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08 March 2011 @ 06:05 pm
'The Mercenary' release + win a free copy!  
Hello, everyone :)!

I surface today from the depth of uni work and frantic writing to announce wonderful news. My first book, The Mercenary, is out today with Samhain Publishing. It is a post-apocalyptic action/adventure set in the UK, between the moorlands, Windermere and London, with steampunk elements and, of course, a core of gay romance.

To celebrate, I'm offering up a free copy to the winner of a little draft. I will randomly select the winner and contact them on Monday the 14th.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment to this post telling me, in a couple of lines or so, what type of character you'd be in a post-apocalyptic world. Would you be the hardcore mercenary? The evil ruler of a city? The vagabond poet travelling between the destroyed cities? The creepy scientist building incredible machines from scraps? Or...

Personally, I'd be the odd, geeky bookman who's in charge of the last, great library that somehow escaped the catastrophe. And I'd have an army of little rat-men to help me manage the place :).
I leave you with the blurb and cover, made by the brilliant Kanaxa.

There are more elusive things than water in this wasteland.

Now that a monstrous London machine has stolen the clouds from the sky, Asher Connor survives by selling his mercenary skills to transport water across York’s wasted moorland. Until his unit is attacked by a pack of Tamer-controlled wolves, and his ingenious mechanical arm fails.

He awakens, surprised to find he’s still alive—and dependent on a charming, attractive, utterly infuriating desert-dweller. The copper-eyed, untamed Gabriel is Asher’s only hope. At least until he reaches a technician who can repair his arm. Reluctant trust turns to desire in the wake of another Tamer attack, and the adrenaline rush locks them in a bond of wildfire lust.

Yet despite Gabriel’s deceptively relaxed attitude, he is dangerously focused. When they get to London, Asher manages to work out only part of the reason. His lover is connected to some kind of underground movement that’s got something big in the works. So big, even quick-with-a-comeback Gabriel is maddeningly tight-lipped.

When betrayal brings the plan crashing down, Asher is plunged into a battle that wasn’t his to fight—and if he doesn’t execute the final stage, Gabriel’s blood could be on his hands.

This title contains hot mansex, mild but manly swearing, jealousy possibly leading to yet more hot mansex, ancestral rituals, frightening flying machines, clockwork owls, inopportune admirers and the complicity of odd scientists.

Also, for your perusal, a not very worksafe snippet after the lj-cut...

It happened fast.

The half-unhinged door creaked loudly as it was pushed open and a soiled bandaged figure entered the room, the smoked goggle lenses capturing minute glitters of tarnished light. Asher, crouched behind a massive wooden crate, could see the contours of Gabriel’s shape melt in the shadows behind the wooden door, the merest glint revealing his eyes. The first figure stepped inside, scanning the doorways leading out of the hall, and a second, stouter man followed. They were short, their limbs thick and stocky—

—and Gabriel struck, arm shooting out to grab a handful of bandages and haul the man backward. Asher had the time to place one shot and launched himself at the first figure as it staggered, absorbing the impact of the bullet, hands already reaching through the wrappings for weapons. Asher lurched at the man and clasped his chest with the unreliable strength of his brass arm, aiming to crush ribs. A jerk in the mechanism alerted him of an untimely malfunction. The butt of his gun collided with the man’s skull, then smashed one of his lenses—Asher grunted as he felt the pressure of small hooked weights lodging themselves in his side, stopped by the thick leather vest that wrapped his abdomen. He thrust the barrel of his weapon between the bandages on the stranger’s chest and fired, the recoil shooting up his arm to viciously tear at his shoulder. An unmanly howl resounded in the room as the man clawed at him with thick fingers, one reddened eye rolling wildly behind the shattered goggles. At the edge of his vision, Asher could see a swipe of bright red as Gabriel moved swiftly, his cloak thrown to the side to reveal a gleaming blade clutched in his fist.

The man in Asher’s hold struggled, and he brought his mechanical hand to seize his throat, clutching tightly. The artifact did not fail him. His adversary’s grip weakened within seconds, a harsh wheezing sound coming from his crushed windpipe. The man crumpled, a bloodied foam gurgling slowly from his mouth, and Asher carelessly threw him aside—just in time to see Gabriel’s opponent fall to the ground in a gush of blood, his throat neatly sliced open by Gabriel’s dagger. Gabriel stood, chest heaving, his face and arms splattered crimson with foreign blood. A gash crossed his biceps where one of the hooks had found hold; he stared back at Asher, his eyes blown wide, the hunger of the hunt apparently not yet satisfied.

