I’m thrilled to be here with all of you and Pippa, and I’m so pleased to offer the very first glimpse of Spark Awakening, the sequel to Spark Rising. Here you see a bit of the new cover, as well as the opening of the book! The new entry in The Progenitor Saga will be released in May 2016!
This teaser is from the first chapter, and is from the point of view of our hero, Alex Reyes, the secret agent on a journey to his own kind of redemption. He and Lena have a long way to go…and it all starts here…
The boom of his gun discharging was followed by the sound of chips of stone falling to earth like spattering raindrops. It was a happy sound. Or maybe he enjoyed it because he was happy.
These happy moments more and more often fell on Alex’s heart like a soft rain. They renewed him. They encouraged tender, soft things long hidden to unfurl and grow. They scared the shit out of him, not that he’d ever let it show.
This moment was one of them. He stood to the side and traced the line of Lena’s body as she stood, arms still extended and palms curled around his gun. More and more often this summer, he’d found himself watching her, committing some part of her—of them together—to memory. There was never enough time for just the two of them.
She took a long, shaky breath that became a sound somewhere between uneasy and laughter. When she spoke, her voice was too loud. He guessed her ears still rang.
“I did not expect to be able to see fire coming out the top of it.”
“Gunpowder and Dust.” Alex reminded her. He chuckled, and his warm breath puffed back from her skin as he leaned in to kiss the back of her neck. “Remind me again why I’m out here in the sun teaching you to fire a gun instead of back in the cabin playing find my favorite freckle?”
“I don’t know why you’re out here.” She carefully sighted down the barrel like he’d taught her. “But I’m out here because I believe in reciprocity. I teach. You teach.” She slid her index finger from along the side of the gun and curled it so just the pad of her finger and not the whole tip was touching the trigger.
Damn the woman learned fast.
The boom as his gun went off cracked against the canyon wall a half mile away and echoed back to them. Lena missed again, but she was a hell of a lot closer on her second shot. She turned her head to him with a cheeky grin. “Well, reciprocity, and because Thomas said I couldn’t.”
He snorted, believing her. She turned away from him and sighted again. This time, she fired several shots in a row, took a breather, and finished the mag. Her last few shots caused bark to fly up and scatter from the big deadfall he’d leaned against a pair of boulders.
She sighed in satisfaction and looked back. “So why are you out here in the sun teaching me?”
“Because you asked.” He flashed her a quick smirk and winked. “And because Thomas said I shouldn’t.”
“Clearly we both have issues with authority.” She laughed, then her face became pensive. “What’s his problem with me? Ever since we all got back, things have been…”
Alex shook his head. “It’s not you.”
Lena snorted her disbelief. Alex couldn’t blame her for doubting. He and Thomas had made a series of decisions without her that summer—starting with the decision at the Conclave to place the blame for a missing shipment of girls on her shoulders. Once they’d returned, she’d finally confessed that she’d overheard Fort Nevada men plotting to take her out. Alex had been raring to go hunt them out. Thomas had played it cool. He’d thought perhaps she was overreacting, or having an emotional response to the decisions they’d made without her at Conclave.
That was bullshit. Thomas was overwhelmed, but he wasn’t willing to delegate the things that were kicking his ass right now. He was deflecting that frustration onto Lena.
“It’s not you. We’ve reached critical mass at this point…stretched thin and on the cusp of achieving what we’ve dreamed of. But we’ve also got new problems, new players. I think it’s got him rattled. It’s a lot to manage.”
“He’s just…dismissed all of my concerns. You were there. You were mad, too.”
She was right. Thomas had told her he’d been working on finding the threat against her, but they’d found nothing and they needed the men investigating elsewhere. If she could find more evidence, he’d draw them back again. It wasn’t fair. And as Alex had expressed then, it wasn’t smart, either.
Now Alex smiled down at her and stepped around to take the gun with one hand and stroke her cheek with the other. “He’s overextended. But it’s not you.”
A frown fluttered across her face, but his fingers on her skin had the desired effect. She smiled, willing to be soothed.
He dipped his head down and left a trail of soft kisses across her lips. “This is our last day out here…by ourselves…and I leave in the morning for six months. Maybe we should head back to the cabin. I can think of ways to make these last hours more memorable.”
Instead of answering, he pulled her tight against him in a one-armed embrace and stole her breath with a long, deep kiss. When he pulled back, he was satisfied to see the heated, dreamy look in her eyes that he craved.
The rolling crack of a rockfall came from behind them. Alex spun, releasing the mag, and removing a spare from his belt to smack it into the gun. He raised the weapon.
They waited, but there was just the slither of earth settling back into place off to the left. His eyes scanned for movement.
Lena laughed at Alex’s automatic response. “It’s just an animal—a cougar or a wild dog.”
“Make me feel better.” He pointed with his chin, eyes narrowed. “Check.”
Still laughing, Lena focused her attention on the other side of the rocky canyon wall. She abruptly stopped laughing.
“It’s a man.” She automatically lowered her voice to a tense whisper. “Moving away and heading toward the red rock and pines up the other side of the canyon.”
Alex nodded, grabbed the empty magazine from the ground, and ran to the wall that separated them from whomever had been watching a moment before. He wasn’t going to lose him. That meant sacrificing subtlety for speed.
He ignored the rocks that slid down behind him and crested the wall minutes later. Lena was right behind him and to his right. She silently pointed.
Their prey was still moving, heading away from what was left of the gravel road and directly into rougher country of tumbled boulders and steep canyons. Alex wasn’t worried about losing the man. He had an advantage. He had Lena.
They cut across on the descent. At the bottom, Alex gestured her down the middle of the canyon with him. They were going to cut him off.
They ran down the canyon. When he judged they might be ahead of their watcher, he glanced back at Lena to confirm.
Her eyes became faraway as she reached for the Dust. Her brows drew down. A moment passed before she shook her head.
“He’s gone.” She swallowed and made a slow circle. Alex knew she was reaching, asking the Dust to show her where the man hid. “It’s not possible. But he’s really gone.”
She raised one arm in the air. “How could he be gone somewhere I can’t see him?”
“He can’t be. He’s not gone. He’s hiding.”
“Alex, he can’t hide from the Dust.”
“Unless he’s using the Dust.”
If you’d like to see more teasers, the cover, and release information, please follow me at my blog or on facebook! Have a fabulous day!
Kate Corcino is a reformed shy girl who found her voice (and uses it...a lot). She believes in magic, coffee, Starburst candies, genre fiction, and descriptive profanity. A former legal videographer, teacher, and law student, she believes in chasing dreams and the transformative power of screwing up and second chances. She is currently preparing for the imminent release of Spark Awakening, the second book in the Progenitor Saga, a futuristic fantasy series with romance, science, magic, and plenty of action.
She lives in her beloved desert in the southwestern United States with her husband, several children, three dogs, and two cats.