Tag Archives: heroes

#SFRMonday ~ Surviving after deadly alien invasion HELL SQUAD by @AnnaHackett #scifirom #FREEread


Please welcome Anna Hackett and her new releases MARCUS and CRUZ from her new series, Hell Squad. And Anna has a FREE book for you!

Hell Squad Marcus by Anna Hackett


Hell Squad Book 1

by Anna Hackett

In the aftermath of a deadly alien invasion, a band of survivors fights on…

In a world gone to hell, Elle Milton—once the darling of the Sydney social scene—has carved a role for herself as the communications officer for the toughest commando team fighting for humanity’s survival—Hell Squad. It’s her chance to make a difference and make up for horrible past mistakes…despite the fact that its battle-hardened commander never wanted her on his team.

When Hell Squad is tasked with destroying a strategic alien facility, Elle knows they need her skills in the field. But first she must go head to head with Marcus Steele and convince him she won’t be a liability.

Marcus Steele is a warrior through and through. He fights to protect the innocent and give the human race a chance to survive. And that includes the beautiful, gutsy Elle who twists him up inside with a single look. The last thing he wants is to take her into a warzone, but soon they are thrown together battling both the alien invaders and their overwhelming attraction. And Marcus will learn just how much he’ll sacrifice to keep her safe.

Download your FREE copy!

Amazon | Nook | iBooks

CRUZ – Hell Squad book 2

Hell Squad Cruz by Anna HackettBattle-hardened soldier Cruz Ramos is running on empty. As second-in-command of the deadliest commando squad fighting the invading aliens, he doesn’t know why he’s fighting anymore. He’s seen too much destruction, devastation, and far too much death. Still, every day he goes out to protect those humans left, and every day the growing numbness threatens to take over.

Until a mysterious woman emerges from the ruins of destroyed Sydney and saves him from a pack of rampaging aliens.

Santha Kade has one goal: revenge. The raptors who have devastated the Earth have taken everything from her: her team, her home, her beloved sister. Santha—a former police officer—has spent a year alone in the ruined city, waging her own guerrilla war. Sure, she might get lonely sometimes, but she doesn’t have room for anything but vengeance. Not even for a sexy soldier with liquid brown eyes, a bone-melting accent, and a face designed to drive a woman wild.

But as Cruz and Santha join forces to rescue human hostages from the aliens, their explosive attraction is impossible to resist. Can these two warriors survive long enough to find something worth living for?

Available from Amazon


Hell Squad

MARCUS – Download for FREE
Gabe – May 2015
Reed – June 2015

blog space excerpt

Excerpt from Marcus:

Her team was under attack.

Elle Milton pressed her fingers to her small earpiece. “Squad Six, you have seven more raptors inbound from the east.” Her other hand gripped the edge of her comp screen, showing the enhanced drone feed.

She watched, her belly tight, as seven glowing red dots converged on the blue ones huddled together in the burned-out ruin of an office building in downtown Sydney. Each blue dot was a squad member and one of them was their leader.

“Marcus? Do you copy?” Elle fought to keep her voice calm. No way she’d let them hear her alarm.

“Roger that, Elle.” Marcus’ gravelly voice filled her ear. Along with the roar of laser fire. “We see them.”

She sagged back in her chair. This was the worst part. Just sitting there knowing that Marcus and the others were fighting for their lives. In the six months she’d been comms officer for the squad, she’d worked hard to learn the ropes. But there were days she wished she was out there, aiming a gun and taking out as many alien raptors as she could.

You’re not a soldier, Ellianna. No, she was a useless party-girl-turned-survivor. She watched as a red dot disappeared off the screen, then another, and another. She finally drew a breath. Marcus and his team were the experienced soldiers. She’d just be a big fat liability in the field.

But she was a damn good comms officer.

Just then, a new cluster of red dots appeared near the team. She tapped the screen, took a measurement. “Marcus! More raptors are en route. They’re about one kilometer away. North.” God, would these invading aliens ever leave them alone?

“Shit,” Marcus bit out. Then he went silent.

