Book Blitz: Parallel, by James M. Corkill

Parallel

Parallel

The Alex Cave Series, Book 7
by James M. Corkill

Science Fiction

Release Date: December 25, 2020

 

Some experiments should never be attempted!

Ex-CIA operative and geophysicist Alex Cave searches for the source of seismic activity in the Pacific Ocean and discovers an ancient alien laboratory. Getting inside is the easy part. Getting out of an alternate reality might be impossible.

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Excerpt

AREA 51. GROOM LAKE, NEVADA:

A knot forms in Alex Cave’s stomach as the special jet swings around on final approach to the top-secret facility. He was visiting his family in Washington State when his boss, Director Holly Blake, called and ordered him to return to the base immediately. Her tone of voice indicated she was upset, but she wouldn’t go into details over a non-secure connection. He immediately caught a flight to Las Vegas, where he boarded this private jet for a ride to the base.

He looks out the window as the plane levels out on final approach, and the gray concrete runway rushes up to meet the plane. He feels the wheels hitting the ground and the engines drop to idle as the jet loses momentum and stops in front of a small security building. Before he gets up, he watches an unmarked vehicle drive up and stop next to the plane.

He releases his seatbelt while the attendant opens the exit door and lowers the stairs, then he stands and goes forward to grab his backpack. When the attendant indicates for him to leave it on the plane, he realizes whatever this meeting is about, he won’t be returning to his base apartment. He slowly descends the steps and stops in front of two serious-looking men. “What’s going on?”

The man indicates the vehicle. “I’m agent Garcia, and we have orders to escort you to Director Blake’s office. Get in, please.”

Alex’s gut tightens into a knot of apprehension. “All right.”

He does as instructed and climbs into the back seat. As the car drives away, he leans forward to talk to the men. “What agency do you work for?”

Garcia turns to look at Alex. “We’re part of the secret service.”

Several questions race through Alex’s mind, but he knows these men don’t have the answers. The vehicle stops in front of a familiar building and everyone climbs out, then Alex leads the way into the structure and down the hallway to Holly’s office.

The door is open, so Alex steps into the room, noticing the two agents remain in the hallway. He sees Holly sitting in a chair behind her desk, and a tall, masculine looking woman standing beside her. The woman is dressed in a US Air Force Captain’s uniform and is as tall as he is.

His heart races when he sees Jadin standing to one side of the room. She’s part of his team and he hopes she’s not in trouble.

Jadin notices Alex’s brows bunch together below his wavy black hair. She stares into his dark blue eyes and gives him a sympathetic expression.

Alex turns and looks at Holly. “What’s going on, Director?”

Holly indicates the woman. “This is Captain Sharon Fargo. It seems our new President wants the military to take over operation of your spacecraft, and she’s in charge of the first training program.”

Alex knew this might happen one day. A few years ago, he discovered an ancient alien spacecraft in the crater of a dormant volcano in Alaska and managed to get it working. Now it’s here, in Hangar 5. On the advice from his Chief of Staff, the new president had tried to commandeer his spaceship a few months ago. He didn’t get it then, and he will not take it now.

Alex looks over at Fargo. “That ship belongs to me. The government can’t just take it.”

Fargo moves around the desk and locks stares with Alex. “It’s done. Live with it.”

Alex’s hands clench into fists at his sides as he turns to look down at Holly. “You can’t let them get away with this.” The look in Holly’s eyes tells him she has no choice, so he turns back to Fargo. “On whose authority?”

Fargo grabs a folder on the desk and holds it out to Alex. “This is from the Attorney General granting me the authority to claim the ship under the law of Eminent Domain. Meaning, if it’s for the good of the country, the government can take your spaceship.”

Alex doesn’t take the folder and stares into Fargo’s eyes. “Over my dead body!”

Fargo grins sadistically. “I hope it doesn’t come to that, Mister Cave.”

What about my team?”

Since Jadin officially works for NASA, she will teach us how to operate that spacecraft. I’m sure we can get by without you, so I revoke your security clearance and my people will escort you back to the plane. Your personal belongings in your apartment will be shipped to your designated location.”

Alex gives Holly an imploring stare and sees the regret in her eyes. He knows she tried to stop it, but it didn’t work.

Jadin sees the rage in Alex’s expression and his clenched fists. She wants him to shut up before he gets into more trouble, so she grabs Fargo’s arm to get her attention away from Alex. “I think I can work with you on this, Captain Fargo. How about I start the training on Monday morning? That gives me three days to shut down my research project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.”

Fargo tosses the folder onto the desk. “That’s fine.”

When Jadin sees Fargo indicate for her men to get Alex back to the jet, she reaches up to wrap her arms around his neck, pulling him close for a hug. “Call me later, okay?”

Alex puts his cheek against hers so he can whisper into her ear. “This isn’t over.”

