Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Tour: The Empire--Excerpt and Giveaway



Thank you for stopping by and joining us for our stop on the Read-A-Long portion of The Empire by Elizabeth Lang virtual tour. We are excited to post this segment of the story and we hope you enjoy it too!

The Empire - Chapter 12

“Well, well, well.” Kegan’s condescending voice, exaggerated beyond the bounds of bad acting, greeted Adrian as he entered the Science Lab. “After your punishment yesterday, I thought they might have to carry you in.”

With a frosty glare in Kegan’s direction, Adrian arranged the items he needed, scowling at the mess someone had made of his workspace.

No intelligence was needed to guess which petty, vindictive little Tech Commander committed this act.

Professor Boudreaux watched him intently with a faint grin of amusement. “How are you feeling?” she asked.

Her voice was full of innocent concern, but Adrian didn’t trust her for one minute. His jaw tensed in irritation. Adapting the accelerator unit to work with the ship’s impulse engines needed his full attention, but these two were like predators smelling blood. They thought they had the upper hand after successfully manipulating his punishment yesterday.

The last thing Adrian wanted was to swallow his pride and feed their arrogant egos but, in the quick meeting with the Fleet Admiral this morning, it became clear what was included in their new arrangement and what wasn’t. No one could find out the Admiral was not following his
orders. Grinding mental teeth, he said evenly, “You can gloat and work.”

Boudreaux flashed him an ingenuous smile as she brought up the simulation models. “Of course.”

She was always magnanimous in victory. They began working, slipping into a familiar teasing aggression that made them more productive together than apart. Until she found the next, delicious way to torment and punish him, there would be a deceptive truce of sorts. Adrian felt like a mouse next to a cat licking its lips in anticipation. He would much prefer to be a tiger and eat the cat.

Kegan hovered at his elbow, his oppressive presence a distasteful odor. “How did it feel, Stannis? Was the pain unbearable? How long did it take before you begged them to stop?”

Adrian’s hand gripped the clear sides of the accelerator unit. His voice was taut. “Why don’t you try it and find out?”

“Maybe I’ll convince them to let me watch next time.”

“You do that. Meanwhile, if you have anything even less productive to do, I recommend you do it and leave me alone.”

The sneer on Kegan’s lips made him look even more toad-like, or perhaps, rat-like would be more appropriate. He grabbed the other end of the accelerator unit and pulled against Adrian’s grip. “Seems you haven’t learned your lesson yet. What did the Admiral say about addressing me?”

“That you’re the Tech Commander.” Adrian was fuming inside. He knew what this man wanted from him, but his pride rebelled at giving it to him. “And a fool.”

Kegan shoved hard against the unit sending it into Adrian’s chest. Adrian grunted and glared at him but bent to his task again without responding.

“Seems like I’m going to get my wish sooner than I expected,” said Kegan with a superior sneer. Baiting someone who couldn’t escape was proving ridiculously easy. “And I have your stubborn stupidity to thank for that. I’m going to look forward to this.” He headed towards the exit with a
spring in his step.

Adrian’s teeth clenched and, he tried to force himself to do what was needed. “Wait.”
Kegan turned around in triumph.

Act defeated. A caged animal. Adrian’s eyes lowered, looking down into the bowels of the accelerator. “I apologize, Tech Commander.”

Kegan came towards him, his nose twitching, smelling success. His superior smile made Adrian nauseous. Kegan planted his feet wide and placed his hands on his waist. “I didn’t hear that, Lieutenant.”

“I a-po-lo-gize.” The word was sour, each syllable making his tongue cringe as they passed over his lips. Anger boiled over and Adrian’s eyes flared as he looked up, “I apologize for only thinking you’re a fool and not a petty, vindictive, narrow-minded…”

Kegan reddened with rage, and his hands came up….

“…little man with no talent and…” The Tech Commander grabbed a heavy spanner and whacked it across Adrian’s head. Adrian jerked out of the way, but not fast enough as the tool connected with a sickening crack and blood dripped from a gash in his forehead.

Adrian’s lips contorted in a terrifying, shark-like smile. “…and a Neanderthal…”

“You’ve made a serious mistake, Stannis!” Kegan threw the spanner down and stalked out, presumably to look for the Admiral.

“Would you like me to kiss it and make it better?” Boudreaux handed him a cloth which he accepted without a word. “You know, Adrian. It’s so much more fun when you play along,” she purred and ran a provocative finger across his chest, an intimate gesture, as if she was claiming him. A satisfied smile came to her lips when his back stiffened and his body tightened to repel her. “But I wouldn’t recommend making it too easy for Kegan.”

Adrian turned and grabbed her hand. “I have no interest in prolonging your pleasure.”

The Professor took a step forward, forcing him to take a step back, hitting the workbench. “But you’re so good at it. Don’t you remember?”

