QSFer Nora Phoenix has a new MMM sci fi romance out: Ignite.
The United States has split into three countries, and in the Conservative United States, being gay will get you sent to a reintegration camp. Tan has survived three years in camp, but he’s at the limit of what he can endure, even with the help of his best friend, Austin.
When a massive meteor shower creates complete chaos at the camp, Austin and Tan see a chance to escape and they take it. On a whim, they decide to bring Mack with them, a newbie at camp who seems to know more about survival than anyone.
But when the meteor shower turns out to be much more and they discover aliens have landed on Earth with war on their agenda, their escape becomes a hell of a lot more dangerous. All of a sudden, they’re not only hiding from their own government, but from alien forces as well. Their only chance is to reach the border to find freedom. But without power and food, and with every man for himself, how will they survive?
While the world around them burns, all they have are each other.
Ignite is the first book in the Ignite series, which mixes dystopian elements with sci-fi and a slow burn MMM romance. The first book will end in a cliffhanger, so no HEA or HFN, but we’ll get there eventually. Rest assured: none of the main characters will die in this series. Please mind the trigger warnings in the front of the book.
Nora is giving away an eBook copy of Ignite with this post. Comment below for a chance to win.
“Should we feel remorse?” Tan asked.
“About the lives we took? I’m sure we should on some level, but I honestly don’t,” Austin said.
“Not all counselors were bad,” Tan said.
“I disagree. They may not all have engaged in the cruel acts some of them seemed to take extreme pleasure in, but that doesn’t make them less bad. If you can stand by and watch another man be so violent and devoid of any humanity without saying something or even trying to prevent it, you are just as guilty.”
Tan tried to wrap his mind around it, but as usual, he couldn’t. “Adam was nice,” he said.
Austin kissed his head again. “I know, babe,” he said, and Tan was sure he wasn’t talking about Adam.
Tan knew he was a fucked-up mess, no doubt about it. Three years in camp would do that to you. Hell, he’d been a goner even after a few months. He would never again be the person he’d been before. None of them would.
“Shouldn’t Mack be back by now?” Austin asked. “The guy was ready to blow his load when he left, so it couldn’t have taken him this long, right?”
Tan frowned, an uneasy feeling bubbling in his stomach. They had no watches, no way to tell time, but he and Austin had been cuddling and chatting for what felt like fifteen minutes at least. Austin was right. Mack should have been back by now, especially considering he wasn’t wearing anything but a pair of boxers and his shoes.
He disentangled from Austin and sat up. “You’re right. Let’s see where he is.”
They quickly got dressed, Tan putting on a shirt of Adam’s and a pair of leggings from Adam’s girlfriend that fit him perfectly. Apparently, they had the same build. He pushed the implications of that to the far back of his mind, where it could keep company with a whole load of other stuff he chose to ignore. It was better that way, he’d learned, to keep it shoved deep inside, where it couldn’t hurt him as much.
Mack had left the tent open, and when they got out, there was no sight of him. It was quiet around them, Tan noticed. “The birds have stopped singing,” he whispered.
Austin grabbed two guns, putting one in Tan’s hand. “Let’s be quiet and super careful,” he said, his voice so soft Tan had to strain his ears to hear him. “And we stay together.”
The silence was eerie, oppressive. A thin mist hung over the ground, the air crisp this time of day. They’d pitched their tent in an open spot in the dense forest, and no matter where he looked, Tan couldn’t see anything other than trees. Where was Mack?
Austin silently indicated which direction he wanted them to go and started moving, and Tan followed him. He held the gun in his right hand, trying to keep it steady despite his trembling. The safety was still on, he’d checked, not wanting to trip and accidentally shoot Austin in the back. Mack had made Austin practice putting the safety on and off enough times that Tan felt confident Austin had the hang of it.
It was a strange sensation, walking around like this. It felt like the cop movies and TV series he’d seen so often, except this was real life, and he had no idea what they were facing. Had someone found Mack? Other campers, maybe? Or counselors? Or had the camp issued a search party with the local cops already?
He would think they’d have more on their plate what with all the meteors coming down, but there was no rhyme or reason to what their government was prioritizing. Hell, even with all the problems they had with health care, political tensions with neighboring countries, trade wars, even nuclear threats, their government had still deemed it a priority to spend a lot of money on locking up queer people. That said enough about the level of lunacy you could expect from those folks.
Austin stopped walking, then gestured at the ground. In the mud, a footprint was clearly visible. It looked recent, undisturbed, so it had to be Mack’s, right?
They kept walking, as silently as possible, as they made their way between the trees. There was no path here, just trees and more trees. Why would Mack have walked this far from the tent? It didn’t make sense, because the tent was barely visible from where they were right now. No one smart would walk farther than he could keep the tent in view, and as naïve and innocent as Mack came across, the guy had a sharply honed survival instinct.
Tan cocked his head, his ears picking up an unfamiliar sound. It wasn’t a bird or insect, more like a buzz. Not low enough for a chopper, nor hard enough for any type of vehicle, but what was it? It sounded like the buzz of a honeybee, only louder and more consistent.
