She supposed it was what they—or at least Sting of The Police—would have called synchronicity: that twangy guitar and soft-pedaled keyboard emanating so clearly from the RV’s speakers as she ascended the vehicle’s aluminum ladder. All she knew was that the song matched her mood perfectly, absurdly, as Karen Carpenter sang, Such a feeling’s comin’ over me / There is wonder in most everything I see …
She gained the RV’s roof and looked around: at the motor homes being corralled in the parking lot of Bluebeard’s Cove, at the velociraptors gathered like spectators outside the fence, at the brontosaurus mulling its cypress leaves nearby and the pterodactyls circling in the blood-red sky and the volcano spewing lava not thirty miles away. Not a cloud in the sky / Got the sun in my eyes / And I / Won’t be surprised if it’s a dream …
“A retelling of the original Viral Trilogy, McConnell has condensed, distilled, and masterfully rewritten the original story beautifully.”
If you enjoyed the original series, you will appreciate the tweaks to the storyline. If you haven’t read any of the Viral books, you’re in for a treat.
From the back cover:
The world has become a place of comfort, where a shopping trip means heading to the first floor to collect new food tubes for the printer. Menial tasks, like cleaning up or cooking, are relegated to robots, and Robert’s job while finishing school is to maintain them. With only three classes remaining, he’s hoping for something better.
Then everything starts to glitch:
the robots, the building, and even the people.
What starts as glitchy videos, misbehaving touch-screens, and random fighting, grows into a race against time to fix the problem before it escalates. Maybe he can land a cushy programming job in the process, but this virus is more than it appears…
More believable than iRobot, more grounded than most over-the-top scifi novels, this book takes place in a high-tech future that might be closer than you think.
Rose, a sweet and kind librarian, is on her honeymoon with her goofy gym teacher husband when the trip takes a turn for the worst and she is abducted by aliens. When the spacecraft is attacked by the enemies of Empress Nashal, Rose makes it back to Earth freshly impregnated by alien royalty with said enemies on her heels. Now faced with running for her life, she is joined by Zita, a cheerful alien marine, and must make the choice between her unborn alien child and her baffled husband, who believes the child is his.
“Who are you!” Rose called, aiming her white weapon at the door. “I’ve gotta Stainmaker 2000! And I’m not afraid to use it!” She was a tad insulted when she heard the woman on the other side of the door laugh derisively.
“Your people just got cell phones less than two hundred years ago,” the woman said, unimpressed. “You think I’m scared of your widdle plasma pistols?” She sighed. “Look, Mrs. Carmichael –”
“Some of them are mech,” said Zita, nimbly picking her high heels through the steaming pools of red goo and severed, wriggling limbs. She was splattered with blood and grinning as she came to them, but she frowned to see the utter bafflement on Rose’s face. “Hey, snap out of it. Haven’t you seen mech before?” She kicked a man’s severed head, and Rose gasped when his face slid off, revealing a skull of gleaming silver metal.
Rose shook her head. “Mech are illegal. The government s-said they feared a robot war!” she insisted, turning to follow as Zita limped past her.
Zita laughed dryly, folding up her rifle and tucking it under her skirt. “Is it so hard to imagine your government lied? Governments tend to do that.”
“Drop. Your weapon. And. Come quietly,” said a robotic voice.
“Kiss. My ass,” said Zita, mocking the robot’s tone.
“I’m surprised you haven’t come to hate humans,” Rose said with hesitation. “I mean, given all that happened to you here. I’m pretty sure assimilating wasn’t easy either. You have a sort of foreign look for an American, and Americans are notorious for their xenophobia.”
Zita laughed softly. “Me? Hate humans?” She darkly shook her head. “I fought in the Midnight War for thirty years, Rosie. I know what happens when people let hate make decisions for them.”
He went into the kitchen and poured her a glass of water. “How long has it been since you’ve eaten?”
“I’m not hungry,” she said. She seated herself slowly, tentatively. “Two, maybe three days. Ever since Sister Samain wrested control of the coven from the Council. Thank you …” She took the glass from Jeremiah, still looking at the paintings. “They’re all done by the same hand, aren’t they?”
He took off his wide-brimmed hat and studied them. “The same eye. Sometimes Jasper’s hand shakes uncontrollably and I have to steady it with my own. Other times I am his hand, and he tells me what to do.” He laughed a little. “He says that I am an artist, just as he. But even I know it’s the eye that sees, not the hands.”
She continued staring at them. “No, I don’t think that’s true. These pictures have lines of grace … look, see how the fingers are elongated, and tend to curve up or down depending on the position of the body. They dance upon the canvas … surely you can see that. I think you paint them together, Jeremiah.”
He swung the strap of the respirator over his head and set it on a mantle. “I’m just his hands.” He moved to leave the room again.
“Just? But hands are for feeling,” she said.
He paused at the entrance to the hall. “And they’re for killing, too.” Then he disappeared into the dark.
And she thought, It’s the heart that kills, Jeremiah. The hard one by slaying others … and the soft by slaying itself. Then she pushed it from her mind.