Jadin notices Fargo staring at them and slowly raises her hands up to Alex’s face. She cups them over his ears to pull him close, covertly inserting a communication device into his right one. “I have an idea, so don’t do anything rash. I’ll explain later.”

When Jadin gives him a soft kiss on his lips and steps back, Alex reaches across the desk to shake Holly’s hand. “It’s been nice working with you.”

Holly doesn’t accept as she stares up at him. Instead, she stands and walks around the desk to give him a hug. When he bends down, she turns him so Fargo cannot see her face and whispers in his ear. “I’ll keep you updated on what happens here.”

Don’t get in trouble over me.”

Holly lets go and steps back. “Stay safe.”

Fargo looks down at Jadin and sees the moisture building up in her green eyes. “Am I going to have any problems with you, Ms. Avery?”

Jadin wants to tell her where to shove her problems, but her self-restraint wins. “No, Captain. I’ll meet with your astronauts at Hangar 5 first thing Monday morning.”

Fargo indicates the doorway to Alex. “After you, Mister Cave.”

Alex reluctantly leaves with the two men for the flight back to Las Vegas. For the moment, he’s out of a job and decides to go back to his family in Washington.

Jadin steps into the hallway and stares after Alex and the two agents, finding it hard to believe he is leaving for good. She feels Fargo’s hand on her shoulder and moves back into the room, then folds her arms across her chest and stares at the Captain. “What about David? He can help.”

Mister Conway no longer works here. He left four days ago.”

Jadin’s jaw drops open as her arms unfold to her sides. “What? That’s ridiculous. He’s the only person who knows how the engine works. He needs to be here.”

Holly looks up at Fargo. “She’s correct. If you have any problems, you’ll need his help.”

Fargo knows the ship works perfectly. “I’ll call him in as an advisor if necessary. I’ll expect daily reports on the program’s progress, Ms. Blake.” She spins around and heads out of the room toward the exit.

Jadin gives Holly a troubled expression. “I don’t think this will work. Even if I show Fargo’s people how to use the ship, Melvin won’t follow their commands.”

Will he follow yours?”

Jadin thinks about it for a moment. “I have no idea.”

Holly moves around the desk to sit in her chair. “I’m worried about David. Fargo was less than subtle when she fired him. He took it hard and I haven’t been able to contact him since he left the base.”

I’ll try to get ahold of him.”

All right. When will you leave for JPL?”

Jadin suddenly realizes she can ride with Alex to Las Vegas and smiles at Holly. “Right now. I don’t need to pack anything, so I’ll ride with Alex. I’d better hurry. I’ll see you Sunday afternoon.”

Listen, Jadin. I know how you feel about Alex, but you need to let him go. At least for now. Fargo will be on that plane and we don’t want her thinking there is a conspiracy between you two. The plane will be back in an hour.”

Jadin’ realizes Holly is correct. “All right. What do you know about my feelings for Alex?”

That he thinks you two can’t be lovers and work together.”

Is it that obvious?”

To me, yes, but I can’t speak for anyone else.”

Jadin heaves a deep sigh of resignation. “At least that won’t be a problem anymore. I’ll start packing Alex’s personal items in his room while I wait. I’ll see you when I get back.”

Holly leans back in her chair and stares after Jadin. “This should get interesting.”

Parallel Blitz

 

About the Author

James M. Corkill is a Veteran, and retired Federal Firefighter from Washington State, USA. He was an electronic technician before eventually becoming a firefighter for 32 years and retiring. He began writing in 1997, and was fortunate to meet the famous horror writer Hugh B. Cave, who became his mentor. His science fiction mystery novels have won six awards, including one international award.

His favorite quote. “When you wake up in the morning, you never know where the day will take you.”

He now lives in the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: A Christmas to Die For + Giveaway

A Christmas To Die For Blitz Banner

A Christmas to Die For
Jessica Frances
Out December 4th 2020
Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Romance, Science Fiction

Drink way too much tequila at the office Christmas party? Check.

Get fired after doing something stupid at said Christmas party? Check.

Hallucinate flying reindeers in the sky? Check.

Watch those flying reindeer turn into naked people …? Check?

Discover magical elves are trying to kill you? Um … Wait! I don’t want to check that one!

Either I’m having the most epic blackout or my hangover has thrown me into the craziest world that has ever existed. I just found out that Santa is not only real, but he and his people can shapeshift into reindeer. I also just discovered that elves are real, which would be cool, except they’re evil and want to kill me! If that wasn’t bad enough, the elves and reindeer are at war with each other. So, not exactly like the cheery, heartwarming stories we’ve been told.

If a war between elves and reindeer isn’t shocking enough, it hardly holds a candle to finding out that I’m supposed to be the one person who can save an entire planet. Yeah, talk about being totally unqualified for the job. At least that overshadows the fact that I might now have a Santa kink when the young, hot, white-haired warrior is sent to protect me. But can I really help save Santa and his people? Can I stop the elves? Or is everyone doomed to suffer the deadliest Christmas ever?

