Book Blitz & Excerpt: A Mercenary to Love + Giveaway

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A Mercenary to Love, by Landra Graf

Book 4 in the Bad Boys of Space series

Word Count: 62,159
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 247



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Book Description

There’s only one thing she wants to steal—his heart.

When computer genius Sampson Morales’ latest security measures fail to prevent the kidnapping of an Allied Planetary Union Ambassador’s child, he has no choice but to track and save the kid himself…especially if he wants to be paid.

Zasha Gustaf believed fighting with the Humans First movement could redeem her mercenary past, but when they use her intel to kidnap an innocent, she starts to have her doubts. Running into the only man she’s ever loved and who’s on the same trail is a sign. She commits to helping Sampson stop this group from sacrificing another blameless person, but she has another motive.

Sampson and Zasha have been down this road before, except last time it led to betrayal and heartache. He can’t trust her, and her attempts at redemption are met with constant rebuke, but when everyone, even the universe, is in danger, relying on each other is the only way forward.

Is a second chance possible for either of them…or will the past repeat itself?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of child endangerment, child abandonment, violence and murder.


Whenever the planet Saturn had crossed Sampson’s mind, he’d always believed stepping foot on its surface would involve jail time, or at the very least a spot in front of a tribunal. That he was being welcomed with open arms there, the land of the uppers, via official invitation no less, had made sleep near impossible for the last three solar days. Now, here he traveled among sprawling homes with green grass lawns, ponds of clear water…enough splendor to rattle the nerve endings of any man who’d grown up poor, near starving and covered in filth the majority of the time.

“Pull your mouth off the ground, kid. Bugs exist here.” Lee, ex-assassin and weapon expert, whipped her long black ponytail over her shoulder as their holo-vehicle came to a stop in front of Ambassador Al Smith’s house.

“You never told me how beautiful the ambassador planet was.”

She scoffed and re-checked her belt that was normally stacked with knives lining the leather. Now only two remained. “The thing about beauty is that it comes with a price. No sense salivating over something you won’t want to pay for.”

Except, maybe I do.

Sampson had gone his whole life without much. Joining up with Smith’s crew, back when the ambassador was a lowly body collector, Sampson had earned his place. When he’d ditched the Body Collection Service and joined the crew of Gina, he’d found a family. Regardless of the gains, there still existed this gnawing need inside him for more.

“You could have something like this, bet on it. Show these pansy fools your big brain in action.” Lee nudged him on the shoulder before she hopped out of the vehicle. “Enough sitting around talking. Let’s do this.”

Sure, he probably could reach living on Saturn status. Al had. The captain of a death barge was now a parliament ambassador, a fairy-tale story like the ones his mother used to spout over their dinner of broth and stale food cubes. The possibility of living on a wealthy planet in a fancy house tempted, but he wanted another kind of freedom. Living here would only be another prison of servitude. The desire to roam space, go where he wanted when he wanted, to eat what he wanted… All those wants drove him on.

“Welcome to my home,” Al called out from the front door, all fancy robes, ginger beard tamed and his infamous nose ring a thing of the past.

Sampson gave a single nod out of respect and instinctually reached to tug on the edge of the beanie he typically wore on the ship. “Thanks for the invite.”

“Would you like a tour?” The older man’s booming voice carried across the lawn with ease.

Sampson patted down his ginger hair and glanced at Lee, whose raised eyebrow told him everything he needed to know. “Perhaps another time. This is supposed to be a business trip, and I’d like to get to work right away.”

The words rolled off Sampson’s tongue like contaminated waste in a slip drive, foreign and unwelcome. He wanted to throw caution to the wind, take a tour or enjoy a fancy lunch—which was exactly why Lee had come along, to keep him focused.

The invitation from Al had come in a solar week before and Gina, the ship’s artificial intelligence, had been eager to share with Sampson how his expertise was requested along with the possible payday involved.

