Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Rebels: Excerpt and Giveaway

Thank you for stopping by and joining us for our stop on the Read-A-Long portion of The Rebels by Elizabeth Lang virtual tour. We are excited to post this segment of the story and we hope you enjoy it too! 

On the cusp of freedom, Adrian Stannis is plunged into the world of bounty hunters and rebels, each one valuing his head with the kind of single-minded intensity that does not bode well for his dream of peace and a fully stocked lab in a quiet and obscure corner of the galaxy.

Dragged along against his will by a barbarian intent on selling him back to the Empire, Adrian 'accidentally' kidnaps an emergency room doctor--because that is the kind of thing he does, while Kali and Bryce try to find him and become embroiled in an adventure of their own, one that leads to a sinister mystery that might destroy them all.

Part adventure, part misadventure, this tale packs one punch after another until the final shocking ending.

 The Rebels - Chapter 12 

The murky depths of the cave drew Adrian’s attention. The darkness was absolute, swallowing the light with a ravenous appetite. Stony gray walls closed in. Kali may not be freezing to death, but she was alone on a foreign planet with no resources. The situation was intolerable.Across the flames, the bounty hunter’s head slumped forward, though his back was straight, giving the impression of alertness.
“I have not made my suggestion,” said Adrian.
“I’m not interested.”
“I have a way to give you what you want.”
“All I want is a hundred million credits. I can get that myself without your ‘help’.”
“What you want is security. Not even a hundred million credits will buy you that as long as you’re high on the Most Wanted list.”
The bounty hunter exhaled sharply. “It will buy me a few more years.”
“You’re deluding yourself.”
“Isn’t that what you were doing on Orasis? Deluding yourself that you could hide from the Empire? And now, you’re in my custody.”
“Then you know I’m right.”
The man turned to look at him, suspicion in his eyes. “What do you want?”
“I want a deal.”
A snort greeted that declaration. “I’ve been watching you for three days. You have nothing I want and I’m not letting you go out of the ‘goodness of my heart’.“
“I’m sure you don’t have one.”
The bounty hunter snarled, “That’s right.”
“If you follow my suggestion, you will no longer have to look over your shoulder, you will have your freedom.”
“There is no such thing.”
There was a bite to the words that made Adrian turn sharply to him. It was a sentiment worthy of him and for the first time, he wondered what lay beyond the muscles.
“Perhaps not, but at least they will no longer hunt you. All I ask is one day to make sure the others are safe, then I will accompany you to the nearest Empire outpost and present myself for your bounty.”
“Why should I trust you?”
“Because I don’t have a choice.”
Adrian. Where are you? Kali’s voice entered his mind, making him jerk in surprise.
I know a Hunter team has found you and they will probably deliver you to the nearest Empire outpost. Bryce and I will find you. If you can, leave a sign for us.
This changed his plans. It was no longer a matter of making Kali safe, he had to keep her safe, which meant that she could not find him. The bounty hunter was right, he was deluding himself, and every moment they stayed with him, he was endangering their lives.
He glanced over. The bounty hunter was staring at him.
“I’m not insane,” said Adrian. He would have to be more careful in future. Listening to disembodied voices could be considered madness, and he was not about to tell anyone about Kali’s psi abilities.
“That’s what they all say.”
“I will help you leave this planet without attracting unnecessary attention, but we must leave now.”
“What are you playing at? I thought you wanted a day to help the others?”
“A change in plans.”
In a heartbeat, the bounty hunter crossed the distance between them and his blade pressed into Adrian’s throat.
“What plans?” The man’s voice had lowered to a harsh, menacing whisper beside his ear. The knife sliced and a warm, razor-thin line of blood swelled while a blast of air sent twigs and pebbles skittering across the cave floor.
The bounty hunter said, “Don’t think that I won’t kill her as easily as I can slit your throat.”
Adrian angled his head back but the knife followed, increasing the pressure, the muscular forearm crushing his chest.
“I know,” gasped Adrian. “That is why I want us to leave before you kill them.”
Time balanced on the edge of a guillotine and his blood dripped down. Dancing shadows became a death march.
“I don’t trust anyone, least of all you,” said the bounty hunter.
Adrian forced his voice to be impassive, which was hard when his throat was tight, guarding against the encroaching blade. “A wise policy.
Now, shall we discuss our plans?”
“Don’t try anything.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.”
The knife drew back and Adrian touched his neck, but there was no blood, only a faint line where the blade scored the skin. The blood was in his mind, an illusion fueled by fear and adrenaline. A chill settled in his bones.
“What’s your plan?” asked the bounty hunter.
“Forget the hundred million.”
The man scoffed. “You are insane. If it weren’t for the bounty, I would kill you now and put you out of my misery.”
“The Empire will pay any price to get me back. Even your freedom.”
The man snapped the knife back into its sheath. “You’re really worth that much?”
“I gave them a jump gate, a way to reach the Andromedan galaxy. They would do anything to retrieve me.”
The bounty hunter whistled. “The Andromedan galaxy…I knew they were preparing something big. The military channels have been buzzing with coded traffic.” He looked at Adrian speculatively, a flicker of interest in his eyes. “The wanted roll says you betrayed humanity to the Andromedans.”
Adrian’s back stiffened. “I did not betray the human race.”
“It doesn’t matter what you say. They want you back.”
“And you’re going to give me to them regardless of the validity of the charges.”
“That’s right.”
“Do you care?”
