Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Stumbling & Falling - An Excerpt From Elite (Citizen Saga, #1)


Just five weeks to go! Elite (Citizen Saga, #1) is due for release on October 17th, 2014. With Cardinal and Citizen to follow one week after the other.

I thought you might like another peek into Lena & Trent's edge-of-your-seat world, so read on for a glimpse...

And if you want to get a jump on your book ordering, all three books in the trilogy are available for preorder now at the following websites:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Smashwords

Kobo will follow shortly. So hit the button and secure your eCopies and then sit back and wait for all the action to begin!

This scene is from Trent's POV and gives us a little insight into him falling, or more appropriately, stumbling for his Lena...

***

"You look good enough to eat," she declared.

"And I see you bothered to redress," I replied coolly.

"You noticed?" she asked, pulling at the now correctly buttoned shirt she wore. Just what the hell she'd been playing at earlier I did not know. But I was sure if I tried hard enough I could guess, and that guess would involve her riling Lena.

The thought of Lena had me sidestepping Carla without another word and crossing the tech room to Si.

"Is she ready?" I asked, and Si pointed to a security screen showing Damia and Lena emerging from her room, both of them laughing as though they'd bonded at a sleepover.

My breath caught in my throat and with a numb kind of knowledge I swallowed thickly and turned towards the door, awaiting their arrival. It occurred to me, as I stood there like a lovesick puppy, that I was making a fool of myself. But even if I could have moved, I don't think I wanted to. The desire to lay eyes on her before anyone else consumed me.

Damia walked into the room first, dressed in black and fully armed, ready for the night. Just like her brother. Then Lena glided in on sparkling wings.

Jesus. What was I supposed to do with this?

She smiled at a few people who had the wherewithal to announce she looked beautiful. She even laughed with someone who joked that she was Elite dolled up and far too perfect for our plain old hub. She moved between my team as though she belonged, even as she outshone every single one of us. A blinding star, bright, magnificent, and omnipresent. Out of my reach.

I cleared my throat and she lifted crystal encrusted eyelashes revealing stunning ice blue eyes.

I almost groaned aloud. This was going to be harder than facing Chew-wen.

"You look good," I managed, and forced myself not to cringe at the highly inadequate words.

"Nice one, Trent," someone muttered over my shoulder. "Real suave."

Yep. That was me as far as Lena was concerned.

"You ready?" she asked, not providing me with any reciprocal compliment, inadequate or otherwise.

I glanced around for Alan and found him smirking in the corner watching my fall from grace. He looked appropriately dressed in black, so I returned my attention to Lena and nodded.

"We're ready," I replied, inordinately pleased to have sounded like my old self.

"Very well," she offered with an Elite smile. A part of me was disappointed to hear the Honourable Selena Carstairs emerge again. But part of me was grateful to be reminded of where exactly I was going dressed like this. "I believe Harjeet has arranged a limousine for us," she added and I felt myself tense.

"Just us?"

She blinked. The light caught on the crystals on her lashes and blinded me for a split second. And then awareness came rushing back in when she added, "Do you think we should take the black clad men armed with weapons and decoders and earpieces in the vehicle with us to the Palace's front door?"

Sarcasm dripped off every word, laced with unbridled amusement.

"Ah, of course not," I replied, feeling my skin tighten and heat wash up my cheeks.

I saw her fight it. I watched as her lips twitched and her eyes danced and all air was sucked from the room. Then she laughed and I was so fucking lost. And for the first time in my entire life I forgot why I was here. Why I was even born. What my role had always been.

Save Wánměi?

I don't think so.

Make this woman mine? Yes, please.

***

To find out how early reviewers are finding book one in this series, check it out on Goodreads.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Elite by Nicola Claire

Elite

by Nicola Claire

Giveaway ends October 31, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Glimpse Into The Citizen Saga World - Interview With Trent Masters... In Which I Risked Life, Limb & Sanity To Acquire!


I've got something very special for you today.

