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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"we always get what we need out of them" - Spark Rising by Kate Corcino

The strongest of the boys are taken as Wards and raised to become elite agents, the Council’s enforcers and spies. Strong girls—those who could advance the rapidly-evolving matrilineal power—don’t exist. Not according to the Council.


Description:

Published: December 15th, 2014

All that’s required to ignite a revolution is a single spark rising.

Two hundred years after the cataclysm that annihilated fossil fuels, Sparks keep electricity flowing through their control of energy-giving Dust. The Council of Nine rebuilt civilization on the backs of Sparks, offering citizens a comfortable life in a relo-city in exchange for power, particularly over the children able to fuel the future. The strongest of the boys are taken as Wards and raised to become elite agents, the Council’s enforcers and spies. Strong girls—those who could advance the rapidly-evolving matrilineal power—don’t exist. Not according to the Council.

Lena Gracey died as a child, mourned publicly by parents desperate to keep her from the Council. She was raised in hiding until she fled the relo-city for solitary freedom in the desert. Lena lives off the grid, selling her power on the black market.

Agent Alex Reyes was honed into a calculating weapon at the Ward School to do the Council’s dirty work. But Alex lives a double life. He’s leading the next generation of agents in a secret revolution to destroy those in power from within.

The life Lena built to escape her past ends the day Alex arrives looking for a renegade Spark.

EXCERPT 





In Spark Rising, Lena Gracey trusts the wrong man to keep her family safe, and it costs her freedom. In custody, she tries to stay one step ahead of the Agents determined to learn what they can about her rare power. When her mother is brought in as a means to control her, Lena will do whatever it takes to keep her safe, and only one man in the room is smart enough to be worried.
“What do you want me to tell you?”

Lucas cocked his head, and his mouth twisted at the corner. “Tell me?” His voice still had the purring, pleased burr beneath it.

Lena gritted her teeth. “What do you want to know?”

“Oh.” He frowned as if puzzled. “I thought it was obvious.” He leaned in, careful not to touch her. “I want to know your limits.” His nostrils flared again. He pulled back, sinuous as a cobra. Then he struck.

His right hand shot down across her, ripping off the electrodes at her temples. His left hand gripped her mother’s hair. He pulled her head back and stuck the electrodes to the skin of her temples.

Her mother didn’t even try to fight him. She stood almost serenely beside Lena.

“Mama, please. Do something. Fight back.” The buzz in her head quieted with the electrodes gone from her temples, but the current still burned into her from the others.

Lucas grinned. “Fight back? Against the three men in the room? How should she do that?” He flexed his hand in her mother’s hair, moving her head with the tightening of his fingers. “She’s not like you. She’s not strong, is she?”

“Strong enough to keep me hidden from you assholes.” She swallowed. She looked back up at the ceiling above her. Perhaps if he couldn’t see her into her eyes, he couldn’t see her fear. He couldn’t enjoy it.

He laughed softly. “It’s up to you, Lena. If you want to help her, you’re going to have to show us what you can do.”

A soft curse came from the corner. “You’re a fool, Lucas,” Reyes said. “What do you think is going to happen if you piss her off enough to break free? What if your little set-up there can’t hold her?”

Lucas rolled his eyes at the interference. He didn’t bother to turn to Reyes. “It’ll hold. It always holds. And we always get what we need out of them.”

****

In Spark Rising, Agent Alejandro Reyes discovers Magdalena Gracey living deep in the desert of what was New Mexico. In this scene, written from Alex’s point of view, Alex reports back to his best friend and partner in revolution, Thomas, that he’s found a very strong rogue Spark…and Thomas has been waiting for the moment for a very long time.


“You found one?”

“Oh, yeah.”

Thomas’s quirked lips grew into a smile. “How strong is he?”

Alex waited a beat, drawing out the moment. He’d only get to do this once. “She is the brightest thing I’ve ever seen. Her bloom was so bright it hurt to look at it, and she was still fully functional.”

His friend stilled, one hand poised for a blow that didn’t fall. “She?”

Alex could almost hear the click as the final piece of Thomas’s grand plan fell neatly into place, making the largest, most theoretical of his ideas a reality.

His arms fell to his sides. He turned to Alex. “Tell me.”

“Do you remember Three’s Senior Councilor Aide, name of Gracey?” Alex asked. “Caught being curious about things he had no need to know? She’s his daughter.”

Thomas frowned his disagreement with a slight shake of his head. “Gracey had a daughter and a son. The daughter’s just a mid-level. Like all girls.” His voice was disappointed.

