Yay! Yesterday, I wrote "The End" on Striker, the second book in the Valespian Pact series. I'm in the editing process right now, trying to determine if I am going to cut a couple of scenes from the book or not while I polish it before I send it to beta readers. I won't announce the final word count until I submit it to LT3. ^_^
EDIT: Winner of the drawing announced on Sid's Blog!
I thought I would give you an excerpt of Striker but before I do, just a reminder that I'm over at Sid Love's blog. Leave a comment for a chance to win the giveaway a paperback copy of Alpha Trine. The giveaway ends October 8th at 11:59 P.M. (It's the first time on Sid's blog and I thought it was for one day. O.O Nope, I'm on there for a week!) CLICK HERE to go to the giveaway. Challenge: If I get 50 comments on Sid's blog I'll throw in another paperback for the giveaway. Woot!
For the fun part. I love excerpts. I hope you enjoy this one from the beginning of Striker. It's sort of edited but not really. :)
Zeus was unsure how he knew he floated on the warm Waters of Poseidon, it was either his instinct or his deep need for home but the waters surrounding him soothed that longing. If he had been doubtful the view of the night sky would have confirmed where he drifted. A blanket of midnight blue covered the heavens, bedecked with the brilliant point of stars that shone like precious jewels. The primary moon was fat and heavy, a red sliver of the secondary moon peeking out the side, reminding people two moons hung in the Atlaintician sky. The pale white glow of the primary caused the waters to appear slick and black.
He looked around for his sister, Shaneva. Only she had ever brought him to the Waters of Poseidon. As one who had been born with the Longing, this had been her home since she turned fifteen summers. Strangely, the waters were empty of people. Both times he had been called here there had always been other souls floating nearby, not close enough to disturb but silhouettes he could make out.
"Shaneva is sleeping this night."
Treading water, he turned toward the masculine voice. Not an arm's length away swan a male unlike any Mar'Sani Zeus had ever seen. His body was covered in a combination of yellow leathery skin and prominent scales rimmed with a vibrant blue-green. The scale's pattern resembled sharp tipped stripes that flowed down his neck, arms, and what Zeus could see of his back. Stunning large green reptilian eyes stared at Zeus from between two pairs of long thick eyelashes. Zeus decided the face of the being looked much like his own with a small nose and wide full mouth. When the male smiled, his teeth were sharp but not the same needle-like ones of Zeus's family. A think ridge above the brow supported a spiked ridge that went from only a couple of centimeters tall in the front to as tall as six centimeters around the back of the crown of his head. A deep red membrane made an arching bridge between each spike giving the strange impression of a royal coronet.
"Why am I here? Shaneva only brings me here when I'm injured" Zeus's brow furrowed in thought. "There is nothing wrong with me."
The male grinned. "As I am well aware. You found your life partners and soon will be a father. Congratulations, brother."
Warm affection blossomed in his chest at the thought of Dargon and Alpha. A dark green dot adorned the middle of his forehead proclaiming he was a part of an Alpha Trine. Zeus's fingertips skirted the edge of the mark that allowed him to communicate with Alpha, Dargon's symbiote.
"You called me brother." His gaze searched the face before him, looking for and not seeing something familiar. The voice though, the sound niggled at his memory and yet he could not place the countenance.
"All in good time." The male flashed his harp teeth, humor lighting his green eyes. "I did bring you here for a reason. You need to warn our brothers they are heading into a trap. The space over Valespia is no longer safe."
"What do you mean? What waits there?" Zeus asked in alarm.
"What indeed. V'Saar have been slipping through the defense grid near the Milky Way and they have partnered with a company of the Terrens."
The human society in the Milky Way was controlled by four massive companies. The V'Saar commonly called bugs were trapped behind a grid built by the ancients. The V'Saar consumed all in their path. An uneasy truce was formed between the ancients and the V'Saar queen, Isolt. The Valespian Pact between the combined races required the triad of galactic emperors to power the grid that kept the V'Saar from overrunning the rest of the galaxies. But the galactic royals were old, causing the grid to weaken in places as their power waned. The exchange of power to the next generation should have already taken place but the Bespoken was missing.
Zeus moved to float on his back as he thought. The sky was lighting with the colors of the coming dawn. For some reason he trusted this male who was Mar'Sani but also something more. If what he said was true then the V'Saar had gained allies and Valespia was under siege.
The male joined Zeus and floated next to him. "I do not know much about the V'Saar, only that they destroy or enslave everything in their path. Why do they not over run the human solar system? You and our brothers will have to puzzle it out. What I do know is you need to seek out the Feteine for help. If you do not … with their assistance you have the chance to survive."
Zeus turned and stared hard, his heart squeezed with recognition. They had never met before but the male's own words gave him away. Brother. He now remembered where he had heard that voice before. A long time ago when he had been thirteen summers, Shaneva had brought him to the Waters of Poseidon when he suffered in the hands of Chtichlians who were supposed fix his blindness and ended up stealing something precious from him. Zeus slid his fingers through Canry's slightly webbed ones, careful of the wickedly sharp claws.
Zeus hesitancy to trust slipped away. "Is there anything else I should do?"
Canry drew in a shuttering breath. "You believe me?"
"Of course, you are our brother."
