Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Planetary Submissives by Amber Kell

Being strong doesn’t mean you don’t need anyone.

Depending on another person doesn’t make you weak, because sometimes letting someone else help proves you’re braver than you thought. In some cases, submissives that are more powerful than most in their own right need another man or men to balance them. Combining love and abilities has never been so sexy. Exotic planets, rich traditions and unusual situations give a unique look at men who’ll risk everything for the chance to find the perfect partner to complete them.

Publisher's Note: This book was previously released under the same title. It has been re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

Chalice #1
In order to stop his magic from eating him alive, Chalice seeks out a man strong enough to dominate and control him.

Chalice might be a prince on his planet, but his submissive tendencies prevent him from dealing with the incredible energy coursing through his body. Magic users need a second to balance them out, but there has never been a case where the one with the power didn’t hold the dominant position. Chalice’s ability as a rare four-elemental magic wielder already marks him as different, though. And with the king in denial of his son’s needs, he has no choice but to look off-planet to find a powerful partner.

He runs into a diplomat on a mission, who leads Chalice to agree to be the pet of an emperor—one whose reputation for tossing aside subs is only balanced out by the fact that Chalice thinks he’s the sexiest creature he’s ever seen. Chalice takes the plunge, hoping the biggest gamble of his life won’t prove to be his biggest mistake.

Orlin's Fall #2
Orlin didn't know when he put himself up for sale that he would be responsible for changing a kingdom.

Broke and homeless, Orlin puts himself up for sale as a pet. Approached by his new Master, Orlin decides maybe being owned by a gorgeous king wouldn’t be fate worse than death. He doesn’t expect to become the one person who changes the views of an entire kingdom…or to be more than a lover for the man who buys him.

At first sight of the sexy oiled sub, Aester Fall knows he’s not leaving until Orlin belongs to him. He might be hanging on to his kingdom by his fingernails but he knows some things are worth the fight. When he returns home with Orlin, he learns his new pet might not be as pet-like as he first appeared.

Neither man expects to change the fate of a world…much less two of them.

Reader Advisory: This book contains a brief scene of attempted rape.

Zall's Captain #3
When ex-slave Zall is asked to be Captain Teslan's cabin boy, he learns sometimes you have to bend your rules to offer your heart.

Zall is settling in on the ship Chalice chose for him. Even though he's not a soldier, he's learning from them and developing his own skills. When the ship changes captains, Zall has to decide if he'd rather keep his independence or offer himself to a man who might be everything he's ever wanted…or his biggest mistake.

Danner Teslan has agreed to investigate a possible smuggling ring on a military ship. However when he arrives and meets Zall, he's convinced the ex-slave is his other half. Zall is not interested in becoming another man's property and Danner has to decide whether he's willing to give another person the freedom to destroy his heart.

Chalice #1
A man should be like an empty chalice ready to be filled with the experiences of life. – Queen Nyaha

“That’s the best I can do. It should hide your marks but not cover up so much as to offend an interested Master,” Odwill said. The elderly servant finished positioning the decorative cuffs over Chalice’s biceps, then patted his arm with the familiar touch of a man who’d watched over his charge since birth.

“Thanks, Odwill, it should do fine.” Chalice gave his manservant a reassuring smile. He knew the older man didn’t approve of Chalice’s plans. However, Odwill couldn’t argue with Chalice’s mother’s foresight.

Although Chalice’s mother had died years ago, her powers as a seer were still legendary. Knowing she wouldn’t survive childbirth, she’d chronicled advice to her unborn son and uploaded it into the royal archives. The password to her encryption key had died with her, so no one would be able to alter her work or read ahead. Once a week, Chalice’s communication device would chime and wisdom from beyond the grave would appear on the screen. Not once had she steered him wrong. When Chalice was younger, he’d thought of her as his imaginary friend—always there when he needed help. Now he wished she could advise him in person.

When Chalice had first announced plans to join the outbound pets on the next starship, Odwill had immediately looked for ways to help. They both knew there was no future for Chalice as long as he lived beneath his father’s roof. His father loved Chalice in his own way, but he refused to acknowledge his son’s problem. In his father’s mind, a planetary ruler couldn’t have a submissive for a son. Chalice couldn’t fight his submissive tendencies, which put him at odds with his strong-willed father.