Her voice was seductive, suggestive and her closeness stirred a familiar fire. His breathing was heavy as he fought against remembered sensations, the heat that was once between them was still below the surface, like a dormant volcano coming to life. Lust and intellectual prowess. It
had been a powerful combination that caught him in its snare. He had been very young then, and inexperienced in the ways of women like her. She was far more dangerous than Kegan.

After what he shared with Kali during the night, he could not let this woman get to him. He thought of icy water, pouring down over his body.

Adrian put his hands on her shoulders, gripping them tightly as she leaned into him, her lips parting as she lifted her head.

His lips curled in distaste and he pushed her back. “No.”

Boudreaux smiled.

~~~

In the Admiral’s office, Adrian stood at attention, his eyes forward, st aring at a spot on the wood-patterned wall.

Verel watched him for a few moments as he considered the situation. Kegan had been livid. The gash on Adrian’s head was a line of red but it was no longer bleeding. He tapped his fingers on the desk twice. “What am I going to do with you, Stannis?”

“I’m sorry, sir. I find it difficult to be something I’m not.”

Shaking his head, Verel sighed. “Are you trying to commit suicide? No. Don’t answer that.” He wasn’t sure he wanted to find out the man he had sworn to help, might have a suicidal streak. “Honesty is not always the best policy.”

“I’m beginning to understand that, sir.”

“Do you? I’m not so sure you understand what it means to be diplomatic.”

Adrian’s lips thinned in distaste. “A precursor to political expediency.”

“You’re wrong. It is the difference between a tactical withdrawal and fighting to a pointless death.”

“I don’t see the relevance.”

“It’s a different kind of logic than you’re used to. Less rigid.”

“A ‘soft’ science,” he scoffed, a hard wall of rejection behind his dark eyes. “Subjective.” Coming from his lips, it was a dirty word.

This was one of those headache-inducing discussions Verel had been expecting. He sighed resignedly and rubbed a spot of pain that was starting just between his eyes. Stannis had curious holes in his knowledge and understanding of the universe, at times gaping ones. “Have you always been like this?”

“I see no reason to change.”
“Well you’re going to have to, or you’ll drag all of us down with you. Including the Ensign. I know you don’t want that.”

Adrian paused, the rebellious fire in his eyes sputtering. “I will try to do what you suggest.”

“Trying might not be enough with Kegan. The man’s excitable and vindictive. Having the two of you in the same room, is like putting two incendiary devices together and waiting to see which one explodes first. He wouldn’t have been my choice to be Tech Commander for this Project,
but we’re stuck with him. Ensign Mirren may be able to help you. She has a good head on her shoulders and she knows how to handle people. And, from what I understand of her psi abilities, she can sense your emotional states.”

Adrian’s eyes narrowed and he frowned, displeased that his private life was becoming a group project.

“She needs more opportunities to develop her abilities. This will be a practical exercise and it will help you.”

The scowl deepened.

~~~

Bryce’s favorite haunt these days was the posh officer’s bar. The no velty of it hadn’t worn off yet and it had a far better selection of alcohol. He was slowly making his way through the list. Of course, he had one other reason, and after a strenuous day of not doing a great deal, he finally got lucky. Lieutenant Kerril sitting alone, nursing a pint of ale. They’d barely said a civil word to each other since he joined the ship but he still had hope.

He ordered a pint of whatever was on tap and glanced at her out of the corner of his eyes. She was awfully quiet.

“You alright?” Not an original pick-up line, but it usually worked.

“Oh, it’s you.” Her expression didn’t change. She might have been picking lint from her uniform for all the reaction she gave him.

“Well don’t sound too enthusiastic. You’re going to embarrass me.” The bartender slid a mug in his direction and he caught it with a flourish.

“I didn’t think that was possible.” She eyed this display critically.

“Look, I’m trying to be nice.”

“What do you want?”

Her hands gripped the mug, strangling it. Bryce was glad it wasn’t his neck. “Do I have to want something? Can’t I just be nice?”

“I don’t know, can you?” Kerril said listlessly, her eyes following the ripples in her mug, no longer paying attention to him. Lifting it to her lips, she drained the rest in two gulps and put it down. “I need to go. This has been…whatever.” She slid off the tall stool and left.

“Well, that was,” he began but she was already gone, weaving her way through the crowds.