The sun kissed the edge of the ocean, awashing the sky with brilliant shades of red and orange. "A storm is coming." Zeus glanced at Canry who had echoed him simultaneously.
"You are more sensitive that you know, Zeus. If you must fight on land find a pool of water. It can be as small as the size of my palm. Submerge your fingers and call my name. I will come to your aid. Promise me that you will call me."
He moved to tread water once again. "What do you see?"
Canry mirrored his movements, his expression one of great concern. "Only possibilities, ever changing, ever evolving. There are only a few constants. Please believe me, if I could tell you more I would."
Zeus trusted Canry. ""I swear. If I am in need I will call upon you."
"Thank the gods!" Canry breathed out as he pulled Zeus into firm embrace. Zeus held onto his brother, so many questions on the tip of his tongue begging to be asked but he had the feeling his time here was coming to a close.
"Can you not come with me now? Our parents … the twins … they miss you so much. Why have you not come home?"
"Because his service is to Poseidon."
Zeus started at the sound of the deep voice. Instinctually he turned and put himself between his brother and the newcomer. The person swimming towards them exuded a tremendous amount of power. Zeus was unsure how he knew for there was no outward indication other than the conviction in his gut.
"I had permission to bring him here, Nethus." Canry's voice sounded hard and angry. Zeus's mind raced as he warily regarded the stranger.
Nethus was huge and imposing. Canry had a larger body than Zeus but Nethus dwarfed even his brother. He had what seemed to be a thick leathery skin painted in varying shades of blue, as if Nethus represented all of the various colors of the ocean. Zeus noted that Neptune, like Canry, was more humanoid in appearance. There were gills on the column of his thick neck but Nethus's also had a nose, somewhat broad and flat, a wide mouth with full lips flashed a hint of sharp teeth. He had yet to see any sea race with hair. Instead, Nethus had a full head of tentacles, flowing down to his waist. Some perfectly smooth, others with suctions cups or bumps tipped with sharp-pointed barbs. Zeus suspected that Nethus spent an equal amount of time out of the water since he had a pair of strong long legs.
Nethus met Zeus's stare with eyes so golden they resembles twin suns, swirling and molten. The color of the irises matched the runes on the trident strapped to Nethus's back. Zeus had never seen anyone in the Waters of Poseidon carry a weapon.
"What do you want?"
Nethus ignored Zeus's question and glance behind Zeus to Canry. "You need to come with me now."
The tone Nethus used raised Zeus's hackles reminding him of Rathmar's very same demand that cause Zeus to end up trapped by the head of Noble House of Cordyl, Timsah Gadrius. His ex-lover had lead him in sadistic hands of his father only to sneak him out later when it appeared Timsah would kill Zeus for daring to have a romantic relationship with Rathmar.
"Canry is a prince of House Vondorian and you will treat him with respect." Nethus could ignore him but no one spoke to his brother in such a way.
"You do not dictate to me, Mar'Sani, on how to address my acolyte. He meddles in affairs he should not. I am here to take him home." Nethus's eyes narrowed when he regarded Zeus.
Zeus's temper flared to life as he spoke his suspicions. "It was you who took him! How could you take a youngling of only two moons from his family? Meme was devastated by his disappearance. He should have grown up with us, been a warlord to Azaes."
Zeus did not flinch at Nethus's furious glare. "Poseidon heard their mourning. Be grateful he led them to you or you would simply be bones floating in space now."
"Zeus …" There was a bleeding note in Canry's voice. It was as if he could sense the fear pouring off his brother.
"You stole him from his family." Zeus hissed, the noise a warning, a precursor to a Mar'Sani warrior's strike.
"He has had a better life with me than he would have ever had on land," Nethus snapped.
Zeus struggled to control his rising anger. The loss of Canry to his family had wounded them deeply. Years later and they still mourned for him in small but noticeable ways. Even Meme, who had devoutly believed Canry was alive had continued to yearn for the youngling taken from her. When any of them swam in the Waters of Poseidon, their gazes always searched for the lost son, hoping for, praying for merely a glimpse. Now Zeus struggled to understand why his family had to endure the senseless pain.
"Why was he not allowed to visit? Why has his wellbeing been kept from his blood? What purpose would that have served? Explain yourself!"
Nethus lifted his lip in a sneer. "His destiny is greater than you can ever comprehend. His concept of family must be broader than the little Vondorian pod, otherwise he would falter in his duty. Do not think you can judge us for what you believe you know. I do not have to give an accounting to you."
He swam closer to Zeus, his golden gaze boring into Zeus, his expression one of haughty indignation. When Nethus attempted to reach past Zeus for Canry, Zeus attacked. Regardless of the power he could sense in Nethus, and never mind that he had no weapon, neither was reason enough to stay Zeus's hand when he launched himself at a smirking Nethus.
"Zeus! No!" He heard Canry's cry but the call sounded distant.
Nethus's triumphant expression turned startled as Zeus's legs wrapped snake-like around his waist. Grabbing a barb pointed ear, Zeus hauled back before delivering a hard chop to the side of Nethus's gilled neck. Nethus bellowed, his skin going from light blue to a tint so dark the color appeared almost black. Canry's frantic yelling was the last thing Zeus heard before he and Nethus plunged into the Waters of Poseidon.