To protect his identity, Chalice first needed to cover the tattoos revealing him as a four-elemental mage. No one would take a man on board who could destroy their ship with a single thought. Wide bands of coppery metal on his biceps gave the impression of bondage as well as covering up his signs of power. Hopefully by the time he’d bonded with his Master his magic wouldn’t matter.

Chalice fidgeted with his armbands for a moment before turning to face his servant. Worry creased his brow as he spoke. “You’d best make yourself scarce after I leave. I don’t want you to get into trouble. I doubt Father will discover my absence for a few days, but when he does, he’s likely to come question you. Wait to announce your retirement until they discover I’m missing. Don’t give him any reason to think you were responsible for my disappearance.”

Odwill nodded his agreement. Not a strand of his white hair moved. Chalice had always wondered how the man stayed perfectly groomed no matter what the conditions. “I will wait until they announce you missing, then go stay with my sister in Collinsville. Your father shouldn’t object since I will no longer have a charge and am too old to start out with a new one.”

Chalice went to his dresser to pull out a small velvet bag from the top drawer. “This is for you, Odwill. A small thanks for all of your help.” He clasped the servant’s shoulder, handed the bag over then turned to away finish packing. He wasn’t going to cry. According to his father, princes didn’t cry and Chalice didn’t plan to start now.

“My lord!” Odwill gasped behind him. “This is more gold than I’ve ever had in my life.”

Chalice took a deep breath but kept his back to Odwill. He refused to have an emotional breakdown over leaving the man who’d been more like a father to him than his own. He sniffed, but held firm in not letting any tears fall. Once he had better control he turned back to meet Odwill’s shocked gaze.

“I can’t repay you for everything you’ve done for me, but I can make sure your remaining years are comfortable.”

“Thank you, Your Highness. I want you to know that it has always been a pleasure to serve you, despite your handicap. You’ve never been a bit of trouble. If I could go with you to your new home I would.”

Orlin's Fall #2
Orlin examined his reflection one more time, checking to make sure the oil coated his chest evenly. He wished to look seductively shiny—not like a soppy oil slick. His new nipple ring glowed in the dressing room lights as he tied the laces on his leather pants. The bite of the piercing distracted him as his fingers fumbled on the strings. Taking a deep breath to centre himself, he finally finished dressing. The outfit looked good, even though it had cost him his few remaining dollars. He hoped they would earn back the investment he’d made in them. He had to achieve top dollar in order to have any kind of life. Shifting his weight from foot to foot, he winced as he jostled his guiche. Two piercings in one day might not have been his brightest idea. The ring behind his balls burned but offered a happy distraction from his grim thoughts.

If his father were alive, this would’ve killed him. Of course, if his father were still alive, Orlin wouldn’t be in this situation.

Allowing strangers to bid on him for money was the last resort of a desperate man, but what else could he do? With no money behind his title, it did Orlin little good to be descended from royalty. His parents’ crippling debt had left Orlin with only a bit of pocket change. Money collectors had taken everything else of value. As an only child he didn’t have siblings to rely on and all of his ‘friends’ had disappeared when the reality of Orlin’s situation had settled in.

Left with no money and few practical skills, Orlin was going with a time-honoured beautiful-people tradition...and catching himself a sugar daddy. According to house rules, all but ten per cent of the money raised in his auction went to Orlin after five years of service. He only had to stand some rich old man slobbering all over him for that long to earn his freedom.

I saved my virginity for this?

To be truthful, he’d remained a virgin because he hadn’t wanted to come into his powers. The men in his family gained their magical abilities after sex with their mates for the first time. His father had had the ability to control fire and his mother the power to talk to animals. With Orlin’s luck, his talent would be setting animals on fire.

With the chance to meet his fated mate vanishing before his eyes, Orlin wished he’d taken his parents up on their offer to match him earlier. Now there would be no ceremony binding him and his lover together for life, or meeting with the royal seer to foretell the future of his and his mate’s union. As a child he’d dreamed of a golden-haired god who would be his permanent partner. Now Orlin wouldn’t be free to find him. Instead, he’d be some stranger’s pet—or slave or whatever his owner wanted to call him—until he finished out his contract.

Blinking tears from his eyes, Orlin brushed a strand of hair from his face. He should’ve cut it before the event, but he just couldn’t force that final step. Although he wanted to fetch a good price, his hair represented the one small bit of pride he had remaining. Swallowing the lump in his throat, Orlin looked away from the mirror, unable to meet his reflection’s shamed gaze.