She didn’t know if he was thinking or fighting. She pictured his rugged, scarred face creased in thought as he formulated a plan.

Then his deep, rasping voice was back. “Elle, we need an escape route and an evac now. Shaw’s been hit in the leg, Cruz is carrying him. We can’t engage more raptors.”

She tapped the screen rapidly, pulling up drone images and archived maps. Escape route, escape route. Her mind clicked through the options. She knew Shaw was taller and heavier than Cruz, but the armor they wore had slim-line exoskeletons built into them allowing the soldiers to lift heavier loads and run faster and longer than normal. She tapped the screen again. Come on. She needed somewhere safe for a Hawk quadcopter to set down and pick them up.

“Elle? We need it now!”

Just then her comp beeped. She looked at the image and saw a hazy patch of red appear in the broken shell of a nearby building. The heat sensor had detected something else down there. Something big.

Right next to the team.

She touched her ear. “Rex! Marcus, a rex has just woken up in the building beside you.”

“Fuck! Get us out of here. Now.”

Oh, God. Elle swallowed back bile. Images of rexes, with their huge, dinosaur-like bodies and mouths full of teeth, flashed in her head.

More laser fire ripped through her earpiece and she heard the wild roar of the awakening beast.

Block it out. She focused on the screen. Marcus needed her. The team needed her.

“Run past the rex.” One hand curled into a tight fist, her nails cutting into her skin. “Go through its hiding place.”

“Through its nest?” Marcus’ voice was incredulous. “You know how territorial they are.”

“It’s the best way out. On the other side you’ll find a railway tunnel. Head south along it about eight hundred meters, and you’ll find an emergency exit ladder that you can take to the surface. I’ll have a Hawk pick you up there.”

A harsh expulsion of breath. “Okay, Elle. You’ve gotten us out of too many tight spots for me to doubt you now.”

His words had heat creeping into her cheeks. His praise…it left her giddy. In her life BAI—before alien invasion—no one had valued her opinions. Her father, her mother, even her almost-fiancé, they’d all thought her nothing more than a pretty ornament. Hell, she had been a silly, pretty party girl.

And because she’d been inept, her parents were dead. Elle swallowed. A year had passed since that horrible night during the first wave of the alien attack, when their giant ships had appeared in the skies. Her parents had died that night, along with most of the world.

“Hell Squad, ready to go to hell?” Marcus called out.

“Hell, yeah!” the team responded. “The devil needs an ass-kicking!”

“Woo-hoo!” Another voice blasted through her headset, pulling her from the past. “Ellie, baby, this dirty alien’s nest stinks like Cruz’s socks. You should be here.”

A smile tugged at Elle’s lips. Shaw Baird always knew how to ease the tension of a life-or-death situation.

“Oh, yeah, Hell Squad gets the best missions,” Shaw added.

Elle watched the screen, her smile slipping. Everyone called Squad Six the Hell Squad. She was never quite sure if it was because they were hellions, or because they got sent into hell to do the toughest, dirtiest missions.

There was no doubt they were a bunch of rebels. Marcus had a rep for not following orders. Just the previous week, he’d led the squad in to destroy a raptor outpost but had detoured to rescue survivors huddled in an abandoned hospital that was under attack. At the debrief, the general’s yelling had echoed through the entire base. Marcus, as always, had been silent.

“Shut up, Shaw, you moron.” The deep female voice carried an edge.

Elle had decided there were two words that best described the only female soldier on Hell Squad—loner and tough. Claudia Frost was everything Elle wasn’t. Elle cleared her throat. “Just get yourselves back to base.”

As she listened to the team fight their way through the rex nest, she tapped in the command for one of the Hawk quadcopters to pick them up.

The line crackled. “Okay, Elle, we’re through. Heading to the evac point.”

Marcus’ deep voice flowed over her and the tense muscles in her shoulders relaxed a fraction. They’d be back soon. They were okay. He was okay.

She pressed a finger to the blue dot leading the team. “The bird’s en route, Marcus.”

“Thanks. See you soon.”

She watched on the screen as the large, black shadow of the Hawk hovered above the ground and the team boarded. The rex was headed in their direction, but they were already in the air.

