulsion system, she flew forward, skewering the Kantos alien.

When she wrenched her sword back, she saw that her team had fully engaged the enemy.

Sorry, bug brains, no snacks for you today. She swiveled and flew closer to the injured couple. She slid her sword back over her shoulder.

“Hey, Captain.”

Allie looked up. The woman looked like she’d had a rough day.

“Damn glad to see you, Jamie. Brack’s hurt.”

Jamie could see from the warrior’s sluggish movements that he wasn’t doing well. “We’ll get you both back to the Desteron, and you can get poked, prodded, and healed.”

Taking a second, Jamie studied Allie—who was wearing Eon black-scale armor just like the second commander. Interesting.

Under their helmets, the pair looked like they’d been through hell.

Then Allie jerked. “Jamie, look out!”

Spinning, Jamie moved fluidly into a combat stance. She and her marines practiced space combat daily.

One of the bugs was coming straight at them. This one was bigger than the others, moving more aggressively. The alpha bug. Throwing her arms out, she let her combat knives slide down her forearms and into her hands.

Then she attacked.

Jamie used the propulsion from her suit to spin around the bug. It tried to match her movements, but her knives were already flashing. She sliced one of the bug’s legs off with two well-aimed slashes.

Oh, yeah. Jamie spent hours honing the edges on her blades.

Injured, the alien drew back, remaining legs flailing. She spotted another bug coming up from the side to attack Allie and Brack.

Fuck. Jamie shot forward. “Allie, move!”

The captain jerked, trying to spin the second commander around. But they were too slow.

And Jamie wasn’t going to be quick enough.

She threw one knife, but it missed by an inch, sailing past the bug’s head.

The bug’s focus was on Allie.

Jamie hit the control for max propulsion, pressing her arms to her sides. She exploded forward, ramming a shoulder into Allie to knock her out of the way.

The bug’s sharp pincers rammed into Jamie’s gut.

Oh, damn. That hurt like a motherfucker.

“Jamie!” Allie’s cry.

Jamie swung her knife around, cutting into the bug’s head. Its pincers were moving, tearing up her belly. She yanked her knife back, and then stabbed the alien in the eye. She twisted the blade.

The bug released her, floating away. Its ugly mouth opened, and there was no sound, but she could easily imagine the screech it would have made.

But then her knife slipped from nerveless fingers.

She felt blood oozing out of her. As her body floated backward in space, she saw the Desteron and the Divergent in the distance, flying close, working together.

She drifted, her mind floating. There was no pain now.

Alone. She’d been alone most of her life. Even when she’d lived with the assholes who’d contributed to her DNA, she’d been alone. Then through all the foster homes.

She’d made a family for herself at Space Corps. Her squad of marines both loved and cursed her, which she took as a sign that she was doing a decent job as their leader.

But Jamie wondered if any of them would mourn her death for long. She’d be replaced, their work would go on, and she’d fade from their memories.

She felt wetness on her cheek and realized that it was a tear.

She hadn’t cried since she was a terrified child, hiding from her drunken, abusive parents.

“Jamie!”

Sound crashed back in on her…and so did the pain. She groaned.

Hands gripped her arms. Then Allie’s helmeted face was in front of her.

“Stay with me, Lieutenant.”

Her captain, her friend. Jamie tried to nod, but her muscles wouldn’t respond.

“A shuttle is on the way to pick us up,” Allie said.

Jamie turned her head, blinking. The bright-blue lights of the Eon shuttle were blinding. It zoomed toward them.

She drifted off again, her thoughts scattering. Suddenly, hands were on her, and then she was being lifted.

More lights. Pain. Fuck, the pain was frigging horrible.

Then blackness. The next thing she knew, she was lying on a firm bed. Then there was a deep, male voice.

“Let’s see those eyes open, marine.”

Jamie blinked. The face of a handsome Eon warrior came into view. His brow was creased in concentration, his neat brown hair fell over his forehead, calling attention to his rugged face.

“I’m alive?” Her voice was barely more than a croak.