"Ready, beautiful?"

One of the stagehands peeked around the door, ogling Orlin. He brutally fought back a blush. "As ready as I’ll ever be."

With a heavy sigh, Orlin followed the man out.

He hoped the gods were looking out for him because, these days, no one else was.
* * * *
"Anyone catch your eye, Pael?" King Aester Fall asked his brother before downing another glass of ale. Both of his brothers were checking out the room, trying to decide if there was more to this place than they’d found so far. Aester needed to find a pet quickly, before the factions rising against him declared him an unfit ruler. Planetary law clearly stated that a king needed a pet in order to properly rule. A man who couldn’t see to his bodily needs wasn’t ready to rule a kingdom.

Zall's Captain #3
"They say he doesn't keep his cabin boys for long."

Zall heard the whispers race around him as he went onto his tiptoes to peek between the rows of soldiers blocking his line of sight. No one gossiped more than a group of warriors with downtime.

He'd only been on the ship for a few months, and they were already changing leaders. Captain Smallen was stepping down to retire and pass his leadership over to a younger man. Rumours abounded that Smallen's retirement might not be entirely voluntary. No one knew why. Smallen had announced he was leaving a week ago and had sent his personal cabin boy back home, over the man's loud objections.

Zall had never liked Jav anyway. The guy had the pampered look of someone who'd never worked a day in his life and liked to rub everyone's nose in it. As a former slave, Zall had met enough useless people to know one when he saw one.

Examining the people closest to him, Zall wondered who might want to be the next cabin boy picked. Every captain chose someone to keep him or her sexually sated and away from the rest of the crew. A leader who gave in to sleeping with a member of his staff set up a poor dynamic. However, the military recognised that their captains had needs. Their solution? Either bring a dedicated lover on board or pick one from the crew.

Zall hoped the change in leaders wouldn't affect his position on the ship. After two months, he was just now finding his feet. Even though he had a limited skill set-a slave's life didn't lead to much training-Zall spent his days helping out wherever he could. Some days he assisted the cook, and others he crawled into the belly of the ship to get to spots the elderly systems mechanic couldn't reach. Even though with proper nutrition he'd put on a few pounds, Zall still retained his rangy build. His leanness helped him slide beneath the ship's pipes or slink between electrical panels.

Truthfully, he didn't have to work at all. Prince Chalice had settled a large amount of money into Zall's account-something about taking care of his own. Chalice might be a young man with scary magical abilities, but he had the biggest heart Zall had ever seen. That had to be the reason why he'd fallen for his asshole of an emperor. Zall suspected the only thing preventing Terrin Hawk from ruling the galaxy with an iron fist was the pretty prince kneeling at his side. The dynamic between the pair had always baffled Zall. How a man like Chalice could hand over control of himself to a borderline despot amazed Zall, but no more than the fact that he suspected the emperor would realign the planets to earn his lover's favour.

Zall didn't care who ran the ship as long as they left him alone. He'd barely ever seen the last captain. However, he had to admit that the pictures of Captain Teslan circulating around added more than a little lust to his curiosity.

Author Bio:
Amber Kell has made a career out of daydreaming. It has been a lifelong habit she practices diligently as shown by her complete lack of focus on anything not related to her fantasy world building.

When she told her husband what she wanted to do with her life he told her to go have fun.

During those seconds she isn't writing she remembers she has children who humor her with games of 'what if' and let her drag them to foreign lands to gather inspiration. Her youngest confided in her that he wants to write because he longs for a website and an author name—two things apparently necessary to be a proper writer.

Despite her husband's insistence she doesn't drink enough to be a true literary genius she continues to spin stories of people falling happily in love and staying that way.

She is thwarted during the day by a traffic jam of cats on the stairway and a puppy who insists on walks, but she bravely perseveres..

She also writes under the name Mikela Q. Chase.



State of Hope by Summer Lane

Title: State of Hope
Author: Summer Lane
Series: Collapse #10
Genre: Dystopia, New Adult
Release Date: June 5, 2017

This is it.

Cassidy Hart and her comrades have returned to their home: California, the final battlefield in the fight against the global terror, Omega. Commander Chris Young is in critical condition, the United States Navy has acquired new weapons, and the militias have just made a discovery that could change everything.