Elle stood and ran her hands down her trousers. She shot a wry smile at the camouflage fabric. It felt like a dream to think that she’d ever owned a very expensive, designer wardrobe. And heels—God, how long had it been since she’d worn heels? These days, fatigues were all that hung in her closet. Well-worn ones, at that.

As she headed through the tunnels of the underground base toward the landing pads, she forced herself not to run. She’d see him—them—soon enough. She rounded a corner and almost collided with someone.

“General. Sorry, I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

“No problem, Elle.” General Adam Holmes had a military-straight bearing he’d developed in the United Coalition Army and a head of dark hair with a brush of distinguished gray at his temples. He was classically handsome, and his eyes were a piercing blue. He was the top man in this last little outpost of humanity. “Squad Six on their way back?”

“Yes, sir.” They fell into step.

“And they secured the map?”

God, Elle had almost forgotten about the map. “Ah, yes. They got images of it just before they came under attack by raptors.”

“Well, let’s go welcome them home. That map might just be the key to the fate of mankind.”

They stepped into the landing areas. Staff in various military uniforms and civilian clothes raced around. After the raptors had attacked, bringing all manner of vicious creatures with them to take over the Earth, what was left of mankind had banded together.

Whoever had survived now lived here in an underground base in the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney, or in the other, similar outposts scattered across the planet. All arms of the United Coalition’s military had been decimated. In the early days, many of the surviving soldiers had fought amongst themselves, trying to work out who outranked whom. But it didn’t take long before General Holmes had unified everyone against the aliens. Most squads were a mix of ranks and experience, but the teams eventually worked themselves out. Most didn’t even bother with titles and rank anymore.

Sirens blared, followed by the clang of metal. Huge doors overhead retracted into the roof.

A Hawk filled the opening, with its sleek gray body and four spinning rotors. It was near-silent, running on a small thermonuclear engine. It turned slowly as it descended to the landing pad.

Her team was home.

She threaded her hands together, her heart beating a little faster.

Marcus was home.


About the Author


Anna HackettI’m passionate about action romance. I love stories that combine the thrill of falling in love with the excitement of action, danger and adventure. I’m a sucker for that moment when the team is walking in slow motion, shoulder-to-shoulder heading off into battle. I write about people overcoming unbeatable odds and achieving seemingly impossible goals. I like to believe it’s possible for all of us to do the same.

My books are mixture of action, adventure and sexy romance and they’re recommended for anyone who enjoys fast-paced stories where the boy wins the girl at the end (or sometimes the girl wins the boy!)

To get a free book from my award-winning sci-fi romance series, The Phoenix Adventures, check out my website: www.annahackettbooks.com

Writing SFR vs. Romantic Suspense – Guest Post & #Giveaway by Diane Burton #TWRP #MYAHA

Science Fiction Romance vs Romantic Suspense

Guest Post by Diane Burton

Thanks so much for having me back, Jessica. And I love the topic you suggested. Readers know me from my adventure romances that take place in space and other worlds. My latest book ONE RED SHOE is a romantic suspense. It’s an adventure romance that takes place in this world. Other than the locale, my writing in the two genres is very similar.

Setting (in SFR, sometimes called world building): Stories have to take place somewhere. Even though my SFR books take place in space, on a starship, or an alien planet, I had to research what those locales could possibly look like. (I sure wish I could have done in-person research of space and other planets.) In my romantic suspense, I also had to do research. Fortunately, I’ve been to many of the locales where ONE RED SHOE takes place, like New York City (I even researched the subway then had to rule it out as the place where the hero & heroine meet), Seneca, NY, Holland, MI, Chicago. Even my heroine’s hometown in Iowa is modeled after a small farming town where I’ve lived.

Suspense: All my SFRs have suspense and danger. Since I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, I often don’t know who the villain is until near the end of the story. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. In ONE RED SHOE, I knew from the beginning who but not why. By the very nature of the genre, romantic suspense had plenty of danger.

Villains: I don’t write about psychopaths. They creep me out. All my villains have logical reasons for why they do what they do. They rationalize their actions. In their minds, they’re justified. Whether those villains are in space or in NYC, they all have similar behavior in my stories.