He hadn’t run far when he came across the first body, as well as the first raptor (the body laying slit open from throat to crotch while the raptor devoured its unspooled intestines), and Red squeezed off a round, blowing a hole in its head which shot a stream of dark blood no less than six feet before the beast dropped like a sandbag and Red circled around to find the others—but mostly to find Charlotte.
He heard her shout above the engine of one of the rides. “Red! I’m over here! The Scrambler!”
He scanned the amusements quickly and saw her long, brown hair blowing from one of the ride’s carriages: she had activated the thing and sought refuge on it, and was now being swung and whipped about dizzyingly even as a trio of cavern raptors tried to attack. He ran to the fence which encircled the attraction and quickly chambered a round, but found it difficult to target any animals as they scrambled to dodge the carriages, darting this way and that with frantic precision even as they persisted in the assault.
They were the kind of musical notes men and woman once swayed to—even worshiped to—or so Jasper had told him, ground from an instrument called an “organ”—which had once been common, or so he’d said, but had vanished from the face of the world. So, too, were there cymbals, which echoed throughout the crew compartment of the War Wagon like tinsel—if tinsel could be said to have a sound—and mingled with the steely whispers of their muskets and tanks and other gear as the truck rocked and their harnesses held them fast.
“When a maaan loves a woman,” sang a hearty and soulful voice both inside and outside the compartment, and Jeremiah knew they were close, else the driver wouldn’t have cued the music, and when he scanned the other Witch Doctors, strapped in six to a bench in the wagon’s cramped confines, he knew that they knew it too. What was more, he knew that, however fearsome they looked in their black jumpsuits and white flame-retardant vests, their goggled respirators, their buckled hats—they were frightened, too.
Corbin snatched the rifle off his shoulder in a flash and everyone ducked—but he was pointing it at the ceiling, not the Chairman. “Shhh,” he said, and cocked his head. “Just listen.”
Charlotte did so, her ears still ringing. Slowly it became manifest: the sound of cavern raptors barking amidst the catacombs, barking and seeming to answer themselves, and something else, which answered them all. The Cat. The smilodon. The saber-toothed tiger which bore little in common with any of its modern-day ancestors nor any of its prehistoric ones, for it was the size of a small bus. And beyond that … another. Something closer in tone to the raptors and yet altogether different. Something bigger, more robust. Something none of them had ever heard before.
“You all need to understand something,” he said finally, slowly re-slinging his gun, “and that is that before I found this place I was precinct commander of an entire police force dedicated to combating these … things. And if there’s one thing we learned …” He paused, smiling a little to himself. “‘We.’ He seemed to dismiss the thought. “If there’s one thing we learned before our unit was torn to pieces … one thing they learned, my men, before being bitten in half, beheaded, slit open by sickle-claws so that their intestines unspooled across the city streets like sausage links … is that these things are not animals.” He smiled to himself again as though reliving a lifetime’s worth of humbling nightmares. “No, an animal is something comprehensible, even relatable. An animal is something flesh and blood same as you or me, with the same needs, the same hunger, the same will to survive. But these things, these so-called dinosaurs and prehistoric cats, they’re not animals, not the way we understand them. They’re weapons. They have purpose. Intent. They’ve been infused with it somehow. Someone, something, has weaponized them against us.” He nodded slowly, distantly. “Those lights in the sky, I think. And I can promise you this … they will not go away.” The haunting smile returned as he shook his head. “They won’t give up, you understand. And they won’t stop until every man, woman, and child in this compound has been torn apart and devoured.”
Iron Manimal is back with a vengeance. With nothing left to return to, he must make a new place for himself in the world. After so much time alone in the wilderness, will he be able to cope? Or will the consequences of his actions finally catch up to him?
A catastrophic train wreck gives a circus troupe and their tiger baffling new powers. Stranded and confused, they must find new ways to cope with the world and each other. Is a person who can read minds actually being led and controlled by the thoughts of others? And if power comes through physical and emotional trauma, what happens to a newly powerful person or entity who still thinks and feels like a victim? Alcoholism and the death of American rail are also explored.
Captain Roberts and his crew are at the end of their resources. The Alliance have confiscated everything of value and conscripted most of his crew. They are being taxed again. There is no way he and his crew could make enough credits to satisfy the Alliance, and they know it. They are watching him, making sure he can’t escape. The next time the Alliance boards his ship will be his last. He needs to find a way to escape the Alliance, and cross the border into the Collation of Free Worlds.
He and his crew would become exiles. It didn’t matter. He had no intention of returning to Alliance territory. It was up to Nathaniel Roberts to restore their family wealth and get revenge against the Alliance for what they did to his friends and family.
Captain Roberts was unaware that the Alliance was breaking a century-old treaty in preparation for war. The Alliance wasn’t alone; they formed a pact with the Crimson Tide, a pirate organization. Captain Roberts wouldn’t be facing one enemy; he would be facing two. He would have to fight both of them while trying to make a new home for his crew.
Science-fiction and passion mingle in this strikingly sensual short story of just over 5,500 words.