Faced with tragedy, heartbreak, and destruction, Cassidy is tempted to give up.

But she is a fighter. Defeat is not in her blood.

When confronted with the possibility of resurrecting the leadership of the United States of America, she will do anything to make the dream of stability a reality. She and Lieutenant Uriah True, along with the legendary strike team, the Angels of Death, undertake a dangerous and outrageous mission, unlike anything they have ever attempted. They will find themselves in the very epicenter of Omega’s stronghold.

Yet doubt remains. No one can be trusted in this dark new world, and their hope may not be as black and white as it seems. Disappointment and rejection cloud Cassidy’s judgment.

Friends will be lost. Tears will be shed. Sacrifices beyond the imagination will be made. The grim reality and bitter destruction of war will inflict one final sucker punch. The militias desperately attempt to hold their ground, and the Freedom Fighters will do everything they can to destroy the greatest evil this world has ever known. The apocalypse has taken everything from Cassidy, but she will not stop until her heart ceases to beat, and until there is no breath left in her body.

She holds onto hope – hope of a future, hope of victory, and hope of love.

There is no going back. It all ends here.

Are you prepared?

“Banner and Beckham,” Vera drawls. “Sounds like a boyband.”

I adjust the collar on my black jacket, smoothing the white shirt underneath.

“Do I look neat enough?” I ask.

“You look like an apocalyptic militia commander,” Vera responds. “I don’t think they’re going to care how you look. How any of us look.”

“I have a feeling they will.”

“They’re here!” Andrew calls from downstairs.

I check my appearance in the mirror. All things considered, I don’t look that bad. At least I’m showered. At least I’m not covered in ash.

Vera and I head downstairs, and a guard out front is waiting in a Humvee to take us to the president’s house. Uriah is waiting outside, and he gives me a frustrated look.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, zipping my jacket.

“This car is for you,” he says.

“I don’t understand.”

“Just for you. Apparently, President Banner and General Beckham don’t want to meet with all of us.” He pauses. “Just you.”

I look at the driver.

“Are those your orders?” I ask.

“Yes, ma’am,” he responds.

I curse.

“I’m not going without the rest of the team,” I say.

“You should,” Father Kareem interjects. “You may learn something valuable.”

“Like what?”

He raises his hands as if to say, Don’t ask me. Just go and find out.

A nervous lump settles in my throat.

“I don’t want to go alone,” I whisper to Vera.

“I know,” she says, sympathetically. “But maybe you should. See what they want.”

I purse my lips, angry at the sudden turn of events.

“All right,” I snap. “If that’s the way they want it…”

“See you later,” Vera says.

I lock eyes with Uriah, and he nods.

I get in the backseat of the car.

I go on alone. 

The End of Collapse by Summer Lane 
What they say about ending a series is true. They say it’s hard, it’s emotional, and it’s a little bit painful.

All true. All correct.

It is hard to end a series, especially one that I’ve been working on for five years, non-stop; a series that has, so far, given birth to 17 books in its complete universe. Ending Collapse feels a bit like letting go of a child that has been clinging to my neck for a long time. Finally, I’m stepping away from a familiar storyline.

The journey of the entire Collapse Series itself has been so quick, so hectic and so intense, that I can’t remember every detail of it. That’s okay, though. I can look through the books in the series and see exactly where I was and what I was doing when I wrote it. Reading the books reminds me of what the journey of creation was like: it reminds me of how I felt while growing the characters of this universe.

At this point, there are around 40 characters in the main series, give or take a few. Some have died, some have lived. Some have grown, some have not. When I first wrote the initial installment that started everything, I honestly just wrote the book for fun. I had so many story ideas about Cassidy Hart and Chris Young – ideas that would make a great series, I thought. But I wasn’t planning on sharing them with anyone unless readers wanted it. When demands for a sequel came flooding in, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and shock. It’s the best feeling in the world to know that you have made a connection with readers; it means you have done your job. You have provided an escape from reality, you have taken them on an emotional journey, and you have given people the best gift of all…you have given them the gift of feeling.

