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Marketing for Romance Writers is a peer mentoring group for authors. It was founded in 2006 by Kayelle Allen.

You make one visit to Toy Planet and the media goes wild #Excerpt from A Stolen Heart #SciFi #MFRWhooks

In this scene, Luc is arriving home after shopping for clothes with Senthys, the young boy he rescued earlier. He had taken the child to Toy Planet as a reward for good behavior. When they arrive home, Luc discovers the trip has made the tabloids, where he is a constant source of attention. Luc is a fashion maven in the Tarthian Empire, and his shopping habits have spilled over into his trip.

Toy Planet

Set up: Luc had joked that he would fire his liaison, Shohn. Not long after, he mentioned that he planned to send flowers to the manager of the children's clothing store.

Toy Planet and the Media Darling

When Luc walked in the front door with Senthys, he found Andel and Brinn moving big boxes from the foyer to the living area.

Senthys released Luc's hand and ran to them. "I got a new bear! See?" He held up a bear a hundred years junior to his current model.

"Cute!" Brinn tousled the boy's hair.

"This guy has fur and everything." Andel sat on the floor and gathered Senthys onto his lap. "What's his name?"

While the two chatted, Luc examined the boxes. "What's in these?"

"This?" Brinn indicated the chest-high stacks. "I think this is what 'a few things to wear' looks like to Luc Saint-Cyr."

Walking around the boxes, Luc checked out the labels. "Kelthian Kids delivered already."

Brinn braced a hand on one box. "There was a note on this one. It was meant for your eyes only, but I unsealed it, thinking it was a packing slip." He handed Luc the handwritten note. "Sorry."

"No problem." He skimmed it, then re-read the words written by the Kelthian Kids manager. "Thank you for the flowers. Roses are my favorite. Yes, I'd love to meet for dinner." She'd signed it with her name and mobile contact.

Apparently, Shohn had decided to play matchmaker. Depending on how dinner went, she might be fired after all. "Or promoted."

"Sir?"

"Nothing. Now you know one reason why I bought out the store."

"After seeing this, I half expected a truck from Toy Planet to back into the driveway. Guess their manager wasn't as cute." Brinn tapped the box.

"Imagine how entertaining I find that."

Brinn bit his lips too late to hide a smile.

Luc tucked the note into a pocket. "I'm curious, however, how you knew I took the boy to Toy Planet. The manager told me those bears are sold everywhere. Easy to replace if damaged." Although, considering the boy's attachment to his other bear, wear made no difference.

"I saw you guys on the news." Brinn pulled out his mobile device and scrolled. "Here."

Two tabloid media celebrities from Idle Time Ezine were chatting. His name scrolled across a banner at the bottom. They'd made their fortune exploiting him for news. "Luc Saint-Cyr, the 'retired'," the woman made air quotes, "Grand Master of the Thieves' Guild has sold name rights to the Bank of Tarth. The banking conglomerate, which controls branches throughout the empire, will feature the Harbinger's likeness in advertising, showing he backs the company as a solid investment."

"Does that mean," the male asked, "that he'll never rob it?"

"Robbery? Of a bank?" Luc stopped the video. "Honestly, do these people research nothing? Bank robbery! As if I'd remain at that level. That is so far beneath my skill. Brinn," he turned to him, "what does this have to do with Toy Planet?"

Brinn gave him a cryptic smile. "Keep watching."

With an aggravated sigh, he tapped play.

"What do you suppose he'll do with all that money?" the male asked.

With a snide smile, the woman responded, "It might buy one of his less expensive suits." The two laughed at their own joke.

"Brinn..."

"Trust me. It's coming."

"Apparently, though," she continued, "he might need some of that money for toys." An amateur shot of him stooping beside Senthys at Toy Planet popped up. "Saint-Cyr's support of Kin businesses is well documented. Perhaps this HalfKin child is a by-product of that 'support.'" Again, she made air quotes and the two exchanged a knowing look.

Luc jabbed the stop icon. "I will kill them both."

"If I didn't know you better, I'd say you were serious."

Luc slid his unsmiling gaze in the young man's direction.

"Umm... Okay, then." Brinn tucked away the mobile. "I'll finish here while you... uh... Whatever."