Enough crinkle to bathe in, according to Gina. Their co-captains, Toni and Emilio, were busy with another gig and had graciously offered up Gina along with the remainder of the crew to escort him. More like babysit. The implication stung a bit but made sense. Gina wasn’t a cheap ship, and she’d been hijacked before. Though if he completed this job, the flash was his for the taking, and maybe…

I’ll have enough to buy Gina.

“Straighten up, kid. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by him. You’re smarter.” Lee casually whispered these words on their walk up.

The encouragement soothed his shaken soul a bit. The last time he’d encountered Al Smith, Sampson had been indentured to Al’s body collection barge with a twenty-year service tag. Al hadn’t been horrible to work for, but he’d still been in charge and not afraid to stow a young boy in a small crappy room in the underbelly of the ship.

Sampson and Lee reached the front entrance, and he took note of the pair of guards posted right inside. Business trip indeed.

“Yes, and once you get inside, we can chat. You don’t mind if the guards search you?” Al asked with a sheepish smile.

Trust doesn’t come easy anywhere in this damn galaxy. They’d been searched three times since they’d gotten off Gina’s shuttle at the landing port. No such thing as a small measure for the planet housing parliament’s ambassadors.

Lee smiled, a wicked fucking grin equal parts ‘screw you’ and ‘sure thing.’ “Do what you have to, but my knives stay. I already put away half of them. The rest is for your protection and Sampson’s. Anything happens to him, and you’ll be answering to your sister personally if I don’t get you first.”

Pride swelled in Sampson’s chest. Family. These people cared about him, though sometimes he wished they would let him run his own missions. Let me take charge. Sure, he’d been told he was in charge on this one by Emilio, but Lee still played the role of big bad sister no matter what.

Al held up his hands. “Sure thing. Just making sure no explosives and whatnot. Loyda would be pissed if I didn’t follow protocol.”

Sampson nodded in agreement, standing up straight and spreading his arms. “Then let’s wrap this and get to it. Time is flash.”

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About the Author

Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

You can visit Landra’s website here, find her Amazon author page here and follow her on Pinterest here.


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Book Blitz: The Fourth State of Matter, by D’Arcy Arden

The Fourth State of Matter


Book Title: The Fourth State of Matter (Valence Chronicles #1)

Author: D’Arcy Arden

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press 

Cover Artist: Jennifer Greeff

Release Date: May 31, 2021

Genres: Futuristic/Sci-Fi, erotica

Tropes:  aliens, polyamory

Themes: BDSM, Gay-Lesbian, Menage/Multi-Partner

Heat Rating: 5 flames  

Length: 86 889 words/ 349 pages

It is the first book in a series.

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Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 


the fourth state of matter

Space is cold, the sex is hot, and the rebellion is right on target.



Earth is dead. Humanity survives by selling the only resource available—themselves. 2689 has signed away his rights as a living being and become décor, living artwork that rich aliens use to decorate their homes. It’s a stable existence but a boring one. Until one day his owner plays host to three unexpected guests. Large, loud, and more potent than anything 2689 has ever experienced, this trio of ship-dwellers from the wrong side of the universe awakens a desire he can’t ignore.

However, blissful days of sex and companionship with Brog, Desmodian, and Xavis come to an end when 2689 discovers a plot that could land the trio in jail…or worse. 2689 will have to make a choice—stay silent and allow three innocent lives to be ruined or give up his stable life to protect the ones he loves.


Book Trailer  The Fourth State of Matter book trailer – YouTube 



Pet fumbled his drink, creating a clink of glass against glass and spilling pink droplets onto the table’s surface. He had encountered Décor Preservation Services once before, at his first auction, when they evaluated his quality and determined what price to charge his buyers.

“And what does DPS want with us?”

Desmodian sounded too calm, considering the tremor Pet felt running through the hand on his head.

Vige scoffed. “Really? A trio of dirty ship-dwellers running around with one of their precious décor, and you don’t think they’re going to intervene?”

