Wednesday, April 11, 2018

{Blog Tour} SHADOW CALL by AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller—Excerpt + Giveaway

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Shadow Call
by AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller


His throne. Her rebellion. Their war.

Qole is the youngest starship captain in living memory on her homeworld of Alaxak and has spent her life hunting a dangerous energy source called Shadow. Alaxans distrust and evade the galaxy’s royalty as a rule, but Qole is now harboring the exiled Prince Nevarian Dracorte, along with some very conflicting feelings about it—and him.

Nev’s feelings are just as complicated, but not towards her. When it comes to Qole, he knows one thing: he’d do anything to stay with her. But when Alaxak is attacked and Nev finds himself framed for murder, he realizes the only way to help Qole and her people is to fight for the throne that should be his. To become the royal she might hate.

As for Qole, she would never have imagined herself as the leader of a rebellion. Despite that, she soon realizes that hiding from her power is no longer an option. It’s time to answer the call, even if it kills her.
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Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Press
• Pub Date: April 17, 2018
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Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / TBD / IndieBound

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This night was mine.
The party was in full swing: the gossip buzzed along my skin, the music thrummed through the soles of my towering heels, and the crowd flowed around me like a river of colorful silks and gems, bending to me.
The ballroom itself was the crown jewel of the palace: a transparent crystalline floor, slowly darkening bell-shaped walls, and the blackness above, where a scale holo-map of our star system hovered and sparkled in the air. Directly under the image of Luvos, my homeworld, in the heart of the palace that overlooked our capital city, I stood. I was the center of it all, everything and everyone in my orbit.
But I had a mission. Heathran Belarius had arrived and was in my sights. I snatched a glittering goblet from a passing platter and downed the contents, which lent me extra fire. Not that I felt like I needed it, particularly. Not even the heir to the galaxy’s most powerful family would be able to withstand my charm, despite how forbidding he looked in his dark purple suit and gold cravat, which perfectly offset his near-black skin. His flat eyes scanned the crowd, seeking . . .
Someone stepped in front of me, cutting off my view of Heathran in the scintillating crowd. The words of dismissal rose on my tongue, ready to be bared.
“Marsius!” I said instead as I recognized my little brother. “I was about to greet Heathran. We have very important busi­ness to discuss.”
The dismissal sheathed in my words didn’t escape him, and he made a face. “You never discuss important business. You probably want to talk about clothes or the latest gossip vid or”—his face distorted further—“kissing or something.”
“Or something,” I said as patiently as I could manage, suppressing the desire to put my hands around his throat and squeeze. Amazing how an eleven-year-old could try to be so belittling to his superiors. “And since you’ve made your dis­taste for such topics plain, why don’t you run along and leave me to it?” Tousling his brown hair, I looked over his head to find Heathran slowly migrating from where he’d stood near the ballroom entrance. He wasn’t getting much farther from me, but he wasn’t getting any closer, either.
“Because you should be discussing important business,” Marsius said, dodging out from under my hand and drawing my eyes back to him once again.
I tried not to grind my teeth in impatience. Tonight was for smiling. “Oh? And I suppose you’re here to tell me what that is. Let me guess,” I said, giving him a taste of his own belittling medicine. “Now that I’m heiress, you’ll want more sweets at dinner, and your favorite team to be declared the unending victors—”
“Sol,” Marsius interrupted with a frustrated jerk of his head, “just because I’m younger than you doesn’t mean I’m stupid. And I know you’re not stupid either, even though you act like it most of the time.” He hurried on after my eyes in­voluntarily widened, misreading my surprise for anger, most likely. “Which is why I’ve been trying to talk to you for weeks. I have a plan.”
“For how to get more cake on the menu?” I asked dismis­sively, trying to move around him.