Luc tried counting to force down his anger. "Not enough numbers."

Please check out the other authors in this blog hop, linked below.

Would you like to review A Stolen Heart?

The story is complete, and when published, will include a bonus book, Behind the Scenes of A Stolen Heart. In it, I'll share secrets with you about the characters -- things that aren't revealed in the book.

I'm hoping to find reviews and reviewers. Is that you? I have advanced pre-edited copies in epub, mobi, and pdf waiting for you to download on Story Origin and BookSprout.

This version is self-edited and will be sent out for its final edit next week. I'd be happy to get questions if you have any, or if you were confused by anything. An early review would be a great help. Thank you!

Download the early review copy on Story Origin
Download the early review copy on BookSprout

The Antonello Brothers Series

~ visit the series page ~

You'll find Luc and Senth mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

He was not equipped to deal with "scary raisins" #Excerpt from A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen #SciFi #MFRWhooks - copy

 

What Luc knows about rearing children could be written on the palm of one hand.

Raw recruits, however, he's been training for thousands of years.

But can he convince a kid to eat "scary raisins?"

Raisins Are Scary

In this scene, Luc is having lunch with Senthys, the three-year-old boy he rescued.

(A Deshai is a trainee in the Thieves' Guild, where Luc is a teacher - a Sen'dai.)

From A Stolen Heart

At lunch, Luc finished a sandwich and pulled out his mobile while the boy gobbled up his own sandwich, crunched all his carrot sticks and drank all his milk.  But then Senthys stuffed his mouth with apple slices as if he thought someone would take away whatever he didn't eat. Perhaps at the Academy, they had.

"Take those out of your mouth." Luc held the plate for him. "One bite at a time, please."

Head down, Senthys obeyed. "Can I still eat them?"

"You may." Luc wiped the boy's mouth. "In this house, no one will take away your food. Not ever." He had never disciplined his Deshai by denying them meals. How could anyone do such a thing to a child?

When imprisoned, Pietas had been chained in the dark and starved for over a year. If Luc couldn't bear the thought of his king going hungry, how could he tolerate it for a boy?

Once Senthys finished the apple, he pointed to a small bowl. "What's that?"

Luc tipped it toward himself. "Raisins."

The boy wrinkled up his nose. "They look scary."

"Raisins?" He tilted the bowl again. How did one convince a child raisins weren't scary? How had he convinced recruits to try things they balked at? Familiarity. He'd made them carry unloaded weapons for days before training them on the devices. Luc picked up a raisin and held it out to Senthys. "Here, smell."  Before the boy could, luc pulled back his hand.

Senthys blinked and looked up at him.

"Remember," Luc told him. "Smell. Not eat."

"Okay." As Luc held it for him, Senthys leaned closer, sniffing. "It's sweet."

"That's because there's magic inside them."

The boy's eyes widened. "There is? Can I see the magic?"

Stifling a smile, Luc chose another and offered it. "You try. Squeeze it. Like this." He pressed it between first finger and thumb.

Senthys pressed, frowning in concentration. "Ew! Brown stuff came out." He dropped it and wiped that hand on his shirt.

"The squishy part is the magic."

"It is?" Senthys picked the raisin back up, peering at it.

Now came the part Luc liked. Showing recruits the benefits and seeing them embrace the challenge. "Raisins give you magic energy to run and hit a ball. They help you play hide and seek."

"Can they help me get magic coins out of my hair?"

"Hmm." The sleight of hand had been Luc's attempt to distract him from crying. "If you eat them long enough and study how to do it."

"Can I have a raisin?"

"I don't know." Luc pretended to consider it. "You'd have to eat the whole bowl to get enough magic. I don't know if you can eat that many."

"Oh, I can!" Senthys clapped, bouncing in his seat. "I can eat them!"

"I squished this one, so I'll eat it. Okay with you?" Luc held it up to his own mouth.

Senthys opened his.

"You want this?" Luc offered it.

The boy nodded.

"Okay, here we go." Using slow motions, Luc reached toward him as Senthys leaned forward. At the last second, Luc yanked it back and popped the raisin in his own mouth. He opened his eyes wide, teasing the boy. "Mine."