He tapped the sheath. “I’m not paid to care. Now, what’s your plan to get us out of here?”
Bryce grumbled, his legs wobbly as he headed back to the cabin. “’Go and check outside’, she says.” No one said there’d be bodies; three of them piled together like a mound of broken rag dolls. If only he’d never woken up this morning. Being an ace weapons gunner, you’d think he would be used to death by now.
The crunching of snow made him look up. Kali emerged from the other side of the building. “Anything?”
“I found…” His mouth tasted horrible and he really needed a swig of something strong. “Bodies.”
Kali’s face paled. “Did you find Adrian?”
“No, no, it’s not him.” He wiped his hand across his mouth. “I found three bodies. Fresh ones covered with branches.”
“No sign of Adrian?”
“Not exactly.” He reached into his duster pocket and drew out a blue ident crystal. The golden Empire crest glinted ominously on the side. “I think it was a Hunter team.”
Kali’s hand went to her chest. “The Empire has Adrian?”
“Looks like it.” He wiped his mouth again. “Hunter teams usually come in threes and I saw three bodies.”
“Someone killed an entire Hunter team?”
“Yeah, and I don’t want to meet up with whoever did. Hunter teams are bad news and whoever can take one out has got to be worse.”
“Would they send two teams?”
“That makes no sense. Why would a Hunter team kill the other one?”
“To get the bounty. That’s how they operate. They’re little more than glorified bounty hunters trained by the military. And with a hundred million on his head, everyone will want Adrian.”
“It’s nice to be popular…I mean except for the whole bounty hunter thing.”
Kali glared at him.
“Sorry,” said Bryce, managing a sheepish, apologetic shrug. “What do you want to do?”
“I know he’s alive.”
“Oh.” He tapped his temple. “You mean you used your psi thing.”
“My telepathic abilities.”
“Yeah, that.”
“I can sense him and I sent him a message. He’s still on the planet but I can’t pinpoint his location.”
“Too bad he can’t psi his location. Or telegraph.”
“Psi is not an action and it’s telepath, not telegraph.”
“Well, whatever it is, he can’t do it.”
“No, he can’t.” Her voice choked, “If only he could.”
Bryce put a hand on her arm. “It’ll be alright, Kali. You’ll see. We’ll find him.”
“The whole galaxy is after him and he has very little experience with it. He can’t survive without help.”
“Well you don’t either.”
“I have an advantage.” She touched her head.
“Yeah and you picked Adrian. Not much of an advantage if you ask me.”
She glared at him again and he coughed, covering his mouth. “I mean, you live in the rarified air with all the higher ups, not with the low levelers like me and that’s where you need to be to survive.”
“Then we need your help.”
“Well…” Why couldn’t he learn to keep his mouth shut? “There’s not a lot we can do now, is there? The Empire’s got him.”
“They don’t have him yet, not until they deliver him to an Empire outpost. And even then, they still have to get him back to Earth.”
“We don’t even know where they’re taking him.”
“There can’t be that many places with an Empire security station in this Sector. There’s a spaceport at Pekanus. It’s the fastest way off the planet. We should look there first.”
It was like on the Sedener all over again and he still remembered that crazy stunt she pulled on the ramp back in the lab. It was worthy of the best holo-vid adventure with the heroine making a final stand, but his old mum didn’t raise a fool. Being smart and alive beat dying anytime.
“These are Hunters,” he stressed, “they kill you first and laugh about it later.”
“I don’t care. I’m going to find him.” Her jaw was set. “And I’m going to rescue him. Even if I have to do it myself.” She stomped back into the cabin and pulled the door shut with a bang.
Bryce sighed and trudged in after her.
The gray jump-suited prisoner stared at the ceiling, drawing pictures with his mind on the white surface. It surrounded him, the suffocating blankness of the walls, the floor, and the ceiling. His bare feet left no impressions on the frigid metal surfaces and the walls resisted all marks.
No noise penetrated here. No screams of other prisoners. No scrapes of footsteps outside his door. His lips moved but the words were muted, swallowed up by the silence. Or had he spoken at all? He could no longer tell.
At first, he had been expecting to be tortured, but there was nothing, only his own thoughts to keep him from sliding into nothingness.
He rubbed his aching chest.
Was he alive if there was no one to mark his existence? Everything in this cell was a deliberate act of deprivation, a sabotage of the mind.
The only sounds he heard were those in his head, the sharp explosive flashes, and then the knife of pain in the middle of his chest before everything went dark.
He was acutely familiar with these tactics. It was rather amusing, like a solitary game of chess where he sat on both sides of the challenge board. The puppet and the puppeteer.
How would he set about to break someone like him, someone who knew all the tricks; who was a student of the human mind?
That was the problem. They knew that he knew.
A cup of water appeared as if by magic. Getting up quickly, he went over and grabbed it before it disappeared. He drained the lukewarm liquid in greedy gulps, replacing the cup on the ledge before the partition closed. For a moment, he stared at it. He was long past wondering if it
was drugged. The likelihood was high, but he didn’t have much choice. He shrugged and returned to the metal sleep platform.
The whiteness drilled into his brain even with his eyes closed. It was so boring.
He missed the darkness, the colors, and the puzzles of humanity to occupy his brain. His mind raced like an engine with nowhere to go. He tried to reason his way out, to draw on memories, to play multiple games of chess in his head, but each thought was a scattered muddle, crumbling into confusion before he could make the first move. It had to be the drugs in the water. To lose the ability to play a game as simple as chess was inconceivable, like a child losing the ability to crawl. A shudder rippled through his body. He barely remembered why he was here; soon he would forget who he was.