“Yes.” He arched a brow. “And I’m planning to keep it that way. I had to use our healing havv to patch you up.”

She knew the Eon havv was similar to the helian. A red fluid of bio-organisms that could heal up wounds spectacularly.

Her gaze snagged on his hands. He had big ones, with long, well-shaped fingers. They had a few nicks and scars. Not a man who sat at a desk all day.

“You’re in Medical,” the warrior said. “Aboard the Desteron. I’m Medical Commander Aydin Kann-Ath.”

“Allie? Brack?”

“Alive, thanks to you. Captain Borden is all healed up, and hovering over the ever-stubborn, but healing, Second Commander.”

“I heard that,” came the rumble of Brack’s voice from nearby.

Jamie didn’t have the energy to turn her head and look. Damn, she hurt so much. She was damn glad Allie and her warrior were alive.

“You’re in pain.” The medical commander shifted, and she saw him lift a pressure injector.

Jamie stiffened. “No drugs.”

He frowned at her. “It’s a painkiller—”

“I don’t like them.” She tried to grab his arm and missed by a mile. Her parents used to dope her up when she was a kid.

“I’m not allowing you to be in agony,” he said firmly.

“Do it and I’ll break your kneecaps.”

He made a scoffing sound. “I might be a doctor, but I’m also a fully-trained Eon warrior.”

She glared at him. “I could take you.”

Then he smiled. God, it was a damn nice one.

“I look forward to you trying, when you can actually stand.” Before she could stop him, he touched the pressure injector to her neck.

She growled, but the pain instantly started to dull. “Bastard.”

His lips quirked. “I think you’re feeling better already.”

Then he leaned closer, and she felt him touching her neck. He smelled good. Really, really good. She stiffened. The drugs must be affecting her brain.

“I like your face,” she murmured.

He stilled, surprise a quick ripple on his features. “I like yours too.”

“And you smell nice.”

His lips quirked. “You suffer adverse effects from the drugs.”

“Told you I didn’t want them.” She felt the unfamiliar urge to pout.

“I thought you space marines were tough?”

The medical commander shifted, turning to move away, and her belly clenched. Jamie’s hand shot out, and this time, she managed to grab his wrist.

Her fingers brushed over the thick band that she knew housed his helian symbiont. She felt warmth pulse up her arm.

He turned back to her, frowning.

“Don’t…” Jamie swallowed, could barely force the words out. “Don’t leave me alone.”

Something moved across his handsome face. Then his warm fingers closed over hers.

“I’m not going anywhere, Jamie. I’m right here.”

God, it was so weak to need someone else. “Don’t tell anyone.” Her words were a whisper.

He seemed to understand her. “Your warrior reputation is safe with me.”

And that was all she needed.

With his warm presence beside her, she closed her eyes and let sleep take her.

Anna’s Big Christmas Giveaway

To celebrate the cover reveal for Mark of Eon and the holiday season, I have a BIG Christmas Giveaway!! For each of the 12 days of Christmas, I have 12 prizes (consisting of an Aussie calendar and a signed paperback) to giveaway to 12 winners. Most of the calendars are Aussie Firefighter Calendars!

Just enter using the Rafflecopter below (just select the options you’d like to do). The giveaway is open internationally and will be open until the day after Christmas Day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wishing you and yours love, light and lots of merriness this Christmas <3

Eon Warriors Audiobooks

The Eon Warriors books are all available in audiobook! The amazing Vivienne Leheny is the narrator and she is absolutely brilliant at infusing emotion, humor, and character into the audio versions of these stories.

Eon Warriors Audio

Team 52 Cover Reveal – Mission: Her Freedom

They are a covert, black ops team known only as Team 52. Their mission: to secure and safeguard artifacts deemed highly dangerous and classified…and protect the women who capture their hearts.

Join Lachlan Hunter and his military team for their high-octane missions.

Today I’m showing off the awesome cover for Mission: Her Freedom! This story stars Team 52’s tattooed, hunky tech geek, Brooks Jameson. He’s been taken captive by some very bad people and knows he needs to do everything he can to survive.