“He had another daughter. He faked her death and hid her away.” Alex took a breath. “After his death, as soon as she was old enough, she left the city. She’s been living on the edge of tribal lands and working as a black market Spark. We put ourselves on her schedule. And when we pulled up she had a corona around her like the sun at full eclipse. Like I said, it hurt to look at her.

“It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. Emotion tightened his throat, and he swallowed to clear it. It had been beautiful, but still.

Thomas was still now, utterly focused on his friend. “One of the disappeared girls,” he said. “How old?”

“Twenty-four. Young enough, and old enough. Tiny thing. Big green eyes. Coated in freckles. Not pretty, exactly, not that it matters, but stunning in her own way.” He frowned. What did that have to do with anything? He barked a laugh as he focused on what mattered—the personality they’d have to work around to get her to join them. Just because he admired her ballsiness didn’t mean he couldn’t recognize that her strength would make things harder. “She’s a tough little pain in the ass.”

Thomas took a deep breath. “Please tell me you’ve brought her here?”

He shook his head. “She got away—”

“Dammit, Alex! This is important!” His gloved hands shot up to frame his head in anger and disbelief.

“I damn well know how important it is! She took us out. Took. Us. Out.”

They had hoped to find a Spark evolved to a dangerous, exquisite extreme. They’d found her, and that presented a danger all its own.

Alex ran his hands through his hair. “She took us out long enough to get out through her escape tunnel. She made it to the tribe. I couldn’t do anything at that point.”

“You know where she is?”

Alex nodded.

“Then we’ll go get her. Tonight.”

Alex closed his eyes for a moment. Shit. He’d figured Thomas’s reaction would be strong. But this was on the extreme end.

“No, Thom.”

“Yes! She cannot get away. She belongs with us.”

“We’re not ready to go to war. And that’s what it would be. We have to do this the way we do things. We have to be smart.” Alex stared down into Thomas’s pale eyes, holding onto his calm. One of them had to.

Thomas took two quick steps to stand inches from Alex. “We cannot allow her to disappear. She is—she’s our Eve.”

“I know. And I’m working on it. As soon as the Council gets wind of this girl, they will scramble everything to ensure she is taken into custody.”

“Then you get to her first, Alex. Because if they get to her first and they can’t figure out how to harness her, they will kill her. And either way, they win. You get to her first. You bring her home to us. I don’t care what you have to do.”

Alex took a long breath. “We are so close,” he reminded his friend. “Zone Three is primed. I’m not willing to undo that for a girl you didn’t know existed five minutes ago.”

He wasn’t. Was he?
“I knew she should exist. And now that I know she’s real, we will do whatever we have to do to bring her home.”

Arguing would be pointless. Thomas had anticipated this moment for too long. Alex nodded, his mind working angles.

Like this reaction wasn’t exactly what you wanted: an excuse to do whatever it takes to bring in the perfect Spark. The perfect weapon.

“We can have both. I can make it happen.”

“Then do it. But remember, she’s our priority now. Once we have her, we have the future.”



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About the author:
Kate Corcino is a reformed shy girl who found her voice (and uses it…a lot). She believes in magic, coffee, Starburst candies, genre fiction, descriptive profanity, and cackling over wine with good friends. A recovering Dr. Pepper addict, she knows the only addiction worth feeding is the one that follows the “click-whooooosh” of a new story settling into her brain.

She also believes in the transformative power of screwing up and second chances. Cheers to works-in-progress of the literary and lifelong variety!

She is currently gearing up for publication of Ignition Point and Spark Rising , the first books in the Progenitor Saga, a near future dystopian adventure series with romantic elements, science, magic, and plenty of action.


8 comments:

John Thuku said...

What an interesting excerpt. Would love to read this. Thank you for hosting.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for featuring Spark Rising this week. I really appreciate the time and the space you've given to a brand-new author!

Cyndi F said...

Wow sounds amazing!! loved the excerpt and the cover, thank you for the great giveaway as well. I look forward to reading this book as well as your books in the future.

Cyndi F said...

Wow sounds amazing!! loved the excerpt and the cover, thank you for the great giveaway as well. I look forward to reading this book as well as your books in the future.

Katherine Riley said...

Great concept of humans being able to generate electricity. Love the excerpt and can't wait to read the rest.

Jessica Stout said...

This book sounds amazing. would love to read it! thank you for the giveaway!

Thomas Murphy said...

sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.

rounder9834 @yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

thanks for the chance