“You’re good, stranger,” he said, voice strained. He did not move to wipe the blood off his face, did not lower the knife. A somewhat manic grin ghosted his lips, mirrored in his wild eyes. Asher found himself smirking back.

“You’re not too bad yourself,” he replied. Abruptly, the strength of the blood bond they now shared lodged itself in his chest—the brotherhood of killers, the only attachment he’d known in far too many years—and he added, “Call me Asher.”

“Asher,” Gabriel repeated, breathless still. Asher could not suppress the shiver that raked his body, ensnared by the way his name sounded on those full lips. Gabriel looked at him with near-scorching intensity, distant thunderbolts rumbling deep behind his irises. His eyes had darkened to a deep shade of auburn. And then—then he said:

“Fuck me.”

Asher’s mouth went dry. He hesitated, suddenly all too aware of his own body—the heightened awareness that came only from the thrill of a fight, the rush of a kill—blistering energy thrumming in his veins, the heady rush of adrenaline-like stoked embers at the core of his brain. “More could come,” he rasped, his voice suddenly rough. His throat felt tight.

Gabriel’s eyes gleamed dangerously in his blood-spattered face. “Shut up,” he all but growled, an untamed grin curling his lips upward in the most infuriating, enticing of ways. He fixed his eyes on Asher’s as he discarded his cloak and shrugged out of his harness. Slowly, deliberately, he unbuttoned his tattered waistcoat and crumpled it in his hand, throwing it to the floor. He was left in a thin button shirt—its sleeves rolled up to reveal the soft crook of his elbows, the hint of strong biceps.

Fuck me,” he repeated, his mouth a slow sin. His face was sharp and beautiful, pale skin a stark contrast with the dark bloodstains, his eyes smoldering embers staring at Asher from under his tousled locks, provocative, near damn intoxicating—

And Asher was yanking off his own coat, unfastening the thick leather protections that covered his chest. He stripped to a rough cotton shirt that stretched over his muscles, a sleeve ripped to reveal the brass gleam of his arm, a threatening confession in the half-darkness of the room. He grabbed Gabriel’s wrist, gracelessly dragging him close—their mouths clashed together, tongues exploring each other, teeth bared to sink in chapped lips, hot and messy and filthy of all the promises Gabriel’s half-lidded eyes seemed to bear. Asher’s fingers caught in thin fabric as they searched for warm skin—he ripped his hand free and impatiently slid it down the small of Gabriel’s back, past the loose edge of his trousers. His middle and index fingers tucked with ease in the warm crevice between Gabriel’s buttocks, thumb pressing a dimple in the soft flesh of a cheek. Gabriel licked Asher’s lips open and moaned in his mouth, wet and demanding, his taste a cinnamon wildfire seeping into Asher’s bloodstream, sizzling up his nerves to claim his brain, reaching down to his groin—

Gabriel groaned, half in pain, half in fervent lust—a hint of manic laughter twinkling in his eyes as he landed heavily on the crate, his arms not quite fast enough to prevent his chest from smacking against the hard wood. He braced himself with one arm and fumbled one handed with the fastening of his trousers as Asher held him down. The cold weight of the brass arm anchored him firmly as Asher all but wrenched his own garments open. Gabriel’s flesh was firm under his hand, sharp hipbone pressing against his palm as he traced his side, pushing obstructive fabric out of the way before finding a hold—his tanned knuckles a stark contrast where he grasped Gabriel’s fair skin.

The Mercenary is available as an ebook on Samhain's website and Amazon.
mickieashlingmickieashling on March 13th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
I'd definitely be the mercenary. Control freak here, lol! I adore your book cover. It's one of the most attractive ones I've seen this year, next to mine, of course:)

I'm crossing my fingers. I'd love to win your book, but I'll buy it regardless. You have me hooked!

cornelia grey. a festival of foolscorneliagrey on March 15th, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Mickie! Ah, when Kanaxa sent me the cover I spent quite some time just... sort of staring and drooling ;)

And I'm sure you'd be a great mercenary!