With a peal of laughter, Senthys grabbed a raisin and offered it to Luc, but yanked it back and made the same face.

Luc clacked his teeth together, pretending to bite the air.

Senthys stuck the raisin in his own mouth and threw out his arms toward Luc.

When Luc hugged him, the boy kissed his cheek and put his head on Luc's shoulder. "I love you, Sen'dai."

He hugged the boy tight. How could vows be right if they forced him to say good-bye?

Senthys lifted his head. "Why are you sad?"

Luc brushed back the boy's hair. "Because I never want you to grow up. I want you to stay little like you are right now, forever."

Senthys wrinkled his nose. "That's silly."

He tapped the boy on the nose. "It is indeed."

Would you like to review A Stolen Heart?

The story is complete, and when published, will include a bonus book, Behind the Scenes of A Stolen Heart. In it, I'll share secrets with you about the characters -- things that aren't revealed in the book.

I'm hoping to find reviews and reviewers. Is that you? I have advanced pre-edited copies in epub, mobi, and pdf waiting for you to download on Story Origin and BookSprout.

This version is self-edited and will be sent out for its final edit next week. I'd be happy to get questions if you have any, or if you were confused by anything. An early review would be a great help. Thank you!

Download the early review copy on Story Origin
Download the early review copy on BookSprout

The Antonello Brothers Series

~ visit the series page ~

You'll find Luc and Senth mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

Play Ball: Oops. Luc should not have done that #Excerpt from A Stolen Heart #SciFi #MFRWhooks

 

In this scene, Luc has been dealing with business issues and is finally free. He's leaving soon, and hopes to spend a few minutes with Senthys. He doesn't expect to find him in the yard alone with a ball. Why wouldn't the others play ball with him?

Play Ball

Set up: A Deshai is a student in the Thieves' Guild. Luc has trained five and the youngest, Nikko, is about to graduate from the Academy and leave home. Nikko is away taking finals as the scene opens.

Play Ball

Eager to see Senthys, Luc hurried upstairs, but the practice room was empty. A faint sound drew Luc to a tall pair of windows overlooking the back.

Like other houses in the neighborhood, a wooded and fenced yard allowed room for sports and exercise. The house had its own gym but no pool. The boys swam in the jointly-shared neighborhood pool a block over, or at the Academy.

In a sunny area, four of the guys had formed two teams and were hitting a ball over a high net. The Thieves' Guild considered hand-contact sports good for developing muscle, but also dangerous. To avoid injury, while the ball was physically soft, the Tyran technology inside made it react as if it were harder. It turned blue when a point was scored and red when lost. Yellow indicated out of bounds.

Nikko was not down there, which meant he must be taking finals. So where was Senthys?

Luc changed to the other window.

A rigid pole with a lead clipped to its top had a ball attached at the end. When activated, the ball could be hit by one player, and it would react as if being struck back by another. Two could play against one another, or vie with the tech, trying to score more hits. Depending on the setting, it could dodge above their heads or swoop lower.

Though too short to hit the ball properly, Senthys could reach it, and he hit it hard enough for it to wrap around the pole and come back. More of a push, but it spun around the pole, far too high for him to touch. He jumped toward the moving ball.

Why weren't the others involving him? If they wouldn't, he would. Luc threaded his way down the stairs, out through the kitchen and into the backyard.

As Luc arrived, Nikko opened a gate in the fence and walked through, drawing everyone's attention. When he pumped both fists in the air, Luc and the others cheered.

Senthys did too. The ball came back around, struck him in the forehead and laid him out flat on his back.

Luc raced to the boy and knelt.

The child blinked, a bright spot in the middle of his forehead.

"Are you hurt?" Afraid to move him, Luc touched the boy's foot.

Senthys looked up at all the Deshai, who had gathered around him, then at Luc. He grinned. "Do it again!"

A collective groan of relief from the Deshai mixed with their pained laughter.

Luc sank to the ground.

"Did you see Luc run?" Andel asked.

Brinn laughed. "Yeah, you don't ever want to make him come after you!"

In his haste to reach Senthys, he'd set aside thousands of years of training and reflex and used his powers without a single thought.