Also, Elizabeth Lang has shared with us exclusive pictures from The Empire Series


To read more of the Read-A-Long please follow the tour schedule…

03/03/2013 - Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways -  Chapter 1

04/03/2013 - Vixie's StoriesChapter 2

05/03/2013 - Decadent Decisions Chapter 3

06/03/2013 - Reviews From Beyond the Book - Chapter 4
07/03/2013 - Great Alpha SpeaksChapter 5
09/03/2013 - The Edible Bookshelf Chapter 6
10/03/2013 - Independent Writers AssociationChapter 7
11/03/2013 - Self Publish or DieChapter 8
12/03/2013 - Natasha Larry BooksChapter 9
13/03/2013 - Michelle Anderson-PicarellaChapter 10
17/03/2013 - Sheenah FreitasChapter 11
18/03/2013 - Castle MacabreChapter 12
19/03/2013 - My WorldChapter 13
20/03/2013 - Reading, Writing And MoreChapter 14
21/03/2013 - Ami R BlackwelderChapter 15

Page Turner Book Tours and Elizabeth Lang have teamed together to set up an amazing contest, be sure to enter today for your chance to win a KOBO MINI!!

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About Elizabeth Lang: 

I'm a science fiction writer who started off life as a computer programmer with a love for reading, especially science fiction, fantasy and mystery.
Being in computers, I found my writing skills deteriorating so I decided to take up writing. It became a joy to create characters, stories and worlds and writing soon became a passion I couldn't put down. As a writer, I like to explore, not only the complexity of characters but the human condition from differing points of view. That is at the heart of the Empire series, of which 'The Empire' and 'The Rebels' are the first two of a four books series. 
You can connect with Elizabeth Lang at the following places: 

Author Page on FaceBook | Blog | Twitter | Website
About Page Turner Book Tours:

Page Turner Book Tours is fronted by the face behind Read2Review, Kate. Page Turner Book Tours has been put together to help promote authors and give something back to the writing world. Kate has put together a team of incredibly talented people to help with the project by incorporating their individual skills into making new, fresh and exciting promotional plans that we hope you agree are amazing. If you would like to book a tour with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their tour packages. If you would like to become a tour host with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their Tour Host page. You wont be disappointed!
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Thank you for joining us and Page Turner Book Tours and Elizabeth Lang today on our stop. 

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