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.

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?

31 comments to “CAPTIVATED”

  1. Danielle West
    April 12th, 2012 at 6:39 am · Link

    Love the broken characters and I especially love the broken ones that get some healing during the book and keep healing after the book is done.

  2. CrystalGB
    April 12th, 2012 at 6:57 am · Link

    I love broken characters. I always want to see them find happiness.

  3. Melanie J.
    April 12th, 2012 at 7:28 am · Link

    Most books you read, the characters are broken in one form or another. I think th more they are, the more I like them.

  4. Louise
    April 12th, 2012 at 7:43 am · Link

    I like broken characters too. Especially when they can find hope and healing.

  5. Melissa B
    April 12th, 2012 at 8:09 am · Link

    YES! I love broken characters…it makes it that much more special when it all come together for them. My favorite is Eve Dallas ~ she’s so tough and strong, but as she fights her way clear of her past she’s found herself surrounding herself with all these friends…I love how it just baffles it her sometimes how that isolated, lonely girl could be where she is today. And how vulnerable she is to Roarke, even while she has a spine of steele. OK, ok…I’m done!

    GREAT excpert ~~ this is one series by you I haven’t read. I’d love to win this!

  6. Michelle Bledsoe
    April 12th, 2012 at 9:08 am · Link

    I do like books with broken characters because the journey to become whole again is heartbreaking and heartwarming. Thank you for the snippet.

  7. Mariann with Belle's Book Bag
    April 12th, 2012 at 9:15 am · Link

    Hi Lauren,
    I have to day that I love book with broken/tortured characters!! I love when the H or h can help them become whole again!! My fav-I tend to gravitate towards these books as everyone isn’t perfect and I like that!!. Thanks for the chance to win!! 🙂 I want to read this series so bad!! This is the only series from you that I have not read yet!! 😉

  8. becky jean
    April 12th, 2012 at 10:38 am · Link

    I think they are necessary and I love when they receive clarity or are saved!

  9. JenM
    April 12th, 2012 at 10:39 am · Link

    I love broken characters because their HEA always seems that much sweeter. My all time favorite is Zzadist from the BDB, but there are so many good ones out there.

  10. Jordan H
    April 12th, 2012 at 11:00 am · Link

    As someone who is all about happy endings, I love broken characters because its so emotionally satisfying when they finally get theirs.

  11. Alexandra
    April 12th, 2012 at 11:38 am · Link

    I’m all for the broken heroes. Somehow that makes it easier to relate to them. The very perfect, untouched characters are like Teflon, they are too smooth for any reader’s emotion to stick to them, so to speak.
    I don’t enjoy broken heroines as much; but that might be because many authors (mainly the ones that aren’t very good) do too much to them, and things like rape and abuse are way too serious and scary to use them as a simple character gimmick. I hope I am making sense here!

  12. Melissa Lamb
    April 12th, 2012 at 11:45 am · Link

    I love broken characters. Those are the characters that pull me into a story the quickest. One of my favorite broken characters is Zsadist from the BDB series!

  13. azteclady
    April 12th, 2012 at 11:51 am · Link

    I really like broken characters who find a way to rebuild themselves, bit by bit. I’m not sure I can name just one favorite, though–I’ve read too many well written broken characters for that!

    I will mention Elly and Will from LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory though 😀

    (please don’t enter me in today’s drawing, I already own Undercover–thank you!)

  14. Shauntih
    April 12th, 2012 at 11:51 am · Link

    I love broken characters as long as they find peace and can recover. Zsadist is my favorite as well!

    I haven’t read any in this series and am eager to start!

  15. Viki S.
    April 12th, 2012 at 12:13 pm · Link

    I love broken characters. Watching them come back can be such good reading. Larissa Ione’s Wraith was so badly broken by his own family and another part of his family brought him back :).

  16. Blanche
    April 12th, 2012 at 1:47 pm · Link

    I love broken characters too, as long as they end up with the HEA they deserve!! One of my very favorite couples is Connor and Erin from Shannon McKenna’s Standing in the Shadows!

  17. IP
    April 12th, 2012 at 2:09 pm · Link

    I wouldn’t call them broken but rather wounded and it always makes me happy when they manage to survive and regain their strength, preferably with the help of one or two loving partners. That’s why I really love “Undercover” (I have both the print and the digital version) and can’t wait to read “Captivated”!

  18. Diane
    April 12th, 2012 at 4:17 pm · Link

    I love them all but I don’t have a favorite, too many to choose from.

  19. Marc
    April 12th, 2012 at 5:34 pm · Link

    I think we all carry baggage so broken characters are just naturally more appealing. I find I can relate to them much easier. Fave broken hero – Zsadist (Lover Awakened). Fave heroine – Erin (Laid Bare)and I am not even sucking up. Don’t enter me I already have the book.

  20. Jen B.
    April 12th, 2012 at 6:42 pm · Link

    I enjoyed Undercover. I love the cover of Captivated. The colors are really stunning. I love broken characters. One of my all time favs is Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. He has such a great reason to be broken.

  21. Patti F
    April 12th, 2012 at 7:42 pm · Link

    I love books with broken characters. I enjoy it so much when they find their HEA! I havn’t read this series yet, would love to win. Thanks for the great giveaway! 🙂

  22. Hailey
    April 12th, 2012 at 7:56 pm · Link

    I like broken characters in most books and depending on the author. I’ve read some books where its just so repetitive that I just want to skip ahead.

  23. Lori T
    April 12th, 2012 at 10:07 pm · Link

    I do love stories with broken heroes. One of my favorites…and he seems to be lots of people’s favorites…is Zsadist from the BDB.

    You don’t have to enter me as I already have a copy of Undercover. Thanks!

  24. Jet
    April 12th, 2012 at 10:46 pm · Link

    I love a broken character. I’d have to agree with Lori T and say that Zsadist from the BDB as he is my favourite as well.

    Thanks for the chance 🙂

  25. fedora
    April 12th, 2012 at 10:57 pm · Link

    First, drool! Lovely cover!

    And yes to broken characters–they make the story so interesting, and it’s neat to see them come to find some healing or redemption.

  26. Vic
    April 13th, 2012 at 4:55 am · Link

    Can’t wait for this book! Yes to the broken characters who get nurtured back during the course of a book.

  27. Erin
    April 14th, 2012 at 7:09 pm · Link

    I haven’t read any of the Federation books, and I don’t generally read futuristic or sci-fi, but all of these posts about Captivated have me seriously questioning this decision. I may have to go back and read them from the beginning!

    I don’t think I ever realized how much I enjoyed reading about broken characters until I read your books. I think you write broken characters very well because you have the ability to make them seem strong even when they are damaged and I love how you craft other characters around them that will cherish/pamper them and reveal their inner strength all at the same time.

  28. bn100
    April 14th, 2012 at 9:25 pm · Link

    I like reading about broken characters.

  29. Aurore
    April 15th, 2012 at 6:13 am · Link

    I haven’t read any book in the Federation Chronicles but this extract makes me want to! Thank you.
    I like broken characters because you know that they are going to get better in the book thanks to the people who love them. I think my favorite one is Erin in Laid Bare: she’s strong and vulnerable at the same time and I was so happy to see her moving forward no matter what.

  30. Linda G
    April 15th, 2012 at 8:13 pm · Link

    Honestly, I haven’t read this series but this might just get me started.

  31. Alaina
    April 15th, 2012 at 8:30 pm · Link

    this sounds great!! ive read quite a few broken type characters.. and i love when they kind of heal!! JD Robbs Eve is one of my favs…. i love reading about how their partners help them…