Heroes & Heroines: What good is world building and villains if there aren’t any good guys? Somebody has to save the day, the country, the planet. I’d like to say my heroes are all tall, dark, and handsome. Since I’m tall, I do like tall men. I also prefer dark hair to blond (although Daniel Craig is making me change my mind about blond men). Handsome is in the eye of the beholder. But looks aren’t everything. Character revealed through action matters to my heroines. Same with my heroes. Being guys, they notice looks first. As they look deeper, they see the strength in the heroine. In ONE RED SHOE, my heroine doesn’t think she’s heroic at all. Half the time, she’s scared to death. The hero has to tell her how courageous she is before she realizes it.

Happily Ever After: A reader who picks up a science fiction romance or a romantic suspense expect a satisfying ending—a happy ever after. The villain is going to be caught. The hero and heroine will get together. Whether they decide to live in Iowa, Washington, DC or on a starship, my hero and heroine will always have a happy ever after.

So I don’t think writing science fiction romance is all that different from romantic suspense. No matter what I write, I always have a great time going on an adventure with my characters.

One Red Shoe by Diane Burton - romantic suspenseOne Red Shoe
By Diane Burton

Wannabe writer rescues wounded spy while risking her heart.

Daria Mason’s life is too predictable. Nothing ever happens in her small Iowa town where everybody knows everybody else. But when she travels to New York City looking for a little excitement, she never expects to bring home a wounded spy.

From the moment agent Sam Jozwiak steals intel vital to US security from a Russian Mafia kingpin, Murphy’s Law takes over. No matter how he covers his tracks, the kingpin’s assassins find him. What’s worse than getting shot in the butt? Accepting help from an Iowa tourist.

Sam and Daria flee cross country with the assassins right behind them. Sharing danger and excitement—and a few kisses—with Sam soon has Daria convinced he’s the man for her. He thinks she’ll be better off once he’s out of her life for good. With their lives on the line, can she convince him they belong together?

Excerpt from One Red Shoe:

Sam found a door with a push plate and faded square where a sign used to be. This had to be it. He carefully pushed open the door. No noise to attract Grashenko & Company if they came back. Good grief, the restroom was an explosion of pink. Pepto-Bismol pink with black trim. Sam didn’t have time to find the men’s room now. He would stop the bleeding and get out of this potential trap.

Skylights, dirty like the rest of the windows in the building, let in enough light to see. Good. He didn’t want to risk turning on a light that would shine under the door. Around a corner, hidden from the door, he found a long counter with a row of sinks and a mirror above. All the better to examine the damage done by that trigger-happy fool.

Sam unzipped his jeans and worked down his briefs to expose his hip. What a mess. Not for the first time, he cursed Grashenko for showing up in that hotel room in Smolensk. Sam’s hasty departure, with Yuri and Korioff on his tail, meant leaving behind his gear. His clothes, sunglasses, and emergency medical supplies would bring top dollar on the Russian black market. He would have to make do with what he had. Carefully, he turned a faucet to wet his handkerchief. He blew out a breath in relief the plumbing still worked and was used on a regular basis. No air hissed or sputtered, which would’ve brought Grashenko and Korioff back in a hurry.

With much twisting to see, Sam wiped away the worst of the blood. Amazed that there were paper towels in a dispenser, he folded several and stuffed them inside his briefs. He tried to zip his jeans but the bulge in back pressed on his raw flesh. Hell, he’d zip up when he was done.

When he bent to check his calf, he nearly keeled over from dizziness. He grabbed the counter. His shoe had absorbed the blood. None on the floor, thank God. No trail. Sam patted his shirt pocket and took out his agency cell phone. He needed to find out where the hell Teller was. That idiot better have a damn good reason for doing a no-show. Didn’t he realize the consequences? Didn’t he realize how little time they had to—

The air moved—his only warning that the door to the restroom had opened. A whirlwind in beige blasted past him. In that split second Sam instinctively cataloged the intruder. Female, five-ten, weight uncertain due to voluminous coat, late twenties, long dark single braid, penny loafers. And a large button clipped to her purse. Shit. More dangerous than a Russian Mafia hit man. A wide-eyed innocent. The kind he’d sworn to protect. And here he was bleeding like a stuck pig, so dizzy he was going to fall flat on his face.