“We’ve done nothing wrong.” Xavis ruffled his feathers again, filling what little space remained in their alcove. “Pet was transferred to us legally. Anyone can check the license.”

In a different situation, Pet would have stroked the feathers back down, but he was too scared to do more than stare dumbly from person to person.


About the Author 

D’Arcy Arden grew up in Akron, Ohio, where she attended creative art schools and was surrounded by beautiful country landscape. This combination cultivated an interest in literature, art, and the natural world around her. In college, she earned a Masters Degree in Fiction Writing, which primarily taught her that there is no one way to tell a good story. So, she turned around and went back for a degree in Animation as well. This love for both visual and written stories has given her a preference for stories that are memorable, easy to picture, and, most importantly, fun.

That was her main goal when she started writing The Fourth State of Matter—to provide readers with a fun story featuring the three S’s. Science, sex, and spaceships. It is her first published novel, but only the beginning of a great adventure.



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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Synapse Nine + Giveaway

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Synapse Nine by Eilis Muir

Book 1 in the Deep Mesa series

Word Count: 70,759
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 282



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Book Description

Elana denied her special abilities so she could live an ordinary life—until she’s recruited into a top-secret project involving something otherworldly.

The demands of followers seeking answers from Elana Ryan’s special abilities had taken a toll. To feel normal again, she got a job working at Los Alamos National Lab. It worked—until she was recruited into a top-secret project to use the very gifts she’d left behind.

The project’s head scientist, Dr. Cameron Graeme, is pushy and arrogant, but Elana is also inexplicably drawn to him. As her abilities grow, she finds that his presence amplifies her powers. Now she fears her feelings for him and the intentions of the government.

Dr. Graeme finds Elana irresistibly alluring, which conflicts with his responsibilities for her as an asset.

They resist their mounting mutual desires, but something more powerful than either of them has a different plan in mind.


This was the farthest Elana had ever been on the Los Alamos National Lab campus. She unzipped the soft-top window of her 2005 lime-green Jeep Wrangler at the gate and handed her badge to the guard. He inspected it and handed it back with a smile. “Have a nice day!”

Another day, another interview, she thought. She passed several technical area intersections with buildings that resembled prisons fenced in with barbed-wire coils before she turned at the TA17 sign. Ponderosa pines straddled the straight road for the ten-minute drive to a group of one-story concrete buildings marked TA17, at the end of the mesa. She parked in front of building TA17-1, the Weapon Experiments Control Center, refreshed her red lipstick, straightened the barrette holding her strawberry-blonde mane and checked for smudges in her tortoise-shell glasses in the visor mirror. Good to go. She clipped her badge to her blazer, and with her portfolio case in hand, she headed to the entrance. Signs on the door read ‘Q’, which meant ‘Q-level cleared only, no electronic devices’. She inserted her badge into a console, entered a code into the keypad and the door clicked for entry.

At the reception, Elana greeted a young Hispanic woman. “Hi, I’m Elana Ryan, special investigator with the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency.” She flashed her credentials. “I have an appointment with Wayne Fordham.”

“Have a seat. He’ll be right with you.”

Being so official was second nature to Elana after working for the feds for over a year, something she’d never imagined she would do. After traveling the country in her RV, making a living from her book and related sales over the Internet, she welcomed the regularity. She had fallen for the wild, dramatic sweeping skylines of New Mexico, but lots of open space meant it was sparsely populated. The national lab was one of the few significant employers in the area. With a clearance backlog, there was a demand for investigators, and with her communications background, it made sense.

In many ways, the job stood for everything Elana Ryan did not. She told herself that it wasn’t all about weapons. There was important science happening here, great minds working for the future of humanity. After living an unconventional lifestyle, being in the secret city where the atomic bomb had been invented, working for the government at thirty-five was a turn of events she couldn’t have predicted. It’s just another adventure, she told herself.

Wayne Fordham, white-haired with a dry-cleaned dress shirt tucked into plain-front slacks, greeted Elana and ushered her into one of the larger offices she’d been to at the lab that had a view, as was expected for a division leader. Wayne moved a few piles of papers from a round table and gestured for her to sit.