This was such an exciting and heart aching/warming story to write, I really did fall into Lena and Trent's world and get sucked in. I'm hoping you all will as well.

And today, I thought you might like to get to know Trent Masters, the male protagonist from the series, a little more. And what better way than an interview with him.

So, I went into the depths of Trent's city, risking life, limb and sanity, and asked him a few interesting questions. I hope you like this special glimpse into the Elite world...

***

We met in a small open air café in Wáikěiton, the smell of star anise, cloves, cinnamon and fennel mixing on the heated breeze. Hawkers touted their vibrant, shimmering wares in Wáitaměi and Anglisc, turning Federal Street into a riotous cacophony of striking colours, lush scents and rich sounds.

Trent Masters watched me from behind dark sunglasses, his nondescript clothing Citizen appropriate, his dark, messy hair borderline non-compliant. Sensual lips twisted into a smirk as I sat myself down, back straight, dress model, long brown hair brushed to a shining gleam.

I blended in. He stood out like the supposed rebel he was said to be.

"Citizen Claire," he offered in way of greeting.

"I wasn't sure if you'd be here," I blurted, unable to stop myself from saying the first thing to spring to mind. This man rattled me, and he hadn't even said more than two words.

I glanced around the bustling street, but no one was watching us; too busy with their eyes down over their vid-screens.

"Curiosity," he murmured, lifting a coffee cup to his lips and watching me over the rim as he took a distracting sip.

"Are you always so curious?" I asked.

He let a breath out on a harsh laugh, replacing the mug on the table's surface with a decisive thump, and leaned back casually in his chair, deep blue eyes flashing behind tinted lenses.

Everything he did threatened the world I lived in. This man who stared into the face of the Overseers and didn't blink.

"Life would indeed be boring if we didn't open our eyes and see."

I sucked in a horrified breath of air. He just smiled. The curve of his lips taunting me more than his inappropriate words just had.

"You had questions," he urged.

I grasped the lifeline greedily, pulling my vid-screen out of my handbag and swiping to find the list I'd prepared earlier.

"Dangerous that," he murmured.

My eyes shot to his face, but he wasn't looking at me. He was looking at the street-cams; Overseer cameras angled to film as much of the street as possible. Even this small slice of downtown Wánměi.

"I'll delete them afterwards," I whispered.

"It'll be too late by then," he commented without inflection.

My hand shook as I lowered my vid-screen to my lap. The questions were innocuous. The Overseers wouldn't trifle themselves with half a dozen isolated words.

Would they?

I cleared my throat. He drank more of his coffee. Silent. Watchful. Body tensed as though he could move in the blink of an eye.

"Who are you?" I asked, nervousness and fear making me ineloquent.

"A Citizen of Wánměi just like you."

"Are you really? Because I've heard otherwise."

"And what have you heard, Citizen Claire?" he asked in a low, velvety voice. "Propaganda fuelled by manipulative and oppressive Overseers?"

This man was a whispered word away from arrest.

"I've heard that you're their leader," I whispered back.

Thick arms crossed over a broad chest, stretching the fine material of his t-shirt. His knuckles were bloodied, as though he'd been in a fight. A bruise marred the tanned skin on his slightly stubbled cheek. I hadn't noticed before. I hadn't been looking.

My eyes closed and unseeing.

"I am what they need me to be," he finally said, his voice rougher and more threatening because of it.

"What is it that you do?" I asked, fidgeting in my seat under that piercing stare.

"I help where it is needed."

"What kind of help?"

"The kind that you would never need."

For some ridiculous reason I felt put-out by that.

"Why not me?" I demand, self-righteousness making me sound Elite.

Trent leaned forward, elbows resting on the table top in a blatant show of non-model behaviour. The sudden need to not be here, not be seen with this man, consumed me. My eyes darted from Citizen to Citizen, knowing it was not my fellow compatriots I should beware of, but this man and those who surely watched him.

The street-cams felt far more nefarious than they had ever been.