For Team 52 fans, the cover is going to give away Brooks’ tough, badass heroine: combat medic Callie Kimura. As these two friends and team mates fight for their freedom, they start to look at each other in a very different way…

Mission: Her Freedom
Team 52 #6
Release Date: Tuesday November 26th

Mission: Classified
Hero: Tech geek Brooks Jameson
Heroine: Former Air Force pararescueman Callie Kimura
Artifact: Classified

Cover artist: Melody Simmons

Photographer: Wander Aguiar

Excerpt from Mission: Her Safety (Team 52 #5) featuring Brooks

Brooks stepped into his favorite Las Vegas computer store. It was packed with parts and equipment. He always loved coming in here.

“Eamon, my man,” Brooks called out.

“Brooks.” The store owner, the same age as Brooks, stepped out from behind the counter. He wore a pair of coke-bottle glasses and a wide smile.

While Brooks had never been the stereotypical geek—he’d loved sports and people too much—Eamon looked every part the cliché nerd. He wore a sweater-vest over his shirt, was round at the waist, and already had a bald spot. But the man had made a killing from his chain of computer stores, so he no longer lived at home with his parents. Last Brooks had heard, he now lived with a tall, well-endowed former showgirl who was head over heels for him.

Eamon’s eyes lit up. “I got it.”

Excited, Brooks watched his friend set a box down on the counter. Brooks flipped it open and saw the part he’d been waiting for. Rare and expensive as hell, it was just what he wanted.

“It took a lot to find it,” Eamon said.

“Great work, buddy.”

“What are you planning to do with it?”

Brooks winked. “Top-secret.”

“Well, enjoy.”

“I’ll transfer payment today.” Brooks picked up the box.

“I know you’re good for it. Tell me how it works out.”

Brooks exited the store. He was late to meet the team at Griffin’s. Everyone wanted to celebrate a job well done and officially welcome River to the team.

Hell, Ty—of all people—had fallen in love. Brooks shook his head. The love bug was definitely going around.

Setting off down the sidewalk, Brooks shifted his shoulders. He wanted to meet someone too. In fact, he wanted the whole package when it came to a woman—sexy, smart, caring. He sighed. Unfortunately, he always seemed to attract the wrong types. It didn’t help that he worked with some of the best women out there—smart, brave, gorgeous.

And way out of his league.

He saw two big guys approaching ahead on the sidewalk and moved to the side to let them pass. He was contemplating how much money he’d lose to Blair at the pool table, when the back of his neck prickled.

The two burly, neckless guys were watching him.

The muscles along Brooks’ shoulders tensed.

Something made him glance back over his shoulder. Two more men were moving in behind him.

Fuck.

He quickly darted left, crossing the street.

The four men broke into a jog, coming after him.

Brooks hustled and launched into a sprint. He’d barely reached the other curb when gunfire broke out behind him.

Shit. He hit the ground, the box with his new part crushed beneath him. He leaped up and ran, dodging between two parked cars.

He kept running, and heard footsteps coming in fast behind him. Ahead, he spotted a small park, just starting to turn green again after the winter. He swiveled, running into it. As he pounded down the path, he dodged some teenagers on skateboards. He reached into his pocket, found his electronic fob, and pressed down on the alert button.

Circling some trees, he leaped over a park bench, and came back out on another street. If he could just get to where he’d parked his truck, he’d be home free.

A heavy force slammed into his legs, tackling him from behind. His box flew out of his hand.

Hitting the ground with a grunt, Brooks rolled, already pulling his fist back. He landed a hard punch to his attacker’s face.

“Fuck!” the man exploded.

Brooks didn’t spend all of his time in his computer room. He worked out daily, and trained with Team 52. He wasn’t afraid of a fight.

He slammed the guy in the head again, kicking his legs. Another punch, and the guy’s eyes rolled back in his head.

Yeah, he’d been expecting a tech geek.

Brooks shoved the guy off him, and leaped to his feet.

Two more men rushed at him. As one swung out an arm, Brooks landed a hard front kick into the man’s gut. He flew backward.