To find out if this will be a Christmas to die for, buckle up in your sleigh, pour yourself an eggnog, and sing a Christmas tune, because this tale is about to get jolly and insane.

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EXCERPT:

For some reason—probably because I’m drunk—I feel more alone tonight than I have in a long time. I worry that maybe I won’t bounce back as easily as I have before.

When am I going to feel secure? Safe?

“Ru …” I whine, moving back to the front of my imaginary friend and staring at his bright red nose. This has to be the most ridiculous thing in the world, but I still grab some of his fur in the front and tug. “Come down here.”

My six-foot two stature isn’t tall enough for my new fake, furry friend, but I need a hug. Hell, I can’t even remember the last time I felt like I needed this, or the last time I had a hug. How sad is that?

Given this isn’t real, Rudolph is surprisingly stubborn. In fact, I have to use every bit of strength I have to get his large face to come near me, and I get the distinct impression he’s not happy. But I don’t care. He’s from my imagination, and I need a damn hug.

I wrap my arms around his too-wide neck and attempt to pull myself together, finding a comfort there that would likely get me put in a mental institution for life.

Whooshing noises sound around us, but I barely hear it over my deep breathing.

Why do I feel like crying? Men don’t cry. Well, not unless they have just thrown their guts up over their naked body from stage fright after attempting a career as a cam boy. I gave myself a pass that day.

But, even though I’m in complete denial about crying, tears wet my face as I give in to the feeling of despair and loneliness. Why do I have to be such a fuckup? Why does everything and everyone I touch turn to shit?

Heat overwhelms me, soaking away the cold that crept into my body after lying on the icy ground, and though the breeze is chilly and promising a future snowstorm, I suddenly have the urge to take off my jacket.

“You’re like a furnace,” I grumble at Rudolph, not removing my grip.

For some unlikely reason, this hug with my fake reindeer is the best thing to happen to me since the two weeks I was able to get a signal on my TV at home and could stream unlimited shows for that entire fortnight. I’m not ready to give it up yet, even if I’m probably just hugging a tree while picturing my fake reindeer.

I keep my eyes closed, my breathing finally calming down, when I notice something moving against me—perhaps Rudolph trying to shake me off. Either way, at the feel of something hard against the entire length of my body, I open one eye to find I’m no longer hugging a supersized reindeer.

Huh?

I’m hugging a man!

“Shit!” I gasp, dropping my hands from around the neck of a strange man who must be over eight feet tall, given he still has to bend over for me to hug him. Then I promptly fall on my ass, not feeling the impact since I’m still in shock.

I wipe my eyes, first to get the wetness out of them, and then because what I’m seeing can’t be real.

At first, all I notice is that every bit of hair on this giant’s head is white, and he has a lot of hair—a mane on his head and a crazy huge beard any biker would be proud of. It’s so odd to see such prominent white hair on a man who looks my age, because this giant is not old, even given the wizened color of his hair. No, I would put money that he isn’t older than thirty. In fact, every person here has the same stark white hair as my Rudolph, though they all look similar in age to him.

That’s odd, right?

Okay, scratch that, the weird part is clearly the changing from animal to human. Not the hair situation. Still …

 

Author Bio:

Jessica lives in Adelaide, South Australia. When she is not writing, you can find her reading, napping or watching excessive amounts of TV. Connect with her on Facebook and Goodreads.

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Spotlight: Come On, by Poppy Dunne

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COME ON
(Coming Together #2)
by Poppy Dunne
Release Date: December 8th

Blurb:
He’s rich. He’s powerful. He’s gorgeous. And he’s my boss…

Men like Rafe McCarthy never change.

Privileged playboys who party hard and date even harder–if you can call that revolving door of actresses and models “dating.” It’s my job to wake him up, sober him up, and send him into his meetings at the family pharmaceutical corporation more or less on time.

Meanwhile, I’m spending every cent and spare second taking care of my family. It’s probably because I’m so distracted that I accidentally swap our phones–and get notified of an appointment I most definitely did not make for him. Turns out Rafe has been keeping a few secrets beneath that artfully disheveled suit… like a heart of gold.

Just when I thought he couldn’t get any hotter.

Obviously I can’t be held responsible for my actions after that. Not for making out with him in my kitchen. Or for insisting he include me in his secret mission. Or for making out with him again. And all that led to. Or for…

Okay, I definitely know better than to fall for my boss. Oops.

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About the Author:
Poppy writes books with relatable heroines who speak their minds and whose riotous inner dialogue reflects their complex characters. Her goal is to deliver a story that has equal parts heart, romance and humor. She loves writing characters who are relatable, especially heroines whose inner dialogue remind readers of themselves. Her heroes are swoon worthy, yet hold on to your suspension of disbelief, because they pick up their own socks and cook.

In her free time, she looks for hobbies other than Netflix and rage-tweeting. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.

 

 

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