For me, writing is my lifeblood. I may have other interests, other tasks, other duties to perform, but it always comes back to this: to the story, to the journey, to the characters. When I was growing up, I survived tough situations by withdrawing from reality and closing my eyes, picturing a story. I could always see it clearly, like a movie in my head. I could hear it, smell it, feel it and practically touch it. I lived in imaginary places more than I did in the real world. I would be minding my own business and suddenly, bam! I would be there, in the story, in the plot. A flash-bang of an idea, an influx of creativity. I was, as they say in Beauty in the Beast, “Never part of any crowd, cuz’ her head’s up on some cloud.” I was always writing, and I started working on crafting my voice as early as 13. I was serious. I submitted to magazines, but unfortunately, I came into the publishing business in an age when paper publications were dying, and online submissions and articles were beginning to boom.

So I hit the digital world. I worked as a freelance writer, doing the “dirty work” of the publishing business. I wrote so many articles, I was dreaming about lines of script in my sleep. I never stopped writing – I mean that in the literal sense. I rarely – if ever – took a break from writing. If I wasn’t writing, I was reading. I still read. Constantly. If you want to improve your writing, keep reading. There is always something new to learn, no matter how skilled you are.

The story of Collapse is really a story of its readers. The support I’ve had from the reading community around the world has had a profound effect on me. I’m grateful for every reader – from the first to the last. From the oldest to the newest. I’m always touched when I receive fan mail thanking me for writing, for sharing the stories in my head. It’s an honor to know that my books are on readers’ shelves across America, and in digital cues on tablets or smartphones. I absolutely adore my readers, and I can’t thank them enough for reading my books even when I was a teenager, with a very loose grasp on what I was doing in the publishing business.

I would be lying if I said writing is glamorous. Perhaps it is in the movies – and perhaps it is sometimes. But nine days out of ten, it is not glamorous. It’s unpredictable, it’s ruthless, it’s unforgiving, and it’s grueling. It’s emotionally draining, it’s mentally draining and it’s sometimes discouraging. It’s isolating, akin to a self-imposed exile. I find it very difficult to leave the hectic yet secure solace of my office – the world is often too much, too loud. Sometimes you have good days. Sometimes you have terrible days. Sometimes you feel worthless and talentless, like a failure. For me, I would have to say I feel like that more times than not. Much of my writing experience could only be described as suffering. I talk about the difficulty of what it’s been like quite a lot, but it’s hard to convey the enormity of the struggle if you’ve never been through it. I can only describe it as being on a rollercoaster of emotion, every day unpredictable, every month void of a guarantee of survival. People try to steal your work. People accuse you of not having a “real” job. People say horrible things to you in letters or on forums. Being a writer is a bit like being a bulls-eye: you will be targeted for your mere existence.

Can you handle it? Can you take the emotional rollercoaster ride? Can you take the criticism? Can you take the pressure? Can you take the competition? Can you take the failures as well as the successes?

Yet writing is like a pendulum. You have to swing with it – you can’t control everything about it, because you’re not meant to. At some point, you have to do your best and let go. You have to let the pendulum move on its own. You have to trust in the strength of your story and the loyalty of your readers. You have to trust in your characters. You have to trust in yourself. It’s hard to do. For me, I feel the impossibility of that truth every single time I release a book. I’ve gone through it 17 times. The struggle, the exhaustion, the shaky self-confidence, the fear, the disappointment. You name a stage, and I’ve been through it. Over and over again.

Writing, however, is what I love. So I embrace it, warts and all, and make it my own. I take chances because without them, my life would have no meaning. I have to experiment, push boundaries and create constantly. Even if I had nothing – if I was back at the beginning of everything again, I would still create. That is what we do as writers. We create something from nothing, and we make you care about the journey.

So ending Collapse is hard, yes. But it is a necessary part of life. All beginnings must have their endings. It is merely an open door for more opportunity and more adventure, and I am ready for it. 


Author Bio:
Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of the Collapse Series, Zero Trilogy, Bravo Saga, Collapse: The Illustrated Guide and the adventure thriller, Unbreakable SEAL.

Summer owns WB Publishing. She is an accomplished journalist and creative writing teacher. She also owns an online magazine, Writing Belle, where she has interviewed and worked with countless authors from around the globe.

Summer lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, where she enjoys reading, collecting tea, visiting the beach and the mountains, and counting down the days until she has her very own puppy (if you’ve read Bravo: Apocalypse Mission, you’ll understand).


State of Allegiance #10


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