How about a glimpse of CAPTIVATED?
Vincenz Fardelle, exiled son of the Supreme Leader of the Imperialist Universe, has spent much of the last ten years working to stop the threat his father poses. But he’s not alone in his quest. Julian Marsters has lost his best friend and countless others in the war and has made vengeance his only goal. In each other, Julian and Vincenz find not only like minds, but kindred spirits.
However unexpected their relationship, everything changes for Vincenz and Julian when Hannah Black comes into their lives. Having been captured and held in near total isolation by imperialist troops, their immediate response is to protect her.
Emotionally shattered but resilient, Hannah rebuilds herself. Because of the warm safety she finds in the arms of Julian and Vincenz she becomes someone harder, stronger and bent on preventing the Imperialists from harming anyone else.
For the two men, wrestling with their passionate feelings for Hannah is only the beginning. War is about to send all three into harm’s way and an equally dangerous secret could tear them apart.
Phantom Corps: CAPTIVATED by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2012, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
Releasing May 1 in trade paper and digital formats
Julian’s head ached from having to control himself so tightly. They managed to get Hannah off the zipper. Andrei had indicated they’d meet again soon as Piper had hugged Hannah, speaking to her quietly.
Oh his sweet Hannah.
They were far closer to the portal and their transport, but would still have to spend another several minutes to get to it, skirting the Imperialist authorities, who’d been involved in clashes with Federated soldiers who’d landed just a few days before.
Vincenz had taken her pack, though she’d protested. He’d also paused to pull the shirt of Julian’s she wore so often from it and hand it her way. Tears had brimmed in her eyes, the sight of it, and of the way she hugged his shirt around herself had torn through him.
Her hair was down, around her face, a face drawn with deep lines of concentration, and she’d most likely have a riot of bruises around her cheek and right eye from the beating she’d taken. But he knew she needed to get to the transport on her own steam. Needed to do it for herself. But he wanted to do it for her anyway.
He and Vincenz moved as quickly as they could, both needing to get her inside and safe.
The small clearing was empty and the security they’d set was still in place so they hadn’t been discovered. In his earpiece he heard the chatter from the local authorities who’d discovered the processing plant had been burning and were on their way out to the site.
It was a good thing to have trouble in the opposite direction, keep their focus away from them until they were well and away from there.
Though, he thought as he prepared the transport while Vincenz fed data into the uplink, he wouldn’t have turned his back on the opportunity to kill some Imperialist assholes.
It wasn’t until sometime later, once he’d gotten the transport through the portal and on a set route, that he was able to step away and go to her.
Vincenz was still on the comm with Daniel so Julian passed, squeezed his shoulder and kept moving to her.
When he found her she had wrapped herself in a blanket and wedged her body between the bed and the wall. Her head rested on her knees, her hair obscuring her face.
Rage coursed through him. His hands fisted, wanting to punch someone, wanting to hear the crunch of bone. Wanted retribution for what they’d done to her. To Marame. To Vincenz, whose face so often bore guilty lines over what his father had done.
“Hey there, baby. Can I take a look at you? You took some hits in the hallway back there.”
She looked up and as he’d suspected, bore the beginnings of quite a spectacular black eye. He pushed his anger back and opened up the first-aid kit.
“That your first black eye?”
“No. Before . . . just once. And then they didn’t hit me in the face anymore.”
He dragged a breath into his lungs and let it out slowly. “That doesn’t count. You were abused. This time you got it brawling.”
Her bottom lip trembled.
“Is it that you killed a man?” He tried to remain calm as he took a wet cloth to her face to clean off the remains of the blood spatter. He needed to be sure it wasn’t her blood. And to focus on something other than wanting to go back to Silesia and take on the entirety of Fardelle’s army.
She shook her head, allowing him to tip her chin and get the cut above her eyebrow cleaned and bandaged.
“I don’t feel bad that I killed him.” She winced as he unbuttoned her shirt and he found an abrasion on her neck. “Don’t get mad that I took the vest off.”
He paused, brushing the pad of his thumb over the curve of that trembling lip. “Can’t be mad at you. It’s impossible. As for not feeling bad? Guilt is wasted on doing what you have to do.”
“Does it get easier?”
He helped her to her feet. “I need to take the shirt off.” He’d learned early on to part her with his shirt and other things he’d given her with a careful approach. And her permission.
She held still while he looked her over, running his hands over her ribs to check for anything broken. He couldn’t resist leaning down to kiss her shoulder, over the yellowy-purple bloom of a bruise.
“To answer your question . . . it should never be easy to kill anyone. In that way, no, it doesn’t. But over time I’ve become better at letting the parts that make sense matter to me more than the parts that don’t.”
Today’s prize is a signed copy of UNDERCOVER, the first in the Federation series (the main series Phantom Corps is part of). I’ll choose a winner from the comments to this post and put it in the winners’ announcement post Monday 16. What do you think about broken characters? Yes? No? Any favorites?