What was that about? Bryce looked forlornly at his mug; the frothy surface winked invitingly. He pushed it away and went after her.

~~~

Kerril forged ahead at full speed, looking as if she would knock down anyone in her path. Fortunately, no one blocked her way.

“Hey, Kerril, wait up!” He ran and caught up to her at the next junction.

“Why are you following me?” her eyes narrowed in suspicion. “You’re not stalking me, are you? I don’t go for that kind of thing.”

Bryce was about to say something snarky in return but the look in her eyes stopped him. “Well, me neither. I haven’t stalked anyone in ages. Actually never.”

“Leave me alone.” She was still walking fast and Bryce had to keep up or be left in the dust.

“It’s a free corridor. I just happen to be going this way.”

“You called out to me.”

“Yeah, well, I thought, since we’re going the same way, we could do it together.”

“Where are you going?”

There were only two choices down this corridor, the gym or the archives. “It doesn’t matter which one I pick does it? You’re going to pick the other one.”

“I thought you said you weren’t stalking me?”

Bryce winced. Trying to be clever only worked if you had something clever to say.

“Well, you looked upset back there.” He jerked his thumb back towards the bar. “I thought you could use someone to talk to.”

“You’re trying to be nice?”

“I can be. Look, why don’t we go back to the bar. If you want to talk, then I have two ears. If not, I’ve been known to say funny things.”

Kerril slowed her advance and looked at him. “I don’t feel like funny.”

“Or you could always insult me. If that would make you feel better.”

“It might.”

Bryce grinned.

*************

Also Elizabeth Lang has shared with us an exclusive picture from The Empire Series



To read more of the Read-A-Long please follow the tour schedule…

03/03/2013 - Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways - http://tributebooksreviews.blogspot.com/ - Chapter 1

04/03/2013 - Vixie's Stories - http://vickiejohnstone.blogspot.co.uk/ - Chapter 2

05/03/2013 - Decadent Decisions - http://wlynnchantale-decadentdecisions.blogspot.com - Chapter 3

06/03/2013 - Reviews From Beyond the Book - www.reviewsfrombeyondthebook.blogspot.com - Chapter 4

07/03/2013 - Great Alpha Speaks - http://atrussell.com/Blog/ - Excerpt - Chapter 5

09/03/2013 - The Edible Bookshelf - http://www.theediblebookshelf.blogspot.com/ - Chapter 6

10/03/2013 - Independent Writers Association - http://iwassociation.com - Chapter 7

11/03/2013 - Self Publish or Die - www.selfpublishordie.com Excerpt - Chapter 8

12/03/2013 - Natasha Larry Books - http://natashalarrybooks.com - Chapter 9

13/03/2013 - Michelle Anderson-Picarella - http://shellypicarella.wordpress.com/ - Chapter 10

17/03/2013 - Sheenah Freitas - http://sheenahfreitas.com - Chapter 11

18/03/2013 - Castle Macabre - http://castlemacabre.blogspot.com - Chapter 12

19/03/2013 - My World - http://stephsgrn.blogspot.co.uk/ - Chapter 13

20/03/2013 - Reading, Writing And More - http://stephsgrn.wordpress.com/ - Chapter 14

21/03/2013 - Ami R Blackwelder - http://amiblackwelder.blogspot.co.uk/ - Chapter 15

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
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Thank you for joining us and Page Turner Book Tours and Elizabeth Lang today on our stop.


About the book:
"It will be interesting to discover which will make you beg. Will it be the pain or the pleasure?"

How do you tame a man without breaking his spirit?

The galaxy is under siege from alien invaders. The Empire is the only force that stands in the gap, trading the freedom of its citizens for a tenuous security.

Amidst this chaos, Lt. Adrian Stannis is a brilliant scientist trying to stay out of the limelight. He hides on a research vessel plying the Outer Rim and finds peace of a sort with Kali Mirren, a psi-enabled humanoid. But his days of anonymity may be coming to an end. Someone has discovered his secret and is determined to make him pay for his treachery. He must finish the project he abandoned years ago, one the Council deems essential in its fight against the aliens, but things are never that simple where Adrian is concerned.

Is he more man than machine, or have years hiding behind a mountain of logic eroded his humanity? Can he learn to love and will he be able to survive the tangled web of political expediency and psychological manipulation that surrounds him?

Will Kali be able to save him from himself, or is there a mystery surrounding him that may explode in their faces?

Everyone wants to know the truth, but will it set them free?


About Elizabeth Lang:
I'm a science fiction writer who started off life as a computer programmer with a love for reading, especially science fiction, fantasy and mystery.

Being in computers, I found my writing skills deteriorating so I decided to take up writing. It became a joy to create characters, stories and worlds and writing soon became a passion I couldn't put down. As a writer, I like to explore, not only the complexity of characters but the human condition from differing points of view. That is at the heart of the Empire series, of which 'The Empire' and 'The Rebels' are the first two of a four books series.

You can connect with Elizabeth Lang at the following places:

Author Page on FaceBook | Blog | Twitter | Website


About Page Turner Book Tours:
Page Turner Book Tours is fronted by the face behind Read2Review Kate. Page Turner Book Tours has been put together to help promote authors and give something back to the writing world. Kate has put together a team of incredibly talented people to help with the project by incorporating their individual skills into making new, fresh and exciting promotional plans that we hope you agree are amazing. If you would like to book a tour with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their tour packages. If you would like to become a tour host with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their Tour Host page. You wont be disappointed!

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