by Lesley Young
BLURB: A secret she must never share. A secret that two warring species are determined to control. A universe’s future at stake.
Twenty-year-old Cassiel Winters joins Earth’s new space academy in hopes of finding her brother, one of Command’s top pilots and her only family, who’s been reported MIA. But she quickly realizes she may not be cut out for life in space, where female cadets are outnumbered, competition’s fierce, and she’s already failed her hand-to-hand combat test once.
Even the station’s most respected officer, Lt. Damian King, probably can’t help Cassiel pass the second time around – so why is he so interested in her progress? If only one of her freaky déjà vu visions would offer an answer instead of mysterious messages like hide.
When Cassiel’s manipulated into a perilous mission, she encounters a warrior species bred to protect the universe from an even greater threat. And she learns that her secret visions are at the heart of it all.
Now Cassiel must fight to control her own destiny and race to save her brother – even if it means pretending to be the pawn of Prime Or’ic, the cold-as-steel Thell’eon leader. Even if it means risking her life, facing hard truths, and making the ultimate sacrifice.
EXCERPTS: I skip a breath, and remember to blink, but my eyelids remain closed for a second longer than normal, as if we could physically shut out this truth. Until now, the Thell’eons seem liked a far away threat. Hearing straight from Command that we are facing an imminent threat is chilling. I glance at King, who’s staring at the table. Evidently, he knows all of this. Well, he’s a member of SOSA, too, or so Daz hinted, but I’m not supposed to know.
“We also have good reason to believe there are undercover Thell’eon spies on Earth,” adds Adm. O’Reilly.
Outrage, the kind that makes you want to wage wars, surges through my veins. This news is a surprise to King and a few of the other officers, too, who look up at the Admiral surprised.
Spies? The idea of Earth being in clear and present danger makes all of my problems seem really unimportant. It’s all-encompassing.
And then I check myself. Are we being hasty here? Astro-archeological evidence shows several alien species completely annihilated each other, and even their home planets. We can’t be sure why, but I can’t help falling back on one thing I know to be true: fear’s the ultimate harbinger of war. “Sirs,” I say, checking with Colonel Sato to find out if it’s okay for me to continue. He nods. “How do we know what they really want?”
The officers at the table look at Adm. O’Reilly like this might be a valid question.
King stares at me, like he’s sizing up a stranger. What? I think irritably. “Of course we know what they want!” says the Admiral
impatiently. “They want rights to the hydrogen in our region. They want all of our galaxy’s abundance of rich elements. They want land that is nourished by a sun. In other words, they want Earth and they’ll stop at nothing to take it!”
He spat the last line out like a cherry pit. His face is bright red.
The Admiral struggles to collect himself. This is too surreal. I suppress the urge to giggle, a strange reaction considering I’m totally terrified right now. But, I guess that’s the vibe I’m giving off, because Commandant Abernathy says, “Don’t be afraid, Cassiel.” He has a directness that I imagine wins him many votes. I check myself.
“You’re right in that we can’t be certain that they plan to destroy us. In fact, that’s exactly what we need to learn. We need to know what their plans for Earth are.”
He pauses, glancing at the Admiral. “And we need your help to learn that,” he adds, settling back on my face.
I know my eyes are wide open. I can’t help but look at King to share my disbelief. Only, he’s struggling to compose himself. He moves in his seat, like he’s about to say something but decides against it, staring ahead at nothing. Prof Xeno speaks for the first time. Waves of calm soothe me, and I hope to channel more. He rotates his chair in order to face me. He reaches out a long arm from his shoulderless torso, all the way across the empty chair between us, and places his long, wrinkly fingers on top of mine. I can’t remember the last time I felt the warmth and safety of a human, er, life form’s touch. A hug from Daz goodbye, months ago?
“SOSA has divined a mission for you. A very dangerous mission, Cassiel,” he adds softly. Okay, not so comforting after all. “You don’t have to do it. You can leave here right now and continue with your studies, if you wish.” His papery eyelids close slowly.
Journalist Lesley Young never thought she would delve into the world of writing fiction, but when she sat down for the first time to put pen to paper, ideas for what would become her first novel just poured out naturally. Young’s first book, “Sky’s End,” is a multi-genre tale that showcases her unique style of weaving romance, action and wit into one page-burning story.
Young was born in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. She holds an arts degree from the University of Alberta and a journalism degree from the University of Victoria.
Young now lives in Loretto, Ontario where she works as a journalist, freelance writer and editor for health, décor and business magazines. Since 2008, Young has written more than 300 articles for print and online media including Profit, Toronto Life, MSN Green, and Elle Canada among others. She is a regular contributor to Reader’s Digest, Best Health, Canadian Living and House and Home Magazine.
Soul Mate Publishing releases “Sky’s End” on July 15 in paperback and e-book. The novel is Young’s first installment in a series about Cassiel Winters, a futuristic heroine, and her outer space escapades.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/skys-end-lesley-young/1115564788?ean=9781619352384
Lesley will be awarding a $75 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2bc72fd2/