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Being orphaned and almost kidnapped in the space of a week sent Blake Marks into hiding. For months, Blake tries to help the Calvers—a family of vigilante bodyguards—investigate the people behind the hit on Blake’s father, Isaac, but then the safe house is compromised. Just as hired thugs storm the house to grab Blake, Daelan Calver dives into the fight, getting them both out alive.
Hiding isn’t an option anymore, but hit squads, under-the-table deals, and international espionage? Blake has no idea how to handle any of it, not even with Daelan’s family there to play teachers. The one thing Blake knows for sure is that there are only two options: keep up with the Calvers or get out of their way.
But even with the Calvers’ help and the glimmer of a possible future with Daelan giving Blake hope, chances of survival keep shrinking. The man who ordered the hit on Isaac may be dead, but his partner is viciously cold-blooded, and her plans could change the course of history. Blake wants to finish what Isaac started, but it’s looking like someone is going to die before this is over. And that someone might be Blake.
Excerpt from Assassins: Discord
Blake Marks is barely in the first book of the ASSASSINS series, but Nemesis very much becomes his story. Blake, who claims the labels of “mixed race, multiethnic, allergic to more things than I want to name, intersex because of partial androgen insensitivity syndrome, expressively gender-fluid but mentally agender, and panromantic graysexual,” was a fascinating character to write. He (and I’ll use he here because Blake is presenting as male in the excerpt below) is different in innumerable ways from Kindra—Discord’s narrator. Calm where Kindra is reactive, unskilled where she’s an expert, and innocent in a lot of the ways she’s very much not. Essentially, Blake is one of us, and he somehow gets sucked into a world of assassins and conspiracies and adrenaline.
Below is an excerpt from Discord that answers that question. It’s taken from the section in which Blake physically appears on the page for the first time, and this is the moment when his life collides with Kindra’s and the Calvers’ world.
Tuesday, February 23 – 1623
“In here, Blake.” The head of the school ushered the new arrival into her office and then tried to shut the door. She couldn’t. Blake Marks had stopped a foot inside the room, staring at the two besuited men waiting inside.
“What happened?” Blake’s dark eyes jumped from one face to the other. “Where’s Dad?”
The two men glanced at each other before the shorter, sharp-featured Hispanic man spoke. “Some threats have been made against your father and you—threats we believe to be credible.”
“We’ve made arrangements to move you to a secure location.” The taller, scruffy-haired man glanced at his watch. “We have to leave now, though.”
Blake’s large eyes narrowed as they spoke, and he rocked back on his heels, running a hand over his short hair. The other he shoved into the pocket of his jeans, where he wrapped his fingers around his cell phone. “You didn’t answer my question. Where is my father?”
“We don’t have a fix on his location yet,” the taller one said, his rosy cheeks flushing and his dark blue eyes shifting to the left. “We’re working on it.”
Blake worried his plush lower lip with his teeth, but then words spilled out of his mouth, spoken in the cadence of a poem. “‘In nature there’s no blemish but the mind.’”
Both men blinked.
Blake turned and ran.
He sprinted through the halls with the ease of familiarity, only the heavy thump of his backpack slowing him down. Pulling out his cell phone, he tried to access his contacts, but fumbled entering the passcode on the lock screen. Grunting, he stopped trying, gripping the phone tight and putting on another burst of speed. He propelled himself through the side door, almost tripping down the staircase a few feet away, but he caught the railing and descended.
A hand grabbed his arm. Another covered his mouth before he could scream.
“‘None can be called deformed but the unkind,’” the man who held Blake captive said, finishing the quote the men in the office hadn’t known.
Blake sagged, tears welling in his eyes.
“We have to go, Blake. Will you come?” When Blake nodded, the man released his mouth, but not the grip he had on Blake’s arm. “C’mon. I don’t think they’re far behind.”
He pulled Blake toward the street, where a black van was waiting, its door already open.
Blake hesitated at the door, warily eyeing the van and the man sitting inside. Then the two fake agents burst out of the school, guns drawn and deadly determination on their faces. Uncertainty gone, Blake jumped in the van, and the driver peeled out of the parking lot.
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Meet the author:
After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author.
Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, ex-Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.
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To celebrate the release of Assassins: Nemesis, one lucky winner will receive $30 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 14, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
Promotional post. Materials provided by the publisher.