He tapped Austin on the shoulder to make him stop. “Can you hear that?” he whispered.
Austin closed his eyes, clearly concentrating on picking up sounds, then shook his head. Tan knew his hearing had suffered from a particularly brutal beating he’d taken a few weeks before. The first two days, he’d barely been able to hear anything, and Tan had been worried sick about the blood trickle in his right ear. Ever since, it had improved, but he’d never gotten his full hearing back.
“It’s a weird buzzing sound,” he told Austin in a low voice. “It doesn’t sound like an animal. It’s too loud and too consistent.”
“Take the lead and follow the sound,” Austin whispered back. “That must’ve been what Mack heard as well.”
Tan tried to navigate toward the sound as best as he could, and he seemed to be successful, as it was getting louder. Something else was getting more intense as well, a smell of something burning, of fire and melted rubber.
They climbed uphill, to a ledge, and Tan gasped when he almost ran into Mack, who was sitting there, perched, peering down with look of complete shock. He wanted to ask him what the hell was wrong with him, but Mack grabbed his arm and pointed downward, to the valley they now had an overview of.
At first, Tan thought there had been a forest fire, but then he looked more closely. Had a meteorite crashed there? It certainly looked that way, but he would have expected a bigger impact. Years ago, he’d seen some disaster movie about meteorites crashing into the earth, and the main thing he’d remembered is that even a small meteorite could create a gigantic crater.
That wasn’t the case here. There was a black circle clearly visible where trees had burned, but the fire hadn’t spread beyond that circle, which was weird. But more importantly, there wasn’t a real crater. In the middle of the circle, a black rock was visible. Was that the meteorite? This didn’t make sense at all.
“It’s moving,” Mack whispered, his voice strained. “That black thing in the middle, it’s moving.”
Tan focused on the black rock in the center of the circle. It was shiny, smooth, about a foot high, he estimated. How could it have survived the impact unscathed? And how could meteorites be that smooth? It sat still, though, and at first, Tan thought Mack must have imagined things, but then it vibrated. What the hell wasthat thing?
They huddled together, kneeling down in the wet leaves and muddy ground, not caring if they got dirty, unable to tear their eyes away from the spectacle in front of them. The vibrating increased, and Tan grabbed Austin’s arm and squeezed to prevent himself from screaming. The buzzing sounded like a swarm of bees now, increasing in speed and intensity, until it suddenly stopped.
Tan could hear all three of them gasp quietly, and then the black rock split, the top opening as if someone had unscrewed it. His grip on Austin’s arm became even tighter as Tan’s breath stuck in his lungs. Oh god, this was not good. This was every freaky alien movie coming true, right before their eyes.
The top of the black rock unscrewed further and further, then slowly started drifting up, levitating above the bottom half. Faint blue light spilled out of the opened rock, which wasn’t a rock of course, but Tan had no idea what to call it. A UFO, maybe? It sure as hell didn’t look like any UFO he’d ever seen drawn in pictures or depicted in movies.
Seconds later, something appeared in the blue light. Metallic legs, first two, then more, and then it started crawling out. Tan’s stomach revolted violently, but he forced it back down. He couldn’t stop watching, no matter how scared he was, as a creature crawled out of the rock. It looked like a mechanical spider, maybe ten inches tall, with eight legs, he thought, though it was hard to count once it started moving.
It didn’t make a sound as it crawled around the rock, doing god knows what. What was it? It had to be some alien thing, right? The spider thingy was fast, zipping around the rock with an alarming speed. Tan had no idea what it was doing, but after a minute or so, the black rock started closing again, leaving the mechanical spider outside of it. Oh hell, this was not good.
Would you like the long or the short version of my bio?
The short? You got it.
I write steamy gay romance books and I love it. I also love reading books. Books are everything.
How was that?
A little more detail? Gotcha.
I started writing my first stories when I was a teen…on a freaking typewriter. I still have these, and they’re adorably romantic. And bad, haha. Fear of failing kept me from following my dream to become a romance author, so you can imagine how proud and ecstatic I am that I finally overcame my fears and self doubt and did it. I adore my genre because I love writing and reading about flawed, strong men who are just a tad broken..but find their happy ever after anyway.
My favorite books to read are pretty much all MM/gay romances as long as they have a happy end. Kink is a plus… Aside from that, I also read a lot of nonfiction and not just books on writing. Popular psychology is a favorite topic of mine and so are self help and sociology.
Hobbies? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Just kidding. I love traveling, spending time near the ocean, and hiking. But I love books more.
Come hang out with me in my Facebook Group Nora’s Nook where I share previews, sneak peeks, freebies, fun stuff, and much more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norasnook/
Wanna get first dibs on freebies, updates, sales, and more? Sign up for my newsletter (no spamming your inbox full…promise!) here: http://www.noraphoenix.com/newsletter/
On Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nora-phoenix