You picked the wrong guy to tangle with, assholes. As the second man moved, Brooks launched into a roundhouse kick. The guy fell like he’d hit a wall.

Another guy stepped back, looking wary.

Suddenly, something pinched Brooks’ chest. An electric shock ran over him, and his teeth clashed together. The pain was agonizing. Fuck.

He looked down to see the prongs of a Taser attached to the front of his shirt.

Fuck. Fuck.

Then his legs gave out and he dropped to the concrete, his body twitching.

Darkness swallowed him whole.

Team 52 Geek Giveaway

I have a FUN giveaway to celebrate Brooks’ and Callie’s cover! I’m giving away some cool “Geek is the new sexy” mugs in honor of our techie geek hero and a signed Team 52 paperback. I have FOUR of these sets to give away.

Just use the Rafflecopter below to enter, just select the options you’d prefer to do, and if you see any errors, click the link to go directly to the giveaway. Open internationally for the next week! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Team 52 Audiobooks

The amazing Stella Bloom is the narrator for the Team 52 series and she’s done a brilliant job bringing the team and their adventures to life.

Audio

A Great Cause: Why I Write for Pets in Space® 4 By S.E. Smith

A huge, big welcome to fellow Pets in Space sci-fi romance author, S.E. Smith! Her story in the anthology is called MADAS’ FALLING STAR (part of her Lords of Kassis Series) and stars a warrior, a warrior princess, and a super cute pet called L’eon.

This is my fourth year of writing a story for Pets in Space® and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of something that has taken on a life of its own and a project that gives back so much to our community. What do I mean? Well, Pets in Space® 4 is one of those very unique opportunities that you get in life to pay it forward.

When I was in 8th grade I remember our teacher having us write an essay about what we wanted to do when we were older. I had my life mapped out — I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps. I was going to graduate, go to college, spend a couple of years after I graduated traveling, then join the Air Force. My teacher was impressed with my plans. LOL. Well, I didn’t necessarily follow them all the way. I had a few detours and never joined the Air Force (I was an officer in the Civil Air Patrol which I was proud of) but… I did marry an Air Force veteran. Many of my family members all belonged to the military in one form or another over the years, serving with pride. When Pauline and Veronica first approached me and asked if I would be interested in participating in an anthology that benefited Hero-Dogs.org, I researched them and knew this was one way I could help support not only veterans, but first responders as well.

Life is about giving. In a world that sometimes feels like we have forgotten, it only takes one act of kindness to help us remember that what we give is the legacy that we leave behind. I am proud of the amazing authors who have participated in this charity. To date, we’ve been able to donate almost $8000 while giving readers hours of enjoyment. Join me in paying it forward by supporting Hero-Dogs.org and the outstanding authors in this years Pets in Space® 4!

PS: The Pets in Space® 4 Anthology will only be available for a limited time! Don’t miss out on this amazing collection of stories before it disappears! More info here: https://petsinspaceantho.com

S.E. Smith is an internationally acclaimed, New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling author of science fiction, romance, fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary works for adults, young adults, and children. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away.

Pets in Space 4 and House of Rone Cover Reveal: Centurion

Fighting for love, loyalty, and freedom on the galaxy’s lawless outer rim…

Join Imperator Magnus Rone and his lethal cyborg gladiators as they risk it all to rescue abductees from Earth.

I have TWO great things happening with the House of Rone cyborgs this week:

1) My House of Rone novella, DARK GUARD, part of the Pets in Space 4 Anthology with several other amazing sci-fi romance authors is out now!

2) I have a brand-new House of Rone cover to show you.

I also have a giveaway of Pets in Space 4 tote bags and signed paperbacks to celebrate the release and the cover reveal! Scroll down to enter.

Pets in Space 4

Yay! Pets in Space 4 is here!