In a world besieged by war and facing annihilation by an inter-dimensional enemy, a sanctum exists where heroic soldiers can rest, indulge their pleasures, and where humanity’s art and beauty is preserved. Lucia is many things to many people – courtesan, nurse, friend, and at times counsellor, but to Anthony… she will be his lover.
As war rages above, she and Anthony spend an unforgettable night together, and Lucia questions if it might just be worth it to love again.
Please note: This is a short story with strong steamy content and language.
Marcus Belling is a world-famous hypnotist. For the past 20 years, many exclusive clients have beneﬁted from his skills and desire to help people. However, everything changes when a mysterious woman named Anne Pauline Roux knocks on his door. She holds a rare power when hypnotized, which will affect both their lives in ways they could never imagine. Her unique power is so strong that it doesn’t stay secret for long. Marcus’ archrival and fellow hypnotist, Josef Salvaterra, has been looking for a way to shut down Marcus’ business for years. Pauline may just give him the opportunity he’s been waiting for. If he can work this to his advantage, he could be recognised as the greatest hypnotist the world has ever seen. With such a prize at stake, is there anything he’s not prepared to do?
Now available for the first time in eBook, “Betrayed: Hidden Worlds Book One.”
Originally published in 1992, this sci-fi classic has not been available for twenty-five years. Before there was an Internet, before there was Amazon, Bethany Burke had penned Hidden Worlds, the original kink classic. It’s been expanded into a three book trilogy, available to modern readers for the very first time!
Four hundred years in the future, life on Earth is perfect. The genders are equal. War is non-existent. Everything is clean, safe, and wonderful, due to one cause: In the early years of the twenty-second century, over 90% of the Earth’s population was relocated by force to colony planets spread over the galaxy.
Jen Marin has a gift for languages. When she’s slotted at the last minute into an off-Earth expedition to study the linguistics of a colony planet, she never questions the assignment. It’s a perfect opportunity to get an advantage over her fellow academics on Earth. She, along with her companion Christy, also never questions a recreational trip to an isolated area of the planet’s surface, that is until they go back to the space craft – and it’s gone.
As impossible as it seems, they’ve been abandoned. But why? And to what? Jen’s new reality is a world where her body is not her own, filled with heavy handed warriors, cruel Matrons whose sole purpose is “training” young women for their marriages, a prince who wants Jen for his own, and mysteries that seemingly have no answer.
It has to be a mistake, right? The ship is coming back for them, right? Or have they been betrayed in ways they can barely begin to imagine?
Publisher’s Note: “Betrayed: Hidden Worlds Book One” is the original sci-fi kink classic, set in a world where domination and submission is the norm. It contains explicit scenes of discipline and sexual training, against the backdrop of a fantastic science fiction adventure. If explicit scenes offend you, please do not buy this book.
Scarred: Hidden Worlds Book Two – Available January 2018
Avenged: Hidden Worlds Book Three – Available March 2018
A wave of infection, the Jackson Virus, has swept the world, leaving in its wake a terrifying apocalyptic wasteland populated by wild cleanskin survivor groups and the ravenous, infected night predators – the jacks. In this nightmare landscape, one of the last remaining sanctuaries is Kulin Wallcom, a community enclosed by a 10-metre wall patrolled by what’s left of the military. The wallcoms are the last remaining bastions of defence and security in a world gone over the edge.
But the people of Kulin can’t stay behind their wall forever.
Recovery expert, John Bradley, is part of a major operation into the wasteland looking to not only ensure the survival of Kulin by bringing back critical supplies from the abandoned Southstone Supermall, but, more crucially, to also locate and extract the only person left who may be able to reverse the tide of infection.
However, the mission faces danger at every turn. It seems to be compromised from the inside, Southstone is thought to be an impossible target overrun with infected, and wasteland survivor bands, led by the psychopathic wasteland leader, the Headhunter, are bent on making sure the operation has to fight each step of the way to get back to the wallcom before nightfall.
‘In Short’ is a compilation of four stories in forms of short stories and novelettes including the titles, ‘The Dream Chant’, ‘Anabia’, ‘Vicious Bottles’, and ‘Unearth’. The stories endeavour to explore themes like surrealism, psychology, love, science, religion, politics etc and tries to paint a perspective through each with tales of love, friendship, heartbreak, betrayal, power, lust and war.
When the great storms scourged the earth, the inhabitants split into factions.
Those who were wealthy enough boarded great ships and ventured into space, taking their fortune and knowledge with them. Those who were less fortunate moved underground, building pragmatic bunkers to shelter themselves from the storms.
A group of undergrounders, known as the Topsiders, have sworn an oath to seek out and retrieve remnants of any information and technology that remain in the ruins. Their mission has always been of considerable importance to the residents of the underground, but when it was discovered that the earth was dying their operation became critical to the very survival of the human race as they knew it.
They’ve been sent out on an individual mission, longer and more dangerous than any of their previous assignments. Kai, their leader, will come face to face with both unimaginable horrors and magnificent beauty as he battles to save the lives of not only those he loves but those he loathes as well. Even as he clings to the very edge of hope, he still wonders….who will save them if they can’t save themselves?