Did you notice the wording on the image above? Did you notice the word giveaway? Yes, that’s right. I’m giving away three ebook copies of Surrogate: Hunted to celebrate its upcoming release. You’ll have your choice between Mobi, PDF, or Epub formats, but if you don’t enter you won’t have any chance at all of winning. What do you have to do to enter? Click the link then drop by my Facebook Author Page. That’s it, that’s all. Easy peasy, and you might just win.
Winners will be notified after the contest ends.
With the upcoming release of Surrogate: Hunted, and in the spirit of self-promotion, I am offering the first few chapters of Surrogate: Hunted for free, one per week, until the official release date of March 1, 2018. This week I’ll be sharing Chapter Three. This, along with Chapters One and Two, will introduce you to the world of Surrogate Series and firmly ground you in Etain Ixtii’s life so you can continue after the release date.
Surrogate: Hunted is the second novel in a series of epic, world-spanning, multi-species Sci-Fi. You don’t need to have read the first novel in the series, Surrogate, to follow along. Indeed, each novel in the series can firmly stand on its own, but for your FYI, Surrogate was released March 1, 2017, exactly one year before Surrogate: Hunted will be released.
Here are links to the previous chapters.
Etain lingered between the children’s dens. The two boys to the left and the girls, including two-year-old Merchal, on the right. It hadn’t been hard to get them to sleep. They’d been tired— especially Diani and Ana.
Leigheas, his students, and the chaperones had been in the first two lifeboats so he’d brought the children home as he’d promised, but forty-eight of the Prepis’ crew and passengers had disappeared.
Merch had declared a week of mourning throughout the Empire. All flags flew at half-mast in an old Earth tradition while the military wore their pants outside their boots and kept the leg bottoms wet in a longstanding Takla symbol of sympathy and solidarity
I can only imagine the families’ pain.
“Come to bed.” Leigheas touched Etain’s hip, and she stepped back into his arms.
“In a moment.” Etain watched her sleeping cubs until he led her to their den. The children wouldn’t be invading their oversized nest for hours to come, but Etain liked when they did. It meant stories, snuggles and impromptu language lessons for her tri-lingual family, but tonight she wanted Leigheas.
He put a fresh skinsuit on to soak and returned to the nest, making it clear talk wasn’t his priority. They seldom made love in the nest— he preferred the Takla Below traditions which always included their large bathtub so he could remove his skin suit, but Etain embraced the opportunity, lingering against him afterward to nibble along his ear ridges, running her tongue along the two small hoops piercing the right side. Leigheas was two decades older than Etain, which was nearly as young as a Takla could be, but he still looked much the same as when they’d met. Warm brown skin with green undertones that intensified around his joints, a noticeable cranial ridge that defined him as a Below— he was unlike anything Etain had ever experienced when she’d first arrived injured and frightened on Takran, but now…my husband, my autalaci, the only man I will share my life and bed with.
Not if I have any say. Etain’s breeding form, eja she-beast, growled at her owner.
“She-Beast’s trying to rule your waves tonight.” Leigheas rolled so she lay under him, spreading his webbed fingers above her shoulders as he pushed down. A ring looped between the webbing of each hand’s outer two fingers, and one looped through the webbing of his left hand’s thumb and index finger— the Takla version of a wedding band.
“More than is reasonable.” She-Beast’s undeniable, throaty laugh escaped despite Etain’s efforts. You got what you wanted, so stand down.
No, I said a Human man, not him. She-Beast growled harder. He’s not going to help us make more cubs.
We can’t make more cubs, remember? The doctors said so. Etain pushed her beast deeper inside her.
“She talking to you again.” Leigheas’ frown twisted into a disapproving snarl, showing just enough of his teeth to reveal his species’ predator nature. “You still thinking about a hysterectomy?”
“The cancer odds frighten me.” Etain pushed his hair from his face. There were streaks of gray in it— just like there were in hers.
“Me too.” Alyward women who had hysterectomies were often plagued by cancerous growths for the remainder of their lives. They were normally treatable, but—
“There are days I think it’s worth the risk.” She ran her finger along his jawline. So smooth. Takla skin didn’t show lines until later in life. I’ve got more than he does.