Here is everything you need to know:

  • 13 amazing, original new sci-fi romance stories
  • Supports the incredible Hero-Dogs.com charity
  • Available for a limited time only (and won’t be available in KU)
  • Includes my new House of Rone novella, Dark Guard

DARK GUARD

Galactic Gladiators: House of Rone Series

By Anna Hackett

Calla Ryss has spent months languishing in a cell, surviving her captors—the metal-scavenging species known as the Edull—after being abducted from her home world. Deep in the deserts of the lawless planet of Carthago, she is desperate to find a way out. Yet when escape comes for her and her lone human friend, it doesn’t lead to safety, but to the bone-chillingly dangerous cyborgs of the House of Rone. To her shock, Calla finds herself in the arms of a lethal cyborg with metallic silver eyes.

Zaden lives for the House of Rone. His cyborg enhancements help him keep a ruthless hold on his emotions. Loyalty, and the rare spurt of annoyance at the cyborg hunting cat that refuses to leave him alone, are the only emotions he allows himself to feel. He is perplexed when Calla falls into his arms and he begins to experience emotions he’s never felt before…a dangerous malfunction for a cyborg whose enhancements are in place not to increase his lethal abilities, but leash them.

Zaden vows to guard Calla and keep her safe—with some unsolicited help from a certain cyborg cat— when mysterious attackers attempt to snatch her. There is more at stake than just Calla’s safety. As they are drawn into an intoxicating storm of emotion, they will risk their hearts, their lives, and their freedom to rescue another innocent captive. Can they succeed against the odds, or will Calla find herself imprisoned once again?

Amazon  Amazon Other  B&N  Google Play  Apple Books  Kobo

Cover Reveal

But wait, there’s more. In addition to Calla and Zaden’s novella, I also have the cover for Sage and Acton’s story.

Ready to watch another cool, controlled cyborg find himself face to face with a rescued woman from Earth? This time, ultra cyborg Acton learns to deal with a deadly rush of emotion sparked by one small, copper-haired survivor.

Centurion
Galactic Gladiators: House of Rone #3
Release date: 22nd October 2019

 
Cover by Melody Simmons
Photo by Paul Henry Serres

Excerpt from Defender (House of Rone #2) featuring Acton and Sage

“You’ll love the arena,” Jayna said. “The fights are amazing.”

Sage McAlister smiled. “Awesome.”

They were hurrying through the House of Rone on their way to the arena. She glanced around, taking in the smooth, stone walls and beautiful wall hangings, mostly done in rich, royal blue.

Her new home.

Her mouth felt dry and she swallowed. She’d been rescued and she was free. Even if she could never go back to Earth, at least she was surrounded by friends.

What she hadn’t told anyone was that she felt cold inside. Numb. Unsettled. She forced her smile up another fraction. She’d never tell Jayna or the others. They’d all risked so much to save her, and she didn’t want them to think she was ungrateful. Or to continue to worry about her.

“Calla’s in her own room now?” Jayna asked.

Sage nodded. “She’s doing so much better. I think she’ll be back up on her feet in just a few days.”

Sage was thrilled that her new alien friend was healed and doing better. It would take some time for Calla to adjust to her new, cybernetic heart, but she was alive, and that’s what counted.

Mace was waiting for them at the entrance of the House of Rone. Sage took in the massive cyborg and mentally shook her head. He looked so intimidating. She watched Jayna smile and throw herself into the man’s brawny, tattooed arms.

As the couple kissed, Sage felt a punch of envy.

She’d had a boyfriend back on Earth. She and Daniel had never been as passionate as these two, but they’d been comfortable and happy together.

Sage had already taken advantage of the amazing wormhole communication system in place and sent a message to Earth. A lump lodged in her throat. Her mother, never the most maternal woman on a good day, had been mildly pleased to hear Sage was alive.

Daniel, meanwhile, had assumed she’d died. He was now engaged to someone else, with a baby on the way.

So Sage was truly alone. She shivered. She guessed she should feel more upset about it all, but she felt nothing more than cold numbness.

Jayna turned back and Sage smiled at her.

“Let’s get to the arena,” the brunette said.

