Friday, April 7, 2017

Book Launch: Wanted and Wired, a science-fiction romance

Described by Publishers Weekly as a "steamy near-future escapade," Wanted and Wired is now available!

Book 1 in the Tether science-fiction romance series

What it’s about:

A snarky, sexy sci-fi romance series with the perfect balance of humor, heat, and heart. Now that Texas has seceded and the world is spiraling into chaos, good guys come in unlikely packages and love ignites in the most inconvenient places...

Rogue scientist • technologically enhanced • deliciously attractive
Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what's left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas -- sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo.

Gun for hire • Texan rebel • always hits her mark
Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most wanted list. Someone set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it's the perfect storm...

What other folks are saying about it:

"Steamy . . . an easy trip into a not-so-distant world of technologically enhanced humans ruled by their indefatigable and inexhaustible hormones.
" - Publishers Weekly

"Jackson leaves the reader anticipating the next installment." - Booklist

"Impressive . . . Jackson has a real winner on her hands!" - RT Book Reviews

"Raw. Smart. Quick-witted. Mouthwatering. Just a few adjectives that describe this exquisite tale. Do not let this unforgettable story, or its incredible cast of characters, slip by you. Brava, Ms. Jackson!" - DARYNDA JONES, New York Times bestselling author of the Charley Davidson series

Where you can get it:


         “Mari?” The voice in her earpiece cushioned her panic somewhat.
         “Yeah, I’m in position,” she mouthed into her com rig. A receiver embedded in her throat picked up the vibration of her subwhisper and transmitted it to her remote partner, Heron. She didn’t even need to speak. He was right there in her head, or at least his voice was.
          “I can see that,” he said evenly. “Read me in on the rest of it.”
          Mari laid her gaze down the sightline and took a couple of long, steady breaths. “Uh, I got a bead on the building. No movement so far, which really isn’t that unexpected, given we’re peeking at a holoporn suite at midday. Fancy-pants one, too. Don’t you figure patrons at a place like this would have day jobs?”
          “I try not to think about the proclivities of our targets,” he said witheringly. Except the words didn’t wither, not when he said them. He had a way of making his voice sound like exactly what she needed to hear. In another man, she’d call it magic. In Heron, it was probably wetware calibration. “But I was asking about neither the building nor the mech-clone, querida. What is your status?”
          For instance, he said your exactly as if he gave a shit. Not just about the job, but about her. And that warmed her up far more than it should have.
Logically, Mari knew where she stood with him. He might call her querida from time to time, but in the same offhand way bar rats back home had called her ma’am. They hadn’t meant it as a mark of respect. Just like Heron didn’t mean to imply she was dear to him.
          They were working partners, sharing a contract but not much else. On this particular job, she functioned as shooter to his operations planner, but he had lots of other assets in play: drones, cameras, software bots, you name it. More dependable assets, too. Of the lot, she was the only one who had to get talked down from having the shakes.
          Which, weirdly enough, had lessened. They hadn’t gone away entirely, but at least her hands were steady, dogs to the Pavlov of his voice. She could do this.
          “Oh, you know me.” She flattened the gum behind her incisors. “Always itching to kill something.” Which wasn’t true at all, but it sounded appropriately badass.
          “Not kill. The contract is to capture or destroy a stolen mech-clone. It isn’t living and never was. It’s just a machine.”
          “It’s a pretty fucking special machine, though. There are, what, ten known N series mech-clones in the whole world? This contract is big balls, at least for me. I gotta get it right.” Heron might have pulled bigger, more high-profile contracts, but most of Mari’s work was small-time property destruction and softkill intercepts. She could bring down a drone like nobody’s business. But then, most drones didn’t look like people.
          She shouldn’t have taken this job. Everything about it stank to high heaven. Heron had been against it from the start. But then, on the flip side, there was that payout she’d been promised. The thing that would make it all worthwhile. The thing she hadn’t told her partner about yet.
          Heron didn’t say anything for a long while. Silence roared where his voice should be. Then, “If it’s really bothering you, we can call this off right now. You know I’d rather capture the mech-clone and return it intact. I believe I know who it belongs to.”
          Mari forced breath through her gum, popping a quiet bubble. “Nah, let’s take this fucker out. Less messy, no loose ends, and we don’t have to pack it up and ship it afterward. Just get your drone ready to vid the kill confirmation.”
          “The bounty would be higher on a capture,” he reminded her. “And we could sell it to somebody other than Texas.”
          The way he said Texas got her hackles up, but she bit back a defensive reply. Depending on who you talked to, postsecession Texas was either a geopolitical object lesson in what not to do or else a deep hick land of lawless gun-toters, enviro-containment zones, barbed wire, and whacked-out technocrats.
          “What was it you said about the proclivities of our clients? That we don’t need to like them?”
          “My reservations have nothing to do with our client’s hobbies or fetishes. Quite simply, I don’t trust the Texas Provisional Authority.” Heron’s voice on the com was as carefully modulated as ever, so maybe Mari was imagining the criticism. Maybe she was just too sensitive about where she came from.
          “They got money same as anybody, maybe more if those power grid rumors are true.”
          “I’m not talking about the payout, querida. I’m talking about you. I don’t trust them with you.” He paused. “I can get you other contracts. ZaneCorp is looking to take out the group that hacked them last month. Their data center is off the coast of Belize. Easy job, nice payout, white sand beaches nearby. You could wear a bikini and use explosives.”
          Her mouth relaxed into a half grin. Regardless of the fact that they didn’t socialize outside of work, this man knew her far too well. “Nah, we’ve been over this. I got a job to do here.” She pushed the gum against her soft palate. “Anyhow, don’t you got something better to do than chat me up while I’m working?”
          “Your bios spiked.” She could almost see his articulated shrug, a movement that was too smooth, too deliberate. And also god-awful sexy. “You are my mission priority.”
          So hard not to sigh. Mission. Job. That’s all she was to him. Getting her in and out of jobs was the beginning and end of his care for her.
          No matter that she had a thing for skinny, dark-haired smart-asses—even biomechanically enhanced ones. No matter that sometimes she thought of him as her guardian angel out here when things got hairy. No matter that she wished sometimes—okay, lots of times—that she could take him with her on a downtime, one of those booze-hazy interstices between jobs. Her usual contracts—thieving, demolition, corporate data smuggling—paid well enough that she could hie off for a few weeks after, blank her mind, and abuse her body in all the best ways.
          She tried to picture Heron with her in one of those downtimes. Sand, still warm from the sun, now splashed with bonfire and moonlight, music so loud her bones throbbed, and Heron lounging beside her, ass naked and relaxed, swirling a margarita. With his tongue.
          Whoa. Well, if she was looking to settle herself, that mental image sure wasn’t gonna do it.
          Except it had.
          Or maybe just talking to him had.

Vivien Jackson writes stories with robots, grenades, pixies, and always, always down-home salacious kissery. She's an unrepentant fangirl of many fandoms and would love to discuss your favorite ships here or here or here.

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