"You live their lies," he whispered, barely loud enough for me to hear over the continued squawking of the stall owners. "You swallow their disinformation. You breathe their air as though it is clean." He leaned back in his seat, eyes flashing ire and something else; something lethal and menacing. "You don't ask. You don't think. You walk the path they have laid out for you without question, because you believe."

"And you don't," I said softly. He only grunted.

"What do you hope to achieve?" I asked, after a strained few seconds, my blood thundering through my veins, my skin sticky with perspiration.

He looked at me as though I was a lost cause, as though I was the epitome of all that he despised. His gaze trailed over my pristine sundress, lingering on the starched creases, the intricate hand sewn embroidery. It was my most treasured outfit, almost suitable for an Elite.

I wondered what it was he saw when he looked at it. I wanted to ask, but he was already talking.

"I hope to wake them up."

I had no answer. No follow-up question. The words, spoken so steadily, but somehow laced with such unbridled emotion, were too much for a busy Wánměi street.

They were too much for hidden shadows and quiet corners of private homes.

They were too much to even think.

"Are you mad?" I asked, visceral terror at being caught conversing like this making me bold and reckless.

He smiled. It was clearly amused. Leaning back in his seat once again he surveyed me, this time with a hint of interest in those surprisingly mesmerising eyes.

"You have teeth," he commented, apropos nothing. "I wonder if you have claws."

I spluttered indignantly, straightening my posture, smoothing my hair.

"The question, Citizen Claire," he said, as I attempted to put right externally what he had torn asunder internally, "is whether my brand of crazy is right. And your brand of madness is not."

"My brand...?"

"Complacency."

"Complacency?" What on earth did he mean?

He nodded his head. "Complacency is a rotting madness that steals into the heart of the nation and eats away all independent thought."

I shook my head, strands of hair flying in a most inappropriate fashion. I had to end this.

But one last question. One last look into the soul of a non-conformist with a death wish.

"Who do you work with? Just Citizens? Or others?"

He must have seen something on my face or heard it in my question. I'd tried to be nonchalant. Show no emotion whatsoever. But rumours abounded, even in strictly controlled Wánměi.

Rumours of an Honourable Elite caught in the clutches of a rebel leader.

He stiffened, his face darkening. The blue of his eyes going grey like a stormy sea. His hands clenched. A muscle in his jaw flickered. And then he leaned forward, his arm flying out like lightning, fingers wrapping around my wrist under the small table where we sat. The grip was sure to bruise.

"What do you know?"

"N..nothing," I stammered. His grip tightened. I let out a little mewl of protest and suddenly his hand was gone.

He leaned back in his seat, then fished out some credits to throw down on the table's surface. The move so unfamiliar I jerked at the sight of the cash. Everyone paid with electronic cards.

But not Trent Masters.

He stood and I followed the sleek movement with wide open eyes, seeing more than I'd ever thought possible.

This was real. He was real.

He walked around the side of the table towards me, his eyes casually taking in the street, the cameras, the Citizens going about their day in complete ignorance, and then he leaned down and whispered in my ear.

"If you print this, I will find you. I will make your life a living hell. Understand?"

I nodded my head frantically.

"There are no Elites, no Cardinals, no Overseers and no Citizens." His hot breath sent a shiver down the side of my neck, where he breathed the next words, not even a whisper. "In One Wánměi."

And then he was gone, and I was shaking in my seat, wondering if it had happened, if I had indeed just met the leader of the rebel army, the one man it was said could free Wánměi.

I startled at the sudden and efficient appearance of the waitress, who scooped the credits up as though paying in such a fashion was not unheard of. This was Wáikěiton. Was it so different from the rest of our city?

No.

"Wánměi above all others," she said, with the dip of her head as she went to leave.

It was harder than it should have been to say the obligatory reply.

But I managed, because not to do so was a luxury I didn't have.

"Wánměi leads the way," I whispered to her back.

My eyes followed the path Trent Masters had taken, now lost in a sea of disinterested faces. A man who believed he had that luxury.

Yes, he was definitely mad.

***