One Red Shoe is available for Kindle at: http://amzn.com/B00FDXRHZA

Author Bio:

Diane BurtonDiane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing science fiction romance. Besides the Switched series, she is the author of The Pilot, a series about strong women on the frontier of space. One Red Shoe is her first romantic suspense. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

Connect with Diane Burton online:

BlogTwitterFacebookGoodreads | Pinterest

Diane Burton is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a lucky commenter. To enter, use the Rafflecopter below or enter here. The winner will be announced on October 31st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks, Jessica, for helping me celebrate the release of my newest book. (JES: It’s always a pleasure to have you here. Come back anytime!) 


Love Redeemed Blog Tour – Interview with author Sorcha Mowbray

Welcome back to my blog, Sorcha! It’s a pleasure to have you here during your blog tour. What can you tell us about your upcoming release, Love Redeemed?

SM: Well, Love Redeemed is book two in The Market series. It is about a high class prostitute who meets a handsome merchant on the street and is unexpectedly treated as a lady. Enjoying the novelty of such deference, she conceals that she is a prostitute. The merchant has been trying to work up the nerve to introduce himself to the beautiful woman he has seen on Bond Street and finally does. He is taken with her and loses his heart quite handily. Then she disappears and he must find and convince her that their love is enough to carry them through. (Read the official blurb and an excerpt at the end of the interview.)

Describe the heroine in three words.

SM: Stubborn, self-sufficient, honorable

What traits does the hero posses that makes the heroine swoon?

SM: He is steadfast, caring, and he takes control with a delicious ability to command without demeaning.

What was your inspiration for this story?

SM: I love the idea of historical romance that doesn’t center on the nobility. I wanted to write a prostitute who gets a happy ending and since I was writing a series set in a brothel it was the perfect opportunity.

What genres do you write in, and what appeals to you about those genres?

SW: I write historical, contemporary/western, and fantasy/science fiction. Well, historical is what I read forever! And I have a history minor from college. It has been a long time love of mine. Contemporary/western appeals to my sexy cowboy bone. It’s a real thing, Google it *grins*. How can you not like a man who generally keeps rope handy? And the fantasy/science fiction is something new for me so we’ll see how it works out. What I love about it is the freedom to create new worlds and cultural values that allow the characters to be so different from what life is like today. In all three genres the key is escape. I read to escape so I write for the same reason. I don’t want to be reminded of my day to day issues by what I’m reading.

What other titles do you have published?

Available November 27

SM: Love Revealed (The Market Series, Book 1) – A Dom and submissive meet as anonymous masked lovers at a brothel in Victorian London. As boundaries are pushed they grow closer together. When he discovers her identity he must find a way to reveal himself and convince her of his love. (Decadent Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ARe)

Taking Her Chance (One Night With A Cowboy) – Former lovers meet again through a dating service and unexpectedly reignite their connection. Question is, will they take a chance this time or let love pass them by again? (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ARe)

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

SM: I’m a total hybrid. :) I typically do a quick outline, some character sketches, and then a synopsis. Then I write the story and if things go off in an unexpected direction I roll with it. The outline and synopsis will get changed and the story presses on.

Is there anything else my readers should know about you?

SM: Well, let’s see. I’m a former dancer, even went to college on a dance scholarship…and no it wasn’t sponsored by the local strip club. LOL! Although I did consider it briefly in college. It was the fear of one of my male cousins or their friends walking in and seeing me kept me from doing it. The money was very tempting. I am also the type who rushes to the defense of the weak. I hate bullies and I have a really hard time staying out of things when I see bullying or injustice of any kind going on.

Where can my readers find you?

SM: I’m all over the place! I’m in the usual places, plus I am on Kindlegraph for signed digital copies, GoodReads, Pintrest, and I have a group blog with some amazing ladies over at Silken Sheets and Seduction. Here are some of my links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pintrest | GoodReads | Kindlegraph

A question for your readers: What traits do you look for in the heroes you read?