Sage nodded. She enjoyed the distraction of people watching as they maneuvered through the tunnels toward the main arena. There were so many different alien species. As a paramedic, Sage had always been interested in the human body and how it worked. Now, she had a bunch of alien bodies she could learn about.

If she wanted to. She tugged on her earlobe. She wasn’t really sure what she wanted.

Early days, Sage. Give yourself a break.

When Mace and Jayna led her out of the tunnel and into the arena stands, Sage looked around, her mouth widening. This was unbelievable.

A punch of sound hit her. The vibration of stomping feet rattled beneath her.

This was just the distraction she needed.

She looked with interest at the sea of colorful spectators—so many species of beings. Her gaze moved down to the arena floor. It was covered in a layer of sand, and the gladiators were already out there, swinging their weapons and performing for the crowd before the fight began.

It would take time to get used to her new home, but she could do it. She was no longer a prisoner or a lab guinea pig. The Edull couldn’t hurt her anymore.

She pulled in a breath. Besides, she really didn’t have much of a choice.

Her stomach curdled, and she quickly moved to the House of Rone seats near the railing. Jayna waved her in and Sage sat down next to Acton.

“Hey,” she said.

“Hello.”

His voice was as cool as ice, his face as emotionless as glass.

This was the man who’d saved her from the Edull lab and carried her out of her nightmare. Her memories of her rescue were a little muddy and disjointed, but she did remember the coolness of his cybernetic arms.

“You enjoy watching the fights?” she asked.

“I don’t feel joy. But the fights are interesting displays of skill.”

She tilted her head, taking in the metal half of his face. He was really quite handsome. His smooth skin contrasted with the even smoother, silver metal. “You don’t feel anything?”

He hesitated. “Very little.”

Very little was more than nothing. Unable to stop herself, Sage reached out and stroked his cybernetic arm. “Do you feel that?”

“Yes.” His brows drew together. “I have pressure sensors embedded in my metallic skin.”

She reached up and touched his organic cheek. His skin was warm. “That?”

“Yes, of course, but I have no emotional reaction to the stimulus.”

Sage stroked his skin again. The man had ridiculously high cheekbones.

Acton cocked his head. “You don’t find my appearance…repugnant?”

She blinked. “No. Why would I?”

“Many people find my metal enhancements unsettling.”

“You’re unique, and I’ve always liked unique.”

He was silent for a moment. “If you’re looking for some sort of physical comfort from me, I’m the wrong choice.”

Sage bit the inside of her cheek to refrain from laughing. Apparently, several women from Earth shacking up with his fellow cyborgs had disturbed this man who claimed he didn’t feel.

She smiled, and it felt like the first real smile she’d done in ages. “How about we be friends?”

Acton blinked slowly. “Friends?”

“I know you have friends, Acton. People to talk with. Who look out for each other.”

A pause. “That would be acceptable.”

She bumped her shoulder against his. “You can teach me about Carthago and the House of Rone.”

“Yes. And you can explain perplexing emotional reactions to me.” He glanced over at where Ever, Quinn, and Jayna were laughing with Mace, Jax, and Magnus. “I believe I will need additional understanding as our House fills with more humans.”

She laughed. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Suddenly, she noticed that Acton was looking intently at her lips. His gaze moved back to hers, those cool, icy-blue eyes on her.

“It’s a deal, Sage McAlister.”

Sage leaned into him. There was something comforting about Acton. She felt no pressure to prove that she was happy and cheerful with him. She could just be herself. “Deal.”

Pets in Space 4 – House of Rone Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Pets in Space 4 and the latest House of Rone cover, I have signed Galactic Gladiators paperbacks, Pets in Space 4 tote bags, and super cute animal cards up for grabs. I have TWO main prizes, and TWO runner-up prizes of Pets in Space tote bags. The giveaway is open internationally!

Just enter using the Rafflecopter below (if the widget doesn’t work, just click the link). Only do the options you prefer!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

House of Rone in Audio

The House of Rone is available in audio. Amazing narrator Vivienne Leheny has brought the cyborgs to life in Sentinel and Defender.
 

House of Rone Audio