Here’s a snippet/excerpt from A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE. Investigator Kylie Sanderson has been caught and transformed into an alien reptile being–then rescued and the process reversed. Her cold shapeshifter lover does what he can to help. But her problems aren’t over.
“Are you ready to watch the films now?”
She shrugged without answering.
He reached for the remote the doctor had left on the counter and started the show again. “May I sit with you?” he asked.
“Sure.” She waved a hand at the chair the doctor had vacated. “Why not?”
He looked as if he were about to answer then he sat down without saying anything. Her attention was caught by the film. This section included Griff, in his reptile form. What a different attitude she displayed toward him than the staff! Whenever he entered her enclosure, she immediately calmed and became submissive to his every command, if that’s what they were, those odd clicks and bumps.
She might not understand them, but her reptile self clearly did. For the next several sections, Griff translated for her as Dr. Astrid gave commands, and Reptile-Kylie performed a multitude of tasks, manipulating machinery and other devices. She passed every one of the tests conducted by the doctor and her staff, easily lifting heavy objects, able to navigate obstacle courses at lightning speed, even passing dexterity tests with ease, especially when rewarded with raw meat.
The doctor returned during the screening to watch with them. “A fine specimen, for what she is.”
Kylie tore her eyes away from the screen. “Did — did Jaco see this? And the others? Did they?”
The doctor paused the film. “Only when you were rescued. Jaco took you to the nearest hospital, and an ambulance brought you here. After that, he wasn’t permitted access until we were well on the way to recovery.” Her voice acquired an edge. “If I’d known Rand would be such a fool as to bring you that trash this morning, he wouldn’t have been allowed in at all.”
Kylie chewed her lip, recalling the conclusions she’d drawn from that conversation. “And. my family?”
The doctor wouldn’t meet her gaze. “Your father was here. He didn’t stay long.”
“He saw it? Me?”
“He pushed his way in, or bought his way in, I don’t know which. I found him staring in the glass. I asked him if he wanted to visit. I even offered to call security if he was hesitant to try it one on one.” She rubbed her hands together, as if they pained her. “He looked through me like I wasn’t really there.”
Kylie swallowed hard, her throat closing. “Didn’t he say anything at all?” she whispered.
The doctor didn’t answer.
She turned to Griff. “Were you there? Did you hear what he said?”
Griff cocked his head and looked her in the eye. “He said, ‘That’s not my daughter.’”
Today I’m featured at Liza O’Connor’s blog with a science fiction romance novel with an alien shapeshifter and a family mystery. This unique story is available both in ebook and paperback from Kensington.
A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE is in final edits and waiting for a cover at last. After twelve editing rounds, this sci-fi romance/police procedural/shapeshifter thriller is nearly ready to hit the shelves. I’ve never worked so hard with an editor before, or been so proud of the final results. 🙂
A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE is an evolution from the paranormal romance genre, with the shapeshifting hero not a vampire or werewolf, but an alien reptile who’s come to stop his fellow aliens from kidnapping human women and changing them into mindless reptile baby machines. Heroine Kylie Sanderson is an agent with an elite force investigating the abductions, who ends up much too close to the action.
Now I’ll admit the idea of getting cozy with a sharp-fanged, cold-blooded reptile took some getting used to. But in all honesty, this hero’s not much different than so many others who grace the pages now. Flesh-tearing weres? Blood-sucking vamps? Sure, but it’s not always the danger that appeals to our heroines. Sometimes it’s the very humanity of the alien that touches their hearts.
Back Cover Blurb…
Kylie Sanderson is a lead investigator studying a string of deaths on the planet Andan, where young women have been found, discarded, partially mutated into green, scaly reptiles.
In the course of the case she meets Griff, a man who knows much more than he should about the murders. He turns out to be not a man at all, but a shapeshifting alien reptile from a planet where reptiles evolved into intelligent beings instead of mammals.
She gets much too close to the investigation, and in the process uncovers long-hidden family secrets that doom her sister Nissa to be a victim of the reptiles as well.
Kylie finds herself in league with Griff in a hot-fueled race on the wrong side of the law to thwart the aliens’ plan to convert women into breeding lizard females.
Rejected by her family, her friends, and even the rest of her police team, she comes to depend on Griff as her sole support. But is he her savior or is he leading her back into the clutches of the reptile labs?
The book is due out later this spring from Lyrical Press.
Here’s today’s snippet:
It was bad, then; but they always were.
Steeling herself, Kylie climbed up on the plastic fruit crate in front of the dumpster and looked inside. The odor rising from the mélange of trash, rotted meat and spoiled dairy products sickened her, too, but not as much as the two women’s bodies on top did. Or at least what used to be women.
Holding one hand over her mouth and nose, Kylie shone her flashlight on the pile. The bodies were similar to the six others who’d turned up in the last few months in different areas of Muraco. Each dead woman was naked, and horribly mutated. Their flesh and organs had transformed by varying degree into green, scaly reptiles. Others had lost arms or legs to the change, their bones elongated, their hands narrow with nails turned into hard claws. This was the first one whose face was gone.
Hope it gives you shivers in the good way.
For more exciting snippets from this week’s Science Fiction and Fantasy authors, check out the site here.