Love Redeemed Blog Tour & Giveaway:

At each stop of the blog tour I will give away a copy of Love Revealed (Book 1) of the series. At the end of the 11 day tour a grand prize of a $25 All Romance eBook (ARe) store gift card and one copy of my back list will be given away to one lucky winner.

Rules (Cause you know there have to be rules!)

1. Winners of the individual blog stops will not be eligible to win the grand prize
2. One comment per stop will be eligible for the drawings (so be sure to answer my questions!)
3. The contest is open internationally
4. Commenters must include an email so they can be contacted
5. Any prize not claimed within 48hrs will be subject to forfeiture and a new winner drawn

Love Redeemed (Book 2, The Market Series)

Brennan Whitling wants for nothing but the love of a good woman. He has a close family, good friends, and a successful textiles import business. But, a beautiful and elusive young woman he has only seen from afar haunts him. Until a chance meeting leads to far more than dinner.

Serena Freemont has only ever known the life of a prostitute. When an invitation to dinner by a handsome gentleman provides her an opportunity to experience life as a young lady, it’s too tempting to pass up. Much like the man issuing it. After a night of passion she must disappear or face his reaction when the truth is revealed.

To find happiness Serena must shed her past long enough to realize she is worthy of a future. To win her heart, Brennan must show her the redemptive power of love.

Available November 27 from Decadent Publishing and other eBook retailers.


“Are you all right, Miss?”

For a moment, for this moment, she was a normal young woman experiencing the attentions of a handsome young man. Heat crept up her cheeks as he held her hatbox out, and the burning had nothing to do with the sun. “I-I— Yes, I am. Thank you.” His blue-gray eyes seemed to bore into her.

“I am so glad. I was sure you were a goner there for a moment.” He flashed a brilliant grin liquefying Serena’s insides instantly. “Please let me introduce myself. I’m Mr. Brennan Whitling of Whitling Textiles Importers and Wholesalers.”

“How do you do, Mr. Whitling?” Serena allowed her lips to curve up ever so slightly. “I am Miss Serena Freemont.”

“It is a pleasure. Might I interest you and your”—he glanced around the bustling street as his grin faded in confusion— “chaperone in a cup of tea?”

A wave of horror swept over Serena. Chaperone? Harlots did not require one of those. “Oh, Aunt Henrietta is in the bookstore, and I fear she will be in there a very long time. I am certain she won’t notice if we slip off for a quick spot of tea.”

“Excellent! There is a lovely little shop just up the street.” A beautiful smile spread across his face, causing her pulse to quicken.

He escorted her up the block where they stopped at a quaint little teashop. They settled in at a table and ordered a pot of tea.

“What has you on Bond Street today, Mr. Whitling?” They sat in semi privacy at the back of the shop.

“Oh, I was visiting some of my customers and taking new orders. I am very glad I was there to help you, and by virtue of said assistance make your acquaintance.” Did his already deep voice grow huskier? Their tea service arrived, dispelling the moment.

“As am I. Landing on my backside in the middle of the street would have been rather embarrassing. But in truth, thank you for your assistance today, and now the tea.” She lifted her freshly prepared cup to her lips and took a dainty sip from the delicate china. Through lowered lashes, she watched his graceful movements as he prepared his own.

“It is my pleasure on both accounts. You seem familiar to me. Have we met somewhere before? A ball perhaps?”

© foaloce – Fotolia.com

Author Bio:

Sorcha Mowbray is a mild mannered office worker by day…okay, so she is actually a mouthy, opinionated, take charge kind of gal who bosses everyone around; but she definitely works in an office. At night she writes romance so hot she sets the sheets on fire! Just ask her slightly singed husband.

She is a long time lover of historical romance, having grown up reading Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught. Then she discovered Thea Devine and Susan Johnson. Holy cow! Heroes and heroines could do THAT? From there, things devolved into trying her hand at writing a little smexy. Needless to say, she liked it and she hopes you do too!