The Deshai went back to their game, and Luc held out his hands to the boy. When Senthys came to him, Luc pulled the boy close and hugged him like he would never let go.

Please check out the other authors in this blog hop, linked below.

Would you like to review A Stolen Heart?

The story is complete, and when published, will include a bonus book, Behind the Scenes of A Stolen Heart. In it, I'll share secrets with you about the characters -- things that aren't revealed in the book.

I'm hoping to find reviews and reviewers. Is that you? I have advanced pre-edited copies in epub, mobi, and pdf waiting for you to download on Story Origin and BookSprout.

This version is self-edited and will be sent out for its final edit next week. I'd be happy to get questions if you have any, or if you were confused by anything. An early review would be a great help. Thank you!

Download the early review copy on Story Origin
Download the early review copy on BookSprout

The Antonello Brothers Series

~ visit the series page ~

You'll find Luc and Senth mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

Luc explains the arcane rules of theft to a 3 yr old #Excerpt from A Stolen Heart #SciFi #MFRWhooks

 

The word arcane conjures up magic and sorcery, but its definition is "requiring secret or mysterious knowledge." To Luc, who's an Arcane Master in the Thieves' Guild, those secrets are the lifeblood of the skill. Here, he explains one of the basic rules to Senthys, who is three.

Arcane Secrets

In this scene, Luc and Senthys are riding in Luc's hoversine, a limousine that flies right above the ground.
(banner image - Luc's hoversine, art by Nano-Core. I commissioned a vehicle immediately recognizable as a limo, but futuristic.)

Senthys swung his feet, which, on the short rise of the hoversine's safety seat, meant he kicked the main seat with his heels.

That was already old and it had just started. Luc leaned down close to distract him. "Let's learn some thief rules."

"Why?" Senthys tilted his head. "Don't you already know them?"

Luc stopped himself from reacting. After all, he was talking to a child, not that different from talking to Pietas. "Yes, I do, and I'm going to teach them to you. I told you there would be two rules inside the store and if you obeyed them, you could pick out a toy."

"Oh. I 'member." Like Luc, Senthys folded his hands before him. "Ready."

"You are to stay next to me at all times. You may hold my hand if you like, but do not leave me to look at things, or to see things unless I give you permission. Is that clear?"

"Yes, sir."

"Say it back to me."

"Um..." The boy fidgeted. "All of it?"

Luc decided against counting--to any number. "Tell me what you understood."

"Stay with you."

"Good! That's perfect."

The child bounced in his seat.

How delighted this boy was to do well. Luc must encourage that. "The other rule is not to steal anything in this store. Say it back to me."

"Don't steal in the store?"

"That's right!" Luc patted his hands together. "What a good job."

Senthys clapped, grinning.

"I'm going to tell you something and I want you to always remember it. Honorable thieves do not steal unless under contract. If an honorable thief cannot afford something, then he must work a regular job to earn the money." Luc placed a hand on the boy's arm. "My Deshai are honorable. They do not take things without a contract. Understand?"

"Yes, sir. Can I have a contract?"

"You can have one when you reach level thirteen. At that level, you can be hired professionally."

"Are you level thirteen?"

Luc brushed at his sleeve. "I'm level forty-eight."

"Oh." The boy nodded as if impressed. "Is that better than thirteen?"

Amusing, however deflating that might be. "Quite a bit better," Luc told him. "It's the highest in the Guild. Arcane Master."

Senthys cocked his head. "Then that's what I want to be. A Arcane Mister."

"Master," Luc corrected, smiling. "Arcane Master."

"Arcane Master. I want to be that. Brinn says I can be anything."

True words. Luc held up a hand, reached across the seat, and Senthys high-fived him. "Your brother is absolutely right."

Please check out the other authors in this blog hop, linked below.

Would you like to review A Stolen Heart?

The story is complete, and when published, will include a bonus book, Behind the Scenes of A Stolen Heart. In it, I'll share secrets with you about the characters -- things that aren't revealed in the book.

I'm hoping to find reviews and reviewers. Is that you? I have advanced pre-edited copies in epub, mobi, and pdf waiting for you to download on Story Origin and BookSprout.