As she’d done for hundreds of such interviews, Elana presented her credentials, checked his ID and opened her portfolio to take notes. She made small talk before running through a standard introduction, such as how being untruthful about any issue more often had a greater negative influence on the outcome of their case than any underlying issue, that Title 18 US code 1001 stated that hiding a material fact was a felony and could lead to fines, imprisonment and so on, ending with him swearing under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States to tell the truth to the best of his knowledge and belief.

He appeared to be relaxed, this being his fifth clearance re-investigation. He would have done these interviews every five years, so it was obviously familiar.

“Your full name is Wayne Fordham—no middle name—and you have not used any other names?” She looked up from the papers to check his expression through her glasses.

“That’s correct.”

She went through his security questionnaire and took notes of changes or items that needed clarification, glancing up at him periodically.

To lighten the serious tone, she asked about his being from New Jersey and commented on his lack of a ‘Joyzee’ accent. He chuckled but didn’t give an explanation, so she offered, “I’m originally from the only New England state that has no accent but is surrounded by states with strong accents.” She often made people guess which state it was, but she wasn’t in the mood at the moment, so she just told him she was from Connecticut.

Fordham had a pleasant demeanor and conversed with an ease not typical among the socially challenged scientific community, which was likely why he was in management, but he was also a respected scientist, as the awards on the wall and the work history on his form suggested.

There were no red flags on Fordham’s case, so Elana expected to be done before the usual hour. She wrote down the references he gave her to interview and was about to wrap up the counterintelligence questions when there was a knock on the door.

“Excuse me,” Wayne said politely as he got up and opened it.

It was his receptionist. “I’m sorry to interrupt. Dr. Graeme is insisting he speak with you right now. It’s urgent. He’s on the line.”

“Patch him through.” A hint of irritation marked his brow as he shut the door, raised his index finger to Elana and picked up the phone on his desk. “What’s so important, Cam? I’m in a meeting.” He turned to look out at the Jemez Mountains. “Yes.” He turned back to look at Elana. “That’s right. How did you know that?”

Elana organized her papers. In her peripheral vision, she caught Wayne squinting at her as he fiddled with items on his desk. “He says what?” He turned his back to Elana again and exhaled. “Really? Okay. Okay… I’ll get back to you.” He hung up the phone, his forehead furrowed.

He sat across from Elana. “Sorry about that. Where were we? Connecticut, the Northeast. Winters are bitter there, eh?” He feigned nonchalance.

“Yeah. I like the dry climate here.”

“What about Christmas? The traditions—you know, with the farolitos and all—it’s different.”

His question seemed contrived, but she played along. “I don’t put much stock in the holiday anymore.”

“No? Why not?”

His whole attitude had shifted. He was pushing for something and it made her uneasy. She was supposed to be pushing him, not the other way around. Oddly compelled, she revealed, “I was born on Christmas Eve, so it has had a lot of loaded meaning for me, but I left that behind long ago.” Why did I share that personal information?

“So your birthday is Christmas Eve,” he said with a conclusive satisfaction that was a bit creepy and differed from his earlier apathy.

Wayne’s desk phone rang, and he sprang to answer it. “Yes. Okay. Give me about ten minutes.” He hung up and sat back down at the table.

“That was my colleague. He can do my reference interview. You can do it here when we’re finished.”

When they’d concluded the interview, Wayne invited Dr. Cameron Graeme in, introduced him to Elana and left them alone. So this is the Dr. Graeme with the urgent matter. He sat down at the table with Elana. He was at least a decade younger than Wayne, closer to her age. His full head of hair was still more pepper than salt and he was more casually dressed in blue jeans and a pale green button-down shirt that wasn’t perfectly pressed. He’s cute, in a dorky-scientist kind of way, she thought as he peered at her from behind round, metal-framed glasses. She was flustered. Is it his stare or that odd phone call?