He planted himself in front of me once again, a miniature version of all the men in dress suits who’d been trying to force my attention to their plans, of late. “I can help you. We can help each other. I know that you don’t really want to be heiress, that you didn’t want Nev to be exiled.” His voice grew ragged over the name. Of course. This was about Nev, our older brother and mutual grievance. “I think we need Nev back. I know I can convince him to return, but Father won’t listen to me.”
I sighed. Clearly, Marsius didn’t grasp the severity of the situation. “Nev forced Father to disinherit and exile him. Our brother betrayed us for a commoner girl, and you know ex­actly how many soldiers and Bladeguards he killed in the pro­cess. And our family has been an absolute disaster since he was exiled. You think I don’t pay attention to important business, hm?” I asked, flicking him lightly on his silver cravat, which seemed too grand for his lanky neck. “Well, our finances have taken a dive, our research into Shadow has stalled, and everyone is moping about like you.”
“But what are you doing to elevate it?”
Alleviate it, you mean?” I asked, smirking as he flushed. He might want to play at being an adult, but there was nothing like an older sister to remind him he wasn’t one. I tossed my shining golden curls. “By being a pleasant diversion. How do you like my party?” I didn’t wait for him to answer; his expres­sion was answer enough. “Don’t fret, Marsius. I promise to talk to Father about Nev.”
Despite my not specifying when, he brightened. “Really? I can—”
“You can enjoy yourself, like other kids your age are doing.”
“But—”
“You can help, I know. You’ll help by leaving me in peace right now.” It sounded churlish, but I was out of patience. Before Marsius could make even more of a scene, I stepped around him, and bumped right into someone else. A broad chest blocked my view, another dark suit. I wanted to run them through with my smile . . . and then my sharpness melted entirely.
“Father!”
“Solara,” he said, giving me a nod. “Marsius.”
There was no mistaking the dismissal in how he said my little brother’s name, and no avoiding it for Marsius. He bowed his head and dodged off through the crowd, sending me one last pleading look. I didn’t acknowledge it. Too bad Father hadn’t dismissed me with him. I could have gone straight for Heathran, who was drifting away from me, now that he’d seen who was speaking to me.
Nothing killed the potential for romance like a father—and a king, no less.
Father stood, regarding me for a moment, taking in the daring cut of my dress with a disapproving twitch of his eyelid. His own suit was the model of a Dracorte king’s, darkest of blues, subtly embossed with our family emblem at the cuffs, less subtly layered in silver embroidery and military medals that no doubt indicated something grand about his person. The ensemble looked as stiff and uncompromising as he was, though the sharpness of his Dracorte-silver eyes looked dull from the pressure of recent events.
He surprised me by holding out his hand. “Will you honor me with a dance?”
He hadn’t paid any attention to me yet this evening, never mind that this was the party celebrating that he’d declared me his heiress. Perhaps he was too busy silently mourning his pre­vious heir.
And perhaps he was right to.
I stilled the thrill of both anticipation and apprehension that came with Father’s attention, and took his hand. “The honor is mine.”
“We need to talk.” Of course, he wouldn’t want to sim­ply dance with his daughter. He was here because he wanted something, just like everyone else. The music and our choreo­graphed motions would cover any disturbance between us.
“If this is about that peace accord you wanted me to study, please, spare me. I’ll get to it soon.” Actually, I already knew it back to front, but even if I’d wanted to tell him that, he likely wouldn’t have believed me. I hadn’t exactly cultivated the image of studious daughter.
Father led me into the first couple steps of the dance. For a flaring, astonishing second, I wished he would just move with me to the music and keep his mouth shut, and not only be­cause I knew I wouldn’t like whatever he was going to say. He was a skilled dancer, and I could almost imagine enjoying my­self. But the feeling, and any chance of that happening, passed.


Want more? Go to Two Chicks on Books tomorrow for the next part!


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ADRIANNE STRICKLAND and MICHAEL MILLER met in their hometown of Palmer, Alaska, where they agreed on 99% of book taste and thus decided to write together. Adri spends her summers as a commercial fisherwoman in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and the rest of the year writing. Michael grew up off the grid in a homestead in Alaska and now works in IT and tech. This is their second book together.

ADRIANNE: WEBSITE • GOODREADS • FACEBOOK • TWITTER
MICHAEL: WEBSITE • GOODREADS • FACEBOOK • TWITTER





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