The book is on Goodreads, and you can leave a review there now. You can leave a review on Amazon the day the book goes live, May 11th.

This version is self-edited and will be sent out for its final edit next week. I'd be happy to get questions if you have any, or if you were confused by anything. An early review would be a great help. Thank you!

Download the early review copy on Story Origin
Download the early review copy on BookSprout

 

Read A Stolen Heart – FREE – 2 Days Before Release

Members of my reader groups get A Stolen Heart free two days before it's released. Sign up now and you'll be sent the link on May 9th.

Already a member? Nothing to do but wait for the link. Members get it automatically. Your choice of format - Nook, Kindle, or PDF.

Sign up today!

The Antonello Brothers Series

~ visit the series page ~
Preorder A Stolen Heart

You'll find Luc and Senth mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

#NewRelease A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen #SciFi #MFRWhooks #MFRWorg

New Release: A Stolen Heart

Party time! A Stolen Heart is finally a new release. The book went live on May 11, 2020 and is exclusive on Amazon. On sale for 99c, or free if you're a member of Kindle Unlimited.

The premise is simple: a former space pirate who’s gone straight rescues a vulnerable child adept at breaking into things.

If you liked seeing the bad guy in Despicable Me transform into a soft-hearted dad, you'll like A Stolen Heart. Luc's minions aren't yellow. They're thieves.

Setting up the scene for today's excerpt:

Luc Saint-Cyr interfaces virtually with Shohn, his idBot liaison. Although Shohn speaks fluent Etymis (English), it's not the native tongue of the Kin female. (Sayr te means "forgive me" or "I'm sorry" in Felis.)

Excerpt from the new release, A Stolen Heart

During the ride into Miraj City, Luc pulled out his mobile and scrolled through the list he'd uploaded from the paper in his pocket. He forwarded one item to his assistant, and added the note about the penthouse to his own to-do list. The mobile buzzed in his hand, showing the name Shohn Lexius.

He answered, voice mode. "What's up?"

"A bit of intel. I know we're meeting later, but this will only take a minute. I think you'll want to hear it."

He put the device on holophone and she shimmered into view. "Go."

"Go?" Her ears went back. "Sir? I thought you wanted--"

"Sayr te. Forgive me." He smoothed his jacket. "You're so fluent in Etymis, I forgot you might not get idioms. In this case, 'go' means the same as 'talk.'"

"Oh. Good to know. I anticipated you'd want a background check on"-- She looked at something off-screen --"Senthys Antonello."

"What are you? A mind reader?"

"Oh, no, sir." She picked up a note-reader. "I try to anticipate what'll be needed next. What's the next logical step. Prepare for it best I can."

"Do you have relatives needing work? I could use a dozen more like you."

Inclining her head, she lowered her ears in a Kin thank you. "I'm one of a kind."

"You can say that again."

She gave him a curious look. "Idiom?"

"Means I agree." He gestured toward her. "So you know I took custody of the boy."

"Sir, I know your shoe size, what sort of pickles you like and the thread count on your sheets. You signed papers for him at the Guild. It wasn't hard."

In his other lives, no one had known squat about happenings within Guild walls. "You scare me a little, Ms. Lexius."

One ear flicked back. "Is that good?"

"I'll let you know." He set his mobile on handsfree and dropped it into a pocket. "What do you have?"

"I dug up the name of the place where the boy lived from birth until he was bought by the Guild. He--"

"Bought?"

"He was purchased in a group of thirty children. Twenty-seven humans plus him."

"That's twenty-eight."

"There were thirty total, but two are unaccounted for. Not sure who they were or whether they were human." She tapped a screen. "Looks like they were counted when they left the children's shelter where Senthys was reared, but I have no record of them reaching the Guild. No record of names, either. Just the count."

"Were they sold before the Guild got them?"

"No record."

The more he learned about the doings of his Guild, the less it felt like the one he knew. His Guild had been honorable. Like a family. This felt more and more like a faceless organization. Since when did family sell its most vulnerable members?

"But sir, I'm looking into it. That two children can disappear makes my claws itch. If they're safe, I want to know and if they're not-- Well, I'll let you know either way."

Be sure to check out the other authors in this blog hop - links below.

You'll find these characters mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

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