“That should be our last option.” Leigheas left their nest long enough to. His relationship with Etain’s eja beast had always been tense, so much so he often turned things over to Dresh as soon as Etain’s eja arrived. But he handled She-Beast when forced, apologizing to Etain for days afterward though she’d told him it wasn’t necessary.
Etain rarely felt the need to apologize for anything She-Beast said or did, but she often kissed the scratches like she did his now. “Better?” She pressed against his cool shoulder as soon as he returned to their nest. The skin suit— Leigheas called it his personal curse. He complained about it some days, but it didn’t change its necessity. The same virus that’d taken away the Takla’s ability to reproduce had left his body unable to regulate its moisture. Without a hydrated skin suit his epidermis cracked and bled.
We’re so different. Etain had to regularly sand scrub to keep her skin from thickening around her larger joints, a common Alyward reaction to a humid environment. If she spent too long in the humidity— she’d found out the hard way how easily her skin mildewed.
She yawned and snuggled into him. Takla males might have been left impotent by the virus, but they were masters at pleasing their partners through multiple means. Leigheas was inventive too, but he claimed that skill derived from sating She-Beast’s demands. “Did you secure the accessories?”
“They’re clean and safely away.” He chuckled when she yawned again. “Bet you sleep well tonight.” Leigheas wrapped his arm around her. He was a little shorter she than was, but he was strong with Below muscle, something he proved whenever he carried her to their tub or nest in a romantic rush.
“You still going to the gym with me in the morning?”
“Yes.” Leigheas burrowed his face in her overmane like he always did during afterglow, but after a moment he sighed. “Merchal’s whining.”
Already? “Would you get her while I put something on?”
“Someone else is up too.”
Etain slid on the brown shift draping the nest-side chair, threw a clean sheet across the nest, and waited on the edge until he returned with Merchal and, to her surprise, Analeigh.
“Bad dream,” said Leigheas. Analeigh crawled between them when he’d climbed in with Merchal. “Want Mommy, Little Fishy?”
“No. Pala.” Merchal peeked from beneath her mass of coarse black curls. She appeared Alyward, but her Human biological father, a donor like the others, had been darker skinned and haired. Merchal put her thumb in her mouth. “My Pala.”
“.” But Etain still reached across the nest to stroke Merchal’s mane. The children had all appreciated Leigheas’ skinsuit when they were small, especially when they were sick, so Etain had learned to share. “You well, Ana?”
“Sleepy.” Analeigh pulled the blankets and rolled to face her mother.
She’ll talk when she’s ready. Etain lowered the lights and lay beside their daughter, all but asleep when someone touched her shoulder.
“Mom?” Diani Fash’s hand trembled. “I had a really bad dream. The ship was on fire and—”
“Come on.” Leigheas patted the space beside him.
Before long, all their children were in the nest, sleeping on or between them, but Leigheas still stretched his arm across to hold Etain’s hand.
Leigheas had wanted a large nest when their family had started to grow, and Etain had insisted on filling it.
Alien Scum. Royal Concubine. Destroyer of Traditions. Alyward Etain Ixtii detests the hate-wielding labels others place on her, but there is one label she wholeheartedly embraces—Mom. With her husband, Leigheas, their five children, and her goddaughter relying on her, Etain manages a careful balance between her family, her diplomatic career, and her problematic, opinionated breeding instinct dubbed She-Beast. But balance can’t help when Etain and her Human goddaughter, seventeen-year-old Brigit Feney, must run for their lives.
Brigit and Etain have been abducted and transported via stolen wormhole technology to the planet Clkya, where the primary government, Clkya Sa, sees them as meat-production livestock. When the militaristic Znyrs religious cult offers protection from the Cycalk meat markets, Etain accepts Defender Stra Ttla and her wife Yalntry Sar’s assistance and eventual affections, ensuring Brigit’s survival while denying herself thoughts of family and She-Beast her greatest desire—fellow captive, multi-lingual entomologist and Earth pagan, Mateo Sato.
However, Etain’s dreams and She-Beast’s cravings will be destroyed if Clkya Sa has its way. The blood-thirsty government wants its livestock returned and the Znyrs eliminated so they’re colluding with Etain’s old enemy, Usurer Serria, to accomplish their goals.
The hunt is on and survival is the only option.