She showed him her credentials and asked if he was aware of the Privacy Act of 1974, as was required of her job. He said “Yes,” and she indicated that on her pad. He confirmed the spelling of his name and she asked his title.

“Senior Scientist.”

She scribbled ‘Sr. Sci.’, and began asking the forty questions that she had almost entirely memorized, starting with, “What has been the frequency and nature of your contact with Wayne?”

“We met five years ago working on a project at the Remote Sensing Lab, and about three months ago I came to work with him in this division. We’ve had daily work contact.”

As she jotted down his answer, she noticed him scanning her intently, like he was taking a grid sample of every inch. Another weird scientist thing? “Is Wayne married?” Cameron folded his hands together. No wedding ring, she observed.

“Yes, to Marge. They have three grown kids, but I can’t recall their names.” He rattled off answers to her list of questions, clearly having done these interviews before. Every position, from janitors on up, needed a clearance to work there. She also noticed he had a remnant accent—not Irish, maybe Scottish.

The fifteen-minute interview felt like an eternity. Something hung in the air between them that slowed time. She tried to ignore it and was relieved when she got to the final questions. “Is there any reason to question Wayne’s loyalty to the United States?”

“No.” He caressed his chin with his entwined fingers.

“Is there anything in his background that would make him susceptible to coercion or blackmail?”

“Not that I know of,” he answered abruptly. Did he even give a thought to the answers? Is he thinking of something entirely different? Finally, the last question. “Do you recommend Wayne continue to have a position impacting national security and hold a clearance?”

“Absolutely.” He leaned back in his chair, his clasped hands now in his lap.

She slipped her notes into her portfolio. “Well, that’s all we need. Thank you for your time.” She was about to get up, but he didn’t move, so she paused.

His gaze penetrated her. “Do you like your job?”

“Sure. I meet interesting people and work from home. It could pay better, but I’ve got no complaints overall.” She zipped her portfolio to hint again that she was ready to go.

He leaned forward. “What other kind of work background do you have?

It’s my job to give the third degree. What’s up? She stood. He did the same but didn’t move toward the door. He was a couple of inches taller than her five foot nine, even with her two-inch heels on. He raised his eyebrows in anticipation of an answer.


“Perfect. We need someone like you in our division. Can you come tomorrow for an interview?” She was surprised at this curt and assumptive invite. She had applied for jobs at the lab, which she’d thought had to be done via proper channels, and had never gotten called for an interview.

“What’s the job?”

“Communications Specialist.” Did he just come up with that in the moment? Employment directly with the lab paid better than her Department of Defense position, so she was intrigued. Weapons division—not her first choice, but somehow she couldn’t refuse. “Okay, why not?”

“Tell Denise at the front desk to give you an appointment in the morning. Email me your resume tonight.” He handed her his business card.

“Sure.” He couldn’t wait until tomorrow for that?

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About the Author

Eilis Muir

Eilis (Irish Gaelic, pronounced Eye-Lish) has always gone her own way, which has led to an unconventional life full of adventure. She spent many years videotaping whales in Cape Cod, MA and off season she traveled. She has hiked glaciers in Patagonia, kayaked fjords in Norway, and sailed from Key West to Cuba. Eilis lived in the US Virgin Islands for eight years and sailed throughout the Caribbean and in the Mediterranean.

She later spent three years driving across the US in an RV on a book tour and landed in the mountains of New Mexico where she built a natural off grid cabin. After living there for a few years, she ventured across the Sangre de Christo mountain range to Los Alamos where she published a community magazine and worked as a clearance investigator. She fell in love with a scientist there and now lives with him and two lovable cats.

Eilis has always believed in stretching limits. Her greatest joy is found in allowing her imagination to run wild. Since she was a child, Eilis has dreamed up elaborate plots and characters in situations that push boundaries. Much of her writing is inspired by her own experiences, deep thoughts, and her intuitions about human potential and the passions that drive us.

Find out more at her website.


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